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Posts Tagged ‘Sharazade’

Sharazade Breaks the Language Barrier with A Skiff of Snow

I’m chuffed to bits to have my dear friend and fab writer, Sharazade on Hopeful Romantic today. I would love to offer her a proper British welcome, but since I’m not totally British and definitely not proper, I’ll just say what a pleasure it is to have her sharing the story behind her fun and sexy new story, A Skiff of Snow. A story that has a very special meaning to me. Take it away, Sharazade!

Quite some time ago I blogged about the importance of Facebook for writers as a place to make friends (post is here: http://sharazade.com/?cat=31). One of the erotica writer friends I made there was none other than KD Grace, whom I later had the pleasure of actually meeting at a writer’s conference. But even before that, we posted and chatted happily to each other on Facebook about this and that.

One day, she made a remark about expecting “a skiff of snow.” Now, to an American—or at least, to this American—a “skiff” is a sort of boat. I therefore expected that a “skiff of snow” would be a boatload of the white stuff. However, apparently to people living in the area of England that KD now calls home, a “skiff of snow” is a light dusting. So we talked about that, and then about other American/British terms that are different. KD also mentioned getting a delivery from her local milkman—a service that has all but died out in the US, as private dairies are forced out of business by regulations and rising costs. So that too fed into our discussion of cultural differences, and in a rash move, I said that if I were to write an erotica story about cultural differences, I’d put in a hot delivery man in it and call it A Skiff of Snow, and dedicate it to KD Grace.

Well. I think that was two years ago? Something like that. I am not the world’s fastest writer of fiction. But I really did write the story of the American girl Miranda, who travels to England, battles with vocabulary differences, and—of course—meets a hot delivery guy.

I find travel both intimidating and liberating. Even in a country that almost shares a common language with your own, it’s not that hard to make a fool of yourself. And yet, there’s a freedom in your relative anonymity too. No one knows you; you have no history. You’re freer to take chances. And so my Miranda, even while tripping over herself, has the guts to keep trying until she finally gets her man.

In this excerpt, from her attempt to buy a ticket at Waterloo station, you can tell she’s not quite there yet:

* * *
The line wasn’t long, actually, but it moved very slowly. People seemed to spend a long time at the window. Well, that would suit me just fine. If I got the right window. I looked around a bit at the other people in line. How unfair—there were attractive men all around me, actually. As there had been all over London. But how to meet one? I mean, how to really meet one? How did you start? I could strike up conversations about the weather or the time and ask directions, and I’d done all those things, but there never came a point when I could say, “Excuse me, but I’d like to have a fling.” I suppose I could have tried—but I wouldn’t want them to think I was that kind of girl. (Even if I kind of was.)

I turned a corner in the queue-line and could see the male agent again. Maybe about 30 or 35, brown mussed hair, and blue eyes. And … a blue uniform. What is it about men in uniforms? OK, I know selling train tickets isn’t quite the same as being in the RAF, but … it still looked hot. Trust me. I imagined his arms around me as I played with his gold buttons, teasing him a little.

Back up. I’d have to get there first. But at least here I’d have an excuse to make some conversation. I’d ask for my ticket, see, and he’d note the destination, and mention that he was going there anyway, to … to stay with his aunt, or something … and … he’d sort of hint around to make sure I was single, and then we’d arrange to meet up, and …

Another male agent walked behind him. Yes! Two agents! Both of whom had the night off! And would want to show an American around. And we’d wind up back at their apartment – I mean their flat – and one would stand behind me, holding my arms at my side, kissing my neck at just that spot. Then the other one would step up to me, and say

“Cashier number five, please. Cashier number five,” came the announcement for me. I was almost afraid to check—but it was! It was his window!

I was probably more flustered now by the station agent than I would have been by the damn ticket machine. OK, Randie, calm down. You can do this. Talk to the nice man without drooling.

I sort of gawped at him. I couldn’t remember what to ask for. “Um, I need a ticket…”

“Single?”

What the hell? That was pretty forward! I blushed. He’d skipped about six steps of my planned dialogue, but … I could roll with it.
“Yes, I am. Just out of a relationship, actually … ” (Well, so he wouldn’t think I was some sort of loser nobody wanted to date.)

“I mean for the ticket. A single or a return?”

Oh god. Right. The ticket. I didn’t know how to answer the question, though. I had to settle for staring blankly. Return? Did that mean refundable?

“One-way, or round-trip?”

Right – duh. I should have been able to figure that one out, but I’d been too distracted by his uniform. Good thing he also spoke American. But now I was not only not getting a date – probably – I was totally embarrassed.

“Round trip, please.”

“Certainly. Where to?”

What? Oh … was he hoping to meet me after all? “Well … to here, of course.” I sort of half-winked at him and gave him my most enticing smile.
“Yes, but … ” Was that a small sigh? “But what city did you want to go to, so that you could come back here from it?”
Oh god. Oh god. I’m such a dope. I will never, ever buy a ticket from a man in a uniform again.

“Woking.”

A definite sigh this time. “Not walking, love. Where do you want to ride to, on the train?” Like he was talking to a three-year-old.
Oh god oh god oh god. Even the “love” didn’t help. How the hell did you pronounce that name? I tried again.
“Woaking? Wooking?” Why wouldn’t it be wok, like the Chinese dish?

I showed it to him on my little map.

“Oh… Woking,” he said – exactly the same way I’d said it. At least I think. My face was flame red. I considered changing my ticket to a one-way – dammit, a single – so I would never have to face him again, broad-shoulders-in-a-uniform or not. Thank goodness I didn’t have to give him my name in order to get the ticket. (And he didn’t say anything about going there himself, or having the night off. He probably didn’t even have an aunt.)

* * *

When Miranda meets the right man in the right way, though, they find that they share a common language after all. This one’s for you, KD!

Thank you for this, Sharazade! It’s the first time I’ve ever had a story written for me! It’s a fab tale, and what fun it was being a part of the discussion leading to it! KDx

A Skiff of Snow is available at Amazon, Smashwords, and other fine purveyors of cross-culturally informed erotica.

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Skiff-of-Snow-ebook/dp/B00AADCGUE

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/A-Skiff-of-Snow-ebook/dp/B00AADCGUE

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/256904

Sharazade is professional writer, editor, and consultant, with more than 20 books published under another name. She divides her time among Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the U.S. Not surprisingly, her stories tend to feature some aspect of travel–modes of transportation or exotic locales. She enjoys stories that are realistic enough that they might have happened and fanciful enough that they might not have. She values communication, adventure, exploration, passion, and love. Find her on her blog at http://sharazade.com.

 

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Sharazade Talks About Her Story, ‘Flaws,’ and the Train Journey that Inspired It

It’s my pleasure to welcome international woman of mystery and Queen of Travel Erotica,  Sharazade, to share with us the story behind her moving, sexy train story, Flaws.

It’s always fun to hear from readers which story in a collection was a favorite. You never get the same answers from everybody, of course, but if we go by the majority, the short story “Flaws” from Transported: Erotic Travel Tales is the most popular. It’s a story told in the first person, from the point of view of a young woman traveling across the US by train, who lacks confidence in her attractiveness because of what she views as her body’s “flaws”—the sorts of things that the reader can see a lover probably wouldn’t even notice, let alone care about, but that can drive the owner to distraction—a scar, unusually large nipples, a few hairs out of place, a belly that isn’t flat.

I’m often asked if any of those flaws are mine. Well—that you don’t get to know. But the real “flaw,” of being hyper-critical of myself, that is sometimes mine and it sometimes isn’t. Like the character in the story, I’m quite aware that confidence is sexy; but like that character, I know how hard it is sometimes to pull yourself up when you’re not feeling confident. It takes more to feel good about yourself than just giving yourself a stern talking to. I confess I get a little impatient sometimes with websites (and people) who say that you should never base your feelings of confidence or self-worth on someone else’s perception or evaluation, but only on your own. Of course there’s truth to that, but come on. What if you’re feeling very down about yourself? Or what if you’re feeling very confident, but … no one else seems to agree with you? Hey, it happens.

So in the story, I let the woman gain some confidence from the unexpected (well, to her, anyway!) advances of an attractive man. His obvious attraction to her and her body is the boost she needs to pull herself out of her low spot. Is she going to base her future sense of self-worth on a fleeting encounter with a guy (or… two guys…) on a train? Of course not. But she sure steps off that train feeling good; and then the cycle can work its way up, instead of down. When you feel good, you look good, and when you look good, you feel good, and so on. Enthusiastic appreciation and lust from a partner contribute to one’s self-image—a good reminder that we should express our own appreciation and lust for our partners in very obvious ways.

On a more personal note, I also like “Flaws” because a lot of the plot line is autobiographical—I have taken that train trip, and I was reading “To the Lighthouse,” and I did get a free sleeper car from the conductor for the second half of the trip. And the rest? Well, I’ll leave that to the readers’ imaginations.

Excerpt:

His compartment is small, and I accidentally brush against him as I enter the room. (I was right, he is well-muscled.) The bed is actually a bunk, with a lower and upper berth. There’s a full-length mirror on one wall, and a little doorway on the other side that must go to the bathroom area. I notice he has two suitcases, which seems a bit extravagant. Perhaps one needs a wealth of material to describe the deeds of Herbert Hoover, or maybe he’s just a clothes horse. Some men are. Now that I’m in his room, I feel a bit awkward. How exactly am I going to take a shower? Surely he’d have to leave for a while? But he makes no move to go, and I feel to shy to ask him to. To cover my nervousness, I lean over the bottom bunk and look out the window. Of course, it’s dark, so I can’t see a thing, so now I must look like a complete idiot. Maybe he’ll think I can see the stars, or something.

Suddenly I feel his hand on me, on my side. Startled, I jump up and back into him, there being nowhere else in the little room to go, and now both of his arms are around me, turning me around. He looks at me without speaking, and brushes a lock of my hair out of my face with his hand. Oh. My. OK, I didn’t know this was on his mind, I didn’t suspect this at all. I’m so naïve. Or just dumb. I don’t know what to do. I make a sort of a half move to go, but his arms are firm and keep me there.

And then he kisses me. Oh god. It feels so, so good. I haven’t been kissed in so long. His kisses are gentle, but firm, and… confident. Unbelievably sexy. I give in and kiss him back. I can’t believe this. I can’t believe he’d want to kiss me, but he does. Our kisses grow more passionate, and now his hands are traveling around my body, caressing my back, squeezing my ass, pulling me to him. I think again that I have to get out of here before it goes any further… and then I think, well, why not stay? Why not? I’m young, I’m single, I’m on a train, I’m here with an absolute dream of a guy who wants me. Who cares if it’s only because he couldn’t find somebody better? He’s with me now, and it feels amazing. And with some new confidence that surprises me, I slip my hands under his shirt to feel his body.

He takes this as a sign to remove his shirt. I was right—he has an amazing body, smooth and strong. And now his hands are at my shirt too, lifting it over my head. Oh god. Oh no. I’ve just remembered. It’s not a flaw, exactly, because it’s something I can fix, but … I also have just a few hairs that grow on my nipples, at the edges of my areolas. They’re not normally a problem, I just pluck them out, but I haven’t checked in several days, and I don’t know if they’re there now or not. The light in the cabin is certainly strong enough that he’d see them if he looked down. What can I do? I consider breaking away and saying I need to go to the bathroom, and then I can check for hairs and try to pull them out with my fingers if I need to, but won’t it look weird to just leap out of his arms like that?

While I’m trying to decide whether I’d look worse if I bolted into the bathroom or if he noticed some nipple hairs, I’ve lost my chance—he’s got my shirt off and is unhooking my bra and it’s too late. Each hand is caressing a breast now. I don’t dare look down, and just close my eyes. His hands feel heavenly, touching me with firm, sensuous strokes, his fingers pinching my nipples. I feel a rush of warmth between my legs.

He bends down to kiss my breasts. At least I don’t need to worry about sagging nipples now, because they’re taut and erect, aching for his kisses and light bites. And then… he stands back up, just a little away from me. I open my eyes to see what he’s doing. He’s looking at me. He’s looking right at my chest, touching me while he examines me. He traces my scar with his forefinger. I look at his face, to see what he’s thinking, but I can’t really tell. He runs his finger back and forth over my scar, and then bends and kisses it.

Buy Links:

Amazon US print: http://www.amazon.com/Transported-Erotic-Travel-Tales-Sharazade/dp/1603814655/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313764337&sr=8-1
Amazon US Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Transported-Erotic-Travel-Tales-ebook/dp/B003N2PZUW/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&qid=1313764337&sr=8-1

Amazon UK print: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transported-Erotic-Travel-Tales-Sharazade/dp/1603814655/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1313764375&sr=8-1
Amazon UK Kindle:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Transported-Erotic-Travel-Tales-ebook/dp/B003N2PZUW/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=A3TVV12T0I6NSM&qid=1313764375&sr=8-1

Smashwords: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/14974

Barnes & Noble print:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/transported-sharazade/1100074487?ean=9781603814652&itm=1&product.urlkeywords=transported%2fsharazade&usri=sharazade
Barnes & Noble Nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/transported-sharazade/1100074487?ean=2940011051951&itm=1&product.urlkeywords=transported%2fsharazade&usri=sharazade

Bio:
Sharazade is professional writer, editor, and consultant with more than 20 books published under another name. She divides her time among Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and the U.S. Not surprisingly, her stories tend to feature some aspect of travel–modes of transportation or exotic locales. She enjoys stories that are realistic enough that they might have happened and fanciful enough that they might not have. She values communication, adventure, exploration, passion, and love. Find her on her blog at http://www.sharazade.fannypress.com.

 

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