Tag Archives: writing

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)!

My Writing Process

I’ve been tagged in a meme-style thing that’s going around at the moment by SheBoppin. And it was really fun to do! I definitely enjoyed writing about writing, even if my writing at the moment is a bit different to how it might be normally.

I believe I’m supposed to tag people at the end to carry on the meme, but frankly I’ve no idea who hasn’t already done one and I’ve also always hated singling people out for stuff like this in case I leave someone out and upset them. So, if you’re reading this blog post and you haven’t done it yourself yet, consider yourself tagged!

Without further ado…

First Off: What am I working on?

I’m not! Or rather I’ve just finished something, so I’m actually between writing projects at the moment. The future, of course, holds more reviews, more Very Short Stories, more posts in general and more submissions to erotica anthologies. In fact, that’s what I’ve just finished. I’ve been a busy bee over the last week or so doing research, plotting, writing and self-editing for an anthology of historical erotica, specifically set in the 1920s.

It was hard! Not only has it been a little while since I’ve written erotic fiction of any real length but I’ve never done historical before. And I may never do so again! I very much enjoyed all my initial research (I’m quite a fan of the ’20s already, which helps), but I found myself researching a lot more during the actual story itself than I’d expected. At some points nearly every sentence required a Google search! Notably, I wasted at least half an hour trying to work out what 1920s department store changing rooms, if any, were like. Then I scrapped that bit entirely anyway. Yay.

In any case, the story’s been accepted, so watch this space for news on the anthology!

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Well, that depends which of “my work” we’re talking about. when it comes to reviews, I think I probably go into a little more detail than most, which leaves my reviews thorough but perhaps a little lengthy. I’d love to be snappier and punchier with them, like some of my favourite reviewers, but I just can’t bring myself to leave anything out, just in case someone finds it helpful. I also don’t sugar the pill. I’ve seen some reviewers reviewing products that I just can’t believe they’ve actually enjoyed. Sure, people are different, but I sometimes wonder if they’re just much less critical than me.

When it comes to general sex blogging, I think I’m still a rambly but it’s more because of a sort of conversational tone than any thoroughness. Clearly I just can’t shut up. I also like to spatter the blog with geeky references, but, hey, that’s just my life. Full of nerd.

As for erotica, I actually don’t feel I’m really qualified to answer! I’d love to know! And, heck, if you think you know any distinctive features of my erotica, I’d love to know what you think they are. I won’t bite. For some of my erotica, especially my flash fiction, I’ve noticed a bit of a tendency to try to evoke and use nostalgia. I like that and I hope it works well.

Why do I like what I do?

Again, it depends. I’m not actually sure why I like reviews except that I love sex toys, I love having Very Important Opinions and I think I don’t actually suck at reviewing, which is nice. Plus, I enjoy setting up the photos of the toys too.

For writing about my actual sex life, well… I’m not actually sure I do any more. Yeah. Awkward. It’s not that Crush and I don’t have good sex any more, we totally do (and we also have sex which is just “fine”, because that’s relationships), it’s just that I don’t really think I’m interested in blogging about it any more. And I have no idea why. It’s something I’ve not really come to any decision on yet, sort of hoping to avoid it, but it shouldn’t stop me writing the blog.

At “worst”, the focus will shift even more onto reviews, erotica and stuff about sex rather than me going on about me having sex. Because I’m not actually sure what the point of that is any more. I started the blog to be sexual when I felt “real life” wasn’t fit for that. These days, well, I’m a fucking adult, I can talk about sex all I like in real life and anyone who doesn’t like it can go to hell. Not so much need for a specific space for it any more.

As for erotica, well, I’ve always loved to write creatively. I wanted to be an author for quite a chunk of my childhood. And now, whilst I’m not making a living off it (or really trying to at the moment), I guess an author is what I am. Which… still feels a bit fraudulent to say, but, hey, Amazon agrees with me. Writing creatively about sex, incidentally, still absolutely grabs me. I think I might be channelling all my energy for writing erotically about sex into fiction rather than fact, perhaps.

How does my writing process work?

Reviews are easy. During periodic testing, I first jot down anything that leaps out at me about the toy. It all goes into a draft post as it comes out of my head. I rearrange that to suit the flow of a review and then see what else I can mention about the toy when I sit and think about it. I then look back at a previous review of mine and follow that same rough structure, using my notes and adding more details where necessary. Then it’s a quick proofread and post. Done.

For fiction, it’s harder. Er, panic? If the theme of the story needs research (like my latest ’20s one), I research. I think over hooks and ideas for what the plot could be or what my angle on the theme might be. I make notes of snippets or inspirations that appeal to me. I try to find a story that grabs me. I can usually feel whether or not I can make an idea work.

Once I’ve got an idea, I try to hash out a vague order of events or scenes and then I just start writing, beginning to end. Rainy Mood is essential, because silence cripples my creative thought process (but not my other ones). If I’m on a topic that suits music (jazz for the ’20s or tango for Take Your Partner), I can work with one non-intrusive instrumental piece on repeat. No new stimuli.

When I’ve finally finished (I get quicker the further in I go), I get Crush to read over it for typos and inconsistencies. Then I send it to a beta-reader (or two) who is usually the divine and intensely skilled Lady Pandorah. If she likes it, I know it’s not crap. I work on any feedback or clarifications needed and then send it off!

Very Short Stories – The Quoit

♦ It’s been a little while since we’ve had any Very Short Stories. Not content with the three linked just there, I’ve written another. And I’m not the only one! Please do check out these Very Short Stories by F Leonora Solomon, Cammies on the Floor and Adriana. They’re great!

If you’re still not sure how to get involved yourself, it’s easy: find a word or two (or really anything) to use as a prompt, get inspired, then write a teeny-tiny story on only one side of a post-it note. Hotel stationery works well too! When you’re done, let me know where it is so I can link to you. A link back would be nice too.

And write as many as you like! I find these a great little exercise to get your creative juices dripping or to just let out some writing in a way you perhaps don’t always have time for. I’ve even written one of these on public transport.

Anyway, here’s my latest:

Very Short Stories - The Quoit

“Down by the quoit we met and fucked. Your eyes, pricked by pollen, streamed as you came. Shallow white scrapes furrowed my shoulder blades; the granite had held me as hard as you had. That Indian summer couldn’t last. But I still carry the sound of still air peppered by your grunts, the thrill of something so vital perched panting on the dry rocks of the dead, the pressed gorse in my wallet from your hastily gathered bouquet.”

For those of you who don’t know what a quoit is, you may know them better by the name dolmen. Where I’m from, we call them quoits. In any case, they’re (mostly) neolithic tombs made from big-ass rocks. They’re pretty cool and we have quite a few notable ones in Cornwall.

Today’s Very Short Story is, I have to say, rather Cornish-tinged. Quoits, granite in general, gorse, all are vivid parts of my background, though I sadly never had sex up against one. I suppose there’s still time?

In any case, given that today is the day that we the Cornish have finally been recognised as a national minority group (for which I’m ecstatic) with the same rights and protections as the Welsh, Irish and Scots, I thought a bit of nostalgia for the land of my fathers (bro goth agan tasow) was apt. I hope you enjoyed it!

What would a Very Short Story tinged with your cultural heritage be like? I’d love to see some! ♦

Eroticon 2014 – Sunday, Part 1

♦ The previous day at Eroticon 2014 had ended with a cocktail party to which I’d managed to buy Crush a ticket. After train shenanigans, he showed up shipshape and Bristol fashion and we headed to the bar. It was a great evening and I’m glad he was there as he got to say hello to old friends and meet exciting new ones and I frankly enjoy dragging him into my sex-based social world. He did so well there, too! The sheer amount of secret geeks he caught with his top was impressive.

The morning wake up was full of sleepy sex and sneakily snapped Sinful Sundays, making me only just on time for the first session and only managing a breakfast of yesterday’s sausage rolls as I left Crush lying in. But never mind! It was a lovely sunny morning to spend all day inside talking smut.

Again, I was conflicted. The flash fiction workshop sounded right up my street, but in the end I decided I could already kinda do flash fiction and so I should probably focus on an area where I need more help. So I took a seat in Kay Jaybee and Lucy Felthouse‘s Step up: making the move from short stories to novels. I’d met them both before a couple of times, notably at the awesome Kinky World Book Night held in Cardiff last year (which I briefly wrote some NaPoWriMo poems about), and they’re lovely guys, so friendly and encouraging. It was a bit of a shame that their self-introductions were so long as I already knew a bit about them and it took a fair bit of time out of the bulk of the session, but when we got to the crux of it, it was full of helpful advice. Short stories are a  brilliant apprenticeship, we were told, for novels and Kay and Lucy even thoguht they were harder to write!

I’m not sure I agree, but I haven’t written a novel yet, so perhaps I will when I have. In fact, we were told to write down a reason or two that we hadn’t yet written a novel so that we could discuss them. Time was a big factor for me and we were advised to set aside time every day or at least in a routine so that it becomes a part of everyday life. My other main problem is that I’m just not sure I can write enough content, specifically plot and “stuff happening” to fill a novel. Plus, I feel like it’s OK for a short story to be a glimpse, a mood, an idea, a narrative where we know we’re not getting the full picture, a flavour. Whereas I feel like novels are the whole story, a fullness, you need a complete story with all the trimmings and not just a flavour or a feeling.

Whilst those points were not directly addressed as such and I still came away a little unclear on them (running out of time was a major factor of the session, again leaving me wishing for less, admittedly pleasant, introductions),  I did come away feeling more confident. Do things that scare you, we were told, and also told that writing a novel still scares these novelists every time.

The next two short sessions didn’t really grab me. Sex toy reviews are a big interest for me, but I’d be assured that the session was more for beginners than for me. While anonymity obviously interests me, the idea of writing anonymity guidelines in-session really put me off. Luckily I met a few people from Kristina Lloyd‘s aforementioned Fiction in a Flash long workshop in the break who assured me that she’d welcome people in for the second half.

I nipped in and scribbled down some notes still left on the Powerpoint before the session restarted in earnest. Based on the previous ideas of starting in media res, of implied plot between the lines and behind the story, of a key image or visual heart, of yearning, of the twist or turn and of sexual specificity in describing what makes the encounter meaningful, we were given a very unusual collection of writing aids.

Eroticon Flash Fiction Workshop Prompts

The idea was to look through these nail varnishes and wall colours and find a name that evoked something and that we could use to prompt a piece of flash fiction. With names like Ruby Pumps, Savage Ground, It’s Five O’ Clock Somewhere and Cat’s Paw, there were a lot of wonderful images that sprang to mind. I’m definitely going to be looking at these sources for inspiration in the future! It’s interesting in that when I was thinking of where to find prompts for my Very Short Stories, I’d actually stumbled on the idea of hitting “random” on Gatherer to find Magic the Gathering cards that might work as they often have evocative names. It’s a similar idea that I’m glad to see actual proper writers doing too!

We then used our selected names, I picked “Down Pipe”, to decide what elements based on that would appear in our proposed story. I had images of rain, brickwork and vertical space, of blow jobs and tumbling down the rabbit hole. The harder task was to pick some things that would certainly not happen. I struggled, but managed that they don’t leave the room and it doesn’t stop raining, as well as a few other things. Before the end of the session, we were asked, which of these might actually happen anyway? It was a fantastic session and I’m quite sad to have missed the first half, especially as I enjoyed Kristina’s session so much last year too.

With the pause for lunch comes a pause in my writing! I’ll have my post about Sunday afternoon at Eroticon 2014 up soon, though, so don’t go away! ♦

Eroticon 2014 – Friday

♦ How on Earth am I supposed to write about Eroticon 2014, hmm? What a weekend. To give myself a starting point, I decided to look back at my post about Eroticon 2012 (I didn’t write one in 2013 because I was still feeling miserable at spending my conference poorly and petrified and feeling like I’d wasted it). What I see when I read it, is some who’s clearly nervous and faltering and new. I say I felt at home, and I feel I did, but that’s nothing compared to this year. This year was sublime.

I think it’s a mix of having done this a few years now and of knowing some faces along with generally feeling more confident and at ease at talking to people in this environment. People who know me through my geeky social life can’t believe that I’m shy and horribly awkward, because I’ve been there long enough that I’m awfully comfy. Bold and even brash. I think the same is happening in the sex writer world. I’m becoming part of the furniture and it’s fantastic.

Anyway, good health combined with it not being my first rodeo certainly helped this year’s Eroticon be the best one yet, but of course what makes it are the sessions and, above all, the people. And I had an amazing time.

At first I’d planned to come up early on the Saturday morning as Bristol is just a hop over the border, but that would have meant missing out on Friday evening’s meet & greet. Luckily, my wonderfully kind blogging BFF Lady Pandorah offered me a share of her double bed (the offer that launched a thousand ‘ships!) and so Cinderella did go to the ball. Seeing Lady P, Innocent Loverboy, Jilly, Rose and Molly and DomSigns again was a smush of hugs and excitement and smiles. I’ve really missed these people! I resolve that it won’t be this long again before next time.

We chatted away happily as the room filled with more fantastic people and I felt the urge to mingle with new folk. I spotted first-timers Vanessa and AM Harding looking a little nervous (actually I’m fairly certain Vanessa never looks anything other than bubbly as all get-out, but that’s besides the point) and I felt entirely brave and comfortable enough to introduce myself – all by myself! – and start chatting to these lovely people. That alone was something I’d never have been able to do before and it was wonderful.

At some point someone introduced me to, essentially, sex blog celebrities. Pandora Blake, who is lovely and impossibly sharp, really knows what she’s talking about, and Girl on the Net exudes an easy, friendly sort of coolness. The addition of Zak Jane Keir to the conversation did not help me feel any less rather out of my depth, but was definitely bloody brilliant. What was perhaps, selfishly, the shiniest thing was seeing how pleased Girl on the Net seemed to be to meet me after she’d hopped on board my Very Short Stories thingummy. To see someone who I’d never met before so keen on an idea I’d chanced on for an erotica writing challenge was immensely awesome. I really got a feel for how my writing almost has a life of its own separate from me!

I spent a fair part of the evening talking to CJ Forrest who is a very likeable character indeed, as well as accidentally shaking hands with people with a wrist adorned in a Sainsbury’s bag, being bought a (rejected) drink by a complete stranger, having my QR code scanned and even receiving some very kindly donated Magic the Gathering cards from John D Stories. I love it when sex and geek spheres overlap.

After more things and more people I’ve undoubtedly missed, we toddled off to the hotel room to try and get some sleep for the big day ahead. And what a day it was! ♦

Little Known Facts

♦ I’m in the mood for sharing. There are things about me that you perhaps wouldn’t expect (or you might). There are interesting little snippets that can’t really hold the weight of an entire post on their own. So I thought I’d share some in a list of ten little known facts about your very own Blacksilk. In keeping with the blog, they’re largely sex and relationship facts or other relevant thingummies.

And here they are! ♦

  • I’d slept with Crush long before I ever went on a date with him. Luckily, we already knew each other very well.
  • Learn yo bitch’s particular flaps! For example, I prefer my finger-on-clitoris stimulation in clockwise circles with the intensity focused on the bottom left.
  • It took me about six months from the day I lost my virginity to the day I finally put a cock near my mouth.
  • I’ve been masturbated in an alley while trying not to giggle at impromptu dinosaur facts. Classy.
  • I won a creative writing award when I was 14. I’m glad to see that potential eventually paid off a little.
  • In a reversal of expectations, I’m into anal sex, but my boyfriend sadly isn’t.
  • I find it hard to crush on male actors, but very easy to crush on many of the characters they play.
  • I used to regularly masturbate to a CD released as an accompaniment to a roleplaying game. Nerd! (The game? Vampire: the Masquerade by White Wolf. The track in particular? Prey by Seraphim Shock. Doesn’t seem so silly on listening to it, does it?)
  • I had my first non-consent fantasy quite early in life (involving being tied up naked by bandits) and had some trouble coming to terms with it.
  • Green glitter reminds me of Crush, thanks to an incident involving the first time we slept in the same bed and a birthday party.

Micro-Fiction #1 – The Resistance

♦ Whilst I don’t have all the time in the world, sadly, to write normal fiction at the moment, I think I can still find time here and there to write a little micro-fiction themed around sex, love and all the other things this blog is for. I’m hoping to capture something strong in just a few words, ideally a dozen or fewer.

I’d love to know what impression this gives you. What’s the story here? 

“I don’t trust you,” she said.

“But I love you.”

Trust in Me by AbstractNeko

Finessing Sex – Eroticon 2013

♦ In my last post, I wrote about the Eroticon 2013 poetry workshop run by Ashley Lister and showed you the poems I wrote in a panic during the session. Now there’s more where that came from, but from a different, equally fabulous session: KD Grace‘s Finessing Sex creative writing workshop.

Creative writing 5: Finessing Sex : KD Grace

It was described thusly…

“KD Grace will take writers beyond the slang of the old ‘in and out’ and beyond the biology of coitus to the other levels where sex takes place and will show how well-written sex shapes the story and the characters. The session will involve some writing and some brainstorming and hopefully a whole lot of finessing what we all want to write right. Though the session is designed to help newbies break through to a deeper level of writing sex, it will also help anyone writing sex in fiction do the same.”

KD Grace, a wonderful speaker, furnished us all with a handout and began her presentation on how to make our writing zing, along with some incredibly helpful advice, before getting to the part that made me gulp nervously: actually writing.

Five Minutes: Invent your characters

Using the tips she’d given us, we were to spend five minutes thinking of some characters to work with. I struggled here, indecisively bouncing back and forth between ideas.

At first I considered “cheating” and using the often-helpful method of basing characters off real people. I considered fictionalising my current girl-crush Red. Then I wrote, a step further away from that, of “the girl in the coffee shop with the not-quite-covered-up tatts and the pierced nose” and “the shy student with a thesis to finish and a need to blow off steam”.

Then, a love triangle of characters I’d written for multi-author fantasy story back in my teens popped unbidden into my head. Fuck, where on Earth had they come from? That was never designed to have erotic content, although I’m fairly sure that sex was going to come up as a plot point. But they suddenly SO wanted to be written. I’m now seriously wondering if there’s something I can do with them in future.

By this point, my five minutes was nearly up and I’d decided that those characters needed far too much housekeeping and gentle treatment in my head. So I brushed them aside and hurriedly decided to hang everything on a story hook I’d thought of a few months earlier: a girl who fetishes ancient/old objects. A kink for the past. Rushing like mad before the timer, I invented a quick secondary character: her shy boyfriend, not understanding her kink but eager to please and deeply in love.

Ten Minutes: Write your sex scene

Then, characters still jostling for space in my head and still battling indecision, a longer, harder challenge. Start writing a sex scene in medias res and don’t stop until ten minutes are up. Don’t be too picky, don’t self-edit, just write like the wind.

This is what I came up with…

The door creaked far more than I’d have liked as it closed; the little draft-excluding brush on the bottom – the kind you only get in public buildings like this one – kicked up fine dust from the marble floor. We waited, fixed on these little details while the danger of being discovered passed.

But no-one came.

Hurriedly, he took my hand and led me over to the main exhibit of this room: a fossilised tree trunk calcified millions of years ago. I reached out to touch it reverently, almost feeling an aura around it as I drew near. It was cool to the touch and smooth like onyx.

“Come on,” he hissed. “We don’t have long.”

I turned and hopped up backwards onto the trunk’s broad top, feeling the millennia-old relic on my bare thighs.

I wasn’t wearing panties. And he knew it.

Gingerly he placed a hand on either of my knees and splayed them outwards. I wriggled and eased my skirt up as he did so. The glacier mint sharpness of the trunk made my…

And that’s as far as I got. I noticed that even though I thought I’d started in the middle of the action, I was nowhere near. Very little sex happened in my sex scene, which quite surprised me.

On the whole I can’t say that I’m pleased with it, but I’m pleased with the idea of it. I certainly don’t hate it. I’d never publish it, of course, but there’s some promise, I think. And that’s the idea. KD told us that the important thing is to write, that you’ve got to have something on the page to work with before you can edit anything, improve anything, play with anything.

Write shit down, sort it out later.

It was very refreshing, because I’m perhaps guilty of being a little too precious about the words I actually put down on “paper”. It’s got to be as close to right as I can get it first time. But it can’t be and it never will be and being forced to deal with that was a wonderful exercise.

Will you be seeing this story again? Yes, I hope so. It needs a lot of thought put into the characters and the plot, but the hook is there and there are some bare bones to work with. And, if nothing else, I’ve proved I can do something with it.

Now all I need to do is to find more instances where I have a pen, paper, five minutes and enough brain energy to think with and I’m sorted.

Don’t forget, you can share the results of your ten minute writing exercise over on Irregular Voice with Mia More. ♦

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! ♦

Eroticon 2012

♦ March the 3rd marked the day of the UK’s first conference for sex bloggers and erotica writers and yours truly is here to tell you probably very little about it, actually, because I’m pretty damn certain I can’t do it justice. Also it’s been about a week and I’ve forgotten a ton. But I shall try.

I heard of the conference pretty late, actually. Maybe I suck at paying attention or maybe I didn’t previously follow the right people or whatever, but I think I actually only knew of it’s existence this year. Now, though, I’m really glad I went.

The day soon rolled around and I found myself walking into Bristol’s Armada House bright and early in the morning. I picked up my lanyard, my programme and my shag bag and went off into the side room to stand around awkwardly. Things soon warmed up, though, and a couple of people I’d never met before were kind enough to say hello (and had actually heard of my blog, which made me really chuffed). The lovely couple of DomSigns and Molly came over to say hello and give me my nipple charms prize from the Sinful Sunday competition that I won. And they just about refrained from making me try them there and then, too!

I also managed to use my ninja skills to hide from ILB and Lady Pandorah, before popping up behind them and saying hi, which was great. LadyP is one of my oldest blogfriends and also happens to be the subject of a massive girlcrush on my part, so to meet her in person was one of the best things about the day. Rest assured, she is as sexy and lovely in real life as online.

After precious caffeine, I mooched on over to the stand of buzzing, throbbing things staffed by Eroticon sponsors Lovehoney, who just also happen to be my favourite sex shop. I was a bit shy, as usual, but was soon put at ease and I was incredibly pleased that they remembered me from my reviews for them. The girls all really knew their sex toys too and it was fantastic to geek out over different buttons and speeds and doohickeys with them. I felt the strength of the Lelo Mia and thought it felt probably about as strong as my We Vibe Tango, actually. I played with buttons on the Je Joue FiFi, which are still a bit awful (I’ve been assured they’re getting a rework soon). I found the We Vibe 3 surprisingly flexible and the Sqweel surprisingly pleasant on my fingers. I got to try some delicious flavoured lubes from Sliquid and will be damned shocked if I haven’t picked up at least the Cherry Vanilla before the year is out. Most awesomely of all, I got to try the Neon Wand out on my arm, all the way up to the max! I’m very tempted to get one with my Eroticon money, but I’m sure my housemate Alt would steal it.

Anyway, before I get carried away nerding on sex toys, the rest of the day!

The first session was Identity, Ethics and Sex Blogging and was a panel discussion headed by Eroticon organiser Ruby Kiddell with Molly, Mina Lamieux, Lori Smith and Zoe Margolis. Frankly, it was fascinating and could have gone on twice as long and still not have had time for everything. As an anonymous sex blogger, this topic was really close to my heart and I loved hearing the discussion on the pros and cons of anonymity, the risk of sex blogging, the attitudes towards sex writers, the issues with consent, pigeonholing, etc. It sparked at least half a dozen ideas for blog posts in my brain and really gave me something to think about. More of this next year, please?

The next session was the Writing Workshop with erotic writer and editor Maxim Jakubowski. There was no interactive element except questions from the floor, but instead the session was a great half-and-half mix of erotic writing tips and tales from the writer’s own experience. I found myself writing furiously during the former while my pen would go silent for minutes during the latter, but it was always interesting and entertaining, even if it wasn’t quite what I’d expected. He had a great insight into the erotic fiction world and the tips were either new to me or reinforced and expanded on things I already new, which was great. He even discussed taboo in erotica, which is very topical at the moment.

Following that, a hard choice between learning how to write from a different viewpoint and DomSigns’ Tech Workshop. I went for the latter because I’m hoping to move to a self-hosted blog in the summer and because getting my blog out there is important to me. It was a great session that had some things I knew but a lot that was new to me and a good mix of things that are useful right away to things that’ll become useful after I self-host. It was perhaps the most directly useful session all day and from the level of knowledge in the room I was able to feel a little cool and geeky without getting too cocky! I’ve even used some of the tips already!

Lunch was delicious, even if mostly composed of food that crumbled all too easily and made me look like a mucky pup.

After lunch, the Photography Workshop with the amazing John Tisbury. His work was probably some of the very first erotic photography, especially bondage photography, that I ever saw and I instantly loved his distinct style, so I was excited to attend his session. He was a very friendly and jokey host, which made me feel very at ease and the level went from basic to more advanced as it progressed. At times it was perhaps a bit basic for me, but I did definitely learn some handy little tips I didn’t know before and he showed some cool example photos for us to point out what was wrong, which was fun and made me feel clever! I’d perhaps hoped for a bit more information on self-shooting, but what was there was very useful.

The last slot was another difficult choice: promoting my work or more sex and society stuff? In the end I figured the former might be for people who wrote more fiction than I do, so I went to the Sex and the Media panel with Ruby, Lori and Zoe again as well as Matt Bateman, Monique Roffey and Rubyyy Jones. For some reason, despite the similar topic, this panel didn’t click as well with me as the first and I found myself not quite as engaged with it. There were rather a lot of questions to which, through no-one’s fault, there was no real answer and it didn’t spark nearly as many ideas in me as the Identity panel had. But it was fun.

After this, wine was available and I grabbed a glass of red and sat down with everybody else to watch London Faerie demonstrate what he called Sacred Kink. For this event at least, that meant spanking, paddling, flogging and otherwise striking Lori in time to rhythmic but popular music with liberal pauses for stroking, kisses and whispers in her ear. She wriggled and giggled and I’m sure some of those strikes must’ve hurt, albeit in a good way, and soon she reached an ecstatic floaty state of mind. It was erotic, loving and wonderful to see and the atmosphere in the room was really something you had to experience.

At the end, someone in the audience asked people to raise their hands if they’d never seen something like that before but written about it and seemed shocked by the numbers of hands. I think it was a bit unrepresentative though. After all, I raised my hand and must’ve contributed to the shock, but whilst I’ve never been audience to something like that, you know, I’ve done it (albeit not shamanistically). I just haven’t watched it. And I know others who raised their hands were the same.

A little more wine followed and we watched some simply amazing burlesque by Lady Cave. It was unusual as there was less stripping than I’m used to, but she kept my attention at all times and with ease. She was graceful, beautiful and incredibly erotic and her routines were wonderful. After that, the prize draw during which I spent most of my time hoping against hope that I wouldn’t win anything and have to stand up in front of the applause. It’s weird how nervous that made me. I didn’t win a thing, though. But I can’t wait to hear what Molly and DomSigns think of their Rock Box! Also, because it is now a mandatory Eroticon in-joke: BOOK!

Then the evening became mingling and chatting, though I was a little sad to see how few people had stuck around. I finally felt a teensy bit more confident in introducing myself and everyone had buggered off! I saw both Molly and Mia try what London Faerie apparently refers to as his ‘misery stick’ and really wished I had the guts to go over and ask to try it too, but I didn’t. It’s the second time I’ve wanted to try a hitty thing and been scared of asking to do so and I hope I can manage to get up the courage next time because I keep making myself miss out. We shall see.

After the event finally closed a group of us headed off to a nearby bar for some food, drink and a little after-event chat. I was happy because there was hummus. But also awesome people! It was great to chat with both people I knew already and people I’d only met that day and I wished the evening didn’t have to end. I could have happily spent all night in such lovely, sexy, open and friendly company. We discussed our favourite sexual clichés, Fireman Sam, our writing, the Paypal issue, more blog tech and all sorts of other great things before it was time for me to leave. Sadly the last train back was ridiculously early and I managed to leave just as even more lovely people arrived, dammit! And if nothing else that day had made me feel at home and wanted, (which other things did!), the fact that so many people gave me hugs as I left, even some people I’d only that very second met, was it.

And that was the best thing about the day, really, that I felt welcomed and like I belonged. I may have been doing this a little while now, but I still feel like a massive noob. I may have written some good sex and even good fictional sex, but I still feel like I’m not a “real writer”. I may have people out there who have girlcrushes on me or who masturbate to my blog, but I still often feel not all that special or sexy. But at Eroticon, none of that mattered. I was at home and surrounded by like-minded folk and welcoming friends. That people who have mostly known me online or not at all can be so lovely to me warms my heart no end. Blogging can often feel isolated even though there are many of us, but Eroticon made me feel like part of a community and brought home that we’re all in this together in a way.

So thank you to everyone I spoke to that day, particularly to those of you at the Watershed in the evening, thank you to the speakers for their great sessions, to Lovehoney for being knowledgeable and easy to talk to, to the other sponsors for their support, to everyone I’ve forgotten and especially to Ruby for making the whole thing happen. You worked so hard and we’re all so grateful and so proud.

Here’s to Eroticon 2013, because I can’t wait to do it all again! ♦