Saturday, 7 December 2013

LOOKING BACK OVER THE LAST SIX MONTHS: AN EARLY PRIMULA INTERVIEW

  1. How did you start writing erotica? I was a struggling single mum and started writing erotica when I was rejected by Mills & Boon because my sex scenes were too explicit. I decided to try my hand at turning explicit into something sellable, turned the sex scene in question into a short story called 'Man in a Cage' and sold it to the now defunct magazine 'For Women.' The indescribable euphoria at being paid £150 for what amounted to an hour's escapism persuaded me that this, among other types of writing, was something I could do.
  1. What's your favourite published work and why? My favourite published work after three novels, two novellas and numerous short stories, is my latest, The
    Golden Locket, the second of my Unbreakable Trilogy for Avon Books coming out in paperback on December 19th.  Having cut my teeth on book one, The Silver Chain, I feel this second book has given me even more freedom to write as I want, within the parameters of erotica.
  2. Where do you draw your inspiration from? My first stories came from being a lonely single mum who exchanged a very varied romantic/sex life in London, travelling/partying a lot, to being alone with my little boy and in need not only of company, but of money! My inspiration came from frustration, the dating experiences I'd had, but expanding to take inspiration depending on my mood and encounters. It now comes from a mixture of something I've experienced, something someone has told me, something I've seen or read, eaten or drunk, somewhere I've travelled, but the majority, once I have the kernel, comes from my imagination. Then I allow myself total freedom to roam!
  3. Do you have any unusual writing rituals? Not really. I just have to dive in as soon as my family (husband, lodgers and 3 sons) are out of the house and on the days when I'm not working part time. I have a particular sofa in a particular room during the week, and I work on my bed at weekends if I have a deadline. I allow myself the odd break during the week day with day time TV or cooking shows.
  4. Who is your favourite character from one of your stories and why? Possibly my favourite character is from one of my short stories who is a very glamorous cougar MILF, the mother of a gorgeous twenty something boy who has gorgeous friends she starts to seduce one by one. Not based on fact, I hasten to add.
  5. Do your nearest and dearest know what you do and if so what was their reaction? My nearest and dearest have differing views. My husband dines out on the fact that I wrote 'Man in a Cage' when I was his secretary, and therefore in his time! I wrote it in a lunch hour and was already half in love with him altough he upped and married someone else, separated and divorced before we were finally able to get together. He's now very proud, but says it's really for women. My parents, older generation and Catholic to boot, disapprove even though I'm writing for a mainstream publisher and although I guess I can't blame them, it's a source of angst at the moment. Thank goodness for pseudonyms! My eldest son, now 25, says he was teased as a teenager when his mates saw my books on the shelves in the house. He used to turn the spines to the wall. Now most of the books are online, nobody is any the wiser.
  6. What was your ideal career when you were a child? I have wanted to be a writer ever since I wrote a novel when I was eight years old!
  7. How do you get in the mood for writing? If I have a deadline I write even if I'm not in the mood. Otherwise I make several very strong cups of coffee in the day time, or big glasses of wine at night.
  8. What is the best writing tip you've ever been given? Best writing tip was from my most steadfast editor and subsequently a writing workshop tutor. Plough on and get the first draft done and complete. Go over it then. Otherwise you spend weeks going over the first lines, first chapters, and never make progress.
  9. How do you get round writer's block? If I get writer's block I might award myself a morning or a day off, but I will force myself to write something, first words of a new scene, a scene of dialogue, an outline of the rest of the novel, the next day. After years of doing exams and a degree, that's the moment I approach it as an academic exercise.
  10. Which of your characters would you bring to life and why? I would like to bring Gustav Levi to life, the hero of my Unbreakable Trilogy. I'd like to shake him up a bit. And then sleep with him
  11. What are you working on at the moment? Currently I am waiting for my editor to send back the edits of Book 3 of my Unbreakable Trilogy, The Diamond Ring, where my hero and heroine, are even more committed to each other - but face the most dangerous threat yet.
  12. What is your biggest writing challenge and did you succeed? I had to rewrite the second half of The Silver Chain which was a little demoralising at the time, and incredibly difficult, but when you are with a heavyweight publisher you simply have to get on with it to meet contractual obligations and the deadlines. That's the reality of being a published writer. It's not all chewing one's pen and staring out of the window, or signing books for breathless fans. It's a business activity like any other. But the faith my publishers have in me has hugely encouraged me, too.
  13. What has been your greatest achievement? My greatest achievement, apart from obtaining a contract to write a trilogy for Harper Collins, was my first solo collection of short stories, Random Acts of Lust, for Xcite Books. Short story writing is my first love.




Saturday, 9 November 2013

Gustav and Serena get down to it high above Central Park

I twist round to face him. He's grinning at me. Interrogation over. He really does look like king of the heap. I know that he was seriously worried just then, and I've managed to soothe him. I grin back at him, put one finger on his chest and push him down on the sofa. My power is growing.
'Nothing's going to stop me now.'
He sighs deeply and falls back against the arm of the sofa, pulling me down with him. 'You know? Despite all their wealth and power I feel sorry for those Weinmeyers. I feel sorry for anyone who can't have you like I can.'
He's beneath me. We haven't turned the lights on inside the apartment, but enough light floods in from the city sky to outline his beautiful carved features, calm and relieved again. Life with him really is like battling over a stormy ocean. Raging surf, becalmed seas, whirlpools, some gentle snorkelling. And my Gustav and me, one at each end of a boat, sometimes a battle ship, sometimes a life raft, but always tipping, one up, one down.
No. No-one else is going to have me.
I see the silver chain hanging out of his pocket, and I snatch it up. Something heats up inside me like a filament. The desire to take over for once. The desire to work off this toxic steam. My lover's dark, chiselled face is in repose. The black hair, falling across his eyes as he lies back, his hands resting on my bare legs now, the fight gone out of him.
'So cock-sure, aren't you Levi? Shall I rock your world for a moment and tell you what might have happened if I hadn't been such a good girl this morning?'
He pushes his hair out of his eyes and gives me one of his straight, arrowing stares. 'Go on. Talk dirty to me. I dare you.'
'If they'd both had me at the same time.'
I crawl over him like a lizard. He lifts his hands to take my breasts as they dangle above him, but quick as a flash I wrap the silver chain tightly round his wrists, pull his arms up over his head and attach the end of the silver chain to the log-like legs of the coffee table.
'Silly girl. Think you're stronger than me?' But he makes no effort to struggle. Just watches me, in that way that makes me want to dance for him.
'I'm showing you what Mrs Weinmeyer did to her big strong tycoon of a husband. She handcuffed him, and then she mounted him.'
'Can a female mount a male?'
His black eyes are glinting but he's biting down hard on his lower lip to hide the grin. He tugs at the silver chain, but the heavy table doesn't budge and he's still attached.
'Oh, yes, she can. Just like this.'
My voice is soft, mesmeric, as I unbutton the rest of his shirt and yank it down his arms so that his elbows are trapped against his sides. I tickle the ends of my hair over his chest, over his stomach, see him shiver in response. Then I undo his trousers, as slowly as I can bear, letting all the anxiety drain out of me, replacing it with impatient supremacy. They rip down along with his boxers and I shudder with glee, my body warming in response as he springs free beneath me.
Again I tickle him with my hair, brushing it through his hair, around the shaft, run the circle of hair up and down until I see his Adam's apple jumping frantically in his throat. When he's rock hard, I brush over the balls already shrinking as his desire increases, and then it's time.
I straddle him, hold myself up on my knees above him as if praying. 'I wonder how it would have worked, technically? What do you think, Gustav?'
'Am I not enough for you, you little slut? You bored with me already? Maybe it was a mistake bringing you across the Pond. Too many new experiences. Too many new people.'
'Don't answer back, boy.' I slap at his buttock. I catch his chin in my hand, just like he does to me, and grip it tight.
I don't want to think about anyone else.
'You're a man of the world. Which bit goes where? One man. Two women. Where does the man fit into the ménage, do you suppose? I mean, I've never been with a woman, let alone a trois.'
'If I told you I know exactly how it works, it would be your turn to be jealous.' Gustav nips my finger, worrying at it in his mouth, still tugging at the silver chain. I see it biting into the crease of his wrist. I slap his buttock again, a satisfying sound. 'But two men, one woman? Much more fun.'
'Mr Weinmeyer didn't struggle like this. Oh, I forgot. She blindfolded him, too.'
I sit back on his thighs and fold my green silk dress into a strip. I hesitate before I tie it over his eyes. I love his eyes. Despite his best efforts to be unreadable, I am learning to translate each and every one of his expressions. Tonight's expression is ferocious, surprised lust.
I kiss him roughly on the mouth. Then I tie the blindfold oh so lightly, he could shake it off if he wanted. Then I ease myself on to him, oh so slowly, run my hands over his body, see his nipples prick up, feel the jump of him nearly inside me. He groans quietly as I lower myself inch by inch. My breasts brush over his mouth and he catches one, licks at it, then bites it, hard. Still fighting me. My body clenches tight with excitement, sucks him in, all the way to the hilt. It's so tempting to rush, but this is me. I'm in charge.
Now we have a sweet rhythm. He's with me, we're rocking together, and all the talk, all the input of today is fizzing through my head. I get an overwhelming vision of him in another life, cavorting with other women, maybe two at once, the jealousy mingling with a contrary lust, an urge to see it, to watch, to try something new, a woman, a threesome, whatever.
I grind myself over him, the flicker of the forbidden there again, another pair of black eyes staring at me, goading me from the sidelines.
I push myself at Gustav's mouth so that the pain will eradicate that other face. The jealousy is good, we can keep that, I can risk imagining those other bodies, because Gustav is mine, I'm the only one riding him, jacking up the rhythm, rocketing up and down. I need to ease these urges because it's too soon, too soon, but it's so intense now, my lover pulling against the silver chain as I grip him tighter inside and he thrusts so hard that I bounce off him.
‘Tell me I’m the best you ever had,’ I suddenly growl, leaning close to him. ‘I want to hear you say it.’
He shakes his head. 'You're a bitch on heat.’
I lift myself right up so that I'm just balancing on the tip.
'You want this or not?'
He lies still. I can't see him under the blindfold. I need his eyes on me, urgently, but I can't stop this, I flick myself so that he slips inside again and the pressure builds inside me, it feels so good to be on top. He draws back, tenses, and pushes hard and he doesn't stop until we can both hear my ragged gasps of pleasure but as soon as I start to shudder and scream he untwists his wrists from the silver chain, shakes off the blindfold, thank God it's him, and still inside me he hurls us both off the sofa.
Now he's hanging over me. 'Not so fast, young lady. And I'm going to do you right down here, my little slattern, because today you deserve an unforgiving surface.'
He pushes me across the cold floor and I relish the strength of him as my skin scrapes and squeaks and then he's coming too and the sound and the fury are over.
I rest my head on his chest, listen to the drumming of his heart. His arms are tight around me, our legs splayed on the rug. I kiss his throat and can't resist one last jibe.
'All we're missing is someone else to join in. What would you say, master? Would you allow me to try it?'
Oh, God. Why did I say that? Who am I talking about?
'Maybe. If I could vet who it was.'
There's one person we could never allow. What is the matter with me? I have to hound Pierre out of my mind before he does any more damage.
'And if I am there to keep an eye. Make sure you don't get too sharp a taste for it.' Gustav brings his hands down with a harsh slap on my bottom. 'But as the Miss Folkes journal of how to live says. Never say never.'


Saturday, 26 October 2013

A little tantaliser of The Golden Locket

As I've tweeted, The Golden Locket has gone out to reviewers prior to its ebook launch on 21st November, and it's like waving a child off to school. For some reason it's even more nerve wracking than waiting to hear what reviewers thought of The Silver Chain back in July. I started reading the reviews avidly, but very quickly became despondent when they weren't so hot, even though the great ones were really really GREAT.
    So anyway, The Golden Locket finds Serena and Gustav in New York - or at least, Serena is there. Gustav has failed to arrive at JFK airport from a trip back to the house in Lugano, and instead, she has two visitors in the penthouse apartment on the Upper West Side as they watch the New Year's Even fireworks over Central Park.
   A face from the past appeared at the very end of The Silver Chain. I won't say too much, but here is an excerpt from The Golden Locket to whet your appetite. Enjoy, lovelies, and spread the word!

'Gustav and I are in a cosy, intimate and very select restaurant in the West Village, tucked below street level. It's so discreet it looks like a kind of muted tavern and only has a small sign outside the glowing windows. I feel really special sitting here. I've seen one or two celebrities schmoozing in corners and a group of beautiful people who look like they must be models or the cast of a play carousing genteelly, if that isn't a contradiction in terms, in the glass garden room at the back.
'No need to obsess about the detail. They said it was for their private collection so I don't know if they'll want me to crop the pictures quite so brutally down to her private parts,' I murmur as he stares at the next picture. 'They were asking me to capture the moment. It's just that the moment they were referring to was when the two of them decided to get seriously naked.'
'You're telling me!' he splutters, bringing the camera close to his eyes. 'I knew the Weinmeyers were experimental exhibitionists, but these are practically pornographic, Serena! You're only just starting out in this business. What were they thinking of, dragging you in to their dungeon and making you do this?'
I try to take the camera off him, but he snatches it back and folds it into his fist. His mouth has drawn into a line and a muscle flashes in his cheek. He pushes his black hair back off his face and sits back in the red leather seat, loosening his tie still further. His stretches his arms out in an effort to look nonchalant, but I can tell from the way his fingers are drumming that he's agitated.
I start to shrink back in my own banquette. The leather squeaks under my bare thighs. I dressed up especially tonight. I'm wearing a very flimsy mint green silk dress and some heels, and I'm not wearing any knickers. The leather is hot and sticky beneath me.
Gustav is glaring at me. I'm caught on the hop by his sharp questioning. He's wearing his authoritarian, headmaster face. I know it's the thin veneer he applies to conceal the bubbling pot of passion beneath, but it still unsettles me. Makes me eager to please.
His frown furrows deeper when he sees a smile creeping round the edges of my mouth.
'You going to cane me for my misdemeanor, Gustav?'
He shakes his head slightly. His features are still carved in granite. 'It's not your fault for getting into a dodgy situation, Serena. I'm blaming them. They should have known better than ask you to undertake a task like that.'
I part my legs slightly on the seat while I think how best to reply to him without wrecking the atmosphere. I allow the leather to rub against my tender private flesh until the friction starts to work on me and I have to stop.
'Give me some credit, Gustav. They asked me because I was the right person for the job. As you know they saw my London exhibition and liked it. They've got my Paris lovers series on their wall. I'm a big girl, Gustav. Just like you said this morning. I fulfilled my commission to order. Yes, I was embarrassed at first, and then I admit I was downright shocked when they enticed me down these stairs into this red room and started writhing around on a gigantic bed and all that, but hey! Two consenting adults pleasuring each other under the watchful gaze of Venus in a sexy cosy nest, plying me with delicious punch. As Mrs Weinmeyer herself said, what's not to like?'
His fingers stop tapping. I see his mouth twitching then with a hint of amusement but there's a tinge of sadness in his eyes. 'My country bumpkin. What's happened to her?'
'She's still here. But I was always a voyeur, Gustav. That's the first thing you noticed and liked about me.'
I put my hand on his leg, and when he doesn't move I start to slide it up his thigh, squeezing the muscle which is all the sexier for being hidden under his formal business trousers. He shifts in his seat, his eyes half closing. 'Hey, baby. Let's not fall out,' he murmurs.

I move my hand into the warm fold of his groin, lean closer to whisper. 'I agree. I don't ever want to argue with you. But you've got to get this into your handsome head, Gustav. I want to be a famous photographer. And that means never saying never. To anything.'


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Ill Gotten Gains and Faux Pas

Some people are so innocently tactless, aren't they? If that's possible.  Either they let something slip, immediately recognise the mistake, and make it right. Or more often they blithely go on with what they're saying with no inkling that they've made a faux pas and that the more they say the more it hurts.
   The faux pas in question was just a couple of days ago. A very old friend, not seen for nearly 20 years, was repeating how she had tracked me down. She'd been talking at a book group with a group of girls who turned out, by some circuitous route, to know me of old. And when it transpired that I was now writing erotic romances (or bodice rippers, as they preferred to call it), their comments, repeated by her to me, were: 'Primula? She studied English at Oxford. What on EARTH is she doing writing erotica!'
   In other words.  Primula is slumming it. Well, is that not what they meant? I can see the wrinkling of noble noses and the sucking of plums in mouths as we speak. What should I be doing? Writing unreadable Booker Prize winners? Literary tomes on the topic of The Faerie Queene? Speeches for David Cameron?
   Of course I'm not slumming it. I'm proud of what I do, and so are my editors at Harper Collins. They asked me to write this. I like to think it's on the higher planes of intense, sexy romance rather than pure smut, but even if it is smut, who cares? It's harmless, arousing fun for adults, and it's become one of my day jobs.
    Have any of those girls been approached by an editor to write a trilogy?
    But they, unfortunately, aren't the only ones who disapprove. Closer to my home, my parents share that view. Instead of being pleased that I'm doing exactly what I've always dreamed of doing, degree or no degree, they feel I'm peddling porn. Yep. The exact words. Just like 50 Shades, they reckon, it's corrupting, dangerous porn. So what, I said, if I made a load of money from it? What would you think then?
   It would be ill gotten gains, was my mother's quote.
   So, even though they might have walked right past the book in Tesco or Smith, they will keep their eyes averted. Any articles I've written on the subject are an embarrassment and, the crux of the matter, reflects badly on them. Just as becoming a single mother did - but that's another wound too old to open.
   So. Ill gotten gains. If they notice I've got a new lipstick, or bag, or kitchen, or holiday, thanks to sales of The Silver Chain and the Unbreakable Trilogy, they'll say nothing.
   Well, my lips are zipped, too. It's ceased to matter what they think. While they speak about 'never having time to write, but of course I would if I could' I haven't told them about the fantastic Harper Collins summer party. I haven't told them about the two erotica readings I've done in London. Or the hilarious workshop I gave in York at the writing festival. Or the lovely comments from people on Twitter, Facebook and Amazon about The Silver Chain and it's sequel, The Golden Locket, about to come out.
   So thanks to all you lovely people who follow me and read me, and the finger to those who disapprove! And here's a picture of my Oxford college where I learned everything I know!!!

    

Monday, 30 September 2013

Gustav and Serena come back to life

I realised how real my hero and heroine were to me when I sat down in front of a blank computer screen on Monday morning last week. I was dreading it, to be honest. Or at least I was dragging my feet.
    I'd taken the summer off, refusing to think about book 3 of my Unbreakable Trilogy until The Silver Chain was launched onto an unsuspecting world and The Golden Locket was thoroughly edited. Then I had the York Festival of Writing to prepare for and deliver.
    Now it was mid September and there was no excuse. I tried every type of procrastination. Food that needed buying. Shoes that needed ordering online. Morning television to be watched. Nigel Slater recipes to try.  But now the house was empty, the kids were at school. The deadline was approaching, and I had to go back to New York where I left my characters.
    Unlike The Golden Locket, which picks up the action a couple of weeks after the cliffhanger of the first book, I decided to start The Diamond Ring immediately after the cliffhanger of the previous book. So they were already in position, waiting for me, frozen on their marks since July like actors whose director has just shouted 'Cut!' One of them had to move. One of them had to speak. They both had to react. But it was up to me to wind them up. I had to re-draw their physicality, their clothes, their gestures, all while pressing home the subtle signals showing the intensity of their relationship.
    I won't say what the shocking moment was where we had left them. But something happened which meant that they were forced to spring into action. Fast. And I think that's what helped, because once Serena had reacted in a way that made no immediate sense to Gustav - although if I've done my job right it should make sense to my readers - the questions and explanations started to flow, all in the context of an action sequence. So the drama made up of words and gestures, panic and urgency, discoveries and tension leading up to a volcanic confrontation, all started to fall naturally into place.
    By the time I'd finished page 3 I sat back and realised that we were properly re-acquainted. The two of them had come back to me. I always have a cinematic view of my characters and their locations anyway, but Gustav and Serena really were inside my head and, even more of a relief, they were inhabiting my story.      They may be facing their biggest, deadliest threat yet, but they are three dimensional and full of life. Eyes flashing, hair flying, shoes tapping - and of course lips and hands eventually finding their way back to each other, to remind us all of the passion that has burned so fiercely since the Halloween night when they met!
   And now that I've finished chapter 1, I've got all those old writer-in-progress symptoms back again. A conversation that slips into my mind when I'm lying in the bath. A canny description of someone or something as I'm driving along to fetch the kids. Scrabbling for paper and pen when a new character's introductory phrase comes to me.
   So hi, Gustav and Serena. I'll try to be gentle with you! Meanwhile, here's a gratuitous torso on a billboard in Manhattan, near the Meatpacking District where the action of Book 3 opens.

 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Down to Earth - Back from York Festival of Writing

Well, what a weekend of writing, teaching, laughing, drinking, talking, eating, and learning. From Thursday night, when I arrived at what appeared to be a deserted uni campus and was shown to a little single room which made me feel like a 19 year old student again, through to Sunday night, when I staggered back home, it was like being in a creative bubble, or on another planet, far away from loved ones, cooking, housework, even my usual diet of TV! Although the other kind of diet was more than satisfied with fantastic food, copious coffee, tea and biscuits all day long, and a bit too much nice white wine!
   And instead of my husband and sons, I was surrounded by birds of the same feather, all of whom had one thing on their minds. Who spoke the same language.  Who didn't glaze over or pat you patronisingly on the head when you said what you do, or what you dream of doing. That is, writing.
   When up to 300 aspiring and published writers, agents and publishers are gathered together, there will be one topic of conversation. Writing. Sub-divided into characterisation, plotting, dialogue, showing not telling. Genre, sub-divided into romance, historical, sci-fi, fantasy and, yes indeedie, erotica (of which more later!) And dreaming. The dream of sitting across the little table during the one-to-one sessions, facing an agent, and seeing a certain Simon Cowell-esque click in the eyes as they say, 'I like your submission and I'm taking you on.'
   I will never get over the excitement of being paid for my first short story, right through to meeting my latest Harper Collins editor and seeing my novel in Tesco, and I will never fully realise I've achieved my own dream, so seeing the hope and determination, the energy and humour of the people flocking to festivals like these is really humbling as well as inspiring.
   I have to say I haven't been as nervous as I was before giving my first workshop since my first job interview, or my first day at university, or climbing on a plane to take a job in Cairo. Or my wedding day, blissful though it was. Anyway, I had the best part of Friday and Saturday to anticipate it, but there was always such support and advice from fellow authors who quickly felt like friends that it was hard to be anxious for long.
   My erotica workshop had about 15 'customers', and I reiterated my blurb that I wanted everyone to leave their inhibitions firmly at the door before we jotted some naughty words on the blackboard to get us going.

(This image is from a menu board in Amsterdam, actually, but you get the idea!!)

Then I told them my story, how a romantic rejection became my first erotic short story, and then I gave them some technical stuff about setting, character, the use of senses, building a sex scene and so on. I then read some beautiful lines from D H Lawrence to illustrate great sex scenes and some hideous examples of how not to do it from the Bad Sex Awards.
   Then it was their turn to write. 10 minutes to hit me between the eyes. And my goodness, what a fantastic, uninhibited, warm, tender, adventurous clutch of offerings was read back to me. I realised that while my nerves were melting away, my class were trembling with anxiety at the prospect of a)writing and b)reading out loud, but they should have been proud of themselves. The pieces were fantastic.
   I was a little disappointed with one person who refused to write anything 'as 10 minutes wasn't enough' and another who refused to read hers out loud or let me read it for her, but the others not only read theirs out, eyes shining with pleasure when I praised them, but also clustered round me to chat some more at the end of the class.
   Although my abiding memory of the hour was of laughter and enthusiasm, apparently there was talk of my workshop at dinner later, including a couple of people who professed to be shocked by it. What was it that offended them? Seeing the word 'fuck' on the blackboard? Well, they were the ones who evidently firmly dragged their inhibitions into the room with them, know what I'm sayin? To all the others, thanks a million, both for entering the spirit of it and being my first ever guinea pigs!

This is also a sign from Amsterdam, but as I didn't take any pics in York, I couldn't resist it, or this one:
In fact, Writers Workshop, how about a writers' festival in Amsterdam next time!!!?
 

Friday, 6 September 2013

York Writing Festival 13-15 September

Well I signed up for this several months ago and now it's less than a week away.I'm nervous, and excited, too.  The Writers' Workshop is organising the popular writing festival in York, and this is my first time as a participant. Judging by the video of last year's festival on the campus at York University, it's a well attended affair, full of bright eyed, busily scribbling attendees, competent, attractive writers sharing their art, and jolly organisers running around making everything run smooth as silk.
  So what am I doing this year? Well, as well as helping aspiring writers, hopefully, I'll be doing what most of us, if we're honest, like doing best. Talking about ourselves. It's not just that, though. It's talking to people who all want the same thing. To write. And understanding each other's language.
  As well as brief one to one tutorials with eight different writers, all of whom have submitted high quality manuscripts on all genres from erotica through mystery and crime to sci-fi, I am giving two hour-long workshops. One on erotica, which should be a laugh. I've gathered from other workshop-devotees that what people most want to do at these conferences is write, write, and write some more, and then be brave enough to offer up their attempts to the others in the group. So I've had fun thinking up some exercises for everyone to indulge in and I've called my workshop 'Behind Closed Doors.' I've also asked everyone to leave their inhibitions at the door, because we want to write some red hot snippets!
   The other workshop is on short stories, and is entitled 'In a nutshell.' My erotic career began with short stories, and they are therefore my first love. But short stories are overlooked in this country. You won't get a short story published unless you're already a best selling author. I tried to get an agent to take my volume of short stories under my real name called 'Stabbing the Rain' which I had self published on Amazon, but that was what he told me (Watch out, though, mate - I know you're going to be at the festival so I intend to thrust a copy of my stories under your nose!).
  But I don't want to discourage anyone from trying it, even if only as a fantastic exercise before expanding into a novella or novel. So first we will be trying our hand at summing up an entire scenario in a few short words to begin with, then fanning them out into something small, but perfectly formed.
  We will all have our name badges on, and be milling about, endlessly socialising, and in between gulps of coffee we'll be signing our books, too. The Silver Chain will be in evidence, and some other past Primula Bond works, and in my suitcase I will be trundling up through the country carrying copies of my self published short story collection, too.
   Next time I will report back on how it all went! Meanwhile, here is a symbolic lantern of learning!

Monday, 2 September 2013

Passion amongst the Paddles

Well, another steamy evening in London and this time I took R with me as we were seeing No 1 son for his 25th birthday for dinner afterwards, and meeting his new girlfriend. So up town, we drove all the way through Knightsbridge, Piccadilly, Holborn, Clerkenwell which was great fun, the old place looking shiny and new and actually some of it IS shiny and new in the 15 years since I left. What's with this new 'Crossrail' thingy carving up Tottenham Court Road? Anyhoo, Hoxton was our destination, and the Hoxton Hotel our crash pad. An area I've never been before, so it was like a real city break.
   Anyway, to the Sh!Womens Store, pink-painted sex shop extraordinaire in Hoxton Square and down to the basement, adorned with paddles, handcuffs, tutus, creams, lotions, hen party gear, and of course some great books, to listen to some erotica authors I hadn't met before but chatted to a lot on Twitter: Justine Elyot, Kristina Lloyd and Ms Taylor, extremely worthy winner of the recent Daily Mail/Black Lace short story competition. Also K D Grace was there from the last In The Flesh reading I went to, and on her blog kdgrace.co.uk she has written her own great account of the same evening.
   I am still getting used to the friendliness, support and mutual nervousness of a writers' gathering. There's always a great welcome, smiles and enthusiasm. And I think I may have put my finger on why it feels so comfortable. It's because you're suddenly with people who speak the same language, rather than friends and family who listen politely but tend to glaze over when you talk of inspiration, deadlines and royalties... I wonder if it's the same rapport in a room full of accountants, interior designers, or plumbers?
  Anyway, inevitably some writers look more confident than others, but there's a certain fragility placing yourself in the face of a rapt audience and fellow authors as we start to read the work that for months has been created in the silence of our own heads, and our own homes.
   Because Kristine was caught up in traffic, the lovely Joanna who runs the sex shop asked if me or K D would like to read, and because I genuinely happened to have a copy of The Silver Chain with me to give to my son's girlfriend later, and was maybe fuelled a little by the lovely champers, I agreed to read a few pages before Kristine could arrive and hit us with her full-on blow job scene!
   Justine read a piece about some amateur dramaticists which was wonderfully funny, reminding me that erotica doesn't always have to take itself so seriously (note to self: RELAX!), and then Ms Taylor, shaking with nerves, read her stunning debut story about forbidden inter-racial love and lust. What an eye opener, and a great new talent, and bless her she was TOTALLY unfazed by an interruption by a rather mad-eyed pair who came charging down the stairs and who we didn't realise until later were shoplifters - trousering a vibrator, no less - who chose the wrong evening to mess with Renee who saw them off quick-smart while Ms Taylor continued calmly reading downstairs! Let's hope that vibrator gives that shoplifter some seriously unsexy experiences!
  There was champagne and cupcakes and a quietly attentive audience, and then it was time for R and I to slip away, back into the narrow streets full of hipsters, and into the roaring den that is The Tramshed for meat, chicken and my lovely son who was tickled pink to introduce his girlfriend to 'my mother, the eroticist!'
  I took a picture of ten pink paddles, hanging on the wall, but can't seem to upload it, so here is a sexy red rose I took for my photography portfolio instead!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Shiny Happy People

I am starting to get both nervous and excited about airing my thoughts and ideas to an eager classroom of shiny, happy, galvanised (and fee paying) peeps at the York Writing Festival on 13-15th September. I've written down my notes, some shamelessly egotistical stuff about how I started writing, and some fun exercises. But I need a pretend audience.
  And who better to practice on than a guy I met at a gathering the other day. Overhearing someone talking about my book,  and realising I was someone who had moved from talking about writing to being published, he leaned conspiratorially towards me and asked, 'Primula, can I ask, how did you get into writing? How can I get into it?'
  Somehow there was something in his eyes, his shiny, happy yet blank eyes, the expectant, already slightly knowing face, that made me suspect that he might be one of those people who, once they'd politely let me rant on for a while, would interrupt to tell me either a) that they had a story in them but never had time to read, let alone write it, or b) would I mind looking at this 900,000 word tome on the spiritual life of the bumble bee/imaginary planet they'd been writing for the last 10 years. A bit like a doctor at a party being asked to diagnose some symptoms?
  Well, I had a good glass or two of Pimms inside me, all the time in the world, so I leaned confidently towards him and I started talking. Not wanting to bore him, I skimmed over the exercise books full of heroes and heroines littering my bedroom when I was a kid, the solitary walks dreaming of becoming a princess, the teenage poetry competitions (one won), the years at uni studying literature which killed any creativity, later the adult adventures, the return to writing, the endless rejection slips, the late nights of single motherhood spent writing out, later typing out, my fantasies, the drawers full of half chewed manuscripts, finally the fateful lunch hour at work spent bashing out one last desperate submission for a magazine I had just bought. The one last short story, in fact, and the first that got accepted.
   After my own potted history I wanted to know about his. Did he have the fire in his belly, the itch, to write if not all his life, then certainly now? Did he find himself watching and listening to everything and everyone around him, then writing down scenarios, conversations, news clips, abstract ideas on the back of envelopes, menus, napkins, keeping notebooks by the bath, by the bed, in the car? The eyes started to look a little startled. I had already heard that he was about to take a job abroad, an exciting prospect for anyone but which seemed to leave him curiously apathetic (surely indifference to life, travel, adventure has to be a killer for any writer?), so I said why not keep a diary, right from the moment you arrive at Heathrow until you disembark at New York/Cairo/Sydney airport, everything you see, hear smell, taste, talk to?
   Maybe I'd had too much Pimms, had ranted more than I meant to, but sure enough the eyes were glazing over. Have you written anything, I asked? No. Do you keep a diary? No. Do you have any particularly genre you would like to write? Not really. Historical fiction maybe. What do you like reading, because that's a good place to start? Bring Up The Bodies? Georgette Heyer? No. Kingsley. Alice in Wonderland. Tales of a River Bank.  Right.(Primula floundering a little here.) A tough one, you might think, until he revealed that he was a teacher, and the job he was going to take was in Egypt, where I also lived, as a young teacher, for 2 years. Oh! Have you learned any Arabic? No. Will you? No. No need.
    So whether or not he wanted my advice, I gave it to him anyway. Keep that diary. Think about a genre totally different from any other (says the erotica writer) that might make people sit up and take note. Children's fiction, perhaps. Young adult. Science fiction. Historical. Looping your various interests and expertise together.
   Another Pimms, and I'd have written the damn thing for him. Because there was no fire in that man's belly. None ignited by anything I'd said. That blank look in his eyes never, really, went away. If anything, it faded, slowly, into defeat and disinterest.
   Hey ho. Probably a good thing he won't be in my classroom in York. And one less competitor in the writing market, eh?
  Before I go, here's a link to the picture of my writing space, and a playlist of the music that inspires me:

bit.ly/primulasp

Saturday, 17 August 2013

I have arrived in Tesco! And Morrisons. And Smiths!

As Rene said in 'Allo 'Allo - I will say zis only once... I don't mean to show off, but I am SO DAMN THRILLED to walk into my local Tesco this morning and see my new paperback copy of The Silver Chain up there on the book shelf with the other new releases! Together with the photos some of my lovely Twitter friends have posted of the copies they've seen either in other Tescos (as far afield as Glasgow!) or even sitting on their tables waiting to be read, this really is my moment. As Martine McCutcheon said/sung. My perfect moment. And I will make sure I never become complacent or smug about any of this. How could I, when it's taken such a long time to get here?
    I just need to dance another little jig. There. That's better. But what I really hope is that this gives inspiration to other writers who slog away year after year and feel as if no-one will ever notice them. I know how it feels to have this urge to write, no matter what, how or when (backs of envelopes, napkins, soggy notebooks by the bath), to have this dream that maybe someone some day will like it enough to want to publish it, and to be slightly apologetic when you mention writing as one of your occupations (along with legal secretary, host mother, mother, wife, chauffeuse, cook, bottle washer - you get the picture) and people's eyes either roll or glaze over, or you are metaphorically patted on the head and told to enjoy your little hobby. I didn't even mention writing until I started to get paid, but still. It was never taken seriously.
   I have been writing erotic short stories and novels, as well as my 'secret life' writing literary fiction, for more than 20 years. Well, if I'm honest, for more than 40 if I count the romantic novel I wrote in an exercise book when I was a little girl. And I can honestly say the only other writing moment that equates to today's jig-dancing excitement is when the erotica magazine For Women bought my first ever short story 'Man in a Cage', for £150, back in 1994. That started the whole ball rolling, and then Forum started buying them, and then Black Lace, Xcite and Mischief, where I met the brilliant editor who has accepted pretty much anything I've written since then. I was on the point of giving up, in fact, as erotica was becoming more and more pornographic and payment was getting less and less, but after 50 Shades spawned the more accessible 'erotic romance' genre last year, my editor suggested I have a go at writing something along these lines, less hardcore, more intensely romantic (going back to my childish romantic efforts!) and when this latest Unbreakable Trilogy was born he handed me over to the Avon Ladies. So you could say that my little hobby became a hobby that paid, and then at long last was taken on by Harper Collins, one of the giants of publishing. And that's when finally, finally, I felt it could be taken seriously and I could say 'I'm a writer' when asked about my occupation.
   So thanks to all of you, family, friends, editors, designers, retailers - and buyers! You've made my day!
 
 
 

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Serena speaks

My childhood down here in Devon, while surrounded by spectacular scenery, was spectacularly desolate. I was found on the steps of the church as a newborn baby and taken in by the man who found me and his wife, a couple whose names I can never bring myself to mention, other than the surname they gave me: Folkes. The older I grew, the more they detested me. Why they didn't give me to the authorities I will never know, but until I was 16 I had no idea that that was an option. The house on the cliffs where I was brought up was the only home I knew, and misery and neglect at home at least was the only life I knew.
  There were basic meals, no birthday presents, one mirror by the front door, and endless weekends spent in my bedroom. If there were outings, for example one to Hay Tor, I was frequently left behind on walks. If there was a thunderstorm, I wasn't comforted. And whenever my red hair grew too long and curly, they hacked it off.
   I refuse to dwell on it too much because there were three outlets from the house on the cliffs which took me away increasingly, and kept me sane, other than school and art college, which I loved.  There was the local stables where I used to groom and muck out the horses and ended up exercising them, taking classes, and even sleeping there most of the holidays. Then there was my cousin Polly, whose parents were pretty much estranged from the people I lived with. They never came to visit, and I rarely if ever met them, but she was often packed down to Devon and when she arrived the behaviour in the house was marginally less distant but we were let loose from the house and allowed, once we were about 11 or 12, to sleep on the beach and roam like wild animals. She told me about her life in London, about money, clothes, make up and sex. Which leads to my third outlet. Jake. My hunky local lover. When I was 16 we lost our virginity to each other in his old caravan in a field, and I went and lived with him there. If the people I lived with put up a fight, I don't remember it. I probably shouted louder than them by then, and the old man was getting ill. Jake was my world for two years, but when I went travelling my horizons expanded. I met people and saw things things through my camera lens which meant when I came back to Devon I felt differently about everything. The people in the house on the cliffs both died. The best thing they ever did. That and leaving me tons of money. And I was ready to spread my wings.
   I'm sorry if I sound hard, but the funny thing is that, partly thanks to Jake and Polly and now to Gustav, the man I met as soon as I hit London, I'm still soft as butter inside. Though I keep it as well hidden as I can.
   I did return to Devon after the people in the house on the cliffs died. Once to attend the funeral and to split up with Jake. And once when I thought me and Gustav were finished. I went and stayed at the Burgh Island, a luxury art deco hotel off the coast of South Devon to allow Jake to interview me for a local rag when my first photographic exhibition in London. One of the happiest sights in my short life, though I didn't admit it at the time, was seeing Gustav, wrapped against the cold in his red scarf, standing on the sea tractor bringing him across the high tide to the island to claim me once again.

Friday, 9 August 2013

Returning to Serena's roots

All I can see out of my window after our three hour drive west from Hampshire is a green-gold field sweeping ahead of me up to the sky, criss crossed with neat green hedges. The narrow road we drove up to get here leads on another mile or so to an adorable sandy cove with a cobb a little like Lyme Regis where Merryl Streep stood moodily waiting for her French Lieutenant. There's a shop, cream teas, and a pub. There's a beach to dig or walk on or sit on, and fresh air. So much fresh air.
   A couple of pin men are walking heartily across the horizon where that field meets the sky, all tooled up with rucksacks, sturdy boots and those special hikers' walking sticks which are nothing like the standard walking sticks disabled people use. I often wonder why hikers brandish them - perhaps someone could enlighten me? As someone with a dodgy leg who uses her walking stick very sparingly (except in Rome, where it got us waved through all sorts of secret doors and passages in the Vatican to short-circurt the endless queues) it seems odd that people who positively shove their rude health under our  noses as they conquer the Pennines, the Lake District or these kindly cliffs in South Devon, should have need of these sticks. Are they to enable them to make that last weary mile before the pub comes into sight? Is it to help negotiate the boulders and muddy tracks they will encounter in these undulating hills? Is it to show how committed they are to the art of rambling, and they've been to the shop and bought up the catalogue of equipment every serious minded hiker needs?  I THINK WE SHOULD BE TOLD.
    This place represents to me holidays and getting away from what my grandmother used to call 'the stern realities' of real life. My latest erotic novel The Silver Chain is about to come out in paperback and should be sold in Tesco, Morrisons and Smiths. It's incredibly exciting to have the potential of recognition within m grasp. But I'm knackered, in need of rejuvenation, and I always get that when I find myself near the sea. There isn't even a mobile signal here, although wi-fi, which if I was to have a complete break would also be banished.
 
Anyway, those hikers' maps will tell them and I already to know, because I've been to this part of the South Hams in Devon, England, once or twice a year for the last 20 years (since the very same year I started writing erotica, in fact)  that on the other side of that field is actually a cliff path, some rocks and boulders and then, picturesque as it might be, the sheer, fenceless, unprotected drop of the cliffs into the choppy English channel. Or is the Atlantic?
   And that is where my heroine, Serena Folkes, from my novel The Silver Chain, was brought up. She is a country girl, brought up in a cold, mean house on the cliffs which although contemporary in time and setting could come from a Bronte novel or a Daphne du Maurier.  All very well me loving the peace and quiet and the crash of the waves when I come here on holiday, which always give me inspiration, but I know it's only temporary and soon I will be driving back to the city. In my heroine's case her upbringing until she was able to escape by travelling and then inheriting her adoptive parents' money was utterly miserable. The dark side of living in the back of beyond. The reality of living permanently in a holiday destination which other people consider an aspirational beauty spot.
   In fact when we first meet her she is fidgeting with impatience on a train, waiting for it to carry her out of Devon and up to the bright lights of London where she will meet the love of her life.
   Serena is a red haired, pale skinned, pre-Raphaelite hued girl of wild beauty and spirit but nobody knows where that beauty came from. In romantic fairy tale tradition she was a foundling, left in a basket on the steps of a church, tripped over and taken in by a couple who turned out to be like something out of the worst of Dickens in that they were Christian and proper but had not one loving bone in their body. And so my heroine grows up starved of family life and love apart from her passion for horseriding and the visits by her adopted cousin Polly, until she discovers sex with her first boyfriend, Jake, who also provides a haven in his caravn for Serena to escape from the hideous house where her adopted parents are so disconcerted by her they even chop her red hair off whenever it gets too long and lustrous.
   We'll talk about how sex, once tasted, becomes pivotal in her life, but I think my next post will be as from Serena herself as she walks over the fields, down the lanes, across the cliffs, and into the pubs of her childhood. And plans her escape, her travels, and her career as a young photographer about to be discovered.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

We're All Alleycats Now!

So the country bumpkin Miss Bond comes up to London for the 'In the Flesh' erotica reading organised by the fab Suzanne Portnoy and held on the last Wednesday of every month. It was so steamy in London - they still haven't got the air conditioning sorted in the tube. I'm not really a country bumpkin - I lived in London on and off for nearly 20 years, in the mean streets of Notting Hill, Shepherds Bush and latterly Earls Court. I remember well scrambling to get my then eight year old (no 1 son, now a strapping, gorgeous 25 year old) to school and then the face-in-armpit journey on the District Line to Blackfriars.
    I was trying to look reasonably hot (as in sexy, not as in sweaty, which I was as well) in a grey satin shift dress. Even so I nearly ended up in Regent Street thanks to some idiot who pointed me in the wrong direction when I came out at Tottenham Court Road, which is unrecognisable with all the cross-rail thingy work going on there.
   Anyhoo, the Alleycat Club. What a perfect venue for some dirty reading! Denmark Street was new to me, a colourful row of varied shops and bars, and there it is, blue fairy lights directing you down steps to the depths, into a cosy bar with little tables and chairs and of course a stage with mike and instruments waiting for the jazz band coming after. Suzanne was there already - what a dame! Anyone who's read her sex memoir The Butcher, The Baker etc about a New Yorker's sex odyssey when living in London will have an idea of how sexy and feisty she might be, and with her throaty voice and big laugh she ticks all the boxes!
   So some smiley girls and one or two boys came wandering in, including Sophie Hart of Cafe Crumb fame (Naughty Girls Book Club), my fellow readers KD Grace, Rupert Smith and Zac. Also two of my sisters, my cousin, my best mate from uni, and another girl who was at school with my sister. So the fan club was complete.
   I asked Suzanne if I could read first as I was so nervous - ridiculously as it turned out, as everyone was so supportive. So she introduced me and up I went to read the scene from The Silver Chain where Serena and Gustav make love in the true sense of the word, for the first time in his house in London. I'm not a natural performer, unless I'm singing, so I hope my voice was husky in the right places, emphasis etc. Serena sees Gustav totally naked for the first time. They make love in a normal, straight way, the silver chain draped around her wrist but no other toys, no props. Just their bodies.
  The applause was warm and welcome, and then I was done. The other readers were fantastic. Quick, witty, dead sexy. And all too soon I'd drained my glass of wine and it was all over. I said goodbye to Suzanne, KD, Rupert and Zac, and my 'gang' dragged me round the corner for yet more sauvignon blanc and something, can't remember what, to eat. How on earth I got to Waterloo, let alone an hour down the railway line to Winchester, I'm afraid I can't recall!


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Harper Collins summer party

It's been nearly two weeks now since the Harper Collins summer party in Kensington Gardens, and I meant to write about it sooner. For someone who has been writing as it were in the shadows for more than 20 years it was fantastic to get such an attractive, glittering invitation and to feel like someone who matters! And glittering indeed it was. It was a lovely warm evening when got the train from Winchester and across London on the tube, and as soon as I walked through the gates into the park I was taken back to the era of my late teens when I was lucky enough to live in Kensington in my year off before going to uni, and used to roller skate up and down the Broad Walk.
    Now many years later I was tottering through the park in my cocktail dress while limos with blacked out windows swept past me towards the Orangery. I will admit to you now I was nervous, and when I got to the door and the wall of noise rolled out to greet me, I realised why. I was maybe 20 minutes late, but already the beautiful glass conservatory was packed with happy, glamorous people holding champagne, picking up twixt finger and thumb the tiniest canapes I've ever seen, and chattering very loud and very animatedly to make themselves heard.
   I decided just to be brazen about this. I had to remember that I was one of them, after all, not an outsider looking in which is how it has felt for so long, so I pushed on into the crowd of strangers. Oh, the joys of social media, because the first person I recognised from her blog post was Victoria Connelly who had written on her blog about last year's party. She and Claudia Carroll both looked lovely and cool with their rivers of blonde hair, and very sweetly greeted me. I was feeling distinctly damp around the armpits, though, and was led by Cleo Little to the far end of the conservatory where some of the other Avon Ladies were chatting, including my editor Helen, and boy did they look beautiful and soignee! Here it was cooler and quieter and I had a great view of Victoria Barnsley giving a great speech after her surprise announcement that she was leaving HP,then a short address by Max Hastings.
   Outside the party spilled onto the lovely lawns of the Orangery, and I moved around as sociably as I could without knowing anyone, talking to two historical novelists and a children's author. Although I saw Victoria Pendleton and someone from Made in Chelsea, my own celebrity moment came when I said hello to Nigel Slater, and after gabbling away about studio kitchens and allotments, I slightly over-excitedly declared I would call my next erotic hero after him! Slater, that is..! I swear I'd only had one glass of champagne, because I am even more of a chatterbox if I had more than that. He is as nice in real life as he looks on screen, and much more rumpled and attractive.
   I started to feel hot and weary after nearly two hours though as I'm not great at standing for that long and to sit down would have made me invisible, so I quietly slipped out into the lovely warm air without saying goodbye to anyone, got into a taxi helpfully waiting right outside the door, and bowled back to Waterloo. I'd forgotten how mellow London is when it's a warm summer's evening, everyone out and about in party clothes or standing on balconies or outside pubs, and I felt extremely pleased with life as my taxi driver talked me through the Andy Murray quarter final, shot by shot, as I made my way home.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Tips for writing a good sex scene

Tips for writing a good sex scene: This is assuming this is the first time for the characters. Details, location, dynamic etc can evolve as the novel progresses. Put yourself in there if you like, if it doesn't inhibt you. Otherwise superimpose famous heart-throbs, or a secret crush, on to the characters. Even imagine it flowing visually in front of you on a screen. The best comment I had from a favourable reviewer was when she put up a photograph of a sensationally beautiful redhead who she imagined my character Serena to look like.

Make us care for your characters. They may come from different worlds, or there may be a difference in age or in the balance of power between them, but they are drawn to each other like a couple of magnets and once we know how this dynamic works, we will know how and why they fancy each other, and your readers will fancy them, too. And remember these characters have one aim, now that they've gotten to know each other. To have sex. And our aim is to see them at it. Voyeuristic (see also my character Serena Folkes) but true! So next, place them in a sexy environment for this first time. Depending on their age, situation, energy, athleticism and/or pure machismo, the back of a clapped out Ford Cortina or the bins behind the Plaza cinema might be just the place for a quick, rough first time, and that will certainly do it for some readers. Any good erotic writer is more than capable, like the old Martini adverts, of creating a sex scene any time, any place, anywhere! But others usually pick up an erotic novel to get away from the dirty old mean streets of real life. We're after escapism! So hie your characters off to a place you'd like to be. A moonlit beach, or a sumptuous penthouse hotel room, or a soft rug in front of a roaring fire. Make sure there is low lighting and great music or some other subtle sound track. Garish lighting and deadly silence are not always the sexist ambience, at least for the first time. You can really have fun with your characters as the novel progresses, having them so hot for each other that after the first seduction they'll do it anywhere. A lift, a restaurant. A riding stable. An art gallery. And to keep us on our toes, you can also later on play with the dynamic, too. Have the meek heroine take the lead, for once. See how the hero responds to that.

Build up sensuously to the physical act with suggestive conversation which will either be blatant and in your face, or playful, teasing, even holding back. Remember that characters don't stand woodenly about like actors in a bad am-dram before they get down to it. Have them eating, drinking, dancing, singing, involve us in that experience, then show us their clothes, how well they fit, are they too formal or tight, how good does it feel as they come off? Unbuttoning cut-off jeans can be just as sexy as unzipping a ball gown. Make it tense, passionate, breathless, but take it slow. In real life the first time you have sex with someone new is often urgently desired but ends up fast and disastrous, but this is fantasy! So although there can be some hesitation, shyness and teasing, ultimately everyone, reader included, needs to be on tenterhooks to get their hands on each other. To get down to it. Restless, like scratching an itch. Salivating, like the desperation to drink cold water in the desert.

Structure your scene like the sex act. That is, foreplay, action, climax, wind down. Too obvious? You might think so, until you start writing the scene. Think of the foreplay as the aforementioned setting. The removal of clothes, the first sensation of skin on skin starts the action rolling in the obvious direction. If it helps, think of a movie scene. I know actors always say how pedestrian and workmanlike it is simulating sex in front of a crew of burly cameramen, a bank of arc lights and a demanding director, but imagine yourself as an extremely involved, generous, hands-on director with your characters, but make sure the bed is soft, the studio is warm, and soon they'll take off on their own towards the strong, satisfying, long-awaited penetration! As for the climax, well, no beating about the bush, is there? This is when the glorious pinnacle of where we all want to be is reached, and tread carefully here with the language (see below). Challenge yourself to find different ways of describing that rush of ecstasy. Avoid waterfalls, avalanches, orchestras! What actions or words stimulate the eventual moment? Slightly unrealistically erotic couples tend to come together every time but if you want to be more realistic, let one come before the other and show who is the generous one, who the thoughtful, who the selfish one? Or are they both equally considerate, and if not, will they become so as the novel progresses. Finallyk, the wind down is often the hardest. After the shivering and shuddering, do they fall asleep, or analyse, or do it all over again? I often have a knock at the door, or a phone call after the act, so that in the early days the couple are never at leisure totally to relax or take each other for granted until the next drama occurs.

Make it dramatic, but human. Not impossibly athletic, but not mundane either. The characters will already be attractive and/or beautiful, or arresting in some way to turn us on. The men have got to be strong and well hung and very experienced. The women curvacious, soft and wonderfully proportioned, and if not experienced, then primed and ready to learn. If this is a romantic setting, lots of kissing and stroking, exploration. If this is more down the BDSM route, then the participants will get their kicks from spanking, binding, and pain. But there is always room for sensuousness and tenderness.


Language. Keep it simple, punchy, evocative, but not obscene or anatomical. Don't, like John Updike, veer away from simple words and use hidous ones like 'yam' to describe a penis. Don't use euphemism or flowery words, either. 'Cock' 'cunt' and 'fuck' are acceptable with some publishers, but not others, and certainly not in the new mainstream type of erotica. I have written a trilogy where those words are only uttered in the words of a character who should know better – not the narrator, or the main characters themselves. Believe me, you have to use your powers of evocation very carefully to avoid sounding awkward or coy. So 'manhood' and 'sex' can be used, but sparingly. Read works of your chosen genre, or find a publisher's house style, to find what is acceptable. Next try to get into a rhythm similar to the rhythm of sex. Slow, slow, quick slow. Yes, that's it. Like a dance. Why else to you think dancing was considered so daring in the old days? It was the nearest people could get to each other in public. And have you ever seen sex better choregraphed than in the Argentine tango?

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Another great review

Tantalizing, amazing are some of the words comes to my mind as I sit here thinking.  Primula Bond has such a fantastic writing style that brings to life Serena and Gustav's relationship.  I'm amazed by how much I wanted to skip the story and get to the sex scenes! HOT they were hot! I was so captivated by their relationship. I love Gustav! Such a great leading man very strong presents but knows when he needs to do the chasing and maybe a little begging. When I saw the cover I liked it but after reading love it. It brings to mind a certain scenes. I can't wait to read what will happen next.
 Loved it!   






Serena and Gustav come home #The Silver Chain

 He looks beautiful sitting on the chair in my bedroom. The stoniness in his features softening despite his best efforts. A flush of colour in his lean cheeks. His hair long and glossy, the blackness of his eyes deepened by his burglar's clothes.
'Can I take a photograph to remember you by? The moonlight suits you. Makes you look younger somehow. It must be your natural lighting.' I lift my camera, all my movements very slow, as if he might vault back over the balcony at any moment.
He remains in the chair, rocking very slightly and holding the glass of red wine. This is me at my best. Stepping round the room, stepping round him, framing and clicking. Trapping him forever in my little glass window.
'What do you mean, remember me by?'
'Well, the show's nearly sold out. Technically I'll be free to come and go as I please.'
He picks up the brush I've just been playing with and strokes it under his nose. Heat surges through me, through my body, up into my face. He can smell me on the bristles.
'Your heart won't let you.'
I remain standing, but I'm cold now. 'We've fulfilled most of the clauses of the agreement in principle. And I'm grateful for your faith in me, the gallery, and the room here, and your contacts and your help.'
'You have no idea.'
He leans forward and takes my wrist. There's a new silver chain, glinting in the moonlight. He hooks it onto my bracelet. I'm hooked onto him. He tugs hard on the chain and as I stumble towards him he scoops me up into his arms and carries me out of the room, down the stairs, past pre-Raphaelite Rapunzel, then he kicks open the double door of his own room.
This is like falling through the looking glass. I haven't changed or gone crazy, like Alice. This isn't a nightmare, or even a dream. I'm still Serena Folkes, the girl in the nightie who has this terrible addiction. But in this moment Gustav has carried me into my new life.
He throws me playfully on to the huge bed which is pushed up against the enormous windows and then goes to stand by the wall opposite. An oblong of light edges in from the landing, but apart from that the room is in darkness.
A tiny spot light pings on to illuminate a framed picture.
'You asked me why I went to Milan. I carried this all the way out there from London and then decided to frame it properly. I was going to give it to you in Switzerland.'

It's the sketch he did of me at the private view, small but perfectly formed. It's been set in the centre of a wide pale green mount and a beautiful silver frame. Instinctively I glance round the room, up at the ceiling. The other walls are totally blank.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

A really great review - thank you!

 Just couldn't resist copying this review, as it's so constructive and encouraging compared with some of the less kind ones. Here it is, with my thanks.

'OK, my first thought about this book was the English language has absolutely been mastered by Primula Bond. The plot is great, but the writing is phenomenal. If I ever felt myself not drawn to something Primula Bond is able to weave her magic and make me come back to what is important, her writing.
I loved how the two main characters met. It was so perfect. But sadly, perfection afterwards is a different story. It didn't resonate with me how they made their contract. Maybe it was his tone, something about Gustav's character that just didn't work for me. He seems so aloof. Not to say that I didn't absolutely enjoy this, because I did, but I wanted a little more from him.
"Now, tell me I can't escort you somewhere Serena. You look a bit, well, undone. Disheveled? No, that's not the right word. At sixes and sevens. Knackered. Who wouldn't be? This can be an exhausting old town. How about allowing me to buy you a drink if you think you can trust me?"
Serena, however, I absolutely adore. She's a bit crazy and crass but absolutely lovely. And has some issues with holding her tongue!
"Another apology, even if it is in Latin! "I mutter. "Why can't you just act like a normal person for once in a blue moon?"
I think her normal speech, instead of the gaudy, know it all speech of Gustav, really brings feeling to the story. And there is also the sexiness of this story... loads of it! They don't know one another very well before Gustav is showing Serena what he wants. And he has a really good imagination! Definitely not something for the younger adults!
All in all, a really good, entertaining read. I love the writing and will read another of Primula Bond's books in an instance!'

---

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

A Bit of a Teaser

Gustav Levi is calm for the first time. A ship that's been hurled by the storm into harbour. He's where he wants to be. He is finally inside me, taking full physical possession. Fucking me. He increases his pace, thrusting once, twice more, his pleasure, my pleasure, this wonderful new calmness and belonging, then as the storm crashes over us, over the chalet, battering at the mountain, we come together.
     He collapses across me, his face in the pillow next to my shoulder, his body heavy, crushing the air out of me, but I don't care. I am just relishing the heavy thump of his heart against mine, the rushing of hot breath against my shoulder, the slow relax of his limbs as our breathing, and the storm, subside.
     I run my lips over his cheek, but he shakes his head and rolls away from me. Now the crisp closure of his zipper sounds so bitter and final. Shutting me out again. Not only that, but now that his warmth is removed I start to shiver, outside as well as within. The storm has given way to hail now, white stones crashing onto the skylights like someone chucking gravel to attract attention.
     There are all sorts of things I should say now. Things he's never heard before. This is my chance to find the right words to make him mine.
     But what I actually say is, 'My wrists are hurting.'
     He kneels up quickly and unties the silver chain, his face troubled again. He rubs my arms as he releases them, running his finger round the inside of the bracelet where it has been branding my skin. I can barely move my arms. They are stiff and sore with all the tension, the straining to escape, welcoming yet fighting the sexy struggle.
     He remains hunched above me, shaking his head. I let my hand fall onto his back where his black shirt is sticking with sweat. Trace the shoulder blades, the bumps of his spine. The inflation of his ribs as he tries to calm his breath.
     A residual, satisfied moan escapes me.


   
 'I'm a monster. You see?' He moves away from me, running his fingers over the silver bracelet before standing up. 'All I ever do is hurt people.'

Monday, 1 July 2013

Yanking on The Silver Chain

You know it's crunch time when your book is finally sent out to a raft of reviewers who are asked to say honestly, generously, and/or brutally, exactly what they think of the book you were slaving over for the best part of six months, including revisions. You tiptoe up to the pages, for example on Goodreads, glance down the list of reviews, note the number (if any) of stars. Swerve away.Avert your eyes. Five. Wow! Four. Great! Three stars. Not so great. One or two. Avert your eyes when you catch the comment 'I didn't even want to give two!' You know these are going to be pretty blistering.
   So, the negative comments so far. Come on, gotta face it. And learn from it.It's a good thing at last not to be writing in isolation all the time. They all seem to revolve around two areas. One, interestingly, is how to classify the book, ie whether or not to compare this with 50 Shades and the Crossfire series, or whether that is misleading.I acknowledge the influence of 50 Shades but twixt you and me I aimed to write something tighter and better. If you are looking for a lot of BDSM content, toys, aids, constraint, domination, etc, then this isn't for you. There are some significant punishment scenes, but the symbolism of the Silver Chain itself is to bind the lovers, not restrain them. The whole reason I went into the new erotic romance genre when I was honestly about to hang up my handcuffs was to be able to concentrate on the developing of an intense relationship, rather than filling pages with a series of sex scenes linked by a flimsy story line.
    Secondly, there have been remarks about the single point of view which leads to a certain amount of internal 'dialogue' (I think they mean monologue). Perhaps I'll explore dual points of view in another novel, to open it up. I don't think I can do that now, having completed two out of three solely from Serena's angle. The questioning and observations of Serena as she goes about her new life with Gustav also leads some commentators to find this a slow burn, rather than a romp. I do relish language and have enjoyed indulging in the freedom to write as I want. So for 'slow' others have read 'lush prose'.
    My Avon Ladies have tried to forward me some 'wonderful' reviews, but spookily I can't download them. What can that mean, I wonder?

Here are some of the good ones:

'I really loved the book - it was different - but good different.. I can't wait for book 2 - the cliffhanger really left me hanging! I want to know what happens with Serena and Gustav!' B J's Book Blog

'I really loved it. Primula Bond knows how to write interesting, engaging and fascinating relationships.' Northern Lass


'I felt the story was quite well written and it took me a day to read as I romped through it and didn't want to put it down.' Goodreads.

And here is what anyone not rooting for me looks like: 

Friday, 28 June 2013

To read or not to read reviews?

Well, it's got to the stage, after free samples being available for a few weeks, that my Avon Ladies have sent out The Silver Chain to Net Galley, a panel of online critics with the wherewithal to read ebooks, a group of experts bristling with opinions! The book is out there, and it's like walking out into the world and saying ta dah! How do those celebrities do it when they read the critics or face the paparazzi? Not that I'm famous or owt, but - I mean, this is why I became a writer, to share what goes on in my head, to be paid to put it to paper, sell it, have people read it, and yet I feel so exposed now!
The Silver Chain comes out as an e-book on 4th July. The critics are lined up on the Goodreads.com website like an interrogation, a fan club or, perhaps, firing squad? The reviews are coming in dribs and drabs, and I approach with trepidation. Tiptoe up, see the number of stars, see the odd dodgy word, wonder if I should read on, panic, swerve away again. Of course it's great when people are enthusiastic, and any of you who are enthusiastic and reading this I LOVE YOU! But the negative comments cut to the quick. I even dreamed about it last night, that I was reading a horrible review spread all over the newspapers. You know,accompanied by that waking up at 4am with heart beating too fast.
BUT then you start to get real. It has to be said that on the whole the reviews have been pretty good, three to four stars. And they are LOVELY. Very detailed, very fair, and actually have made me think a little about certain aspects of the second book of the trilogy which I have just completed and am about to send the revisions to my editor. A couple of them have made comments which I will take on board.
It feels very personal, no matter what anyone says. But hey, I'll get over that, I daresay. I have to remember that I have the weight of Avon and Harper Collins behind me,and they reckoned it was worth publishing me, and that means the world. The doors writing this book, this trilogy, has opened are far beyond any dreams I had when I started writing novels aged 8! Workshops, readings, blog posts - it's a whole new world and most of it opened up within the last couple of months!
Anyway, let's hope that the majority of readers like it, and buy it, and want to read the entire trilogy!

The door opens.