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Niagara Falls and Writing on Non-Demand by Emerald

It’s absolutely my pleasure to welcome one of my favourite sparkling jewels, Emerald, back to A Hopeful Romantic. Emerald and I met at the Erotic Authors Association Conference in Las Vegas two years ago and, for me, it was love, respect and admire at first sight. Welcome back, Emerald!

Deadlines guide me. They structure me, help me, seem sometimes like they are the very foundation of any productivity from me. I appreciate them greatly, and I don’t feel it’s an exaggeration to say that they are the reason I’ve written a number of the stories I have.

In order to have a deadline, however, I have to have someone demanding it (self-imposed deadlines have not seemed to hold the same sway for me, sadly). That means that if ever I want to write something just because I want to write it, rather than for a specific submission call, deadlines become suddenly absent.

Emerald_NiagaraFallsThere are a lot of historical patterns in my psyche that make productivity without a perceived external obligation challenging for me, but the point, when it comes to writing, is that sometimes writing that doesn’t have this external demand doesn’t get done. Writing that is “only for me,” as it may seem, is something a part of me has been known to say is a waste of time, an indulgence, not something I should be allowing myself to do (even though philosophically, I truly find that nonsense).

For some time, I had been noting this internal phenomenon as I recognized that there were specific stories I wanted to write that weren’t for an editor or a publication or a deadline. The very strict patterning in my psyche seemed determined to bombard me with messages that there was invariably something else on which I should be working (these “something elses” need not necessarily be fiction or even related to writing at all) whenever I contemplated working on them. Thus, the long and short of it was–they weren’t getting written.

At the same time, Niagara Falls had been calling to me for a few years, ever since I read a particular novel that was set there. I had been there once, many years ago, and didn’t really remember it very well. It had become unquestionable that I wanted to go back.

So I researched, and budgeted, and yearned, and stalled, and got distracted, and researched more, and yearned more, and wrote other stories, and did other things.

And eventually, I put the two together.

I planned my trip for February. The off-season definitely has advantages, the first being price. The room where I stayed was $435 a night in July and August. (I probably won’t be planning a trip to Niagara Falls in the summer any time soon.) While I was there, it was considerably less than half that. My criteria were that I wanted a room that viewed both the American and the Canadian Falls, and I preferred that it have a refrigerator so I could more easily keep food in my room and not have to leave every time I got hungry. Literally the only plans I had besides eating and sleeping were to be in my room virtually the entire time–three days and three nights–and write. (I will admit I took small trips down to the pool to sit in the hot tub periodically when I wanted a break.)

Emerald_NFroomMy room was breathtaking—even without the even more breathtaking view out the wall-sized window. I got upgraded to a whirlpool room when I arrived, and I was put on the 34th floor. It was everything I had wanted and more.

Still, even I was surprised by how well this plan worked. It still surprises me now as I recall it. The effectiveness of removing obligations and external demands and, perhaps more importantly, giving myself internal permission to work on nothing but the specific fiction I was there to write was staggering.

There was a story for which I had had the idea for about a year and a half or maybe two years. Despite that, I had not gotten around to beginning it. In Niagara Falls, I wrote a draft of that story, start to finish, in four hours on my second morning there. It is that time comparison that most starkly outlines both my procrastination tendencies and the effectiveness of giving myself permission: Something I had had on the back burner of my consciousness for a year and a half emerged from it in four hours when I allowed myself to truly focus on it.

When I look at it this way, I wonder how I have ever managed to get anything written! But one more thing this trip was for, and which I would do well to recall, was to remind myself of what I could do. To remind myself that what I love to do is write, and when I clear the rest of the shit that fires off “shoulds” and “don’ts” and “buts” with dubious frequency from my consciousness, writing is what has been known to emerge.

One of the stories I worked on there, a version of which was written years ago and which has been given an update to incorporate an erotic focus (I first wrote it before I wrote erotica), takes place partially in Niagara Falls. In addition to the aforementioned reasons I wanted to be there, having the opportunity to see what my characters saw firsthand as I was writing the story was an inspirational bonus. This story, “Shattered Angels,” has not been published, but here is an excerpt of it that takes place before the characters have embarked on their impending anniversary trip to Niagara Falls. Our heroine, Shelley, has both joyful and challenging associations with the Falls, and she is struggling with this as their departure time draws nearer.

Excerpt from “Shattered Angels”:

Kenny held her gaze a beat longer than usual, and she knew he sensed her discomfort.

“You still want to go, right?” His voice was non-confrontational, and she understood why he asked. She nodded as she draped her coat over a kitchen chair.

“Of course.”

Her eyes were downcast as Kenny approached and gently slipped his arms around her. His fingers skimmed over her back, and she leaned into him with a sigh as his hands moved up to her neck, massaging lightly. She was surprised to find that his gentleness, into which she usually melted, seemed to increase her edginess. Her husband’s fingers progressed to her scalp, drifting slowly through her hair.

Shelley caught her breath as she realized she wanted him to pull. Desperately.

She didn’t realize she’d murmured the sentiment out loud until he paused and said, “What?” While hair-pulling wasn’t something they’d never incorporated into their sex life, Shelley could understand his surprise that she wanted it at that moment.

She did, though. More than almost anything she could think of.

Squeezing her eyes shut, Shelley started to twist away, not knowing how to explain herself. But Kenny held on. She struggled for another second before dropping her head against his shoulder, suddenly at risk of falling if her husband hadn’t held her up. His breath was in her ear, and Shelley couldn’t keep from squirming a little. She didn’t have the energy to try to articulate what she wanted, though, and soon she stood still, waiting for him to let her go.

Instead Kenny stilled, and she sensed the moment when he understood. All the breath left her body as she felt surprised and not surprised at the same time–of course Kenny knew. He almost always knew.

Silently he slid one hand back up to her hair. Gathering a mass in is fist, he gave the slightest pull. Shelley’s breath scurried out of reach, staying suspended until he re-grasped a fistful and pulled for real–a sharp, quick tug accompanied by a short exhale into her ear. Shelley’s breath shot out as her attention was pulled to her body.

And it was such a relief. Shelley clutched at her husband, pushing herself against him as tears rose in her throat. He lowered her to the floor, and she felt as though she were sinking into the carpet as he covered her body with his. Kenny tangled a hand in her hair and pulled again as he kissed her relentlessly, reaching to undo his pants with the other hand. She felt his erection against her thigh as he pulled her skirt up and wrested her panties off.

Despite the firmness of his actions, which Shelley knew he knew she needed right now, she could feel the tenderness in every move he made. She pressed her eyes shut against the tears that pushed out of them, gratitude that her husband knew what to do almost overwhelming her.

“Kenny pushed into her, his fingers wrapped in her hair as he kissed her neck, her cheek, her mouth. Her body tingled, coming out of lockdown as tension woke up and dissipated throughout her. The relief brought a sob to the surface, and she wrapped her arms around Kenny’s back, squeezing him with arms and legs and cunt as though she could compress the tension out of herself like juice from an orange. Kenny pushed into her harder, his body solid against hers as she willed him to thrust deeper, deeper, to where he could shove all the fear and dread and grief right out of her.

Instead he did what he’d always done–met her where she was, without flinching, and helped her be there too. Shelley held onto him tighter still, burying her face in his neck as she let herself be swept by the sensation in her body.”

***

Niagara Falls still calls to me. I find myself wanting to go back at least every other week or so, and now that it is the off-season again, that may happen in the near future. Or maybe not. But what seems to me one of the most valuable offerings I could embrace from that magical trip is the essential reminder that this is what I do. And I can do it whether a pristine view of world-class magnificence is right out my window or I am sitting in my chair in my office. Whatever is outside me, the inside is the same.

Thanks so much to KD for inviting me here today, and to you, lovely reader, for reading of my adventures in sitting in beautiful hotel rooms! Speaking of extraordinary places that I adore, before I go, I’d like to mention that on Friday night of this week, I will be in Las Vegas for the first ever Hot Mojave Knights romance reader event! If you’re in the area (or feel like booking an impromptu flight to Sin City!), it’s not too late to join us—you can register here, and you can also find a couple of my posts detailing my participation here and here. Naturally, we would love to see you there!

EmeraldAbout Emerald:

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. Her work has been featured in anthologies published by Cleis Press, Mischief, and Logical-Lust, and she serves as an assistant newsletter editor for Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW). The latest release containing her work is The Big Book of Orgasms; find an excerpt of “Payback,” her story within it, as well as buy links for the anthology here.

Website: http://www.thegreenlightdistrict.org
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Emerald_theGLD
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EmeraldAuthor

 

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.

“Karl…”

“Mmmm?”

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

“No. I will soon.”

Her nibbling continued down his neck.

“Karl…”

“Mmmm?”

“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

EXCERPT

“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. 

AUTHOR BIO

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

LINKS

 

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