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Hula Hoop Artist, Helen Orford, Talks About Hula Hoops, Circus Training & Making Her Own Bed of Nails

I’m very excited to welcome the lovely and very talented Helen Orford to my site today. I was very privileged to meet Helen on the night of a reading at Sh! Women’s Store, where I learned that this lovely lady is a hula hoop artist! Yes, you heard me right. And she is totally amazing! As you can imagine, I was over the moon when she agreed to let me interview her for A Hopeful Romantic. Welcome, Helen Orford! What a pleasure to have you!

KD: Tell us a little bit about yourself, Helen. And in particular, how did you become a hula hoop artist?

Copyright Bertil Nilsson

Copyright Bertil Nilsson

HELEN: I’ve always had a pull towards the circus ever since I watched a Cirque Du Soleil video as a young child. It was only when I was 15 that I found online about a circus training centre in Sheffield, Greentop Circus, which I could go to two evenings a week after school. After training in swinging trapeze, static trapeze and hula hoops I saw a poster for a little 6 person circus looking for performers to join them. After auditioning I was told they needed an aerial silks act (think of ribbons hanging from the ceiling), so I quickly went away and had a couple of lessons and made an act very swiftly and quite literally ran away with this little circus, Circus Ferrel. While still at school getting my GCSE’s and A-levels, I’d keep running away and spending as much time performing as possible. When I was 18 I auditioned for a place at Circus Space, a Circus University in Shoreditch, London and after a gruelling two day, hard-core, intensive audition I was accepted onto the course! It was there that I specialised in hula hooping and spent 3 whole years training more than six hours every day to hone my craft and to train my hula hooping skills and acts.

KD: Tell us what a typical day is like in the life of a hula hoop artist?

Copyright Bertil Nilsson (2)

Copyright Bertil Nilsson (2)

HELEN: Every day and every week is completely different as my work is so varied even day to day, but recently a day in my shoes would be a very exhausting one! This week for example: I get up early to prepare for the day and make sure my LED hoops are charged, all my costumes are prepared and clean and that I have everything I need for the shows ahead. I then happily head off to a full day of circus training or rehearsals for a new show. After a long day of rehearsals I often have to rush off straight to an evening show or cabaret in which I’m performing my hula hooping acts late into the night. I’ll get home just after midnight, finally have a quick bite to eat for ‘dinner’, peel off my false eyelashes and fall into bed for 6 or 7 hours sleep before getting up and doing it all again the next day! People think the life of a circus artist is all fun and games (which it truly is!), but it’s also really hard work!! Much of my work is last minute bookings in which I’ll only get from 3 days to two hours’ notice to perform, so my schedule is always changing and ever unpredictable! However it’s not uncommon for me to get bookings 6months or more in advance too!

Copyright Nigel Holmes

Copyright Nigel Holmes

KD: I saw a lovely, if a bit scary photo of you on Facebook lying on a bed of nails! Ouchie! Tell us a little bit about your strange mattress, and is that also a part of your performance?

HELEN: While working in the travelling circus, it was a great opportunity to train in new circus disciplines and to create new acts as we had all day to ourselves and had the circus big top in which to practice. I don’t know how the idea came about, whether from myself or from my boss (the circus clown!), but the circus could do with another act and I had it in my head that I would perform a bed of nails act – despite never even laid on one before! The following day I heard a knock on my door, and it was my boss with a plank of wood, a drill and several hundred nails! By the afternoon I’d finished making the bed of nails all by myself and started creating an act, which was in the show a couple of days later. I no longer perform that act, but I believe my ‘strange mattress’ is still in use at that circus even now!

KD: What’s the best part of your job?

Helen Orford

Helen Orford

HELEN: Meeting so many different, exciting and innovative people! In my job I connect with people from all walks of life, which really helps me be motivated, stay centred and continue to be focussed on my goals. Meeting like-minded artistic people is so inspiring and keeps my mind thinking which is great in a job which can sometimes become repetitive when performing the same acts over and over.

KD: What’s the worst?

HELEN: The unsociable hours can become quite hard to get used to at times. The majority of my performances occur between the hours of 7pm and 3am, meaning that my internal clock can sometimes become confused and I’ll end up eating breakfast for supper and dinner for breakfast! Saying this some of the most interesting characters tend to poke their heads out of the woodwork very  late at night, and when performing in such fun and exciting venues, I’m always guaranteed to have a great time even if I do get home at 4am!

KD: What inspires you most as an artist?

Copyright Joe Golby

Copyright Joe Golby

HELEN: Looking at other peoples work really inspires me to train harder, to create more and to develop new ideas. It could be watching a fellow circus performer’s work, or listening to a piece of music that makes me want to get up and train straight away, but often it’s reading a book that makes me think or stirs something inside of me which causes my brain to start ticking with more and more ideas. I’m always inspired and forever thankful of this fact.

KD: Tell us something about you that would surprise us, Helen.

HELEN: Where to start…?! Well, not many people know that I regularly sneak off to the countryside to clay pigeon shoot. I’ve been shooting since I was 15 years old and started going with my father. Now I have my own very pretty engraved Miroku over and under shotgun, which I keep with my other gun in my gun cabinet in Yorkshire. When life gets too stressful in the big smoke I disappear for a weekend of shooting by myself, and it really does help me relax! You should try it!

KD: What exciting things are happening in your career right now? If readers would like to see you perform how can they find out more?

HELEN: I’ve just finished a really exciting show with a brand new company called Extraordinary Bodies, formed by Cirque Bijou and Diverse City, which is a small 8 person integrated circus company formed of leading disabled and non-disabled dancers, actors and circus performers, we also had an amazing 4 piece band and 100 piece choir (both singing and signing) to accompany our show. After only 3 weeks of rehearsals together we came out with a brilliant show with a completely original musical score which we premiered in Exeter, headlining their Unexpected Exeter Festival, drawing crowds in their thousands. This project has plans to be developed after Christmas and is in talks to tour France next year and even further in 2015! As well as this I’m always performing in crazy cabarets, themed evening experiences and shows, and posh corporate events in and around London, not to mention teaching hula hoop lessons all over London too. You can hear all about my upcoming performances and hula hoop workshops on my Facebook page and Twitter account.

Copyright Ana Dias

Copyright Ana Dias

Website:   www.helenorford.wix.com/hulahooper

Facebook page:   www.facebook.com/helen.orford.1

Twitter page:   www.twitter.com/HelenOrfordHoop

KD: Thanks so much for stopping by, Helen! What a pleasure to have you!


The Last Dragon: The Story Behind the Story by Dianna Hardy

The Story Behind The Story

Thank you so much, KD, for having me back on your blog 🙂

Dianna HardyThe Last Dragon is the long-awaited, final, sexy, epic urban fantasy instalment of The Witching Pen series. And before I can really talk about the story behind this book, I need to refer you back to The Witching Pen post on this blog that I did a year ago – http://kdgrace.co.uk/blog/dianna-hardy-shares-the-story-behind-the-witching-pen-novellas/

In some ways, since this book is still part of that world, that post says a lot. The huge difference with The Last Dragon is that it is urban fantasy in tone. The last three books (which were paranormal romance) concentrated on couples getting together; The Last Dragon explains what happens after they’ve all gotten together.

Now, behind the story… hmmm… even though I started off writing erotica back in December 2010, followed by paranormal romance, I always had it in my head to write an urban fantasy – I love the grit of that genre – and I never wanted to be a one-genre girl anyway.

The Last DragonThe Last Dragon provided me with the opportunity to venture into urban fantasy for the first time: there is huge plot throughout this series and it all comes to a head in this final book.

A reader asked me recently, what was the inspiration behind the story of this series – is it based on experience? Did I dream it and then write it? The answer, I suppose, is that it’s a mesh of many things that I have learned throughout my life. I grew up in a multi-cultural society in Macau, and dragons are big there with the Chinese influence. Later in life, I learned about what dragons meant in the Western world and within Pagan mythology. I wanted to write a story that brought everything together; that united the world; that was about a mergence of differences. This begins in book one, with the first example we have of dark and light merging (Karl and Elena), and the theme of unity and letting go of duality continues throughout all the books.

You’ll find many countries and places referred to in this series, from the hot desert in Nevada, to the cool lakes of Scotland, to the isolated mountains of Beijing, to the mysterious heart of the Amazon rainforest, to the urban life of London, and more. The vast world is really quite a small place, and no matter where we come from, we are all united by common goals: love, forgiveness, and the need to become ‘whole’.

At the very core, underneath the love and sex and action and humour, that is what this story is about.

Book one of the series, The Witching Pen, is free to download from most eBook retailers: http://www.diannahardy.com/the-witching-pen.html

For information about the entire series and where to purchase, please go here: http://www.diannahardy.com/the-witching-pen-novellas.html


Dianna HardyAbout Dianna Hardy

Author of The Witching Pen and the international bestselling Eye Of The Storm series.

Dianna combines a titillating mix of paranormal romance and urban fantasy into her writing to bring you stories that are action-packed, fast-paced and not short of heat, with the focus on both character development and the plot. She writes both full-length novels and short fiction. All further info can be found at diannahardy.com


Find Dianna Here:

Website: www.diannahardy.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/authordiannahardy

Twitter: www.twitter.com/thewitchingpen

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Dianna-Hardy/e/B003AGRHFC

Google +: www.plus.google.com/u/0/110398750519005724804/posts

The Witching Pen website: www.thewitchingpen.co.uk


Prologue to The Last Dragon

NOTE: this excerpt contains scenes of a sexual nature, and SPOILERS for the series up to this point as The Last Dragon is the final instalment. These books are not standalones.

The Last Dragon, copyright © 2013, Dianna Hardy.
All rights reserved. Released on 4th October.

(The first night after all dimensions bled into one.)

Lying in the crook of his arm, she trailed her fingers along the contours of his smooth, firm chest. Without hesitation, she leaned in a little and followed that trail with her mouth, her kisses making his skin pebble.

He stroked her arm in response and sighed with pleasure, and then turned his head to take her in with those blue eyes she’d fallen in love with ten years ago – maybe even before that.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” she nodded. “Just wanted to make sure you were.”

He smiled. “And this is your way of checking?”

“Is there another way you’d prefer?” she teased.
“No, this is good.”

Manoeuvring under the duvet, Elena threw one leg across his thighs and hauled herself up and astride him.

“Mmmm … better.”

She leaned down and captured his lips with hers. “I love you.”

“I love you, too.”

Another kiss … deeper…

“Are you sure you want to sleep here tonight?”

He briefly looked around the room that was Gwain’s – had been Gwain’s – although none of them were ready to admit what had taken place just over twelve hours ago. “I’m not ready to go home after this morning. Even if it’s safe, I just … can’t.”

“I know. We don’t have to.”

She nibbled his earlobe and he groaned, his hand finding its way to the curve of her bottom.



“Have you looked in the safe behind the bathroom mirror yet?”

“No. I will soon.”

Her nibbling continued down his neck.



“I want to make love.”

She felt him smile against the top of her head. “I kind of figured. Are you hungry?”

She paused for a second, letting the brief hurt of his words slide her by, and then glanced up at him. “No. Well … yes, but that’s not why—”

“Hey,” he cupped her face, “I know, but if it was the reason, it’s all right.”

Annoyed, she started to climb off him, but he pulled her back down and held her in place. “Elena, I love you,” he repeated, “and that means your demon too. If she needs to feed, it’s fine – it’s more than fine.”

“I want to make love to you because I want to feel close to you and because of everything that’s happened today – to feel safe and happy, if that’s even possible.” But she couldn’t deny that she was hungry, and her words rang hollow with the truth she kept hidden. It irritated her that she was so ruled by her demon’s needs. The succubus in her had been very prominent today, demanding her attention, and although the day’s events had been busy, she’d still found herself fighting with the fact that she craved sex – or rather, the energy that sex created. It wasn’t right that whilst in mourning – while everything was collapsing around them – she wanted to fuck for her own gratification.

She looked away from Karl, aware that he could read her like a book.

Pinning her on top of him, he reached forward and slipped two fingers under where she sat, finding her centre.

She moaned with delight, despite herself.

“I want you to make love to me,” he said, his voice coarse with desire. “Please.”

It was music to her ears and a hot river to the rest of her body. But still she fought it. “How can you stand it? The way I look when I… What I do to you when I…” She couldn’t finish either sentence, partly because she hated thinking about it, and partly because he’d increased his pace, making her wetter and using her reaction to add fuel to her fire.

His erection had grown fully under her, expressing his own need. “Unless you’ve had a succubus make love to you, you don’t get to ask me that.” His fingers entered her, and she gasped, but had no time to enjoy the sensation because he moved her up and repositioned himself beneath her before bringing her back down.

His cock replaced his hand, both of them fighting for breath as she fell on him; drew him in; sucked him into her…

“Christ,” he groaned. “…So good.”

And still she denied herself – denied her demon. “That moment when I come … it feels like I use you.” Repulsion sat heavy in her belly at those words, but it was her mother’s earlier confession that played out in her mind, feeding the self-loathing she tried so hard to master: They have a way of making things … pleasurable.

She full well knew what her mother had endured while enslaved in the Shanka world, because she knew exactly what her succubus was capable of. “All I feel is what’s inside – you inside me; the demon inside me. At that moment when we’re both on the brink, I lose control and she takes over – she’s the one that has you at that point. I’m scared she’ll kill you – I’ll kill you – all over again.”

“Fuck, Elena…” His head was stretched back, eyes closed in bliss. Had he heard a word she’d said? Probably not, because she’d been riding him harder and harder as she’d spoken, bringing to the surface what she so needed.

His soft, angel-glow began to emanate from his body, and that glow had her reeling in satisfaction, grinding faster … deeper…

But he surprised her once more, as he so often did with his love for her. He had heard her. He looked up, bemused, a twinkling in his eye, “You know, some men like it that way.”

She landed a soft slap on his chest and couldn’t help but laugh, her own love for him swelling like a tidal wave, softening the heat of the river that traversed her for just a second – only a second, because the succubus’ love for him also swelled – yes, the demon loved him as much as she did – and it pulled her under.

Oh, no … losing … control….

This was it. This was the moment, she simultaneously dreaded and craved.

Karl reached up, one hand in her hair, the other cupping a breast, both hands pulling her down so she couldn’t escape what she was. “Let her out, Elena. It’s okay … let her out.”

His glow intensified, and she whimpered as she felt her hold on the demon slipping.

“Let go, baby.”

Somewhere outside and beneath them, the ground rumbled with the quakes that had begun yesterday, and not eased off. Angels had fallen and demons walked the Earth among humans, all waiting in limbo for a dragon to rise.

“Oh, God! Let go, Elena!” His golden glow exploded from him and filled the room.

The succubus mirrored his reaction with her own need and Elena released her, unable to hold her back any longer.

Her skin cracked from head to toe, turned grey like cement – an arid, stony existence that only sexual ecstasy could completely nourish. Her eyes beamed green.

The demon hissed in victory, slammed herself onto her prize and held his writhing body down as she took every last drop she could from it, finally collapsing on top of him.

Heavy breaths filled the silence.

Through the haze of post-orgasm, Elena resurfaced. “Karl?” she said, shakily.

“Here.” His arms, with muscles trembling, came up around her. “I’m here. Shit … that was out of this world.”

Tears welled in her eyes. They were relief, joy and sorrow all rolled into one. Relief that Karl was alive; joy that she’d brought him pleasure, and sorrow because, even though the apocalypse was happening outside, it took place inside her every time they made love.

“You and I,” she whispered. “The love we have – I don’t want to ruin it with … I don’t want my need to overshadow everything, but it always does. Do you ever wonder what it would be like if it was just us? No demons, no angels – just us … would we be … nothing?”

Still embedded within her, his embrace tightened. “It’s not our supernatural halves that define us, Elena. Just us? That’s not nothing.” He nudged her forehead with his nose, and she met his gaze – loving, calm, steady… He placed a lingering kiss on her lips. “That’s everything.”


Primula Bond Shares the Story Behind the Story of The Silver Chain

The Story Behind The Story

Just over a year ago I was on the point of giving up writing erotica. I loved doing it, I enjoyed my forays into the fantasy world, especially short stories, even relished the look of shock/surprise/arousal on people’s faces at dinner parties/the school gate when I told them what I did, but it was becoming disheartening.

Firstly, in the twenty years since my first short story was published, the fees for a story had shrunk from around £200 to about £75 so that it was barely worth the time spent writing. You could just about call it a hobby that paid pocket money.  Secondly, the advances on novels remained fixed as the years rolled by, the royalties seemed to dwindle, apart from foreign sales, and it was very rare to see any of your books for sale on a shelf for more than a month or so, if that. Thirdly, from the creative angle, I found myself increasingly uncomfortable with the more hardcore content I was being asked to write, which didn’t sit with my natural, more romantic bent. And finally, magazines and imprints such as Black Lace started to go out of business.  Although our faithful editor kept us close as he moved on, it looked as if the genre was about to die a death.

In other words while romantic publishers such as Mills and Boon ventured successfully further down the raunchy route, erotica, always the poor relation, was being marginalised to the point of extinction, certainly in the traditional format.

And then came 50 Shades.  At first I resented the left field approach of a novel and novelist who had come out of nowhere with a ready-made trilogy and hit the kind of sales figures the rest of us could only slaver over while we had been toiling at our craft for more than 20 years. A lot of cynics predicted that the series was a one-hit wonder, and that the call for erotica would evaporate as quickly as it had materialised. I certainly didn’t hold my breath, even when I read that publishers were beginning to seriously consider erotica as a genre to include on their lists. Some authors were asked to re-write the classics as erotica and some bone fide erotica writers were able to leap into the breach with a catalogue of novels and trilogies ready for re-issue.

But I was engrossed in self publishing a collection of short stories under my own name, and was halfway through a ‘literary’ novel when I got an email from my previous editor, who was now ensconced with Avon at Harper Collins.

Basically, he asked a question I couldn’t refuse. Would I try my hand at writing an erotic romance trilogy, focussing, as 50 Shades had, on a central romantic relationship, and reining in the more extreme elements of erotica we had been asked to produce before (although kinkiness in various forms was still allowed!). Well, this was the kind of email aspiring writers can only dream of receiving. How could I say no to a respected editor at a heavyweight publishing house?

The guidelines were different from the previous model of erotica. While the romance and intensity, as well as the quality of expression, was to be ramped up, the explicit tone and graphic use of expletive language was to be reduced. So I felt that I would be able to fly with my more natural style of writing, while challenging myself to write an entire novel, yea trilogy, with nary the use of an ‘f’ or ‘c’ word.

Some challenge, and who could resist?

The Silver ChainAnd so The Silver Chain was born, unlocking my imagination, creating a love story complete with hurdles, obstacles, sinister secondary characters and cliff hangers, and lavishly describing travel locations (London, New York, Venice) and experiences (photography, cooking, seduction) that I had enjoyed in my own life. Add to the pot a sexy hero culled from various personal heart-throbs and a gorgeous heroine called Serena Folkes and you’ve got me, but on a really good day.


The Silver Chain is the first in Primula Bond’s new Unbreakable Trilogy published by Avon Books at Harper Collins. It is available on ebook now and in paperback and is a must read for anyone who likes their erotica intelligent, romantic, intense, sumptuous, sexy, daring yet real, and set in glittering locations.


Blurb of The Silver Chain:

‘Being needed by someone is different from having power over them, and far more alluring, and I’m a fool for not recognising that. I’m a fool for not recognising you.

Twin souls colliding? Or was Gustav waiting for her?

Young photographer Serena Folkes believes she’s struck gold when the tycoon Gustav Levi offers to showcase her debut exhibition. But there are strings attached. Serena must move into Gustav’s London town house and agree to pleasure him in any way he chooses. Patron and protegee, they are bound by the silver chain that symbolises this contract until the last photograph is sold.

As her work sells and Gustav’s demands increase, Serena surprises them both with her feisty character and eager participation. It’s not such a tough ask. Gustav is exotic and intriguing. She is hungry and willing to learn. Gradually she learns what demons have driven him to strike bargains rather than to trust.  And when Gustav discovers that Serena’s abusive past has almost destroyed her ability to love, he realises they are not so different after all.

Can they plan a future together, or will a single act of betrayal return to haunt them?


Author Bio:

Primula Bond is an Oxford educated mother of three boys, part time clerk for defence solicitors and part time features writer. She has written numerous erotic novels, solo collections and short stories for Virgin Books, Mischief Books, and Xcite Books. Her recent novel The Silver Chain is the first in her Unbreakable Trilogy and published by Avon Books UK at Harper Collins.  Primula also writes critiques for Writers Workshop. She may look respectable, but she harbours a secret desire to be a cougar MILF.

You can find her blog  at www.primulabond.blogspot.com , on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter @primulabond.


‘I really loved the book – it was different – but good different.. I can’t wait for book 2 – the cliffhanger really left me hanging! I want to know what happens with Serena and Gustav!’  B J’s Book Blog

‘I really loved it. Primula Bond knows how to write interesting, engaging and fascinating relationships.’ Northern Lass

‘I felt the story was quite well written and it took me a day to read as I romped through it and didn’t want to put it down.’  Goodreads.


You can buy The Silver Chain at Tesco, Smiths and Morrisons, or on amzn.to/10iqbmC


New Release: Forbidden Fruit by Selena Kitt

Forbidden FruitLeah and Erica have been best friends and have gone to the same Catholic school since just about forever. Leah spends so much time with the Nolans–just Erica and her handsome father now, since Erica’s mother died–that she’s practically part of the family. When the girls find something naughty under Mr. Nolan’s bed, their strict, repressive upbringing makes it all the more exciting as they begin their sexual experimentation. Leah’s exploration presses deeper, and eventually she finds herself in love for the first time, torn between her best friend and her best friend’s father.

NOTE TO READERS: This story appeared in another, now rather infamous book of mine (UNDER MR. NOLAN’S BED). This tale, previously titled Plaid Skirt Confessions, is a slightly less naughty, but no less sexy re-telling of those events–updated and redressed for your reading pleasure with an ending that may leave you a little more satisfied.

Warnings: This title contains erotic situations, lesbian sex, sex toys, and also makes mention of pornography, salmon, amusement parks, chocolate covered strawberries, brownies (as well as girl scouts), plaid skirts, naughty uses for confessionals and some sacrilegious humor.

Available from:
Amazon UK
Amazon US


“Did she go home?” I whispered, conscious of Erica sleeping in the other room.

He swallowed and shook his head. His eyes were pleading with me, trying to tell me something, but I couldn’t understand. “No. She’s sleeping in my bed.”

“Why?” I felt tears stinging my eyes and I willed them not to fall. “What did I do?”

He sighed, closing his eyes and running a hand through his hair. “Oh Leah. Nothing. Everything. I don’t know.”

“Do you really like her?” I whispered, blinking fast and taking a step toward him. He didn’t move back, and we were almost belly to belly. “Is she…is she what you want?”

He opened his eyes and looked down at me, arms hanging at his sides, head down. He looked defeated. “No.”

“Then why?” I hissed, shoving at his chest with the flat of my palm. “You asked her out again! You cooked her dinner! You slept with her! Why?”

“I don’t know!” He shook his head. “Why did you do what you did? Putting the magazines and videos on my bed? Was it supposed to scare her off?”

I sighed, crossing my arms. “That was Erica’s idea, not mine.“Erica?” He frowned.

I shrugged, acting like I didn’t care if he believed me. “This isn’t fair.”

“No,” he admitted, moving forward a little, lifting my chin. “It’s really not.”

“I just want to know why.” I met his eyes. I felt my chin quivering in his hand and tried to stop it, but I couldn’t. “Please just tell me why.”

“You want to know why?” His eyes flashed in the dimness, moving over my face. “Fine, I’ll tell you why. For the same reason I was sitting here at one in the morning, waiting for you.”

I stared up at him, eyes wide.

He shook his head, looking pained. “I can’t stop thinking about you, Leah. Everywhere I go, everything I do, there you are. I can’t get you out of my head.”
My throat and chest tightened at his words and I nodded. I knew exactly how he felt.

“I thought…” He swallowed, his hand moving down my neck, over my shoulder, his gaze following the curve there. “I thought that if I moved on, I could stop this crazy thinking. This feeling I have for you…”

“What feeling?” I pressed against him. “Tell me.”

“Leah…” He whispered my name, using his thumb to rub over my lips. “I took her to bed tonight, yes, I did. I fucked her senseless, until I couldn’t see straight—” His words shot arrows into my heart and I felt the sting of them in my chest. “And every time I closed my eyes, I saw your face.” He pressed me back toward the counter with the weight of his body. “It wasn’t her I was touching or kissing or fucking—it was you, Leah. Every minute I was with her, I was wishing it was you.”

“Oh god.” I reached up and put my arms around his neck and pulled his mouth down to mine.

It was like sinking into something dark and warm and soft, the safest place I’d ever been. 


Selena Kitt is a bestselling and award-winning author of erotic romance fiction and erotica. OVER A MILLION BOOKS SOLD! Her writing embodies everything from the spicy to the scandalous.

When she’s not pawing away at her keyboard, Selena runs an innovative publishing company (excessica.com). She does bellydancing and photography, and she loves four poster beds, tattoos, voyeurism, blindfolds, velvet, baby oil, the smell of leather, and playing kitty cat.

Her books EcoErotica (2009), The Real Mother Goose (2010) and Heidi and the Kaiser (2011) were all Epic Award Finalists. Her gay male romance, Second Chance, won the Epic Award in Erotica in 2011. Her FREE story, Connections, was one of the runners-up for the 2006 Rauxa Prize, given annually to an erotic short story of “exceptional literary quality,” out of over 1,000 nominees, where awards are judged by a select jury and all entries are read “blind” (without author’s name available.)

She can be reached on her website at selenakitt.com




FREEBIES from Selena Kitt!



In the Barn

A Twisted Bard’s Tale


Hannah’s Choice





Vanessa de Sade Reclaims the Fairy Tale In The Forests of the Night

Vanessa de Sade cover9781909181366I’ve always been in love with fairy tales.  From my earliest childhood they have fascinated me, not so much all those sweet Disney-happy-ending-books that well-meaning aunts bought for my birthdays, but the old tooled-leather volumes that my mother kept on her highest shelf, with browned pages that smelt of mouse droppings.  I used to love to sit on rainy Saturday afternoons with those rare tomes on my knee, their crackly old pages brittle as dead leaves, and immerse myself in the dark worlds that they opened up for me.

I liked Grimm’s stories the best, then Perrault, and though I found some of Andersen twee there were others of his tales that were just so heart-breakingly sad.  But it was the German stories with their dense black forests and nasty old witches that really got to me, and I loved that slate grey October country with all those woodcutters’ cottages buried so deep in the woods that the sunlight never penetrated; a land where evil often went unpunished and, it always seemed to be hinted, maidens lost their innocence behind the cover of spreading oaks.  The Famous Five were OK, but they didn’t come close to Wilhelm and Jacob.

And as childhood passed I never lost my love for this art form, and even when I went to university and discovered intriguing people like Kafka I could always find time to go back to Grimm.  And then one day I walked into a musty old bookshop in a back street and my life changed.  I never had much money in those halcyon student days, and, though I often salivated over the Victorian rare editions with their gold embossing and decorated spines, my purchases were always from the big cardboard boxes of cheap paperbacks that lurked moodily at the back of the store.

I bought two anthologies that day.  One, an old 1960s collection of “German Folk Tales” from the Olympia Press in its distinctive saffron yellow livery and obligatory “adults only” warning; the other a scruffy paperback by somebody called Angela Carter with the intriguing title of “The Bloody Chamber”.

And after that nothing was ever the same.

The German tales were badly printed and poorly translated but nothing could dampen their brilliance as I suddenly came face-to-face with pure untampered with peasant fantasy.  English busybodies like John Ruskin had already been snipping and expurgating away at fairy tales to make them child friendly, long before Unca Walt ever got his hands on them, and even the dear old Brothers Grimm had toned down the content of their own stories to make them acceptable to the publishing mores of their day.

So imagine, then, my surprise and delight when the Olympia Press book was packed with stories of woodcutters’ daughters who got pregnant to fathers and uncles; of old dames who lured young men into their woodland cottages and robbed them of their purity; or the maiden with the hairiest cunt in all the land who was relentlessly pursued by suitors until she set them all tasks to win her heart – and body!

This was the missing ingredient that I suspected had been bubbling away as an undercurrent all this time, the raw earthy sensuality of Victorian magic and the salty barbs of peasant wit, all missing from so many of the stories that I had pored over, but now suddenly restored.  It almost made these German tales exactly what I had been looking for, but with their poor and hastily compiled translations there was still something lacking in them.


And in that battered copy of “The Bloody Chamber” I discovered the true power of the real fairy tale, dark, magical, potent, poetic, mysterious and, most of all, breath-takingly erotic.  It’s safe to say that I grew up on Angela Carter and the magic realist writers, though none of the others in the genre ever quite matched her skilful blending of the lyrical with the sexual, or her ability to paint word pictures that so perfectly resembled the insane canvases of Victorian painters like Richard Dadd.  I adored every story in “The Bloody Chamber” and read and reread them over and over again.  I delighted in other books like “The Magic Toy Shop”, I fell in love with “Wise Children”, and I totally went to pieces when the movie of “The Company of Wolves” was released.

No-one had ever heard of either Angela Carter or Neil Jordan in those far off days, and I queued alone to see “Company of Wolves” amongst hoards of spotty splatter-geeks and bespectacled Fangoria readers who eulogised endlessly about the transformation scenes and the prosthetic wolf effects; whole cinemas full of people blind to sheer fucking ART that was being projected onto that screen, while I sat quite overwhelmed – in between swooning at David Warner and having my knees turn to water when Terrence Stamp played his cameo, looking so suave in his white Rolls Royce.  I grew up lusting at Terrence, by the way – BBC 2 played a season of his films late at night when I was about thirteen and I devoured classics like “The Collector” and “Billy Budd” with my hands wedged firmly between my legs, I can tell you, darlings!

So, many years later, when I read Nancy Friday and decided to start writing my own sexy stories that featured woman who looked like me, it should be no surprise to anyone that I’ve come up with a collection of highly explicit erotic fairy tales of my own.

Vanessa de Sade imageForest-1a_600x722In the “Forests of the Night” is a modern urban reimagining of some of those classic Grimm tales that so turned me on in my youth.  I haven’t simply retold the originals to incorporate sex scenes, but, instead, I’ve written new urban fables that evoke all those dark woods and even darker deeds, transposing them to the cement jungles and weltering neons of my own city life.

Thumbelina takes place in a midget’s strip club in a seedy costal town in the north west of England; a vampiric Hansel and Gretel plays out in a Manhattan Penthouse; Cinderella fights for her place to appear nude in a TV-reality show; while Little Red Riding Hood is reenacted in a decaying Hollywood hacienda, the overall tone of the entire collection being Angela Carter meets Hustler magazine, rich in imagery and peopled by weird and eccentric characters.

It’s all being published by the wonderful Sweetmeats Press and comes in a handy ebook edition if you need a quicke (that’s a quick reading break, what did you think I meant, Smutburger?) or as a lavishly illustrated paperback in October.  I’m quite over the moon since this is easily my finest collection to date, and I’m absolutely thrilled that it’s seeing print in such a great edition.

So, here’s a little excerpt to whet your appetite:

Excerpt from Rapunzel:

He should have known about the coming storm, everybody else did, but Edward read no newspapers and listened to no radios, so his first inkling of the downpour was when thunder rumbled and the blazing August sky suddenly clouded and turned a sickly green and then yellow and eventually black like a ripe bruise and the rain began to fall.  Edward’s crops were secure, well banked in and staked against the possibility of inclement weather, but the girl’s were not, her greenery lying thick and abundant in the loose soil, ripe for the slaughter.

And the rain, when it came, was like a biblical torrent, great sheets of water thundering down from the heavens and washing away everything that stood in its path.  Edward had not even known that she was there until he saw her from inside his shed, the rain water slewing down the  window pane like a fishmonger’s display, making her form undulate like a warped film as she ran through the wet trying to keep her crop from being uprooted and washed away by the waters of Noah.

He hadn’t thought about what he was doing, but he found himself out in the unrelenting wet with her, the two of them working as one, staking down great sheets of black plastic that billowed like ghost ship sales in the storm as they hammered stakes into the splunging-wet soil to cover the crop which, he suddenly realised, was what would keep her family fed over the coming winter.  The girl worked like a field slave, her body a sinewy machine in the pouring rain, the faded dress soaked through and clinging to her, her only care the saving of her crop, and she did not rest until they had it secure, tucked in against the elements like a favourite child in its cot.


Outside the rain was still hammering on the asphalt roof of the shed and through the tiny window the world outside looked like a greenish aquarium, eerie in the storm light and everything undulating to the pulse of the tempest.  Inside, though, the little hut was still warm from the heat of the day, and Edward lit the hissing gas ring to boil a kettle and dry their clothes.

He worked soundlessly, methodically, not speaking, and was shocked when the girl broke the silence.

“Thank you,” she said quietly, and her voice was soft and well-modulated, not the coarse accent of the tower blocks.   “Is there something I can do to repay you?”

Edward shook his head.  He had everything he wanted right he here.  He needed no more.

The girl shivered, her wet clothing clinging to her, her long chestnut hair, worn in a single braid, hanging sodden to her back.

“Come closer to the stove,” Edward chided, “dry yourself off.”

She did, and he suddenly became aware of her scent.  Cheap shampoo, wet clothing, supermarket deodorant.  Nothing extraordinary, but in the confines of the little shed with its comforting smells of resin and new wood, she was heady and potent.

The girl sighed and drew nearer, lifting her arms behind her head to undo the band that held her wet hair in it plait, and he saw that her limbs were silky and white and her armpits were covered with thick jungles of soft brown hair, slowly undulating like bracken in a spring breeze and awakening in him all the long buried desires that he thought his wife and the old paper-cut-out judge had burned out of him for ever.

He looked at the girl, fixing her long brown hair, saw the thick down in the white of her armpits and visualised her cunt, and the girl, seeing him and seeing what he was seeing, read his mind and smiled.  “So there is something,” she said quietly, and Edward Edwards nodded.


There was only one chair in the shed, a steel frame and gaudy canvas folding deckchair, and she pushed him into it and unzipped him, taking his cock out with great and meticulous care, like an antique dealer carefully unwrapping the tissue paper from an intricately carved ivory tusk.  He was already huge, his member like an engorged monolith, the red and purple head already inflamed beyond the confines of his foreskin and poking out insistently.

She smiled and took him gently in her hand and pulled the soft chamois leather skin first up and then down, exposing the full proud head of his uncircumcised cock and marvelling at its size and scent, noting how the gaping snake’s eye hole was already weeping clear come, and slipping her hand below his clothing to feel his warmth and run her fingers thorough his thick pubic hair.

“You thought about my cunt, didn’t you,” she said, running her fingers up and down his veiny shaft, “you visualised me naked and this is what grew up from your dirty thoughts.”

He nodded.

“And now there’s something you need after all, isn’t there?”

He nodded again.

“Then ask for it,” she whispered.

Edward Edwards blushed scarlet but found his voice nevertheless.  “Show me,” was all he said.

About Vanessa:

Vanessa de Sade is a passionate lady in her early forties who likes exploring the darker sides of sexual desire.  An obsessive lover of old movies, operatic theatre and authors like Angela Carter, Vanessa likes to fill her own stories with lush imagery and people them with bizarre characters, misfits in search of love.

She is  a contributor to many anthologies, including Naked Delirium, and her solo story collections include Nude Shots and Tales from a Tangled Bush.

Find Vanessa here: www.taboo-quickies.com

Buy In the Forests of the Night Here:

Amazon UK – £3.99 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00F3K08VS/ref=as_li_tf_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=6738&creativeASIN=B00F3K08VS&linkCode=as2&tag=sweetmeatspre-21)

Amazon US – $5.99 (http://www.amazon.com/Forests-Night-ebook/dp/B00F3K08VS/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378997910&sr=1-1&keywords=9781909181373)







© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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