Monday, July 27, 2009

Mancandy Monday: Black Lace

The first thing I ever read that had some serious bonking in it was The Fog, by James Herbert. Even more astonishing than that first foray into frankly quite odd sex (seeing as how the people are kind of mental when they're doing it, turned insane by THE FOG!), was my first exposure to erotica: The Splits, by Ray Gordon.

Which wasn't quite all I could have hoped for, I have to say. Although I boggled at some of the detail he went into (and still does go into), the female protagonist seemed a little...over the top. She breathed every word she said and loved loads of stuff really suddenly, including some things that sounded as painful as the activities in Anne Rice's Beauty books. I suspected that secretly, the main character wasn't loving things as much as Ray Gordon claimed she did.

In fact, I suspected that she secretly hated having ten bananas shoved up her bum*. And I didn’t want women who secretly hated very painful sounding things. I wanted women who were dirty and naughty and loved and were loved and did all of these things while making me believe in them, absolutely. They spoke with my voice. Even when they had crazy things to say.

Which is when I read Path of the Tiger, by Cleo Cordell, Gemini Heat by Portia Da Costa, Crash Course by Juliet Hastings, Conquered by Fleur Reynolds, Dreamers In Time by Sarah Copeland, The Houseshare by Pat O’Brien, The Stranger, by Portia Da Costa, Menage by Emma Holly.

I’d never read anything like them. I still haven’t. I’ve read far and wide in the world of erotica, I’ve read erotic romances and paranormal erotic romances and books in which the hero and heroine travel through space and VR machines and lands populated by werewolves, while bonking. I’ve read about alpha males that look like Fabio, big girls and small girls and silly girls and clever girls.

But I’ve never read books like Black Lace books. When I was choosing my pseudonym, I almost called myself Claudia Winthrop. You know why? Because Claudia is the name of the central character in The Stranger, and Winthrop is the surname of the central character in Menage.

You meant a lot to me, Black Lace. I will always be grateful to you, for representing me. For showing me that it's okay to think men look hot and to talk about it, to write about women that can be tough and not tough and all things in between without seeming weak or stupid. And for not insisting that women like ten bananas shoved up their bums.
Or at least not in a way that I couldn't buy into.
I am glad I got to write for you, even if it was just for a little while. I shall miss you very much, in all ways that it's possible to miss something. Once, I was a young woman in her boyfriend’s little blue bedroom, marveling at the things you told me I could do, if I wanted to.

And I’m not just talking about the uses for garden vegetables.

All my love now and forever,

Claudia Winthrop
*May not have actually happened in book.


  1. if that isnt a love letter i have never read one!

    what can i say aside lovely?..oh..yes..blace lace..please come back!!!

  2. Ah, Charlotte, what a wonderful thing to share. I wish you could have been with BL a bit longer. Really, you should have summoned your nerve to submit a whole lot sooner.

    For myself, BL were responsible for me becoming an author, for me meeting some crazy new people and making lots of new friends. Yet, while I'm saddened by the lost, I'm finding it strangely hard to mourn their passing. Maybe that's a sign that I was ready to move on... To what, I've no idea. I guess that's the exciting part.

  3. Danielle- yeah, that's my love letter to Black Lace, all right. Wish I'd written more of them to it while it was still alive.

    Madelynne- well, you know I already feel that way about my nerve. But I'm grateful for everything it's given me, from fifteen years of lovely erotica, to my first taste of publication, to meeting some lovely people like yourself. In my sad moments I feel like a door has been closed, but really, a whole new world has opened up to me that I never dared go near before. I hardly even dared posting on my fave author's blogs, and now I think (almost) nothing of it.

    And you were ready to move on. You are ready to move on. I'm looking at it as the push I needed to move into the wider world of publishing, and so should you- even more so, considering you've landed a dream agent!

  4. So eloquent and elegiac; what a beautiful post.

    You're right - there is nothing quite like Black Lace, and I suspect nothing will ever hold the same place in my heart either. But I suppose I'll keep on hoping.

  5. Talking of the wider world - I've just picked up a copy of Scarlet with one of your stories in it. Congrats!

  6. Oh, effing hell! I didn't even know they WANTED the story! The ed asked me to write a piece to fit with the image, so I did, and sent it to her. She said cheers, I thought I'd hear in a few days. When I didn't, I figured she didn't want it! I didn't know that cheers meant we're putting it in the magazine!

    Wow, is that ever fantastic news. Thank you for telling me, Janine!

    Oh, and thanks for the comments, Nikki and Justine! I cried while writing the post- so glad other people think it's nice, too. And I'll keep hoping right on with you, hon.

  7. Ha ha. Now you have to hassle them for money...

  8. Ah, I'm not all that bothered. 'Course I'll ask them for payment, but mostly I'm just pleased to be published in another venue. Another editor likes me, yeah!