Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Corporate Slave, coming Friday 2nd November

I know, I've been quiet on here lately. I haven't, personally, been quiet. I've been pretty manic, getting stuff done. But that's meant the blogging has had to slide a little.

However, I can now reveal that my new novel Corporate Slave will be out this Friday, 2nd November. This is a full-length novel, 80,000 or so words, and you should be in no doubt that it's copper-plated, hard-hitting BDSM all the way through - because the key character, Cassie, ends up a prisoner-slave in a dystopian future where the state had been hollowed out by a series of multinational corporations, and she gets thoroughly used in a variety of private prisons.

That's not where the novel starts, though. She's a sales assistant in a convenience store:

The counter pinged down to zero, the door opened and Marnie slipped from behind it. Naked, of course, and carrying her G-string and top loosely in one hand. She was statuesque, fit from working out and doing weights, with cropped blonde hair and distinctive tattoos—a smiling sun on her left shoulder, an old-school set of entwined roses around her right thigh, and a suggestive, curvy female form in the small of her back, but with a death’s head skull instead of a face. Cassie had never even dared ask if it had any particular significance for her. Marnie was the longest-serving of all the girls at the store, and there was a running joke that her fourth tattoo, a small square of dots midway between her navel and pussy,  was actually her security QR code. If she ever forgot her staff entry pass she could just flash her belly to the camera to open the door. Her mere presence could almost intimidate punters into buying stuff, and those who weren’t intimidated bought it anyway because they liked the tattoos.
She nodded at Cassie, a wry professional greeting.
“You’ve got yourself marked up. They’ll like that.”
Cassie looked down. The bruises from the cuffs were plainly visible. And she could work with that, include it in her act. That was another trick of the trade. Marks from rope or chain, or a spanking or a whipping, even a scar from a cut, were all things a lot of the punters liked to see. Little Annie, who worked the night shift, had done a lot of self-harming as a kid. She was nothing to look at physically, almost boyish, but had those thin white scars on her legs, belly, arms. They went wild for her.
It was a sick society.
“Good experience, or not?” Marnie asked. It was a sensible enough question: being cuffed was a common enough part of almost anyone’s sex play these days.
Cassie shrugged. “It was okay, I guess.” She didn’t want to explain the circumstances, the deal, the blow-by-blowjob of it. She changed the subject instead.
“Lorne?” It was worth asking.
Marnie shrugged, a gesture that in her made all kinds of muscles bulge and twitch expressively. “We don’t know. Word is, she got arrested. No one seems to know what for, though.”
Cassie shuddered. Getting arrested wasn’t like the old days, time in a cell and then the judge giving you probation. She’d heard what happened if you got arrested.
It was a sick, dangerous world out there.
The counter above the door gave a shrill buzz.
She was on. Stepped through the door into the plexiglass cubicle, picked up the beat of the piped music, began to dance.
That was business at the 121st Street Convenience and Liquor Store. 

You can read some more on the novel and the blurb for the plot over at my other blog, Deliciously Deviant. And look for the novel initially on Pink Flamingo's Eroticbooknetwork website, and thereafter you'll see it rolled out to Amazon and all the other usual online sources. Plus, it will be available as paperback.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

A couple of old books

Yeah - not mine, though, except in the sense I re-found them on my bookshelves recently.

Chastisement Across the Ages: A Scientific Survey, by Gervas D'Olbert, 1956. Covers chastisement of and by famous men, and in education, religion, the family, social life, politics and war.

The Whip and the Rod, by Prof. R G van Yelyr, 1941. Subtitled 'An account of corporal punishment among all nations and for all purposes'. Apparently intended to argue against its use, even though the rather detailed and enthusiastic descriptions might suggest otherwise! I've just learned it was reissued in 2002 so you can get it from Amazon in the UK, at least.

More on both the Chastisement book and The Whip and the Rod book at my Tumblr blog (links open in new pages).  

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Museum of Deviant Desires: special offer

For one week, i.e. until Weds 17 October, my story collection The Museum of Deviant Desires is available at the lower price of $0.99 in the US (plus any applicable local taxes etc. which may put the price up a little) or £0.77 in the UK. Buy it from and before we remember to put the price up again!

What you'll be buying is a novella-length collection of 11 short stories ranging across men’s adventure magazines with their sleazy sexploitation and politically incorrect pictures of tortured women; sex and bondage in an abandoned building and a burned-out car wreck; sex, photography, and the internet, the technosexuality of vacuum cleaners, and what characters in bdsm stories think about the painful pleasures the author inflicts on them. The title story explores the late-night weirdness of sex, perversion, and fetish at a music festival.

The review on describes it as: "sexy and cerebral; breezy, thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud funny and utterly addictive … establishes fascinating new paradigms for the next generation of erotic fiction … a trenchant critique of contemporary erotic literature with its finger firmly on the g-spot of popular culture; a tasty treat, not to be missed."

It's published by 1001 Nights Press, which has been busy building a reputation for publishing mostly shorter collections and stories in various niches of erotica.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Four letters that spell magic?

This post is prompted by another one, from Behind the Chintz Curtain, a blog about erotic matters that I was helpfully pointed to the other day by Justine Elyot via Twitter.

The post makes the point that while the success of Fifty Shades of Grey has shown there clearly is a much larger market for erotica than had previously been imagined – even despite the boost erotica received from the rise of ebooks – its readers, most of them almost certainly female, aren’t happy about ‘vulgar’ terms for female genitalia and prefer slightly euphenistic terms. In particular, while ‘pussy’ is generally acceptable, ‘cunt’ is off-putting.

This has been recognised by the more popular publishers of erotica ever since they discovered there was a female market for it. When I first started writing for Xcite Books, for example, I was sent a house style sheet that specifically stated they didn’t use that word – my memory says the word itself wasn’t even spelled in full in the style sheet, but rendered as ‘c**t’.

But this does raise a question in my mind – why has the word acquired such negative connotations?

I’ve lately been reading Henry Hitchings’ The Language Wars: A History of Proper English. And he discusses swearwords at some length. He cites George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London: ‘The whole business of swearing, especially English swearing, is mysterious. Of its very nature swearing is as irrational as magic – indeed it is a species of magic.’ It’s a naming of things that are secret or forbidden, and it carries a shock value – until it becomes so commonplace it becomes something more like a pause in speech.

Until the 1960s, the word was ‘banned’ in England, in the sense that its appearance in a print publication was likely to result in prosecution for obscenity – though it was (and remains) common in speech as a swearword and an insult.

And yet, for a word that attracts such strong feeings, it’s been around a long time. The Online Etymology Dictionary traces it to Middle English (cunte), notes its similarity to Old Norse (kunta) and to Latin (cunnus), with suggested links even further back into several Pre-Germanic and Proto-Indo-European roots – which would mean the word has been around in one form or another for well over five millenia. And the derivations are generally from words whose meanings include ‘wedge’, ‘hollow place’, ‘slit’, ‘concealed’ and possibly even ‘woman’. The first appearance of it in English was as part of a street name, Gropecuntlane, in Oxford in 1230 – presumed by later commentators to indicate a street where prostitutes worked.

Nonetheless it hasn’t been used in ‘polite society’ since about the 15th century and was considered obscene since the 17th. But it has well over 500 more or less fanciful synonyms, though most of them probaby wouldn’t work that well in contemporary erotic writing: examples include cookie, fancy bit, goatmilker, Itching Jenny, jelly-bag, penwiper, prick-skinner, seminary, and aphrodisaical tennis court. The dictionary entry cites some Dutch poetic slang – liefdesgrot (‘cave of love’) and vleesroos (‘flesh rose’) - that might, though, hold some attractions.

And there’s an alternative form, ‘cunny’, which seems to have appeared around 1622 and (i.e. when ‘cunt’ itself became impolite) and become common by 1720, but which has a different derivation, from ‘coney’, a common word for rabbit. It’s partly the similarity in the words, partly because it sounds like a familiar or diminutive form, and perhaps partly a punning association because the propensity of rabbits to breed has been well-known since ancient times.

All of which suggests that a good, earthy word in use since before English was even a proper language became ‘forbidden’ around 500 years ago, and obscene around 300 years ago. And it’s remained so until very recent times apart from its having been appropriated as a swearword because it had that obscene quality – though this perhaps also explains why many women don’t like it applied to their own bodies.

But that being the case, is there an argument now for reclaiming the word? For making it a robust part of the erotic vocabulary of English? It’s a fanciful thought, because ‘reclaiming’ a word tends to be the kind of thing that happens when words have distict social values and labels attached to them – for example the recent ‘slutwalks’ to protest the way the label of ‘slut’ is used disparagingly, and with serious consequences, against women. But I’d think there’s some possibility for the word to become more popular in future – because don’t a lot of women feel that the usages of 'polite society', far from protecting them, actively constrain them and discriminate against them? Don't many women actively embrace the idea that some part of their self-identity is about the mysterious, the taboo, the forbidden, and magic?

And that’s all connoted in this simple four-letter word and in its history.