Archive for the 'News' Category
June 25th, 2007
As I wrap up the last in my Rodesson daughter’s erotic Regency trilogy, I’m planning my next proposal. And the question I’m wrestling is: can my hero and heroine be kinky? And how kinky can they be?
When I’ve read some erotic romance, I’ve noticed that kinky is often the preserve of the “bad guy”; kinky is the line drawn between good and evil. The villain pursues group sex, bondage, fetishes, and often preys sexually on children (and yes, I’ve had my villains do that too).
The hero and heroine might try a little bondage or some new positions, but can they be truly kinky and be heroic? I.e. can my hero just not be able to perform without a good spanking first? I’m apt to think not—I think that would just raise too many concerns in the reader. Mainly, what has happened to him to limit his sexual responses to one pattern, and how can he be…well, made a more well-rounded and whole lover?
In my proposal, I wanted my heroine to be afraid of her sexual fantasies. The hero will show her how normal, healthy, and fun they are. I want my heroine to reach the level of trust where she reveals the images that disturb her. And as a writer, I know I have to toe a delicate line—I want to celebrate fantasy, exploration, role playing, etc., but I know I can’t just eliminate the weight of morality that comes along with playing those games. The guilt is important, and adds a lot of the spice, but I don’t want characters wallowing in it.
So while I’m crafting villains for my new idea, I want to show that the evil doesn’t come from indulging in kink, but in using power, violence, and torture to harm another person. In all the info I’ve read on the BDSM lifestyle, what is most important in a good relationship is consent and trust.
Here is an excerpt for my August ’07 book, BLOOD ROSE, where my heroine tries to understand the dynamic between predator and prey in a vampires’ brothel:
Serena’s face was on fire, her throat dry and tight.
Mr. Swift leaned forward—heavens, she felt his erection push against her backside. He was aroused. She wanted to push back against him. But she tried to stay completely still.
“Is this the sort of thing you do?” she croaked the question at him. She should disapprove. But she found watching so arousing, so irresistible.
“Is it the sort of thing you would want to do, little lark? Wouldn’t you wish to perform for him, to entice him beyond all control?”
She had no answer, swallowed hard. “But those women are enticing vampires. The vampires will feed from them, hurt them.”
“But you know vampires do not always kill—and the only ones allowed here are those with control over their feeding urges. And the girls are well treated, in a way. They have warm beds, beautiful clothing, and are very well fed. They have every comfort they could imagine. These are not girls trapped and abused by a brutal madam.”
“They are free to leave?”
“Yes, but they don’t leave.”
“Why not—if they have freedom, why would they not take it?”
Swift leaned closer. “Because they need to offer their blood. They cannot exist any longer without joining with a vampire and surrendering their blood.”
“Slaves? Or worse—food!”
“In all relationships, one partner feeds on what the other offers. In different ways. The vampires are as much their slaves.”
June 14th, 2007
I hope that got you speculating about what the dreaded “E” word could be? Erotic? No. Since I’m finishing up my WIP (an acronym that sounds like ‘whip’ and often feels like one), my dreaded “E” word for the day is “Epilogue”.
For the readers out there, what do you think of the epilogue? Are they evidence that the author didn’t know when to shut up? A sign the author couldn’t think of the perfect ending so she threw two slightly inferior versions at you in the hope that volume would win the day? Do you groan when you see them, or do you relish that chance to jump into the future and take a look at what’s happened, how things have worked out, and get a taste of the “after” in happily ever after?
As I writer, I’m addicted to the epilogue. And since my hero and heroine have been, well, ****ing like bunnies for 300 and some pages up to this point, there’s usually a baby in my epilogue. But I wondered—why do I enjoy writing the epilogue and visiting my characters as their family begins to grow? Since the conflicts of the story have been resolved, what is driving me to show how the relationship has worked out?
I think I love epilogues because I have the chance to show the friendship that has evolved between my characters, and to show that the passion hasn’t faded. Epilogues make me smile because they prove to me that I wasn’t wrong to feel hope at the end of the story.
And while I don’t usually have a love scene in the epilogue, I do like to make it clear that my hero (or heroes) and heroine are having frequent delicious sex. And since time has passed and they have gotten to know each other better, the sex has just gotten better.
One of my favorite epilogues is Julia Quinn’s in On the Way to the Wedding. Her chronicle of a man’s and a woman’s reactions to childbirth—multiplied eight times (resulting in nine children) is heart-warming and hilarious.
So the question here is—do you like or hate epilogues? Do you write them, read them, or skip them? And if you are an ‘epilogue addict’, how far into the future do you like to see?
Also congratulations to all the Crumpet Strumpets who have been wrapping up manuscripts in the last while. There’s nothing more thrilling than writing “The End”. Well, possibly a few things, but it’s still a wonderful, exhausting, and exhilarating achievement.
P.S. my picture today doesn’t have anything to do with epilogues, though there is an epilogue in that story. But he’s my cover and I love him.
June 5th, 2007
Pam’s post on heroines finding their place in the world through their wit and words reminded me of my own heroines. Growth requires exploration of the world and organization of thought. When I write about my heroines, they take 300 pages to experience the world, finds growth, reach goals (or makes new ones) and carve their places in the world. Each heroine must be self-aware, i.e. discuss what she’s learned, what she doubts, and what she simply doesn’t know through the narrative. And she has chattily invited the reader along for the ride.
And while I love my heroines, some of my favorite female characters in my stories are the “bad girls”. The secondary characters. Women who walk into the story and must reveal a fully developed character in that first line that introduces them. We can’t join them on a 300 page journey, at least not yet, but we must understand them. These bad girls have goals, hopes, fears, the capacity to grow and the desperate need for a happy ending, but they only get to be on stage for a few pages.
So these secondary characters can’t be there simply to be bad. These bad girls are people too, and it is the very motivation of their “badness” that brings these ladies to life so quickly.
In my first book SIN, my bad girl, a retired courtesan by the name of Lydia Harcourt, is blackmailing her lovers in hopes of amassing a retirement fund. Of course, you’ll recognize Harriet Wilson in there, but I was so taken by the charming, witty, and knowing voice in Harriet’s Game of Hearts (her famous memoirs) that I couldn’t resist writing a bad girl just like her:
“She closed her eyes as Rodesson left her bed to rifle through her playthings. She heard the sharp intake of breath as he discovered the true treat amidst the heap of restraints. A gift from the Marquess of Chartrand—jeweled bracelets designed to be locked to her headboard. They clinked as Rodesson lifted them.
“Roll onto your stomach, lass.”
Lydia obeyed. How could she despise this man yet delight in the deep, gravelly sound of his voice? Sometimes she thought she seduced herself.”
With her last thought—rather jaded and certainly speaking of a lifetime of experience—I understood Lydia. She was tough and experienced, but so very vulnerable. Though a few scant paragraphs later, she’s back to business:
“A deeper excitement set her heart pounding. A troubled man enjoying kinkier pleasures was more apt to spill his secrets.”
In my current WIP, my highwayman hero keeps a harem (that he had generously turned over to his gang once he met the heroine), and one of those ladies is hopelessly in love with him. Of course she conspires against the heroine, but her pain and her confusion brought her to life for me. She wasn’t simply in the story because she was meant to cause trouble, she was there because she, too, has a heart and a soul.
I find it intriguing that my six-year-old daughter’s favorite characters in storybooks are the wicked witches, the ‘Cruella de Vil’s of the stories. Is it because the bad girls have all the action and many of the best lines? Or is it because these women are inherently fascinating, because we know they are bad not because the story insists that they be, but because they’ve been molded that way by life. And readers and writers love to find out why.
So who are your favorite bad girls? And did you always harbor a secret admiration for the ‘villainess’?
May 25th, 2007
“Why would you want me to inflict pain, Mr. Swift?”
The governess had returned—cool, composed, the perfect servant who would accept any bizarre, scandalous, ridiculous thing he said and carry on regardless.
“But you sorely want to, don’t you, Serena? Don’t you strap naughty boys who misbehave?”
Serena crossed her arms beneath her lush breasts. “I do not believe in corporal punishment.”
“You’ve never spanked a charge? I find that hard to believe.”
He grinned as a little smile came to her lips—a crack in her cool demeanor, a wry smile that changed her from perfect servant to human woman.
“It leads to escalation, Mr. Swift. What do ten lashes of the strap lead to? Twenty, I assure you. A child will push boundaries, and then what is a governess to do? Keep making worse and worse threats? And once a threat is issued, it must be acted upon. Children know at once when they have taken control.”
“So you wouldn’t spank me in punishment.”
“You are a grown man, Mr. Swift.”
“Would you spank me in fun?”
A blush. He’d expected her to blush, to be a little embarrassed. Instead, Serena walked calmly to the edge of the bed and picked up the whip. She curled her fingers around the grip, weighing it. “If I were to spank your bottom, Mr. Swift. I would be tempted to do it with the flat of my hand.”
Excerpt from BLOOD ROSE by Sharon Page (coming August ’07)
I love to create the naughty hero. My hero in BLOOD ROSE, Drake Swift, is naughty and oh-so-wicked because he wants to lash out at the rules of a society that he feels he can never belong in. So, of course, I paired him with an ex-governess, Serena, a woman fired from her post because of an indiscretion (she was foolishly in love). A woman determined not to be led astray again. It was tremendous fun to have Drake challenge Serena with his wicked fantasies, and have her knock him back on his heels.
And who is a better foil for the wicked naughty hero than the tormented responsible one?
On the TV show LOST we get responsible leader Jack, with the weight of the world on his shoulders, competing for love against tempting bad boy Sawyer. I’ve used those archetypes in my books BLOOD RED and BLOOD ROSE, and took on the challenge to make them fresh and unique and explore why they have become the men they are.
Which led me to writing a menage book, the fantasy of a heroine with two heroes. Interestingly, I learned the challenge of writing a menage book with two heroes is that you must be fair to both men. You, as the author, can’t fall in love with one over the other. Or at least, you can’t focus on one man’s angst to the point where he’s not even having sex, while the other is a wicked playmate who is having wild sex with the heroine in every chapter. Hmmm, something I’d never thought of until I realized I was so entranced with one of my hero’s tragic pasts that I’d forgotten to let him have some carnal fun.
What type of man is your favorite hero? Your fantasy man? And if you’re a writer, is there one hero you’ve written who is unforgettable and will always be your favorite?
May 7th, 2007
I’m still recovering from a wonderful trip to the Romantic Times convention. By recovering I mean catching up on sleep. Yes, still. And I got back last Monday night. This was my first RT and a fascinating experience. I met amazing author Robin Schone (an icon to me). I had the great opportunity to be on a panel about erotic romance. I realized (at 5:00 in the morning the day of my panel) that I wrote erotic romance because I craved knowing what happened between the characters behind the bedroom door (or carriage door, stable door, oak tree, curtain in brothel, etc….) The sexual interaction was just far too important to leave to…well, to leave out altogether. It was just so unfair that two characters with issues, conflicts, and problems would shut the bedroom door and emerge later with a heavenly afterglow. So I decided I would explore that—I would write erotica.
My favorite scenes to write are the ones where the characters don’t necessarily have great sex, simultaneous orgasm, and blissfully float around the room. Why? Because a character is much more vulnerable when sex doesn’t work out. In the book I finished in January, BLACK SILK (April ’08), I wrote a scene where the hero doesn’t reach orgasm during sex. My heroine is stunned. Doesn’t that always happen for men? What did she do wrong? And of course, since they are newly married, she’s not going to simply ask him. No, she’s going to worry. That was a much more powerful and exciting scene to explore than one of perfect sex.
In my current WIP, I’ve been wondering what was missing in my sex scenes and I only just put my finger on it. It’s humor. Sex can be sensual and erotic but there’s no way twining limbs and body parts doesn’t end up being funny. Someone gets hit with a limb and someone gets squashed. In my first erotic historical, A GENTLEMAN SEDUCED, my poor hero is determined to preserve my heroine’s virginity. As she blindfolds him, drops to her knees in front of him and enthusiastically explores, he decides he should be nominated for sainthood. Definitely sainthood. It was his humorous banter in his head that I loved about writing that scene.
I once dated a man who wanted to try handcuffs, but I refused. Not because I had anything against being tied up, but I knew that some disaster would happen and I would be the woman who gets left chained to the bed with no way of phoning for help. Or if I did manage to call for help, I’d probably end up accidentally calling my mother. I’d read Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. I was not going there.
So, for all of you out there, do you like to read about realism (and humor) in your erotica or do you look for fantasy encounters? Or a little of both?
(The picture of the eighteenth century handcuffs is from http://www.dresslikeapirate.com/.)