Today we welcome erotic author Lucy Feldhouse to our pages, celebrating her new release: Weekend at Wilderhope Manor:
Archive for ‘Guest Bloggers’
On Wednesday, Torquere Press released my very first published shapeshifter story, Skylar’s Pride (also click image for more info). That got me to thinking about first times. Not that first time, but the first time writing in a new genre.
The Sapphic Signs line, novellas focused around one of the zodiac signs, seemed like the perfect length to challenge myself to write something other than the modern contemporaries I usually write. The animal symbols of most of the signs (Pisces/fish; Taurus/bull; Leo/Lion; Aries/Ram; etc.) caught my attention and when I picked up my personal sign Leo, I immediately considered a shapeshifter-centered plot.
But I’d never written one before. So where to start? As the host of “Readings in Lesbian & Bisexual Women’s Fiction” I ask authors all sorts of questions about how their stories come about. I figured it was time to question myself. So, I came up with 5 Questions for Tackling a New Genre.
1. What things do you like in the new genre?
Thinking like a reader here, what excites you about the stories? Is it the way the plot unfolds, or the freedom of characterizations different from what you normally write, or something about the setting(s) that generally show up in the genre? Identifying what you love about the stories, specifically, will give you a list of things to make sure get structured into your stories when you’re writing.
2. What things bother you in the new genre?
Just as important as what excites you about a genre, consider what you find troublesome when reading. Are there inconsistencies, or common twist elements that you find annoying, or sure you could do better? Identifying them will give you a list of things to try to avoid when writing your own stories in the genre.
3. What are the genre’s common elements?
Now turn a little analytical. Breakdown the genre stories you’ve read. Identify the mechanisms of protagonist, antagonist, supporting characters, conflict, plot arc, as well as common themes, setting elements, and how they are revealed.
4. Brainstorm. What could you bring different to the genre?
This is the really fun part and should turn on you as a writer. You’ve been writing in other genres, so you know how stories fit together, and you’ve got a style all your own. Consider what you can bring to the genre. Nothing is too outrageous, and just brainstorm new character tropes, new twists, new additions or reasons for characters to do or move around in their — no, your vision — of this new genre’s world.
5. Start writing!
OK. This last one is not a question. Now you’ve got all the elements. You know your genre, you know what you love, you know what you don’t want to include, you know what the structure of a story is supposed to be, and you’ve got new elements that are completely, uniquely you. Sit down and start writing! You’ll be surprised how quickly it flows, and how exciting trying something for the first time really can be.
IMHO, the best writers are voracious readers. So the first two encourage you to think like a reader, and then the last three turn those thoughts into effective writing. Taking my own advice, I considered all the questions, developed my own twists, and after some refinement, editing, feedback from several friends who write the genre, and a great editor, I’m here today to share a sneak peek with you. Torquere has all the Sapphic Signs stories on sale here for $2.99 in several different e-book formats.
Skylar’s Pride: Skylar’s got a problem. Make that several. She’s kept her shape-shifter nature a secret from her current lover, Lila. Now that it’s mid-summer, Skylar faces enforced return to her father’s pride lands. But Max, Lila’s son, has gone missing from the campsite where his father was murdered — savaged by an animal. Will Skylar find Max and solve the mystery of the Cherry Creek Park wolves before her father forces her return or her secret is revealed?
Skylar’s Pride (F/F; G)
“Lila.” Skylar cupped her lover’s cheek. “You do not need to plan a surprise party for me. It’s just a birthday.” She’d known about it for two weeks, since Pam, her assistant manager, was more horrible at keeping secrets than anyone Skylar knew.
“It’s your fortieth and it’s the first of many we’ll get to spend together,” Lila insisted.
Skylar leaned back on the cushion, crossing her feet at the ankles as she put them up gingerly on the low coffee table. Though she didn’t know why she bothered. The surface was pock-marked and scuffed from Max racing Matchbox vehicles over it for the last twelve years. She settled her arm around Lila’s shoulders and stroked the woman’s skin visible around the tank top strap.
She swallowed as she considered what to do. “We’re together this weekend,” she said.
“You gave me such a wonderful party at my birthday.”
“Because you’re important to me.”
“And you’re important to me. I love you. Even Max loves you.”
That was saying a lot, Skylar knew. Max was leery of most people. It had taken almost four months of constant attention from Skylar for him to say more than two words in a row to her.
“My father messaged me,” she said obliquely. “I can’t avoid him.”
“Max would enjoy meeting your dad. So would I.”
“You can’t afford the time away from work.”
Lila turned to face Skylar and emphasize her words. “We’ve been together a year. You haven’t made any effort to introduce me to your family.”
That would be difficult, Skylar thought. “They don’t approve.” That was an understatement.
Lila frowned but then brightened with some idea. Skylar cut her off. “I will not subject you, or Max, to my father’s pissing.”
“Maybe I could talk to him,” Lila persisted.
Skylar shook her head. “He’s old and set in his ways, Lila. It would be dangerous for me to challenge him. Nearly every choice I’ve made in my life, he disagrees with.”
“So, why subject yourself to this every year? Just tell him if he can’t accept you the way you are, you won’t be coming.”
Skylar frowned. If only it were that simple. She said, “I can’t for this year.”
“Couldn’t you work a little on your father?”
There was no brooking the determination in Lila’s eyes. Skylar had no idea what she could say that she hadn’t already said to her father. He was not to be reasoned with, particularly on these annual visits, but she nodded, mutely indicating to Lila she would try. Chastened, she ducked her head and nuzzled Lila’s shoulder.
She risked changing the subject. “So… How should we take best advantage of our kid-free time?”
Comment about the time you tried doing something completely different from your usual (whether it’s writing or trying a completely different activity) and how it turned out. At midnight Eastern time on Sunday, June 24 (5 am GMT on Monday), I’ll randomly draw one name to win a $5 gift certificate to Torquere Press’s online bookstore.
Remember, bravely try what you’ve never done before! First times are amazing!
I “met” Nadine LaPierre last winter, when Lara Zielinski hosted Nadine, Kate Christie, RE Bradshaw and myself for an evening of interviews and readings on blogtalk radio. I was hooked – she writes stories about lesbian Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officers! I have a very special place in my heart for the mounted police, who rescued my sister years ago in the Canadian Boundary Waters. Rock on, Nadine!
When I was at university once upon a time, I wrote a paper on a neuropeptide called oxcytocin, explaining how great sex (for women) really is in the brain. O is unique in that it is a neurotransmitter (sending signals in the brain) as well as a hormone (usually sent through the body via circulatory system). Although O plays a major role in labor and reproduction, it is also responsible for the most powerful orgasms a woman will ever have. The more O that gets released in the body, the more intense the orgasm will be. And how does this hormone get released?
It’s all in the brain, baby. (Almost.)
Although small amounts of O get released with skin-to-skin contact, especially when the breasts and nipples are touched or suckled, it gets released big-time when particular neurons in the brain get the right signal. To put it simply, a woman’s physiology is such that in order to have an intense orgasm, her brain must be sexually stimulated.
That’s why I like to engage a reader’s brain before I introduce a sex scene into my book. I start off by drawing the reader into the heart and soul of the character(s), into the depths of who they are. I may then start with an almost subliminal tingle that keeps intensifying until it can be no longer be ignored and requires a powerful discharge in order to be released. By doing this, by the time the reader reaches an x-rated portion they are aching for it right along with the character. It’s very challenging, but if done well, a writer can indeed use words to bring a woman to orgasm. (It’s all in the brain, remember?)
I also use sex scenes to convey information to a reader about the psychology of a character without using a lot of narrative. You can tell a lot about a person by the type of sex they want, how they act and react during sex, etc. Simply by taking the reader along when a character has a sexual experience, you can sometimes have the reader absorb a lot of information about the characters, ranging from personality traits to ulterior motives.
For example, in my first book, The Slayer, (which is predominantly a mystery-thriller with a romantic subplot) I used a sex scene to carry a character through a journey that ends in the resolution of a long-standing barrier that kept holding her back in relationships. Now this scene is thirteen pages and two chapters long so I can’t provide the full excerpt, but here is the brief back-story pertaining to it (I’ve changed the character names so as to not give anything away).
Seventeen years ago, “Anna” and “Julie” were secret high school sweethearts—until just after graduation when Julie ran off and got married, breaking Anna’s heart. They haven’t seen each other since, and for all these years Anna has carried a very painful torch for Julie. When Julie shows up unexpectedly, Anna can’t suppress her desire for Julie, and although Julie is now married with two teenage sons she cannot deny her desires either. But are those desires coming from the same place?
Anna was never able to get over Julie, so she was never fulfilled in any of her (lesbian) relationships. Julie on the other hand, was fulfilled in many ways by her husband and children, but now that she’s in her thirties the thought of being with Anna sexually is a huge turn-on.
When they encounter each other again it begins with very hesitant, but extremely emotionally intense hand-holding and touching. As things intensify, the reader starts seeing the differences between passion and lust. And so does Anna. While their being together puts Julie in a sexual frenzy and she ends up having most intense multiple-orgasm of her life, Anna’s experience is nothing like she expected. What started off as what she thought was lovemaking ended this way:
Anna tried to gain pleasure from the thought that this was Julie, the woman she’d loved and longed for, for so many years, who was now sucking hard on her left nipple, but it felt nothing like she’d desired and fantasized about for so long. The reality she was experiencing right now was just very uncomfortable and downright painful.
Julie then shoved—quite literally—two fingers into Anna. Anna emitted a painful groan that Julie mistook for pleasure. Julie immediately started pumping forcefully, slamming the joints of her thumb and two fingers, which were boney and jutting out, into Anna’s external genitalia.
Anna started to pant, but it was purely out of frustration and agony. Julie started digging inside of Anna, at each interval in which she slammed her hand into her.
Anna audibly and physically winced, then squeezed her legs tightly, cutting off Julie’s movements. Keeping her legs gripped around Julie’s hand so it could not move and cause her further pain, Anna exhaled very pronounced breaths of relief.
“You came awfully fast,” Julie said to Anna.
Anna felt shock—and relief—that Julie thought it had been pleasurable for her. It was really Anna’s deceitful response that came quickly. “Yes, I did.”
For the first time in nearly twenty years, Anna saw Julie for who she really was—not for who Anna wanted her to be—and realized…not only was she no longer in love with Julie anymore…she didn’t even like her.
I was asked once if I felt pressured to add sex scenes in my books, and the answer is no. Because I never write a sex scene out of context. If there’s a sex scene in my book it serves a purpose, and it’s not just to get the reader turned on. Although, if in the process of my trying to get a reader to feel what a character is experiencing, if my words can release some O that results in the big O, then that’s a bOnus.
Nadine LaPierre is the author of The Slayer, the first in a thriller romance series set in Halifax, Nova Scotia, featuring a lesbian Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.