If you poke my dear companion in literature, Oscar Sparrow, he will usually refer you to the Vagrancy Act of 1824. As a cop in modern London, this piece of legislation was never out of his tool box. So it was when he picked me up from the hospital following my leg operation. He immediately advised that the exposure of wounds with intent to obtain pity was an offence for which I could be arrested.
The lovers cavort in this fine setting in my latest Romance
Since absolutely nobody wants to know about surgical procedures, I have attacked my work. And what incredible fun I’ve had! I’ve been writing and researching. Yes, please note tax man, I’ve been out there sucking up the ambiance of all kinds of novelist stuff. Stately homes, country cottages and long haired cattle. Can a novelist claim for dung cleaning bills? Well, at least it prepared me for the one star Amazon review circus.
And now for a plug. Next week sees the release of my Love In A Hopeless Place collection. There are five stories. Many novels can come down to ten thousand words. Most of mine should have been reduced to zero. This collection is my last bow/curtsy/grovel at the shrine of brine. These are serious stories about the life I’ve lived and seen up close. It’s all a bit gritty but how joyfully that salt stings in the wound. I know it’s not real fiction mainstream/vampire/sado-masochistic/werewolf fashion photographer stuff – but I’ve done it now and I’m free. Romance is a joy when you come up for air. I’ve been out there and at it. Do any of you fellow scribes need to go to locations to feel the heat? I sure do. That is why I’ve written so much real life contemporary stuff. How I admire folks who can “feel” English Regency minuet dancing and werewolf/vampire/alien identity angst.
Next up is the Blogger Book Fair. This is a five day event where all manner of authors advertise their art on each other’s blogs. There are prizes of all sizes. Fun and games and books books books. I will be hosting ten authors. Surprises are certain……
Now, I have immersed myself in all manner of boiling waters over the whole matter of double-entendres. My skin is so pink that at least it hides my blushes. Last time on here I was talking about audiobooks. These days I beaver away at other writers’ works as much as my own. I have committed some of my own stories to audio but there is an equal joy of editing the work of other authors.
A few days ago, the Gallo-Romano Media produced audiobook of The Gentlemen And the Rogue(by authors Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon) went live on Audible, Amazon and iTunes. Now, this is an historical romp involving a gent and his very attractive man-servant. It is a wonderful tale of English Regency period debauchery, chivalry and Love.
The narrator, Jasper de Montfort (well, he says that’s his name), is a hard-line English nobleman with an eye for comely wenches and maidens. His mission was to perform seventeen character parts in a story where the main characters are men who prefer …….er……um…..men. I’ve got to be honest – he was so convincing that I’m beginning to wonder about him.
My job was to splice, edit and polish the soundtrack. Oooh- I’ve always been a bit of a whiz with the knobs but this was a challenge. The double-entendres double up in this exquisite tale of love.
This Gentleman scrubbed up well and comes in at a most respectable and satisfying nine and a half…
hours. However, many more days were actually spent creating this audio work of art. You can bank on a recording artist taking two to three times the finished audiobook length to perform his/her magic. Add to that at least 3-4 times this number of hours, alone in a darkened room massaging Jasper’s… voice track.
Then there is the wait, as the authors listen and approve… and further anticipation as ACX (Audible’s uploading arm) run their checks and tests.
Late last week I was very proud to see that the gentleman was out of his breeches and standing up for himself for all to see online. Sales are good – as producer on a split-royalty this is good news – and there are already a couple of five star reviews to boot. We are all deeply satisfied.
The point about working with audio is that you need a great story – crisply told. A written book you can go back and read the poetic bits if that is your taste. An audio book needs to flow like a river just aching for that salty sea. Since I have become involved in this form I have started to see my stories in this context. Some books that I have reviewed I have immediately visioned as film. Other stories are like paintings which you need to view and return to. A good audio narrative moves and hooks in to your sense of need and expectation. It demands your secret imagination. Some other person’s voice is leading you on. If an audio book gets you – you are GOT.
I have been through periods of pessimism about the future of independent writers – indeed, any writers. The fact is that the plain written book is just one avenue. Obviously, the classic greats wrote for the printed page. The opportunity now is to write for a new generation of consumers who are not just simply readers. The greatest pleasure in life for me is to see. The next greatest pleasure is to close my eyes. This apparent contradiction creates the mental territory of the audio book. The prairie is there and the long-horns still thin on the ground….
The Gentleman and the Rogue are ready and waiting for you on Audible and Amazon.
My guest today is Anneli Purchase. Recently I read and reviewed her her first novel “The Wind Weeps” which is quite a hard-edged romance, set in the wild drama of British Columbia. She has also written “Orion’s Gift”, a dramatic tale of love on the run which plays out in Mexico, on the Baja Peninsular.
Other than being a compelling writer, Anneli is a freelance copy editor and I can certainly recommend her services. Welcome Anneli!
Thank you for having me on your blog, Emma. I’d like to tell your readers a little bit about my latest novel, “Julia’s Violinist”.
In the Sudeten-German area bordering Austria, Germany, and Czechoslovakia, Julia, a young German woman, fell in love with the baker’s son from a neighbouring village. He was handsome, fun to be with and played the violin so sweetly. Unfortunately, circumstances made it difficult for their romance to continue.
Fast forward twenty years. World War II has been lost. Julia, now a widow with two small children, is trying to rebuild her life after postwar atrocities left her raped, homeless, and deported.
Gradually she rebuilds her life, but her new husband is hard to live with at times.
A letter arrives from Canada. “I’ve been searching for you through the Red Cross for years. I’m so happy I’ve found you at last. Please come to me in Canada. Life is better here.”
By some miracle, her first sweetheart is still alive. What to do?
A a writer of Romance, Valentine’s day is kinda like Christmas eve in Walmart and Santa’s place at the North Pole. I am a real sucker for Saint Valentine’s day. Well, yes I know all the teddy bears, hearts, flowers and chocolates are a commerce-fest crossed with an orgy of kitsch. Yet, among it all the festival has that wonderful power to give permission for anyone to go completely over the top in the knowledge that…..you just cannot go over the top. No rose is too red, no teddy bear is too big, no card has too much sentiment. It was in this frame of mind that I have written my Valentine’s love poem. I write of love because I have had much of it and of course, it not all hearts and flowers. But when it is – then it is the most wonderful and dizzying thing in this universe. I have said in a previous Emma Thinx – anyone who can talk sensibly of love is not in it. On Valentine’s day, the gloves are off and the wits are out. Why be sensible or bother with taste when you can let go and love? Emma Thinx: If you can’t exaggerate your fantasy – it’s love.
You would have thought that by now a media pro like me would have gone on display somewhere. Perhaps a tour with beasts in an old fashioned circus or starring as a fortune teller on the end of a pier somewhere would have been glamorous. As a kid I always longed for such a life – but it was not to be.
I am hoping not to destroy their readership. Of course, the purpose of the tour is to announce the publication of my latest story “Escape To Love”, which will be out on Monday 4th February. This novelette is a further addition to my urban love series. There will be two more after this which will then form a collection under the banner “Love In A Hopeless Place” – all with full free audio book narrated by me (female roles) or Oscar Sparrow (male roles). If you tune in tomorrow there will be a SoundCloud link to the audio of chapter one. Hope to see you there.
Emma thinx: The rose of love blooms and dies in water – but it thrives in a nice bit of dirt.
Like so many others, I have been reading Fifty Shades. This book has many aspects but nothing much caught my attention before the scene where Anastasia goes to the ball wearing silver jiggle balls in an intimate location. Now, that could have given a whole new meaning to the term college drop out. At least no one would need castanets. May I just say at this point that top critics (Oh yes, they really exist) of such devices complain that they are too noisy. In my view this only applies if you are a stick insect and there is little flesh to suppress the percussion. Writing my latest novel has led me to research the world of sex toys.(Of course, I had no existing knowledge). There is a reference to the term dildo in Shakepeare’s Winters Tale, where the general tone is the jumping and thumping of maids. Now that sounds more like Fifty Shades. Several references to the dildesque can be found in serious literature by the likes of Saul Bellow. William S Burroughs’s novel “The Naked Truth” features a dildo named Steely Dan III. In my life I have met several complete dildos with very ordinary names. But, here is my point. Seemingly most females have at least one sex toy. Judging from reviews on sales sites such as Ann Summers, much satisfaction is gained thereby. This being the case, should a modern cutting edge writer of Romantica expect to enter such elements into her own text? Recently I saw an advertisement for a vibrating mobile phone that the lady wears within her under garment. This enables her lover to call her to express his love. This would revolutionise the commuter train experience. Just think – no more calls about “Did you remember to get the cat castrated and buy some dishwasher salt?” Instead there would be nothing but orgasmic gaspings. Trouble is, the show-offs would be faking remote controlled cyber-joy like all of those righteous anorexic joggers proclaiming their discipline and sacrifice . Oooh – I’m a scratchy bitch. So huge is the toy industry that it would be pointless for me to add anything technical. I was only eight when Barbarella came out but it played on T.V. late slots for many many years. I have always thought that perhaps it encouraged women to break out a little. If you are too young to have caught it, take a peep at the machine of excess pleasure. Since then huge amounts of silicone have travelled many valleys. These days the soft hard and limp ware is there, whatever your needs. The issue is their context in modern love. At what point can the meadow of unexplored love be nibbled by the rampant rabbits? (If you are in a private location and unaware of powered rubber rodents click here). If I am being deadly serious, many real life heroines have only come to know themselves by taking a walk on the wilder side of a toy story. Let us imagine such a person. It was their first night in Venice. The Spring sun had teased the ripples of the lagoon before departing with a raised eyebrow of promise and return. The night drifted in, slowly weaving its slim cold fingers around the halos of lamps and the calls of boatman on the Grand Canal. This moment of life lived itself and was beyond her own desires. Only now she took his hand as the darkness seeped into them. Dare she reach out and offer her warmth as contrast to the chill? All day, the city had seemed to blind him. Now it slipped away from sight and she was aware of his restless young body and of her own. A night would be and could not be held back. She was tired but thrilled to the animal possibilities of decadence that she had not the power to resist. She let her hand soften a little to hint at her mood. She breathed more slowly and let her eyes find nothing but his. Although his gaze was on the horizon she knew he sensed her focus and that she was a woman. It had been a risk to bring him here. The dusk had blurred their differences and she was beginning to enter a remembered flow. Her lips needed his and yet she bowed her head and merely let her forehead rest on his hard upper arm. The last false light silhouetted La Chiesa Santa Maria de la Salute as he turned and with his palm raised her chin. His gaze caressed her and drew her out from her body so that their kiss was disconnected from time. She drowned in his strength and had no sense of will. ‘This place isn’t Venice, it will ever be you,’ he said. ‘I was wanting it to be us.’ ‘I’ve wanted that since you stepped out of that Bentley.’ ‘Then we’ve some kisses to catch up,’ she said. He let out a groan and cuddled her to him with a boyish bear hug clumsiness. He was to be her lover. She reached up to push his hair back and hold his face. She offered her lips and he took them instinctively as a man taking a girl. For now she could define their roles and he would respond. She knew in his kiss that soon enough he would tell her of his love. And she knew she would love him more but never let him leave with such a trophy.
Now, I had intended to spoof this with some kind of flat battery, vibrator cheap shot but I just bloody well couldn’t because I was enjoying it. The fact is that sex toys are sex. Romance is Romance. The above scene is a glimpse of my next book. I suspect that this lady may well have found herself more fully as a result of experiment and a falling away of shyness. Late in her life she has learned of pleasure. It will be her gift. Emma thinx: Keep the private lessons secret. Share the knowledge.
Shall we talk about sex? Oh OK – if you really want me to. I write Romance. Well – love and sex actually. In “Knockout” there is a story but it is a story about a sexy woman going headlong into a passionate sexathon with a beautiful guy. They do it in her bed. She does it all on her own. They do it in his bed, in Paris, several other places and they do it on a boat. They kiss and caress the burning totality of each other’s lips. They adore each other’s skin and musk. She craves the untiring hard knot of his controlling, urgent muscles. He longs for her abandon, surrender and softness They eat highly flavoured food and breathe the garlic of shared ecstasy. They drink champagne and lie naked in the warm open air almost as a sacrifice on the altar of lust. Oooh….if I don’t stop tweaking the knobs I’ll have to jump in a cold bath. And just think – it was me, a middle aged working woman who wrote it.
The basic reason why I write this kinda stuff is that I love it in life and I love it in fantasy. I know it may be a brazen to say that, but it’s true and if I’m honest then in my writing about sex I’m not short changing my readers. When I write a sex scene I am there and willing it on. Actually, it’s writing itself.
There are technical problems in writing about sex. The big one (Oooh steady on) is the line between artistic, pornographic, anatomical, purple and naff. Different generations and cultures have different levels of frankness and taste. In the supermarket today I noted that I could present myself for chlamydia venereal disease testing while I was waiting for a new batch of granary wholemeal bread to reach the shelves. All those intimate swabs quite put me off the idea of a nice buttered crust. I was reading some supermarket Romance where the young lady presented her sexual arousal by way of her “dampened swath”. That brought me out in a fit of the giggles. I figured if things didn’t gel with the guy at least she could wipe down the kitchen worktops. In another similar epic, the young lady exposed her “creamy crevice” – so far this is the worst image I have ever encountered. Well, at least there is some classy alliteration. Finding the words, the euphemisms and the poetic passion of human juice is not always easy. Just this morning I encountered a curly triangle of love. Well, I suppose if your car broke down you could prop it up in the road to warn other drivers of an obstruction. It’s all about context is it not?
knobs and shafts
When it comes to the male side of the park, obviously a female can only guess and ask a lot of questions. My lover man is never shy. His only complaint is that males only get to ride one wave while females can stay in surfing all day. – (Hmmm – depends on the quality of the water). Males provide more vocabulary problems. I have a few dislikes – such as swollen manhoods. It always makes me think of those old naval war films where they wear 10 layers of clothing under a duffle coat.. Luckily, my readers are mostly female and factors such as size of hands, width of shoulders and tone of voice can excite more response than shafts, lengths and pulsating needs. For fun I googled “knobs and shafts”. Not quite what I had in mind. With males it’s just so easy to get lost in engineering.
But here is the core of the issue. People like sex. Even people who do not want actual full contact sex are interested in it. Sex is us. We are born what we are and half the world has the opposite set of bits.
And then, of course there is love. Oh Love, oh love, love, love. This purest thing, rejoicing in the pollution of its own sense, losing focus so as to see nothing but the other. It is where the ego both asserts its power to give and shrivels in a humility of powerless longing. Our love finds expression and escape in physical sex. Cold sex is what my friend the poet Oscar Sparrow describes as the “gaping gash of loveless love”. Getting this blend right is the work of the humble hack Romance writer.
“Knockout!” my romance novel on Kindle is FREE on Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th January if you want to check out how I deal with these tender literary parts.
OK – let’s take a deep breath, get out the dry bread and water, take down all the Christmas decorations that I didn’t get round to putting up in the UK and face reality. Well – there are still several cheeses in the fridge and I spotted an overlooked bottle of champagne as I was looking for my hair shirt and gruel recipe book. Obviously I will be laying off the alcohol at least until the 5pm daily review moment. It’s time to face the scales and the facts. Perhaps I could pretend to be a smoker so that I could pretend to have given it up. I am a novelist after all. I make things up.
The noose of toil has tightened and I am back in the UK. Far behind me now lie the memories of foie gras and fig stuffing, Pineau and hot baguette. We decided to give Christmas pudding and custard cultural food parcels to friends and neighbours. Watch out for news features about canine obesity. I’ll never forget the day I tried my neighbours on some lovely English fruit jelly. I don’t think they will ever forget it either.
We arrived back in time for New Year’s eve and ended up dining with friends and their friends. Oooh I did feel a bit out of my depth. There was this guy who has written a book about Shakespeare but it’s out of print methinks. However, I didst a copy find, by time defiled, on e bay. Like an ego-sodden clod I confessed to my own literary output, which as my readers will know, has a similar stamp to that of the bard. Several wine fuelled hours followed during which I kinda recall, the subject was ME. I do have to forgive myself because this was the second Brit who had ever spoken to me about being a writer. In France I count as quite normal but in the UK, folk kinda shuffle away in case I get out an embarrassing poem FOR THEM TO LIKE, read them a love scene or just throw a passionate pink frilled frenzy.
Tomorrow the bus depot shuffle begins. I have missed the kids and all the jangle of other lives. I have seen the New Year speeches of Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel. As we left France I wondered if things would ever be the same again. Most of my life I have lived in a tepid bath of euro certainty. Now no one knows whether to pull the plug, let in more hot water or just jump out. My guess is that they will do all three together. Probably won’t work.
OK Literatti – let’s get down on some poetry. Today I have been busy on a whole new project of compiling and editing a book of poetry on behalf of Gallo-Romano Media. Regulars will have heard me rattling on about my mate Oscar Sparrow whom I have known for many years. He’s a bit kinda prickly to be honest and is a tree book hard-liner. On account of that he’s scuffed along in a bedragglement of small press pamphlets, anthologies and Arts Council artsfarts. (An artsfart is a form of poetry only read by South American ant-eaters) Eventually I have persuaded him to put out a small collection of his poems via Rosina’s media outfit. Everyone knows that no one reads poetry except other poets and they don’t like it cos they didn’t write it themselves. I’m officially gonna be credited as editor and a small contributor. He believed that he has sold his soul to the forces of Mammon but he cheered up when we assured him that no one would read it and he wouldn’t get paid. It is at moments like that you know you are in the presence of a true poet. I wish Oscar were my brother so that I could love him.
There was a poet called Theophilus Marzials (1850 – 1920) who is sometimes accused of having written the world’s worst poem. In his day he was a successful writer and it only since his death that the critteratti have spiked into him. Oscar uses this as an argument against having any form of success in this world. Now, I like Theo’s poem and so you know what I’m talking about – here it is.
The barges down in the river flop.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop, As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky, Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop, As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey! All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks — “Stop,”
And my heart shrieks — “Die.”
* * * * * My thought is running out of my head; My love is running out of my heart, My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead, For my life runs after to catch them — and fled They all are every one! — and I stand, and start, At the water that oozes up, plop and plop, On the barges that flop And dizzy me dead. I might reel and drop. Plop. Dead.And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top Flop, plop. * * * * * A curse on him. Ugh! yet I knew — I knew — If a woman is false can a friend be true? It was only a lie from beginning to end —
My Devil — My “Friend”
I had trusted the whole of my living to!
Ugh; and I knew!
So what do I care,
And my head is empty as air —
I can do,
I can dare,
The barges flop
I can dare! I can dare!
And let myself all run away with my head And stop.
Just read on from “slimy branches” through to “thin tree top.” To me it is a poem teeming with drippy droppiness and flappy ploppy flopshiousness. Of course, its absolute lusciousness of vocab kinda does away with the sentiment of TRAGEDY which he is trying to capture. I like it because a guy wrote it when he had trouble with a woman and whatever was going on this trace of of love remains and I am here reading it and talking about it. Theo – you were a man who wrote poems. Time has made you a poet in my heart. Over to to you guys……
More international MARKET people all day talking about what they want the world to do. Is there any further point in the pretence of having meaningful national democratic governments?
Emma thinx: Economic Feudalism – the noble savage serving the savage noble.
Well, here I am back in Blighty. As I stepped red eyed and head-ached from the car my first impression was of fallen leaves. Initially I thought of back aching raking and sweeping. Then I thought of a proper strong cup of tea and gazed from the kitchen window onto the sog and bog of damp drizzling drab which is the Sunday morning after a night on the English Channel. The pint mug of tea pulsed out into my blood and flooded me with proper thoughts of love and romance. I found myself singing in French the song “Les Feuilles Mortes”. Look- I can be a pretentious stupid cow can’t I? Actually I only know one verse that goes:
“Mais la vie separe ceux qui s’aiment Tout doucement, sans faire de bruit. Et la mer efface sur le sable Les pas des amants desunis.”
A quick translation : Life separates those who love each other/softly without sound/And the sea erases from the sand/the footprints of parted lovers.(This is deliberately not a poetic translation.The French language IS Poetry simply in itself).
In the famous Nat King Cole version in English, this is not translated. If you want to feel the emotion of this season enhanced by music there are so many versions. I have chosen one here by Andrea Bocelli. For me the visuals are a bit busy, but have a glass (or two) of red wine, turn to whoever you love and remember that life is brief and that words of love are our Spring and they they will grow until one day their fruit passes inexorably into memory.
Now – let’s talk about condoms. A while ago when I first wrote “Knockout” I pushed it out for some pre publication reviews. Generally things were OK but one reviewer savaged me for allowing the lovers to have sex without condoms. Well, actually I did not allow it because having created these impulsive passionate beings the minute I took my eyes off them they were at it without even referring back to me. She attacked my irresponsible attitude to venereal disease and the kind of example I was setting to readers who might try this kinda thing at home. I know that from a public health point of view she was quite right but I just wanted naked passion between impossibly larger than life people in a wish list world. Now, fellow scribes – tell me what you think. PLEASE. I don’t want to go down in history as the woman who poxed up the populous and chlamydia-ed Christendom.
And then there’s the subject of the tea served at breakfast on Brittany Ferries. I crossed last night from France and took the buffet breakfast in the restaurant aboard the vessel “Mont St.Michel”. As always the staff were flawless and kind. However, Gilles and I took tea and received one pot of hot water and a tea bag each. I believe the tea was Twinings. For me it was a bit pale but it was OK. There was just not enough of it. You can just about get one cup. The breakfast buffet is generous with ham, salmon, eggs, cereals etc etc etc. It is brilliant quality and value. If you order tea and coffee you get a whole pot each! We Brits need more to prepare us for life back in the UK. Dear Managing Director………
Tired and deprived of tea I turned on my lap top to write this blog and saw that a wonderful person had given me a lovely review. on Goodreads.
Emma thinx: Isaac Newton was primarily an alchemist. You can only get it right by being mainly wrong.