Sunday, November 15, 2009

In Sickness and in Hell

By Lisabet Sarai

How do you write sexy steamy stories when your temperature is over 103 degrees? Can you write a sex scene when you feel like your feet are about to come out your mouth and the toilet bowl is your best friend in the world right now?

Basically, write about writing while sick. Do you do it, or do you crawl in bed and stay there until you feel well again?

This week it's Helen's turn to pick our topic. Unfortunately she spent the last few weeks suffering from the flu, so it's not surprising she asked the questions above. Our Jude has also been down for the count for nearly two weeks, so I'm sure that she'll have some insights to share.

Fortunately, I have little to say on this subject. I'm probably tempting the gods by saying that I have not been really sick in a long time. Yes, I get the occasional cold, which makes my throat scratchy and my head feel like it's stuffed with mashed potatoes. I did have a mild gastrointestinal bug a few months ago that killed my appetite and kept me at home where the toilets are nice and clean. But I haven't been as ill as Helen describes in years.

Of course, my situation is easier than Helen's because I don't have two toddlers. Plus I'm not insane enough to commit to writing and recording a story a week, as she does for her Heat Flash series. (Maybe I'd have more readers if I did, but that's another topic.) As I've shared previously, I am deliberately conservative about what I promise, since I normally can write only once a week. So I'm rarely down to the wire even if I feel totally crappy.

That being said, I do make myself write on my scheduled days, even if I'm not feeling 100%. No excuses. Alright, there are some things more important than my writing, but if I am home on a Sunday, I'll be at the computer concocting as spicy a tale as I can manage.

The only experience I recall where I was writing under serious pressure and feeling quite horrible was one I shared in a post a few weeks ago. When I submitted my first novel to Black Lace, I didn't understand the critical importance of word count, especially for a print publication. My contract said 80,000 words or more. The manuscript I sent them was only about 72,000. I got an urgent email from the editor insisting that I make up the difference right away!

I had either a mild flu or a bad cold that weekend. Whatever it was, I was totally exhausted and my head felt like it was splitting apart. Still, I had to deliver the additional chapters by Monday. I wrote all weekend, 8K words. I don't know where I got the ideas or how I managed to get them down on the page, but somehow I managed. When I think back on it now, it's all a fog.

The odd thing is, the new chapter that I created that awful weekend is one of my favorites.

Raw Silk is the story of a woman who moves to Thailand in order to take a job and become sexually involved with two very different men: the charismatic, dominant proprietor of a go-go bar and a handsome, aristocratic and very married Thai sensualist. Kate participates in increasingly outrageous activities with each of them. Meanwhile, her American lover visits Bangkok, and Kate realizes she has to choose among the three of them. The climax (so to speak) of the tale is a contest in which each man strives to give her the maximum pleasure.

The chapter I wrote that unpleasant weekend takes place before the showdown. Somtow, the Thai, invites Kate to lunch at a hundred year old restaurant in Chinatown. The restaurant is segregated into private curtained booths. (I did not make this up!) After a sumptuous lunch (there is a lot of food in Raw Silk, including a sex scene that involves chilis), Somtow tries to weaken Kate's resolve not to have sex with any of her lovers until the day of the competition.

He rang for the waiter, and the dirty plates disappeared as quickly as they had arrived. The young man also brought them a fresh pot of tea.

When the curtains were closed again, Somtow reached into his pocket. He brought out a blue velvet box. "I hope that you will accept this, Katherine, as a token of my love and respect for you. As something to remember me by, perhaps."

Kate wanted to refuse the box, but the look in his eyes stopped her. Silently, she took it from him and opened it.

It was a sapphire necklace, an oval pendant on a delicate gold chain. It was unbelievably beautiful.

Kate was overwhelmed. "Somtow, I can't take this. This should be for your wife, not for me."

"Nong has her own sapphires, Katherine. And she has the honor and misfortune of being my legal wife. I want you to have something tangible, something precious, something to convince you that you are more to me than just a playmate and a diversion."

He was so sincere. Kate felt tears prick her eyes again. Without further comment she carefully fastened the chain around her neck. The stone sparkled in the hollow of her throat.

"Thank you, Somtow,"she said softly. "I am deeply touched."

Her prince watched her, a smile playing at the corners of his mouth. "You look lovely," he said. "Of course, you would look lovelier still if you removed your blouse."

"Somtow! You promised!"

"Promised what?" he said with mock innocence.

"That you would stick to the rules and would not try to seduce me!"

Somtow grinned. "I am sure that I never promised that!" He leaned forward across the table. "I would never make a promise that I could not keep. In any case, I have a feeling that you really want to take off your top."

It was true, of course. The attraction that Kate had felt toward him during lunch was a hundred times stronger now. She glanced over at the curtains. They were tightly closed. "The management would never enter a booth unannounced," said Somtow. "It would violate all the traditions."

Without a word, she pulled her silk shell over her head. Then she unhooked her brassiere in the front, and let it slide off her shoulders. She sat up straight, enjoying the hungry way that he eyed her bared breasts.

"Ah, Katherine," he sighed. "I see that I was right." He picked up his chopsticks, reached across the table, and deftly caught her left nipple between them. "Quite stiff," he commented approvingly. He applied a bit more pressure and the button of flesh swelled further. Her cunt muscles tensed and her clit tingled.

He switched to the other nipple, rolling it back and forth between the lacquered wood sticks. Kate gave a little moan, and thrust her chest forward.

"You are incorrigible, Somtow," she said when she had caught her breath. "In any case, I'll bet that you are quite stiff yourself."

"You would win that wager," he chuckled. He stood up and Kate saw that he had already unzipped his trousers and released his erection, that he had been stroking himself with his left hand even as he used the chopsticks with his right.

"You know," she said with a smile, "I am still a bit hungry after all." She grabbed one of the cushions from the bench and threw it on the floor in front of him. Then she knelt and began feasting on his smooth, cool flesh.

The slender Thai rested his hands on her shoulders and pressed his pelvis against her mouth. Kate worked his penis like a vacuum cleaner, sucking him as if to extract every drop of his come. She relished his slightly salty taste and the now-familiar whiff of sandalwood that came from him. He moaned, and she paused to admonish him. "Shh!"she whispered. "I don't want the management to come rushing in thinking that I'm doing you harm."

"I can't help myself, Katherine," Somtow gasped.

"Maybe I need to gag you," she said playfully, and then was a little shocked by her own words. Was her association with Gregory polluting her mind to such an extent?

She returned her attention to his cock, licking up and down its length before swallowing it again. The skin was petal-soft. She could feel the pulse of blood raging beneath.

As Somtow came closer to climax, Kate felt her own heart beginning to pound. Her clit throbbed in the same rhythm as his cock, and she could feel her lower lips swelling, opening, aching for attention. She was determined, though, not to allow him access to her sex. Technically, at least, she wanted to adhere to the rules she had established. She wanted the contest on Saturday to be fair and unbiased. She sucked harder, and lightly raked her teeth over his rigid flesh. Come on, Somtow, she thought. Come in my mouth, my sweet prince.

He hovered on the edge. Kate could feel his muscles tensing. But instead of letting go, he gently pushed against her shoulders, pulling out of her mouth. "Turn around, please, Katherine. I want to share my pleasure with you."

"No, Somtow. We all agreed, no sex until the showdown."

"Oh?" He raised one eyebrow. "And what do you call this that we have been doing for the last fifteen minutes?"

"In any case, the notion that you should have no sexual contact with any of us was your idea. In my opinion, it is unnecessary, and unrealistic. You cannot segregate your feelings and desires that way. This lunch is part of the contest, Katherine."

As you might expect, Katherine is not very successful in resisting the handsome and persuasive Somtow. Their activities in that curtained booth include some of the most transgressive scenes in the book. However, I won't spoil things by telling you anymore...

Honestly, despite the fact that my head felt about to explode from the pain, the scenes I wrote that weekend are undeniably hot. How did I do that?

I haven't the faintest idea. I guess that is part of the magic of writing.


  1. Lisabet,

    Brilliant post.

    I've had readers say, "You must have been sick to write something like that," but I don't think this was what they meant :-)



  2. Hi Lisabet!

    This raises an interesting point. People usually don;t feel very sexy when they're sick. I wonder if there is a disconnect between imagination and how a person is actually feeling, if the two things don;t have that much to do with each other. Maybe what matters is the ability to visualize, maybe under pressure, and when you;re sick a person tends to be more into their own head anyway. There's a passage somewhere in Tropic of Cancer where Henry Miller, the literally starving writer, who hasn;t had a meal in several days wanders into a garden in Paris. He sees a marble statue of a nude woman and gets a hard-on. He observes that Man is the only animal who can be in a desperate and starving condition and still want to have sex.


  3. Nice post, Lisabet.

    I'm still not well, by any stretch and would urge everyone who hasn't had the shot for H1N1 to get it. This has been horrible and I can only guess as to how long it's going to last.

    And on the writing will ill note, I have tons to say about it, but will wait my turn. LOL I do remember you telling me about your first time submission to Black Lace and the follow up panic to get several thousand words done. A panic indeed, which you seem to have handled well, no matter how you were feeling.


  4. Lisabet,

    You know what I think? If you can write a scene hot enough to do it for you when you're sick, then you've got something really good. You may have to work harder for it, but this would certainly explain why that chapter came out so well!

    Continue to feel well!

  5. Hi, Ash,

    Nobody's ever called my writing least not to my face!


  6. Hello, Garce,

    For me at least, there is a disconnect between the physical and the mental/emotional aspects of arousal. Between arthritis and menopause, these days I don't enjoy sex nearly as much as I used to. However, that doesn't seem to cramp my imagination.


  7. Hello, Jude,

    I'm looking forward to your post. Actually, I'm not looking forward to hearing how awful you've been feeling. We're all sending you positive healing energies.


  8. Hi,Helen,

    I don't remember whether I found that scene arousing when I was writing it or not. But I do now! (Except that I cringe at all the unnecessary adverbs and the somewhat stilted dialogue. That was ten years ago!)


  9. I'll never look at chopsticks the same way again...