Monday, 22 September 2014

Featuring the "Undone" blog tour by Kristina Lloyd

Today, I'm delighted to host Kristina Lloyd as part of a blog tour to promote her new novel "Undone", which was published earlier this month. I joined in her launch "cocktail party" event on 28th August 2014, where a number of people collaborated by posting themed short stories on our blogs.

I've read the book myself. It’s an erotic story with a thriller sub-plot, which I really enjoyed. I'm not usually a fan of BDSM stories, but this kept me turning the pages to see what happened next. In fact, I read it over two evenings. It's a first-person account told in a diary, which allows Kristina to mix conventional story-telling with a little more introspection and inner dialogue. 

I was impressed by her character Lana's account of a newly-developing sub-dom relationship with Sol. It wasn't just by her intense and exciting sexual experiences but also the emotional side of it, learning to trust and coping with her all-too-plausible anxieties and insecurities. I was pleased to see Sol make a momentary misjudgement and have to regain her confidence in him. Too many dom characters seem to be just a little too perfect, so this made him seem true-to-life for me. The thriller side of the story isn't the main driver, but it provides a few key stressful points around which their relationship evolves.

I asked Kristina about the book and her writing, and a cheeky little personal one as well.

Where did the original idea for the story and characters came from?

The idea was sparked in a writers’ workshop when a fellow attendee told me her idea for a murder-mystery novel which began with a dead body at a party. I basically stole her idea. Undone isn’t quite a murder-mystery but the story starts with a MFM threesome at weekend party in the country. On the next morning, one of the guys is found dead in the swimming pool.

The characters grew from snippets of other people. Lana was inspired by a stranger on Facebook. And Sawyer from the TV series Lost made me want to write a male character who was cheeky, cocky, sexy and cool, and Sol was born from that hankering.

Tell us about the genre you write in, why do you love it and how did you get into it?

I’ve been writing erotica, on and off, for almost twenty years. I started with short stories after heeding advice to write genre fiction if you wanted to be published. I was lucky enough to be published fairly quickly and I moved from shorts to novels after a couple of years. I’m fascinated by the hidden side of people; by sex as an activity very dislocated from the everyday, and from the public self; and by the crazy things we do in pursuit of desire. I invariably write about female sexual submission because that’s what I kink for. The complexities of powerplay excite both my imagination and my mind. I’m thinking here of the various apparent paradoxes embedded in D/S: the submissive loving what they loathe; the cruel dom caring about the sub’s pleasure; equality underpinning a roleplay scene of inequality.

I think I’m driven to write about this stuff because I want to capture and convey what is fundamentally hot about D/S. I’m not particularly interested in focusing on formalised BDSM scenes; I prefer a rougher, scarier edge. In real life, BDSM practitioners negotiate scenes, use safewords, engage in roleplay,  and so on. Replicating that in fiction seems to me an enormous waste of the imagination. Unfortunately, social anxiety surrounding sex means erotic writing is held  to different standards than other types of writing. As writers we’re always bumping up against the imposition of constraints, from the overt, such as Amazon introducing measures to regulate the sale of erotica, to the less obvious social constraints. Increasingly, I feel, writers are expected to portray responsible behavior in erotica to ensure readers don’t replicate anything stupid and potentially harmful. Health and Safety officers are in the text! But erotic fiction shouldn’t function as a manual. It should be a vehicle to fire and champion the erotic imagination. Too much of that, however, would be socially disruptive. Sex is dangerous.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?

Nothing yet! The current erotica scene has left me feeling a touch despondent, if I’m honest. I’m hoping to self-publish some short stories soon, and I do have a couple of barely-formed ideas for novels and novellas bubbling in the background. I’m just not sure if or how I want to develop them right now.

Have you ever had a character just “do their own thing?” Have you ever had an argument with one of your characters? Or anything else odd happen?

Nope! I find that notion far too whacky. I’ve written characters who’ve turned out to be more interesting/funnier/nastier than I anticipated but, you know, I made them that way. I’m the author. I create the characters. The ideas come from my brain.

What’s your writer’s routine? Do you write whenever or at certain times? Are you a pantser or plotter? Where do you like to write?

I have no routine.  My life isn’t orderly enough to allow for such a thing! I squeeze writing in here and there: early mornings, evenings, weekends. Being a novelist hasn’t allowed me to give up the day job, unfortunately. Some of my most productive writing sessions happen early in the day, between 5am and 8am, when the world is still and calm, and my mind is woolly and loose. But I don’t get up that early too often. I plot but not to the nth degree. I usually know how a book will end but the journey to that point may deviate from my original sketch. And I’m pretty much always at my desk when I write. I like to sit up straight!

If someone said, ‘You can go anywhere in the world, but you have to go right now?’, where would you go? What pulls you there?

I’d go to one of those sandy beaches in New Zealand where penguins waddle ashore. What pulls me? Space, tranquility, solitude – and penguins!

KristinaLloyd writes erotic fiction about sexually submissive women who like it on the dark, dirty and dangerous side. Her novels are published by Black Lace and her short stories have appeared in dozens of anthologies, including several ‘best of’ collection, in both the UK and US. She lives in Brighton, England.

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About Undone
When Lana Greenwood attends a glamorous house party she finds herself tempted into a ménage à trois. But the morning after brings more than just regrets over fulfilling a fantasy one night stand. One of the men she's spent the night with is discovered dead in the swimming pool. Accident, suicide or murder, no one is sure and Lana doesn't know where to turn. Can she trust Sol, the other man, an ex-New Yorker with a dirty smile and a deep desire to continue their kinky game?

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Today's guest is author Justine Elyot

Today I'm delighted to be hosting author Justine Elyot and giving her an opportunity to talk about her new book Her World of Submission. It's the final part of a trilogy, which I've not finished reading yet. I'll post reviews on Amazon when I do.

Ian - where did your original idea for the story and these characters came from?

Justine - I can't really remember. I had the Jasper character very strongly in mind, as I particularly wanted to write a dom character who was playful and mercurial rather than made of granite, as so many of them seem to be. I don't know why I made him a film director and antiques nut. I suppose it was just the mood I was in at the time.

What do you have in mind for your next writing project?

Far too many things to list, as usual. Honestly, I could cry. What I'm doing for the rest of this year is finishing off a pair of trilogies, then in 2015 I'm looking at an erotic thriller, a young adult series, something dark and unrepentant and maybe a Bildungsroman. Among other things.

What parts of you do you think are incorporated into your characters?

There's a bit of me in all of them, really, including the men. Though mostly my female characters are more 'normal' than me. I mean, I have to make them vaguely relatable, apparently, whereas I am a weird hermit-like being.

Have you ever had a character just 'do their own thing'?

My characters CONSTANTLY do their own thing, the gits. I have precisely no examples of a book that followed my pre-writing outline. None whatsoever. I never meant for Lloyd and Sophie to get together in On Demand, for instance. But they thought differently.

If someone said, ‘You can go anywhere in the world, but you have to go right now?’, where would you go? What pulls you there?

I would go to Budapest first, then tour the rest of Hungary, particularly the Hortobagy national park. I've wanted to go there since I was 14, and even tried my hand at learning the language, but had to retire injured. I've no idea why I haven't been yet, to be honest. I'll get there one day. When my interest first sparked, it was still behind the Iron Curtain, so I suspect that's what really lured me. Plus it has amazing culture, cuisine and cowboys. What more could you ask?

If you could pick a past life, what time period would appeal to you and why? Male or female? Rich or poor?

Well, anyone who knows me knows that I'm an obsessed Victorianist, so it would have to be the nineteenth century. Picking a decade would be very difficult, though. Much as I'd prefer to retain my gender, I might well explode with the frustration of all the things I couldn't do, so I think I'd want to be a man, just slightly pre-Victorian, at the height of the romantic era, rubbing shoulders with all the revolutionary poets. I wouldn't want to particularly die of cholera or anything, though, so I'd make sure I was fairly well off (and fantastically well-dressed with a fine pair of sideburns).

Thanks Justine. Now, can you tell us about your latest book, please?

Ending a trilogy is a strange feeling, especially when the characters in those stories have been such excellent company. I'm rather sorry to have finished the story that started in His House of Submission and continued in By His Command. But in Her World of Submission, I have to say goodbye to Jasper Jay and his history-mad submissive, Sarah Wells, and let them get on with their lives. Never let it be said that they don't go out with a bang, though.

At the start of the book, Jasper and Sarah have been together for six months – an intense six months in which they have crammed an awful lot of experiences. Sarah finds herself questioning the wisdom of making a deeper commitment to Jasper. Despite their bond of love, is it too soon? Should she pull back and focus more on her career? And how will their relationship cope with being made public in the most mortifying way? She can't answer these questions by herself – but luckily her old friend Rosie is on hand, with her new lover, Dimitri, to lend some fresh perspective to the situation. How will they sway her? Read all about it and find out.


It was the same question all over again, the one that kept rearing its head nowadays.
How much was I prepared to give up for Jasper?
I watched him as he pondered over which ornament to place where, making an art of it, as he did with everything. Such fastidiousness, such attention to detail. It was what made him such an amazing lover, such an amazing dom. Nothing was left to chance. Everything was deliberate and planned.
To be honest, I hadn't yet had to give up anything much for him. Only a crap flat, in order to move in to his exquisite home. Not much of a sacrifice, on the face of it. But then, there were little things that perhaps I'd let go of too easily. I'd failed to cultivate friendships with the museum staff after moving in with Jasper, allowing them to wither on the vine instead. And I really needed to call some of my university friends. I had changed my phone number after the big press incident, and hadn't got round to telling people what it was now.
I should do it. I should have sent Christmas cards. I should have done a hundred things that got forgotten about because I was far too busy having mind-blowing, body-wracking sex.
And I'd been nervous of contacting them as well. Nervous of what they might think of Jasper, of what advice they might give me. I could face censure, I could face hostility even, but I didn't think I could face their disappointment in me.
But then, perhaps they would approve. Perhaps they would think it none of their business, or wish me luck with it and hope we might be happy. To cut myself off from all other relationships over fear of a bit of disapproval seemed silly now, especially in this season, when half the world was turning to friends and family in celebration.
I watched Jasper place a star at the top of the tree, having to climb on a stepstool and tiptoe in order to reach the highest height.
'We put an angel at the top of ours,' I told him.
'Controversial,' he said, twisting his neck to raise an eyebrow in my direction.
'Not really. Because it's right.'
'Did you mean for that to sound like fighting talk?'
I shifted on the stair, trying to decide if my bottom was still sore. It wasn't, not really. Other parts of me, though, were not in such acceptable condition. Probably best not to start a verbal sparring match just now. The angel/star debate could keep.
'Of course not,' I said, prim and proper as I could be. ''Tis the season to be jolly, after all.'
'Fa la la la la, la la la la,' sang Jasper. He had a good singing voice too. He had good everything. It really wasn't fair.
'On that subject, I'm thinking of getting back in touch with some friends,' I told him.
He stepped down from the stool and came to sit beside me on the stairs.
'Go for it,' he said. 'I didn't think you had any. You've never mentioned anyone. Bit strange, I thought, but I didn't like to ask.'
'I just…got out of the habit of being social, I suppose. When it was just you and me, here, over the summer, I forgot that anyone or anything else existed.'
'Mm, so did I,' he said with a dreamy smile. 'Bloody wonderful, wasn't it?'
'Well, it still is, I hope. And it still can be, even with the outside world mixed in.'
'Of course.' He reached over and untied the tinsel from the banister. 'As long as we're in the middle of it, together.'
'Right.' He took my freed wrist and kissed the inside of it, a gesture that always unleashed ten million fluttery pulses in me. He held it against his cheek, gazing soulfully into my eyes. 'Will you be honest with your friends? About us?'
'It's not really any of their business, but if they ask, then yes.'
'You might lose a few.'
'I know. That's why it's taken me so long to get the courage up. But I hope at least a couple might understand.'
He kissed the tip of my nose.
'Brave girl,' he said. 'And now, I've got calls of my own to make. I'll be in my office.'
He went off to take care of business and I stood up to give the Christmas tree a full appraisal. It looked glorious, warm and twinkly, like the Christmas tree of my childhood dreams. But I wouldn't be spending Christmas here with Jasper – I'd be down on the coast with my parents, and he'd be with his mother in East Anglia. It wasn't going to be easy, but we were going to have our own Christmas the day after Boxing Day and it was going to last all the way into the New Year.
I went back up to the bedroom and found the sim card of my old phone in a dresser drawer. Who would I call first? Stella? No, she was forthright to the point of abrasive. I'd leave her until I'd eased myself in a bit. Who was easy to talk to and undemanding and unjudgemental?

Thank you for reading – the book is available now from all good ebook retailers, including

Here's Justine's catalogue on