Monday, August 30, 2010

Mancandy Monday: Christopher Pike

I'm pretty sure Christopher Pike isn't real. He's, like, a total recluse and no-one ever sees him and there's only one picture of him in existence:

Probably because when you try to take his picture, the camera melts. He's an alien space vampire. He's really a woman called Catherine, and his publisher just told him to pretend to be a man because he used to write the most gory, grown-up horror stories for young adults and they didn't think people could take a woman writing that shit. Seriously, they outdid Stephen King for scary nastiness.

But his books were also beautiful. There are times when I remember haunting scenes from literary masterworks, like that bit in Jane Eyre with the tree, and that bit in The Handmaid's Tale when she finds the scratched words at the back of the wardrobe. But maybe I'm just plebian because I remember bits from Christopher Pike's books just as hard.

I remember the end of that one where that lad plays this game, and the only way to win is to not launch a single bomb. I remember the needle in Whisper of Death and the lake in Monster and the mines in The Hollow Skull. He always had creepy abandoned mines in his stories, but somehow his creepy abandoned mines were so much creepier and darker and colder than other horror writers, and their abandoned mines.

I really believed I could go down there, and come out as a different, evil, possibly possessed by space alien vampires person. That was the power of Christopher Pike. His stories haunt me in a way I find hard to explain, and I always find little bits of my stories being inspired by his work. A drowning girl here, a person acting weird there...

Even weirder, I used to dream about marrying him. I'd grow up and be a famous author, naturally, and buy a beach house, because my stupid thirteen year old self had heard he lived near a beach even though it's now obvious that he lives on Mars or in Narnia or some other magical made-up place brilliant enough to contain him. And then one day, he'd be jogging on the beach even though he's a space vampire and I doubt they can jog in the dawn light but anyways. He jogs, and then he sees me on my porch even though I never sit outside, and we fall instantly in love.

Of course it later turns out that he's possessed by black goo from an abandoned mine or evol lake, and he tries to eat me like a hamburger or murder me inside a car filling up with carbon monoxide or by pushing me off a cliff or hurling me out onto the surface of Mars. But what kind of shit would I give, by that point? I got to be married to Christopher Pike, even though he doesn't actually exist!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Small Things I've Learnt As An Erotic Romance Writer, Part Three: Never Useable Words and Phrases

I know you may want to. I know you may think: God, I really need to use that word. No other word can describe what's going on better. The word is perfect, it's awesome, it epitomises everything that's happening.

But I tell you now- the word "queef" doesn't epitomise anything. It's not cool, it's not the perfect word. It's a stupid word that's going to kill the eroticism in your story stone dead. No point getting the paddles. Don't charge them. That thing is cold and blue and in need of burying.

Queef is not sexy. It means fanny fart (which is another phrase you should avoid), but it reduces fanny farting down to its least sexy components. Imagine that! A word that actually makes fanny farting less sexy.

And then there are some other words and phrases and sentences, that may also turn your story into night of the living dead:

1. Leakage. Old people leak. Old people leak when they've lost control of their bodily functions. Your hot characters do not leak.

2. Seepage. Wounds seep. How gross is that? You want your main characters fanny to be like a wound? Ugh. Especially wrong when paired with the word "anal". Nobody wants to hear about anal seepage.

3. Flaps. As in fanny flaps. No.

4. Beef curtains. See: flaps.

5. "He penetrated her clitoris with his finger". This one falls into the "I don't know a fucking thing about anatomy category", but has as big a cringing effect as "She looked at the anal seepage that had queefed onto the bed". And yes, I've actually seen someone use that very series of words in a story. Not the anal seepage series, obviously. The other one. Thank God.

6. "He breached her womb". Same category as the one above. Dude, if you're breaching her womb with your cock, something's going wrong. Horribly wrong. It reminds me of the movie Alien, only in reverse. Penetration of clitorises and wombs means you're probably using a pen knife. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. A thousand times ugh!

And that is my list of things you should never say in erotica/erotic romance. Just don't. I mean, I'm sure I could be wrong. I'm sure there are some wonderful moments in both erotica and erotic romance that employ those words and lines. I'm sure.

But I'm also sure that authors should try to avoid contravening the laws of anatomy when writing about sex. And that every author should think, really think about what their potential readers are going to find hilarious in the middle of a steamy scene.

Hilarity can come from the characters - "they giggled at each other" - but it should never come at the expense of them, in good, hot, erotic fiction.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Mancandy Monday: That New Dude Off Of True Blood

I mean, what the what?

Is this guy even real? He must be real, 'cause I'm currently looking at him. I see him on True Blood every week, floating across the screen in a haze of too-handsomeness, rippling his abs all over the place as though yeah. My eyes can take it. My loins understand, insanely handsome rippling person.

What's the matter with him, being this handsome? I mean, how selfish can you be, to take other men's quotient of handsomeness? Because he's clearly stole a buttload of goodlooking from other, less fortunate dudes. Like Michael York.

And in all honesty, I don't know what to make of that. Or of him. Science tells me I should fancy him. Or at least, the made-up junk in my head that passes for science tells me I should fancy him. But I'm not sure I do.

Maybe he's just...too handsome? He's so handsome, that romance novel covers are having orgasms, just thinking about him being on them. Flexing his mantitty and scowling moodily at things. In that picture alone, he looks as though the far off heaving bosom of some probably purple dress wearing heroine is giving him extreme constipation. All he needs is a rearing horse behind him, and maybe a sword stabbing into a hill, and perhaps a crashing wave, and he's all set.

And yet I still don't know if my loins want to burn for him.

You confuse me, New Dude Off Of True Blood. You confuse me so much that I can't even remember your name.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


So I've put the names on bits of post-its and stirred them around inside my hands, and the winners are:

Katie Reus and Tara Lain!

Just email me at, ladies, to get your fabulous free copies of Past Pleasures!

Thank you everyone, for entering and saying congrats and all those nice things, that always make me feel warm inside.

And now, because I cannot let a blog post go by without a) some kind of Mancandy and b) some kind of weirdness, here are some funny things I found, and a drawing of what I imagine Sharlto Copley's ass looks like:

Yeah. That is Hugh Jackman.

And yes, I spent time drawing this. What of it? It's not at all worrying, because if you knew me, you'd know I spend a lot of time drawing asses in Paint. No, really. Behold, the image I sent to my editor at Ellora's Cave, when she failed to believe I had a pic of Sharlto tattooed on my butt!

I don't know why my butt looks a lot like Sharlto's. Probably means it's destiny for us to be together. Yeah, that's definitely what it means.

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Release: Past Pleasures!

And so another release date rolls around- and so quickly! I'm in a permanent state of giddiness, I've had so much good luck and so many releases out and coming up. Dunno what's going on, but have to say am super thrilled about this one.

It was the second thing my lovely editor at TEB accepted after my first release there, and the first thing I ever wrote in past tense. So the tension was like a thick fist in my face. A thick fist that tried to make me eat it, and then maybe poop it back out again. I was terrified and paralysed and then suddenly Past Pleasures just poured out of my fingers and onto the keyboard, and all was well with the world. Especially as by some other miracle, it's the first in a series. I'm acutally going to write sequels for it! Me! Writing sequels!

So I've got a soft spot for PP. I love it's silly premise and I love the two heroes and I love my not-quite-knowing-what-to-do heroine. And I hope whoever's reading this and my work will love it too, I really do. Or at the very least, I hope you like it.

Here's the blurb:

When Kate agrees to a mad experiment with something as insane as time travel, she expects exactly what Professor Waites had suggested: dystopian nightmares and possible barbarians.

So when she finds herself in a future where women no longer exist and the men have no idea what they’ve been missing, she can’t seem to catch her breath.

Especially when the men in question—the darkly handsome Tem, and his starkly beautiful companion Aley, are so curious and so ready to learn everything she has to teach—including all the past pleasures they never knew existed.

An excerpt:

When the machine first wound down, Kate Connor couldn’t quite decide if it had worked. The room she was standing in looked ordinary—neat and uniform, but ordinary. The carpet was a rough beige pile, and a little curving armchair stood to her right, by the door. Warm light spilled from beneath another door directly in front of her, giving the entire room a soft ambience that she found somewhat comforting.

It could have been anywhere. It didn’t have to be 3033. For all Kate knew, the machine hadn’t worked, and instead she’d been teleported to somebody’s plush, little apartment.
But then more details surged into focus, and a different idea of what sort of year this was came with them.

The door to her right, for example. It had the look of something you’d find on a submarine. It seemed reinforced and strangely shaped, rounded where it should have been sharp-edged, sunken and scalloped where it should have been smooth and straight.

There was no discernable handle.

There were no objects in the room, either. It took her a while to notice, but once there they became starkly obvious. No books, no DVDs, no magazines lying around—nothing but a little table, a bed and an armchair, with nothing resting on top of any of them. Everything was pristine and seamless, as though no-one had ever lived in the room she stood in.

Even though she knew someone did live here. She could hear them, in the bathroom.

Of course, it could have been that the room before her was not, in fact, a bathroom. After all, the running water might have signified anything, in this brand new alien context. Perhaps they used the water to pass electric currents through their molecularised bodies here. Maybe it wasn’t water she could hear at all, but stabilising fluid, for their mechanised gears.

For the first time since starting this whole crazy thing, awareness of the complete unknown grabbed hold of her guts. She thought not of the sweet countdown to her first journey through the machine, but of its opposite—how long until Waites zapped her back? How long was left? Ten seconds? Twenty? It had seemed like a scrawny little glimpse, before, and she had pushed for more.

Why in God’s name had she pushed for more?

The bathroom door was starting to open. Any second, and Earth’s bleak and terrible future was going to emerge and grab her with its tentacles. She held her breath without even being aware of it; her hand clenched tight around the timer strapped to her wrist, ready to press and press and send a frantic plea for help across the vast acres of time and space—

He was almost a disappointment, after a build-up like that.

“Hello, brother,” he said—and not even in a Chaucerian accent in reverse, or with a buzzing mechanical note behind his voice, like the lizards in V. She ran her gaze the entire length of him, but no third arm sprang out. There didn’t seem to be a ray gun on him or a tentacle growing out of his bum or anything, not anything at all.

He looked like a normal human man. Apart from the preternatural attractiveness, which Kate was pretty sure didn’t count as terrifying. In normal circumstances, perhaps, but not when in the future, trying to cope with everything aside from handsomeness.

Like the gesture he appeared to be making. Hand up, palm facing her. It seemed impolite not to make the gesture in return, and yet awkwardness flooded her on doing so.

“Hello,” she found herself replying, the steady tone of her voice a flickering surprise. It should quake, if only because of one constantly beating fact—she was speaking to a man from the year 3033. Whether or not he was about to eat her face seemed somewhat irrelevant, in light of that fact.

“Can I help you?”

And for the lulz, the warning that comes with it:

Reader Advisory: This book contains explicit threesomes.

Yep, that's right. It's saucy menage fun.

And the to buy link:

And of course, release day wouldn't be complete without me running a competition for you to win a copy! Yay! Just comment - about anything you like, from menages to sci-fi to what you ate for dinner last Tuesday, and I'll put all of your names in a hat and pull one out in a totally scientific and rigorous process, involving post-its and my cupped hands.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Small Things I've Learnt As An Erotic Romance Writer: Part 2

Yeah, there's a part two. I didn't just pull that first one out of my ass, you know. I've seriously beardedly considered this series of lectures, and I have a pointer and a podium and everything. And now I'm going to pull more things out of my ass, and point at them with my podium.

So, the subject of today's deadly serious lesson on important things: epithets.

And by that I don't mean a cute name for something, like "man's best friend". I mean, don't use loads of daft epithets when you're writing M/M or M/M/F, because you've used he too many times and it's getting confusing. You've just accidentally told the reader that Man A has three arms, because you referred back to him instead of referring to Man B.

But even so, resist. You must resist. I know you don't want to use their names again. Using their names constantly can end up like this:

"Eugene stroked his fingers down her spine while Walter licked her shoulder. Walter kept licking, then Eugene pinched. Eugene and Walter pinched and licked until she was in a frenzy. She deserved to be punished, after all. Both Walter and Eugene were pretty pissed at her, because they knew she was secretly the author's avatar, and the author had seen fit to give them non-sexy names like Walter and Eugene."

Which no-one wants. But even so. Resist using daft epithets. Stay away from:

"The skillful neurosurgeon ran his finger over the courageous pilot's spine."

I mean, what? What? I'm trying to enjoy a sexy story here. The last thing I want to read about is something that sounds like surgery going wrong. I mean, I'm pretty sure that neurosurgeon is headed for a lawsuit of some kind. That courageous pilot is going to be pissed, when he wakes up.

Just use he. Use he, or their names. If you have to, stick with something simple, like:

"The taller man."

And remember, the more adjectives you use, the sillier it's going to sound.

"The taller, blond, tattooed man feathered kisses over the shorter, dark haired, non-tattooed man's rump."

Not even the word rump in that sentence can out-funny the insane epithets. But using he, their names, or just organising the action in such a way that the hes don't clash means you avoid all of this unintentional hilarity. If you're writing M/M/F or M/F/M or variations thereof, just stick the woman in between them. Have her do something, in the middle of them doing something. If you're writing M/M, have one of them think about something before the next action, or make sure each action that the hot dudes perform lasts a while.

Which sounds really basic, and like crappy advice. I dunno. I've probably got no idea what I'm rambling about. The beard's getting itchy and someone's drawn a giant ass on my whiteboard.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Mancandy Monday: Jon Hamm

Okay, I'm just going to get this out of the way, first of all. Here is a list of ham related puns that you just knew I was going to make, anyway:

1. I'd like to bone his ham.

2. I'm horny for ham.

3. I want to go into the john, and have some ham.

4. Eating ham turns me on.

5. Ham ham ham ham.

6. Ham.

There. I feel much better now- like I've lanced a ham boil.

And so now, I can go onto describing his handsomeness, in great and varied detail. Or CAN I? Because unfortunately, Jon Hamm is so excrutiatingly handsome, he defies description. Even saying the words that vaguely explain his handsomeness, is enough to contravene the laws of reality and send the earth spinning off its axis and into the heart of the sun.

I fear posting pictures of him. I don't want to end up in the sun. Looking at his face is like seeing the sun, close up.

I tell you what. I'll post a picture of him where he doesn't look so incredibly handsome that it warps the mind and hurts the eyes and causes death by spontaneous orgasms. Because, you see, Jon Hamm is also very funny (see his SNL appearances, for confirmation). I know, I know. What was God thinking, when he handed out all this bounty to one dude?

I just don't know. Maybe he was thinking: Sergio.