Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is which fairy tale would you pick to rewrite and why?
It’s kind of a funny question for me, because it’s starting to be more accurate to ask me which fairy tale I *haven’t* rewritten yet. Come on over for more.
This week we’re giving a valentine to the books of years’ past and sharing a title from our backlists. A little love for those publications that might even predate the creation of this blog!
For mine, I’m sharing my first standalone fiction publication. It was my first sale as a novelist, even though it’s technically a novella at 81 pages, and I originally published it with Loose ID. (Now sadly going out of business.) It’s an erotic fantasy – a BDSM Beauty and the Beast – and is still one of my best-selling titles ever. Also, I originally published it under the pseudonym “Jennifer Paris,” the one time I used that name. When I got the rights back and self-published the book (also my first venture into self-publishing), I did it under my own name. A bit of history there.
In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance.
If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires. Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both.
As an interesting aside, here’s this article on how Facebook is “flattening” content and reducing the ability of creators to share quality stuff. I’m trying to share it widely in places that AREN’T Facebook.
Check out my fabulous new cover for Petals and Thorns from the awesome Amber at Book Beautiful! I’m totally in love with her very pettable gown. This is the book that started my fiction and erotic-romance writing career – my BDSM version of Beauty and the Beast.
I’m so happy to buy her a new dress. 🙂
In exchange for her father’s life, Amarantha agrees to marry the dreadful Beast and be his wife for seven days. Though the Beast cannot take Amarantha’s virginity unless she begs him to, he can and does take her in every other way. From the moment they are alone together, the Beast relentlessly strips Amarantha of all her resistance. If Amarantha can resist her cloaked and terrifying husband, she gains his entire fortune and will be allowed to return to her family and a normal life. But the Beast seduces her at every turn, exposing, binding, tormenting, and pleasuring Amarantha until she no longer knows her own deepest desires. Increasingly desperate to break the curse that chains his humanity, the Beast drives Amarantha past every boundary. But her desire for a normal life may jeopardize the love that will save them both.
Places to buy
At last the iris are blooming. I notice everyone in our neighborhood has the yellow ones like this. I’m wondering if other colors don’t do well in this soil. I’d like to try planting some others – perhaps a field of dark blue behind this blanket of yellow, but we’ll see.
Many hybridized colors won’t flourish in non-ideal soils and the flowers revert to the wild type. Pink hydrangeas in non-alkaline soils revert to blue, for example. Or in non-acidic soils – I forget which. If you want to grow pink hydrangeas, you’ll have to look it up.
Yesterday I completed my second round of edits on the Loose Id novella, which is now called, forever and finally, Petals and Thorns. Beauty and the Beast was too close to other titles in their house and the big editors didn’t like Love Lies Bleeding, as my direct editor and I picked out. They seemed to think it was kind of icky.
This second round of edits was dead easy. Actually the first round of edits were quite straight forward and didn’t require much brain-strain. This round was mainly approving comma-insertions and space-deletions. From time to time though, my editor quibbled over metaphorical word interpretations.
The one she really doesn’t like? “She felt his eyes on her.” My editor says that means his eyeballs would be on her, which is, naturally, not the feel we’re going for. I personally don’t believe a normal person would read it that literally, but I conceded and replaced with the suggested (and tepid) “gaze.” She also argued with “the rose drew her eye,” wanting that to be “gaze,” also. I said no, to draw the eye to something is a perfectly established expression.
To me, this is the literary equivalent of representational art versus abstract art.
(We won’t get into that this is a BDSM novella and arguably not all that full of ze arte. I’m talking a general principle here – stick with me.)
I’m full of visual art analogies since doing the studio tour the other day.
My mom’s David loves representational art. He likes a landscape, preferably with European elements. He likes it to be what it it. My mom likes art that takes reality and turns it. The Impressionists were the first to really break away from the strict European representational art. This is Renoir’s famous painting Bathing Woman, 1883. It’s famous enough that I couldn’t find an image of it without the watermark.
When I saw the original, it struck me that he’d painted her skin green. If you look at the shadows on her skin, they’re all these blues and greens. So much so that it’s unsettling up close. Standing back, it creates this amazing feel of young, lovely flesh and water. He gave us the impression, not the literal moment.
I think that’s what the literalist readers/editors get into. They’re focusing so much on the words, that they lose the overall impression. I’m not going to fight over it for my BDSM novella epub, but to have someone’s eyes on you gives a different impression than their gaze. It’s a level of intimacy to me.
But this is the soil I chose for this particular story and it will have to take on the characteristics of that place. It will become the color it needs to be.
There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
I’ve always liked this quote. Amusingly, when I went to look it up, to make sure I got it exactly right, I found it on a website of quotes for gardeners. I want to write to them and say, erm, you folks *do* know this isn’t really about flowers, right?
Which would be ingenuous, since it’s clear they don’t.
If you don’t know who Anaïs Nin is, you should look her up. She was a French writer who wrote all her life, but was especially well known for her erotica. In the Preface to Delta of Venus, she tells the story of how a book collector offered her lover, Henry Miller, $100 a month to write erotica for him. They settled on a standard fee of $1 a page — not a shabby deal in 1940. This is how Anaïs wrote the stories in that collection, and later ones. My copy of Delta of Venus was copyrighted in 1969 and belonged to my mother.
This is the IM conversation I had with my mother after yesterday’s blog post about selling my erotic novella to Loose Id:
Mom: Good morning. Nice blog! So do you get $$$ for the ebook?
Me: oh yes! actually they pay 35% of every sale
Me: and thanks!
Mom: That sounds pretty good. And do people buy ebooks?
Me: yes, lots of them
Me: especially the Super-Sexy ones
Mom: and this is?
Me: yes – it’s BDSM
Mom: Is there something a little weird about reading your daughter’s pron?
Me: could be!
Me: one does not expect one’s mother to read it. nor to tell her friends
Mom: hmmmm. This is a new-age dilemma! My mother would be totally wigged out!
Me: it’s a new world
Me: I really did think about creating a secret identity for it, but Cynthia was really practical with her “what for?”
Mom: So one buys it online and then downloads it? Can one then print it out and read it like a “real” book?
Me: yes. or you could put it on your Kindle or other ereader
Me: or read it on the computer
Me: too fraught, on so many levels
Me: I’m amused that you picked up “pron” so quickly
Mom: Makes sense
Me: yeah, it does
She makes me laugh. Of course, it is a new world, with our youthful mothers who are active and free in a way their mothers never were. One of my Twitter friends commented yesterday that her parents were on vacation and were texting photos of their cocktails and that her mother had used the word “squee.” She found it both amusing and unsettling.
I’m getting to know my new editor at Loose Id. She has an MFA in creative writing from University of New Orleans. She’s asked me to make a few initial changes, to move the story along a bit, then the manuscript will be edited four times: twice by her, once by a line editor and once by a proofreader.
Whatever perception you had of ebooks, especially Super-Sexy ones, I doubt if this is it. I know it wasn’t mine.
Maybe it’s overreaching for me to feel a connection with Anaïs or Pauline Réage. But I do. I love their writing, and others like them. If you go to that link, you’ll see that Anne Desclos (writing as Pauline) penned The Story of O to prove that a woman could, indeed, write an erotic novel.
It feels good to me to own that, to be part of all the women laying claim to our own desires, rather than hiding them away and leaving that realm to the men.
It feels good that we all have the freedom to blossom as we wish.