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Interview with a Demon Part 4

Interviewing a demon turned out not to be a straight forward thing. Absolutely nothing went according to planned, and too late, I realised walking away from it afterward, even with a vampire and a succubus protecting me, wasn’t a given. You see, the truth is, there was just way too much baggage for all parties for the interview to go by the book. I don’t know why I ever thought otherwise. Anyway, enough of my moaning. I’ve done my best to report the details honestly and without bias, but the truth is, after my experiences with Magda Gardener and her Consortium, I have more than a little baggage of my own.

 

Interview with a Demon – the interview so far:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Interview with a Demon Part 4: A Tale Interrupted

 

While the Guardian admired the moonless sky, much as I’m sure Reese and Alonso did when they were in the garden he modeled his prison after, there was no doubt his focus was still entirely on me. But then what physical illusion there was of him was just that, an illusion. To be under his subtle scrutiny made me all the more uncomfortable in a giddy sort of way, and yet it didn’t seem to distract him in the least from the task at hand.

“At the time my home, as it always had been, since before I had need to remember, was a deconsecrated chapel near the city that is now Manchester in the North of England, but you already know this. Of course it was not the chapel to which I was bound. The place itself had been considered sacred ground as long as humans walked the earth, although I don’t know why. The mortal sense of what is sacred and what is profane has always puzzled me. You see, my task was to guard holy ground. I don’t know how that became my charge, or when, only that it always had been, even after the chapel was deconsecrated and put on the market to be sold as a home or a boutique or even a pub. The latter two were not at all to my liking. While I would have enjoyed the orgy of sensation and experience such places might offer me, it would have been only a temporary glutting of my capacity for pleasure and would have most certainly drawn enough attention as to make it difficult for me to choose as best suits me. In fact it might have drawn to me those whose attention I would prefer not to have. Of course, you understand, I mean my jailor, who for the most part ignored me, seeing me as little threat at the time.” He offered a satisfied chuckle. “You see, even our incomparable Magda Gardener makes mistakes. So, after a tiresome parade of estate agents, none of whom held my attention for long, none of whom had what I needed if I were to resume making the kinds of choices I delighted in, one of them at long last succeeded in bringing to me exactly what I had been waiting for. And then the daft woman tried to discourage her from me.

“‘The place has set empty for a very long time, so it will be costly to renovate.’ Those were her words when she saw her perspective buyer’s delight.”

It was very disconcerting for me to hear the voice of a woman with a northern accent coming from the Guardian. With difficulty, I kept my eyes averted and reminded myself that even his voice, whatever voice he chose to use, was just an illusion. He continued. “Then the devious agent added, ‘of course any … human remains have long since been removed from the crypt … as far as we can tell anyway.’ Oh how I longed to throttle her then and there, but of course I could do nothing.” He laughed softly, and I swear I felt the warmth of his breath against my ear. “As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about where her dear client was concerned.

“But Annie, for that was the client’s name, as you may have already suspected, would not be put off. I will never forget her words.” I was even more disturbed to hear him speak in the voice of Annie Rivers. “‘Can you imagine?’ she said, ‘I’ll be the only one of my friends who had a genuine crypt for a wine cellar. Too bad there’s not at least one stone sarcophagus left, you know, as a conversation piece.’

“The agent was horrified and, as for me, well I was instantly enchanted. My dear Annie had laughed with delight when the agent showed her the bathroom with the large tub. ‘Oh I’m really going to enjoy this. It’s big enough for company,’ she said. Oh how that thought intrigued me. You see, an evangelical group had installed the great tub. They were the last to rent the building before it was deserted and sold for the final time. They believed in some strange ritual of baptism that demanded immersion for which it was an essential tool. They didn’t interest me much other than as a dalliance now and then brought on by boredom. In truth, there was little more I could manage, since at the time, I was imprisoned with very limited access to the pastor’s flock. But my efforts did result in several attempts at exorcism. However, when the ‘spawn of Satan’ they feared did not vacate the premises after their hocus pocus, they gave up and left claiming something evil lurked within. Once again, I waited.

“I was not happy with the way the agent rushed Annie through the nave and the sacristy, nor with how she dwelt on the overgrown mess of the back garden and how many bodies had been buried there before the deconsecration. I punished her for that later. As for my dear Annie, I gave her just enough of a sense of well-being, of euphoria that, by the time she left, I was certain she felt right at home and that there was nothing the agent could do that would keep my beautiful Annie from me.”

Without warning the hair on the backs of my arms stood at full attention, as though a bolt of electricity had passed through me, and the ground tilted sharply beneath my chair. Before I could do more than yelp and stumble to my feet, Susan appeared, looking far more wraith-like than the Guardian, and almost as terrifying wearing her rage like a heavy cloak.

“This interview is over.” Her voice made my jaws ache until my head felt like it would explode. But it wasn’t me she was speaking too, and frankly, I was glad. Suddenly the temperature in the garden plummeted and snow began to swirl on a growing fell wind. In spite of the howl of what was quickly becoming a blizzard, Susan’s voice cut through it as though it were deadly silent. “How dare you? How fucking dare you? I trusted you. I gave you your voice, I even let her come to you.” She nodded her head in my direction. “And this is how you repay me, by flaunting the sordid horrors you visited on my best friend?”

“Susan, I don’t understand.” The Guardian spoke with little emotion that I could sense, but then I was busy trying to keep from freezing to death. By this time the wind was howling and snow was falling heavily in what had, only moments ago, been the garden in high summer.

“How the fuck can you not understand? She’s not your Annie. She was never your Annie. You’re here because of what you did to her, because of what you tried to do to all of us. And don’t give me that bullshit about things being different with your kind. I don’t care if it’s different. You know exactly how it is withmy kind.” She rubbed a tight fist against her chest as though she were in pain.

“Susan, you are a vampire,” he responded as calmly as if he were telling her that her shoelace was untied. “And you are unique even among vampires. You are the only one of your kind.”

“And I wouldn’t be a vampire if you hadn’t … if it hadn’t been … How could you not know that …” Her voice drifted off and then she shouted, “Talia, pull her out.”

But Talia didn’t pull me out, instead, I stood with my teeth chattering chafing my arms watching an altercation between a demon and a vampire and wondering if I’d be collateral damage.

 

Interview with a Demon

While it has been an effort to sort through what actually happened, I have finally managed to piece together another segment of what happened during that unaccounted for stretch of time I spent with The Guardian in his prison. As the memories come back to me and as I deal with the consequences of the experience as best I can, I will share the results with you, as I promised him I would. Thank you for being patient.

 

Missed part of the interview? Follow the links

Part 1

Part 2

 

Part 3 A Demon’s Tale

The Guardian sat silently for a time, long enough for me to be tempted to look over at him, or to try and prompt the conversation. But at last he took a deep breath – no doubt for my benefit and spoke. “I won’t start at the beginning. While I may have plenty of time, you certainly do not.” The rich warmth of his chuckle made me want to scoot my chair closer to his in hopes that he might touch me. That I craved his touch made me want to scream for Talia to pull me back to the safety of the waking world. If he were aware of my feelings, he didn’t show it, but continued. “My tale is a long and often tedious one, much of it spent bound or imprisoned by meddling shamans or priests or witches, who invariably mistook my nature for evil. Those in power, after all, have need of the threat of evil if they are to maintain control. I have, more than once, provided them with the necessary excuse for the disturbing and culturally unacceptable behavior of their subjects. Would that they had only understood me better rather than attempted to use me to promote their own agendas. But then that, I suppose, is the nature of human beings.”

“And yet you let your behavior prove them right.” Damn, I have a big mouth, but you see, I already knew a good deal of his story, after all, and I wasn’t about to let him white wash it.

He only shrugged. “Do you consider a lion evil for killing a gazelle, a hawk for taking a rabbit? I am, to the best of my knowledge, as much a part of the natural order as they are. That humans chose to interact with me to begin with is less so, I would postulate. That is, unless they were drawn to me from the beginning by the very nature of who I am.” He raised a negating hand as though batting away a fly. “We’re wasting time arguing my morality when it’s such a human term. I’ve not brought you here for that purpose.”

With a sudden chill, I realized, he had indeed brought me here as surely as if I had been one of the poor souls he had possessed. Susan had allowed it. I quickly reminded myself. Talia had made it possible. But they all owed him a life — several lives, in fact. Before I could contemplate my place in his plan, he continued.

“I cannot impart to you what it’s like to be bound for an age with only my own longings and urges for company. You’re far too finite to understand how maddening such imprisonment is for one who desires nothing so much as flesh and the pleasures and pains it brings. Oh yes, I would gladly take pain to the agony of languishing in uncontained eternity with nothing to hold me to myself and no way of touching the passing of everything around me.”

“But that’s not how it is for you now, surely. I know you interact with the world, at least with Susan and Michael and the other consortium members. Some of them anyway.”

For a moment he was silent, and then he sighed. “It’s true that Susan has become a gentle jailor, kind and considerate of my needs. And yet surely you must understand that never in my long existence have I been incarcerated in a prison so complete, so without any hope of escape.”

“Would you?” I asked, “escape if you could?”

This time the silence was so complete that I thought he had left me. I turned partially toward him startled by the fact that he truly had no face. He appeared much like an unfinished painting of a man overlaid on a starless night. And from that abyss of darkness was a sense of ravenous hunger and desire like nothing I had ever felt. I was taken completely aback that it was even possible for so much hunger and need to fit into one female vampire, no matter how powerful. How in the world could Susan contain him?

Suddenly there was a roar of wind across the fells and, in an instant that hunger was so close to me that I felt it had already devoured me. But even before I could do more than draw breath to cry out, the feeling vanished and he again sat next to me in profile. “I would ask you once more, please don’t look directly at me. I am … unfinished.”

I found myself gripping the chair arms as though I feared being tossed out. Honestly if the chair didn’t toss me out, I ran the risk of dumping myself out onto the ground, I was shaking so badly.

“I am sorry,” he said. “Susan tells me that my impulse control could use a little work.”

My relieved laughter had a hysterical edge to it, then I bit my lip to make myself shut up, and looked the other way.

“You asked me if I would escape if I could.” He continued as though nothing had happened. “In truth I don’t know. Every heart longs to be free… but then I don’t have a heart.” His words drifted away and somewhere deep in the garden an owl trilled, an owl who could no more have been there than the garden itself. “Perhaps residing this close to Susan’s heart, is the closest I shall ever be to having one of my own.” There was another brief pause, and in that instant, I
wondered if the sadness I heard in his voice was only me anthropomorphizing. He continued.

“However when I have been able, when I am free enough to do so, I plan, and I scheme, and I choose wisely. I shall tell you, at least in part, the culmination of such plans, the journey that has led me here to this new prison, so different than any that have ever contained me. Of course you know some of my story, in fact you’ve written it down. But you’ve told it through Susan’s eyes and, while I would never presume to discredit her human point of view, I do wish to give voice to how it was for me, how I experienced those events which led to my strange imprisonment.”

 

Interview with a Demon: Part 2

 

 

 

While I am not a journalist, my role as scribe (with a small s) for Magda Gardener and her consortium sometimes involves the odd interview, and this one may be the oddest one I’ve done so far. While it’s uncomfortable enough working for Magda, it’s even more uncomfortable when I am shanghaied into doing an interview with a demon, which she has neither authorised nor knows anything about. I doubt she’ll be happy about it when she finds out, and she will find out. Come to think about it, I’m not overly happy about it. It’s not that easy to do an interview when you’re shaking in fear. Let the good times roll!

 

 

 

Part 2: In which I Meet the Guardian

Read Part 1 Here

 

It took me a little while to realize I was dreaming. It took me a little while longer to realize that my dream was, for lack of a better word, a lucid dream. It was no dungeon, no jail I entered. It was, instead, a topiary maze. It was night, and yet the ambient light made it easy enough for me to discern my path. There was no question of which direction I should go. I just wound my way through, not really in too much of a hurry to meet what I knew awaited me beyond. The nebulous space in which Susan imprisoned the Guardian was unassailable, though there were no bars, no high walls, no razor wire. In fact the space that contained the demon was of his own shaping. Due to his partnership of convenience with Reese Chambers during their desperate battle with Cyrus in the deserted subway tunnels of New York, he was rather fond of Reese, who is not only Alonso Darlington’s lover, but a brilliant landscaper and gardener. That being the case, the Guardian had turned his space into a garden, which became more and more elaborate as he was given more and more freedom to interact with Susan and those around her.

 

“Off you go then,” I heard Talia’s voice from far away. “Happy demon hunting, KD.”

 

“I am not fond of that woman. I find her most unpleasant.”

 

I cleared the maze into a night garden drenched in moonlight. In fact the garden, I recognized as the one Reese had created for Alonso at his Lakeland manor house. In front of me just where the edge of the fell plummeted into a deep valley with a beck, a man dressed in jeans and a plaid shirt, reminiscent of Reese’s clothing choices, paced back and forth. He neither stopped pacing, nor did he look at me. His laugh was soft and rich, self-deprecating, which I had not expected. “Of course the little succubus and I did get off on the wrong foot, and at the moment neither of us is inclined to make amends. Though I suppose I should be grateful to her for her help in settling me into such an accommodating prison as my dear Susan. And of course in bringing you to me, KD. Please, sit.”

 

Behind me the same winged back chair Talia had been sitting in appeared. When I sat, I realized I was empty-handed.

 

As though he anticipated my reaction, he said, “you are in my dream, my dear, KD. You have no need of pen and paper or Dictaphone. I promise, when you wake up, you will remember everything I need you to know.”

 

Another chair appeared next to mine, and the Guardian seated himself at such an angle that I could only make out his profile, and that not well. He kept his head turned as though he observed something at the opposite end of the beck. “I ask that you do not attempt to look at me directly. It will be … disturbing for you.”

My pulse jumped, and I could manage little more than to nod my understanding. Apparently that was enough. It seemed like ages that we sat there in what might have passed for companionable silence, but the truth was, I had no idea what to say or how to start an interview with a millennia-old demon. Of course I had rehearsed questions, written an outline, but that all vanished from my head now that I was in his presence. I needn’t have worried. He took the struggle out of my hands and began it for me.

 

“I have always chosen the ones I take. It’s never a random act. I choose them carefully and with a great deal of planning and forethought. You see I have plenty of time, and the anticipation is a delight unto itself.” It made my skin tingle and my stomach clench, his use of the present tense, as if he were not in a prison at all, as if he were free to do as he chose. He didn’t ask me if I understood what he meant by taking. I understood all right and didn’t think I was quite up to a less euphemistic description. There was a sense of him shifting in the chair, more than likely to put me at ease rather than because he had any need of it. Then he continued. “Of course I occasionally act impulsively and take when I haven’t intended – a moment of weakness, of answering a craving, of catering to an urge. I have needs, after all, just as everyone does, and sometimes my baser instincts take control.”

 

When I made no response, he added, “you must understand, when I speak of instincts or biological need, it’s only in an effort to help you comprehend my story. In truth, I have neither. My insight into what drives human nature comes only from the experiences of those I’ve chosen through the ages. It’s only through my taking of them that I’m able to share my story with you in any way your mind can grasp.”

 

“I see.” I spoke from a dry throat.

 

“Of course you don’t see,” he responded without censure or ridicule. If anything he sounded rather sad. “You can’t possibly see, but I am compelled to try and convey myself to you, an impossible task for both of us, and yet here we are.”

 

“Indeed,” I managed. “Here we are.”

 

“As I was saying, most of the time, I choose very carefully, the way I chose you.”

 

If I’d had a pen, I’d have dropped it. I remembered only too well what had happened to Annie Rivers when he had chosen her, and what he attempted to do to Susan and Michael. I don’t know if I gasped, or maybe made some other sound of distress. I do know that there is nothing comfortable about being chosen by a demon, and I was on the brink of calling Talia to get me out of the dream.

 

Then that velvety chuckle washed over me. “Relax, my darling little scribe. I’m only joking. Though I’m told,” he added as an afterthought, “that I need to work on my sense of humor.”

 

I’m sure my resulting laugh sounded a little hysterical, though well-laced with genuine relief. Then I found my voice. Whether he understood humor or not, in spite of the poor joke, he had managed to set me at ease. At least a little bit. “You’ll have to forgive me for being so jumpy. I’ve never interviewed a demon before, and especially not without Magda Gardener’s permission.”

 

“Magda Gardener, yes.” He paused as though lost in his thoughts and then said slowly. “Perhaps our clandestine
meeting is my joke on Magda Gardener. Perhaps I wish to see if she thinks I need to work on my sense of humor.”

 

This time I genuinely laughed. “I’m not sure whether I’d pay good money to see her response or pay to be in another country when she finds out.”

 

“Oh, I’m betting you won’t be able to escape her reaction even if you want to darling KD.” I could almost hear the smile in his voice. Then he shifted in his chair with a contented sigh, and the way my skin prickled and the fine hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, I knew he was now facing me. “Shall we get on with it then, in anticipation of hastening our dear Magda Gardener’s response.”

 

Love & Lust in Space, a Sci-Fi Lover’s Dream Antho!

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I’m so excited to be promoting Love & Lust in Space on A hopeful Romantic today! I have a very special place in my heart for this anthology, edited by the fabulous Jennifer Denys. As it turns out I had every intention of writing a story for this fabulous anthology, being a huge fan of Sci Fi myself. It was only when I got about six thousand words in that I realised ‘oops!’ This has to be a novel. As it turns out, it ended up as my NaNoWriMo project this year. BUT it was most definitely inspired by the lovely Jennifer Denys and Anna Skye last year at Smut by the Sea.

All that is a long way of saying what an absolute pleasure it is to finally see the finished anthology. I know a fair few of the authors, I’m proud to say, so you can expect fabulous stories with lots of sexy, out of this world, twists and turns. With that in mind, Jennifer has put together a wonderful Round-Table sort of interview with some of those authors and all I can say is that you’re all in for a treat!

 

 

 

 

 

Love & Lust in Space

 

They say your screams can’t be heard in space… Unless you have a partner or two! Eleven authors take you on a trip where any pairings are acceptable, locations vary from spaceships to strange and futuristic worlds, and interesting and exciting objects can be used in sex play.

 

If randy astronauts, virtual reality lovers, sex in near-death situations, a commitment-phobe human and her alien lover, and reproduction in space experiments don’t do anything for you, you are clearly not human!

 

So try the stories in the alien worlds half of the anthology, instead. Here you’ll find alien Doms, a mysterious gladiator saving a stricken princess, an exotic dancer, a paid assassin on the run, an illegal sonic dilda’tor, and a pleasure booth. Space has never been so exciting!

 

 

  1. How many sci-fi stories have you written?

 

Beverly – I have written sci-fi since a young teenager. My interest grew with the advent of sci-fi and fantasy word-based adventure games in the early eighties for computers such as the Spectrum 48 and Commodore 64. Somehow, writing scenarios for these adventures transformed into writing scenes in stories. Stories to date are too many to count, but this is my first erotic short.

 

Ashe – Just a couple so far, but I’ve got the bug now and I do have a few kinky out-of-this-world ideas fermenting so there will be more to come.

 

 

  1. If you were to star in a sci-fi show would you be the captain who always gets the girl/guy, the nerd who invents a sex android, or the hands-on sex therapist?

 

Rose – I would probably be more like the sexually frustrated sidekick who’s always overlooked. But, out of these specifically, I hope I’d be the captain!

 

Dylan – I like to imagine that I’d be the captain who gets the guy but I think in reality (is there such a thing?) I’d end up being the nerd creating the sexdroid.

 

Jordan – If I were in a sci-fi show, I’d most likely by the hands-on sex therapist.

 

 

  1. If you could go to another planet what method of transport would you choose: spaceship/transporter/wormhole?

 

Ella – I would choose spaceship because a transporter might go wrong and a wormhole? Well, you might never get back.

H K – Transporter. Beam me up!

Beverley – Wormhole. I’ve never believed that travelling is part of the holiday.

 

 

  1. What type of sex appeals to you – antigravity sex/virtual reality sex/sex in public in front of aliens/secret sex/sexual experiment/illegal sex?

 

Ashe – My story in the anthology features sex in public with a crowd of aliens looking on, but I reckon antigravity sex sounds pretty awesome too. And experimental sex. Oh, and illegal sex sounds a bit tasty. Mmm, perhaps just any sort, really.

 

Ian – I like the idea of sneaky sex with a crewmate, maybe in a locker or a quiet part of the vehicle, and weightless sex is a fascinating idea

 

H K – Secret, illegal public sex in front of aliens, in zero-gravity.

 

  1. Which would you prefer to be – a pioneer colonist on an alien planet/astronaut undertaking experiments in orbit around Earth/an ambassador to an alien world/explorer of the galaxy in a spaceship/futuristic computer hacker inventing strange new worlds, new life and new civilizations…. (that line sounds familiar…)?

 

Dylan – Mmm… tough choice. Whichever one results in my ending up in an alien dungeon with a sexy alien Dom, and some wonderful and weird sex technology!

 

Jennifer – explorer, I reckon, having first contact. Or colonist trying out new planets. I’m far too forthright to be an ambassador, would get claustrophobic as an astronaut and no good at computers to be a hacker!

 

Morgan – In my dream life I might be a pioneer colonist, but I don’t think the reality would be as exciting as the idea.

 

 

  1. Would you prefer to be abducted by a hunky/sexy alien to be their mate or be the hunky/sexy alien abducting the Earthling?

 

Dee – I suspect I would very much enjoy being abducted by a sexy alien to be their mate—but [he] doesn’t have to be hunky. A sexy, intelligent, witty blob of gel? Cloud of plasma? Sure, let’s see what we can do together.

 

Ian – Abduct me baby, I won’t play hard-to-get

 

 

  1. Choose a sex toy – sonic dilda’tor/pleasure booth/orgasma orb

 

Dee – Tell me more about their features. Actually, why I don’t I try them all before I make my decision? Is there a sample table?

 

Jennifer – Have to have the sonic dilda’tor since it is the title and subject of my story! (But I want to try the others out afterwards!)

 

Morgan – Can I choose something different like a Virtual Reality Sex Simulator – or maybe that’s the same as a pleasure booth?

 

 

  1. If you could be an alien which would you rather be: a strong warrior/ a beautiful princess/an interplanetary assassin/a hunky alien Dom/a member of the ambassador’s security detail/an exotic dancer?

 

Rose – Being a Disney girl at heart, I’ve gotta go with being a beautiful princess. But I wouldn’t mind being a beautiful princess who meets some of those guys!

 

Jordan – Being an interplanetary assassin sounds fun!

 

Ella – A twist between the interplanetary assassin and the ambassador’s security detail, maybe the security detail who moonlights as an assassin? Oh the plot bunnies are endless.

 

Published by: Sexy Little Pages

 

Edited by: Jennifer Denys

 

Buy Love & Lust in Space Here:

(takes you through to the correct Amazon for your country): https://mybk.li/llis

 

 

 

Annik Petrou Talks about Falling in Love with Public Speaking

Annik & Little PonyI’m very excited to have Annik Petrou on a Hopeful Romantic today. Annik is the founder of the wonderful Pony Express, which trains people to fall in love with public speaking, and when you hear what Annik has to say, I’m sure you’ll be convinced that she definitely is smitten. Welcome, Annik!

 

K D: Tell us a little bit about PONY Express and how it got started.

 

Annik: As so often, I constantly felt that others got ahead much faster than me. People who had ideas (that clearly weren’t as good as mine, right?) got promoted faster, were perceived as more intelligent simply because they knew how to communicate and sell themselves. I then started working with different public speaking training techniques, but it only was after I got into Improvisation & Clowning that I understood that real authenticity comes from within and not from external techniques. We integrated A LOT of this experiential and interactive work in the Pony Express training and the results have proven that our training is able to take people from beginner to professional in a couple of months.

 

K D: How did you get interested in public speaking?

 

Annik: I attended one of those personal development events where I met my now business partner. He spoke on stage and I thought, ‘WOW, I wanna be as good as him.’ And obviously, all those insecurities I have about myself helped push the whole process along. I felt so out of control when speaking as the nerves took over making me look like a ‘twat’ on stage [in my perception] and I simply wanted to be more in control of the whole process and not a victim to my fears.

 

K D: If you could give only one suggestion to help people get over their nerves for speaking in public, what would it be?Annik, Errol & Little Pony

 

Annik: Start speaking before you think you are ready. The nerves calm with practice and time. People often wait for too many years or read books or watch videos instead of getting uncomfortable and throwing themselves into the cold water and on stage. Every mistake is a lesson you would have NEVER learned without getting it wrong first. So don’t be afraid to speak-up and potentially ‘get it wrong’ – be afraid of not giving it a GO. Practice makes perfect.

 

K D: What are the biggest mistakes you see people making when they get up to speak?

 

Annik: They don’t have a grounding routine before stepping on stage. Grounding techniques like power posing, breathing techniques or detachment processes help to get you out of your head back into your body, which has a massive positive impact on your presence. Another mistake is that people start with totally pointless comments like ‘Thank you for having me…’ instead of really sparking the audience up from the first 15 seconds.

 

K D: I know from my own public speaking experiences that the speaker has to connect with her audience. Any advice to speakers on how to do that?

 

Annik: Apart from the obvious like being present, looking into their eyes and not the ceiling or back wall and NOT overloading them with too many details — waffle on and on and on because you don’t have a real structure – I’d say doing a ‘YOU’ count is a great connection tool. I often hear people say, ‘I have done this, I have done that …’ I I I I! Me
me me me! Make it about them. Draw them in, for example, instead of saying, ‘I have five years of experience working in the social media industry.’ Say, ‘In five years of working in the social media industry here are three tips for you.’ You connect by making it about them.

 

K D: What is your best experience of public speaking?

 

Annik: I love the difference in people’s eyes when I take them through different processes or do a session on Annik Contribution Conference 1improvisation. It gets them out of their heads, and I feel so much more alive too and powerful. No one can deny the positive effect of realising the impact you have on others.

 

KD: Does learning to comfortably speak in front of an audience change people’s lives in other ways as well?

 

Annik: You bet! One thing I hear a lot from people doing our six-month Speaking Accelerator is, ‘I wish I would have done this training earlier.’ It’s not only the speaking bit but the certainty and power it gives you. You negotiate harder, sell more, feel more in control of your life. People gained the confidence to start their own business, got better paid speaking gigs or corporate contracts and also got the desired investment when pitching at Dragon’s Den, for example.

 

K D: How can people get in touch with PONY Express if they would like to become more comfortable speaking in public?

 

Annik: Simply email annik@ponyexpressclub.com or call me on 07734312891. We run a monthly Club Night every second last Wednesday of the month. There’s more information at www.ponyepressclub.com or our Facebook group www.facebook.com/groups/ponyexpressclub. I want to hear from you and can’t wait hearing your story.

 

K D: How has coaching public speaking changed your life?

 

Annik: I am honestly a different person. I always used to be loud to mask all my insecurities, so there was no real Annik TEDx_unicornssubstance to me. Now, I am ME – ON and OFF stage. It’s such a relief.

 

K D: Anything else you’d like to share, Annik?

Annik: It’s all about taking risks. Playing small means you’re comfortable, but not memorable. If you never give it a go – you’ll never know! And nerves are part of playing a bigger game. So get nervous and start speaking.

 

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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