Sensual writing that isn’t erotica? Let’s meet author Jim Crace…

There a number books in my house that don’t really belong to me. That is to say, I didn’t purchase or otherwise acquire them myself. Instead they were left behind when my ex-partner moved out and he told me I could have them.

Devil's LarderNo two people have the same taste in books, it would seem, and a lot of these books I gave away to charity; I simply had no interest in many of them. But some did intrigue me. While not being the kind I would have picked myself, I was interested in widening my reading experience, so I kept them.

Among this latter pile were a couple of small books by Jim Crace, and I’m now very glad I kept them. They have proved to be an extraordinary literary complement to my collection.

The first one I picked, The Devil’s Larder, is a gorgeous collection of short stories. Now then, there’s nothing kinky about these whatsoever, but the writing is beautifully decadent, as though the writer crafted each tale lying naked on a purple velvet chaise longue, being waited upon by a young castrated slave bringing endless goblets of wine to wash down sumptuous fruits.

But then, reading this tremendous work of Crace’s brings out these kinds of thoughts. It’s the kind of book which brings guilt trips upon the sensitive soul, for how could us mere mortals be deserving of even a moderate-sized portion of this rare treat?

If you get the opportunity to taste this amuse-bouche of literature, please do take a decisive bite. Chew it carefully and at a leisurely pace, preparing your literary taste buds for what is about to suppress the appetite of your mind.

 

 

 

Interview with Jo B. Hayve

I adore social media at times. It was all down to a chance connection on my Twitter feed that I connected with Jo B. Hayve, author of the amazing novel, Inside Charlotte. You can read my own review of this book here.

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Snappy book cover for Inside Charlotte!

She has been very kind and agreed to do an interview for me, which is very exciting. Read on to find out more about this enigmatic lady…

 How long have you been writing generally, and in the erotica genre in particular?

Apparently I’ve always been a story teller. Even in first grade, I’ve been told, I would make up elaborate tales for the class. I’ve been actually writing stuff down since the fourth grade, when I tried to write a play from an old fable–I think it had an elephant and an ant. I used to write, at least in my head, sequels to movies I liked, and sometimes to movies I hated, to fix them. But I was never good at rewriting, and hated the whole submissions process, so I never tried to make a living at it. And I was never satisfied with what I wrote–I always felt like I was trying to write to other people’s standards rather than my own. Then about three and a half years ago I was deep in a long writer’s block, like seven years long, and couldn’t write more than a sentence or two. So one day I was visiting my parents, and they had left me in the car while they delivered pet medicine to a friend of theirs (yes, just like the opening scene in Charlotte), and I pulled out my IPad and started writing a story I’d had in mind a long time, about a twelve year old named Charlotte, who had magical powers. Within a sentence or two she had transformed into a 37 year old going through a sexual identity crisis, and I kept writing, happy that I could write anything. The story turned into the whole Charlotte saga. I had never even read erotica before, and I think that helped motivate me, because I wasn’t all tied up over how it was supposed to be written. I was just enjoying what I was writing. So I just started brainstorming. Then for a while, I wrote this story in every spare moment I had, until finally I just ran out of story and left it. A year later I reread it, liked it, and decided to self-publish it. By the time I had finished rewriting it I had other stories in mind. So I’ve been writing erotica ever since. Basically about a year now.

 What inspires you to write your stories, and about feminism especially?

Feminism I’ve long been inspired about. All forms of equality have always inspired me. I think that comes from growing up in the US South, in Mississippi, and watching how people were. Both sides, really. I could see how frightened some people were of changing, and how that fear came out as hate, or as a need to control the people they were afraid of. Right now in the US Muslims and Latino immigrants are bearing that burden. So a big part of why I’ve always wanted to write was to correct inequality, to make people understand differences and not be afraid of them. Erotica lets me do that in a playful, hopefully sometimes touching, way. The specific stories, I don’t know what inspires them. I just come up with an idea, and sometimes daydream it out, and other times just start writing and let the story come as I write it. I’m into the idea now that sex is the root of sexism, and attitudes towards sexual propriety and morals are the way women are controlled by the system. So my stories tend to be about breaking the taboos of the system. I don’t mean the big taboos, like incest or bestiality. I mean the more general taboos about sexually active women, monogamy, affairs within a marriage. And of course homosexuality. Although when I started writing Charlotte, that was a bigger taboo than now. It’s astounding and amazingly hopeful how much that one issue changed in just a few years.

 What kind of research, if any, do you do for your work?

Oh, the usual. I try things out when I can. When that isn’t enough, I ask other people, or just listen to them. When that fails I use the Internet. I have a fear that a crime will happen one day and my computer will be seized, and my search history will be used to demonstrate how obsessed with sex I am. Oh yeah, and porn helps. That will be used against me, too. Porn is a problematic resource. Some of it is so horrifically sexist and objectifying that I can’t stomach it. Some is fun, though.

What is your daily writing routine like? Do you have any rituals?

No, I have no routine, or ritual. If I get a moment, I write. I wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, grab my laptop, and hide out in the bathroom to write. Sometimes I let my writing override my other responsibilities, but that catches up with me, and I have to leave writing alone for a while. I’d like to get to where I write all day long, but so far life doesn’t allow that.

 Pen and paper, or straight-to-keyboard writing?

Keyboard. Now and then I find paper useful. I’m such a slow writer that it helps me write tighter, because I don’t want to waste extra pen strokes. But that is rarer and rarer. I hate transcribing back to the computer, too. On a keyboard I can fly.

 Why did you choose to self-publish?

It’s quicker, and easier, and no one can tell me what to publish. I can finish a story to say what I want it to say, put it online, and move on. That just fits the way my mind works better.

 Do you believe there is still a place for traditional publishing these days?

Probably. They are good marketers and distributors. They can provide huge advances to free a writer up to write and rewrite. I think people still trust traditional publishers to turn out consistently high-quality stuff, too. A lot of Indie work is rife with bad writing and typos, so readers are cautious with a new Indie writer. On the other hand, Indie writers can go against the trends, take risks, avoid constricting editorial standards, and generally be more innovative and impulsive. Also, we can charge less because we have fewer expenses. So, I think readers with time constraints might favor traditional publishers, because they expect a generally higher consistency for the limited number of books they can read, but readers with voracious habits do better with Indies, because they can read a lot of stories for less, and because they can hear different voices without the identity-stealing filter of editors and publishers.

 Fifteen Fabulous Favourites:
1. Colour

Blue

2. Food

Don’t know, but I’m vegetarian, so it isn’t bacon.

3. Fruit

Blueberries

4. Day of the week

Whatever day it is. I don’t always pay attention.

5. Film

Amadeus

6. Erotica author

Anais Nin.

7. Restaurant

It’s in Austin. El Naranjo. It’s a Oaxacan cuisine.

8. Drink – non-alcoholic

Coke, sadly.

9. Drink – alcoholic

Sazerac

10. Celebrity

Willie Nelson.

11. Holiday destination

The beach. Especially a Caribbean beach. Puerto Rico, maybe.

12. Biscuits

Too much of an oceanic language barrier there for me to answer that. Here a biscuit is a specific food, not a type. 🙂

*after a helpful hint…*

Peanut butter cookies are my favourite.

13. Car

Prius. Used to be Saab, but they stopped making them.

14. Fictional Heroine

Lisbeth Salander

15. Fictional Hero

Jean Valjean.

 What ís next for you, writing-wise?

A couple of ideas. I have a series going now that I like, called Complex Erotica. There are a few more stories there to work with, though they are shorter fiction (about 12,000 words a story). The other is a sequel to Charlotte, based on the character of Bridget (who shows up first in Into Charlotte), a few years after the Charlotte series.

List your social media links here:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jobhayve/?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoBHayve

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13987175.Jo_B_Hayve

And my own web page: http://jobhayve.com/

Review: Inside Charlotte by Jo B. Hayve

I adore reading about strong female characters, women who take charge of their own destiny rather than expecting their men to forge a path for them to follow.

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In Charlotte Bannon, Jo B. Hayve has created just such a woman who craves freedom from what she considers the conventional norms of marriage.

Inside Charlotte explores how Charlotte turns from a happily-married thirty-something mum into a sexual animal, checking out almost every human being she lays eyes on.

Her exploits are well written: the erotic elements of the story are fantastically horny and really turned me on.

I loved the way the author explores Charlotte’s sexuality too, like a flower gently unfolding her petals towards the sunlight. (Yes, that is very much an intended euphemism!)

Her awakenings will resonate with many female readers who may have wondered what it’s like to sleep with another woman and whether or not it feels different than sleeping with a man.

I shall certainly be reading the next book in the series soon!

Oh, and stay tuned for an interview with the author appearing RIGHT HERE shortly…

 

Book Review: Forfeit by Caroline Batten – awesome read!

I met Caroline Batten when I appeared at the Peterborough Author Signing Event in March 2015 so, quite frankly, I’m ashamed to admit it’s taken me this long to finish reading her amazing book.

Now, I’m not a fan of chick lit, but let me tell you, this is not it. If that’s the case, then clearly I have been missing out. Hugely. For me, this sits well and truly in the romance genre, but think not of rose petals and rainbows when you read this book. It has the kind of edge you could file your nails with.

forfeit

The cover is one of the most striking you’ll ever see, with its luminous green background and pink silhouetted legs.

The themes are bang up-to-date, even to the use of a hashtag in the title, but it’s not for the squeamish. The copious use of alcohol as a crutch for several of the characters, and the almost ubiquitous usage of cocaine by more than one mean I wouldn’t personally recommend this for the under 18 age group.

Daisy is our heroine. Broken-hearted after the split from her celebrity husband, she wants to find solace in the Lake District. Instead, she finds anything but, as the blackmail of the game threatens to destroy the only thing she has pinned her hopes on: Xander.

But her insecurities about him, in particular the number of girls he has slept with, makes her nervous. How special could she ever be, when she’s competing with all that experience? It is for this reason that I have a little soft spot for Daisy. I would be exactly the same in her position.

This book is easy to read and the writing style is superb. I loved the twists and turns in the plot and I wasn’t sure until almost the very last page whether or not Xander would finally win Daisy over.

Certainly, you could never accuse the author or being predictable. This is one of the most original romances I have ever read. I haven’t yet purchased the follow-up, Nearly Almost Somebody, but it’s on my wish list for Christmas!

Well done Caroline!

Review: High (Indigo Lounge Series #1), Zara Cox

I met this author at a book signing event in March this year and, after a spirited hello, I was drawn to her books and the gorgeous, vibrant shade of purple emblazoned on the covers.

I love purple. It’s been my favourite colour for many years now. It screams at you.

“I’m bold,” it says. “I’m different. Come and grab me.”

So, I did.

From the very first page, it was clear that this is not your average erotic novel. The language employed grabs you, hauls you from your humdrum existence and throws you into this wonderful world where invitations to life-changing events hurl themselves through your letterbox ‘like an exotic jewel in the dust’.

Our protagonist is one Bethany Green. Naive and heartbroken, and with more than a little shove from her best friend Keely, she accepts this invitation and her life is never the same again.

Our hero is also troubled. Zachary Savage has demons of his own to overcome. But, he’s never met a woman quite like Bethany, and she throws his world into turmoil in return.

This is the first in the Indigo Lounge series from Zara Cox. I have the second, also a signed copy, ready and waiting to start as soon as I can…

Review: The Knight Trilogy, Kitty French

I love it when I read something from a fellow erotica author which I become so engrossed in I have to read it in one sitting. This awesome trilogy from Kitty French does all that and gets a huge five stars from me!

I read the first of these books in two sittings actually, but both the second and third in the series I read in one go each. Such delightful writing from Kitty in this series. Allow me to tell you why, for me, they’ll take a good deal of beating.

Sophie Black is our heroine. She’s married, albeit unhappily, so not looking to become involved with anyone. However, she suspects her husband is cheating on her, so when her current boss’s harassment become too much to bear, and with the help of her friend Kara, she decides to look for another job. Enter adult entertainment venue owner and multi-millionaire, Lucien Knight.

From the first moment I was introduced to him, I went weak at the knees. I gotta tell you folks, I was enchanted, bewitched and seduced all in one fell swoop. And, I didn’t mind one little bit. I’m really hoping that men like that grow on trees in Heaven because they sure as hell don’t come easy here on Earth. Trust me, I’m trying (and failing miserably, but that’s another story).

From the moment young Sophie meets Mr Knight at her interview for the position of his PA, she feels exactly the same, and so begins the most wonderful love affair I’ve read so far this year.

Kitty writes with a confident flair and her characters are so real you can almost touch them. Some of that was probably wishful thinking on my part, to be fair. Books two and three in the series did not disappoint at all.

The sex is hot enough to make you turn down your central heating in the midst of a British winter, and the romance fills the air from every single page. The cliffhanger at the end of the first book ensured I was itching to pick up the second and it follows the timeline perfectly.

I also loved how the third book involved Sophie’s friend Kara and the newcomer to the story, Dylan Day – a man desperately trying to escape his past, and for very good reasons it turns out.

All in all, a fantastic read from Kitty French, who I was lucky enough to meet at the Orchard Book Club Signing event in Peterborough the other week. Such a talented lady! I can’t wait to start reading my signed copy of her new novel, Genie…!

Review: Tormented Passage

This is a glorious book, and the first erotica I read which included illustrations. Now, I love watching porn from time to time, but I must admit, I was sceptical about the use of images in an erotic novella. I have always felt previously that porn had a primary function different to that of reading a book. However, they are sensual images. Graphic, yes, but also sublimely fitted to the story, rather like the figure-hugging outfits that our heroine wears throughout the story.

This was also one of the first BDSM stories that I ever read, and it interested me in the genre very much. I also loved the way the author sets his tale within a science-fiction and futuristic, almost fantasy setting. Some fantastic imagery, especially in the way he describes the first journey to the spaceship in something akin to an elevator. I imagined it to be like the capsules on the London Eye but instead of rising only a hundred or so feet above the ground, this is miles above the Earth’s surface. I bet the view was amazing!

Our heroine is a good, solid strong female lead, something which I admire very much. Her submissive role does not mean she is weak, something I am learning is generally true about the world of master-slave relationships. The sex scenes are well-described and use some beautiful language, which I find is rare and refreshing to see from a male author.

All in all, a good read. This is the first of a trilogy so, now I know it’s worth it, I shall certainly be looking out for the others so I can complete the story!

Review: Awakening The Virgin, Various

Another wonderful collection of short stories, this time concentrating exclusively on lesbian scenarios where one partner is new to the whole girl-on-girl thing. This is a delicious collection of tales, woven expertly by the contributors. The content is so ‘real’, I do wonder how any of them are writing from their journal entries..?

One of my favourite from the selection is In My Heart by Jules Torti – a gorgeously sensual story of when it’s the virgin who takes the lead and devours someone. Ms Torti has captured the essence of what it means to write erotica: “The words I wrote happen in the thick velvet of night” she states in her bio. I must away to my own velvet…

 

Review: Ultimate Decadence, Various

A charming collection of erotic tales about all sorts of encounters, ranging from the sublime to the downright horny. I loved these stories. Each one is just the perfect length for a few moments to oneself, now and then. My favourites include Tube Journey, in which the central character receives some much-needed attention on her way to work, in full view of the other passengers no less, and A Night At The Opera, where our plucky heroine learns how to add passion to her performances with a little practical help.

 

Review: Her Private Tutor, Anne Gaston

The Kindle was made for books like these!

This story is deliciously erotic, with wonderful threads of emotion running through the centre. Ms Gaston knows exactly how to turn on her readers with this take of a young girl exploring her sexuality with the expert help of an older, more experienced woman.

I adore the gorgeous Francesca: her naiveté, her petite frame and her beauty would be all too much for me to resist too, so I can understand why Josephine is all of a flutter and becomes utterly enchanted by her.

Can’t wait to read more from this author…