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The Morning After

The Morning After Smut by the Sea 2014:

P1010991It’s been a week since Smut by the Sea now. Can’t believe how fast time flies, and what a roller-coaster ride the week back home has been. But I want to talk about The Morning After today. I wrote most of this post on The Morning After. That meant everything was running late. My brain felt like someone stuffed it with cotton wool. When I sat down to write, I spilled my coffee and woe to anyone who crossed my path wrong. I’d have probably either bitten their head off, or worse yet, I’d have cried. As I walked to the green grocery that Morning After to cheer myself up with some summer fruit, I thought about why The Mornings After are so hard.

This time it was the Morning After Smut by the Sea. Just as I had expected, at Smut by the Sea there was that fantastic camaraderie with other writers. There was the chance to meet readers and encourage new writers to press on. One of the best parts of Smut by the Sea this year was meeting four members of the Brit Babes’ Street Team. Alison ScottDebbie Lowery,  Stephanie Robb and Peter Hill.What a pleasure it was to share the smut-tastic fun with the four of them. I was inspired by Victoria Blisse. I have the P1010956beginnings of a hot new story thanks to her workshop. I was reminded of what editors need and want in Lucy Felthouse’s workshop – always good for writers to remember. I was encouraged by the wonderful reaction and input and snippets share by the lovely writers in my writing workshop. I loved being read to in the reading slam and being intrigued by the stories shared there. Jackie Brocker had me squirming on my seat and my mouth watering with the most sensual description of eating a chocolate eclair I’ve ever heard. Janine Ashbless read some of the hottest, most prickly vampire prose I’ve ever heard. I was in aural heaven.

Beyond the actual schedule of events of Smut by the Sea, there was the wonderful catching up with other writers and talking shop. We writers work in isolation so we seldom get that chance to share with each
SBTS 2014 poster 2other. There was the chance to encourage new writers and the opportunity to meet readers in person. All in all it was a perfect day.

Buuuuuut … the Morning After, back home, I moped around with my chin on the ground. Why is the Morning After so hard? Here is a truth that I share gently and, in small doses, with new writers because I’m always afraid I’ll discourage them. Writing is hard enough and discouraging enough without hearing another writer talk about the hardships of the vocation. It’s a neurotic job we do. We work alone; our work is never done, and no matter how hard we try, we’re never a hundred per cent satisfied with what we do. Then there are the rejections that are just a part of the package and the bad reviews that every writer gets. There’s the wondering if we’ve done the best we can to promote ourselves, to make sure that our babies get the attention we think they so richly deserve. There’s the constant mental battle to decide what tasks we can leave undone so we can spend more quality time writing. And who doesn’t live with the chilling fear that tomorrow morning we might wake up and not a single word will come to us when we sit down to write?

P1020023The Mornings After are those days that follow the highs of being a writer – a good review, times spent
with other writers, a new sale, a nice royalty cheque, an inspired writing session. The Mornings After are the times when we remember that we’re always on our way up a very steep slope and that the pause to enjoy and to celebrate with writing friends — a pause we’ve well earned — is only that, just a pause.

Those last few weeks before and the weeks immediately following the publication of my first novel, I found myself depressed. The publication of The Initiation of Ms Holly raised the bar. Every writer wants each story, each novella, each novel to be better than the one before, and every writer wants to do all she can to see that her baby gets a good start. The Morning After is the understanding that we don’t know what will happen next, we don’t know exactly how to get where we want to be, as writers, and it’s inevitable that we’ll make mistakes along the way. The path is incredibly daunting. Sometimes it’s daunting because of the huge challenge we face. I felt that way when I began writing as Grace Marshall. Sometimes it just feels overwhelming because there are never enough hours in the day to do what we’d like to do to promote, to write, to become better at our craft. Quite often the Mornings After, for me, involves the overwhelming desire to run away and hide someplace where no one can find me until my heart rate settles and I can breathe again and think rationally again.

But when I strip away all that overwhelms me, all that frightens me, all that upsets me – the massive writing image 2need to promote my work, the blog posts that need to be written, the work that needs to be done, the editing, the social networking, the tight deadlines, the fact that I’m never totally pleased with myself and I set my standards outrageously high and I’m tunnel-visioned, and … breathe, KD! Breathe!

Once everything else is stripped away, the bottom line, the bedrock of my life and who I am as a human being is that writing is not a job for me. Writing is not a hobby. Writing is my vocation, my calling. Telling a story is my passion, and I’ll do it no matter what. I’ll do it because I can’t NOT do it. It’s as important as breathing. It’s my anchor to sanity when I feel like running away screaming. It’s both the gift and the curse, and the pull at my centre that keeps me focused and moving forward.

I hope that by writing this, I haven’t scared new writers, or maybe I hope that I HAVE scared them. It’s that perpetual state of fear and discomfort edged up close and personal to the love affair with story, with word, with a vocation that sometimes baffles us, but never, NEVER bores us; it’s that sharp edge that makes writing the story more than just a hobby, that makes it a spiritual journey and a digging down into the meat and bones and grit of the tale we’re compelled to tell and the passion we have for it.

No worries. I got through the Morning After. I always do. The Work in Progress grabbed me by the P1010987collar, yanked me away from my navel gazing and sat me in front of the laptop, and once again I’m  focused on what really matters. I’m a writer at the heart of me, and if I go to the heart of me, I can always get through another Morning After.

A very special thanks again to two of my heroes in the world of smut, Victoria and Kev Blisse. Thanks to you two, Smut by the Sea was the kind of event that make for great memories, loads of inspiration, and much encouragement long after The Morning After. xxx

 

It’s Time for Garden Porn!

From the Archives

Two words…garden porn. Oh yes! I’m most definitely addicted. Do you have any idea how many luscious, deliciously explicit garden sites there are? Though I like pretty flowers just fine, and though plump red strawberries are enough to get my heart rate up, what really gets me going, what really makes me quiver all over is vegetables. My, oh my, how I love to look at sites that sell vegetables, or sites that give advice on how to grow vegetables, or sites that show photos of really well put-together veg gardens. Does it get any better than that?

Oh, and the garden centres! I adore the earthy scent of fresh compost and fertilizer, of greenhouse heat and rank, growing plants, all overlaid with the scent of espresso from the coffee shop. And it’s not just the scent that I love, it’s the feel of a quality wooden handled hoe or garden fork resting in the relaxed but firm, grip of my hand. Some are designed especially for a lady’s light hand, while others are thick and long and manly. There are metres and meters of gossamer thin garden fleece all ready to caress my plants with that peek-a-boo hint of what lies beneath on a frosty spring night. There are multi-coloured, oh so soft, gloves to protect my hands while I’m groping and tugging in a weedy bed.

And the plants. This time of year plants that aren’t just loaded with gaudy blooms already are heavy and swollen with buds about ready to burst. Stiff phallic shoots are coming up everywhere, and the heady scent of new growth is intoxicating.

Personally, I don’t think it’s any surprise at all that I go both ways – erotic writer and vegetable gardener. We’re talking about the best of both worlds here. And inspiration, Wow! My seedlings are mostly in the mini greenhouses now, but when they first push up through the soft potting compost with just the tiniest hint of pale plant flesh pressing through the glossy black earth, it’s a teasing par excellence. My breath catches, my heart races and I’m positively bouncing with excitement.

I’ve written about naughty things to do with carrots and courgettes, and I’ve written about kink amid the topiary. It’s true, getting down and dirty among the growing things makes me hot and sometimes sore. I planted runner beans today, squatted in the rich earth, digging and watering and patting in place. There’s still dirt under my nails and my shoulders ache. Yes, it was good for me.

Sweet Corn on paradeIt’s true — I like the heat and the dirt, but what I like best of all is that the Muse hangs out in the vegetable garden. When I’m getting down and dirty in the beans, the Muse whispers fabulous naughtiness, amazing imaginative titillating tales in my ear. She’s practically giving it away, when I’m up to my knuckles in compost. I think the Muse likes garden porn too. It makes her  loose and easy with her ideas, and there I am hunkered down amid the weeds and the beans, completely unsuspecting of what she’s about to whisper to me. It’s always hot, and she always makes it good for me. Oh yes. I do like garden porn. I can hardly wait to write down all that she whispered in my ear while I took my pleasure planting beans.

Just a little added note: Keziah Hill informed me that there is an actual site called Garden Porn. I just checked it out. A site where the ‘Hortisexuals’ hang out is my kind of site

 

Sex and Fiction Revealed

From the Archives:
Rodin 250px-The_KissI once sat through a reading of four fairly well-known romance writers, who had great stage presence, read beautifully from their new best sellers, and answered the audience’s questions with the level of expertise one would expect from people who make their living as writers. That is until they were asked about writing sex.

There was a frisson of embarrassment across the stage and a lot of shifting and shuffling and throat clearing as all four made excuses for why they were uncomfortable writing sex and therefore didn’t do it if they could avoid it. Then the question was dismissed with all the gravity a question about the proper shade of lippy might have been.

I wanted to shout, ‘This is sex! It’s the biggie! It’s what romance leads to! It’s what made us all! Beyond the shouting, sex is the powerful leveler of persons that strips us of our facades and brings us down to the deepest part of ourselves, and occasionally the best part. It exposes our animal nature with all its crudeness and all its charm. Sex is one of the best ways for a reader to get to know a character. With that in mind, I can’t imagine why all writers aren’t dying to write their next sex scene.

I appreciate a good sex scene in a novel – any novel – because sex in fiction, no matter how dangerous, is always safe sex. I enjoy writing erotica because it allows me, and my reader, to experience sex vicariously, safely, in ways we would never experience it in the real world. In some cases it’s only to see what the appeal of being there is. In other cases it’s the fulfillment of fantasy on the written page done safely without leaving the comfort of the recliner. For me, as writer and reader, there’s also the added excitement of sharing fantasies with total strangers.

I’m told I don’t look like the type of woman who would write erotica, but the more I write, the more I
wonder why the type of woman who writes erotica shouldn’t be Everywoman. We all have fantasies, and I can speak first hand as to how hot it is to write those fantasies down – in detail. No one needs to read them but ourselves. Hey, it’s a cheap sex toy – a piece of paper and a pen – a hot pink one, maybe??? It’s safe sex at its best. The world of the written page has always allowed us to walk in other dimensions, other realities, other times, and to see the world through the eyes of other people. Why shouldn’t sex be included in those other realities?

Coming home from the States on a night flight a couple of years ago, unable to sleep, I found myself watching the film, The Ugly Truth, with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigle. Butler’s character is trying to help Heigle’s character develop a relationship with a hot doctor. He asks her how often she Naked guy readingmasturbates. Horrified, she says she doesn’t do that sort of thing, to which he replies, ‘If you don’t want to make love to yourself, what makes you think anyone else will want to?’

According to Wallace Shawn, “Sex really is a nation of its own. Those whose allegiance is given to sex at a certain moment withdraw their loyalty temporarily from other powers. It’s a symbol of the possibility that we might all defect for one reason or another from the obedient columns in which we march.”

I’ll admit it; I’m a defector to that nation of sex. It’s a large nation with lots of room, and I’m inviting everyone I know to defect and enjoy.

You can read Wallace Shawn’s great essay about writing sex here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/jun/20/wallace-shawn-writing-about-sex

 

Smut By The Sea! It’s Almost time!

SBTS 2014 posterYES! That’s right! It’s almost time for Smut by the Sea Year Two! Look out Scarborough, here we come!

I’ve been waiting anxiously for Smut by the Sea 2014 ever since, well ever since I attended the first SBTS and had such a fantastic time meeting other writers and readers and vendors, and then there were readings and a Tombola and panels and tea and biscuits and wine and a launch party and karaoke and …*takes deep breath* Well you get the picture.

Year two, and the fabulous Team Blisse, Victoria and Kevin Mitnik Blisse have done it again with even more exciting offerings this year than last.

Here’s what the lovely Victoria Blisse has to say about Smut By The Sea:

When you think of Scarborough, many good things jump to mind. From the beach and many arcades to fish, chips and ice cream but I don’t suppose erotica is automatically one of those things. Well on the 14th June this year for the second time Smut by the Sea will take place at Scarborough library and it’s going to get really smutty.

What is it? Good question. It’s a gathering of authors and readers of erotica and erotic romance. There will be talks on Inspiration from Victoria Blisse, Writing Better Erotica from KD Grace and Social Media and promotion with Lucy Felthouse.

There’s also an afternoon stuffed full of sexy snippets read by the authors themselves, a free lunch and the unique and much loved Erotic Tombola and book stall, to feed your need for smut! If you ask nicely you can get your favourite authors to sign the books for you.


What you can expect:

Smut by the Sea is an Erotic Social Get-Together taking place at Scarborough Library on the14th June SBTS 2014 poster 22014, it’s a chance for erotica readers and writers to gather, share ideas and interact with one another in a friendly smutty enviroment.

In the morning there’ll have a few simple workshops where the authors will pass on their advice to those who have a desire to start writing, or to improve their existing writing endeavours, you’ll be able to ask questions and share your own experiences and gain some valuable knowledge from these talented authors.

The afternoon will consist of the erotic reading & poetry slam, authors will get up to 6 minutes on stage (and not a moment longer, the trusty timekeeper and her pesky paddle will see to that!) to read a short excerpt from one of their stories; with excerpts spanning the wide world of erotica you never know just what you might hear next and what ideas it might spark 😉

Throughout the day we’ll have refreshments on hand, and if you are feeling lucky you can try your hand on our Erotic Tombola  with some fabulous prizes on offer. We’ll also have our Book Stall where you’ll be able to pick up some special smut to tale home and maybe even get it signed by the author themselves.

 So come along, and bring your friends. It’s going to be a very special day and a great first step to take if you are wondering about breaking into the world of Erotica and Erotic Romance and even if you just come along for the Reading Slam it’s a chance to maybe experience something a little different if you’ve never heard erotica read aloud before.

A snippet from my experience at SBTS 2013:

For a writer, sharing a story is like breathing. We can’t NOT do it. That’s why we write. And to be able to read it out loud to an audience that’s there specifically to hear our words is like the rich, thick, butter cream icing with sprinkles on the cake. It’s a very physical reminder of why we do what we do.

I love to hear the stories other writers are reading, and I especially love to listen to first-time readers. I love to share their excitement, and I love to be one of the old timers who can encourage them and tell them not to worry it’ll be amazing. I love the looks on their faces when they’ve finished their first ever reading for an audience, the look that always tells me they’re hooked, just like I was, just like every one of us who has stood on that stage is.

In between the readings there was another key component that made SBTS such a fantastic experience, and that was the chance to chat, to share ideas, to meet people face-to-face who we had only ever talked to online before and to discover that they were just as amazing face-to-face as they are on social media.

And, of course, the thing writers love to do almost as much as they love reading their work out loud is to talk craft with other SBTS post1writers, and there was a lot of animated talking shop that went on in Scarborough.  We talked fears and pleasures, we talked nuts and bolts, we talked failures and successes. We talked works in progress, we talked new and old publishers, we talked self-publishing and self-promoting, we talked about our characters and about our plots, we talked about what fun it was to be who we are and do what we love most. The celebratory atmosphere was very contagious.

 

 

The good news is that Smut by the Sea 2014 is only two weeks away! 

The even better news is that you can still get tickets so you won’t miss out on the fun. 

Click here for tickets, and details. 

 

SBTS2-image

 

 

 

Nominations are Out for ETO Awards 2014! Be Sure to Vote!

ETO Awards 2014 Lucy Kay and meI’ve just been nominated for Best Erotic Author in the 2014 ETO Awards! And I can tell you it’s very hard to keep my fingers on the keyboard when I’m happy dancing the can-can.

I’m especially excited this year because I’m in THE most amazing company I could imagine for that honour. And the fact that half of that esteemed company are Brit Babes is just one more reason to happy dance! In addition to Sylvia Day and the fabulous Violet Blue, Brit Babes – and totally sizzling writers and amazing friends – Kay Jaybee and Lucy Felthouse are nominated too! Excited much?!?!

The ETO Awards are held every year in Birmingham at the banquet after the big trade show. Kay Jaybee and I were lucky enough to have been nominated last year and attend the glitz and glam of the awards banquet. I’m happy to say there’ll be even more sexy glitz and glam this year with a good representation of Brit Babes there to join the celebration. The place will be rammed with many of my other very favourite people. The ETO Awards are a bit like a big family reunion for all us naughty folks.

britbabes_badge_1Also nominated this year for Most Innovative Retailer is my favourite London hang-out, Sh! Women’s
Erotic Emporium
. And the very yummy icing on top of the Sh! Cake – one of my true heroes, Sh!’s manager Renee Denyer, is nominated as Best Store Manager. I couldn’t be more pleased.

And as far as Best Erotic Journalist goes – wow! Look at this list – Emily Dubberley, Mia Moore and the fab Cara Sutra, to name some of the loveliness.

Xcite Books is once again nominated for Best Erotic Books Brand, along with Cleis Press, Sweetmeats Press and House of Erotica.

Of course the fabulous folks at Lovehoney and Sextoys.co.uk are up for multiples (heh heh). It promises to be a great time.

The Brit Babes will be celebrating at the awards banquet in the company of the lovely folks at Velvet Books.

I said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m already a winner many times over just to be included in such a stellar celebration of excellence. Thanks ETO. You’re the best!

ETO picNEWS_AWARDS2014_SPONSORVOTE!

Aaaaannd … now it’s all up to you! Be sure to show some love and vote for your favourites. The polls are open and the best thing about the ETO Awards is that it’s the opportunity for all of YOU to give your favourites two thumbs-up. And speaking as a writer, I can tell you we authors love nothing more than to know that we’ve pleased our readers. So please cast your vote!

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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