Please come in, and make yourselves comfortable. Today Anida Adler is coming to visit my parlor. Would you like a cup of tea? Or something stronger? Don't worry, there's enough room for everyone. Please don't be in a rush to leave. There's a cuddly prize for a lucky commenter at the end of Anida's tour!
Now let's hear what Anida can tell us about research and erotic writing. And keep on reading for a blurb and and excerpt from The Ancient, available now from Loose ID.
“In there. Yes. Yes, there. No, no wait. That’s not quite… I think a little to the left. Yes. Yes, yes, that’s perfect!” I was really pleased. My writing desk was now positioned in the ideal spot. When I lift my eyes from the screen now, I see a field where cows graze lazily on an abundant supply of green grass, the darker slopes of the Cooley Mountains in the background. After all the chaos of moving house, I am back to my first love: writing.
Not just any writing, mind you. I write romance and erotica. Before that, I focused on writing fantasy. I also indulge in non-fiction and poetry. You wouldn’t think so, but I do extensive research for all those genres bar the last. Yes, I do research for erotica, in two main areas.
The first is the most fascinating: setting. (And yes, I did write that sentence with a snigger. Keep reading, we’ll come (no pun intended) to what actually is the most fascinating area soon.) If I go through just the first page of my upcoming release, The Ancient (sound of trumpets here), I can identify numerous little details I had to go and make sure of before I could write the scene. The setting is France, four days after the D-day landing. Consider this little excerpt from page one:
“What’s up, Tiger?” Mark Whittaker stopped beside him. None of the other troops would call him by his nickname, adding an er to the obscure Gaelic name his Irish grandfather had insisted his parents give him: Tadhg. He glanced at his fellow soldier. Mark had stripped off his khaki shirt and wore his D-day assault jerkin over a vest that had once been white.
“I don’t like the look of that woman,” Tadhg said, resting a hand on the Webley in the holster at his side.
Quite simple, isn’t it? Look at the research that went into putting it together:
I always choose a name for my main characters carefully. In this case, I knew my hero was a sensitive, creative type. A poet. So I searched until I found the right name for him.
What, precisely, would a British officer have worn at that time? With this piece of information gathering I remember falling prey to a bad habit I often display. I get so fascinated with the details that I’ll spend an hour reading up about something that is not mentioned beyond one sentence in the book. I now know that soldiers participating in the D-Day landings were so heavily laden with equipment that many of them sank straight to the bottom of the sea when they got out of the landing craft, drowning before they’d fired a shot.
What would a soldier automatically do if he felt uncomfortable and threatened? Reach for his weapon, of course. And what kind of weapon would that be? Would an officer carry the same kind of side-arm as a private? It would be unforgivable if I accidentally put a German revolver into a British officer’s holster.
Now we come to the part everyone really wanted to know about when they read the title of the blog post: sex. Do I, as an erotica writer, research the finer details of bonking? And is this practical or theoretical research?
Personally, I think it would indeed be rather difficult for a virgin to write erotica. Not impossible, mind, but difficult. There is a realness to sex that I can’t see people truly grasping unless they have a flesh and blood person on hand (again, no pun intended). Or if they’ve had one before, of course, but if I’d put the sentence in the past tense, my unintended pun wouldn’t have worked.
Reviewing erotica has certainly given me some interesting ideas as well (my husband approves), though in truth, where terminology is concerned, I’ve learned more from publishers’ submission guidelines than any other source. “They don’t accept… what is that, anyway? Let’s open Google…um…oh. Ooookay. People do that? Ewww.”
All in all, therefore, I love the research aspect of writing erotica. It’s mentally and, yes, physically stimulating. It is also damn hard work, but I’m in the privileged position of doing a job that I love. It has every opportunity for making work fun.
Now where’s that research assistant of mine? “Oh, Husband…”
What would you do if you fell in love with the goddess of death?
June 1945 - Tadhg Daniels sees a woman clad in strange clothes and a feathered cloak, but she’s invisible to everyone else. He’s convinced his mind has been unhinged by the horrors of the D-day landings four days before, but when she appears to him again, the woman proves she is real. She is Morrigan, goddess of death, come to warn him his life is about to end.
Morrigan is disturbed by the man she meets. He looks in her eyes unflinching, while all others avoid her gaze. She’s never found such a strong will to survive in any of her charges before. He refuses to accept he’s going to die.
There is a way for Tadhg to cheat death, a secret Morrigan has guarded for millennia. Morrigan can save him if she takes him as her lover, but sex with the goddess of death will change him. He needs time to decide if he’s prepared to give up his humanity in order to be with her forever.
But Tadhg is not the only one who knows Morrigan’s secret. Someone else wants to take by force the gift she can bestow. And he’ll stop at nothing to get it.
He hadn’t expected her to laugh. What he had expected he didn’t know, but not laughter. “What’s so funny?”
“You love me? You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Annoyance flared in his breast. “Enlighten me, then.”
She regarded him with a hard stare. “I’m a cynical, world-weary, chronically depressed goddess. Do you know what I feel when people blubber over farewells to loved ones?”
He shook his head.
“Irritation, Tadhg. I have no sympathy for humans’ emotions. When I discern the utter stupidity they allowed to rule their lives, all I want to do is throttle them, help them into the afterlife even faster than they’re due to enter it. It is no less than they deserve for wasting such a precious gift as life.”
“Oh.” He snapped his fingers. “That must be why you sat in the dark for hours feeling so depressed, you’d have killed yourself if you could.”
She turned from him, yanked a curtain away from a shelf, dropped it, and moved on to the next. “Ha!” She grabbed a bottle of wine. The cork sprang from the neck as if it was champagne. He didn’t miss the tremor of her fingers as she poured. “You think what you feel is love. How can that be? We’ve known each other no more than days, poet. Love is something that grows over years, like a strong oak.”
“And I know what I feel for you is the healthy sapling that will grow to a mighty tree.”
She swallowed half the glass and slammed it down on the table. “What you feel, human, is lust. No more, no less.”
“That is not true.”
“Oh?” She smiled. No trace of warmth in the gesture, she turned to him and put a hand on his shoulder. A tingle of awareness shivered over his skin. Slowly, she traced a trail over his chest, down to his navel. Warm, sweet sexual energy flooded his muscles, suffused his blood, and pooled in his groin. “What do you feel when I touch you, then? A warm sensation in your heart?”
Tadhg grabbed her wrist, pulled her body close, and brought his mouth down on hers. She stiffened in his grasp, but he put a hand on the nape of her neck and held her to him. He teased the seam of her lips with his tongue, nipped at her bottom lip until she opened for him. He plunged his tongue into her warm mouth, tasted the mellow redness of wine in an erotic sense deluge that added taste and fragrance to a mimic of the full possession of her body, which he truly desired. Morrigán moaned, and a flash of white heat exploded in Tadhg’s brain. He put his hands on her firm behind and lifted her from the floor, ground her pelvis into his taut sex. “That too,” he answered her question, stifling her no doubt snarky reply with a renewed onslaught against her defenses.