Friday, February 27, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Tuesday's Tales - Great

Welcome to Tuesday's Tales! This week's prompt is the word "great". Eric and his sweetie are trapped in the snow, but he has plans to keep her warm. :)

To read the rest of the stories by some fine authors, visit the Tuesday's Tales Web Site.

Eric poured a little orange juice and a lot of champagne into my glass. We were trapped in our home beneath three feet of snow, and we were making a romantic evening of it. Wind whipped and howled outside, battering snow against the upper windows in the living room. The lower windows were already covered with a mountain of snow. There was so much snow covering the windows we could barely see outside. Neither could the cats. Lucky sat on the windowsill, bewildered he couldn't play his favorite game of spot the sparrow.

I pushed aside a blind and looked outside. "It's really coming down." Lucky mewled at me and I scratched him on his head.

"Great. It's going to be coming down until tomorrow afternoon. Good thing Monday is a holiday, because our car won't be shoveled out any time soon. I just hope the parking lot is plowed by Tuesday since I can't miss work."

"What about shoveling out the car? Do you want to do it in stages?" I asked.

"Nah. I'll pay one of the neighborhood kids $20.00 to do it. Frank did it for us the last time it snowed like this."

"Which was only one week ago." I returned to the couch next to Eric.

"Let's not talk about being trapped. That's depressing. We can turn this into an adventure." He handed me my mimosa and then pushed a few buttons on a remote control. The trippy trance tunes of Armin van Buuren filled the living room. "I have something special for us I snuck in here without you seeing it."

Now that caught my attention. "Oh, what is it? I love surprises." I sipped my mimosa and sat it on the coffee table. It was the perfect blend of champagne and orange juice. Heavy on the champagne.

Eric walked into the kitchen and opened a cabinet. I loved Eric's surprises. He showed his love for me by showering me with small gifts now and then. His actions only made me love him more. When he returned, he carried a brown paper bag in his hands. He handed the bag to me.

"Open it." He said. "I bought it yesterday just for today because of the snow. We can use it to warm up."

I reached into the bag and felt smooth glass. A bottle. I pulled the bottle out of the bag and squealed when I saw the label. "Benedictine! My favorite! I love this stuff."

He grinned. "So do I. You're going to share with the class, aren't you?"

"Of course." I said as I opened the bottle. He knew exactly what to do to make me happy. It was the little things that counted the most. "You want to get the brandy snifters?"

"Aren't you going to finish that mimosa I sweated over to make for you?" He asked with mock indignation in his voice.

"Of course I am. I'll drink the Benedictine, too."

"So you're a double-fisted drinker. I knew I fell for you for a reason." He walked to the crystal cabinet, opened it, and grabbed two brandy snifters. After he returned to the couch, he sat down, placed the snifters on the coffee table, and took the bottle out of my hands. "There's nothing like a glass of Benedictine to heat things up. My dad used to buy this stuff by the case. He deducted it on his tax returns as medicine."

"No he didn't. That was just another one of his tall tales."

"Yes, he did, and he was proud of it."

"And he got away with it?"

"This was Italy back in the 50s. He got away with a lot."

Eric poured and within seconds the warm fire of the liqueur flowed down my throat. Such a smooth drink. He introduced me to it when I first met him, and I've been hooked ever since. Then, without warning, he took the glass from my hand and sat it on the coffee table next to his. He wrapped one arm around me and leaned in for a kiss.

The room went dark. The music stopped playing. Momentarily disoriented, I wondered what had happened.

"Great. We just lost power. You got matches?" He asked.

"They're on the coffee table." I grabbed a box of matches and lit the two pillar candles sitting in front of us. "We were expecting this, you know. The wind probably knocked down some power lines." I grabbed one of the candles and stood. "Let me get the oil lamps. We're going to need them now."

"I'm glad you refilled them and checked the wicks. Good thinking on your part."

"Thank you." I said as I walked to the back room. I returned with two oil lamps. After lighting them, I sat one on the kitchen table and one on an end table in the living room. I also had crackleglass tealight holders with winter snow scenes painted on them above the TV. I lit those candles and returned to the couch. The living room glowed amid flickering candlelight.

"This is very romantic," Eric said. "Let's take advantage." He handed me my glass of Benedictine. "Let's make a toast."

"What should we toast to?"

"To us getting it on while the power is out."

"That sounds like a good idea." We clicked our snifters together and drank. Molten ambrosia flowed down my throat, and I felt my insides warm up. I could have curled up and purred, I felt so good.

"This is fun but it's too bad the power went out. It's not like we can watch a movie or anything." Eric said.

"You'd rather watch a movie than play with me?" I asked.

"Not a chance." He took my snifter before I could take another sip, sat it on the coffee table, and took me in his arms.

I liked playing in the dark.

The Fifty Shades Of Grey Phenomenon

The "50 Shades of Grey" movie came on Valentine's Day, and women around the country have dragged their presumably wary men away from ESPN and repeats of "Mythbusters" to see it. The "50 Shades" series has been the subject of a great deal of hate and kvetching as well as much curiosity and praise. Much of that hate comes from writers who may be jealous of E. L. James's runaway success. It also comes from BDSM practitioners who decry the inaccuracy of the depiction of dominance and submission in the books. Domestic violence activists also condemn the books because they believe – with good reasoning – that Christian Grey's relationship with Ana Steele is based on abuse rather than consensual sex. The praise comes from fans of the series as well as some sex toys companies who have jumped on the bandwagon, thanking the series for increasing sales.

I read the first book but not the rest of the series. I have not seen the movie. Not yet, anyway. Yes, better erotic books with similar themes have been written, but they aren't making millions of dollars; nor have they captured the imagination of ordinary women everywhere who don't normally read "books like that". There are many articles with recommendations for "what to read after '50 Shades of Grey'" and some of the books recommended are doing quite well. There is even a Facebook group with the same name. Some writers have seen an uptick in their sales because of the "50 Shades" phenomenon.

Regardless of what you think of Ana's constant sighing, her chats with her Inner Goddess, or Christian's questionable contract, you can't deny the series' impact, especially that of the first book. Sex toys companies like Lovehoney and Babeland have jumped on the "50 Shades" bandwagon by gearing their sales around the series. I've heard rumors of sales of rope and fasteners sailing out of hardware stores and ending up in couple's bedrooms. Vanilla couples are experimenting with light kink for the first time. If this series results in a relaxing of puritanical views of sex, I'm all for it.

I do not plan to see the movie until it comes out on DVD. I'm more inclined to see a horror movie like "Crimson Peak", which is coming out in October. That said, I've been watching the loosening of pearl clutching over types of sex ranging from vanilla to erotic spanking. I'm very happy to see it. Maybe "50 Shades Of Grey" will help usher in a more relaxed view of sexual relations, which will only benefit everyone.

And now, just for fun...

My Fairy Tales Are Now At AllRomanceEBooks

I was recently a guest on Madeleine Shade's fairy tale blog. She's covering my two erotic fairy tales - "Trouble In Thigh High Boots" (erotic Puss In Boots) and "Climbing Her Tower" (erotic Rapunzel). Don't forget those two books are now available at AllRomanceEBooks.

I'm working on some new erotic fairy tales I plan to self-publish as a collection. Stories that will appear in the book are based on Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, The Pied Piper, The Little Mermaid, and more! Expect the book mid-year, and keep an eye here and on my Facebook page for updates.

Elizabeth Black - Facebook

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Civil Twilight - Letters From The Sky

I heard this song on "The Mentalist" during Michelle Vega's funeral.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Guest Blogger: Diana Perrine

Welcome guest blogger, Diana Perrine, erotic romance author.

Getting Started . . .

Since this is my first guest blog, I suppose introductions are in order. My name is Diana Perrine and I write erotic fiction sprinkled with truth. Which is which? Wouldn't you love to know, Darling.                                                                                                                          
I didn't actually choose to write erotic fiction, more like I was challengedactually I was double-dog dared to write it. And as we all know, you can never back down from a double-dog dare.

A few years ago, a very scintillating trilogy was released. Henceforth, I shall refer to the trilogy as 'Those Books'. 'Those Books' dealt with a rather taboo topic. Everyone was talking about 'Those Books'. They flew off of the shelves. Love 'em or hate 'em; you know which books I'm talking about.

Even if you don't want to admit it, you've probably at least glanced at them. It's okay, you don't have to be coy with me Darling, I've read them too. A co-worker brought 'Those Books' into the office to share. We took turns plowing through the first, then the second, and finally the third of 'Those Books'. Wow!

'Those Books' had sex. Lots of sex, and not just explicit sex but rough sex. Freaky sex. Daring sex. Kinky sex.

Until I had read 'Those Books', I considered such topics as fodder for comedy sketches and CSI episodes. It's not like I didn't know these things existed, however those sort of behaviors were for deviants. Right? I knew that 'normal' sex included more than just the missionary position in the darkit encompassed a wide variety of positions with the lights on, lingerie, and even some whipped cream once in a while. But it certainly didn't involve pain.

Sure, there is always the occasional problem of zigging versus zagging or those charlie horses that never get mentioned in romance novels... but spanking? Why would anyone want a spanking? I never liked them much as a child, I didn't suppose I would much like one as an adult either, especially not with a riding crop.

As much as I wanted to dismiss that lifestyle with a snicker, I couldn't help but wonder if people who enjoy, shall we say, a spicier flavor of ice cream, knew something that I didn't. Perhaps that is why 'Those books' were so popular, they awakened people, married women in particular, to the possibilities of variety, otherwise known as kink. And a new genre was born: mommy porn.

'Those Books' sold faster than proverbial hotcakes. While the topic was alluring, in my estimation, the quality of the writing left much to be desired. (I'm not the only one who holds that opinion.) As I bitterly complained my way through all three, my husband, Dodge, offered the following challenge: "If you don't like the writing, write a story like that, only better." Perhaps he had grown weary of my whining, or more likely, he sensed an opportunity to help with 'research'.

I hemmed and hawed. Me? Writing erotica? Was I even qualified? After a few incredibly revealing tete a tete's, a lot of exploration and a bit of hands-on research ;-), I figured out why 'Those Books' were so appealing.

Average people don't have dungeons in their homes, and helicopters on their roofs. While they are not, generally speaking, prudes, they may not have opened their minds to what variety is available. The most important legacy of 'Those Books', is they got people talking about sex, experimenting with sex and educating themselves about sex. When I finally realized this, I discovered what I wanted to say in my writing; I wanted to explore the process of how ordinary people season their sex-lives.

It all begins with a conversation, much like the ones Dodge and I had. In my first story, Sugar and Spice, Pepper and Austin, a happily married couple, break out of their comfort zone. Their conversation and adventures continue in And Everything Nice where they learn the importance of communication instead of just assuming they know what the other partner wants.

Many people dismiss the value of erotica in literature, but these stories can have a positive impact, because they get us talking to each other. We may not always agree on what is sexy, but if we can overcome our squeamishness and start talking about sex and all its flavors openly, we might just discover amazing new levels of intimacy.

The Pepper and Austin Adventures are available as ebook for download on Amazon.
Sugar and Spice,                                            ...and Everything Nice

For those with kinkier tastes, check out Perfect Submission and the soon to be released Perfect Domination also available on Amazon. My upcoming novel, Summer Sojourn is due out mid 2016.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Basing Characters On Real People

Every writer on Facebook has seen a variation of this meme: "Be nice to me or I'll put you in my book and kill you off". Those same writers probably gave the meme a wry smile. I have based some of my characters on real people. Two professors in my Night Owl Top Pick erotic romance novel "Don't Call Me Baby" are based on two professors I had flings with in college. Neither man knows I've done this. If they read the book, they're probably recognize themselves. Why did I do this? Because I wanted to write a fictitious account of one summer during my college years, and those two men were a part of that summer. I've also based a few characters in some short stories on people I've met in real life. The depiction of one prof is not very flattering, but the other one is. I've even based my character Eric in my free "Tuesday's Tales" short stories on my husband. He likes that. Those stories are available at my web site.

With the recent news that J. K. Rowling based her Harry Potter character Dolores Umbrage on a teacher she despised, you may wonder what other characters have been based on real people. Here are a few of the more famous ones:

Tintin – The Adventures of Tintin

Based on Palle Hude, a Danish boy scout who traveled around the world in 1928 as part of a competition set up by a Danish newspaper. He had to circumnavigate the world in 44 days, unaccompanied, and not set foot on a plane. Hude's travels made newspapers all over the world, and it's likely Tintin's creator in Belgium would have read about him. 20,000 people greeted Hude at the end of his tour, not unlike the crowd that greeted TinTin at the end of his first album.

Ebenezer Scrooge – A Christmas Carol

Based on John Elwes. He was an 18th century politician who was a miser. Despite his wealth, he lived a sparse, hermit-like life. He'd eat rotting food rather than spend the money to buy fresh produce. Rather than part with his fortune, he chose to horde his money and live in squalor.

Severus Snape – Harry Potter novels

Based on John Nettleship. J. K. Rowling's former chemistry teacher. He had no idea he was the basis for the character until after the movies came out. He, his wife, and kids figured it out as they saw Alan Rickman play Snape on the big screen.

Dolores Umbrage – Harry Potter novels

Based on an unnamed teacher J. K. Rowling "disliked immensely on sight". This person had been Rowling's teacher "long ago… in a certain skill or subject." In her essay on Pottermore, Rowling wrote "The woman in question returned my antipathy with interest. Why we took against each other so instantly, heartily and (on my side, at least) irrationally, I honestly cannot say," Rowling wrote. She was also struck by the woman's "pronounced taste for twee accessories," including "a tiny little plastic bow slide, pale lemon in color," which Rowling felt was more "appropriate to a girl of three."

Dorian Gray – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Based on John Gray, one of Oscar Wilde's alleged lovers. Wilde gave the character the first name of Dorian in reference to the Dorians, an ancient Greek tribe that engaged in m/m sex. John Gray was mortified when the story came out since he could see it was based on him, and it caused a rift in his relationship with Wilde.

I interviewed several writers who based characters on people they know. They had plenty to say, including why they chose to do it.

Romance writer Jeanne Guzman: Years ago, while having lunch at my favorite lakeside restaurant, The Oasis on Joe Pool Lake in Grand Prairie, Texas, I said to myself “Self, this would make the perfect spot for a murder,” and so was born my novel, Bridge Over Troubled Waters.

With the enthusiasm of my waitress, my main character was born. The character of Misty was a combination of several of the waitresses on staff, but the name was a gift from the original Misty who sadly moved away and found other employment. From the manager, to the cook, and even the ladies I was having lunch with are mentioned in the book.
Keep in mind, I had to change the names, but once you read the book, you’ll be able to go to The Oasis and know who everyone is. Most important, you have to meet the matriarch who not only has inspired me, but is so love by those around her that the city named a street after her. (The book is dedicated to her, and all those who put up with me while I did my research and wrote the book sitting on the outside deck.)

My inspiration came from the servers and the managers at the Oasis, it’s my favorite place to go to relax and have a good time. The ones that were working there at the time knew of my book, and the fact that I was using them as models for my characters. They allowed me to take pictures and follow them around as they did their jobs. I had originally wanted to use the name “Oasis” as my setting, but when I talked to the owner, she said she didn’t feel right gaining publicity through my book, even though she, and the employees were cast in a positive light. I told her I would change the name and the location, but I would still dedicate the book to her. And I did. As for the employees that still work at the Oasis, they all have a copy of the book and even though I combined different aspects of them into the characters, they knew who I was talking about. They loved it.

Romance writer Lindsay Klug: My male leads are almost always, without fail, based on my husband. He's everything I've ever wanted, so why not use his attributes? When he was military, the leads wore shaved heads and clean faces. Now that he's got a beard, I can't imagine a lead without one. Kind of weird, eh?

[As far as inspiration goes], [i]t just flowed naturally into my story lines. He doesn't read what I've written but he knows he's a part of it. Lol, I just couldn't and still can't picture anybody else for my leads. He always makes fun of the pictures I look at for inspiration, but he doesn't know I'm seeing his face and character with them.

Romance writer Phoenix Johnson: So my only 'based on real life' character is Bailey. She's the slightly-overweight, self-conscious, lacking self-esteem and confidence leading lady in my contemporary romance Acapello's Lady. So far, she's much like me. We're also both on a weight-loss track to be happy with ourselves. I'm hoping that writing her story week either motivate me or shame me to keep at my own. However, unlike me, Bailey is single. She doesn't feel deserving or needing of a guy right now. Until hunky escaped-con Joe shows up looking for somewhere to hide. He was doing time for someone else's crime, and couldn't stand it. Silly man. However, his heart was broken when his wife died so his actions aren't the smartest right now. His attraction to Bailey, and their growing connection, however, reminds them both that it's ok to love and that they do deserve happiness.

Writing Bailey is not just a way to try to motivate myself. I'm finding that she is freeing for me, and in writing that she deserves to be happy and to love herself, I'm frankly telling myself the same thing. Bailey, unintentionally, is my way of saying to myself "be happy, you deserve it. And love yourself; you're allowed to, and it's ok." It's actually something I want all readers to take from her when I finish Acapello's Lady and get it released. (I haven't intentionally based Joe on anyone but I think, with the lost-love, and escaped con elements, he could possibly be based on the potential I see in my fiance as well. Or he could also be a combination of the potential I see in both of us.)

[On why she chose to base her heroine on herself]: I was having a shower after a workout, and it started running through my head as a written scene. And it occurred to me that there aren't enough heavier heroines, so I thought it was my turn, and loosely basing her on myself would hopefully be like a sounding board for healthy changes. It's also therapeutic, in a way, when you've actually worn your heroines know exactly what she's thinking or feeling because it's what you have or would think and feel.

Romance writer Jacques Gerard: Yes, I have written many short stories with one of the characters based on somebody I know. In those stories the heroine is based on a lady I use to be involved with. I don’t use the lady’s real name, but the heroine’s name begins with the same letter of that lady’s first name.  Those short stories are based on a date that lead to us making love or what could have happened between us two in a certain scenario I dream up. I have never shared with a lady I knew that they were in my one of my stories. However, one lady I know had an idea I used her as a character and was flattered.

What inspired him to base his character on that particular woman? "She was a co-worker and we had a special chemistry." He said. "She also read one of my stories and enjoyed it. We were talking at an office Christmas party and got on the subject of romantic Christmas getaways. It was funny because at the time I was thinking of writing a Christmas story for my website. I shared that with her and asked her opinion about a lounging dress for the female character in my story. She chuckled and asked if I was going to write about us. I replied that wasn’t a bad idea.  She also knew about my foot fetish and liked it as well."

Horror writer Dave Gammon: Eric A. Shelman often does this and in fact has written myself in his runaway zombie hit series Dead Hunger. I come in at part 2 and part 5 is my actual POV and continue on until part 8.

There are many reasons writers may choose to base a character on a real person. Writers may even base characters on themselves. This inspiration has lead to the creation of some fine fiction. Without Palle Hude and John Gray, we may not have had the pleasure of enjoying Tintin and Durian Gray. It's always interesting to learn who influenced certain characters. It's sometimes flattering, and that spark helps bring characters to life.


You may find these authors at Amazon and other sites.

Dave Gammon: (regular contributor)

If you're interested in reading my novel "Don't Call Me Baby", you may find more information at Amazon and other outlets.