Sparkly guest post: Justine Elyot
Justine Elyot is with me today, bringing a bit of bling to my blog and recalling the trailblazing days of our awesome publisher, Black Lace. I love Justine’s fun, upbeat approach to erotica. There’s something distinctly British about her work that goes beyond mere location and language. She writes with wry humour and creates relatable, down-to-earth and enthusiastically horny characters. Diamond is the first in her new trilogy for Black Lace, and I’m greatly looking forward to the read. Take it away, Justine!
Diamonds and Black Lace
I’m delighted to be here with Kristina Lloyd, who is my stablemate at Black Lace…but I did promise not to talk about the pony play, so perhaps I should move away from that angle.
But, no. Hang on. Why should I? If I want to write about pony play, and somebody else wants to read about it, what’s stopping us?
Quite a lot, actually.
I know pony play is niche and, for the record, I have never written a pony play scene myself. But that’s not because I think it’s dreadful and unacceptable. I’ve read and enjoyed a fair bit of pony play erotica (Molly Weatherfield’s Carrie’s Story springs to mind – recommended; do give it a go). I sincerely doubt that I could publish it anywhere but Kindle Direct or Smashwords, though.
Well, wasn’t it ever thus, you might ask? Hasn’t erotica always been the preserve of self-publishing and dodgy fly-by-nights?
No, not necessarily, because the venerable Nexus imprint had long been on hand to supply what Wikipedia describes as ‘sado-masochistic pornography written mostly for men’, and in the 1990s it was joined by a sister imprint, Black Lace. Black Lace’s remit was pretty revolutionary for the time – deftly mission-statemented as ‘by women for women’, it was the first label to deal exclusively with erotica that explored female sexuality.
And it did exactly that. Women were able to buy top-shelf material without the traditionally embarrassing, and sometimes rather threatening, packaging. Instead of page after page about the female (sex doll) character’s big tits or juicy ass, the focus was on the female gaze. It was fantastic and, in my naivete, I really thought it meant society was moving on from its unholy terror of women’s sexuality.
If you wanted luscious kink, there was Portia Da Costa’s Entertaining Mr Stone. If you were in the mood to indulge yourself in fantasties of sinful years-gone-by there was Anna Lieff Saxby’s Lord Wraxall’s Fancy. If your tastes ran to the edgy and literary, Kristina was your woman with her Asking for Trouble. And if (like me) you could handle all three, and more – well, you had found your late night reading home.
It was amazing. And then it ended.
But now it’s started again, under the 50 Shades shadow, beneath which a thousand little mushrooms of billionaire romance have sprung up. During its absence, the erotica scene has changed. ‘More romance, and make it aspirational’ is the order of the day. Exploration of female sexuality is plum back out of fashion. Knitting and baking are where it’s at.
So I have to be thankful for a publisher that doesn’t ask me to cut the anal sex scenes (because, of course, no nice, normal woman could possibly enjoy it).
Long live Black Lace and all who drape themselves in her!
(Incidentally, Wikipedia still lists Black Lace as defunct.)
I will now prove the actual existence of Black Lace by giving you an excerpt from my new Black Lace book, Diamond.
She poured herself a glass of Merlot and she was sitting on the broad windowsill, sipping it and looking out into the weedy front garden, when Leonardo came into the room.
She almost double took.
Jesus, he scrubbed up well. He scrubbed up a lot more than well.
His hair shone like polished conkers, matching his melting eyes. She wanted to go over and bury her nose in it, knowing it would smell divinely of her expensive shampoo. But that wasn’t all she wanted to do. His face, now clean and shaved, seem to actually shine. It was pale but as full-lipped and high-cheekboned as some exotic angelic creature painted by a Renaissance master. He reminded her of a portrait she’d seen by Pietro Perugino – an older version of that melancholy-eyed young man.
But he was taller and broader and undoubtedly fully developed, and she found herself transfixed by his forearms, sinewy and powerful – one of them sporting an amateurish tattoo that she couldn’t quite make out from this distance.
The clothes fitted well, having that telltale recently-unfolded look such new garments always did. He had not put any socks on, though, and stood in the doorway barefoot, gripping the top of the splintering frame so that she could see his long, surprisingly delicate fingers splayed across the peeled paintwork. His nails still bore little crescents of black deep down – paint, she supposed.
His stance was almost aggressively masculine, and she had to remember to breathe before saying, ‘Help yourself to wine.’
‘I’ll do, then, will I?’ he said, staying put for another moment.
She thought that he was displaying himself to her, but then she dismissed it. He was young and unearthly-beautiful. What would he want with her?
‘The clothes fit well,’ was all she could come up with.
‘Yeah. Not sure they’re my style but…’
‘What is your style?’
She smiled and he walked over to where the wine bottle stood on the floor with an empty glass beside it.
‘Ghetto,’ he said shortly, picking up the bottle. ‘Not so fabulous.’
I don’t know about that.
‘I’m not sure if I like wine,’ he said, sniffing at the bottle neck. ‘Never had it before.’
‘Nope. I’m a superstrength lager man myself. As long as it’s on special.’ He poured himself a glass. ‘Gets you the most pissed for the cheapest price,’ he elaborated, with a combative look in her direction.
He was trying to tell her who he was, she realised. He was giving her a get-out clause. I am who I am. Take it or leave it.
‘Wine is nice. I don’t usually indulge, but I can call this a housewarming, I suppose. Try it. Go on.’
‘Why don’t you?’ he asked, filling his glass to the brim. ‘Don’t you like drinking?’ He had to sip a bit off the top to prevent spilling it.
‘I like it. I just try not to like it too much.’
She came over and sat on the mattress, hoping he would do the same.
Thank you for reading – the book is available now from all sorts of places, including The Book Depository: