Danielle Austen – The Ancient’s Destiny released Friday 25th April

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I’ve been waiting for the concluding book of Danielle Austen’s erotic trilogy for a while now and, with the imminent release of The Ancient’s Destiny tomorrow, I have to admit I’m very excited.  Very excited indeed.

Writing is an exhausting art.  The creation of imagery and believable, three dimensional characters  who aren’t mere cyphers, takes time, care and patience.  Something many writers out there don’t have enough of.  I loved her previous two full length novels with their page turning, over arching storyline filled with mysticism, intrigue and, yes, buckets of sex.  It is an erotic piece, after all, ;).  She really has  a very naughty mind and I guess, like me, she sits at her desk in her day job conjuring sexy little scenes while maintaining the cool aloofness of being the professional.

But there is an intangible skill in linking such vignettes into something greater than the sum of its parts, that compels reading to the end and satisfies more than the mere release offered by a bit of deliciously luxuriant fingerbobs.

And the lovely Danielle is a writer who possesses it.

It’s a path I have ambitions of my own in emulating, but my efforts, thus far, have been unfruitful.  I so envy her.

 

I’ll let Danielle tell it to you in her own words…over to you Danielle…

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Why writing erotica is just like being on Project Runway

Judge all you like, but I’m very happy to admit that I love Project Runway. For the uninitiated it’s a reality TV fashion design competition in which a group of aspiring fashion designers are whittled away challenge by challenge until there’s only one left. Talented creative people, fabulous clothes, gratuitous shots of New York City, and a little faux-reality TV drama? Sold. The designing and creation takes place under the helpful-yet-unbiased eyes of mentor Tim Gunn, teacher at Parsons School of Fashion Design, before the finished looks walk the runway for a judging panel comprised of the fashion elite. So how in the world can I claim that being an erotica author is the same as being a contestant on Project Runway?!

“She’s got too worried about what the judges will think,” said I, upon watching one usually solid designer deliver an incredibly boring dress. Earlier in the episode, interview sound-bites demonstrated how she was frustrated with never getting into the top three of the week, and would now be making a concerted effort to design something based on what she thought the judges must be looking for, rather than going with her gut and designing what was in her mind. That week she found herself in the bottom three, and almost went home. Ultimately she ended up winning the entire season. And that, in a very roundabout way, is how we authors are all reality TV fashion designers.

Just like fashion designers, struggling erotica authors are ten-a-penny. Just like fashion designers, we need a dose of luck to get to where we want to be. And just like fashion designers, our work struts before the eyes of critics who are quick to dismiss. As such, there’s the temptation – consciously or otherwise – to write for the critics, rather than ourselves. We include expected story arcs and character types and happy endings because that’s what everyone else is doing and therefore it must be the right thing to do. But ultimately, in Project Runway and erotica and any creative medium, the real success stories – the truly memorable artists – are the ones who create for themselves; who don’t compromise their creative vision; who, after years of hard work, combine their innate talents and well-honed skills and self-belief to truly excel at their craft.

That’s not to say that the judges aren’t helpful. Even the most negative critics can provide invaluable advice; regardless of the quality of the vision behind it, bad sewing is bad sewing and bad writing is bad writing, and if no-one tells us what we need to improve on then we’ll never get better at it. Sometimes we all need a Tim Gunn there to give us a friendly nudge in the right direction, or alternatively to accede to our belief that what we’re doing will turn out great; whether our Tim Gunn appears in the form of a loved one, friend, beta reader or professional editor. Critics are there to help us improve; but when one deliberately creates in the hope of critical approval, problems arise.

I know because I’ve been there myself. A couple of years ago my first full-length book, The Magician’s Lover (Book One in the Prophecy Girl Trilogy) was published through Xcite Books. The story was all me, but I’d be lying if I claimed that the creation and execution of it wasn’t at least in part influenced by what I thought I had to include in an erotica novel. And doing so didn’t earn me any favours with critics, with the book receiving mixed reviews across the board; the general consensus (and one, in hindsight, I agree with) being that it’s good but flawed – and the aspects of the book that people did really like were the ones that were all me. Taking my knocks and learning from my mistakes, I wrote The Magi’s Daughter (Book Two in the Prophecy Girl Trilogy) with no sense of obligation to anyone or anything; from the first page to the last, it is 100% my own vision. I went against traditional erotica topes, turning up the plot-related violence and the scope of magic, nixing the clichéd “poor vulnerable girl gets influences by a powerful man” aspect, and including rare plot elements such as a happy married couple and an unhappy ending for another couple. When I look back on the book I am still very proud of it; I don’t have a bad word to say about it, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that it was much, much better received by critics.

And now here I sit, nervously watching Heidi Klum’s poker face as my latest work walks the runway; an ambitious avant-garde couture piece I’ve named The Ancient’s Destiny (Book Three in the Prophecy Girl Trilogy). Will the judges find the intense action scenes and occasional surrealist influences fresh and exciting? Or will they just be confused by the amount of darkness in the story, and send me packing with a curt “You’re out” and a kiss on each cheek? It’s too early to say; but if there’s one thing that Project Runway’s taught me, it’s that it’s better to go home to a small but devout following for something you totally believe in, than to fail for trying to impress everyone but never displaying your true creative vision.

xoxo

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Gratis New Beginnings…release date 20th March 2014

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I’m so excited at the prospect of a new anthology with some great erotic stories for your delectation.

Story blurbs
Notes from a Blue Bike  by Erzabet Bishop
True love began between the spokes of an ancient blue bicycle. They say you can never go home again…but what if home was there waiting for you all along?

Justine returns to her small home town to save money for school knowing it will never be the same without the one true love that got away. Kate is the owner of the internet sensation The Sugar Whip bakery. Vandals threaten her business, but what will shake her up most of all is coming down the road on an ancient blue bicycle.

Home is where the heart is. If you have the courage to let it in.

The Love That’s Sleeping by KM Dylan
When her best friend Natasha arrived in Paris to throw her a bachelorette party, fashion model Katie Wolfer knew she was in for a wild ride. But little did she know what an explosive night it would become.

This story is chapter two of “First Lady,” the third novel in K M Dylan’s fictionalized erotic memoirs of a supermodel (the Cult of Beauty series), but it stands on its own.

Countdown by Jason Jaxx
If you catch me, you can have me: a bewitching call that sends Dave in pursuit of a gorgeous brunette. A journey of twists, turns and raw sexuality  that seems destined to end, dashed by its illicit nature. Racing against time and circumstance, does the onset of Spring promise the prospect of love?

Unbuttoning by Kay Jaybee
Unbuttoning- Rewarding herself for losing weight by buying a new dress, Laura eagerly awaits her lover’s reaction to her new look. Meanwhile, Jenny has her own plans to prove to Laura that she loves her and her sexy figure, whatever size it is.

Having secretly bought Jenny some very special presents, Laura sets out to see if her girlfriend’s stamina is as strong as ever- one button at a time….

Past Perfect by Livilla Sanders
Tanya McAvoy is forty five, lesbian and an inveterate sexual predator. Her dalliances are as casual as they are brief. A chance encounter with her first lover brings back memories of the wild passionate night that transformed her life from  perfect but frustrated student to voracious hedonist.

Holding On by Hedonist Six
Five years as a sexchat operator have been more than enough for Charlotte. She can’t wait to leave it all behind: the late nights, the dirty talk and the mouthbreathers on the other end of the line.

But there’s a little hitch, a hiccup in her plan. There’s one client she would rather not quit talking to…

Robbie’s Starlets by Molly Synthia
How can a man with ready access to young, nubile, and sexually motivated girls possibly remain loyal to his wife? Connie can’t accept that her film producer husband isn’t tempted by his starlets or, at the least, disappointed with the sex life in their marriage. She’s determined to become the perfect seductress for him but how far will she have to go to satisfy him?

Khloya by Elizabeth Woodham
Multi-layered: a Matryoshka, Chloe Merrywell leads a hedonistic lifestyle. The ache in her promiscuous heart is satisfied by lovers, male and female and by the lustful, debauched, Nicholas Kamarovsky. When Chloe meets army medic, Dan, her approach to life undergoes a transformation. She tries to embrace conventionality and takes steps to eliminate old ties. Will Chloe escape the magnetism of her long-term, older lover, or is she forever destined to be Kamarovsky’s Girl?

Gratis Update

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I’m so proud to be associated with Gratis: Midwinter Tales.  An exquisite tome of deliciously sexy stories that I’m sure will engage, stimulate and satisfy the most discerning erotica reader.

“Christmas has come early: Nine writers work together to create the must-read Free Holiday release of 2013. Every one of the twelve stories contained within Gratis : Midwinter Tales serves as a satisfying bite out of each author’s repertoire, to tempt and seduce and sweep you off your feet. Our stories comfortably straddle both erotica and romance genres and cover a variety of themes. Some are innocent, others seek to force you to your knees, but all have something in common: they’ll make you feel.

Gratis : Midwinter Tales comprises works by Chloe Thurlow, E.A. Chapterhouse, Elizabeth Woodham, Hedonist Six, Jason Jaxx, Kay Jaybee, KM Dylan, Livilla Sanders and M.J. Carey. We hope you’ll find a new favourite author, or nine, within these pages.”

Contents

Snow Falls Softly by Chloe Thurlow, In the Mood by E.A. Chapterhouse, Wicked Games by Elizabeth Woodham, Virgin by Hedonist Six, White (Lights Out) by Jason Jaxx, A Pair Well Met, Blinked, and The New Year Dancers by Kay Jaybee, The Future First Lady of France by KM Dylan, Irrecusable by Livilla Sanders, Glove, and A Penheligon Christmas by M.J. Carey.

Snow Falls Softly by Chloe Thurlow
It is the night when Jools feels as if she is gripped in the hands of destiny, a night of uncontrollable passion, a love so deep it feels as if her soul is bursting. It begins to snow as Josh takes her in his arms and kisses her eyes, her neck. He draws her top over her head and her breath catches as his long kiss caresses the hollow of her throat. In two days, Josh will marry another woman unless Jools can convince him to stay or the snow that falls and keeps falling prevents him from going.

In the Mood by E.A. Chapterhouse
In the mood: A moment in time, as if unfolding a calendar to find a secret day within, EAC and the Muse go to a celebration for a legend of the big band era. Their shared moment is captured by memories, sounds, colours and an intruding photographer.

Wicked Games by Elizabeth Woodham
I adore writing and work in a number of genres. Writing erotica is stimulating; I like to explore age-gap scenarios and feature older man, younger woman relationships in ‘It’s a Sin’ and ‘Eleanor’. ‘Wicked Games’, my contribution to Gratis: Midwinter Tales, is driven by a desire to share a little of Matthew Fletcher’s backstory. Told from more than one point of view, my aim is to take you deep inside his character. We first meet Matthew in ‘Eleanor’, a novella, where he introduces Eleanor Grant to control, dominance, bindings, and wild sex, in an escalation of wicked games. Matthew and Eleanor’s story continues in ‘Falconworth’, an erotic tale set in a medieval manor, sprinkled with a dusting of history and mystery, due for release in 2014.

Virgin by Hedonist Six
After nearly four years with Jeff, everything fell apart. I found myself single, scared, but somehow liberated as well. Rather than stumble into another ill advised relationship, my best friend Sally helped me find focus. I would spend the next few months “finding myself” sexually. That’s how The Rebound List was born.

And -this- is how my journey begins: with a virgin. Number one on my naughty bucket list…

What (or whom) would you do to celebrate your freedom after your first serious relationship breaks down?

White (Lights Out) by Jason Jaxx
A late night walk through the snow finds Jack alone with thoughts of love, lust, pain and possibility.

A Pair Well Met, Blinked and The New Year Dancers by Kay Jaybee
How long would you wait in the cold on New Year’s Eve in the hope of getting a glimpse of an erotic ceremony that might not even happen? In The New Year Dancers a new sexual acolyte is adopted in the mists of a midnight forest. An arranged marriage takes an unexpected twist in A Pair Well Met, a force fantasy retelling of A Taming of the Shrew, and something not entirely human is in control in Blinked…but what is it…

The Future First Lady of France by KM Dylan
Fashion supermodel Katie Wolfer’s scandalous journey of sexual awakening takes a sharp turn as her charismatic fiancée, Victor de Goncourt, begins campaigning to be elected the president of France. His baleful grandmother, the Duchess, demands that Katie clean up her act, and Katie wonders, does she have what it takes to be the first lady of France?

This story picks up where the first two volumes of Katie’s fictionalized erotic memoirs (the Cult of Beauty series) leave off, but it stands on its own.

Irrecusable by Livilla Sanders
‘Irrecusable’, my contribution to Gratis: Midwinter Tales, is told by Kate Parkinson. She encounters the alluring sexual force that is Séverine Rogers, a star character who features in ‘Cassie’s Call’, and the focus of my forthcoming novel ‘Séverine’. Kate is persuaded to attend a New Year celebration, and is targeted by the charming and charismatic Séverine, who embarks on a captivating seduction abundant with erotic possibilities, exposing a compelling world of secret desire she has only ever dreamed of.

Glove by M.J. Carey
In a moment of calm, away from the hustle of the day before Christmas eve, a woman lays a tribute to her dead lover in the cemetery. Her memories are bitter-sweet, his hold upon her still as strong as ever. She knows she needs to finish mourning and find her way back to life. A young man watches her as she reflects upon the past. She sees him.

A Penheligon Christmas by M.J. Carey
Set on Christmas day 1998, a few years before the events in the novel: House of Penheligon: Danielle’s rules, this short story tells the origin of Lizzie, maidservant to the House. Alicia Penheligon has returned from London and is keen to play Santa Claus to her sister Danielle, her cousin Imogene and the rest of the household.

Gratis Anthologies

Visit the online home of Gratis Anthologies. Our first, Gratis : Midwinter Tales, is coming out in December 2013, just in time for Christmas… Work is underway to make this non-profit erotic story collection a reality and nine authors have signed up to contribute. Be among the first to find out about the upcoming release of Gratis : Midwinter Tales by signing up to email notifications. You will NOT be spammed, promise! http://www.gratisanthology.com/
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Blog Hop…ish

When Danielle Austen asked me to be her tag victim, sorry, tag partner, for a Blog Hop I was flattered and not a little concerned.  “Don’t worry,” she said.  “There are only four questions and you can write what you like.  Piece of cake.”  Hmmm… I’ve had cake like this before.  Hard, crusty and it breaks teeth.
“Okay, I’ll do it!  I’ll do it! ” (I said this only to get out of the arm lock she had me in.)
“Good,” she said.  “I like a cooperative spirit.”
Hmmmm…
Those boxercise lessons have been paying off for her.  May need to look into some myself…If only to fend her off.
Okay what are the questions?
“Here they are,” she said offering me a list.
“Erm, the top one is ‘How do I solve world peace?”
“That’s for later.  Read on…”
“Political Naivety in the Post Modern Age.  Discuss.”
“Further down,” she urges.
“Crime and Punishment in Fourth Century Rome: A New Model for Contemporary Justice?”
“Lower…” she says menacingly.
“Oh…these questions?”  I point at some tiny script, no bigger than a 6 point font.  I squint at them and reach for my glasses.  “Are you sure these are the right questions?”  Her vigorous nodding and the broad grin on her sweet innocent little face divert me from the large morning star mace she twirls enthusiastically in her hand.
“And I do what with these, again?” I say.
“Just answer the questions,” she growls.
Okay…okay…let me see….
“And then find three other people to do the same.”  She grins.  It’s one of those grins.   It reminds me of one of those cheery charity fundraisers that has managed to corner you in the street or a traffic warden slipping a parking ticket under your windscreen wiper.
“Thanks, Danielle,” I say, returning my gaze down the list.
  • What are you working on right now? 
Right now?  OMG.  I have far too many projects.  I suppose there are two with which I am working on predominantly.  One is my collection of short stories to be entitled Casual Collisions.  This will be an anthology of five short stories of between 6000 and 8000 words.   I anticipate there will be two Collections.  The first is entirely F/F the other will be M/F.
My other main project is my longer erotic novella/novel Severine.  Those of you who know me will chortle behind cupped hands like Mutley.  It’s an ongoing project of mine that has been in gestation for far too long.  I am working on it.  Really.  Cross my heart and everything.  It’s my great experiment to see if I can write a novel.  It is getting there.  I promise.
I also have a Sci-fi thriller and a fantasy epic that I keep tinkering with as well.
  • How does it differ from other work in its genre?
I don’t think that real differentiation is possible nowadays.  I’m striving to make them interesting, thought provoking and entertaining.  I like to use words that perhaps other authors do not.  I have a preference for an intense read built around few scenes as opposed to numerous episodic encounters which lack depth.  I aim for hot, steamy explicit erotica with a story.  So perhaps these are where they might be construed as different.
  • Why do you write what you do?
I simply enjoy writing.  I love the creative process.  I don’t just write erotica, though that is all that I have published.  I’m working on other genres too.  I’m a genre butterfly.  I have too many incomplete WIP in my folders and still I add to them.
  •  How does your writing process work?
I’m a bit chaotic.  I work on what appeals to me and on what ideas I have.  Often I’ll start on a piece and lose interest or motivation with it.  Then it gets stored in my rather overfull WIP folder and I move on to the next.  I am trying to concentrate on Severine and Casual Collisions at the moment though.  I do try and write every week day and aim for at least 1000 words a day.  At the weekend I’ll make some notes or jot down ideas, but the bulk of my writing is done during the week.  I have to be alone when I write.  It’s an absolute must.  I distract myself enough without someone else helping.  Those of you have been unfortunate enough to chat to me on Twitter will know I can ramble on and on.  Internet access is something I really have to try and avoid.
Unlike some, who shall remain nameless, (SaundraFox, read and enjoy her sideways take on the Blog Hop here  http://t.co/exHqdLOjm2) I choose not to write on the loo but instead prefer to sit at a table in my small dining room.  Oh, to have space like J.K. Rowling.  I’m not greedy.  Just a ten bedroom mansion will do.  It doesn’t even need to have a garden.  I kill plants just by looking at them.  Except cacti.  I like cacti.  I have two.  And an orchid.  Which reminds me.  It needs watering.
  • Blog Hop
Astute readers will notice that my victims are not listed.  Alas those who I approached were unavailable or have yet to respond.   When I have some willing victims I’ll post their blog addresses here.

Shunga Exhibition: British Museum October 3 to January 5th

I read an article recently about Shunga, a form of Japanese erotic art that originates from the 10th Century but was most prevalent between 1603 and 1868.  I’d never heard of it before and read it with interest.  Apparently it was an evolution of Chinese medical textbooks! 

Here’s an example…Image

Apparently the script reads:

Large octopus:Your ‘bobo’ is ripe and full, how wonderful! Superior to all others! to suck and suck and suck some more.

Maiden:Aah! Yes…it’s there!!! With the sucker, the sucker!! Inside, squiggle, squiggle, oooh! Oooh, good, oooh good! There, there! Theeeeeere!

The forth coming exhibition looks really interesting and I think I’ll have to try and find the time to pay it a visit.