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Emerald Talks about Pink Floyd, Being Tied Up, and Her Amazing Story, ‘With Random Precision’

One of the highlights of the Erotic Authors Association Conference in Las Vegas this September was meeting Emerald and being totally enthralled by her beautiful bondage story, With Random Precision. I’m very excited that Emerald has agreed to be my guest and tell us the story behind With Random Precision.  Welcome, Emerald!

“With Random Precision” is titled after a lyric in the Pink Floyd song “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.”  The song plays a central role in the story, which seems fitting since it is published in the Love Notes: A Music & Sex Anthology, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel and published by Ravenous Romance.  Even before I ever saw the call for Love Notes, though, the music in “With Random Precision” was deeply connected to the story.

Virtually the entire bondage scene in “With Random Precision,” as well as the reference the Pink Floyd music therein, is autobiographical. I was tied up quite intricately several years ago by a friend of mine who has studied and practiced bondage extensively.  In a way he was practicing on me, but we’d also both agreed I might find the experience interesting.  I did—so much so that even as it was happening, I knew I wanted to write about it.

So much about the experience was noticeable—the silence in the room, his intense concentration, how strange being touched by rope felt, the absence of being touched by someone else’s flesh.  Things like how striking it began to feel on the occasions his skin did connect with mine jumped out at me, and some of what is in the story started writing itself in my head as I stood there while he wound yards of purple rope around me in silence.

Where the autobiography stops, perhaps ironically, is in the indescribable experience the narrator, Amber, has as a result of being bound.  What was not there for me when I was tied up that night was sexual attraction between myself and the person tying me up.  We were friends, but the experience for me wasn’t a sexual one.

I felt all the other things the narrator describes in the scene—the silence, the intensity, the uncertainty, and definitely the apprehension when the moment of finally realizing she is bound hits home.  Where the actual sexual attraction wasn’t there, there seemed (still seems) a part of me that inexplicably knew the potential that scenario held had the addition of attraction, that unique intensity enmeshed with a desire for intimacy and a mysterious and unquestionable trust, been there.  Even at the time, that vague understanding captured my attention.  Later, as I wrote the story, it came forth via my imagination.

There was also the music.  The description in the story is quite how it was—it was quiet, and all of a sudden I noticed it, and it captured my attention.  The degree to which it seemed to perfectly fit the atmosphere seemed extraordinary, and I was intrigued when he told me it was Pink Floyd.  I was almost entirely unfamiliar with them at the time.

To digress slightly, I met my partner a few months later.  Pink Floyd is his favorite band, and when he mentioned them to me, I found the timing striking.  I said I had only recently been properly introduced to them (beyond the radio play of “Another Brick in the Wall Pt. II” and “Money”).  My partner continued that introduction with impressive thoroughness, and Pink Floyd is now one of my favorite bands too.  Everything the narrator in “With Random Precision” indicates about how she feels about the band is autobiographical.

When I started to write the story, shortly after the bondage experience had occurred, it didn’t seem hard to recall how it had felt to stand there, how quiet the room was, what the rope pattern looked like, how I had felt being tied up.  It wasn’t hard either to remember what had occurred to me about what might have happened if the person tying me had been someone I felt that attraction to, to whom I knew I wanted to surrender what I vaguely—even unconsciously—could feel was there to be surrendered.

I wrote all that.  I didn’t have to think about it much—it was all right there and came out as my fingers typed.  When it came time to actually go further than where the bondage scene ends, to show what happens between Amber and Max, I grew continually stuck.  I tried writing that interaction countless times, with it feeling dissonant each time.

Finally, I realized I simply didn’t get to know.  Not only does the reader not see what actually transpired that night, I myself as the author do not know.  The interaction is a mystery.

As is what the experience might have been like for me under other circumstances.

When I finally let go of trying to create what happened between Amber and Max that night, the final scene of the story, the present-day one that Amber narrates, came about as effortlessly as the first part of the story had.  That scene, to me, expresses the understanding in me of the potential of what that experience could have been had something more been there.  How it could have—perhaps inevitably would have with the characters that came forth in the story—added up to an unequivocal, irrevocable surrender unlike anything I (and she) had before experienced.  The understanding, as the scene, is indirect—it was not seen by the reader, and for me it was not experienced directly.  But some awareness of it was, and still is, in me—even if not (yet…) consciously.

“With Random Precision” remains one of my favorite stories I’ve written.  I don’t know exactly how to describe why, but it has always felt very close to me.  It brings a number of things together—autobiographical experience, speculation of a potential by which I feel deeply intrigued, the opportunity to offer homage to a musical artist that moves me greatly, and the manifestation of something I feel or recognize only on a level beyond my ordinary consciousness.  Thank you so much, K D, for inviting me to talk about it here today.  It’s been really a pleasure!

BLURB:

Our favorite music inspires us to move, dance and, yes, get busy in more intimate ways. Love Notes celebrates dancing queens, rock stars, groupies, anthems and more as the characters stroke each other to the sounds that make them soar. One woman masturbates to her favorite song while a stripper slinks her way into a man’s life. From Madonna to Shania Twain to Led Zeppelin and beyond, they channel their favorite music to make love to.

Love Notes celebrates the erotic power of music to move us, whether it’s listening to a lover rock out, fantasizing about your rock star crush, or making the sweetest and sexiest of music together. Singers, sirens and dancing queens get busy to a sex soundtrack ranging from heavy metal to classical and beyond. Get ready to get serenaded, seduced, and smitten with Love Notes.

EXCERPT:   

With the final silent, firm tug Max gave the rope that secured me to the ottoman, I realized the precariousness of my position.  I had known at the beginning that this was a significant undertaking for me.  But the full realization didn’t materialize until parts of my body, parts I was used to being able to move at will, were bound in place—and the corresponding understanding that he was now in control of that part of my existence.

I couldn’t move.  I was, quite literally, bound.  I thought about what would happen if I suddenly couldn’t breathe, if the claustrophobia of my youth returned, smothering me and taking my oxygen as I lay there unable to do anything to save myself.  I thought of demanding that the rope be cut, screaming at Max to get the binding off me as quickly as possible.  Would he do it?  I wouldn’t be asking—I would be desperate, drowning, screaming inside with not only desperation but the revulsion of knowing that I was utterly, completely dependent on him.  That he could choose to disregard me if he wanted to.  To not take me seriously.  Even as it flitted through my consciousness, the liquid hatred of the idea rose inside me and started to course through my body.  My eyes were closed, but the darkness I was seeing was more than physical—I believe I would have seen it just as much had they been open, staring at the candlelit white ceiling of Max’s living room.

He touched me.  My eyes flew open.  Max was not looking at me.  Rather, he was examining the twists of rope at my left hip, his fingers resting softly on my left thigh.  The contact had brought me from darkness to the surface like a flash of lightning.  I inhaled deeply.

“That’s better,” he murmured in a tone as soft as the pressure of his fingers on my thigh.  “You okay now?”  Still he did not look at me.  His attention stayed on the purple silk strands around my hips and up across my abdomen, as though there were some imperfection there he was fixing.  And I wondered how he had known.

*****

Max shifted his hand.  I felt the knot I had noticed earlier move slightly against my clit.  The jolt of arousal that flooded through me stunned me as much with its intensity as with its unexpectedness.  I looked at Max, who met my gaze and knew what he saw there.

He smiled.  “It’s not about fucking tonight, Amber.  Don’t you know that by now?  You think that’s what you want, but what you want is so much more.”  His voice was quiet, a contrast to the newfound desire pulsing through me that didn’t feel quiet.  Confusion gripped me, twisting my inside with a movement my physical body wasn’t at liberty to reflect.

Max stood and walked until he was no longer in my field of vision.  I heard him kneel behind the top of my head, and his warmth reached me before he did as he slid one hand through my hair against my scalp and the other gently around my throat from behind.  His lips touched my ear as he whispered into it.  The sensation jolted through me like a gunshot, starkly contrasting with the barely existent contact of his flesh to mine.  What was he doing to me?

“Let go.  Let go, Amber.  Do you hear me?”  His voice ran like liquid silk, its gentle seamlessness giving no hint of the boulder-like intimidation of the order as my mind perceived it.  The voice was gentle, lulling, leading where it wanted to take me, knowing that was a place I wasn’t sure I had ever been.  So much so that I didn’t know where it was or how to find it.  The fierce resistance inside me reappeared, surging furiously and searing my senses.  A snowy fuzziness filled my vision.  An acidic sour seeped into my mouth as I raged against this position he had me in.

And somewhere even deeper, I saw that I was really in a battle against myself.

The voice knew that too.  The grip on my throat tightened ever so slightly.  The heat of his breath coursed through me via my ear:

“I know you don’t know how, Amber.  That’s what I’m here for.”

BUY LINKS:

Ravenous Romance (publisher)

Amazon US Kindle

Amazon UK Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook

BIO:

Emerald is an erotic fiction author and general advocate for human sexuality as informed by her deep appreciation of the beauty, value, and intrinsic nature of sexuality and its holistic relation to life. She holds a particular interest in the connection between sex and spirituality and deeply reveres sexuality’s inherent sacredness.  Her erotic fiction has been published in anthologies edited by Violet Blue, Rachel Kramer Bussel, and Kristina Wright, among others, as well as at various erotic websites.  She is an advocate for sexual freedom, reproductive choice, and sex worker rights and blogs about these and other topics at her (NSFW) website, The Green Light District: http://www.thegreenlightdistrict.org.

 

 

Susana Mayer Talks About the Fabulous Erotic Literary Salon

I had the privilege of reading for Susana Mayer’s Erotic Literary Salon on tour while I was in Las Vegas for Erotic Authors Association Conference. The experience was one of the highlights of the conference for me, and ever since, I’ve been dying to know more about the Salon and about the woman who made it happen. And now is my chance. I feel very honoured to have Susana Mayer as my guest on A Hopeful Romantic. Welcome, Susana!

KD: What would you most like people to know about Susana Mayer?

Susana: I have recently reinvented myself as a sexologist, receiving my MA in Public Health 2005, and Ph.D. in Human Sexuality 2009. I am not a writer of erotica, except for the occasional titillating emails I send to my beloved.

Presently, I am working on several projects; a unique anthology, ebook form (more info. can be found at the Salon’s website) and a non-fiction self-help ebook to better understand the complexity of libido, sex drive and sexual desire. Bibliotherapy is one of my passions.

K D: Tell us about the Erotic Literary Salon. How did it come about, and how has it evolved since its beginnings.

Susana: Creating the Erotic Literary Salon was a culmination of a lifetime love of erotica coupled with my dissertation investigations (searching for a catalyst for women’s desire to have sex). Conclusions drawn from the research and the sexual climate in the US led me to believe the time was right to mainstream erotica in Philadelphia.

The social messages women have been receiving did not allow “good girls” to admit to enjoying fantasies they consider pornographic. Based on media marketing, our society allows men the liberty of enjoying hard core material, whereas women are relegated to fantasies spurred on by soft core erotica.

Pornography usually conjures up negative judgements, and erotica is a term that is most often equated with sexual material for women. I must admit when I initially created the Salon, it was geared towards women, and I too used the term erotica so as not to offend my prospective attendees. The terms Literary and Salon were marketing tools to extend legitimacy to the event, since I realized porn or pornography would immediately offend people who equated this term with degradation.

Unfortunately, but ultimately most fortunately, the public space where the Salon was to be held could not discriminate against men. From the very onset the Salon attendance has been approximately equal among the sexes. Ages range from twenty-one (liquor law restrict minors from attending) to mid-nineties. Couples, singles, poly — all sexual orientations and an ethnic mix all attend the Salon.

This event has gone through several transitions since its inception. Initially the format followed most closely the concept of a true French Salon. Works were shared, discussed, and critiqued. It has now developed into performance, where the attendees expect to be entertained by the readings. Occasionally I have featured performers who incorporate music, song, or movement with their erotic presentation.

As the host of this event I try to keep the evening flexible, open to the possibilities of discussions, critiques and Q & A. The featured presenters, number of readers and attendee’s responses all impact how the evening will proceed.

It still surprises me when I hear attendees express their gratitude for having a venue to share their sensexual* writings sans censorship. Remarks like; “Susana is doing a very brave thing….It’s hard to overstate what a remarkable event you produce each month….Philly needs something like this,” remind me there are no other events of this kind presently in this area and few in the entire country.

People have confided in me how writing and sharing their words have helped them deal with a myriad of issues. Often this is the only occasion they have to hear how others express their sexuality. Exposure to these writings, especially journals and first person works, have given them the opportunity to reflect on their own sexuality. It can be of great comfort to know that there is such a variety of styles to creating sexual pleasure. For those who are troubled by sexual pleasure, the sharing of words may assuage their guilt.

The Salon has also given victims of sexual abuse an outlet to share their shame. By giving voice to their distress, in some instances the mere act of sharing has relieved them of the burden of shame. For others the control of the pen has allowed individuals to rewrite their sexual history, enabling them to cope more positively with their traumas.

Some people attend the Salon just to enjoy a night out with their friends, or it can be an unusual place to take their date. For an increasing core group of regulars, it is a community of like-minded people who enjoy sensexuala*.

The Salon is many things to many people, but one thing is a constant – each Salon is unique. I never know how the evening will progress, since each month the readings and featured presenters vary. Similar to my daily posts at the Salon’s website, I lend my voice to this event by offering news items with my sex positive spin. Individuals are given the opportunity to view a sexual newsworthy item from a different perspective. As a muse for this event I feel these items not only educate but can be used as research material for their writings.

The Salon also continues via the web between gatherings. Those unable to attend because of distance constraints are able to share their works on the site, while enjoying some of the readings from the Salon. A professor of English in India expressed his gratitude for having a community that would enjoy his writings and comment on them.

I believe the mainstreaming of sensexuala in Philadelphia is slowly becoming a reality. The first year the Salon averaged between 20-30 people. These numbers have climbed to 60-80 attendees any given month.

K D: The Salon sounds like such a wonderful community to be a part of, and I think it’s fabulous that there is a website where those outside of Philadelphia can connect up with that community. You must have so many amazing memories of the Salon, Susana, can you tell us, what was your most memorable experience of the Salon?

Susana: The Salon’s nonagenarian, Frances (she’s my Chosen Mom), read the best seller, “Go the FOK to Sleep.” Can you envision a 94 year old, white haired, 4’6” slim built, beyond wrinkled woman, armed with elocution lessons from grade school (sans microphone) reciting this adult story disguised as a children’s book to Salon attendees? She brought down the house. I have extended an offer to the author to attend in May to hear her once again read this piece. I hope to get permission to video tape and post it on youtube and my website. Can’t imagine him declining.

K D: Wow! I would have loved to be there for THAT reading! It must have been amazing. Susana, how do you see the future of the Erotic Literary Salon? What plans do you have for it?

Susana: I am considering adding several larger events, with the Salon as the foundation while including visual arts, music, dance for a spectacular evening of sensexuala. I’m also in the process of creating a Salon ebook press, not only to publish the Salon’s anthology, but also works of others. The Erotic Literary Salon is becoming an established brand, and I want to spread the word of sensexual writings as a tool for bibliotherapy.

*sensexuala/sensexual. A combination of (sensual & sexual) that does not carry the same judgmental values as those attributed to erotica and pornography. You get to enjoy the value of the piece, eliminating the need to discuss the sub-genre classifications.

K D: Thank you, Susana, for sharing with us. It’s been such a pleasure to interview you, and you’ve raised so many other wonderful questions that I’d love to pursue further that I hope you’ll come back again soon.

 

 

What Happened in Vegas: Part 2

Friday morning, I arrive at registration for the Erotic Authors Association Conference to find Nan Andrews, DL King and Kathleen Bradean working the table. I’m in awe. My heroes are giving me a swag bag and a name tag! If that’s not enough, my name tag has a red ribbon that tells everyone I’m a panelist. That’s right, me. I’m a panelist!

Breakfast is a bit like Christmas morning. We’re all pawing through our goody bags when Hazel Cushion, my publisher from Xcite Books, arrives followed closely by the lovely Sharazade — at long last we meet face to face!

There’s barely time for greetings and to ask how everyone’s trip was before the publisher’s panel begins. Hazel, representing Xcite Books along with M Christian from Renaissance E Books, Brenda Knight from Cleis Press, Lori Perkins from Ravenous Romance, and Cecilia Tan from Circlet Press are all on the panel.

I take notes fast and furiously and there is no shortage of questions about ePublishing vs print as well as the future of self-publishing in the age of the eBook. Everyone agrees that in spite of all the upheaval eBooks have brought into the world of publishing and in spite of all the changes, it’s a very good time to be a writer. Now there are more possibilities than there have ever been before.

I’m on the Erotic Romance panel with Shawn Clements and Lorna Hinson from Torquere Press and Sascha Illyvich from Renaissance E Books. Talking romance, whether erotic or not, is always a chemistry lesson, and one of my favourite topics, so the hour goes fast.

As one who has a deep appreciation of the beauty and symmetry of grammar, the next session could have been tailor-made for me. I hurry off to Sexy, Sexy Grammar, taught by Jean Roberta and Sharazade. Grammar has never been so hot, nor so much fun!

For every session I attend, there are two I miss, along with a group of fabulous readings, and the readings are sizzling! I need clones of myself!

I have lunch in the darkly paneled, stained glass gloom of The Victorian Café in Bill’s Gambling Hall. What starts out as lunch with Sharazade and Katie Salidas ends up being a party when I. G. Frederick invites us to a huge round table where Jean Roberta, Jolie Du Pre, Zetta Brown, friends, partners and a totally cool waitress are all squeezed together talking promo, inspiration and lunch. It is then I realize I have fifteen minutes to finish my general’s chicken and get back to the Flamingo for my reading. Of course I’m in the middle of the big round booth, so everyone slides and I make a dash for it.

I feel a little nervous reading opposite M J Williamz, Cecilia Tan and Kate Dominic with Remittance Girl in the audience, but sex on a Harley from The Initiation of Ms Holly, I’m comfortable with, and everyone else seems to enjoy. We all end up laughing and talking after.

When the last session of the day is over, we are all invited up to Cecilia Tan’s suite for a wine, cheese, and chocolate party. Even without the wine, cheese and chocolate, who could resist a chance to chat with the fabulous Cecilia Tan! I don’t remember the wine and cheese, but I do remember being in a sun drenched pink and white sixties-style suite with the buzz of erotic writer-talk all around Cecilia Tan, who is seated on the sofa and Lori Perkins, who is standing by the door. Wow! Who needs wine?

The big event of the day is ‘One Very Steamy Las Vegas Evening’ at The Erotic Heritage Museum. Susana Mayer has brought ‘The Erotic Literary Salon’ on tour. There is an open mic and more readers than there is time for. There are at least twenty people, each with only five minutes to read. Rachel Kramer Bussel Kicks off the reading, Hazel Cushion make a rare reading appearance, Emerald, Jolie Du Pre, I. G. Frederick, Cecilia Tan, Laura Antoniou,  just to name a few, are all reading stories from the many facets of erotica.

Sadly, I didn’t know about the event in time to get signed up. Happily, in spite of a full house, enough people don’t show up that there is room for me and several others to read. Sadly,(and stupidly) I don’t have Holly with me. Happily (and smartly) Hazel is sitting next to me with a huge bag full of Xcite anthologies, one of which just happens to be Dark Desires: Love that’s Out of This World, which contains my story, ‘Flaws.’ Sadly, I’ve never practiced reading any of this story for an audience. Happily that doesn’t stop me.

In the end, I read about a sexy love spell gone awry. I do this while standing between two giant velvet draped beds and a plethora of white marble penises taller than I am. Oh yes, a good time was had by all!

Back at the Flamingo, Hazel, Sharazade, and a friend of hers, and I buy beer and peanuts at the hotel shop and find a quiet table outside the casino in the gardens next to the habitat where the flamingos stand sleeping with their heads tucked under their wings. Writerly people love to talk, and casino bars are not good places to talk. Sleeping flamingos, however, are the perfect ambiance for conversations about publishing and editing and story, and I realize that though Las Vegas wouldn’t normally be my cup of tea, a quiet table in the desert heat with other writers is certainly my bottle of beer.

The next day begins with a full house for the editor’s panel, with Miranda Forbes, D. L. King, Kelli Collins and Rachel Kramer Bussel. I attend two reading sessions, finally getting to hear the ever so hot and talented Sharazade read steamy tales of travel sex from her book, Transported: Erotic Travel Tales. I love the fabulous Blake C. Aarens’s John Malkovich fantasy and Emerald’s amazing tale of first-time rope bondage to the music of Pink Floyd is not only erotic, but moving. I find myself wishing I could attend all the readings. Listening to what other writers write, allowing myself to be pulled into their stories, is one of the best ways to learn to be a better writer. I know I can read all those stories, and that’s good too, but experiencing the tale aurally adds more depth, more sensuality to the experience.

Graydancer’s hands-on kink session is one of the highlights of the day. His basic introduction to BDSM and kink for erotica writers who want to make sure they get the kink right is invaluable. In fact, the rope bondage demo spills over into the cocktail party afterwards with the leotard-clad Sharazade volunteering to be bound, and volunteering yours truly to take photos.

As Sharazade sheds her bonds and leotard for the beads and sparkles of her evening gown, Aisling Weaver announces the party will continue over at her suite in the Cosmopolitan. She and her lovely partner even go so far as to shoo us all into a yummy stretch limo for the short, but luxurious drive to the Cosmo, where we all enjoy the views of the Bologgio Fountains and the Eifel Tower from their balcony. There are more readings from iPads and Blackberries as people come and go.

Eventually Hazel, Sharazade, Jolie, and I opt for one last photo session along the Strip, and I am once again back amid the holiday making crowds and the women in wedding gowns taking photo ops in front of the Bologgio fountains and the Saturday night revelers. We make it as far as The Venetian before the rain starts, then we hurry back to the Flamingo drenched and giggling, pushing and shoving our way through the press of people in the deluge.

Back in my room, I fall into bed and slept like the dead.

I end my adventure in Vegas over breakfast with Hazel and Sharazade back in the dark Victorian. After good-byes all around, I catch the shuttle to the airport. The Sunday morning shuttle riders are more subdued than those I arrived with three days ago, and it’s nice to stare  out the window at the city, now quiet and pale in the desert sun, and reflect on the adventure I had in Vegas, the things I learned, the new friends I made, and the intimations already being whispered about next year’s Erotic Author’s Association Conference.

 

What Happens in Vegas Part 1

I’m not a Vegas sort of person. I went for the Erotic Authors Association Conference, not for the gambling, not for the bright lights. I wasn’t there to be impressed. And yet…

We flew over the Sierra Nevada Mountains just before we landed in Las Vegas.  We all crane our necks for a look at impossibly jagged peaks already covered with snow, even as we were about to land in 97 degree temperatures. But on the ground, it was desert heat and more shades of brown and tan and olive than I would have thought possible, all set off in stunning relief against a baby blue sky puffed with clouds that were clearly only there for looks rather than business. Very appropriate for Vegas.

The woman behind me on the shuttle talked loudly on her cell phone in a Midwestern accent to whoever was taking care of her geriatric dog back home. When the conversation finally ended with her satisfied that the pooch was in good hands, we all turned our attention to the shuttle driver, a man who was a driving history book of Las Vegas. While he delivered us to our respective hotels, he regaled us with stories of Bugsy Segal and the mob history of Las Vegas. The Flamingo is the original resort hotel that Bugsy Segal built in the middle of the desert.

My room was on the 14th floor, with views of the mountains in between the towers of Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas. Once I got settled, I explored the hotel grounds, lingering in the gardens to see the habitat for flamingos, sacred ibis, and black swans. I was planning to meet Sharazade for dinner, but I’d gotten a message from her saying she’s coming in on a later flight, so I decided to check out The Strip on my own.

Las Vegas is in your face, like an arid version of New Orleans on steroids and all tarted up with neon and fountains. It’s like Disneyland for adults, Sharazade observed, when we finally connect the next day. Just as it was getting dark I wandered about with my mouth open and my eyes bugging because there was so much to see. I’ve been to Paris, so Paris Las Vegas shouldn’t impress me, but when it rises up all truncated and neon in the middle of the desert it does. I realized as I walked amid the tourists who are as bug-eyed as I am that though I’m hearing lots of different languages, a lot of the people who are here will never get any closer to Paris or Venice or the Forum in Rome than Las Vegas, and the tarted-up versions can’t fail to impress.

As I stopped to watch the volcano erupt in front of Treasure Island, along with the rest of the enthralled crowd, I realize that as much as I’d like to stick my nose in the air and be unimpressed, the spirit of the place is contagious, and it would be really hard to walk among the holiday makers and the lovers there to elope and the neon and the noise and the resorts that are several city blocks in size and not get caught up in the atmosphere.

I ended up shivering in an overly air conditioned food court having Mexican food, my first since arriving in the US. I ate and people-watched. The city was awash in spandex and suicide stilettos, and I find that, in spite of myself, I was loving every minute of it.

Outside again, I was happy to leave the air conditioning and get warm. It was a dry delicious 87 degrees, and that alone, after leaving the rainy damp of south England, was enough to make me feel festive. I walked along stopping here and there to watch people and take in the giddy gaudiness of it all. In some places Hispanic men and women lined the streets handing out cards for peep shows and escort services, and I squirmed at the contrast of people working a hard, uncomfortable job in order to put food on the table while they watch a party going on all around them in which they never get to participate.

I watched the incredible dancing fountains in front of the Bologgio amid the crowd and press of others doing the same, and I wandered along the street where tourists were having their pictures taken with Elvis impersonators and show girls decked out in brightly coloured feathers. A man who had too much to drink was propositioning every woman who walked by. I found myself lost and turned around in the maze of stylized bridges that crisscross the heavily trafficked street that runs through the strip. The bridges cross into resorts and come down alongside towers of glass and flashing lights opening onto the streets like gaping mouths exhaling the overly air conditioned breath of the casinos into the warm the night.

 I was caught up and carried along on a wave of sensory overload that smelled of restaurants and cigarette smoke and perfume and sweaty bodies and excitement; and looked like a city all dressed up for a costume ball. I let it all settle around me and flow through me until the heat and the noise and the jet lag of too many time zones passed through too quickly began to take a toll. Sharazade still hadn’t arrived, and I was fading fast. I made my way back to the Flamingo through the sparkle and the kaching of the slots to the elevator banks. I managed to make it back to the room and whip of an email to Sharazade that I’d see her in the morning. Then I slept.

I woke in the night and looked out at the dazzle of the lights from the 14th floor and I drift back to sleep with after images of the rich blue lights of the towers of the Cosmopolitan fading behind my eyelids. The next time I woke up, the mountains between the towers of the casinos were just blushing pink, and I was struck by the contrast of the rugged wilderness, jagged and overwhelming held at bay by towers of glass and steel and lights. Even Las Vegas seems small and demure next to such vastness.

As I looked over the schedule for the first day of the Erotic Authors Association conference, the butterflies woke up in my stomach. When I thought about the day ahead, the introvert in my cowered for a second, wanting to run away to the mountains beyond. But this would be the day I got to be on my first panel ever, and this would be the day I got to read from Holly in front of a new audience, and this would be the day I got to meet the people who I already knew would be my friends, the fabulous smutters on the US side of the pond. It would be good. I knew it would.

Stay tuned for the next installment of What Happens in Vegas.

 

Previews of Autumn Heat

Inspiration in Blog-sized Doses

My feet have nearly recovered from the 192 mile walk across England, and I’ve blogged my way through the whole fabulous Coast to Coast. I can’t begin to say how inspiring the experience was for me, nor how much it stretched me and forced me to move beyond my comfort zone – always something I struggle with. The walk has convinced me to add a new Inspiration page to my website. It’s been in the back of my mind for awhile, and will now be a regular part of my blogging. In it you will find my Coast to Coast blog posts all together for easy reading for those of you who may have missed out on it.

I plan to use this new section of my blog to share those experiences that stir my imagination and inspire me to write. My hope is that whether you’re a writer, a reader or a house painter, you’ll maybe find inspiration in those experiences as well. And let’s face it, we all love to share the things that inspire us.

What Happens in Vegas

While what happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas most of the time, I plan to tell you every yummy detail when I head to Sin City for the Erotic Authors Association Conference at the fabulous Flamingo Hotel on September 9th and 10th. I’ll be doing some readings, visiting the Erotic Heritage museum and participating in an erotic romance panel. Plus I’ll be taking advantage of all the other great talks and events that are happening throughout the weekend. And best of all, I’ll get the chance to meet some of my fabulous American erotica writing friends who, until now, I’ve only known through social media.

Vincent’s Oregon

From Las Vegas, I’ll fly back to Portland, Oregon to meet my sister, with whom I’ll spend the next ten days tromping around the exquisite Oregon countryside visiting some of Vincent’s favourite haunts from The Pet Shop.  I’m very excited to be photographing and blogging about the Oregon Vincent loves so much because I’ll be getting in the spirit of things for the party to end all parties, The Pet Shop launch in London!

The Pet Shop Launch

Between the walking and the polishing of the first book of the Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, I’ve had plenty to keep me focused as I’ve waited impatiently for the print release of The Pet Shop. Most of you know, The Pet Shop is already out in eBook formats and has been getting fab reviews, but October 14th is the date I’ve been waiting for with bated breath.

And, as you may have guessed, the big launch bash for the print premier of Pets will be at one of my favourite places on the planet, Sh! Women’s Erotic Emporium  Hoxton!  There’ll be pink fizz, yummy delectables, readings, book signings and the whole titillating two floors of the Sh! store to explore and shop through. If that’s not enough to make for a hot party, some of the hottest names in erotica are going to be there to help me celebrate. And the celebration will be two-fold because the 14th is also the delicious Mr Grace’s birthday, so we’ll slap a candle in his cupcake and all party together. If you’ll be in the neighbourhood 14th of October, be sure to put it on your calendar and stop in for the fun. I’ll be giving more details as time gets closer. Needless to say, I’m very excited, and looking forward to turning my misbehaving Pets loose on London and the rest of the UK — in print. Once they’ve done their misbehaving best in the UK, they’ll arrive in the States in print in January just in time to celebrate the New Year.

Lakeland Heatwave on the Way

Most of you know I came home from the Coast to Coast walk and went right to work on the final polishing of Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising. I had the chance to pick Brian and Von Spencer’s wonderful brains for more Lakeland and Mountain Rescue information while I was on the Lake District leg of the Coast to Coast walk. As always, their help has been invaluable in making sure I get the details right. Once back home, getting the final draft ready to go out the door was priority one, and inspiration from the walk and from Brian and Vron’s helpful observations made it a pleasure rather than a chore.

Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising is the first novel of my paranormal erotic romance trilogy set in the Lake District, and will be published in February 2012. It’s intense, dark and hotter than hot. I’ll be working on the second novel by the New Year, if not before.

A Hopeful Romantic in Autumn

Besides the new Inspiration page on A Hopeful Romantic, there will be intriguing new additions of The Story Behind the Story and there will be some fabulous guests and interviews and field trips coming up as 2011winds down, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, what happens in Vegas will NOT be staying in Vegas, as my next update on all the latest will be coming to you straight from The Erotica Authors Association Conference in Sin City.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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