Catching Up . . .

Has 2020 been all about Covid? In a way, yes. In many ways, no.

For a lot of people it’s been about re-evaluating. It’s been a wake-up call.

Do I need to commute so far every day? Do I love this person I’m living with? What’s the point of continuing in this job I hate? Why am I putting up with so much outside of my control? I could go on… the list is endless. Everyone has been forced to stop and THINK.

2020 has been a shit year for many. There we are. In the words of Mad-Eye Moody, “End of story. Goodbye. The End…”

But it hasn’t all been about Covid.

For instance, among my family and extended family three people are living with cancer at the moment. The worst moments of some people’s lives have taken place, all while Covid exists as an annoying accomplice in the background. Cancer hasn’t gone away. Nor have any of the other ailments killing people every day.

My husband’s work has changed completely. He’s adapted and is a podcaster now and wants to do a Masters for himself, because as he put it, “You just sometimes realise if you want to do something for yourself, you’ve got to do it now. There’s no time.”

We had a major financial scare at the beginning of this year. Suffice to say, there are some dodgy, dodgy companies out there… and they will still be doing what they do post-Covid, because some things never change.

I’ve heard numerous times from my daughter, the words, “I hate coronavirus!” All she sees is that she cannot meet her friends in the same way. She can’t stay over at Grandma’s. She couldn’t go to school. She hates seeing her parents in the scary masks and doesn’t understand why so many people are angry and impatient everywhere. And all the adults ever seem to talk about is fucking coronavirus. LOL.

I started writing a series of books last winter, almost a year ago now. I put fingers to keys to create the Bad Series well before any of this kicked off.

I wrote this series during some of the worst times of my life, but I worked SO HARD throughout to stick to the brief I set out a year ago – to write it as it was meant to be written from concept to completion. I oftentimes write my books real-time and that’s why more often than not, I write in first-person present tense because I want it to have the feel of “happening right now” – that you’re living the story alongside the characters. The epilogue of the Bad Series brings the characters right up to about now (2020 – the year which in future shall not be named). However, I am no way going to ever mention the C-word in any of my books. WHY? Because it doesn’t have a place. Not right now. Maybe not ever. The issues I chose to write about and have been detailing for ten years are, to me, much more prevalent, evergreen and pressing. Issues such as family, relationships, friendships, mental health, overcoming trauma, acceptance of one another and love.

If you want to discover what my post-natal brain conjured eight or nine years ago about the future (2023) then read my predictions in the Unity Series. If you’d like a window into what my highly sensitive nerve endings picked up on as being our future, Unity comes very close in a lot of (interpretational) ways. If there was a message in the Unity Series, it was to think for yourself. To not allow ourselves to be pushed apart. Broken, we can be divided; together, we’re unbreakable.

Fiction, as it turns out, is more important than ever. To me. To you. To the world. A safe space in which to translate and work through everything going on around us.

I know how lucky I am every day to be able to venture into my own private domain. To have the skill to be able to knit my concerns about the world within good stories. To have my safe space.

I recognise, now more than ever, there is pain out there which goes far beyond the virus and it is being squashed away because of this C-word thing going on and interrupting our lives.

Domestic abuse is up. Cancer patients are waiting. Many elderly are suffering because they simply cannot get out. They are missing that VITAL chance to be around the younger generation and feel connected to the world. People are telling themselves their suffering is small and therefore they aren’t going to the doctor with that ache or pain or lump they’d normally get checked out. And MONEY still isn’t being placed where it is needed most. And the WRONG sectors are benefiting from this crisis while the pre-existing and various struggles of millions are ongoing and far outweigh some people’s reluctance to don a mask.

And the very fine balance of people’s mental health is being tested like never before. Those of us who have never had a mental health issue – are wondering if it’s coming for us next. Because sometimes, some days, you just wake up and think, “What the fuck next…?”

For someone who processes events slowly, and then all at once, the next writings from me might be very interesting indeed.

Is 2020 a write-off?

I don’t know.

Personally, this year has taught me that I am there for a heck of a lot of people. And I will always be. But stepping back sometimes is something I have to do. Trying to save people is something I can’t accomplish. Even when I can see what they’re doing is causing damage only to themselves, I can’t step in. But maybe somebody reading one of my books might read it… and be moved to see things clearer than if someone in their lives had sat them down and told them.

For some, lockdown was their saviour. It was finally their chance to take stock. To catch up on sleep. No more boarding a flight every week. No more sardine-in-a-can train journeys. Time spent catching up with their partner and/or kids. Time to spruce up the house or driveway or back garden, or front – maybe all the above. Time to grow out your hair and/or nails. Time to breathe. Time to actually speak to your neighbour. A chance to buy local. A chance to sell local. A chance to be local.

If I’m anything to go by, let me tell you, one thing is for certain.

Post-2020, creativity is going to be UP!

Things are going to change, and it is going to hurt, but through the enormous amount of creativity that is coming – because nothing can come from nothing and who we are, the experiences we’ve had and the hearts we own are everything – we can be together.

Watch this space…

Writing for Men and Women

When I started out writing, well writing fiction anyway, it was because I had an idea that simply wouldn’t desist. I had to get this idea out of my mind and that was it. As soon as I began writing it out, it began spooling. I began to become an author.

I never did it intentionally, but I realised quite early on that my books appeal to both men and women. Which is funny. I never sat down and said to myself, “This will be for both sexes.” What I wrote just ended up that way. I suppose I was a little influenced by the saying, ‘Write for someone, if not yourself, someone else.’ So I always wrote stories both me and my husband would get a kick out of. Which in itself is bizarre because my husband’s preferences are different to mine. He loves horror and classical music, I love pop and action movies. He can watch Citizen Kane on repeat, whereas I can happily watch a boxed set of Homeland or Bourne!

I do actually feel sorry for blokes though, you know. Perhaps a smidgen. Well, a puny smidgen. It’s fairly accepted in the erotic community that even most male erotic authors are not alphas who want to thrash you to Kingdom Come, ahem. If that is your definition of alpha, anyway. My definition of a real-life alpha is much different to most novels out there…!

Well. The reason women write male characters so strong and so mixed up and so, I don’t know, kinky… is just because… and I don’t want to quote Bill Clinton but… “because we can”. Yet at the same time, me… the erotic author as guilty as most… I still feel a tiny, little responsibility to give guys a little break.

cropped-a-fine-profession-website-use.jpgMy husband reads all my stuff. One friend of ours bravely voiced his concern when I first started writing erotica, notably A Fine Profession, and asked my husband if he was okay with it all. I believe said friend made a joke of throbbing and clenching or something!! He was the one snickering embarrassedly, neither of us were! I am not the easily offended sort so I took it all in good stead. Andrew, too, just laughed it off because he is able to distinguish me from the writing, because he knows me so well. He is my best friend and there is literally nothing we don’t talk about. I won’t explain why A Fine Pursuit is still my husband’s favourite novel, suffice it to say that novel went beyond the fantasy and delved into the plight of the man just looking for love, not knowing how to combine his fantasies with a real relationship—without compromising other more delicate matters of the heart.

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As it happens, when I began writing A Fine Profession, I thought it was important to show that being sexualised is not inherent, it is learned. There are readers/writers out there for whom erotica will never, ever be their thing. You either veer toward sexual exploration, or you veer away. It’s a tricky path and one which Lottie herself finds herself jumping on and off between the books she features in.

When I first told people I was writing novels, pretty much all the male colleagues I had approached me, wanting to know where they could get it and what it was about. I wouldn’t say I am a tomboy but I have never and will never be a girly girl! It’s surprising because my daughter is a girly girl and she wants to do dress-up and stuff all the time, so she’s forcing me to do things my own mother could never get me into! I’ve also never been the *giggles* with a red face type either. We weren’t born on a nudist camp… but my three siblings and me never felt like we couldn’t talk about certain issues with our parents and each other! We’re all a pretty outspoken lot actually. Anyway my filthy, foul-mouthed nature and interest in the gritty stuff is certainly why boys want to know a little bit about what I write because they predict it won’t be all, “My god, I am pooling irresistibly in hidden places and my lady garden is dribbling and moist and I’ve never seen a willy before.” – – SIDE NOTE: Actually, god I wish I had wrote that sentence and published it, that’s ace! :-p

Hmm. Perhaps I should write books just for women or just for men or whatever, you know, but I am glad I write books that both men and women can enjoy. Certainly, some grown men have cried over my books and I love that. Anyway, I might just finish this zany blog with a little something-something. Boys… don’t feel bad when your girl is reading about the man with the massive shhhh-long and the perfect pecs and abs and all those other Bad Boy criteria… just take advantage of the fact a few words have got her all worked up for you, the real man in the bedroom! Because more and more each day, I am getting emails along the lines, “My husband says thanks!” OR “We got pregnant!”

Perhaps it is what comes next after the romance that we really need to write about, hey??

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????To finish this most bodacious blog, I want to leave you with this latest review of A Fine Pursuit (EROTICA FROM A COMPLETELY MALE PERSPECTIVE) – this was kindly done by Books and Beyond Fifty Shades… they gave A Fine Pursuit FIVE STARS!! Plus, this book is currently on sale at 99 cents in the AMAZON US Kindle store and can be read as a standalone if you wish:

We learned of Lottie’s life in A Fine Profession. Now we get to explore Noah’s mind in A Fine Pursuit. We get inside his head to see where he was coming from and his feelings on everything. Noah knows he has to come to terms with things from his past that he would rather leave buried. However, in order to get his love back, he must get to the heart of the matter. He has deep rooted issues and insecurities that make it extremely difficult for him to give himself completely.

He begins to see a therapist that is helping him figure out where all his deep feelings start and how to get over his past in order to have the future he so desperately desires. Noah and Lottie have an explosive connection. But is that all there is or is it truly something so much more deep and real. They learn that their overwhelming chemistry isn’t always enough to keep them connected forever.

I liked this book even more than A Fine Profession and I think that is because of getting the book from Noah’s POV. There were so many times that my heart broke for him and Lottie would push him away so that he could be able to figure things out. Which is what they needed since their sexual chemistry was off the charts. They needed that time apart to be able to sort everything out.

There were many times I wanted to strangle Lottie for the way she pushed him away and treated him. She would constantly throw leaving him in his face and I hated that for him. He loves her so deeply and his heart would break each time. Nevertheless, in the end she had her reasons for the way she acted and pushed. Will their love be able to survive both their pasts and the hurts that they both caused each other? One-click this book now to find out. You will not be disappointed. This was a wonderful sequel to A Fine Profession.