Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Sexy Little Numbers - out now in the New World

Good morning America (and Canada and other places) - just to let y'all know that the Black Lace short story anthology Sexy Little Numbers is now available beyond the tiny shores of the UK. And it is packed full of goodies from authors such as Kristina Lloyd, Charlotte Stein, Justine Elyot, EllaRegina and Madelynne Ellis. It's the one with my tattooed and pierced m/m tale Michelangelo's Men. I was going to point you to the hot excerpt I'd previously posted on this blog ... only to discover that in the flurry of August I didn't actually put one up. Goddamn. I is so crap! Okay, I'll do an excerpt on Sunday when I get back to my own computer. Promise!

Also out this week! - Charlotte Stein's first (but absolutely not, I am prepared to bet, last) solo collection of short stories, The Things that Make Me Give In - to which you should really really treat yourselves. Congratulations Charlotte!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Tim Minchin

Yay- Tim Minchin is on tour in the UK and we were lucky enough to see him a few nights ago. He really is one of the cutest cleverest most cutting comedians around. And cute an in-your-face atheist too which certainly appeals to my prejudices. And also sort of cute.I've been thinkng a threesome with him and fellow ginger Derren Brown would be ... intellectually stimulating. Allthough, coincidentally, almost the first thing he said when he came on stage was to insist he wasn't fucking Derren Brown. Has he been reading my thoughts?

 He did sing this song but most of the material was new, which was nice.  "You are special ... but you fall within a bell-curve..."

Friday, 25 September 2009

Heart of Flame - update

Some cheery news - my Arabian Nights adventure-romance Heart of Flame (all 446 pages pictures above) has crept a small step closer to publication. I've heard back from the editor at CatScratch: line-edits are "in the post" and she's given me a page of plot changes she'd like - having accurately put her finger on every small but nagging weakness I already knew. Goddamn - now that's what a good editor is for.

By the way, she said of the book as whole: "I love it! Truly! I thought it was fun, well-paced and the sex-scenes were steamy! You've a professional, so I know that you would only send me something that you were happy to put your name to, but I have to say, I never thought I would love this book as much as I do."

Now I must go and make sacrifice to the Gods of Plot Inspiration ....

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Bück Dich*

YES!! Rammstein are back! They're about to release a new album and they're going to be on tour in the UK in early 2010 and WE GOT TICKETS! WE GOT TICKETS!!! *jumps around the room setting fire to the curtains*

Of course they are Up To No Good. Here's the cover for their new single Pussy:

Though the lyrics ("You've got a pussy / I've got a dick / So what's the problem? / Let's do it quick!") do rather suggest that it would have sounded better left in German.

But since when have Rammstein behaved like good boys and avoided controversy and offence? This performance got them arrested in the US.

I'm so excited to be seeing them live that I could just go .... VOOM!

*"Bend Over"

Monday, 21 September 2009

Eyecandy Monday - now with added Poetry!

When my writing first started appearing in print, a friend of mine Showed Me His. I have cherished a copy of this, his poem, all these years:

White Paper Before Me

I wanted so to contribute.
I really tried to write.
Sat before an empty page
I stayed up through the night.

It’d be so cool to be a writer –
A literary chap.
If only everything I wrote
Was not such utter crap.

I’d quit my job and write a book
Become wealthy, as you do.
Have lots of friends and lovers
And an Aston Martin too.

But dawn is at my window now
And my paper is still blank,
So I think I’ll take me off to bed
And have myself a bit of a lie in.

©S. Wright

Saturday, 19 September 2009

"We thought we were safe with our little depravities. "

Well, I was going to Talk Like a Pirate today, but I got all flustered and lost it.

Billierosie has posted on her blog a review of Dark Enchantment, my latest short story collection, which makes me feel scared to read my own book. Oh, it's not a negative review - just the opposite. But faced with praise like "Janine goes beyond mere fetish, exposing our fatal flaws and secrets" I go bright red and don't know what to say. For a writer I'm terribly inarticuate! I don't have the words to describe what a privilege it is to be able to touch a reader's inner life like that, through my storytelling. That's all I ever wanted to do: tell stories. And pull  people into the worlds within.  

So, inadequate though my thanks are: Thank you Billierosie.

Buy at Amazon US : Buy at Amazon UK

Friday, 18 September 2009

Movie review: Gamer

SF/action movie Gamer opened in the UK this week. Like I need an excuse to post pictures of Gerard Butler...

This film took me totally by surprise - it was WAY better than any of the three of us anticipated, and if you don't believe me go read Eloise's review. I thought I was going to see "Gerard Butler does The Running Man"- in fact what we got was "Gerard Butler does Blade Runner." With added ultraviolence. Blade Runner is about robots who function like human beings; Gamer is about human beings who function as robots.

Setting: the near future. Plot: Kable is a death-row prisoner given a chance at freedom by surviving 30 rounds of a pay-per-view sport called Slayers, in which combat teams slaughter each other. The twist - each human participant is electronically controlled by a games-player through the internet: in Kable's case a 17-year-old rich kid. Kable has nearly made it to the magic 30, but there are powers at work that are prepared to make very sure he won't win, because he Knows Too Much and Must Be Silenced... Meantime, Kable's destitute wife is forced to make her living by being a controlled avatar in a social environment called Second Life Society, where her RL controller gets off on dressing her up in trashy clothes and making her have sex with strangers.

Visually, this film is brilliant. Fast, slick and clever, full of telling little gags as well as carnage and car chases. I loved the extrapolations of current technology to show how we'll be interacting with the Net in a few decades. The combat sequences are ultra-bloody and filmed in a bleached-out palette reminiscent of many a shoot-em-up, the Society sequences are colour-saturated and poppy. And every so often it gets really surreal ... like when Kable confronts the main villain who then launches into an elaborate song-and-dance number. ..

There's a lot of violence of the shooting and smashing heads kind, but it wasn't that that I found disturbing. What stays with me is the movie's portrayal of the way a society slides into solipsism: the poisonous attitude that no one else but me is real. People seen on-screen  (whether in camera footage, on websites, in interactive forums or on reality TV) exist only as sources of entertainment. Their pain and humiliation is to be laughed at or discussed around the watercooler - but not troubled over. And certainly not stopped. Because it's making so much money for people.

In some ways this is a similar film to District 9  that I saw last week: the plot as written is thin and probably doesn't stand up to interrogation, but the world it paints is mind-blowing - and a rather too plausible distortion of our own.

I'll never look at The Sims again without shuddering.

*In fact I confidently predict a film-buff game where every time there's a reference on-screen in Gamer to Blade Runner - "Oh look: there's Pris!" - you have to neck a drink.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Dracula: the ballet

Now I feel bad.

When I was little - oh, seven, say - my parents made me do ballet lessons after school. I don't know why; I had no desire whatsoever to be a ballet dancer*. I was one of those sturdy, troll-like little girls blessed with no grace, rhythm or musical ear, so for six months or whatever I clomped around doggedly in an elephantine way until Mum and Dad got tired of me moaning about how much my feet hurt and let me quit. I've never had any contact with ballet since. Until now.

My friend C loves the ballet and bought me a ticket to the Northern Ballet Theatre's production of Dracula. Good choice, I thought. I'm writing a vampire novel, and if any plot is going to interest me it'll be that one. I wanted the scales to fall from my eyes. I hoped that, like C, ballet would take me by surprise and sweep me off my feet.

Ballet, it turns out, is mime set to music (and the muted thunder of footfalls on the boards). If you're going, make sure you find out the story in advance, and then a buy a programme and read the scene-by-scene description because you sure as hell won't be able to follow the plot from the action. In fact this production features a significant deviation from the plot of the book in the last second before the final curtain falls, which totally confused me ... If I'd known what was happening I'd have appreciated the ending a lot more. 

Well, it certainly started well. The opening scene is Dracula rising butt-naked from his tomb, and being a dancer it was a very fine butt indeed. I could have just sat there and looked at that for a good ten minutes. In fact there was plenty of male eyecandy in the production - shirtless, muscular and in some cases long-haired. The gymnastics were often breathtaking - these guys are FIT! There were some lovely Victorian costumes - corsets and frock coats and swirly cloaks. There was dominance and submission, some of it m/m (though I'm told that this aspect has been toned down since earlier productions. Bad marks, NBT). There was an extended sex-scene/pas de deux which was both tender and hot. There was a surprising amount of drama toward the climax, when it became increasingly clear that Mina's "rescue" was all about a group of blokes stopping "their" woman running away with a sexy outsider.

 All in all, I should have loved it. And I would have, if it weren't for all that bloody silly prancing around.


So, now I feel bad.

* I wanted to be a rancher looking after a herd of beautiful and highly intelligent wild horses who would be totally devoted to me - in that way that horses in real life aren't, ever.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Eyecandy Monday

I've just started a course of rabies* jabs. Soon it will be safe to bite me, heh heh.

Talking of biting ... a daytrip to Manchester to meet up with Madelynne Ellis and Charlotte Stein turned out to be very useful as far as Red Grow the Roses goes (as well as packed with food, drink, gossip and useful advice**). Sitting on the train I managed to sort out a number of things for the plot, which is stalking toward a conclusion.

I'm very enthusiastic about Chapter 14, which I'm currently writing. I've had to set Chapter 13 aside for the moment: it's just too dark. I can't handle dark right now. Chapter 14 isn't dark, it's just violent - which is different.

And when I got home I slept for 11 hours. Can't handle the urban lifestyle, clearly!

*Yes, I'm off travelling later in the year... I know, I know...
** They  know everything. I refuse to go near  the Romance blogs and thus live in glorious blissful ignorance.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

From the ashes a fire shall be woken:

A light from the shadows shall spring...

Forgive me for quoting a poem from The Lord of the Rings, but I'm so pleased that I've lost my (at best) precarious grasp upon my dignity.

A few weeks back Xcite books announced that they intended to step up and fill some of the market gap left by the freeze at Black Lace.

They've just taken a big step in that direction by signing up Adam Nevill, the ex-editor at BL, to manage and commission their erotica line from October. Full report here. That means Adam's going to carry on being a kick-ass erotica editor as well as a writer - And for us scribblers there's some light in the darkness!

Yay Adam!

BTW, I found this out via Twitter first of all. Not that I'm on Twitter, but I saw it in Charlotte Stein's sidebar. So just for today let me say Twitter is a great idea.

Friday, 11 September 2009

At it Like Rabbits

I have this large 2nd-hand book I keep in the loo: The Colour Library Book of Great British Writers - you can tell there are more pictures than text just from the title, eh? - with which I while away the dull moments.  It has short biographies of all the famous classic writers whose books I have never read, and do you know what they have in common? (Apart from a profound loathing of their years at boarding school, I mean*?) They were a right bunch of reprobates. Seriously, even in eras where socio-sexual mores were far stricter than our own, they just could not keep their dangly bits to themselves. Take a look at this lot:

  • Lord Byron: Bisexual, shagged hundreds and hundreds of women and men as he travelled throughout Europe (yes, he kept count), incestuous relationship with his step-sister.
  • Percy Shelley: Dumped his pregnant wife to run off with 16-yr-old Mary, the daughter of his best friends. Serial adulterer, liked to share home and bed with other couples.
  • Mary Shelly: Eloped with Percy at 16, and after his death fell obsessively in love with his (married) ex-lover Jane.
  • William Thakeray: After confining his insane wife, pestered the wife of a friend for an affair for nearly a decade.
  • Charles Dickens: Like to take young Wilkie Collins on brothel-crawls. Dumped his wife acrimoniously and kept a young actress as a mistress.
  • Wilkie Collins: Kept two longterm mistresses simultaneously who had his children.
  • George Eliot (female!): Lived openly with a married man, thus becoming a social outcast. After his death she married a man 20 years younger than she was.
  • Lewis Carroll: Well, it's hard to say if they're true, but rumours continue about a man whose only emotional connections seemed to be with pre-pubescent girls...
  • Samuel Butler: Had an obsessive gay relationship with a git who exploited, swindled and manipulated him for 30 years.
  • Thomas Hardy: A desperate social climber, he neglected his first wife to sniff around the skirts of society admirers.
  • Oscar Wilde: Notoriously homosexual - and suffered for it.
  • H.G.Wells - proponent of "free love", total horndog and serial adulterer with an immensely complex love-life (e.g. He left the Fabian society after seducing the daughters of two fellow-members, one of whom bore his child. He ran off with her then pushed her into marrying someone else, but continued the affair).
  • Somerset Maugham: gay, but in the closet and treated his wife and daughter abominably.
  • E M Forster: Gay, but luckily when his lover got married the new wife became a close friend too.
  • Virginia Woolf: Married, but had an affair with Vita Sackville-West.

So ... Are writers just an immoral bunch? Are modern authors letting the side down?
I'm not telling!


*So far as I can tell the English boarding school system existed only to torture the children of the upper middle class. It certainly had nothing to do with education.  

The wonderful picture at top, btw, is of Out Cast Theatre, Australia's premier gay theatrical group, in their production Jane Austen's Guide to Pornography.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Magazine review: Filament #2

The new issue of Filament has dropped through my letterbox, and I am delighted to report that it is better in every way than Issue 1 which I reviewed a while back. In fact I'm dancing up and down with delight.

First of all - more pages, far less blank white space on those pages, and the cover price has gone down. Lots more pictures of blokes and much less of my personal bugbear: soft-focus photography.

The articles? Superb range. Finally, finally, a Women's Magazine exists that actually seems aimed at me - other women's mags (yes, even Scarlet) largely seem targeted at a different species. My favourite articles this time covered:
  • Capoeira angola, the Brazilian martial art/dance form - just inspiring (and scary!)
  • The Contagious Diseases Act of 1864 and how it mobilised disparate social reformers to overturn it.
  • And the best article I've EVER read on the Ethics of Recreational Drugtaking - it made me consider the issue froma totally new angle.
  • Not forgetting an article by our very own blogmates Erotica Cover Watch. Yay!
  • And an erotic short story by Heidi Champna! (She's running a comp to win a signed copy of the magazine, and if you hurry and she's feeling very nice you might be able to slip in an entry ... )
But that's just me - there were a bunch of interviews with women photographers who work with the male body as their subject, one with the new drummer from Placebo, articles on pegging and how to do it (giving it to a man with a strap-on, for the uninitiated), on the science/social experience of autism and cerebral palsy (by a woman whose child has both), on what it's like to work in television editing, and how to cope with a low sex drive.

And of course there's the Erection. Filament #2 makes history with the first UK photo of a stiff cock in a women's magazine, sported by - hoorah! A guy with long hair!! Dreadlocks, no less! Lovely set of pictures, and it most certainly had the desired effect on me.

So congratulations to the indefatigable editor Suraya who has fought the most incredible battle to get this magazine off the ground, in the face of middlebrow derision and sexual double-standards (Did you hear, for example, that one distributor refuses to take any "women's magazine" with a man on the front cover?) . All power to her elbow and I really hope readers and everyone in the erotica community gives the publication their support.

Filament is published every three months and costs a measly £4.99 + P&P - you can buy one or subscribe for several issues if you like. It will ship overseas too.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Eyecandy Monday

Ugh. I want to feel fit and svelt and lovely (or at least I want to feel someone who's fit and svelt and lovely) but instead I have a cold and feel like I'm turning into a prawn.

Talking of which: District 9. Best film I've seen all year - Go go GO see it! But it's not a date move ... unless your date likes gruelling hard-edged social SF. Or maybe just guns and exploding South Africans. And Prawns.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Animal Attraction

Just to let you know that new blogger Billierosie has written a thoughtful post upon the very thorny subject of Bestiality in Erotic Fiction (you know; werewolves and stuff), in which she quotes (with permission) from my Lust Bites post on the same subject. Go read!

Friday, 4 September 2009

I Can Has Meerkat?!?

LOL! Most zoos in this country don't let you take dogs in, but the Cotswold Wildlife Park is a very much appreciated exception (Have you any idea how bloody hard it is to have a day out with the family pooch? Most sites exclude them and leaving them in the car is NOT an option) . Caspian, the black dog, thought the Kea Parrot was AMAZING and would have watched it all day. You just have to hold on tight if you're introducing greyhounds to meerkats. The latter, btw, were completely fascinated by the dogs: they came up close and stared and stared.

They're ridiculously charismatic little animals, really. If you don't live in the UK you may not be aware that thanks to the advertising of this site here, the whole country now has meerkats on the brain.


Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Misbehaviour - out now!

With September comes the publication - in the UK at least - of the 4th Black Lace anthology this year: Misbehaviour is "a collection of women up to no good" and features stories by Justine Elyot, Rhiannon Leith, Portia Da Costa, Sommer Marsden and Charlotte Stein among others.

My own story is called Icing on the Cake and is all about Suze who is making an elaborate wedding cake for her friend Helen, when the groom himself shows up at her door. That's when things start to get seriously splodgey. Here's a flash excerpt:

He took a moment to draw breath after that, rising to his feet and giving me a dark, sticky grin. He stroked the bulge in his trousers and my fingers joined his.

‘Shall we go to the bedroom?’ I suggested, dizzy but wanting more.

‘Good idea.’ But when he lifted me off the table he stopped dead. I turned my head to look. He’d sat me down in a thin drift of icing sugar, you see, and when he peeled me off it left a perfect imprint of my two bum cheeks on the table top.

‘That’s it,’ he said under his breath, as if I’d provoked him beyond endurance. He turned me again and pushed me face-down on the tabletop, my white-powdered bum presented to him. Sugar roses crunched and crumbled; the cake missed being squashed by an inch. ‘Spread them,’ he said, like I was one of his weekend soldiers. I did, spreading my thighs. He ran his finger down the cleft from my tailbone to the wet juicy melt of my sex, then back up to the pucker of my bumhole, circling it, making me squirm with terror and delight. ‘This is what I’ve wanted, Suze,’ he said, sounding almost mesmerised: ‘to fuck your sweet arse.’

I blushed all over, but I answered ‘Yes,’ nearly in pain with my wanting him inside me.

This story represents the first time I've gone and bought baking ingredients in order to research a story (I nearly said "gone and bought food" but no, there was the root ginger for Dark Enchantment...) ! It was lots of fun to write!

And don't worry, the bride deserved it.

Buy at Amazon UK : Pre-order at Amazon US