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!!!