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The Story Behind The Story: Lucy Felthouse

The Story Behind The Story

When K D asked me to do a “story behind the story” blog post, I already knew she had a story of mine in mind. As a fellow outdoorsy type, K D was very interested when I posted some photos online of a visit I’d made to a moorland pool in the Peak District. So naturally I’d like to appease K D’s curiosity and give you all a little insight into this particular tale.

I’ve always been a bit of a history buff, in particular local history. Although I live in Derbyshire, the nearest border of the Peak District is about 40 minutes away from me, so I’m going with local-ish, OK?

The Peak District itself is steeped in legend and folklore, with everything from haunted mines and bridges to black dogs and mermaids.

Blake MereI can hear you thinking: mermaids, you say? In the Peak District? But isn’t that in the middle of the country and nowhere near the sea?

You’re absolutely right, and this is why a particular legend fascinated me so much. It tells the tale of a pool high up in the Peak District which is reputed to be haunted by a mermaid. The legend varies dependent on what you’re reading or who you’re listening to, but the general idea is that the mermaid is a malevolent creature that drags victims into the murky depths of the pool. When I heard this, I simply had to go and see this place for myself. Its proper name is Blake Mere, and is situated on the Morridge Moors, not too far from the main Leek to Buxton road, if you’re familiar with the area.

The Mermaid PoolI’ve been two or three times now but it wasn’t until my upcoming anthology project was born that I thought of using the place and its legend in a story. The anthology (which is likely going to be entitled Seducing the Myth) is an erotic mythology book and when I thought about what I’d like to write for it, this seemed like the obvious option. Granted, there are myths that go thousands of years back in time and span the globe, but I liked the thought of doing something local. And so Down by the Pool came to fruition.

Bench by the poolWithout giving too much away, the story is about a male journalist who hears about a series of disappearances which are linked to Blake Mere and its mythical inhabitant. He sets out to find out more about the legend and to write an article disproving it. However, on visiting the pool for himself, he has an experience which he can definitely not publish in the local newspaper.

I had great fun researching the area and the legend, as well as writing the story. The thing is, I think I’ve now caught the bug. You may be seeing more stories from me in future with unusual settings or backgrounds 🙂

Keep an eye on my website for details of the upcoming anthology!

*****

During Lucy’s first year studying Creative Writing at the University of Derby, she was dared to write an erotic story. It went down a storm and she’s never looked back. Lucy has had stories published by Cleis Press, Noble Romance, Ravenous Romance and Xcite Books. Find out more at http://www.lucyfelthouse.co.uk. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

 

Thanks for sharing the story behind the story of Down By The Pool with us, Lucy! I can hardly wait to get my hot little hands on your anthology, Seducing the Myth.  Hints on when??? Waiting with bated breath.

As always, lovely to have you!

 

 

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Pssst! Wanna Know Why They Wrote That?


Summer’s coming on fast and everyone is looking forward to holidays and adventures in the sun. My husband and I have our walking adventures planned for the summer, which I hope to be sharing on Hopeful Romantic from time to time. And there are new adventures planned for this blog as well.

There will be guests! Lots of fabulous sexy, intriguing guests, beginning Wednesday with the incredible Lucy Felthouse. She’ll be sharing what inspired her sexy mermaid story, Down By The Pool,  which will be in her upcoming anthology, Seducing the Myth. Lucy’s sneak peek behind the scenes of this hot, and totally unique story is the first in what I hope will be an on-going series called, The Story Behind the Story. It’s a chance for my guest authors to share what inspired the sexiest, most dramatic, favourite bits of their novels and stories.

I’ve always been fascinated with what inspires writers to write, and specifically what inspires certain scenes and certain stories. I love to hear about what experiences the writer had that sent them scurrying for pen and paper or keyboard, what eureka moments got their creative juices flowing, how did the Muse whisper the good stuff in their ear. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wonders these things because I get ask often what inspired The Initiation of Ms Holly and The Pet Shop. I’m always more than happy to share the story, and I’m very pleased to say, so are most authors, including the yummy ones I’ve invited to give us the skinny behind their gripping, sexy, romantic, fun stuff.

Every Wednesday starting in June, I will have a fabulous guest blogger on my site, and a good few of them will be sharing what inspired their favourite bits of their novels and stories. I can hardly wait! I’ll be continuing with my regular posts also, so there will be lots of fun and excitement, Plus something really special coming up in August. Stay tuned for more information on that.

LATEST NEWS

The first reviews are in on The Pet Shop, and I’m thrilled to say, people like misbehaving Pets!

Manic Readers gives The Pet Shop five stars.

‘KD Grace has crafted something mesmerizing.’… ‘I loved The Pet Shop. It was so well done that I could hardly wait to turn each page. Of course the sex was delicious, but the background story, the premise of The Pet Shop, and the magic between the various characters was much more than just delicious sex. Great job bringing me something completely different to read.’

 

Author and founder of Erotica For All, Lucy Felthouse, say:

‘ The sex is smoking hot, the storyline intriguing, and the whole thing is so brilliantly written that you’ll emerge from the end gasping for breath. This book is a whirlwind of fun and naughtiness perfect for erotica fans.’

The Pet Shop is now available in eBook formats, but will be available in print in October, at which time there will be much pink fizz and dancing.

In the meantime, I’m hard at work on book one of the Lakeland Heatwave trilogy, Lakeland Heatwave: Body Temperature and Rising. Xcite and I have been planning and scheming covers. I can hardly wait to see the end results.

Be sure to check in Wednesday for Lucy Felthouse talking about the strange phenomenon of mermaids in the Peak District in the very first Story Behind The Story. It’ll be so much fun!

 

 

 

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Phantom of the Opera: Sex and the Trading of Innocence for Knowledge

I saw Phantom of the Opera in London with my sister-in-law and her husband Tuesday. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen the musical, but I was enraptured all over again, just like always. I read Gaston Leroux’s novel long before I knew anything about the musical, and I thought it was one of the most romantic, sexy, totally terrifying, psychologically complex books I’d ever read. I still think that. It’s the penultimate romance in which all of our worst nightmares are interwoven so tightly with all of our deepest hopes and wildest dreams that it’s impossible to pick the threads apart. So we can do nothing but bask in it and be haunted by it.

I’ve mentioned in an earlier post that I’ve always felt the stories in mythology that are about seduction of mortal women by the gods and the stories of the magical children born of those unions are really the stories of inspiration. What better description of inspiration than divine seduction. I get goose bumps just thinking about it!

As I always do, when I experience Gaton Leroux’s gripping tale again, especially when accompanied by music that so beautifully illustrates the soaring and plummeting of the human heart when touched by love and loss and desire and suffering, I find myself analyzing what it is in the story that moves me so, what it is that moves thousands of people every year.

The elements are all there, a bad boy, a beautiful girl, a hero, a gift offered with a price, and yet Leroux has managed to turn it all on its ear, with perfect story-telling precision. The hero is not the dashing young viscount from Christine’s past. The ‘god’ in the story is not irresistibly beautiful, but disfigured and wounded. His seduction is not physical, but he knows the soul of an artist well enough to know that the real seduction is in offering a deeper understanding, a deeper mastery of her gift. In the lovely Christine, the gift is already there, she just lacks the training, which her ‘Angel of Music’ is only too happy to provide. The Phantom’s dark is the balance to Christine’s light, and his music of the night allows her true gift to shine. Through it all, Raul, the viscount, is clueless. But Christine knows the dark. She’s seen it, embraced it, and a part of her loves it and longs for it. Her ‘loss of innocence’ has a chilling side to it that the whole story revolves around.

Even when I read the book without the enhancement of the amazing music, my heart raced, and the fear I felt at the descriptions of the Phantom’s lair and the dark lake under the opera house and the terrifying scene in the graveyard, still makes me shiver years later. Yet throughout the whole of the book there is an ache for the Phantom that is so much more than pity. It’s a compelling, beautifully woven mix of fear and awe and raw desire for a man who is so much more than human that human rules can barely apply and yet so wounded that the imagination can barely take in the suffering he has born. His actions tell us he is a monster, and yet we want him, we long for a way for him and Christine to be together, for all wounds to be healed and there to be a happy ever after.

But there can’t be. There can never be. And then we realize that happy-ever-after is Raul’s job. He is to have vicariously what the Phantom may never have, but it is Christine who earns him that right. She is the hero of this story. She is the goddess hidden, then revealed only at the end when a choice must be made between the death of Raul and life with the Phantom. She not only chooses, but she chooses unconditionally, unreservedly to love the Phantom, to understand him, in as much as it’s possible to understand such tortured genius. She is the true giver of the gift in this story. She restores the balance. Just as the Phantom’s darkness has infused her gift with the music of the night, her light has healed him, enabling him to let go of that which he knows does not now, nor has it ever belonged to him, the gift and the possessor of that gift.

And what does that have to do with inspiration? In the Greek stories and myths, it takes time for the magical child to be born and trained up to fulfill the task for which he was conceived, and it is usually a he. In Leroux’s story, we aren’t told how long Christine has been studying with her ‘Angel of Music,’ but it is clearly enough to make her singing totally astounding to anyone who listens.

Thomas Edison said that genius is one percent inspiration and ninty-nine percent perspiration. One good tumble with a god is of no more value than having raw talent. What happens next is what really matters, the hard work of training up the magical child, of training up the exquisite voice, of writing and writing and writing some more until what we’ve written works, until every word sings, until we learn what makes words sing, and what makes the chorus of words that sing our story just like we envision it in our moments of deepest inspiration.

I think Phantom of the Opera is the story of the natural process of the creative force. It inspiration and hard work moving through the fear to restore balance, and coming out on the other side to places we never could have imagined in our wildest dreams. Then starting over again.

Is this what Leroux’s story is about? I don’t know, but I do know that the sensuality, the deep hunger and the fear of moving past the point of no return is something every writer encounters every time we write, and I think every artist experiences that as well.

And what does that have to do with sex? Well, everything, actually. What we create, what we bring forth is the result of passion leading us down into the depths of ourselves and seducing ourselves in ways we can scarcely imagine. We are changed by that passion, by that deep connection with what inspires us. Innocence is lost and something totally new is created even out of our fears, and we are inspired to move forward and to face unconditionally what comes next.

 

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Nice Girls, Naughty Sex, Fabulous Read!

Nice Girls, Naughty Sex is one fabulous read! There. That sums it all up in a nutshell. Well, actually, it’s twenty fabulous reads. With a table of contents that reads like a who’s who among the goddesses and gods of erotica, I expected this  NGNS to be a great anthology. But with a fair few authors I’d never read before, what I wasn’t sure about was how consistent the anthology would be. How could I ever have doubted, with editors like Oysters and Chocolate’s fabulous Jordan LaRousse and Samantha Sade.

The only real problem I had with Nice Girls, Naughty Sex was remembering that I was supposed to be reading this anthology to review it. Apologies to all the authors, but I have to tell the truth, I read your stories for pleasure. How could I help it, really, when the stories were all so deliciously nasty?

It wasn’t just the nastiness which made me forget the task at hand, though, it was the story factor. Nice Girls, Naughty Sex is chock-a-block with flat-out good stories. Plus they’re nasty! What a fabulous combination.

The anthology is put together in that wonderful Oysters and Chocolate format, with five stories in each of O/C’s yummy categories: Vanilla, Dirty Martini, Licorice Whip, and Oysters.

The Vanilla stories start out with ‘A Technicality,’ the tender and moving, yet very sexy story by Sommer Marsden set, of all places, in a hospice, where two lonely people comfort each other while they wait for their loved-ones to die. The section ends with Trish DeVene’s story, ‘Looking for the Wintergreen.’ Heat and romance aside, ‘Looking for the Wintergreen’ is one of the most beautifully crafted stories I’ve ever read. Ms DeVene’s spare but elegant use of language lets the reader know of a family’s unhealed wounds, while building us up for the healing that begins with hot, sex alfresco on a cold winter day.

There seem to be a lot of stories in NGNS which start in a place of woundedness and end with sexy, healing celebrations of life, and Sienna Conroy’s Dirty Martini story, ‘For His Pleasure,’ does it beautifully as she tells the tale of the deliciously naughty way a wife and husband find their way back to each other after a miscarriage.

I romped my way through the Licorice Whip section of NGNS, which I have to admit, was my over-all favourite, beginning with Janine Ashbless’s wild frolic, ‘Good Doggie,’ progressing to Kay Jaybee’s kinky ‘Corset’ and reaching total melt-down with Kestra Gravier’s fabulous story, ‘A Lesson for Clair,’ in which a post grad student’s former professor gives her a sizzling lesson on taking control.

The anthology finishes off with some delicious girl on girl fun in the Oysters section. Having some experience in martial arts myself, I found Kristina Wright’s story of a woman boxer and the curvy gym bunny who’s got a crush on her. ‘The Dragon Lady’ is hot, sweaty, and fab reading. Jeremy Edwards steamy, and more than a little wet story, ‘Eastern Standard Time,’ is a perfect end to a damn-near perfect anthology.

The variety of stories in NGNS kept me fully engaged with every single offering. The stories were not only consistently sexy, but they were all consistently well-written and cracking good reads aside from the sex. Scorching sex along with a gripping story is always a winning combination, and this anthology has twenty totally different, totally enthralling winners. Reading Nice Girls, Naughty Sex was pure pleasure!


 

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Thoughts from the Lakes

10th May

We nearly got blown off the fell today. The winds at the top of Broom Fell were like nothing I’ve ever experienced before. I was literally driven to my knees. I had to stop several times, just dig my poles in and hunker over. We didn’t continue on to Lord’s Seat as we intended. It was just too dangerous. Brian says when it’s that windy, the safest thing to do is just to lie down flat. It was an amazing, terrifying, exhilarating experience, and strangely I noticed the wind smelled like line-dried sheets before you put them on the bed, though I suppose in reality line-dried sheets smell like heavy winds on the Lakeland fells.

The wind made me think about what it actually would be like for Marie coming down off High Spy on a steep descent of loose slate in the wind mist and rain. Now I have first-hand experience to confidently say that it’s not a good place to be in bad weather.

We decended out of the wind to Spout Force, a lovely waterfall in the protection of a tight canyon. In the afternoon, we went to the Rannerdale Valley, and I’ve never seen so many bluebells up the sides of the fells and in the valley below. Apparently this valley was The Secret Valley, which writer and publican Nicholas Size wrote about. It is the valley where the native Britons and Norsemen ambushed and defeated the Normans after the Norman invasion. According to legend, for every Norman invader killed, a bluebell grows. More dark grist for the creative mill and my ghosts and witches as I write Lakeland Heatwave.

11th May

We took the long way to Ullswater, over Kirkstone pass to Sheffield Pike and Glenridding Dodd. We had planned to walk Red Screes on top of the Kirkstone Pass, but most of the upper fells were lost in the mist as we began our day. We had a lovely walk anyway. Both fells were rocky with inviting hidey holes and nooks and crannies, just the sort of places strange things, which are not easily explained away, might happen. We finished the day walking along the shores of Ullswater in rain-washed sunshine.

We spent the evening at the Keswick Mountain Rescue Base where Chris Harling gave a presentation about his climb of Mt Everest in 2007. Wow! What an experience! It was good to spend a little time at the base and hear some of Brian’s stories of mountain rescue call-outs he’d been on, all of which helped me get a picture in my mind’s eye of what sort of experiences my farmer, Tim Meriwether, might be dealing with as a volunteer for Keswick Mountain Rescue.

I went to bed thinking about Chris Harling climbing Everest. Chris said for him the hardest challenge was psychological, keeping his mind focused so that no matter how hard it was, no matter how much he wanted to quit, he could keep the goal before him and keep pushing forward to it.

With witches and ghosts and mountain passes being the order of the day, one of my Facebook friends, Thomas Gardener III, put me onto this fabulous song called The Witch of Westmoreland. The song is set in the Kirkstone Pass and at Ullswater. More atmospheric inspiration for my witches and their ghosts. Give it a listen.

12th May

We had more iffy weather, so again we walked the lower fells. We started our day on Raven Crag. Brian told us a story of the Mountain Rescue being called out to remove a decomposing corpse from there, which only added to the deep woodsy, eeriness of the fell. Like every place we walked, there were gorgeous views from the top. There is logging going on along some parts of the trail now. The ever-present smells of sawdust and pine resin brought back childhood memories of going to the woods with my father to where he worked. We made a quick side trip to take in the earthworks that remain of a bronze age fort overlooking the Shoulthwaite Valley.

We finished the day walking High Rigg, and Low Rigg down through St. John’s In the Vail to Tewit Tarn (pronounced Tiffit) taking in a lovely view of Castle Rigg Stone Circle from below Low Rigg. I’d always looked up onto these fells from the circle, but never seen it from above before. I can see why the Neolithic residents chose that particular site for their stone circle – sat on a raised plateau completely surrounded by high fells, no cathedral ever built could offer such a breath-taking experience.

13th May

Unfinished business got finished today. We decided to do the fells we had to give up on Tuesday because of the wind. We started off the day walking Barf in the rain. I know most of you American readers are laughing by now, but don’t let the name fool you, the ascent up Barf was probably the toughest ascent we had. It was steep, rocky, and wet, and we did the majority of it in the worst rain we’d had all week. But wow, what a lovely walk! We were rewarded with exquisite views out over not only Bassenthwaite Lake, but over a large chunk of the Western Fells. By the time we got to the summit, the sun was shining timidly.

We also managed Lord’s Seat, still windy and cold, but at least we could stand up. Then with the unfinished business finished, we walked into some of the most beautiful forest I’ve ever seen, thick with sphagnum moss and heather, up over Seat How where we enjoyed the first dry, wind-free lunch we’ve had all week. We walked roads along forest so thick that the sunlight didn’t penetrate through the canopy, and underneath the trees it literally looked like night. From there we made our final ascent of the day to Whinlatter Top, accompanied, once again, by the howl of the wind, daunting, but not unbearable this time, not exactly an old friend, but no longer the great unknown either.

I always feel a bit bereft after our last walk in the Lakes when we have to head back to the Soft South. Lakeland is so magical, and walking the fells stretches me and challenges me in ways nothing else I’ve done does. There is no denying the inspiration I get from being here. I’ve come away with lots of ideas for the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy, and lots impressions that can come only from moving through the landscape and feeling the many layers of history, geology, natural science, and legend swirling around me with each step I take. It’s a place so steeped in possibility that I’m not at all surprised the story that comes to me won’t be told in only one novel. Lucky me. It’s not only the place that is amazing in what it offers up to me, but the people as well. And I owe a very special debt of gratitude and appreciation to Brian and Vron Spencer for all of their help and enthusiasm as I tease out the stories of my Lakeland witches and ghosts. Thanks Brian and Vron. You’re the best!

 

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© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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