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Inspiration, Take Me! I’m Yours!

(Parts of this post come from a guest post I wrote for Tina Donahue in 2011)

 

Writing imageIt’s elusive, it’s mysterious, it’s exhilarating, and we erotic writers crave it more than the sex we write about. We chase it shamelessly, we long for it passionately, we would gladly make ourselves slaves to its every whim, and no matter how fickle it is, we always welcome it back with open arms. When it’s with us, it’s at least as good as the best sex. And when it’s not, we mourn its loss like a lover. I’m talking about inspiration, of course. It’s the breath of life for every story ever written and the coveted ethereal presence that every writer yearns for.

The mythological link to inspiration is especially interesting to me in the light of a life-long fascination with mythology. Half of my novels and at least that many of my short stories and novellas find their inspiration in mythology or fairy tales of some sort. I’m writing an online serial, In The Flesh and my present WIP, Buried Pleasures, both have their roots in mythology.

Greek mythology – mythology of any kind, really — is fabulous inspiration for writers. The gods are always dipping their wicks where they don’t belong and finding ever more creative ways to do so. Nine months later, viola! A magical child is born, a child with gifts that will be needed to save the world, or at least a little part of it. But there’s one story that always comes to my mind where the lovely virgin resists, and no wick-dipping occurs. That’s the story of Apollo and Daphne.

The Muses serve Apollo, so of course this myth interests me. Apollo is the god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy; medicine, healing, and plague. He is the god of music, poetry, and the arts; and all intellectual pursuit. If ever there was a wick we writers would like to be dipped by, it surely has to be Apollo. Daphne is a mountain nymph and not interested in giving up her virginity to some randy god. While Apollo is pursuing her, she prays to her father, who is a river god, and he turns her into a laurel tree. Ovid claims it’s not Daphne’s fault that she’s not hot for Apollo right back. He claims that Cupid, who is angry at Apollo shoots Daphne with a leaden arrow, which prevents her from returning Apollo’s feelings. But what matters is that she misses out on Apollo’s inspiration.

My theory is that the whole mythology of gods coming down from Olympus, or wherever else gods come down from, to seduce humans is really nothing more than a metaphor for inspiration.

Consider all the different forms in which Zeus visits his paramours. He takes the form of a swan with Leta, he visits leda Cornelis_Bos_-_Leda_and_the_Swan_-_WGA2486Danae in a shower of gold coins, he approaches Europa as a white bull. Writers understand that inspiration can take absolutely any shape, and often the very shape we least expect.

The gods aren’t always gentle in their seductions. Hades drags Persephone off to the underworld screaming and kicking all the way. Zeus turns Io into a white cow, who is tortured and tormented by Hera. In the form of an eagle, he abducts Ganymede and drags him away to Mount Olympus. Writers know well that inspiration doesn’t always come in a gentle form. In fact one of my creative writing teachers used to advise her students to go to the place inside themselves that most frightened them, most disgusted them, most disturbed them, and that’s the place where they would find inspiration, that’s the place from which their writing would be the most powerful.

I’m quite disturbed by the journey In The Flesh is taking me on. It’s the story of a demonic spirit who is irresistable, and insatiable, and gives everything he promises his lovers and more. But the price of passion beyond imagining is high. Of course he’s just a scary stalker bastard with divine powers, but at the same time, I go right a long with the dangerous, even deadly, seduction of Susan. Would you??? I would. Or at least I think I would. Obsession is a harsh master, and not always the giver of rewards promised. Though at the end of the day, most of us would gladly pay the price for inspiration.

Whether inspiration comes in gentle, beautiful forms or whether it drags us kicking and screaming and tears us from limb to limb, the result will be something greater than what it sprang from. From the seductions of the gods, the children born were always larger than life. They were heroes and monsters and fantastical creatures, but they were all born of that joining of divinity and humanity, they were all the result of what happens when something greater penetrates the blood and the bone and the grey matter of our humanity. What comes from that inspiration may indeed be monstrous or fantastical, but it will always be, in the mythical sense, born of the gods.

Which leads me back to Daphne and Apollo. The cost of inspiration is the loss of innocence. We are seduced, we are penetrated, we are impregnated with something new, something fresh, something possibly even frightening, something that we, as writers must carry to term and give birth to. But none of that can happen without yielding to the seduction. Daphne became a tree, unable to move, unable to think, unable to ever be penetrated or inspired. One can only imagine what may have resulted from the willing union with the god of light and truth and poetry and the arts and all the things we writers crave. I’ll be honest, I fantasize about Apollo. I fantasize about inviting him right on in and saying I’m yoursApolloDaphne Wickipedia450px-ApolloAndDaphne. I’ll take all you can give me, and please, feel free to stay as long as you like. Though, in truth, in my fantasy, I skip the dangerous and scary bits. And encounters with inspiration can often be dangerous and scary. I think it’s probably Apollo who inspired my demon lover – a terrifying version of divine inspiration.

There’s a cost to inspiration. It’s the obsession we all know as writers, the one that won’t allow us to think about anything else in the waking world and sometimes even in the dream world until we get the very last word down, until we make it shine exactly the way we conceived it, exactly the way it penetrated us. My heart is racing just writing this because every writer knows what it feels like, and every writer lives for it to happen again and again and again. So yeah, forget the tree rubbish, laurel or otherwise. Inspiration, take me, I’m yours. Have your way with me. I couldn’t be more willing if I tried.

 

The Billionaire and the Myth

Last week I wrote an article for the Brit Babes blog entitled Billionaires and Why We Like Them. It was after a brief, butBBBillionaires3 intriguing discussion with Janine Ashbless that I got thinking about a very important observation I’d forgotten to include in my personal analysis of billionaire lust, and that is the mythological aspect of the very rich. I suspect that billionaires are the modern day equivalent of Zeus come down from Mount Olympus to seduce a mortal.

In the secular modern world where the belief in magic, monsters, demons and gods is pretty much reserved for we
paranormal fans, I would like to suggest that the realm of the billionaire romance is mythology and magic for contemporary romance readers.

As with the gods of mythology, the rules don’t apply to billionaires. Wealth and power allow them to do the seemingly impossible, wining and dining the objects of their lust and sweeping them away to the proverbial Mount Olympus in their helicopter or private jet. Zeus seduced Danae in a shower of gold coins. Eros rescued the bound Psyche and swept her away to his glorious palace to live in incredible splendor. All sorts of magic and miracles can be performed with wealth and power, and who better to perform such feats than a sexy, brooding billionaire?

The general theme in billionaire stories is that the billionaire, like the gods of old, becomes obsessed by a mere mortal, an ordinary person living an ordinary life. The billionaire then sets about seducing the object of his or her obsession with whatever magic or miracle money and power can buy. In billionaire romances, the billionaire is no more willing to take ‘no’ for an answer than Zeus himself was.

leda Cornelis_Bos_-_Leda_and_the_Swan_-_WGA2486Like the stories in the myths, entering the closed realms of the billionaire’s world is no easier than entering Mount Olympus. The basic rule is, ‘no ordinary people allowed.’ You need to show your membership card to get into Club Billionaire. But the billionaire, like poor, bored Zeus, is a rule breaker, and he will bring his lover into the kingdom no matter the cost.

The cost, however, is often much greater for the billionaire’s love interest than it is for the billionaire. But many of the mythological stories of gods seducing humans didn’t end well for humans. Though, like Psyche, the billionaire’s chosen lover may have a difficult path with many challenges set before her before she can truly be with her billionaire, and she will have to prove herself worthy to living in the rarified air of the wealthy as Psyche did. But because billionaire romances are romances, so unlike many of the myths about gods seducing mortals, the ordinary person in a billionaire romance always gets an HEA.

In a way, the billionaire romance affords us a visit to heaven, or to Mount Olympus or to paradise – chose one. We are transported to a place, which we can only otherwise go in our fantasies. We go to the penthouse and the palatial mansion right along with the billionaire’s lover. We become the billionaire’s lover – his Psyche, his Danae, his Persephone, and we visit the realm of the gods – a place where we don’t belong, but we want to so, along with the heroine of the story, we must find a way to stay there in paradise with the billionaire.Psyche and Eros

I’ve always loved mythology, and I’ve always been particularly fond of the stories in which the mortals, one way or
another, infiltrate the realm of the gods. These days the distance between the very wealthy and the average person seems as great as the distance between the shepherd in his field and the heights of Mount Olympus. Divinity and magical powers are replaced with all things money can buy, which is a helluva lot if you have enough of it. The moral of the story may well be that billionaires need love too, but I think it’s more likely that the moral of the story is the gods are alive and well and living in their penthouse apartments. Just ask Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

*****

If you’re wondering why I’ve been talking a lot about billionaires recently, because it’s almost time for the Brit Babe’s exciting new anthology, BRIT BABES DO BILLIONAIRES: SEXY JUST GOT RICH! We couldn’t be more excited. What happens when the Brit Babes Do Billionaires is some serious fun with fabulously filthy, decadently rich twists and turns . Put this anthology on your MUST READ list, and you’ll never look at billionaires the same.

Brit Babes Do Billionaires: Sexy Just Got Rich – Blurb: 

Billionaires have it all but that doesn’t mean they don’t have to work hard to get what their hearts desire. In this anthology of erotic BDSM stories the Brit Babes offer heroes and heroines who aren’t shy about taking what they want. From farmyards to luxury penthouses, wealth is all about sating needs, connecting souls and taking pleasure to new highs. Whether you’re looking for a coffee break read or something longer to curl up in bed with, you’ll find something to suit your needs in Sexy Just Got Rich.

BBBillionaires2

 

Mythology and Inspiration

(From the Archives)

It’s elusive, it’s mysterious, it’s exhilarating, and we erotic writers crave it more than the sex we write waterhouse_apollo_and_daphneabout. We chase it shamelessly, we long for it passionately, we would gladly make ourselves slaves to its every whim and, no matter how fickle it is, we always welcome it back with open arms. When it’s with us, it’s at least as good as the best sex. And when it’s not, we mourn its loss like a lover. I’m talking about inspiration, of course. It’s the breath of life for every story ever written and the coveted ethereal presence that every writer yearns for.

The mythological link to inspiration is especially interesting to me in the light of a life-long fascination with mythology. My novel, The Initiation of Ms Holly, is a retelling of the Psyche and Eros myth. My new novel, The Pet Shop, is a rough retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which of course is just another version of Psyche and Eros. Several of my short stories have direct mythological connections.

Greek mythology – mythology of any kind, really — is fabulous inspiration for smutters. The gods are always dipping their wicks where they don’t belong and finding ever more creative ways to do so. Nine months later, viola! A magical child is born, a child with gifts that will be needed to save the world, or at least a little part of it. But there’s one story where the lovely virgin resists, and no wick-dipping occurs. That’s the story of Apollo and Daphne.

The Muses serve Apollo, so of course this myth interests me. Apollo is the god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy; medicine, healing, and plague. He is the god of music, poetry, and the arts; and all intellectual pursuit. Daphne is a mountain nymph and not interested in giving up her virginity to some randy god. While Apollo is pursuing her, she prays to her father, who is a river god, and he turns her into a laurel tree. Ovid claims it’s not Daphne’s fault that she’s not hot for Apollo right back. He claims that Cupid, who is angry at Apollo shoots Daphne with a leaden arrow, which prevents her from returning Apollo’s feelings. But what matters is that she misses out on Apollo’s inspiration.

My theory is that the whole mythology of gods coming down from Olympus, or wherever else gods come down from, to seduce humans is really nothing more than a metaphor for inspiration.

leda Cornelis_Bos_-_Leda_and_the_Swan_-_WGA2486Consider all the different forms in which Zeus visits his paramours. He takes the form of a swan with Leta, he visits Danae in a shower of gold coins, he approaches Europa as a white bull. Writers understand that inspiration can take absolutely any shape, and often the very shape we least expect.

The gods aren’t always gentle in their seductions. Hades drags Persephone off to the underworld
screaming and kicking all the way. Zeus turns Io into a white cow, who is tortured and tormented by Hera. In the form of an eagle, he abducts Ganymede and drags him away to Mount Olympus. Writers know well that inspiration doesn’t always come in a gentle form. In fact one of my creative writing teachers used to advise her students to go to the place inside themselves that most frightened them, most disgusted them, most disturbed them, and that’s the place where they would find inspiration, that’s the place from which their writing would be the most powerful.

Finally, whether inspiration comes in gentle, beautiful forms or whether it drags us kicking and screaming and tears us from limb to limb, the result will be something greater than what it sprang from. From the seductions of the gods, the children born were always larger than life. They were heroes and monsters and fantastical creatures, but they were all born of that joining of divinity and humanity, they were all the result of what happens when something greater penetrates the blood and the bone and the grey matter that is our humanity. What comes from that inspiration may indeed be monstrous or fantastical, but it will always be, in the mythical sense, born of the gods.

Which leads me back to Daphne and Apollo. The cost of inspiration is the loss of innocence. We are seduced, we are penetrated, we are impregnated with something new, something fresh, something possibly even frightening, something that we, as writers must carry to term and give birth to. But none of
that can happen without yielding to the seduction. Daphne became a tree, unable to move, unable to
think, unable to ever be penetrated or inspired. One can only imagine what may have resulted from the psyche_et_lamour_327x567willing union with the god of light and truth and poetry and the arts and all the things we writers crave. I’ll be honest, I fantasize about Apollo. I fantasize about inviting him right on in and saying I’m yours. I’ll
take all you can give me, and please, feel free to stay as long as you like. Though, in truth, in my fantasy, I skip the dangerous and scary bits. And encounters with inspiration can often be dangerous and scary.

There is a cost to inspiration. It’s the obsession we all know as writers, the one that won’t allow us to think about anything else in the waking world and sometimes even in the dream world until we get the very last word down, until we make it shine exactly the way we conceived it, exactly the way it penetrated us. My heart is racing just writing this because every writer knows what it feels like, and every writer lives for it to happen again and again and again. So yeah, forget the tree rubbish, laurel or otherwise. Inspiration, take me, I’m yours. Have your way with me. I couldn’t be more willing if I tried.

 

The Eye of the Beholder Has its First Reading

I’ve done lots of readings from my work since my first one at Sh! several years ago. I love it. I love the interaction with the audience and I love the way it feels to be reading my story out loud. Well, Monday night that read-it-out-loud feeling got topped when, for the first time, OTHER people read my words out loud!

Monday night was the first read-through of my play, The Eye of the Beholder. I couldn’t have been more chuffed. Especially when my partner in the adventure, the delicious Moorita Encantada, showed me the room at the Green Carnation in Soho where she had arranged for the reading to take place –plush cushions, mirrored walls, thick velvet curtains. Someone commented that it looked a bit like an opium den. I don’t know about that, but it was Happy Hour with two-for-one cocktails and we had a bar tab! Cheers!

I brought the print copies of The Eye of the Beholder to pass out among our readers — those who wanted a print copy rather than to read from their iPads. To see even a rough copy of the play in print was a pretty cool experience for me. And I was very pleased when the room began to fill up with people, most of whom I’d never met before, who had responded to Moorita’s invite for readers. There were performers, dancers, actors, and people who were just friends of Moorita’s who showed up for the first ever reading. I couldn’t have been more pleased.

1016269_419906304789584_266530588_nWhen the gorgeous Rubyyy Jones, who had agreed to lead the evening’s read-through, arrived looking fabulous as ever, and everyone was well lubricated with pina coladas, French martinis and mojitos, the party could begin.

I have to admit I was more than a little bit nervous at that point, having discovered that I, as the playwright, (my goodness! Me, a playwright? How cool does that sound?) was traditionally supposed to read the stage directions. I Have to admit, it was not one of my finer moments as a reader. Talk about opening night jitters! Fortunately Rubyyy took pity on me and helped me out when I stumbled, which was frequently.

IMG00531-20130628-2133However! Everyone else was brilliant! And if it was amazing to read my own words out loud in front of an audience, it was even MORE amazing to hear other people reading my words out loud! It’s hard to explain how it made me feel, but definitely giddy is right in there. My words being well-read and even acted by some totally amazing people who came of their own free-will after having read the script did amazing things for my fragile little ego. We didn’t even have to bribe or cajole! (Well, unless you count the two for one cocktails, and how could we expect anyone to read with a dry throat?)

The reading of the script took a little over fifty minutes, but the play itself will probably be twice that long when the performance numbers are all added in. Really, the script is the basic story for the director to work around, and my job is to make sure that basic story is strong enough to inspire the creativity of whichever director takes it on.

After the read-through and a short break, then the brainstorming and the critiquing began. That took up the majority of the evening. The discussion was lively, positive and extremely helpful. I took notes fast and furiously, and I wished desperately I could have everyone read it through one more time. But, Rubyyy tells me that’s what happens next after my next rewrite. There’ll be at least one more read-through, then a walk-through. And then things get complicated, finding a director and a venue and casting the rolls and OMG! I had no idea! For those of you reading this who have some background in theatre, I do apologise for sounding like a total ignoramus, but I write novels, and writing a play and taking it to the performance level is a whole new animal. I’m still trying to get my head around the whole experience.

After 1st read-thru 1 July 2013Moorita has taken up the reigns since the basic writing is done, as she knows and understands the world of performance. I’m relieved to have that part in such capable hands. From the beginning Moorita has brainstormed with me and helped me to see what might work and what might not. Moorita has been the driving force from the beginning. The Eye of the Beholder would never have happened without her.

And now, it’s my turn again, as I face the challenge of the next rewrite. I’m on deadlines with the next Grace Marshall novel at the moment, but the next incarnation of The Eye of the Beholder is another challenge on my plate, and one I’m very much looking forward to. A very heart-felt thank you to all the lovely readers: Performers: Ava Iscariot, Annie Player, Miss Cairo Mascara, Davis Brooks, Lilly Snatchdragon, Sadie Sinner, Ursula Dares, Adela Apetroaia, Laurie Young, and Sarah Malter. And a special thanks to Rubyyy Jones and Moorita Encantada for making the first read-through of The Eye of the Beholder not only a success, but a totally fun time. You all rock!

 

The Many Faces of Moorita Part 2

Moorita 6I’d like to welcome back the fabulous Moorita Encantada. For those of you who missed Part I of this interview, Moorita is not only a fabulous performer with an amazing creative mind, but she’s also my  co-conspiritor for the play, The Eye of The Beholder.

Moorita is a versatile cabaret and variety performer, and an unforgettable stage persona. Her acts combine a professional touch of a trained theatre performer and musician with an outstanding originality and unrestrained creative expression.

Wild, unpredictable and ever surprising, she has already brought a breath of fresh air to cabaret stages in London and beyond. Her work has been applauded at UK’s best cabaret nights and venues such as Madame Jojo’s, Proud Cabaret, Volupté and The Wet Spot Leeds, as well as internationally. But the fulfilment of her bigger artistic vision is only about to happen..

KD: Moorita, as I told you when we began this project, it’s all new to me. I’ve never written for theatre of any kind. I’m a Moorita 8novelist, but fundamentally a story teller is a story teller, and a story told through the medium of performance as well as words is even more powerful. What do you think it takes to translate a story from the written word to a stage performance? What’s most important?

Moorita: From a perspective of a theatre performer I would say that precision, conciseness of the story line and integrity of characters is key. Both need to stir different emotions in the audience, they need to demand to be followed with attention. At the same time – maybe even more so in performance than literary works – the audience needs to be challenged in order to stay engaged. Art within a performance is so delicate and intangible, it’s what happens between the actor and the viewer within a certain time frame, and once it happened, then and there, it’s irretrievable. This means the performance is incredibly prone to a variety of things that might go wrong. Strong, integral story and well sketched characters are the spine of performance, the precious certainty in the middle of all the variables that holds it all together.

KD: As most people know by now, the story we’ve chosen to tell is the story of Medusa and Perseus, from Greek mythology, but with a very wicked, very exciting twist of our own. Could you tell us what attracted you to this particular story, other than me saying please, please, please can we do it!

Moorita: I’m very fond of mythology myself, after all, this – together with holy texts of different religions – is what our culture is built on. What’s amazing about the Bible, Quran, I Ching and Greek mythology is different layers of meanings waiting to be uncovered by a keen reader. What can be particularly satisfying is digging deeper into characters and stories that have a commonly accepted stereotype. One of such stories is the story of Perseus and Medusa, a mythical monster which ends up the way monsters are supposed to end up – dying a death that supports a “good” cause.

On second glance though, there seems to be more to Medusa, there is some controversy and a tragic story behind her becoming a monster (she was raped by Poseidon in Athena’s temple and consequently “punished” by the goddess). Yet another look, and a fascinating character emerges – together with a whole lot of questions about what the real story behind the myth might be, or how the well-known story could be told differently. After I read your short story Stones from the anthology, Seducing the Myth, edited by Lucy Felthouse, I was hooked on the idea. I knew this would work incredibly well on stage.

KD: Moorita, my vision of the play was, for a long time, just to get it written down and give you something to work with. Oh yes, I was nervous about it! But now that it’s on paper, now that you’ve actually performed one fabulous scene from it to rave reviews, I might add, what is your vision for the road ahead?

  Moorita 4Moorita: Apart from being a mad creative genius 😉 I also have a pragmatic side, fully aware of what it takes to make complex, unproven things happen, and I’m very results oriented. My experience of creating great acts suggests that after a glorious moment of getting a key creative insight, there always comes a “reality test” when things start to feel a little awkward and you are no longer dead sure you are a mad genius. Only truly good ideas (coupled with big enough balls) can stand that test and get implemented with success.

After my performance at Sh! I’m convinced that the play, once on stage, will not only take burlesque to a new level, but, quite simply, will also be a box office success. I now have a clear vision of next steps: break the script into separate scenes that can be performed on their own, find fabulous performers to fill in the gaps between the words with their charisma, and let each of these acts defend itself in front of a real audience.

KD: Wow! I get goosebumps just thinking about it! Moorita, I happen to know for a fact that you’ll be giving another taste of Medusa, and The Eye of the Beholder in Scarborough for the fabulous Smut by the Sea event on the 22nd of June. Can you tell us a little bit about that and maybe tease us a bit with what you have in mind?

Moorita12Moorita: Oh I can definitely tease about Smut or indeed anything else for longer than you’d be able to take it 😉 My ambition for the 22nd of June is to perform, for the first time, a scene between two characters from the play. Without revealing all (just yet!) expect a serious sparkle between them and, quite possibly, some stunning Shibari bondage.

KD:  Oooh! Sounds fabulous! I can hardly wait! So, Moorita, my partner in crime and my friend, it’s been an exciting ride so far, and now, where do we go from here?

Moorita: Heh, I suppose it’s high time to get serious about taking over the world with our artistic vision! 😉 And, as Garbage put it in a song, “the world is not enough, but it is just the perfect place to start my love”.

KD: Thank you so much for your time, Moorita. I’m most definitely looking forward to the next chapter of world domination Moorita & KD style! And if any of you lovely readers are in the Scarborough area on the 22nd of June and have a hankering for some Smut by the Sea with a sexy helping of burlesque and theatre Moorita style, come join us!

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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