Monday, June 24, 2019

Through the Looking Glass


By Tim Smith
It’s true that opposites attract, especially in the world of romance. There’s something taboo about being attracted to someone who is your polar opposite, someone you may long for while thinking “Who am I kidding? They’d never want to be with me!” You may not realize it, but guys go through this from an early age, and some don’t outgrow it. Think about the most popular girl in school or the classiest woman at work, the ones who instantly grab attention. We assume that such a creature would only want to associate with like-minded people in their social stratosphere, so we don’t ask them for a date. If you suffer from terminal shyness, this can lead to a lifetime of loneliness and resentment. 
Class structure, that obnoxious bit of snobbery that emits the air of “look, but don’t touch,” has something to do with it. There have been many stories written where good girls only want bad boys, and I’ve seen it in real life. It usually involves ethnic differences, the kind that get disapproving looks and snide remarks from snobs. Did you know that also works in reverse? Good boys often secretly hunger for bad girls, the ones from the “other side of town,” for purposes other than sex. Remember “Pretty Woman”? Richard Gere didn’t hire Julia Roberts to be his arm candy just because she was beautiful. The fact that she’s a hooker was part of the unspoken allure, the polar opposite of his respectable businessman.
There are situations where a guy from an ordinary background is attracted to a woman from a well-to-do family, and it isn’t motivated by a chance to move up the social ladder. In a good romance story, the feeling turns out to be mutual. This is a classic example of opposites being attracted to one another. If the attraction is real, class structure goes out the window. I’ve seen that happen, too.   
I used this scenario in “Lido Key,” the second Vic Fallon private eye story. Vic is a working stiff regular guy, a former cop turned investigator, definitely middle class and proud of it. He finds himself in a popular bar in Siesta Key, Florida, where he experiences an instant attraction to a beautiful, classy woman he spies across the room. Watch what happens:
Their initial meeting had occurred on his first night in town, at a place called The Daquiri Deck in Siesta Key Village. Vic hadn’t been actively looking for a hook-up after a day of beachcombing, but when he locked eyes with Ariel Weston from across the bar, there was no escape.
Vic moved to the stool next to hers, drawn in like a marlin hooked by a determined fisherman. “Excuse me, miss, but I’m new in town. Could you please direct me to your house?”
She began with a chuckle that escalated into full-blown laughter, then she playfully smacked Vic’s forearm. “That’s so lame, it’s cute!”
“Thank you.”
Her eyes scanned him up and down. “I don’t think I’ve seen you around here before, have I?” she asked in a low, smoky voice.
“No. Do I need a reservation to sit here?”
She laughed again. “A smart-ass. I like that quality in a man. Where are you from, smart-ass?”
“A whole other world. Would you like me to provide references before we go any further?”
She placed her hand on his on top of the bar and locked onto his eyes with hers. “I don’t think that’ll be necessary, but since we’re going to be friends, I think I should call you something more formal than smart-ass.”
“Are we going to be friends?”
“Unless you think you already have enough of them.”
“You can never have too many friends. Why don’t you call me Blake?”
“Is that your real name?
“No, my real name is Vic. I just use Blake to fool people. What should I call you besides totally hot?”
“I like that, but let’s go with Ariel.”
“Pretty name.”
“Thank you. I’m rather attached to it.” She massaged his hand. “I should tell you something, Vic. I’m married to a rich older man, we don’t have any kids, and we’ve always had separate bedrooms. He doesn’t really notice if I’m not at home, since he’s only there long enough to change clothes before he meets his latest girlfriend. He doesn’t ask me any questions, and I don’t grill him about where he drops his pants. Does that bother you?”
“One man’s ignorance is another man’s bliss.”
“Ooh, a clever smart-ass. That’s another quality I like.”
“And we’re just getting started.” 

To see how this lusty, smoldering encounter turns out, check out the link below. Happy reading!



Sunday, June 23, 2019

Putting Myself Into the Story






While I know that all fiction we write is in some way about ourselves and that all of the characters are, in some way us, my characters have always felt autonomous and separate from me. They do what they want, often against my better judgment, but always to the betterment of the story. No doubt a psychologist would have a field day over me and my characters having a little chat. And while I know an author’s place is to write the story, but stay completely out of it, inserting myself into my own fiction, putting actual KDG encounters with characters into a tale, is a very intriguing idea. And rules are meant to be broken, after all.


It was PNR novelist, J. R. Ward, who first intrigued me with the idea of interacting with my characters. Back when I was binge-reading her Black Dagger Brotherhood novels, I read a compendium she published that was entirely interviews, interactions and encounters with her vampires. I found myself wanting to tag along, wanting to sit in the lounge drinking wine and chatting with these guys. That made me realize how much I wanted to do the same with my own characters. I’d done a few character interviews for blog tours and guest posts, but that wasn’t the same thing. That was far less personal. If my characters were going to expose themselves in my novels and do scary, heroic, sometimes horrible things, it felt like I should get to know them a little better and give them a say in events affecting them.






I inadvertently began the Medusa Consortium stories, and my journey as a “scribe,” with an M/M novella called Landscapes, which was not only my first M/M story, but my first attempt at writing vampires. When I finished it, I found I wasn’t ready to say good-bye to Alonso Darlington and the gang. And apparently they weren’t ready to say good-bye to me either… for very different reasons. On my blog, I’m presently re-running An Unexpected Encounter with Alonso Darlington, a three part account of what happened when Alonso invited me to his lair in the remote fells of the English Lake District.


As it became clear Alonso and Reese’s novella was only a small part of Medusa/Magda Gardener’s saga, I found myself drawn more and more into relationship with the characters, and the role of the scribe was born. Well, maybe reborn is a better word. The scribe observes and documents events from the inside out at the invitation of an insider. In my case, I was recruited by Magda herself. As the Medusa Consortium stories evolved, so did the sense of observing and recording events as they happened, rather than creating them myself. In the first novel of the series, In The Flesh, Susan Innes is a Scribe with a capital S. Not only does she write the tale, but her magic is to write fiction into reality. And the tale she writes into existence is a twisted one. 







From that point on, visits from my main characters outside of the story weren’t all that uncommon, and I suddenly understood why Ward enjoyed those out of novel experiences so much. Lucky for me, imaginary friends are not frowned upon if you’re a novelist. I find the characters do have a lot to say to me, and quite often it’s not what I expected to hear. Most of my encounters with them have ended up on my blog. While I may not be able to rewrite reality like Susan can, I do feel sometimes that I’ve been recruited into Magda’s Consortium of misfits specifically to tell their individual stories. It’s a bit like being called upon to chronicle the lives and times of the Avengers. J


Still, I couldn’t keep from wondering what would happen if I broke the big taboo and actually did write myself, as myself, into one of my stories. I experimented with the idea in my M/M novella, Toys for Boys. While I’m still only the teller of the tale, I take an active role in the story. It was great fun to blur still further those lines between character and writer and to play with the idea that the scribe really might affect reality by writing it. Certainly I’ve discovered that the interaction with characters, which isn’t included in the story, truly does shape what I set down for the reader. It’s a side to writing I would have never expected back in the early days. But I’ve come to believe that those encounters beyond the story give what I share with my readers much more dimension. Besides, my characters are very likely to tell me off in person if I don’t get it right. 


Here’s a little excerpt from Toys For Boys



Toys For Boys Blurb

Alpha nerd Will Charles teams up with Caridoc ‘Doc’ Jones in a coast to coast walk across England reviewing outdoor gift suggestions for the Christmas edition of Toys for Boys—an online magazine dedicated to the latest gadgets to tickle a man’s fancy. Will is recording their adventures with the latest smart phone technology. Doc is reviewing the latest outdoor gear. The two quickly discover the great outdoors provides even better toys for boys, toys best shared al fresco, toys that, in spite of Will’s great camera work, will never be reviewed in Toys for Boys.

Note: Toys for Boys has been previously published as part of the Brit Boys: With Toys boxed set.






Boys with Toys Excerpt

“I really am sorry, lads,” the proprietress at the Keld Lodge said, “but I’ve only a tiny single room available which, due to health and safety, I can’t rent as a double.”

“God, I really don’t want to spend another night in that leaky tent,” the dark-haired bloke was barely understandable between chattering teeth. “There must be something else close by.”

“Not within easy walking distance,” the proprietress said. “I can let you put up the tent around the back,” she offered. 

“You can even use the showers and the drying room for your wet gear. Of course stay inside by the fire as long as you like.”

The weather had been abysmal when I arrived the night before on a short writing and walking retreat. It was worse today, so I’d spent my time ensconced in the pub’s restaurant at a table by the window looking out onto the misty Yorkshire Dales. It was mid afternoon when the two drenched, bedraggled lads slogged through the door, bringing with them a gust of icy, wet wind. I had just come to the bar to order a pot of tea and, as I stood quietly in the queue behind them, I noticed the blond casting worried glances at his shivering companion.

“Walking the Coast to Coast?” I asked.

“We are,” the dark-haired bloke replied. “Though I’m pretty sure we swam most of it today.”

“You taking the high level route through the mining ruins tomorrow?” I asked.

They both nodded. “Supposed to be sunny,” the blond replied. “Three days of bad weather and last night the tent sprung a leak. We were hoping for a hot meal and a real bed tonight.”

“I’m truly sorry, lads,” the proprietress said. “I wish I could help.”

I’m not sure what inspired me to make the offer, perhaps memories of the times I’d walked cold and wet, but more than likely it was simply because I’m a hopeless romantic and I recognised that the two men were more than just mates out for an adventure.

“Look, why don’t you take my room for the night? I’m on my own and I have a nice double until the end of the week. I can take the single, and then we can switch back tomorrow. Wouldn’t that work?” I asked the proprietress.

“I don’t see why not,” came the reply. “I’ll sort it with housekeeping, and you can work out the details among yourselves.”

“It has a bath and lots of hot water,” I said, recalling what a pleasure an actual bathtub was after a long, cold walk.

“Oh God, you’re a saint,” the dark-haired one said, offering me a blinding smile between chattering teeth.

Still thanking me profusely, they introduced themselves as Will Charles—the dark-haired lad with the bluest eyes I’d ever seen, and Doc Jones—the blond with a lovely Welsh lilt in his rich, baritone voice. They helped me switch my meagre belongings to the smaller room. Then I returned to my table and my tea. I couldn’t help wondering what their story was and just what they might get up to in that deep tub and on that nice bouncy bed. Quite the coincidence that I was here because I had agreed to write a novella for an erotic romance anthology and. With the deadline bearing down on me, I was still drawing a blank, but with Doc and Will’s arrival, I suddenly felt inspired.




Friday, June 21, 2019

I Challenge You to a Game of Sex #sexuality #confidence #kinky #queer

A post by @GiselleRenarde

I'm asking myself if I've ever been attracted to my opposite, and I honestly don't think I have--not in any big sense. The people I'm attracted to are always similar to me in most ways. Our values and beliefs are the same, we tend to enjoy the same literature, films, music, all that.

I've never been the bookworm making eyes at the biker, nothing that extreme.

But if we're talking about sex, well, that is one area where I suppose I have been drawn to people who weren't exactly my mirror image.

When I was younger, I was strikingly confident with regard to sexuality--seeing as I was a virgin and all...

I remember watching American Beauty when it came out in 1999.  When it turned out that (spoiler alert!) Mena Suvari's ravenously seductive character was also a virgin, it was like looking in a weirdly humiliating mirror.

That was me. That's how I behaved. I found the idea of sexuality very empowering, but I'd never actually HAD sex.

Was I attracted to other people who made raunchy jokes and flaunted their assets? Of course not!  I had friends who were like me, but the people I was attracted to, when I was younger, were really quite bashful. Innuendo embarrassed them... excited them, too, I found out years later... but in the moment all I saw was the bashfulness... and all I felt was the power I wielded over men with my feminine wiles.

I liked being able to intimidate men, and I liked men I could intimidate.

I wanted to be in charge, and I was.

Later on, when I was confident in my sexual skill (because I actually had some), I found myself drawn to people who could expand my horizons. Looking back, I was pretty gosh-darn vanilla, at that point. If you'd asked me, "Are you vanilla?" I would have been like "Of course not! How dare you!" but when I think of all the things I hadn't done... wow, that's a long list.

I ended up with someone who was kinky as hell, and not because she was trying to be--she just exuded that brutal feminine confidence I'd felt so sure I possessed all those years ago. It was the dominating nature of her personality that taught me to submit. And, I tell you, it came as a relief to not be in charge in the bedroom anymore.

The effects spread beyond the bedroom, too.  Spread to my writing. If not for that confident kinkster, Lexi Wood would never have been born. She pushed me to write beyond my boundaries--to write incest erotica like the Adam and Sheree series, and Lexi's ever-growing list of short stories.

Sometimes you need someone who's going to challenge you.  You need it to grow.

Now I see myself as a kinky queer who is quietly confident about sex, but who doesn't have to be in-your-face about sexuality or wield it like a sword.

Maybe the whole "opposites attract" thing has operated with subtlety in my life. At times, I've challenged others to a game of sex. At times, I've been challenged. But the result has been growth, overall, and a better understanding of relationships, myself, and my place in the world.

https://www.patreon.com/audioerotica

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The President and The Rentboy

by Cameron D. James

For "Opposites Attract" month, there aren't two men more opposite than a bombastic and powerful American president and an illegal immigrant Mexican rentboy.

I regularly get asked if The President and The Rentboy is based on a certain American president. The answer is "sort of". It definitely started that way (as I wrote, edited, and published this novella on the weekend before 45's inauguration), but it did take some different directions. However, you will find similarities in the first lady and the VP.

~~~~~

Newly inaugurated as the President of the United States of America, Daniel Grant has a secret. Despite winning a surprise upset election, built on a campaign filled with raucous rallies and an oft-repeated promise to deport illegal immigrants, Daniel is unhappy. While the media loves to speculate about him and his trophy wife, Melanie, the truth is there is no love in their relationship — moreover, as time goes on, Daniel is coming to understand that he prefers men. Itching for some sexual release, a senator discreetly hands him a phone number for Ricky — a rentboy.

Each sexy encounter with this seductive younger man leaves Daniel panting for more. But while his private sex life amps up, so, too, does his public political life, including increasing pressures from his vice-president to deport all illegal immigrants and bring about religious freedom laws so business can discriminate against LGBT customers.


Daniel struggles to balance his personal and public lives, to somehow continue seeing Ricky, despite the intense media scrutiny of everything the president does. Forbidden love is never easy, but it becomes near impossible when Daniel learns that Ricky, the young man he loves and desires so much, is an illegal immigrant from Mexico.

~~~~~

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Fireworks and candles, by Ashe Barker #Opposites Attract

The laws of physics are one thing - opposites certainly attract in the world of magnetism - but the laws of romance are somewhat more complex and variable, I suspect. It has been my observation, and based on nothing more scientific than that, that where a relationship between extreme opposites endures it is invariably because one of the participants is unusually tolerant or adaptable, able to accept and 'reshape' to fit their partner.

Some might suggest that a D/s relationship is of this type, but I would not agree. A Dominant is not inherently self-centred, quite the opposite as s/he must be attuned to the needs and responses of their submissive and put those first. The sort of relationship I have in mind is one where one partner tends to shine, enjoys public success, a high-profile career, perhaps, and this may only be possible if they are shored up by a quiet, dependable 'rock' to absorb the more mundane realities of life.

Can such relationships stand the test of time? Yes, and many do. Are they healthy and fulfilling relationships? Who am I to say? All I know is that I would  not fancy being at either end of one myself..

That is not to say that differences are not to be welcomed and celebrated. Variety is the spice of life, and all that. I know many, many couples of mixed race who rub along together without any obvious problems, at least none caused by their ethnicity. To a lesser extent, but still perfectly possible, are couples with different religious beliefs. I tend to think that those who adopt sharply differentiated political colours have the most trouble tolerating each other, perhaps because they may have equally disparate values.

In the world of erotic romance which I inhabit, characters are frequently drawn to the unknown, the exotic, the mysterious, the alien. It is a common trope in romance and erotic fiction, and our bookshelves groan under the hordes of millionaires, masters and slaves, other-worldly alien alphas, dukes and commoners, Arab sheikhs and pale English roses. We are asked to believe that these liaisons could work in the long term and maybe we accept it because after all, it's a nice idea. If this can work, if there really can be a HEA from such inauspicious beginnings, then there is hope for all of us.

In real life the situation is more prosaic. Shared interests and common values are the bedrock of most long-term relationships. Couples who understand each other's view of the world and better still, share it, have less to fall out over.

Opposites may attract superficially. Any of us could get carried away on a heady wave of adventurous lust, passion made all the more spicy by that hint of the unknown. Such explosive fervour will be intoxicating while it lasts, a frenzied firework of excitement which bursts into life but just as quickly fades and fizzles to leave a burnt out shell. A true HEA is more like a candle, steady, stalwart, eternal, and for this we need to at least have a common language to express it.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Opposites, Complements - #BDSM #femdom #newrelease


Heart of the Deal cover

By Lisabet Sarai

Two weeks ago, I wrote about how the maxim “Opposites attract” tends to apply much more often in stories than in real life. However, BDSM provides an exception. In a real-world D/s relationship, as well as in fiction, the erotic tension between the top and the bottom depends on their diametrically opposed interests and needs. The dominant wants power and control – the freedom to tease, torture, use and abuse the sub for his or her own satisfaction. The sub craves the experience of giving up control, surrendering agency to the Master or Mistress.

A power exchange relationship wouldn’t work if the two participants had the same needs. Of course, in actuality few people are pure tops or bottoms, and the dynamic can shift from one moment to the next. Fictional BDSM tales rarely acknowledge this truth, but actually the two roles are closer than you’d expect.

A skilled Dom understands at the gut level what the sub is experiencing. And a submissive can only give herself (or himself) fully if she can intuit what her Master wants. In fact, people who end up as “tops” in the BDSM lifestyle quite often spend some time in the submissive role first. Likewise, depending on the partner, a normally submissive person can switch and act as the dominant. Even my Master admitted that he had fantasies of bottoming to a powerful woman. Meanwhile, I have frequent dreams in which I’m the Mistress commanding the obedience of a younger female.

In my most recent release, The Heart of the Deal, I explore the paradoxical duality of power exchange. Ruby Maxwell Chen, lovely and ruthless CEO of a huge British business empire, has no qualms about playing dirty – very dirty. She’s happy to use sex to help her close a deal, especially when she’s the one on top. Ruby loves the game, and she expects to win. When she encounters the oddly charismatic American entrepreneur Rick Martell, though, she wonders if she hasn't met her match.

My two protagonists, Ruby and Rick, are both extremely dominant characters. Yet both secretly yearn to let go, to surrender to a powerful top who will open them to the parts of themselves they keep hidden. This isn’t really a common theme in BDSM erotica/romance. However, based on personal experience, I’d say that it adds a realistic complexity to what has become a rather stereotyped genre.

Here’s an excerpt from early in the novel that illustrates this. It takes place after Ruby’s first business meeting with the man who’s challenging her in a deal she’d thought was long settled.

* * * *

My palm tingles long after he has left. Alone, I allow all the feelings to wash over me. Frustration at being thwarted. Gratitude that, through self-control, I managed to neutralize his advantage from last night. Admiration for his devious business skill. Perplexity regarding his real motives and plans.

And lust, fierce and pure, pouring through my veins like potent liquor. Now that he has gone, I allow myself to feel the tightness in my nipples, the ache between my thighs. The tension reveals its true source. My chic fitted suit holds me in bondage. I cannot reach the places that cry out to be touched.

This at least I can control and remedy. My fingers shake with eagerness as I unbutton my jacket and unhook my bra. My skirt I simply crumple to my waist, heedless for now of the wrinkles I am creating. I reach into the secret drawer under my desk and retrieve the stainless steel vibrator that I keep there. For emergencies such as this.

An orgasm rips through me as soon as I feel the cool metal sliding into my depths. This does not satisfy me, though. I work the slick rod among my swollen folds, seeking relief that does not come.
 
Why does Martell have this overwhelming effect on me? Chemistry? Pheromones? It feels like something biological and irresistible.

Or perhaps telepathy, empathy, some psychic force that allows him to catch and shape my thoughts. This I understand, a bit. This is what I do when I play the dominant, intuit the form of my partner’s fantasies and reflect them back in my words and actions.

Oh, to have him in my power! Everyone, I believe, has some trace of the submissive, some secret desire to surrender, hidden perhaps even from themselves. If I could find and speak to that core in him…

I picture him naked, remembering even in my fantasy that I have never seen him so. Tanned, taut, nearly hairless except at his groin. He stands, as I command him, spread-eagle before the plate glass window of my thirtieth floor office. “Anyone could see you,” I remind him, tapping my ruler against one shoulder and then the other. “Anyone who happened to look up.”

He is nervous, now that he sees that I have the upper hand. His mocking grin is gone. “You seem to enjoy the exposure,” I comment, pinching his thickening erection. I survey him from one side and then the other, close enough that he can feel the heat of my body, catch the scent of my rising excitement.

Place your hands on the glass,” I tell him, “to steady yourself for what comes next.” He swallows the lump in his throat and obeys. I sense his increasing arousal. I don’t need to check the state of his cock.

I am clad in a suit, of a more provocative cut than I would ever wear in a real business meeting. A suit signals power. I wear no knickers. I can feel dampness on my thighs as I strut before him on dangerous heels.

Now, Rick,” I say, emphasizing the familiar nickname. “I am going to teach you a lesson about respect.” I snap the wooden ruler smartly against one muscled buttock. He gives a little yelp. Before he can recover, I apply the ruler to the other cheek, then repeat my blow to the first.

He is panting and his face is red. Meanwhile, his swollen penis points obscenely toward the ceiling.

When you were a little boy, in Malaysia, Rick”—Swat!—“did your teachers beat you with a ruler to keep you in line?” (Smack!) “We British set up the educational system, after all, and we have always been great believers in corporal punishment.”

I slash the ruler across his butt three or four times in quick succession. His bottom looks like tartan plaid. I check his face, and sure enough, see arousal as well as discomfort. His lips are parted; his breath comes in little gasps. Since his first exclamation of surprise, he has made no sound.

How do you feel, Rick?” I ask sweetly, murmuring in his ear.

Sore,” he says, softly.

And is that all?” I ask, raking my fingernails lightly across his inflamed rump.

He is silent, stubborn. “Well?” I ask, and slap him with my open palm.

Horny.” He almost whispers.

What do you want, Rick?”

I want to come.”

Ask me nicely, then.”

Please, Ms. Chen. Please, let me come.”

Perhaps later, if you behave. Right now, though, I have something else in mind for you.”

I hold up the silvery vibrator and watch his eyes widen in horror. “No…” He starts to speak, then breaks off.

Don’t you want to please me, Rick?” I slather lubricant across my palm and run my hand suggestively over the length of the metal shaft. “I thought that you wanted to be my partner.”

He does not speak. His penis jerks as he tries to control himself.

Push out your butt, now, and spread your legs a bit more.” I position the greased vibrator against his tightly curled sphincter. “Now, relax.”

I am fucking myself furiously, deep into this mental scene, when something shifts.

Suddenly, I am the one who is nude, splayed before the window with my arse stuck out. I feel rebellion, fear, anger, and incredible excitement as Richard Martell inches the vibrator into my rear hole. I hear him laugh. “Come on, Ruby, you can’t pretend with me.” And finally, I explode into orgasm, cursing Martell and my own traitor imagination.

* * * *

By the end of the book, both Rick and Ruby have learned how to give up erotic control to their opponent.

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Tuesday, June 11, 2019

All the Major Dudes


It’s a muggy night in the deep south, with a wall of red on the Doppler radar creeping in our direction.  I’m wearing a white permanent press shirt and black pants with shiny black cop shoes and a name badge.  I look pretty much like an aging Mormon missionary except for the dorky orange Logo tie and the black apron with the words Miller Theater.  Brother Garce.  I have a little flashlight I keep in the apron pocket and right now I’m using it to show people to the seat on the ticket they’ve shelled out some respectable bread for.  I don’t get paid for this but I love it anyway.  

I took my kid a while back to the Bell Auditorium to see Bob Dylan in person, The Ultimate Major Dude, which for a baby boomer is a little like making the haj to Mecca.  After that on the same week we saw Brian Wilson, another Major Dude of my generation, play at the Bell.  That was some week.  While I was admiring Dylan’s soundboard deck setup I asked a security guard - watching over me - didn’t he get to see these Major Dudes for free?  He laughed, he sure did.  All that and a paycheck too as they say in the adult film business.

So I volunteered at the Miller on weekends.  I’ve seen some fantastic shows there by people I’ve never heard of.  All that, minus the paycheck.

Tonight they’re having a Christian program, kind of a comedy program, having to do with making your Christian marriage better.  Especially sex.  Yes.  Not a sold out house, but a pretty good crowd, mostly white and well off, about the size of a modest mega-church.  

Once all the tickets are scanned, and the front doors are closed the hired help like me get to sit and watch whoever or whatever is up there tonight, “muzzle not the ox that treads out the grain” it says in the good old book, but always staying alert for patrons who need something.  We’re on duty.  People laugh.   Nobody heckles.  Nobody gets the Holy Ghost.  And they’re all still sober by the second set.

I listen to the speakers for a while and smile along at their earnest jokes.  It all seems somehow familiar, a bit too safe.  Not the lefty righteousness of my little church, or the wild gospel fireworks of the black Holiness churches where nurses in white starched uniforms keep a watchful eye to catch those on the way to the floor when they Get The Ghost.

I’m a Christian mystic.  These people aren’t.  They’re totally the other thing, but I like them.  They'd be nice neighbors as long as you keep your grass short.  I can kind of get what they’re doing and what they’re looking for, even though it takes an effort for me to get it.  Evangelical Christians who helped inflict the golden calf of Trump on the rest of us have given Evangelicalism a bad name, maybe these people are them, I don’t know, but they’re earnest and good enough about what they believe. 

 Whatever it is they believe. And most of all they're together, rejoicing in being together.  You have to like that.  In some ways it’s harder, much harder to know these people, to read them, then to know those of us who have worn and do wear our carnality out in the open. My church celebrated Gay Pride last Sunday.  These people here certainly didn’t, the couple talking about marriage up on stage are pretty clear about what God thinks marriage must always be – no matter what.

In the Bible Jesus really didn’t like very religious people.  In fact, he was pretty rough on them, and they had him killed for it.  Especially the ones who were most proud of being very religious.  What would he think of these nice people here?  What would he say to them?

I’m wondering about this when a polite young couple drift in late with their tickets. Their clothes are wet from the rain and he has an umbrella.   I jump up grinning.  "Whatcha got?"  The young man shows me their squashed tickets.  He tells me it’s raining cats out there. I fish my little flashlight out of my apron and bring them down Orchestra Level Center Left to their seats.  P 104 and P 105.

“Is this P?” the girl asks.

“If it is I’ll get a mop,” I say.

The dude and his girl crack up.  Hey, I’ve got a million of ‘em.



Monday, June 10, 2019

Opposites Are More Fun

Sacchi Green




When your main characters are of the same sex, you have to differentiate them in other ways than by gender. In actual relationships similarities may be fine, even necessary, for permanent bonding, but in fiction characters with pronounced differences are much more fun to play with. Maybe not entirely opposites, but diverse enough to be bringing different things to the metaphorical table. Their differences could be complementary, as in one athletic and outgoing, one analytic and introspective, and together they solve…oh, wait, never mind, that's just in detective stories. Or they may be combative, from different sides of “the tracks,” or different cultures or political tribes, enemies at first sight, flint to steel, striking sparks. And then there are the power play ploys, dominant or submissive, master (or mistress) or slave, and then age differentials whether actual or another kind of play. And it goes without saying that in same sex arrangements one character may identify as masculine-of-center while the other is clearly of the femme persuasion.

*Edited--see note at the end.
Some of these differences matter the most during sex scenes, while others have as much effect on the development of the plot or story arc, but they're still equally essential to the story as a whole.  

Now I get to steer all this into my turn for promo! My latest book, Wild Rides and Other Erotic Adventures from Dirt Road Books, is a collection of some of my own work, both reprints and new (or new to most readers) stories. I’ve been posting ‘teaser” excerpts from some of them on Facebook and my blog, www.sacchi-green.blogspot.com, and I intend to do more, but right now I’ll see how far I can twist some of the stories into representing the attraction of opposites and what happens to them later.

Let’s see. I use this example too often, but in my story “Pulling” (which is included in the collection) the erotic charge is very much a matter of opposites. Ree is a big farm girl showing her draft horses at a county fair. Carla is a midway barker luring guys to her dart-and-balloon arcade concession with sultry banter, but with no intention of letting any guy get under her short skirt. When she and Ree get together at a cheap motel, Carla brings clamps and mardi gras beads from the balloon game, while Ree, who is also a veterinarian, brings a tube of horse lube. Vive la difference! What happens then? Carla disappears after their second night together. Not surprising. But there’s a two-years later sequel  in the collection, “Findng Carla,” that brings them together again, Ree more sexually experienced now, Carla with a desperate need for ordinary respectability. Here’s an excerpt:
_______________

Finding Carla
Sacchi Green

“Keep your skanky hands off me!” The words sliced through drifting aromas of coffee and pancakes and bacon. “Touch me again, and those fingers won’t be able to fuck your own sorry dick!”
I’d know that voice, that attitude, anywhere. A truck stop where Vermont slopes into New Hampshire wasn’t high on my list of places to look, but how much, really, had I ever known about Carla? Apart from the way she sounded in hip-swishing, femme-top command of any situation—or with her hips so entirely out of control she couldn’t shape gasps into words—or steeling herself to mount my huge draft horse. We hadn’t had much time for the getting-to-know-you parts.
I couldn’t see into the dining area past the family with fidgety kids ahead of me. Getting by without trampling them didn’t seem likely, but I was giving it a try anyway when a skinny whirlwind shot from around the cashier’s counter and whacked me from behind.
“Ree Daniels, move your butt!” The manager forged her way through the milling kids like an icebreaker. I was twice Lyddie Brown’s bulk and a foot taller, but I followed in her wake anyway.
It was Carla, all right, her pot of scalding coffee poised right above the hastily withdrawn hand—and the crotch—of a middle-aged truck driver I’d seen around before. On the skuzzy side, usually on the make, but Carla could’ve handled his kind in seconds with a sly quip, back when she’d been working arcade games on the county fair circuit.
Now her face and body were tense, brittle, close to panic. She looked as near to being spooked as any horse I’ve ever handled. What the hell had got into her? And what was she doing here?
It was my turn to shove Lyddie aside, with a look meant to convince her I knew what I was doing. “Hey, Carla.” I moved in close. “Let me help you out with that.” My hand curled around her fingers on the coffeepot’s handle. My body edged hers away from the customer. “Let’s put it down over here, okay?”
The wildness in her dark eyes mellowed into recognition, and something I hoped was deeper. That last morning, while I was still asleep, she’d cleared out without any clue as to how to find her, and for nearly two years I’d figured all she’d seen in me was just a hot enough two-night stand to pass the time with. If she’d thought that was all I’d seen in her, she’d been dead wrong. Okay, I lied about the getting-to-know-you bit. Two days and nights was enough for me to discover the vulnerability behind the bravado, the steel determination that overcame fear—and to want to know more.
“Sure,” she said now, “anything you say, big girl.” Her voice shook, but the old low, intimate tone was still there.
Remembered lust surged back in a rush. Carla had always radiated sparks of bad-girl eroticism. Even with her waves of black hair confined in a knot and her waitress uniform just skimming her curves, she shot off pheromones that could pierce a Humvee. I’d have felt some sympathy for the driver if he hadn’t started to bluster.
Lyddie rolled her eyes, jerked her head toward the office, and went into damage control mode.
I got Carla to the coffee station and deposited the hot pot. In spite of interested observers at every table, my hand settled into the sweet spot where waist curves to hip as I steered her into the office and kicked the door shut.
She was shivering when I put my arms around her. I’d never imagined Carla so shaken. Physically wary, sure—my big horses had scared her before she’d discovered the delights of naked bare-back riding at midnight—but nothing like this melt-down. “Oh, honey, what’s the trouble?” I used my soothing-skittish-fillies tone. “It’ll be all right.” I stroked her black hair, glossy as my Percherons. It came loose from its prim knot, falling into the wild mane I remembered whipping back and forth over my sweaty torso as she rode me.
“No it won’t,” she muttered against my chest. When her head lifted I saw that the glitter of tears in her eyes came as much from rage as from despair. It was oddly reassuring. “There goes another job! That bastard! But I can handle his kind without lifting a finger. Usually.” Carla searched her breast pockets. I took pity and grabbed the box of Kleenex from Lyddie’s desk.
I dabbed at her damp eyes. No makeup beyond a subdued shade of lipstick. She still exuded that seductive air that had grabbed me the first time I’d seen her, but something else as well that grabbed me harder, even as I shied away from examining it too closely. “So, what went wrong?”
“Me. I went wrong. ‘Sorry, I’m not on the menu’ didn’t do the trick, but I could’ve just smiled and moved away. When he put his hand on my butt, though, I felt…I wanted…dammit, Ree, I needed to be touched so bad it hurt, but not by his kind!”
I could recognize a mare in heat long before I earned my veterinary degree, and my experience of women had tuned me to the similarities. Women aren’t as easily ruled by their hormones as mares, though. For Carla to go off the deep end, there must be as much turmoil in her head as in her body. Dangerous territory.
Just the same, my hand went to her thigh and would have traveled farther if Lyddie hadn’t charged into the office just then.
Carla tried to pull away. I kept an arm around her shoulder. “How’s it going, Lyddie?” I hoped my grin still had the tomboy charm that used to get me extra pie as a kid. The manager had known me all my life, and my family even longer. We’d always stopped here when I was helping my dad transport horses to New Hampshire farms and fairs. The grin could have got me a whole lot more than pie if I’d been so inclined, once I’d grown up, cropped my straw-yellow hair short, and shown that I knew who I was and where I was going.
Lyddie looked us up and down, hands braced on hips, head shaking in exasperation. “Might’ve known you’d be acquainted. There’s gotta be an explanation behind this, but I don’t have the time or patience now.”
“It’s the old story,” I said. “Farm girl meets carnival huckster at the county fair. The Lancaster Fair year before last, when my team was in the pulling trials.” I realized too late that Carla might not have included the midway balloon/dart concession on her résumé.
“Judging by such a touching reunion, maybe you wouldn’t mind taking Miss Volcano-mouth off my hands for a couple of days until all this drama blows over.”
Carla stirred under my arm. “I’m sorry, Lyddie. I should just move on. Thanks for taking a chance on me, but I’ve always been bad news.”
I wanted to shake the old arrogance back into her. On the other hand, if it had been just a shield, I wanted to know what was behind it.
Lyddie softened. “You’re not bad, honey. You’re just drawn that way.”
Carla was right on it. “Thanks, Lyddie. Jessica Rabbit is my role model.”
“You’re a fine cashier and waitress,” Lyddie added. “Never did figure out what you’re doing in a place like this. You could make a lot more tending bar in the city or the tourist area over by Mt. Washington. At least bars have bouncers.”
Carla’d begun to relax, but now she tensed and glanced away from Lyddie. “Can’t blame a girl for wanting to try out respectability for a change.”
I was tired of being left out of the conversation. “If riding in the cab of a horse van rates as respectable, I’d be glad of the company. I’ll be back this way tomorrow or the next day. We’ll see how things look by then.”
“Just let me get out of this uniform and grab a few things.” Carla wriggled out of my grasp. Lyddie and I watched her go, both our gazes fixed on her slender back and swaying ass, both of us exhaling when she’d gone. But Lyddie’s sigh was somber.
“Can’t get a job at a bar these days without a background check,” she said. “A police record will shoot you right down. She’s a whiz with numbers, too, took some accounting courses she says, but the same goes there.”
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” But I knew.
_______________

The story ends with them together, but some rocky times ahead. I intend to take them through those in another story, still very different characters. You never know, maybe a novel will come of it.

Some of the other pieces in my collection concern opposites of one degree or another. A cowgirl from Montana with an equestrienne from Amsterdam; so far there’s only been a hint of future connection. A self-centered top-drawer model trying to break into movies, and a much older rock-climbing photographer who knows just how to give her what she needs to feel real; I’ve written three stories so far about those two, and there will probably be more.
Let me think. I guess the young future pirate and the dragon goddess in Ha Long Bay don’t count, or a perky boi with a fetish for gargoyles on a honeymoon trip to Paris with a gruff older butch.  Or the young army mechanic rescued from an explosion by an older Staff Sergeant who then becomes paralyzed going back to save someone else. Or the jeep jockey in Vietnam and the female journalist determined to cover the ”real war.” None of these really rate as opposites. And the pair of prison inmates who clash in more ways than one, a stone cutter unintentionally mixed up in a drug smuggling operation versus a former Russian Olympic wrestler hired as an enforcer by a Chechen drug lord in the US, are very much the same at heart, and not that far apart in body. There are other stories in the book, too, with pairings that aren’t exactly representative of opposites, but distinctive in their ways.

Opposites or not, though, I like to think that all of my characters are distinctive enough that a reader can tell by their dialogue which one is speaking. Opposites may not always be more fun, but at least you always know who is who.

* EDIT
Here's the stupid way I said this at first:
"Some of these differences matter more in erotica, while others play more of a role in stories with plots or story arcs. I like to think that my work qualifies as both. That’s probably a delusion, but usually I get away with it."
[I totally blew this part, in spite of being on a mission for years to promote erotica as being the equal of any genre in terms of complex characters, story development, creativity, and brilliant writing in general.]

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Opposites May Attract, but then What?






While I’m generally an avid lover of Happy Ever Afters, I don’t really believe that when opposites attract there’s much chance of a good ole HEA. But, oh, how we love the possibility that there might be! It’s the otherness that attracts us, I think. Who doesn’t want to know what it’s like to be different, other than we are? We all want to know how the other half lives, even if that other half is vampires, shifters and demons. There are a million stories written about our attraction to that otherness, to that which we know we can’t have and to what we, ourselves, most definitely are not. I think that’s why billionaire stories and prince charming stories are always so popular. I could add to that list paranormal stories, spy stories, star-crossed lovers and cross-cultural romances. While we’re in the heat of the moment, they’re captivating … but then what?

Tell me honestly, can you even imagine an HEA with James Bond? At the end of a Bond movie, when Bond is fucking the costar on a slow boat to China, we know it won’t last, nor do we want it to, because there’s always another movie and another love interest to be seduced. But we most definitely expect the HEA with billionaires and princes and movie star stories.

I quite often struggle to believe the Happy Ever Afters offered up in otherness attraction stories, though I might buy a Happy for Now ending. Go for it while you can, 007 chicks, cuz it’s all you’re gonna get! I’m a practical sort of girl. I’ve never believed that love can overcome all obstacles. For me there comes a point when the otherness that was so attractive in the early days of chemistry and mad passionate sex and obsession becomes more of a hardship, more of a minefield for misunderstandings, than a sexy adventure. Then the logistics, the reality of what that HEA, all tied up in bows and ribbons, will actually cost becomes more work than it’s worth. I’ve ended several otherness relationships because I couldn’t get past the “what happens next” phase to really believe that love could conquer all. Bottom line: I just didn’t want to work that hard. A relationship is demanding enough without the incredible challenge of that opposites attract sort of otherness.

When I started writing erotica, part of the appeal was that I could explore the heat of the moment when opposites attract and the inevitable happens. I could put people who could have never made a relationship work in the real world together for nothing more than the fucking, for nothing more than the chance to see what that otherness would feel like skin to skin. In erotica, there’s always the expectation of sex, but the expectation that the sex will lead anywhere beyond a fabulous orgasm or three is optional. Erotic romance is another animal entirely, but the erotic aspect still allows for a little more suspension of belief resulting in at least an HFN.

Having said that, writing the consequences of what could actually happen when opposites attract, and then upping the stakes makes for great fiction of a sexy but different type. I’m thinking Fatal Attraction or The Hunger. There are often serious, even terrifying, consequences when opposites attract and that attraction is allowed to play out in a much darker way. The plot can be terrifying, heart stopping, sleep depriving reading or watching. The truth is that otherness interests us all, whether it’s Romeo and Juliet or Buffy and Angel. We want to know the whole story, and we can’t get enough. But the one thing we’re always certain we won’t get when a good dose of consequences is added to the mix is a happy ending. Ah, fiction! How we love you! You allow us to toy with that otherness any way we choose, and our only real consequences for doing so is the time it takes to read, write or watch. I’m good with that.  

Friday, June 7, 2019

Flashback Fever


By Tim Smith
One of the members of my writer’s group made an interesting observation. We were discussing marketing and she commented that I wasn’t focusing enough attention on my extensive backlist. I have 22 books out, and realized she was right. I tend to focus my efforts on the newest one, but I shouldn’t ignore the other kids in the family. In that spirit, I’m going to use this opportunity to feature an oldie but goodie.
I’ll start with the first in my Nick Seven spy thriller series, “Memories Die Last.” This was actually the first book I ever had published. Several years after its release, followed by two sequels, I changed publishers and got the rights returned to me. I had written a few other books for my new publisher, but when I re-read this one, I knew I could do it better as a reboot. I rewrote the entire thing, keeping only the title and basic plot. It did even better than the first time around when it was introduced to a new audience, and kicked off what has been my most popular series. I’m releasing book number six in that series later this year.
“What happens when your life is turned inside out by something from your past that won’t leave you alone? Former CIA operative Nick Seven finds out when his peaceful life in the Florida Keys is disrupted by the appearance of an old nemesis he thought was buried alongside the painful memory of a personal tragedy. Nick reluctantly gets back into the spy game to settle an old score and is pleasantly surprised to find himself paired with beautiful Felicia Hagens, a former co-worker from Barbados. Together they uncover a complex maze of intrigue, espionage and high-level government corruption. The assignment gets more complicated when they realize they have unrequited feelings for each other. Can Nick finally hit the elusive target and reclaim his personal corner of paradise? Will Felicia return to Barbados or stay with the rugged former spy she’s always had a secret thing for?”
When I devised the character of Nick, I needed a place for him to call home. I had visited the Florida Keys and thought if I were a former spy who wanted to hide in plain sight, that’s where I’d go. An interesting side note is how I came up with the title. The story revolves around Nick having to face an unpleasant memory, and coming to grips with it so he can move on with his life. I had chosen a different title but at the last minute, I did a search and discovered that it had already been used more than once. Then I remembered a book by Harold Robbins that I enjoyed, “Dreams Die First.” I thought “If dreams die first, maybe memories die last.” Problem solved. Here’s an excerpt:
Felicia took a drink then set her glass on the table. “You know what your trouble is? You think too much. You’re not jinxed, there’s no black cloud hangin’ over your head and your luck’s not runnin’ out. You’re just stuck on somethin’ and your brain’s runnin’ loco because of it. You’ll figure this one out like you always do.” She stood then held out her hand. “Come on, you need some sleep.”
Nick smiled slyly. “What if I’m not sleepy?”
She returned his look. “Maybe you need some exercise to make you tired.”
“Too late to go to the gym.”
She stood over Nick, straddling his legs, then took hold of the top button on her shirt. “How about we play a game? I’ll ask you a question and for every right answer, I’ll unfasten a button.”
Nick looked her up and down. “Three buttons, three questions. I accept your challenge.”
“You haven’t heard the questions yet.” She grasped the top button. “First question—are you crazy ‘bout me?”
“Hmm. Yes?”
She unfastened the button. “Very good. I think you’ve played this game before. Next question—would you do anything for me?”
“I’ll have to say yes again.”
She unfastened the button. “Last question—are you glad I came to stay with you?”
Nick smiled. “Definitely yes.”
She undid the last button and let the shirt flow open, exposing her naked torso. She settled in Nick’s lap, facing him, then pulled his lips to hers. Nick slid his hands under her shirt and massaged her smooth skin. Felicia ground her pelvis against his groin, causing his cock to come to life inside his shorts. Nick got a whiff of her arousal and became more turned on.

To read more of this fast-paced romantic thriller, click on the link below. Happy reading!