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The Gift of ‘Outside’

For Blissemas, I decided to talk about Christmas Past and the best Christmas gift ever in the history of Christmas gifts — the gift of Outside. That gift came topped with a bow, all wrapped up in a box with a pair of ice skates. Those ice skates changed everything for me, from the very first time I put them on and wobbled out onto the ice. Suddenly the fun moved outdoors for the winter, and I engaged with the cold deep months in northern Colorado in a way I never had before.

I lived in a very small town. With its three taverns, four churches, a general store and a bank, it was a gathering place for ranchers, miners and timber workers, not much more. There was a small skating rink that some of the local men had dug and paved. It was really just a scrape in an empty field. Next to the rink, they had built a three-sided shelter with benches for putting on skates. In the centre, they placed a fifty-five gallon barrel with the side cut out, which served as a stove to warm chilled noses and fingers. That was it really. But it quickly became my favourite place.

Skating was fun in the short hours of daylight, but I especially loved skating on those crystal clear nights when the moon was full and the air practically crackled as you breathed it. The snow shown like a sequined blanket covering the fields, and the mountains loomed on the horizon, hulking and tarnished silver dark.

I never wanted to leave. I remember skating on those glistening nights until I shivered all over and my fingers stung through my mittens in the bite of the sub-zero night. But being out there on a pair of ice skates was being out there because I wanted to be. It was completely different from rushing to school or the grocery store or some other place one rushed to all bundled up in down and wool and fleece-lined boots. It’s not that I had conquered nature. No one who lived in that climate was stupid enough to believe that. Every car, every pick-up truck, was equipped with tyre chains, a heavy blanket, a few chocolate bars and a snow shovel. My dad never went out on a long winter drive without a flask filled with hot, thick coffee. We all knew that in the battle with the elements, the northern Colorado winter would win every time. So we were prepared.

But the enemy was magically transformed into a friend on a pair of ice skates. Ice skates made me brave, made me feel a bit like I was walking next to a mountain lion or hugging a bear. The truce was tenuous and giddy and frighteningly delicious, whirling and twirling on the ice with the smell of wood smoke wafting from the barrel stove. Suddenly, at least for a little while, I was in it, I was a part of it. For a little while I could allow myself to revel in something so deadly that most of the time people were afraid to look it in the eye, lest they jinx themselves. But on ice skates, one played with fire, of the iciest kind, and the fire played back. On ice skates the cold winter became warmer somehow. Oh not physically warmer, never physically warmer, but still somehow a little more accommodating, a little more yielding. Or maybe we were all just a little more brazen, just a little more willing to risk a few more minutes while our fingers froze and our noses stung and our toes tingled through our thick woolen socks.

We swirled and danced and laughed always only a breath away from danger, always only a breath away from the killing cold. We all knew about freezing to death. You couldn’t live at 10,000 feet altitude and not know, not live with it every winter, every blizzard, every dangerous slip and slide on the icy roads, and the snow packed passes. But when we were on ice skates, while we danced and swirled, the winter danced and swirled with us, it embraced us, it caressed us, it gave us an intimate peek into something so magical, so elementally powerful that even now my heart races when I write about it, when I remember as a kid not understanding why I wanted to stay out way past comfort, why I wanted to feel its icy breath in my own lungs.

It’s fragility, that’s what it is, human fragility. We live daily with the fragility of our thin skin and our delicate insides, and we’re constantly making truces with our environment, but we very seldom ever actually connect with it. We very seldom even think of it other than as an inconvenience. But ice skates changed all of that. I was no less fragile, no less vulnerable, and the truce was still there. But with ice skates, something more was there as well. With ice skates I connected, I really connected to the fabulous, terrible, wonderful ‘Outside.’

I haven’t lived with deep edgy winters for a long time now. But every winter, when we get what little snow we do get here in south England, I think about ice skates. No, I don’t want to go to an indoor rink with piped-in music. That’s really not what it’s all about for me. For me, ice skates were for outside in the darkest harshest months of winter, on a frozen river or a frozen pond whenever possible. Ice Skates were the beginning for me, and after ice skates, well I’ve never really been the same.

Since I can’t give everyone ice skates to celebrate Blissemas, I’ll do the next best thing and give away a choice of a  PDF copy of either of my novels, The Initiation of Ms Holly, or The Pet Shop. Comment to win. All comments will be entered in the draw for the fabulous grand prize kindle at the end of Blissemas festivities.  Don’t miss out.

 

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Jeremy Edwards Shares the Story behind The Pleasure Dial

The Pleasure Dial: An Erotocomedic Novel of Old-Time Radio

by Jeremy Edwards

It began with a city: Los Angeles.

I’ve set stories in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco; in Hartford, Cleveland, Chicago, Providence, and Miami; in Florence, in London, in Ottawa, and in Brussels.

And, on a couple of occasions, I’ve set them in Los Angeles: specifically, in Hollywood—or rather within “Hollywood,” the several areas of greater Los Angeles in which big-budget motion pictures are made.

Despite these earlier excursions into Los Angeles, there came a time when I was contemplating a new Los Angeles story. And it didn’t take much contemplation to determine that my new LA story would be an old LA story. I would be returning to “Hollywood,” but the Hollywood of an earlier epoch.

Eventually I decided to write, not a short story, but a full-length book set in that world.

You see, I’m a fan of classic radio comedy (the sillier the better), and I also love the risqué deliciousness seen in some of the early talkies. The combination of alluring sexuality and inspired silliness that was sometimes produced before the movie studios became prudish and zany humor went out of fashion lines up very well with my own sensibilities; and so although I usually work with contemporary settings, I realized that the Hollywood of the early 1930s would be a perfect environment for a Jeremy Edwards erotocomedic novel.

I’d been doing a lot of reading about what it was like to be a staff writer for radio and television comedy programs in the mid-twentieth century (just for my own interest—I didn’t realize at the time it was “research”!)—and I fell in love with the idea of putting witty radio writers at the center of my next sexy adventure. Not only could these people be the ideal protagonists for the cocktail of sensuality and repartee I was planning, but I could play at being an old-time radio writer myself, as I fleshed out the bits of “show within the show” programming that would be found here and there in my book. And, when sitting in my writing room and taking my characters into their writing room, I could orchestrate discussions such as this one:

“Look at this: first page,” said Mariel. “Heffy says he’s brewing some tea. There is absolutely nothing funny about brewing tea, Mickey.”

“It’s only an incidental line,” said a writer named Howard.

Nothing is incidental in good comedy,” Mariel retorted. “Heffy should say he’s boiling an egg. Now that’s amusing—though offhand I couldn’t say why.”

Choosing the precise year in which my novel is set—though as it happens it’s mentioned only in the blurb, not the book proper—took some care. On the one hand, I wanted radio comedy and talking pictures to be well established by the point at which we enter my version of Old Hollywood. Likewise, I wanted to make sure we were clear of Prohibition (repealed at the end of 1933), so that I wouldn’t have to sneak my characters drinks instead of letting them enjoy their scotch, champagne, and Bloody Marys free of logistical complications.

On the other hand, I wanted to keep my story within the era prior to the motion-picture industry’s serious compliance with the so-called Hays Code—the studios’ puritanical self-censorship agreement that, according to my reference source, had been created in 1930 but did not have an important influence until the second half of 1934. I wanted the entertainment world inhabited by my characters to be the “pre-Hays” world of sexy scenes and madcap comedy. (As noted above, it seems to me that comedy, for whatever reason and sex aside, became less whimsical in the Hays era, generally speaking. Even the Marx Brothers became a little stodgier.)

And so my book is set in the spring of 1934. As you can see, I wasn’t left with much of a window!

Let’s take a look through that window … into the home of screen idol Lila Lowell, where a group of my characters have congregated.

EXCERPT

“The show Friday night was fabulous,” Nanette continued. “I don’t mind telling you we listened to it in bed.” She stroked Lila’s thigh through her kimono.

Artie watched Elyse’s eyes light up, as they did so frequently, with sexual interest. “I’m very glad you told me that. Damn, to think of two such beautiful women in bed, enjoying … me. *Lila Lowell* and her woman,” she continued, as if telling herself an erotic bedtime story, “in bed—after a fashion—with me. Oh, my my my.”

She shivered erogenously while she spoke. For his part, Artie found that he had his hand in his pocket, and that he was discreetly tickling his cock to the rhythm of Elyse’s voice.

She turned to him now. “Can’t you just see them, Artie? Undressed and exquisite in bed, touching each other and listening to me—perhaps visualizing me there with them?”

Artie figured Elyse was about the only person in the world who could say something like that without sounding remotely egotistical. Remarks like this were all in a day’s work for a sex goddess.

Nanette made eye contact with Lila, who nodded again. “Would you like to see that, Elyse?” Nanette asked.

“You bet,” Artie blurted.

Mariel gently elbowed him, snickering. “The question was not addressed to you.”

“Sorry.” He blushed. “It’s … er … a side effect of writing her dialogue.”

Lila smiled tolerantly.

“Well, Mariel, we’re all good friends here,” said Nanette.

Elyse was already squirming in her checkers chair, with a palm situated suggestively at the apex of her legs. “You would let me be there while you loved?”

“You’ll just have to bring a chair into the bedroom,” said Nanette. She looked inquisitively at Lila, who grinned shyly, and then at Artie. “Okay—three chairs.”

“I told you Lila would quickly become comfortable with you,” Mariel said to Artie as they carried the furniture down the hall.

When the two women reclined naked on their bed, their appearances were thrown into an aesthetic contrast. Lila, as every moviegoer knew, was tall, black-haired, and thin, with breasts like small scrumptious pastries and a round little bubble of an ass. Nanette, in turn, was blonde, compact, and on the voluptuous side. And although, by her own account, Nanette had left the tub long before Miss Lowell, Artie noticed that she still looked positively ripe from her bath, lusciously warm and rosy, while Lila looked stunningly sepulchral as always.

Their bodies faced each other; their heads, framed by deep purple pillows, faced Elyse, who had stripped to her underwear before posing on a chair at the foot of the bed.

“Isn’t it clever,” Mariel said to Artie, “how the best entertainment in Hollywood occurs behind closed doors?”

BLURB

The year is 1934, and amiable New York gag writer Artie Plask has taken the West Coast plunge. His first day on staff with a top radio show introduces him to the irresistible Mariel Fenton, a wit among wits who immediately takes an interest in all aspects of Artie’s life—especially his private life. As Artie finds his feet in a world of blustering comedians, pansexual sex goddesses, timid screen legends, exhibitionistic scriptwriters, and self-infatuated geniuses, Mariel leads him on a zany journey up and down the pleasure dial—a giddy romp through Hollywood that’s chock-full of airwaves showdowns, writing-room counterplots, devious impersonations, naked meetings, and a sensuality-drenched assortment of erotic escapades.

BUY LINK:

http://oceroticbooks.com/ebooks/the-pleasure-dial-an-erotocomedic-novel-of-old-time-radio

BIO

Jeremy Edwards is the author of the erotocomedic novel Rock My Socks Off (Xcite Books, 2010), the erotic story collection Spark My Moment (Xcite Books, 2010), and most recently The Pleasure Dial: An Erotocomedic Novel of Old-Time Radio (OC Press, 2011). His quirky, libidinous tales have appeared in over fifty anthologies, including three volumes in the Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica series, and he has read his work live at New York’s In the Flesh and Philadelphia’s Erotic Literary Salon. Jeremy’s greatest goal in life is to be sexy and witty at the same moment—ideally in lighting that flatters his profile. Readers can drop in on him unannounced (and thereby catch him in his underwear) at www.jeremyedwardserotica.com.

 

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Editor of Seducing the Myth, Lucy Felthouse, Wearer of Many Hats

The fabulous anthology, Seducing the Myth, was my first opportunity to work with Lucy Felthouse, Editor. And what a pleasure it was! I am more familiar with Lucy Felthouse as fellow writer, PR person extraordinaire, and all around fab chick, so I decided today, I wanted to interview the Lucy Felthouse, Editor, and specifically, Lucy Felthouse, editor of Seducing the Myth. Welcome Lucy!

K D: Author or editor? Which do you enjoy the most and why?

Lucy: Oh wow, great question! Actually, it’s one I’m not entirely sure I can answer. I love writing because I love storytelling and producing stories that other people (hopefully) enjoy reading. But then I enjoy putting anthologies together because I love to see how authors come up with so many varying ideas within a theme. I also like to put together the most diverse book I can and get it out there for others to enjoy.

I think being an author just tips the balance, though, because there are parts of editing I don’t like, for example turning down stories, figuring out royalties and all kinds of admin stuff!

K D: Lucy, you write erotica, you do marketing and PR for other people, you build websites, you edit anthologies *catches breath* For a woman with so many irons in so many fires, is there a satisfaction you get from editing that you don’t get while wearing any of your other hats?

Lucy: What I like about editing is being involved in the project from start to finish, and creating something I can be proud of, but also still slightly removed from. I feel slightly more distanced from anthologies I’ve edited rather than stories I’ve written because the anthologies aren’t just my work. They contain stories from lots of other, very fabulous authors, and for that reason I can crow about the books without sounding too much like I’m blowing my own trumpet. I think! 😉

K D: The two anthologies you’ve edited couldn’t be more different. Uniform Behaviour is erotica for those who get hot under the epaulettes for folks in uniform and Seducing the Myth is a collection of erotic stories based on myths from around the world. Did you find that any of those differences translated into the editing? Was one harder than the other to edit? If so why?

Lucy: In terms of process, the anthologies weren’t at all different to edit. The key thing for me was having variety in both anthologies, which I believe I’ve achieved. However, I’d say that Seducing the Myth was easier to put together, purely because I’d done it once before and had already worked out the best way to do things. But then, with Seducing the Myth, I did have to figure out how to put the book onto Createspace as a paperback; something I didn’t have the option to do with Uniform Behaviour. So that part was new, and challenging, but it was all worth it in the end!

K D: What did you find most difficult about putting together and editing Seducing the Myth?

Lucy: It was difficult to put the stories in order within the book, because although the book contains a nice variety of stories from all over the world, some do come from the same beliefs and mythologies. So I tried to arrange the book so there weren’t too many stories together that were from similar eras/places. Other than that, I would say the process I had to go through to get the paperback made available was a challenge, but since I’ve done it once I know how to do it again!

K D: Seducing the Myth contains a wonderful mix of stories based on myths from all over the world, but one of the most intriguing is yours, which is based on a little-known local myth. I find that choice fascinating. Could you talk a bit about your choice?

Lucy: People that know me know that I have a great love of the outdoors, and in particular I adore spending time in the Peak District. I’m very lucky in that to get to its borders, I don’t have to travel very far. I’m also interested in history, particularly of places that I know. Therefore I have lots of books about the history, myths and legends of the Peak District. I’ve read them all many a time, and one legend that’s always stood out for me is the one of there being mermaids in pools in the Peak District. The reason being is it’s barmy. The Peak District could hardly be more central in the country, it is completely and utterly land-locked, so I’m not sure how the sea-creatures are meant to have got there! But still, the legend exists, one of them even having a pool nicknamed the Mermaid Pool, and a nearby pub (sadly now converted into holiday cottages) called The Mermaid Inn.

The few mermaid legends vary slightly, but I chose this particular one because of the name of the pool and the pub – someone somewhere was obviously very determined that the legend was true! Also, I’ve been to the place several times and have always found it a very eerie and fascinating, yet beautiful place. When the idea for the anthology came about, it seemed like the obvious choice. I knew it’d be incredibly unlikely that anyone would write a similar story. Plus my passion for the area made me really want to tell a story about it. And, of course, it was a good excuse to go there again!

K D: It absolutely has to be asked. Are there any plans for future Lucy Felthouse-edited anthologies? If so, do we dare ask what you have in mind?

Lucy: Not right now. I think there will definitely be another anthology, possibly next year, but I’m not thinking about it at the moment. There are so many other projects I want to work on, including a couple of novels, that I just don’t have the time right now to take something else on, and when I do, I want to be able to dedicate plenty of my time to it. I do quite fancy doing a supernatural anthology, so that may well be on the cards. But as I say, I’m not thinking about it yet, so who knows?

Blurb:

Seducing the Myth: Myths and Legends with an Erotic Twist is a collection of 24 tantalising tales that lead you on a decadent journey through mythologies the world over. As well as stories from the popular Greek and Roman periods, this anthology will also delight you with Arabian, Arthurian, Hindu, Jewish, Norse, Slavic, Sumerian and Welsh myths and legends. Add in a delicious sprinkling of fairies, mermaids and ancient fertility rituals and you have a recipe for a wickedly erotic read!

More information and buy links: http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk/published-works/seducing-the-myth-myths-and-legends-with-an-erotic-twist

Excerpt:

When I first heard the silly talk, I didn’t take much notice. After all, the witterings of the drunken old men in the Greyhound Inn are hardly life-changing. They usually spouted tales of their childhood and ‘the good old days’, most of which were completely fabricated. But as I sat in the corner reading, I couldn’t help but notice that their conversation lingered on the same topic for some time. I found myself drawn in. Keeping my eyes on my book, I listened.

They were discussing a place up on the moors, a pool that was reputed to be haunted. Legend told of a malevolent mermaid lurking in its depths, and several mysterious disappearances in the vicinity. I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing. The thought of a mermaid in Staffordshire really tickled me. It’s a landlocked county – in fact, you can hardly get any more central.

Normally I would have dismissed what they were saying out of hand, but although the legend was undoubtedly ancient, the disappearances were recent. My reporter’s instinct kicked in and I slammed my book down on the table, startling the trio of pensioners. Whipping a notebook and pen out of my bag, I stood and moved over to their table.

One round of drinks later and I had everything I needed. This was going to be one hell of an article.

*****

By the time I parked my car in the lay-by near the pool some two weeks later, I’d done my research. The gentlemen in the pub had given me their version of the legend, the information they had about the recent disappearances, and the rough location. A study of my White Peak Ordnance Survey map revealed the exact location and correct name of the mysterious body of water – Blake Mere. A library visit, a raid of my own bookshelves and some Googling turned up several different versions of the legend, none of which I could confirm as true or false. I decided to visit Blake Mere and make my own mind up.

As I made my way along the path skirting the small ridge above the pond, I looked down. At once I understood at least why people found the area creepy, if not how the mermaid legend had come about.

It didn’t help that I’d chosen a mid-week evening to visit; the darkening sky and lack of people did nothing to dissipate the eerie atmosphere. And nor did the silence.

Part of me was glad no one was around. Some of my more unusual journalistic investigations had, in the past, caused people to come and ask what I was doing. My responses, as I never saw any reason to lie, inevitably prompted a barrage of further questions. This meant I then had to find a way of extricating myself from the conversation so I could get on with my work. Not being the most forceful of fellows, I always find it difficult.

At least this time I’d be left well alone.

The path forked, the left turning being the one which would lead me down by the water. I took it. The closer I drew to the mere, the more another part of me wished I wasn’t alone. The quiet was uncanny, as was the absence of any wildlife. You’d normally expect to find midges, dragonflies, and the birds that ate them around most bodies of water. There was nothing, which was strange enough. Stranger still was that despite its exposed location and the slight breeze in the air, the pool’s surface remained undisturbed. I wish I could have said the same for my state of mind.

Lucy is a graduate of the University of Derby, where she studied Creative Writing. During her first year, she was dared to write an erotic story – so she did. It went down a storm and she’s never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Constable and Robinson, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance, Summerhouse Publishing, Sweetmeats Press and Xcite Books. She is also the editor of Uniform Behaviour and Seducing the Myth. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Peter Birch Talks Inspiration and Seasonal Sex

I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Birch at Erotica this year. The fellow walker and man of many pseudonyms was dressed like Father Christmas and spreading good cheer, seasonal and otherwise.  I’m delighted that he’s decided to stop by my site on his blog tour promoting the fabulous Pete and Sarah’s Guide to Seasonal Sex. Welcome Peter!

I feel rather good after reading KD’s blog introduction. Now I know I’m not the only person who wanders the English countryside with a glazed expression while thinking out the details of erotic novels. To me, it’s simply the best way to get ideas, create suitably tangled plots, let characters take on some depth, anything really. All ten books of my Truscott Saga (written as Aishling Morgan, just to avoid confusion) have benefited from long walks on Dartmoor, often to the places where the action is set, while whenever my mind jams up a simple walk to the local park is almost guaranteed to clear the cogs. Walking allows me to think in a way that’s impossible when sat in front of a computer.

An exception is when it comes to the juicy details, as I try to draw as much of the actual erotic content of my books from real experience as I possibly can, either my own, or when that’s not practical, that of friends. That applies to all three of my pieces in the winter edition of Pete and Sarah’s Guide. I really do dress up as Santa Claus for fetish parties, and believe me, the effect is magical, while I’ve been giving and receiving spankings since my teens. Even the entirely imaginary erotic indulgences in my story, A Winter Feast, are drawn from reality, although highly polished.

No doubt some will disagree, perhaps arguing that I’m placing limits on my imagination, but I see experience as a tool to be used in my craft when needed and set aside when not needed. Obviously the scenes with the octopus god in Deep Blue never actually happened, but even then the physical sensations come from real, and fairly unusual, experience. That’s been gathered across years, and it was the experience that I put into my pieces for Fetish Times back in the mid-nineties that led to me being invited to try out a novel for Nexus, Virgin’s now sadly defunct erotica imprint.

My other source of inspiration comes from reading. I’ve always loved erotica and devoured the good the bad and the downright awful from an early age, usually with appreciation but also with a critical eye, and that has had an inevitable influence on my own work, but it’s very much in the background. My style, my plotting, my structure and all the other things that go to make a worthwhile erotic novel more than just a string of loosely connected sex scenes all come from mainstream authors, or those working in other genres, and not just the obvious greats. Saki, Wodehouse, Jack Vance, have all allowed me to learn a great deal, to the extent that I would argue that in order to write, you first need to read, and read widely.

So that’s my formula, lots of naughtiness in brightly lit bedrooms and disreputable clubs, mixed with hours spent buried in books and taking long country walks. I recommend it to you.

Blurbs:

Pete and Sarah’s Guide To Seasonal Sex – your one stop shop for everything you want to know about seasonal adult activities. Packed with interviews from internationally renowned performers such as Dita Von Teese and Buck Angel, as well as winter themed erotic stories, and seasonal adult articles!

This is THE guide you need to read, whether you are a girl, a boy, or both! Written by former Forum magazine editor Sarah Berry, and world renowned erotic writer Peter Birch, with editing by erotic author Nicky Raven, this new quarterly seasonal adult guide is sure to enlighten, amaze and entertain you through the dark winter months.

Formatted and digitally published globally by erotica book imprint House Of Erotica

Buy links
Amazon UK
Amazon US
All Romance eBooks
iTunes

Bio:

Peter Birch has been hopelessly addicted to sex his entire life but has made the best of what society at large sees as a problem. During the ‘eighties, while yuppies were sporting their filofaxes and falking into mobile phones the size of bricks, Peter and his girlfriend were experimenting with the joys of threesomes, dogging and spanking. In the caring ‘nineties he and his wife devoted their time to running sadomasochistic cabarets in London’s more specialised clubs. Finally realising that he needed to earn some money, he took to writing erotica, and has been at it ever since, becoming a prolific novelist, mainly under the Aishling Morgan name, writing guides to kinky sex and dabbling in journalism, which is where he met Sarah Berry.

 

 

Hazel Cushion at Erotica 2011 Discusses The Pet Shop

Hazel Cushion, MD of Xcite Books, speaking at Erotica 2011. She says about The Pet Shop: ‘We’ve never had a book that’s had so many five star reviews’

 

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© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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