Erotica, Mills & Boon, Reading, Respond to Reading

Respond to Reading: The Queen

The Queen

The first erotic novel that ever made me need to read the next book, was Tiffany Reisz‘s The Siren – before that I read, enjoyed and moved on.  But Nora changed all that.

For it is the main character – Nora (or Elle, depending on the stage in her life) – who captured my heart and imagination.

That’s not to say that I don’t adore the cast of supporting characters, and when each made their appearance in this final installment, I gave a little “hurrah”.  (NB.  I’d have liked a little more Wes, but that’s because I can always do with a little more Wes.)

But Nora’s at the heart of these eight books.  She’s feisty and strong and feels so damn much.  And I think that’s what I loved about her best.  When I read the first couple of books, I tweeted adoration to Reisz who replied “I try to make their sexuality the LEAST interesting thing about them. My secret to good erotica characters.”

Of course, the sex scenes are still flawless – the kind of scenes that the majority of Soren’s Catholic congregation would be shocked at, but they’re clever as well as sensual, and seem to be far more than literary porn (though why that would be bad is beyond me).

I suppose, in some convoluted way, I felt a kind of kinship with Nora; I discovered the series when I was going through a transformation of my own – finding myself instead of being what others saw.  And in some ways, it seems right that this final book in the series is released now, at a stage where I feel so much stronger in who I am, and how to be myself with someone else.

Perhaps that seems a little self-important, but I’ve always stood by what I used to say to my students, back when I still taught:  a good book will reveal more to you about yourself, than you ever would have expected.

And this is indeed a good book.

I found myself rather sad at its end.  The characters have been through so much, and peering in on their lives has been an immeasurable pleasure.

Reisz is an outstanding author, whose writing bites as well as it caresses, and I can’t wait to see what she produces next.

Erotica, Guestpost, Harper Impulse, Reading, Writing

Guestpost – Nicola Prentis/Jane and The Two Mes

Is my pen-name the real me?

author me small

I’d been writing as Nicola Prentis for a few years before I became Nicola Jane.

Nicola Prentis wrote, and still writes, in the English Language Teaching (ELT) market with three published books and articles for various ELT publications. When I then wrote a choose-your-own-adventure style erotica, Follow Your Fantasy, and it was so filthy even I surprised myself, clearly Nicola Prentis couldn’t put it out. The ELT market is conservative, to say the least, and while classroom activities might include pairwork and small groupwork, they don’t involve threesomes and orgies.

So, Nicola Jane stepped in. She was single, dating for fun more than to Find Someone Special, and was quite happy dating people who were in non-monogamous relationships. She looks like me too, but her face is turned away from the camera so you can’t be completely sure who she is which fits perfectly for the “voice” of a choose-your-own ending because the reader is the main character.

me bw small

A photograph, a couple of articles about non-monogamy (here and here) and a very explicit book and she became more real than Nicola Prentis. My blog which had covered funny stories about online dating became Nicola Jane’s story even though it had been Nicola Prentis who went on the dates – even the ones with the non-monogamous guys. Nicola Jane blogged about things that empower women and their sexuality, even though these were all topics Nicola Prentis believed in too. I created such a believable character that even people who’d known me for years believed in her.

Such is the Erotica Fallacy. Writers are always told to write what they know. “To know” means to have done something, therefore, erotica writers must have lived it all. My boyfriend still finds it hard to reconcile the two Nicolas and was sure, at the very least (!), I’d slept with women and been to sex parties.

Follow Your Fantasy

In the year since Follow Your Fantasy was released, Nicola Jane Prentis met The One. Not through online dating, not that there would have been anything wrong with it if she had, but via the much less dramatic work scenario. She had a baby and, even though, she had to write the follow up to Follow Your Fantasy while pregnant, Nicola Jane just faded away. Her blog went quiet, her book promo tailed off; she didn’t have a lot to say.

Nicola Prentis, however, was still blogging and writing in the ELT market. She spoke at a conference about the gender inequality in her industry and was trolled by a load of old misogynists. And she tried to get a chick lit romance she’d written years ago published. Love Lessons is about Sophie Day, an English teacher in Rome who falls for her sexy Italian student, Marco Mezzanotte. Love Lessons draws heavily on my 12 years of teaching English abroad and has plenty of humorous classroom scenes but no sex. Which might be why my publisher didn’t feel it had enough “me” in it and passed on the manuscript.

lovelessonscover

What they meant, I’m sure, was not enough Nicola Jane – a version of me that came and went in 18 months was more real for them than the me that has been here all along and who wrote a fairly innocent romance based on a 12-year teaching career. That’s fine; I see how the two don’t fit well together. So, I decided to self-publish on Amazon instead. I designed and drew the cover myself, had editing help from friends in my writing group and am really happy with the result.

The next question for me is:

Who is going to promote the sequel to Follow Your Fantasy when it eventually comes out?

Nicola Prentis still can’t for the same reasons she couldn’t before. But then, Nicola Jane needs a face and that face needs to look like mine.

I never intended to bury her, yet she needs reincarnating.

Nicola, both of her, divides her time between London and Madrid, a baby and writing.  Connect with her online at her website, and on Facebook and Twitter.

She has just self-published her romance novel, Love Lessons.

Editing, For Books' Sake, Reading, Writing

Tongue in Cheek

TongueInCheekConcept1

I am so excited to be talking about For Books’ Sake‘s Tongue in Cheek erotica anthology:

Filthy, feminist short fiction from women writers. From sex with strangers (in an anonymous hotel room, while your partner watches via webcam, or on a crowded train) to illicit trysts and extreme exhibitionism via bittersweet breakups and X-rated reunions, 15 short stories showcase a broad range of sexualities, characters and kinks. A bold, diverse new force in contemporary erotic fiction.
 

I’ve been involved in the project as consulting editor, helping to select stories from submissions, give editorial feedback and decide on the story order.

It’s got an introduction from Girl on the Net, and I can guarantee the quality of the writing!

So if you’re looking for saucy, spicy stories, it’s available for pre-order now!