This is my seventh appearance in the annual Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica series from Maxim Jakubowski. Volume 12 is extra special because not only is my name on the front cover – always exciting for my ego – but because this collection contains two of my stories!
My Ass is Your Ass is My Ass is the second story of mine to be selected from our popular annual anal erotica series. And my other featured story is All My Lovers in One Room from Racy Pages’ Stretched.
Maxim is passionate about publishing quality erotica, and his introductions to these volumes are always a delight to read. The stories in Mammoth 12 were published in 2012, the year of Fifty Shades.
Referring to the huge surge in popularity of erotica, Maxim writes, ‘I can only applaud this new-found recognition and hope that it is at least partly sustained after the wave of bad imitations and exploitative material that any new phenomenon generates abates and the quality authors rise to the top without being drowned in the sea of “me too” books that are currently flooding us.‘
Mammoth 12 gets its official UK release tomorrow, 7th November. However, right now on Amazon, the paperback is available and, weirdly, is actually cheaper than the pre-order ebook. No, I don’t understand either. But if I were you, I’d act fast and snag a big fat hard copy (and these books are fat!) for £5.56 with free postage. Or, you know, download to your Kindle for the costlier £6.17.
Quick before someone realises there’s a pricing error!
ETA: Apparently, the book is getting a promotional week push, hence the bargain price. Go for it!
Dirty Little Numbers, an anthology of flash fiction, is out today, 23rd Oct!
My story, Under Captain Jack, is the opening piece in the book. Kicking off a collection is always a thrill, and being first also means my short short can be read for free on Amazon’s Look Inside Thingy – in less than 2 minutes! (I timed it, and I’m a slow reader.)
This is probably the one and only time Johnny Depp will feature in my work, so do make the most of it. (He’s a bit too skinny and pretty for my taste.)
Under Captain Jack is followed by fic from a range of writers, including Jeremy Edwards, Tamsin Flowers, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Raziel Moore and more, more, more. Some names are new to me, some I’ve known for a while but don’t yet know their work. I’m hugely looking forward to delving in and discovering new writers via bite-sized pieces of hotness.
This is the first time I’ve worked with Go Deeper Press, and I’ve been super-impressed. In the wake of FSOG, I’m enormously grateful to all editors, imprints and writers who are willing to resist the commercial temptation to do romantic billionaire bonking; who are pushing boundaries; and who are motivated by a belief in our genre that’s rooted in its potential for cultural change rather than in its currently fashionable, mainstream kerching!!!!! value.
Check out Go Deeper Press and support the indies!
Buy Dirty Little Numbers directly from Go Deeper Press.
(You can upload to your Kindle via this option, or read as a plain ol’ PDF .)
I invited Alison Tyler over to mine for scones served by hairy men as part of her month-long blog tour for Dark Secret Love. I asked if she’d chat about William Blake or choosing titles. To my great delight, she decided to do both. Here’s Alison:
There are certain poems—or lines of poems—that I know by heart. I’m not bragging. I forget almost everything else on some days. Why I came into a room. Where I put my coffee. If my glasses are on my face or on my head. Yet in trying times, I repeat certain words to myself for comfort. You’ll find me saying:
This darksome burn, horseback brown.
His rollrock highroad roaring down…
In coop and in comb the fleece of his foam.
Flutes and low to the lake falls home.
—Gerard Manley Hopkins
The words feel good. I have no clearer way to say that. The words please my mouth.
I’ve known this one for decades:
The fowles in the frith.
The fisshes in the flood
And I mon waxe wood
Muche sorwe I walke with
For beste of boon and blood
—Anonymous, 13th century
My understanding of the translation is: “The birds are in the wood, the fishes in the flood, surely I go mad, all the grief I’ve had, for best of bone and blood.” I wanted to call my publishing house Waxe Wood at one point. (One must be a little mad to be a publisher, yes?)
Robert Herrick is another one of my go-to writers. Both his words and his images can soothe a troubled mind:
Whenas in silks my Julia goes,
Then, then (methinks) how sweetly flows
That liquefaction of her clothes.
I appreciate everything about those lines. The “then, then” the “(methinks),” but especially the “liquefaction.” Say that word out loud. Caress the “l,” the “q,” the “action.”
Blake is another poet I admire, and The Sick Rose has always lingered:
O, Rose thou art sick
The invisible worm
That flies in the night
In the howling storm
Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy,
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
Yes, I took that line for the title of my newest novel. Originally—seven lifetimes ago—I almost was allowed to use Crimson Joy as a title. But that was nixed in favor of something else. Titles are funny like that.
My sultry Victorian-esque The Belles of the Ball became The Blue Rose. Flash Fucking was traded for Frenzy. Two Weeks in Venice transformed into Giving In. A Waste of Chi became A Taste of Chi. Some working titles are better (in my opinion) than the ending ones. But in the case of Dark Secret Love, the final title wins the war (in this case, of the roses).
On the pitch, this novel was called Under My Thumb. Later, we tried The Beginning. Then: Kink. Then: Confessions. There were so many one-word suggestions I can’t even begin to list them. But ultimately, we landed. And the title made perfect sense. Total sense.
The poem is even referenced in the book:
I watched Nate as he prepared, realizing that he wasn’t going out so often with other women now. Not devouring a soul a night. Had he chosen me? I didn’t dare ask. I simply took what he was offering—a deal. Ten pages for the pain I craved, and the pleasure that always, always followed afterwards.
Nate knew what I needed. He understood that my fantasies went far deeper than a simple hand spanking before sweet sex. He accepted my demons and my desires and he worked through the night to make each of my darkest dreams come true.
Afterwards, I’d feel limp, demolished. But oddly, Nate had figured me out. Even after he had whipped me, or cropped me, or fucked me until my body felt liquified, I could still manage to slip out of the bed, grab one of Nate’s T-shirts, and head back to my room. A glass of chilled white wine at my side, or even a shot of tequila, and I was off. Writing. Lost in a new world. Ten pages—2,500 words. The count came easily to me. I have never had a fear of putting words on a page. And I always made sure that I knew what would happen next before stopping, printing off the fresh pages, and sneaking them back to Nate’s room.
I got less sleep than I might have needed, but I’ve always been an insomniac. My mind is clearest around 1:30 in the morning.
Sometimes when I was finished writing, I climbed back into bed next to Nate, and he’d stir in his sleep, wake enough to cuff me into place, or tie me back down. Sometimes, I put my head down on my desk and slept there. Six weeks went by in a hazy blur.
This is what I can say about my first novel… it was short (barely 200 pages). It was fierce. And I wrote it in several weeks.
Nate gave me everything I needed. Total support in the form of X-rated inspiration, and a vicious hand as an editor, cutting parts he didn’t like, suggesting scenes he thought would be more appropriate.
The original title of my book was Dark Secret Love.
But back to me and my love affair with lyrical lines. I use words like worry stones. I trace serif fonts on my thigh with my pointer finger in times of stress. (A useless aside—I happen to love that sans-serif fonts are called “Grotesque.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serif Grow up in a house with a publisher and you learn your way around fonts.)
Do you have a favorite line or two? Please share.
Alison Tyler is the author of Dark Secret Love and the soon-to-be-released The Delicious Torment (which takes its title from another poem). Her novellas include Those Girls (Go Deeper Press), Tied Up & Twisted (Harlequin), and Banging Rebecca (Pretty Things Press). Visit her at alisontyler.blogspot.com for updates, down dates, and everything in between.
A new reader got in touch recently to tell me how much she’d enjoyed my third novel, Split. “I just finished reading your book ‘Split‘. Wow. I think some of the images in that book are going to haunt me for years.”
Split is not for everyone! In terms of sales, it’s my least popular book but regular readers of my work often tell me it’s their favourite novel of mine. Which may mean that my fanbase consists primarily of sexual deviants who don’t mind having their kink linked to a contemporary gothic sensibility employing tropes of the uncanny, doubles, haunted houses, menacing men, BDSM, and eerie landscapes. And, um, marionettes.
People, who the fuck are you?! I thought I was alone!
Split is set in a puppet museum on the Yorkshire moors. It’s been described as ‘Wuthering Heights with bondage’. The ending is not a romantic HEA. Really, it’s not! Back then, in 2007, my publisher, Black Lace, tried to market it as ‘erotic romance’. Nah!
Split is an autumnal book. It begins:
“My story starts last autumn. I want to set it down because I understand now that I’ll never be able to leave this place.”
If you’re in the mood to close the curtains of an evening and curl up with something sultry, spooky and sexy, you might enjoy Split.
Incidentally, the cover I’ve uploaded here was an early version of the artwork from BL. I do prefer it to the final version, although both are gorgeous. (I love how the strap on her slip visually reflects both the string of marionettes and rope bondage.)
Another interesting comment from the reader who contacted me was: “I found your book in a freepile outside a site that does ‘books through bars’ and other radical political kinds of stuff. Man did I hit the jackpot of lucky fantastical free books!”
I had to google ‘books through bars’. I thought maybe they were suppliers to drinking establishments. But no, these are books for people in prison. And Split didn’t even get that far, it seems, but hey!
Anyways, that got me thinking about how we discover new authors, outside of “Amazon recommends” algorithms, and the like. Alison Tyler is stopping by my blog on Friday, and I distinctly remember discovering her work. I’d been away from erotica for several years then was lured back when Black Lace re-issued my early books. Blogs were starting to happen and our editor issued a general recommendation to authors, advising they check out this woman, Alison Tyler, who really knew what she was doing when it came to utilising new media platforms, connecting with readers, building her author profile etc
And so I checked her out and quickly became a fan. And the funny thing is, I don’t think Alison does know what she’s doing! She’s not a strategist or a businesswoman. And that’s why it works so damn well. And that’s why Alison writes reams and reams for free, for the joy and for the hell of it. And then years later, those words become a published series from Cleis with beautifully designed book covers.
Drop by on Friday for more from Alison and her exciting new release, Dark Secret Love. We’re talking poetry and book titles.
This is what happened to SM Taylor whose story, Forbidden, won Black Lace‘s short story competition and is published in Thrill Seeker. These high jinx took place last night, Saturday, at Sh! Womenstore in London where Ms Taylor had joined me and the amazing Justine Elyot for our double book launch.
Punctuality’s not my strong point, as friends and colleagues will testify, but twice this year I’ve been late for my own book readings, and that really is beyond the pale! At Latitude Festival, I got lost in the woods and had to stand under a big tree while Black Lace’s editorial assistant came to find me. Last night, public transport conspired against me, meaning I arrived at Sh! around the time I should have been reading. Oops!
In my absence, Primula Bond was very kindly reading, giving me chance to catch my breath, knock back some fizz, and try not to squee disruptively when I realised I was sitting next to Justine Elyot.
It was a wonderful evening, full of kinkery, laughs, industry gossip and a fabulous generosity of spirit. I read a couple of pieces from Thrill Seeker; Justine read some hot, witty spankiness from Seven Scarlet Tales; and Ms Taylor read part of her supremely sexy story, Forbidden – and stayed perfectly poised as the vibrator-theft shenanigans clattered about in the shop upstairs. (Check out my interview with SM Taylor to learn more about this fab new writer.)
I got to chat to KD Grace who’s blogged about the evening – well, her weekend, by accident – and to a number of other writers, readers and bloggers I’ve met at various events during this last year. I’m reminded again what a wonderfully smart, supportive community we have in the world of sex and erotica, our sense of solidarity a consequence, no doubt, of us being deviants and misfits in a sexually-fucked up culture. It’s fabulous to be in a room, surrounded by dildos, crops and lingerie, discussing erotica and publishing, while over in the corner, someone is being gleefully flogged.
I’m hoping to make it to more Sh! events in this coming year. Next time, I’ll try not to be late!