On the list

We haven’t disappeared. There’s a thing called ‘real life’ that sometimes happens, and it means we don’t get a chance to keep up the blog. In our case the last few months have been a combination of work (i.e. writing projects that weren’t very erotic but  paid the bills), and visiting ill people in the wider family.

2014finalistHowever, last week we had an email asking if we knew Fulani has a bdsm story collection in the finalists’ list for the 2014 eFestival of Words Best of Independent eBook Awards. And no, we didn’t. Just because you’re nominated for an award doesn’t mean you get told about it.

museum new image‘Best Erotica’ category includes a nomination for The Museum of Deviant Desires, by Fulani (1001 Nights Press).

The eFestival of Words awards have categories ranging from children’s books to crime and self-help to science fiction/fantasy – and for erotica. See the full nominations list (lots of categories) on the eFestival of Words website.

Voting is now live, with the winner announced on 24 August. In order to vote you have to register with the website, but it’s free.

Meanwhile if you haven’t read The Museum of Deviant Desires it’s  available from several places, including Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

We haven’t been very busy on the erotica front recently, but forthcoming attractions will include a steampunk erotic story in a soon-to-be-published Sweetmeats Press collection.

Have fun – and vote!

The Bill Gates Condom Competition

Yes, it’s a real thing. Back in March 2013, Bill and Melinda Gates put up a $100,000 prize for an improved condom design as part of th Grand Challenges in Global Health programme. It’s one of the Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11 topics and here’s a link directly to its web page, if you think you have a great design.

The logic of it is ‘the lack of perceived incentive for consistent use’ – the benefits of not contracting STIs are offset by issues such as decrease in stimulation and the need to engage in awkward messing around with a small latex balloon just before sex (though there are answers to that such as incorporating into sex play…). The challenge is, therefore, to create a condom that could enhance pleasure and is easier to use.

One design that’s already won praise is the origami condom, which is already manufactured by a small company in California and is made of silicone rather than latex (with a one-way valve to stop semen leaking out).

However, one guy’s design for a condom applicator is likely to win only a niche following, probably mostly among dommes with male submissives who need a sharp reminder of their domme’s superiority. You can see the explanation of its use and the applicator in action on a video on Trendhunter – it’s tagged ‘Prophylactic projectiles‘, which may give you some idea of how it works.

The Intelligent Dress

A quick note about the dangers of writing erotica that has a near-future science-fiction element: things can come true more quickly that you expect.

Corporate Slave Cover

Corporate Slave Cover

In my novel Corporate Slave (you can buy it on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and in a bunch of other places listed on the ‘Our Published Work‘ page) one part of the plot revolves around an ‘intelligent dress’, which has a number of functions. These include internet connectivity and the ability to carry out surveillance of other nearby electronic equipment, the ability to functino as body armour and the ability to change colour depending on the mood of the wearer. In circumstances of sexual arousal the dress may become transparent.

When I wrote the book I knew that prototype jackets with built-in cellphones existed. I knew that some forms of plastic were and are under development that can shock impacts by stiffening. And I knew that some other materials exist that change colour if given a particular type of electrical charge. These are all separate developments that I bundled together into one item.

Bear with me here. The BBC has just published an article about road technology (which you can read here). The key detail of the article is that the technology now exists to embed self-illuminating road signs in the surface of roads, and it’s being tested at the moment in the Netherlands. But there’s a comment in the article about something else: the technology has been developed by the artist Daan Roosegaarde, famous for interactive projects, and a manager at the Dutch civil engineering firm, Hans Goris. And

Mr Roosegaarde’s past efforts have included a dance floor with built-in disco lights powered by dancers’ foot movements, and a dress that becomes see-through when the wearer is aroused.

You can read more about the Intimacy 2.0 dress on Roosegarde’s own website, including pictures and video – and there’s a longer journalistic piece on YouTube that explains the leather and e-foil dress moves from opaque to transparent as the wearer’s heart-rate increases.

And for men? Well, that could be even more interesting. Roosegarde says ‘We’re working on a suit that becomes transparent when you lie’.



Sizzler Editions revamp

Sizzler just announced a revamp of their website, which will be temporarily closed prior to a grand relaunch on 1 April 2013. See Renaissance Sizzler’s announcement on their Tumblr account here.

[***Edited 7 April to add: the new URL is sizzlereditions.com and a redirect is in place from the old site as well.]

Hanging Around - coverThis only affects one of Fulani’s books, the story collection Hanging Around – which is still available from a bunch of other places including Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk; Barnes and Noble (Nook edition), AdultEbookShop and Fictionwise.

While I think of it, you might be interested to know the cover model was Ellie, a goth/fetish model who moved in the same circles as me a few years back. The photographer was Jon Wilson, who at the time was a prolific fetish photographer in the UK. And the setting was a swingers’ club near Birmingham, UK which had monthly fetish events as well as being a venue for photoshoots and such. Turn the pic on its side: this was actually a suspension from a bondage frame that isn’t visible in the pic, with the frame itself not visible in the shot.

Times move on. Ellie left the area, I think for family reasons, and I lost touch with her. Jon Wilson, when I had a conversation with him a couple of weeks ago, is now heavily into making CGI. And when the lease on the building used by the swingers’ club ran out, so I heard, the property was sold for redevelopment. Another club started up in that area soon afterwards and also does fetish events, though I’ve never been.

The story collection, though, remains as fresh, imaginative, juicy and bouncy as it was the day it was published!

A couple of news items

A couple of things that are worth reporting.

Xcite are open for voting in their annual Xcite Awards. They cover best internet retail site (for sex toys), best erotic author blog, bets reviewers, best sexperts and best erotic publication. And no, we’re not in the running for any category so you can’t vote for us. But if you want to review the nominations and vote, here’s the link to the nominations list.

Oysters and Chocolate has been a premier erotica website for a decade or so. But the two principal people who ran it, Samantha and Jordan, decided they wanted to get involved in other projects. They closed it down at the end of January. They also ran OC Press, and most of the titles there have now been taken on by other publishers. Fulani had precisely one story published on the Oysters and Chocolate blog, and in due course we’ll post it here so it’s still available.

Also, for those of you in the UK who use the fetish social networking site Informed Consent – it’s closing down in a couple of weeks. Its administrator, Tanos, has run it for something like 15 years, which in internet terms is an eternity. He has other irons in the fire so if you want to keep abreast of what he’s up to you can become a member of Fetlife, where he’s set up an Informed Consent discussion group, or follow him on Twitter – search for @UKTanos.

Things change, and while some sites have closed down others have opened. In particular you might be interested in Erotica Ebooks and DangerLust, both newish blogs featuring erotic publications and more. As other new stuff comes to our attention we’ll post updates.

Drug Turns Man Into ‘Gay Sex Addict’

Look what I found on Twitter! This strange case, fought through the French Courts, won the complainant £160,000 compensation for his unwanted drug side effects. It appears the drug he was prescribed for his Parkinson’s disease caused him to become a sex and gambling addict. There’s a full article from The MailOnline where you can read all about it here.


The women of Bond

There’s a new Bond film out soon, and it’s prompted a bunch of people including the BBC to revisit the history of James Bond and aspects of the character’s life. Never mind that he was in his late 30s in 1962 (in Dr. No) and is still about the same age 50 years later, which arguably means he must be a vampire, or have sold his soul to the devil. What’s been exercising the BBC recently is how his sex life compares to that of the ‘average’ man.

We’re not sure we know any average men, but Bond is apparently several standard deviations away from any average you care to think about. He can apparently attract women merely by raising an eyebrow, which means it doesn’t matter that his chat-up lines are rubbish. He’s a sexist, misogynist dinosaur (according to Judy Dench’s M) but maybe women like a little of that in a man.

It’s difficult to count exactly how many sexual partners he’s had, because the films aren’t exactly X-rated and for all we know, he’s spent the night drinking cocoa and playing Scrabble with the women he wakes up next to in bed. But apparently an academic paper in the journal Sex Roles ascertained he had ‘strong sexual contact’ with 46 women between 1962 (Dr. No) and 2002 (Die Another Day), compared to the reported figure of 9.3 sexual partners for the ‘average’ man as detrmined by the Health Survey for England.

However, one has to question his taste.

  • Pussy Galore (Goldfinger)– the only woman in the US to run an organised crime gang, largely comrising lesbian women – and she herself is a lesbian. Until Bond comes along. Yeah, well… It was 1964. Lesbians were like that back then. Maybe.
  • Honey Rider (novel) or Ryder (film, Dr. No). Professional shell diver, orphaned at the age of 5 and brought up in a cellar until the age of 15. Suffered sexual abuse and later murdered her abuser.
  • Domino Vitali (in the book) or Derval (in the film Thunderball). Graduate of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, orphaned as a result of a train crash, actress, and lover/mistress/partner of organised crime gangster Largo, though refers to him in public as her ‘guardian’, raising some speculation about the dynamics of the relationship. Also appears in Never Say Never Again, as Domino Petachi, with a somewhat different backstory. In either case she’s handy with a harpoon gun.
  • Xenia Onatopp. Soviet fighter pilot, then member of a crime syndicate after glasnost. Femme fatale, literally, who derives sexual satisfaction from killing her lovers: kills a Canadian admiral by crushing him during violent sex. Oh, and she’s a mass murderer, especially in the scene that takes plas in the satellite control centre in Siberia (the film is Goldeneye).
  • Tracy Bond, aka Contessa Teresa di Vicenzo. Born in 1943, therefore aged 20 when the action takes place (1963) in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (novel) or perhaps aged 26 at the date of the film (1969). Only child of the head of a Corsican crime syndicate, sent to boarding school and lived an unstable life commmitting a series of scandals. Marries into nobility though her husband died in a car accident with one of his mistresses. Bond saves her during a suicide attempt. Ultimately he marries her but she’s killed immediately after the wedding in a drive-by shooting.
  • Anya Amasova, KGB operative and competitor in trying to acquire a microfilm. Also known as Agent XXX – how suggestive! Bond has previously killed her lover. At their first meeting, she has her thugs beat him up in the mistaken belief he killed her Egyptian contact. The film is The Spy Who Loved Me. The film, incidentally, bears no relationship to the novel where the love interest is supplied by a rather innocent Vivienne Michel who works at the ‘Dreamy Pines Motor Court’ motel in the Adirondacks. Vivienne’s backstory involves an abortion after being made pregnant by her former boss, and losing her virginity in a field with one Derek Mallaby following his being thrown out of a cinema for indecently exposing himself.
  • Dr Holly Goodhead (though it’s not clear if the surname refects her sexual prowess), in Moonraker (1954 novel, 1979 film). Scientist, astronaut and CIA agent. Graduate of Vassar College, New York state. It being a later film, she has a good line in sarcasm. In fact an excellent line in sarcasm.

In so far as there are themes underlying Bond’s choice of sexual partners, they’d have to be: he meets them in the course of his work, they had unstable and troubled childhoods including being orphaned, sent to boarding school and/or sexually abused, and later acquired extraordinary professional skills. They aren’t averse to killing people but nonetheless are sexually attracted to alpha males with a misogynistic and sometimes sadistic (if not psychopathic) streak – even if they’re lesbian.

On the whole, the ‘average’ man is probably lucky he hasn’t struck up a relationship with any of them. He’d have to make sure not to leave scuba equipment and harpoon guns lying around. And even then, if he didn’t die crushed between their thighs, he’d be killed by an overdose of sarcasm…

Fifty shades of marketing – or just one?

Book display in bookshop

Fifty Shades and its competitors

Velvet and I were driving recently and stopped at a motorway service station. The thing that struck us in the shop was that they had a complete floor-to-ceiling bookcase, more or less next to the entrance, stocked with Fifty Shades – and a bunch of its competitors. It seems that in the wake of the ‘Fifty Shades phenomenon’ every major publisher and imprint has been scrabbling to find their own bdsm erotica author to promote because they see bdsm as the ‘next big thing’ in the world of publishing.

But that’s not all. They’ve also decided that the cover of Fifty Shades is distinctive, and decided to go for a similar look and feel for their own covers. Almost without exception they’re black or grey backgrounds with an image that is either part-shadowed (as Fifty Shades is) or with one element that’s in a bold colour.

So what we have here, ladies and gentlemen, sluts and perverts, is the mainstreaming not only of bdsm erotica, but of specific design features intended to key you in to the nature of the book. And there are, suddenly, a lot of these books. Plus, booksellers, motorway service stations and others have got in on the act by deciding that they now need a specific bdsm erotica section in their shop. Even if they don’t explicitly call it that.

(The pic in this blog, incidentally, doesn’t come from the big display in the service station, but a local bookstore.)

One other interesting feature of at least some of these books is that while Fifty Shades was a sort-of romantic story of girl-gets-her-man (I’m relyng on reviews here, I’ve never read more than a few pages) the competitors, some of them anyway, feel the need to up the ante by promising their novels are in fact erotica and no romance is involved.

So how do we feel about this?

On the one hand, it’s opened up the kind of stuff we write to new audiences. On the other, those audiences are now being targeted by  the major, mainstream publishers, which makes the writing of erotica a little more competitive. So on the one hand, it would have been cool to be approached by publishers promising big bucks in their publicity drives. But we would say that, wouldn’t we? And, while we don’t want to criticise authors we don’t know – congratulations to them for having got lucky in the publishing stakes, they presumably know what the public wants right now – given what we’ve read and what we know first-hand about bdsm, we can nonetheless kind of afford to be a little sniffy about at least some of mainstream stuff we’ve read thus far.

That said, audiences probably move incrementally and a large proportion of the Fifty Shades audience may not be quite ready for us yet. We’ve never set out to be deliberately populist, because we write the kind of stuff we’d like to read ourselves.

We’ll keep going, and sooner or later either the new audiences will find the mainstream publishers aren’t selling what their tastes graduate to and they’ll find their way to our more humble (though more hardcore) publications, or else the mainstream publishers will feel the need to take on board writers of more hardcore erotica, and we’ll stand a chance of getting picked up at that point.

Anyone else have any thoughts on how the bdsm erotica thing is unfolding in the mainstream of publishing? Or on the cover designs and marketing, etc.?

And if someone does want something more hardcore, and wants it now: Naked Delirium may be your thing – for the playfully and pleasantly perverted, as it says in the book intro. Five novellas on sex in altered states, with bdsm and some other deviant sexual practices, and some paranormal and other altered states, from five different authors including me and Velvet, plus illustrations as a bonus. It’s on Smashwords as an ebook too, but they you don’t get the nice pictures (plus Smashwords has each of the novellas as individual publications as well: Fulani’s and Velvet’s and the other three). Oh, and the cover isn’t a Fifty Shades clone, Sweetmeats Press have their own established cover style…


Alt Sex Fetish Robots?

This is a quick note that follows from some stuff that pitched up on Twitter. And it’s intriguing enough that at some stage in the future it might form the basis for a story.

Some people have what is broadly described as a robot fetish – not specifically robots necessarily, but a fetish for mannequins, dolls, robots and so on. It seems to revolve around constructs of immobility, remote control, the ability to control or desire to be controlled, ideas of programming, and probably a bunch of other things. It can encompass both being the robot and acting in robotic ways, and being the one who is controlling or interacting with the robot. It’s sexual in origin (presumably) but not necessarily in terms of any particular activities that might be seen as overtly sexual, because as we all know, a large part of sex is in the brain.

There’s a short documentary about it (from 2001) that you may be able to find on Youtube (if you have an account and are registered with them to see adult content). Otherwise, you can find it on the controlaltdeletemovie blogspot site.

There’s more on robot fetishism on Wikipedia (of course) though it’s tagged as not fully referenced etc. And there’s also a page on gynoids – specifically, female robots, of which there are several current examples, a few of which are scarily realistic and have AI-like characteristics that enable limited conversational abilities. And if you want to see pole dancing robots, Giles Walker created some for an art installation and there’s a Youtube clip of them (which isn’t age-restricted).

It seems to be an interesting and perhaps under-theorised area, and one that might be interestingly explored via fiction.