I’m here to boast! I hope you don’t mind.
Asking for Trouble, my bestselling title, got a fabulous, intelligent review from Vanessa Wu. I want to quote the entire piece but I’m picking this part:
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of [KL's] language. What she is doing is very difficult. For she doesn’t just focus on the physical. She manages to dig out and express the emotional roots of desire. I recommend this book to every writer. Kristina can be lyrical at times but she is never self-indulgent. And when she needs to be crude she is definitively crude.
Smart Ass, our brand new anthology of anal erotica, has also received a couple of great reviews on Amazon US. My story, My Ass Is Your Ass Is My Ass, wins some wonderfully high praise with our first reviewer describing it as ‘a pretty, dreamy surprise’ and ‘a love song to anal sex’ while our second says:
The stories mix in poetry and pornography, most notably the first story by Kristina Lloyd whose ability to go from something raunchy and graphic as the opening scene to something as poetic as “On the inside, I’m floating in a space nebula, and star clusters of silver are pulsing bright and dark” is just amazing. Breathtaking, even.
I’m thrilled with these reviews because they strike at what I’m trying to do in most of my writing: harmonise the base and filthy with a sort of imaginative lyricism. I want to get inside the sex, capture that evanescent magic, without shying away from the raw physicality of fucking, come and sweat.
No reviews yet for Bound by Lust, Shanna Germain’s debut anthology from Cleis Press, because it’s not out until April 2012. However, I’m delighted to say I have a story, No Sleep, in this collection. Check out the fab line up on Shanna’s blog.
If you fancy reviewing Smart Ass, drop me a line (comment or PM me via the form at the top of this blog) and we’ll send you a PDF, pronto. You’d make five authors supremely happy!
OK, boast over. Thanks for listening!
“He was bare from the arse upwards, his naked back facing me. His olive skin was overlaid with a sheen of dark bronze, and he was perfectly muscled: sinewy, work-strong contours rather than vulgar brawn. His black hair was cut in a grade-two crop and the suggestion of skull beneath was menacingly beautiful. His head was slightly turned, eyes downcast, mouth set in a firm line. You could see an ear, jawline, high cheekbone, and part of a big, hawkish nose.
His left arm was angled at the elbow; his hand was in front of his body. It looked like he was wanking, oblivious to anyone else.
It was, quite simply, the horniest photo of a bloke I’d ever seen.”
That’s Ilya, from Asking for Trouble.
Because we can eroticise men with words as well as pictures.
Don’t forget, Filament Magazine are running an erotic short story comp. The theme is music, the closing date is July 31st.
I’m thrilled to see my name in lights – or at least, hovering under a naked woman’s right nipple – on the US cover of the latest Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica (ed. Maxim Jakubowski). Mammoth 9 features my story, ‘Such a Special Couple’, a piece recently described by Shanna Germain as ‘darkly spectacular’. (I do like that!)
Such a Special Couple
Joining us in bed last night was the ghost of his ex-girlfriend. He can’t see her but I can.
I see her everywhere. She’s all over his apartment, usually in bits which is how I prefer her. She’s sweat and blood stains on the mattress, skin cells in the dust, and hairs down the sofa. I look in a mirror and she’s standing behind me, six years of images checking her reflection.
Unfortunately, she’s also with us when we fuck. Sean pounds away, clutching my hair and whispering, “Take it, slut.” I whimper, begging him to stop, and she’s whimpering, too. I can hear her in my head – Ah, ah, no, please!
I wonder if she took it as well as I do, and I want to ask, Who’s best at begging, me or her?
In his apartment is a room I’m not supposed to enter. It’s not exactly locked (well, you have to check, don’t you?) but is half-barricaded by a low bookshelf. Privately, I call it his Bluebeard room. And to be honest, if his ex-girlfriend were in there, I wouldn’t mind as long as she were dead.
Mammoth 9 is nearly 500 fat pages long and features a staggering wealth of smutters including Shanna Germain, Remittance Girl, Donna George Storey, Ella Regina, Jeremy Edwards, Alison Tyler, Kristina Wright, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Polly Frost, Mike Kimera, Saskia Walker, Craig Sorensen, Carrie Williams, Elizabeth Coldwell, Thomas S Roche and Marilyn Jaye Lewis. Phew! Currently retailing at a stupidly cheap £4.79 on Amazon UK, Mammoth 9 looks set to hit the shelves in the States in March.
And a smidgen more on the excitement front: I got name checked in this great SFGate article from Violet Blue who recommends you Kink Up Your Kindle!
If you want to kink it up with me, you have four filthy choices, and can select from a steamy m/m story in Kiss My Ass; my controversial bestselling novel, Asking for Trouble; my darkly gothic and twisted Victorian fuckfest, Darker Than Love; or my Arctic vampire novella, ‘The Vampire’s Heart’ in Lust Bites. Oh, and news just in – you have a fifth choice: Mammoth 9 is available on Kindle right now, released in advance of the paperback.
Or you could download the whole lot and see if you can melt your Kindle.
… and I’ll cry if I want to.
Asking for Trouble is, amazingly, ten years old this month and still going strong. As I write this, it’s number 8 on Amazon UK’s adult fiction charts and is frequently the topselling novel there. I’d planned on having a blog party with some posts on my memories of writing AFT, the mood in which it was commissioned, what the book means to me, and so on. However, the news that Black Lace has gone belly up has dampened my spirits somewhat; plus I am so fricking behind after last week’s craziness that the party is, uh, ‘on hold’. Now, where have I heard that phrase before?
When Asking for Trouble was first published, it was reprinted three times within six months. I’m mainly wondering, as I’m sure are many other BL authors regarding their own work, when AFT will go out of print and what will happen then. Is it all over for the book? Would I be able to sell to another publisher? I can’t imagine BL rising from the ashes so the book’s unlikely to go to reprint when stocks run low. And it’s not the kind of novel which would sit easily with US erotic romance publishers.
I call it my marmite book, you either love it or you hate it. For proof of this, check out my lovely new Word of Mouth page where readers comments range from ‘a truly magical novel‘ to ‘I just wanted to get through the thing to finish it‘. Thank you to anyone who has ever left feedback on my work. Authors value this so much. It’s an isolated job at times and we love hearing readers’ thoughts, good or bad, though good is obviously best.
Somewhere in the crazy crumbling week that was, I received my contributor copies of Alison Tyler’s Pleasure Bound from Cleis Press and Sexy Little Numbers, the latter possibly marking the end (and beginning) of Black Lace’s annual ‘best’ anthologies, though there’s no official word on that. I’ll aim to post more about these later in the month.
If you missed it, Mathilde Madden and I had a piece in The Guardian bemoaning the suspension of Black Lace. Predictably perhaps, while there were several sympathetic voices and plenty of wit in comments, there was also lots of ridicule, misogyny and giggling. Giggling I can cope with; the rest not so much. However, I think we fought our corner admirably along with awesome porntroopers, Charlotte Stein, EllaRegina and Justine Elyot. Thanks, guys, and all others who joined in. You rock! (Hush, Ella.)
So, some happy news! We need it. I’m giving away two prizes: smut bundle one, signed copies of Asking for Trouble, Pleasure Bound and Sexy Little Numbers; two, a runner up prize of Asking for Trouble. If you want to be in with a chance of winning, comment or wish me Happy 10th Birthday on this post or under Word of Mouth, Sexy Excerpt or About the Book. I’ll draw a couple of names towards the end of the month. (If you already own any of the books, I’ll happily swap in something else.) New commenters and lurkers are very welcome, as are the people who just come here for the armpit porn.
So, altogether now, Happy Birthday to AFT … (Is it OK to sing this at funerals?)
This is a page of my notes on Asking for Trouble plus some tiny scraps of paper detailing scenes from the novel. When I’m trying to figure out the structure of a book, one of my methods is to summarise key scenes, both written and unwritten, on pieces of paper and make a big, messy jigsaw on the floor. The jigsaw never gets completed (especially if I’ve forgotten to shut the cat away) but it helps shape the story and shows me the direction I need to go in next. Some scenes get deleted; some never get written; some are inspired by the jigsaw because, like I said, the jigsaw is incomplete; it has holes.
I love this part of novel writing. You can have two or three elements in the story which refuse to connect or a lone fragment that surely belongs to the horror novel that’s been on the back burner for years or a sex scene which is actually a short story in its own right. Stuff happens when you do the jigsaw. It can take days, weeks even. You number the scenes, put them in an envelope, get them out again the following day.
I find the best magic comes from the biggest problems. You might find a perfect way to connect those seemingly disparate elements. You might have to sacrifice one of your favourite parts for this to work. You might have to accept they won’t connect except in a feeble, forced way and then you have to do the big, strong thing and let go! Get rid! Delete! But always, always, something new is born.
This really feels like creation to me: what was once a miserable piece of carpet tormenting you through a hole in the scrappy jigsaw is now an amazingly hot piece of dialogue brimming with sexual tension and desire. And it’s just begging to be written!
Why am I telling you this? Because Alison Tyler has a wonderful new blog, Scruffy Jottings About Filth, featuring a fascinating – and expanding – array of smut writers’ notes. I sent AT a couple of pages of notes relating to my latest novel, Split. Then I got to wondering if my note-making style had changed over the years.
Asking for Trouble, my controversial and bestselling book, was published ten years ago. Yes, ten! It’s never been out of print, has been number one on Amazon UK’s erotica charts and still regularly hops up and down the top twenty. Sales have recently been gathering pace in the States as well. (Hey, what kept ya?) Anyway, later in the year, I’m going to have a party for my porn and you’re invited!
But look, my scruffy jottings have barely changed in the last decade: same handwriting, same type of notebook and pen, same dark and twisted fantasies! So Happy Birthday me! Here’s to knowing what you like while also staying open to exploration – but not so open that your likes fall out!