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Flappers, Jazz and Valentino

The Sin in Syncopation - Flappers, Jazz and Valentino

♦ As you may already have heard if you follow me on Twitter, I’ve been published again! Hurrah! This marks the sixth time that’s happened, which I’m pretty certain makes me officially addicted.

The book in question is Flappers, Jazz and Valentino, edited by my friend Jillian Boyd who is amazing. It’s an anthology of erotica set in and inspired by the 1920s, which is one of my favourite decades. Here’s the blurb:

Step back in time to a decade full of glamour, glitz and decadent sin with this collection of erotica set in the Roaring Twenties. With twelve stories, in all shades from romantic and sensual to burning hot, this collection is the perfect appetizer for a night out at the speakeasy. A journalist gets a sexy introduction to the sinful syncopation of jazz music. A three-way tango performance becomes the steamiest ticket in town. The owners of a speakeasy set up a very special audition for their new trumpet boy. All this jazz and more in Flappers, Jazz and Valentino, edited by Jillian Boyd.

See that bit about the journalist getting an introduction to jazz? That’s me! That’s my story! Without giving too much away, The Sin in Syncopation is the story of a challenge between self-professed flapper Mae Porter and Calvin Locke, a journalist who has written an article decrying “immoral” jazz. I think I’ll give you a little snippet from it at the bottom of this post, but until then, why not hear more about the story and how and why I wrote it?

Whilst I’m by no means a massive history buff, I really like the Twenties. The music, the style, the intrigue of a decade whose mythology is filled with speakeasies, flappers and gangsters. Elegant women with androgynous hair and fringed dresses, handsome men in braces and shirt sleeves. All this made me want to write for Flappers, Jazz and Valentino. Besides which, I’d never written historical erotica before and so there was an element of adding another challenge to my publication history, like I had with my zombie tale and my micro-fiction.

It turned out to be quite tricky! Whilst I knew the era in broad brushstrokes, I had to do a lot of research for the story. At one point near the beginning of it, I could barely go a sentence without having to look something up! Did they say that phrase back then (the Internet often mashes 20s and 30s/40s slang together horribly)? Is that right for the time? I notably spent half an hour researching whether ladies’ clothes shops had changing rooms and then changed my mind and decided not to even use that bit. Sigh.

What inspired my story was actually an article I came across during the broad research and brainstorming of the era. I’d of course heard of the idea of jazz as the “devil’s music” and all of the protective, disapproving mumbling about it during the era, but I stumbled on a piece written in 1921 for the Ladies Home Journal entitled “Does Jazz Put the Sin in Syncopation?”. Suddenly the idea for almost fictionalising that came to me. I’d write about a stuffy journalist who authored a similar article condemning jazz and about a willful young flapper who tried to change her mind through charm, knowledge and seduction.

Her mind? Indeed. I started out writing the tale as a lesbian love story with a female journalist, as in the real-world article. I love lesbian erotica, done right, best of all. But I quickly realised it wasn’t working out for me. Lilian “Lil” Locke didn’t fit under the skin of the character I’d created, but, for some reason, Calvin “Cal” Locke did. I try not to give all that much attention to gender, so that’s a weird one to explain to myself.

One of the questions Jillian asked in her little author questionnaire to promote the anthology was “Do you have a favourite jazz tune?” Well, though I love jazz, as well as its later swing and big band counterpart (I’m a big Glenn Miller fan), I have to say that it was one song in particular that was the soundtrack to The Sin in Syncopation. I wrote the entirety (yes, all of it) of the story to the sound of Duke Ellington’s East St. Louis Toodle-Oo.

I don’t work at all well in silence nor do I work well with anything too needy for my attention. What I need, as I mentioned in my blog post about my writing process, is either the fake sound of rain or one piece of instrumental music that isn’t too intrusive but which does fit the mood of what I’m trying to write. On repeat. Forever. East St. Louis Toodle-Oo was just upbeat enough to suit a speakeasy or a rent party, but didn’t have any musical equivalents of “sudden movements”, so it didn’t break my concentration. Plus, it’s a fantastic bit of music.

So, if you need an accompaniment to the following (finally!) extract, just hit play up above. After an evening of getting nothing but the cold shoulder from Cal, and a little straight-talking from a Harlem jazz singer friend, Mae finally snaps:

Elbowing my way through the throng, I strode towards Calvin Locke, face burning, fuming. No more futzing around.

I found a small gap in the crowd just in front of him and planted myself firmly, feet apart, right where he could see me. He looked either puzzled or intrigued, I couldn’t tell. His lips moved, but I couldn’t hear him over the blare of the trumpet. It didn’t matter.

Lunging, I took his collar in one hand and pulled, bringing his head down and levering myself up to almost his height. My other hand tangled in his hair at the neck and I brought my lips to bear on his, pressing into a kiss, giving him the best damn smooch I’m sure I ever managed.

He was stiff as a stone. I thought it was all over.

But then, before I had time to break away or even know what was happening, he melted. He softened. I found his lips starting to move against mine. I found his hands at my hips, nestling among the beads of my shift dress. I found a murmur of pleasure that I felt against my mouth more than heard, because all I could hear, still, was the wail of the band and the stomp of feet.

His hands brought my body in closer and now there was no mistaking what I was unsure of earlier: a stiffness below his belt prodded my belly. I purred into him and swayed my hips.

I’m sure if this had been the pictures – had a kiss like this even been allowed in the pictures – we’d have pulled apart to find an awed hush, an audience and a general fuss about our “licentious” behaviour. This being The Chapel at the top of the night, we separated at last to find, as expected, that no-one had even paid us any heed. The band played on, the dancers got hot and, all in all, the Twenties continued to roar all around us.

I exhaled and looked Cal in the eyes. Now they were finally meeting mine, I didn’t want to look anywhere else. He was grinning like a panther, though panthers didn’t usually wind up smeared with ruby lipstick.

“Come on,” he said. “I know somewhere we can go.”

If that tickled your fancy, or if the thought of oodles of jazz-era erotica does it for you in general, head over to get your copy of Flappers, Jazz and Valentino right now in eBook (US here) or in paperback (US here)!

Felt Tips

Of Silver, Sin and School Desks in Felt Tips

♦ I probably should have written this post when Felt Tips originally came out in December, but I really wanted to wait for the paperback version so I could have something to hold in my hands and take slightly self-important pictures of. But nonetheless, hey, look! A book! And that’s my name in it!

So, you’ll hopefully know I’ve been published before (in Hungry for Love and Take Your Partner) and now I’ve gone and done it again! Hooray!

The book is Felt Tips by the wonderful Tiffany Reisz and, as I say, it was originally out at the end of last year in eBook format. And now the paperback has been released and my copy just arrived in the post, which makes me feel all shiny. Felt Tips is the world’s first and only collection of “Office-supply Erotica”. Porn with pens. Erotica about erasers. Sex with… staplers? Ouch.

Here’s a teeny snippet:

“Please,” I said and before I knew it I could feel the pencil-clamps pinching down, first on my left nipple, then my right. They were astonishingly tight for something so… Blue Peter. I felt electrified.

To come up with the story, I played around with some stationery ideas in my head to see what sparked and when I’d settled on the main items used in my story, the idea of a teacher and taking the office out of office supplies really grabbed me. As I told Tiffany, “I know a teacher or two and so I have a bit of an insight into that sort of strange professional repression that can come with it that might beg to be released”. I found it quite compelling and, lo and behold, my first acceptance email came out of it. A little later Felt Tips hit the scene.

Felt Tips book

With over 40 authors contributing and with Tiffany donating a new Original Sinners story, there’s bound to be something for everyone. And since all proceeds go to an organisation that helps struggling schools supply their classrooms, you’ll be doing your heart good as well as your bits! Brits, you can pick up Felt Tips on Amazon UK in eBook here and paperback here. For everyone else, the Amazon US links are here for the eBook and here for the paperback.

Although life has slowed down my fiction writing a little, I’m determined to take the very good advice of several friends and professional acquaintances and just not stop writing. In fact, I’m hoping to have another story published soon, so watch this space! ♦

Take Your Partner

Take Your Partner Lovehoney erotic anthology ♦ Hey, remember that time I got published? Oops, I did it again!

Yup, another of my stories has been officially published, this time by the wonderful emporium of sexy that is Lovehoney. They ran a competition back in May asking for erotica on any theme and I knew I had to enter. For a start, simply by entering each writer got 2,000 Oh! Points and I’m slowly inching my way towards buying something very exciting with those.

The prize of £100 to spend at Lovehoney was also tempting, but probably the biggest draws were the prestige of publishing a story through Lovehoney and the element of fierce competition. And competition was indeed fierce! Only ten winners were drawn from over 250 entries. Yikes.

And I won! But not only that, my story “Take Your Partner” has become the title story of the entire anthology! Wow!

Yes, Take Your Partner and Other Stories is now available to buy!

I was so chuffed to be included and I’m even more so to be the lead and title story for the book. It’s beyond words to be able to look at the cover and say to myself, “That’s me, that is.” Here’s what the blurb has to say about my story:

“Tango is the dance of love, and when our newly single heroine finds herself dancing with the boyish Georgie at her weekly class, she definitely feels some strong emotions.”

So, no zombies this time, I went for something a little more accessible. In fact, it was actually a hard one to dream up! Not because the subject matter and style was tough, like in “Last Man on Earth” for Hungry for Love, but because I could write about anything if I wanted. Boy, do I hate a blank, white page, whether figurative or literal.

In the end I decided I wanted to write something with a bit of genderplay, a boyish girl, some masculine energy, because that gets me hot. And I wanted to write something sex toy positive because this is Lovehoney we’re talking about and also sex toys are amazing. I didn’t end up using the original inspiration for this story, a certain vibrator with a cha-cha rhythm, but I’m so glad nonetheless that it was there to spark the idea. And provide energy-boosting orgasms.

In any case, Lovehoney will be doing an official release of this story some time in the New Year, but until then why not beat the crowd? ♦

Stories in Take Your Partner and Other Stories

Take Your Partner by Blacksilk
Delice de Chocolat by Viva Jones
I Promise to… Please by Lily Harlem
In Control by Hope Willowbrook
I Don’t Do This by G C Carmine
Paris by Moonlight by Justine Elyot
I Promise to… Surrender by Lily Harlem
The Princess and the G-Spot by Neneh Gordon
I Promise to… Perform by Lily Harlem
Robot with Green Eyes by L A Meadows

Stories Behind Stories With Stories

♦ Just a short update for now with some erotic fiction bits and bobs. As I’ve mentioned, I’m now a published author thanks to a little anthology called Hungry for Love. I’m over halfway through all the stories myself (been reading a little each day on my commute) and I’ve got to say that there’s some absolute crackers. All sexy, all smart, and some entirely unexpected takes on what zombie erotica might mean. It’s great stuff.

As part of her promotion of the book on her blog, Editor Sommer Marsden has been running a really cool little series of posts featuring  the “story behind the story” of many of the zombtastic tales in the book. Each blog post is by a different author from Hungry for Love giving their unique insight on the whys and wherefores of their story. Some have explained what idea or mood they wanted to get across in their story, others have discussed the film or music references woven into their tales, some the real life events that directly inspired them.

If you’re at all interested in the stories behind the stories in the book or even just “the secret lives of stories” in general, I highly suggest you check out Sommer’s blog. All of the Story Behind the Story posts until now are there in the most current couple of pages. They’re a really great peek behind the veil.

In my Story Behind the Story, I’ve talked about my two main reasons for being desperate to write for Hungry for Love, the difficulties I had in finding the right story hook, the effort I made to stand out from the crowd (Did it work? Let me know!) and one of the main inspirations for my story. If you want to know what tale inspired my story and you want to pick up another great read in the process, you should definitely take a look. The work that inspired my train of ideas is an amazing story that will move you.

Speaking of picking up great reads, I’ve heard this week of a great way to get hold of some new erotic fiction. If you find erotica a bit of a pleasure that you often neglect spending money on, never fear. Bondara have solved that problem by adding free books to the free gifts you can get when you spend £29.99 or more with them. Skimming over Fifty Shades of Grey, there’s some books in the list that I’ve heard really great things about such as Portia Da Costa’s  In Too Deep, Sylvia Day’s Bared to You and Sophie Morgan’s Diary of a Submissive. Even as a fan of (and now writer of) erotic fiction, I often find it hard to keep up with new releases, so this seems like a great way to get hold of some!

Plus, with gift vouchers and gift boxes now also a Thing that Bondara does, that’s Christmas for kinksters pretty much sorted. Nice.

If you’re still gagging for free books after that, don’t forget that I’m still looking for one or two erotic fiction reviewers to review free digital copies of the aforementionedly awesome Hungry for Love. Just think, with the Story Behind the Story posts, you’ll have some great insights to go alongside your thoughts.

And if the promise of a free zombie book, some free mainstream erotic “hot-reads” or learning more more about the craft of writing sexy stories doesn’t interest you… well, I give up! ♦

Hungry for Love

♦ I’m a published author of erotica, woohoo!

So, I briefly mentioned back in July that I was planning ideas for a story to submit to a zombie-themed erotic anthology. You may even remember, if you follow me on Twitter, some flailing about how the story was going and it generally taking up my free evenings and blog time.

Well, it was most definitely worth it.

I’ll admit it, Last Man on Earth was a hard story to write, pushing my newly-established fiction boundaries in more than one way, but I got it done and sent it in. Now, a few months down the line and in time for Hallowe’en, my zombie story and several others are available and I’m being published for the first time both in eBook and print. The feeling is hard to beat.

Yes, Coming Together’s Hungry for Love, edited by Sommer Marsden, is out now!

If you’ve enjoyed some of the erotic fiction I’ve written for the blog before, you might want to check out my first published piece! If you’re a fan of zombies (whether erotically or not) and zombie apocalypses, you’ll certainly want to get hold of the anthology! And if the sheer quantity and quality of zombies and fucking (but not necessarily zombie-fucking) doesn’t quite grab you, how about the charitable aspect? All proceeds go to the American Diabetes Association.

Brits, you can pick up Hungry for Love on Amazon UK in eBook here and paperback here. For everyone else, the Amazon US links are here for the eBook and here for the paperback. If you’re wanting it from another vendor, there’s more listed here.

Furthermore, if you’re a reviewer of erotic fiction and you haven’t yet been sent a copy of Hungry for Love, just let me know. I have a couple of reviewer digital copies that I’m looking to send out in return for an honest and well-written review.

Oh, and if any of you has any questions or comments about my story Last Man on Earth, whether you’ve read it or not, I’d love to hear from you. Just drop me an email, send me a Tweet or post a comment below! ♦

Stories in Hungry for Love

Little Deaths (Cora Zane)
My Name is Brighton (Alana Noel Voth)
Dead in the Water (Lynn Townsend)
Head Full of Zombie (Alison Tyler)
Zombie Apocalypse: First Responder (Kissa Starling)
You Look Better Dead (Jeffrey L. Shipley)
Zombie Goddess (Sadey Quinn)
Dark Hunger (Erzabet Bishop)
Love Never Dies (t’Sade)
Meat (Bobby Diabolus)
Annie Morgan (Armand Rosamilia)
Queer Zombie Disco (Kirsty Logan)
The Tenderest Meat (Elise Hepner)
Last Man on Earth (Blacksilk)
Zombie Factory (Kiki Howell)
Screen Siren (Annabeth Leong)
You Make a Dead Man Come (Sommer Marsden)

Author Q&A for FELT TIPS

♦ As some of you may know and as I’ve mentioned on my Erotic Fiction and Poetry page, I recently successfully submitted a short erotic story to an anthology called FELT TIPS! Edited by the fantastic Tiffany Reisz, FELT TIPS is a charity anthology for a couple of great causes and is themed around one of my favourite things in the world: stationery.

Yup, stationery-based erotica. If you’re anything like me, there’s no way you’ll miss out on reading it now. I’m in love with clean, blank notebooks and 500 shades of colouring pencils and chunky markers and wooden rulers and too many pens to know what to do with!

The anthology is due to be published on the 12th of December this year. Make a note! My story, Of Silver, Sin and School Desks is fifth in the anthology line-up and will be particularly exciting to anyone with a bit of a teacher-fetish out there.

I am absolutely thrilled to be included and wish it could be published right now! In the mean time, the lovely Jenny Lyn, one of my fellow writers for FELT TIPS, has started a series of Q&As with us FELT TIPS contributors. I highly suggest you check them out if you’re interested in the anthology, because it’ll give you some great sneak peaks into the stories and the authors themselves.

My interview went up this Thursday and you can read it here. Do check it out for some insight into my writing routine, my background as a writer (though you might know what part already),  my turn-ons and turn-offs, my inspirations and, of course, my FELT TIPS story and some juicy clues as to what’s in it! ♦