Friday, 31 July 2009
The August issue of Scarlet is out and their "Juicy Bits" feature this month is a short extract from my contemporary paranormal novel Wildwood. I picked the scene where Avril has just had a shag and a massive argument with Michael, and then he fucks her on the public road over the hood of his 4x4. The emotional rawness of the powerplay makes it one of my favourite and dirtiest scenes. And not a minotaur-fairy in sight.
I'm in good (and familiar) company, because my Juicy Bit sits right next to short stories by Emily Dubberley (pizza delivery with extra topping), Jeremy Edwards (f/f in the swimming pool) and Charlotte Stein (a quicky with a builder). Heh heh. We get everywhere.
You can download Scarlet here, if you can't buy hardcopy. And it's cheaper.
Wednesday, 29 July 2009
(Damn. Have I jinxed myself by letting on which antho I'm trying to get into?)
In the process of writing I also discovered a LOVELY site: Artsy Craftsy, which is full of Golden Age fairy story illustrations, some familiar and some unknown to me. How can I not be inspired to write by pictures like this:
Anyway, yesterday I started again, to my great relief and delight, on Red Grow the Roses. Like my vampires, it cannot be stopped by a mere mortal wound.
Monday, 27 July 2009
I said yesterday I would be upbeat today, and this picture has the virtue of not only making me feel warm and smiley inside, but summing up how lazy I feel right now. I spent the weekend doing some living history LARP: the house is now fully of costume that smells of smoke and props that need scouring, greasing, counting and sorting. Only I don't want to start! I just want to sit here with no clothes on and look at Dionisio and drink coffee until my caffeine levels reach normal again.
Friday, 24 July 2009
"On a personal note, despite the enormous workload that was either stretched between two harassed editors - when I worked with Kerri, Donna and Simon respectively - or levied upon one when I have worked alone, this has been the most interesting and satisfying job in my working life. Commissioning the work of so many talented authors and artists, innovating the direction of the lists and their design, and managing a huge critical path for so many titles has been immensely satisfying. It’s the creative commissioning position I was always curious about and now that curiosity has been well and truly satisfied. My colleagues and I in erotica, have published over 300 books since January 2005.
On the bright side, we were profitable to the very end and remain the market leaders in the UK, currently with 8 out of 10 titles in the Nielsen Bookscan Erotica Top Ten. Historically, Nexus and Black Lace are also the longest running imprints of erotica in the UK, have sold millions of copies and been translated into many languages. The imprints also include some of the most imaginative explorations of sexual fantasy and sexuality in literature, and book shops will be poorer places without new Black Lace and Nexus titles standing proudly on the top shelf."
We were in profit, we just didn't fit into Random House's corporate vision. How f***ing sad.
It's official: as of today Adam Nevill is no longer working for Black Lace and the imprint has no editor. It will continue as normal until the end of 2009, and in 2010 will still be selling existing books but not publishing anything new. Don't forget there will be three new anthologies this year: Sexy Little Numbers, Misbehaviour and The Affair - all of which include my short stories. And please give your support to the debut books by Charlotte Stein and Justine Elyot, due out in October and December respectively.
We're all still here and on sale!
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
Some of the animals are fake - like the dodos above - and some just look it, like these fish:
And the vampire deer:
On Friday we decided to see some live animals for a change, so went to London Zoo. This is their oldest resident gorilla. She ignores onlookers unless they have babies. She's fascinated by human babies.
I liked the African wild dogs myself. Sadly at this point the zoom on my camera broke.
But my favourite part was probably the reptile house. I could pretend to be Harry Potter talking to the snakes.
And my favourite picture was taken in the aquarium:
And that's yer lot. Still on my London List is the National Gallery and the Tate. Maybe next time!
Monday, 20 July 2009
Sunday, 19 July 2009
Friday, 17 July 2009
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
Okay, so I live in England, but that doesn't mean I live in London. In fact it's years since I've been to the capital for anything other than a fleeting visit, and I haven't been an actual tourist since I was 10 years old. So given Mr Ashbless' *ahem* "enhanced leisure opportunity" we decided to go and Do London.
I've wanted to see Gunther von Hagens' plastinated cadavers for ages. I never thought I would! It's a startling and fascinating and crazy experience - but rather less grisly than I was expecting, because they just do not look like the real thing, more like elaborate wax sculptures. You're not allowed to take photos so I got these off the Net. I loved the blood-vessel exhibits: whole bodies made of a red cloud of lacy capillaries.
And Horseguards' Parade:
Monday, 13 July 2009
Friday, 10 July 2009
It's getting steamy!
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
A while back she was thinking about bees. I've been worrying about wasps. Every year when the weather warms up I have to launch a capture-and-release program from my kitchen, as the windowsill fills up with wasps and bees. There's at least a couple every day. But not this year. Not a single one.
Where have my wasps gone? They didn't appear even when I made chocolate fudge.
(Some day I will share my fudge recipe, and the world will bow before me.)
Monday, 6 July 2009
But enough feeling sorry for myself. Last week Nikki Magennis nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award as one of "the blogs that I enjoy and are often full of unexpected pleasures". What a fantastic compliment, Nikki!
It's a meme thing: The Kreativ Blogger Award meme works like this: if you accept it, you are supposed to list seven of your favorite things and nominate seven blogs that deserve this award.
So here goes with seven of my favourite things (but I'm not going to be poetic like Nikki!):
1) Internet erotica ... like the picture at the top of this post.
2) My greyhounds, and the way they love to settle down with me when I write.
3) This ghost story.
4) This comic.
6) This TV series. I swear, I know these guys.
7) Travel. It does broaden the mind, sometimes forcibly. I took this picture in the Rat Temple near Bikhanir, India. and then I cried because these scabby wild rats are sacred and somebody recognises the divine even in them.
(Then I threw my socks away.)
And here are seven creative, inspirational blogs (some lovely, some silly, some awesome):
1) The Faces of Us - campaign for equal marriage rights in the USA
2) Violet Blue - goddess of erotica bloggers
3) Goths in Hot Weather - one of life's simple joys
4) Craig J Sorensen - erotica writer
5) P.S. Haven - erotica writer , but just check out his incredible NSFW artwork
6) Male Submission Art - so much more than a collection of pictures
7) H is for Harlot - Alison Tyler's new showcase blog of erotica short stories
Sunday, 5 July 2009
My thoughts are with our editor Adam Nevill.
Friday, 3 July 2009
Here I go reading a mainstream novel. The first female character we meet is called, say, Liz or Jan or Zoe. The first male character ... will he be called Paul or Rob or Ed? Will he hell. He'll be called something like Corso or Flashman, Poirot or Bennet.
The convention seems to be: women are indentified by their forenames, men by the surnames**. In ER we have have Carter and Pratt, but Abby and Neela. In Jurassic Park the two main male characters are Malcolm and Grant (both surnames) but the female scientist with a doctorate all of her own is called Ellie.
Huh? Where does this come from? (It can't all be Michael Crichton's fault, can it?) Is it a military/police thing or just a literary conceit? Does it reflect genuine US usage, do guys all over America routinely address each other by their surnames ("Hey there Armstrong!" "Hi Tchaikovsky!"). Because in my entire working life I have NEVER called a man by his surname and would consider it spectacularly rude to do so; if my working relationship with a man is that formal and hierarchical then I'd call him Mr Rillington-Humperdink, but in actuality in almost every case what I'd use would be his forename.
So why is the literary convention so strong that when I'm writing a character named, say, Joe Bloggs, I genuinely cringe from calling him Joe when narrating? Why do I want to name my men Grissom or Taggart, or at a push a forename that sounds like it should be a surname, like Tyler? Why does it feel slightly wrong to call a man by his given name in writing? Can't we take Pauls seriously? Is "Andy" too intimate? Is Nigel not cool enough?***
* "Le plus grand penis du monde" "Pour faire votre plaisir."
** Yes, of course this is a generalisation and there are plenty of exceptions.It just seems to be the default literary setting. In Silence of the Lambs, Clarice Starling is refered to throughout as Starling by the author, but that's quite striking.
*** Okay, fair enough in that case.
Wednesday, 1 July 2009
When I was but a bitty girl, me and my brother would be taken down every week to our judo class at the YMCA and afterwards we would have a drink in the cafe and be allowed to buy a comic each in the shop. My comic of choice was Misty, which was a horror/supernatural title aimed at girls (This was in the days before photo-stories killed all the imagination and art in girls' comics stone dead). The protagonists of the stories were usually in the 14-18 range (so I'm guessing the intended readership was kids around 10-12) and were usually lonely girls - there were a disproportionate number of orphans - who had to go to a new school or move to a new home or (if it had a Victorian setting) go live with a vile and scary male relative. Then something BAD and SPOOKY would happen: if the girl was innocent and nice she'd survive the supernatural onslaught, but if she was a nasty piece of work she'd end up HORRIBLY PUNISHED.
It scared the living crap out me, and I loved it. For years I couldn't turn the light off at night for fear of those stories replaying themselves in my head.
I've been buying the annuals recently on eBay. They're not nearly as scary as I remember, funnily enough - but fascinating and fun. There's a big emphasis on bullying at school, I notice these days (and they're single-sex schools: boys barely feature, so the villains are inevitably female). In between the graphic and text stories are articles on superstition, folklore, horror actors, mythic creatures and witches. Witches are cool. It's occultism for tweenagers.
Here's a page that illustrates Misty at its best. Sorry for the crap quality of the photo - we did spend an hour last night failing to get the scanner to work - but it should expand if clicked.