How about this for guidelines for authors? Exciting, no?
The erotica-buying public are practically unshockable these days … I’d like [authors] to think about working against convention in terms of women’s erotic fiction. I want to dust off the traces of romantic writing and aim for streamlined, economical prose … Out go masked balls, ripped bodices and pulsing nubbins to make way for more down-to-earth, no-messing stories which take their lead from somewhere other than romance … I would like to see some stories which explore fetishistic practices or where the central female character is driven by desires which are less wholesome than ‘finding a perfect lover’.
The above was sent to Black Lace authors in 1998, sixteen years ago, when the imprint had been going for five years. The guidelines were wonderfully refreshing at the time (and would be now!), and inspired me to write my second novel, Asking for Trouble. The words poured out of me in a way they hadn’t done before and haven’t since. The book has sold more than all of my other books combined, and then some. I was possessed! Asking for Trouble has a sleazy, noirish feel, and a suspense-thriller element to it, something I’ve continued to explore in my writing to this day.
I’d love to write more erotic, psychological thrillers, with a dark sprinkling of the gothic, but that’s a hard sell when the field is dominated by kink-lite erotic romance, and when the pressure to give readers a happy ending is so strong. I’m convinced there’s a market for erotic thrillers, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Undone, out in September in the UK, has something in common with the newly popular and dubiously-named ‘chick noir‘, psychological suspense thrillers aimed at women, exploring how well we know the people we’re close to. I wasn’t aware these books were being hailed as the Next Big Thing in publishing until recently but it’s nice to think that I might, for a change, be almost in step with the world! Obviously, Undone has a lot more depraved, kinky sex than ‘chick noir. I’d call it ‘clit noir’ if that tag wasn’t nearly as awful.
Asking for Trouble, my first foray into erotic-not-romance is fifteen years old next week. So I was deliriously thrilled to see this tweet from bestselling crime author, Elizabeth Haynes.
@kristina_lloyd Just finished Asking for Trouble – was AWESOME. Which one next? xx
— Elizabeth Haynes (@Elizjhaynes) July 6, 2014
It’s so rare for someone outside of erotica to comment positively on our books, and getting the thumbs up from someone who’s massively successful in a genre I’m flirting with is wonderfully validating. If you haven’t yet read Elizabeth’s debut, Into the Darkest Corner, go buy it now! Or check out some of the 1,500 reviews on Amazon, and see if you can *not* buy it!
And if you’re in the South East next week, join me on Tuesday for the inaugural Dirty Sexy Words gig in Croydon, South London. It’s on the 15th July, the eve of Asking for Trouble‘s 15th birthday. I’m not yet sure if I’ll be reading from AFT or Undone or something else entirely. But there will be cake!
Sallyanne, the brains behind this new venture, recently began blogging about erotica classics and gave Asking for Trouble a fabulous write up at the start of her series. She says:
“A part of the book’s appeal is the brilliant evocation of Brighton in the late 90s; the town is almost a character in its own right. Kristina Lloyd also captures the irrational, compulsive momentum of unwise lust. I think the most memorable thing about it, finally, is that it depicts a woman who is both sexually submissive – massively sexually submissive – but also a rounded character who is, ultimately, in charge of her own life.”
It looks like a lot of fun, and it would be fab to see some of you there!
Isn’t it so very beautiful? And how much do I want that dress?
Undone will be published on September 11th, 2014. I’m really hoping people will read it shortly after it’s released, and before the inevitable spoilers start appearing in reviews! Here’s the blurb.
After her divorce, Lana Greenwood buys a cocktail bar, a vintage handcuff collection and, at a friend’s birthday party in a manor house, fulfils a long-held fantasy of having a kinky threesome with two men. On the morning after the party, one of the men, Misha Morozov, a Russian pharmacologist and a regular at Lana’s bar, is discovered dead in the swimming pool. Everything points to Misha’s death being an accident apart from evidence in the bedroom where the threesome took place.
Lana begins to write a diary, unpacking her troubled emotions and detailing her increasingly obsessive relationship with the second guy, Sol Miller, a charismatic but cagey ex-New Yorker, and a compelling dom. Soon, Lana suspects Sol may be implicated in Misha’s death. Can Lana trust him? Or should Sol be asking if he can trust Lana?
And add to your Goodreads list
Um, Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody! I’m late.
Happily Ever Anal is the fourth in our series of booty books, and in this year’s anthology our stories have a romantic twist. My contribution, ‘Dr Facility and the Loving Butt Plug’, tells of a woman who’s longing to lose her anal virginity within a committed, loving relationship. So she seeks the advice of the mysterious and slightly monstrous Dr Facility.
My story isn’t trad romance, as you can probably tell! I had heaps of fun playing with the conventions of romantic love and the tropes of romance fiction when I wrote this story.
Here’s the beginning of the piece.
Dr Facility lived on the wrong side of town, tucked away among the warehouses of the old docks. At the entrance to his practice, an engraved silver plaque read: Dr Facility makes dreams come true.
It neglected to say whose dreams.
I pressed the bell. Immediately, the voices came tumbling into my head, a cacophony of lines I’d been rehearsing since embarking on my journey (my emotional, sexual journey, that is, not the one that had brought me there that night). What to choose?
“Dr Facility, I want to lose my anal virginity to a man who’ll truly love me.”
“Good doctor, I’ve heard buttsex used to be meaningful and you might think me old-fashioned but I yearn for those days.”
Or “Please help. I want to get romantically fucked up the ass. Is that even possible in the 21st century?”
When the buzzer sounded, I heaved open the thick, steel door. My hands shook. I’d heard so much about this man, always in whispers and rumors, in bars late at night when tongues grew loose, and in furtive conversations, the sort where a friend tells you about a friend of a friend who could recommend a man down by the docks.
He wasn’t what I was expecting. He was shorter, for one thing, and dramatically handsome — his eyes smoldering, his brow grim and brooding, his starched white coat at variance with the carelessness suggested by his unshaven jaw and unkempt hair. Too caught up in intellectual pursuits to remember daily grooming, no doubt. In the center of a vast room stood his desk, a deeply polished oak number topped in green leather, an Anglepoise lamp casting a pool of light onto the surface. Dr Facility sat behind the desk in the half-shadows.
“Tell me what you want, ” he said as I took my seat opposite him.
I spoke, nervous and halting, and he studied me, turning a pen in one hand. When I’d finished, I awaited his response, my heart thumping, my plea for help hanging awkwardly in the silence. I had to remind myself he was a professional, he’d heard it all before.
Finally, he said, “This is the first time anyone’s come to me with a problem like this.”
I looked down, embarrassed. “I’m so sorry.”
“Don’t be, please. I enjoy a challenge. It could even make a credible research paper. Your identity would be protected, of course.”
“Now if you could raise your skirt and lean over my desk.”
“But …” I struggled for words. “You mean this desk? Here?”
Dr Facility gestured around his dingy, oversized consulting room. A low bookshelf lined with leather-bound texts ran along one wall, next to it a winged armchair and a small table, big enough to hold a book but little else. Opposite, pinned to an empty wall, was an eye chart of letters diminishing in size. Standing forlornly in a far corner, just about visible in the gloom, was a tall, balance-beam weighing scale made of wood and brass. Below a square window whose blinds were drawn, a drinks cabinet offered a multiplicity of liquor bottles, short and fat, tall and slim, their colorful contents reminiscent of an apothecary’s wares.
Once my eyes had adjusted to the dimness, I could see the details of a framed picture hanging several yards away from the eye chart, a black and white photograph of a wild-haired woman in a straitjacket, the image flecked with dirt and scratches. The woman looked to the camera with deranged glee, and yet it also seemed as if she were looking at us, her avaricious eyes fixed on Dr Facility’s desk.
It was hard to say what sort of doctor this man was.
“Do you see any other desks here?” he asked.
“No, I’m sorry. It’s just that …”
I trailed off helplessly. Dr Facility, at ease in his big, swivel chair, observed me as if waiting for me to expand. He resumed toying with his pen, his spotlit hands flexing and twisting as he slow-twirled his little, ink-filled baton. His shirt cuffs peeked below the sleeves of his white coat, cufflinks glinting in the light. Boldly, I met his gaze, thinking if the madwoman could face her tormentors, then so could I. Immediately, I checked myself, thinking, But I’m not paying him to torment me. I’m here for his help.
My boldness shrank the more I looked at him, fear creeping in as its replacement. I saw fathomless depths in Facility’s eyes and an intensity in his manner, a suggestion he’d seen darkness and had survived. I saw, too, that he wanted more. Here was a man who could carry other people’s burdens without being dragged down. I suspected he rather liked the weight of us in our flawed, fumbling glory. It made him feel superior, not quite human.
I shrugged. “There’s nothing else. I’m nervous, that’s all. I’d rather know what’s in store for me before I … obey.”
“The first step,” said Dr Facility, “is recognizing that surrender to the unknown is crucial to the process of falling in love.”
“I know plenty about falling in love, thanks,” I said crisply. “And no one ever asked me to bend over a table and bare my butt. At least, not until we were going steady.”
Oh, yes I do! I was in the final stages of writing my next novel, Undone, and I’m very much a mono-tasker. Anyway, Undone has since been delivered to my editor at Black Lace, and will be published on September 11th.
I’m very excited by this book but more on that another time.
Right is a pic of the manuscript, printed twice, and made messy with edits.
And now I can remove that HEA note from my ‘To do’ list!
The newest issue of Skin Two magazine has a femsub focus and features a three page interview with me alongside an exclusive extract from my most recent novel, Thrill Seeker.
If you don’t know Skin Two, where on earth have you been for the last few decades?
Skin Two is the fetish magazine for smart, stylish kinksters, and I’m delighted and honoured to appear in its pages. Editor, Tim Woodward, asked some super, thought-provoking questions, and he had some great things to say about Thrill Seeker.
Credit, too, to my very wonderful photographer, Stan Keetley.
There’s a glorious review of Thrill Seeker in Skin Two’s associated online shop:
“Firstly, the BDSM sex is compelling – and written with real insight into how the thinking submissive’s mind works. Secondly, it’s a proper novel. It’s literary, it’s believable and it’s full of emotional twists and turns”
Read the whole review here.
You can buy Thrill Seeker at KFS Media’s online store, along with a whole range of sexy, bookish goodies, including issues of Skin Two, current and past.
The latest issue of Skin Two is available in print form for £10 (and as you might expect from a fetish mag, the paper is seriously lovely to touch – and lick and roll around on and, and… ) or as a digital download for £2.95.
Issue 66 also includes fiction from Tiffany Reisz so more bang for your buck!
Skin Two is also lots more than a magazine! Check out what else they get up to here.
My second book, Asking for Trouble, is currently a snip at 99p on Kindle UK.
It was first published in 1999, back when you could smoke in pubs and mobile-phone ownership was rare. It’s dark and filthy, and outsells all my other books put together. It was reprinted twice within its first six months of issue. No idea how that happened. I did zero promotion for it because there was no social media at the time. I had dial-up internet and it was expensive, the same cost as phone calls. I’d go online for an hour on Saturdays (cheap rate) and check how my book was faring on Amazon. It was usually faring pretty well.
Here are some of the comments (good, bad and Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells!) people have made about the book: Word of Mouth.
I don’t know how long this price promo will last. Several other early Black Lace titles are also on offer at 99p. (Warning: Black Lace titles from the 90s are generally far dirtier than the more recent releases from the imprint, including my own!) If you haven’t read Janine Ashbless‘s hot and beautiful short story collection, Cruel Enchantments, I’d suggest you grab it while you can. Black Lace are an imprint of Random House. I’m pretty sure they don’t offer their titles for free so it doesn’t get much better than this.
In other news, I’m currently writing the final scenes for my next novel, Undone, out in September 2014. This book has a strong suspense-thriller element. If you enjoy that aspect of my work, I’d recommend reading it as soon as you get the chance before reviews with spoilers start popping up and spoiling your fun! Pre-order on Amazon UK and Amazon US Kindle.
What’s that I see fast-approaching in the distance? Oh, it’s a mighty great deadline. Wish me luck!