Hold on to your fishnets, today’s visiting Lolitas are the one and only Smutketeers! (Today’s interview may not be appropriate for those with delicate sensibilities or under the age of majority.)
Lolita Suzanne: Welcome to Steamed! and thanks for helping us celebrate our birthday by being part of Steampunkapalooza. Could you please introduce yourselves and what you write?
Eden: I’m Eden Bradley, also soon to be published as Eve Berlin with Berkley Heat, and I’m the oldest of the Smutketeers-everyone’s big sister. Or grandma, depending on the day and how badly the others are misbehaving. I write contemporary, futuristic and paranormal erotica and erotic romance (so far, anyway), with a specialty in the kinky stuff. Well, not everything I write is kinky. Um… I suppose it depends on your definition of kinky…but I digress. I write for Bantam/Delta, Harlequin Spice, Berkley Heat, Samhain Publishing and Phaze Publishing. I love long walks on the beach, younger men, art, books and stiletto heels, not necessarily in that order. And Steampunk everything, of course!
Lilli: I’m Lilli Feisty. I think I’ve written a bit of everything: romantic comedy, light paranormal, urban fantasy… but my main focus is contemporary spicy romance. When it comes to my sex scenes, people often ask if it’s based on personal experience. Well, the answer is, pretty much! 🙂 I write for Grand Central Publishing, Harlequin Spice Briefs, Samhain and Ellora’s Cave. I’m the bad girl of the group. I’m the one you’ll find at the back of the bar, lounging in a chair smoking a cigar and waiting for one of Eden’s studs to bring me a cocktail. 🙂 I also cuss like a sailor. Mmm. Sailors. That’s the only reason I take long walks on the beach. 🙂 I also am obsessed with music, dancing and writing really horrid poetry.
Crystal: I’m Crystal Jordan…I write a little bit of everything that’s dirty, but mostly paranormal and futuristic erotic romance. Pretty much anything that allows me to say, “Well, it’s MY world and I say they can do it that way. It doesn’t matter if people can’t do that in real life. I get to make it up as I go along!” I’m the bossy one of the bunch, don’t you know? My publishers are Kensington Aphrodisia, Harlequin Spice Briefs, Samhain Publishing, and Ellora’s Cave. I’m happy to take a long walk on the beach with Eden and olge her younger men, but she can keep her four inch heels. I go barefoot (except for cute nail polish)!
R.G.: I’m R.G. Alexander and I AM the innocent one of the group. Don’t listen when they tell you I write mostly paranormal ménage and more—it’s all lies and slander. Okay…maybe not. I write for Berkley Heat, Samhain, and Ellora’s Cave. I would probably be watching Eden and Crystal walk on the beach with those studs as I spend hours trying to make the perfect sandcastle with my hubby. 🙂
Eden: Okay—R.G. is hardly innocent. Just sayin’. And just to clarify, I have ONE younger man and am blissfully happy with him, so there’s no need for anyone to lock up their sons. And my fellow Smutketeers are welcome to ogle my younger man any time they like. And Feisty, you know he’ll happily bring you a cocktail.:)
LS: Well, I’m so glad you all can join us today. How did you come up with the name “The Smuketeers” and your clever catch phrase “All for Smut and Smut for All?”
Eden: R.G. found a website that addressed the different psychological profiles of the four Musketeers, and she matched each of them to one of us. Then she was talking about doing a sci-fi series called ‘Smutketeers in Space’ with characters based on each of us, which we all thought was hysterical. That somehow turned into a Steampunk idea (R.G.’s agent is currently shopping that proposal).
How did we come up with ‘All for Smut and Smut for All’? We have a lot of four-way phone conversations (we all live in different areas of the country) and that was one of those strange, organic things that just happen with us a lot. You get the four of us on the phone together and anything can happen-it often devolves into something smutty from there. A lot of erotic fiction authors fondly refer to themselves as smut peddlers, so that term is tossed around a lot, and it seemed natural for us. I truly can’t remember who came up with the term ‘Smutketeers’ (maybe R.G. or Crystal?) or who first said ‘All for Smut and Smut For All’.
LS: Those sound like some great phone conversations. I do love the idea of “Smutketeers in Space.” You four have a new continuality series coming out, the “Wasteland” series. What *are* these stories about? When will they come out and where can we buy them?
The Smutketeers: Our Wasteland Series novellas will be released one per week during the month of May from Samhain Publishing. Here’s the overall blurb, and one for each of our stories:
THE WASTELAND SERIES
Coming from Samhain Publishing in May 2010!
In 2012, the world came to a grinding halt as radiation hit from a massive solar storm. Crops died, animals perished, cities fell, and humans became little more than beasts themselves. Under the threat of starvation, civility was reduced to mere memory. Only the strongest men survived, and physically weaker women and children wasted to nothingness.
More than a century later, humanity struggles in the desert Wasteland. The solar radiation rendered most women infertile, and the population dwindles more with each year that passes. Scattered up and down coasts, isolated cities eke out an existence from fishing, foraging, and hunting for what little game is left. Outside the city walls, men face the threat of pirates and raiders.
Few women remain, divided into four classes: Whores, Breeders, Priestesses, and Wanderers. They are as reviled as they are worshiped, a commodity any man must pay to touch. To touch a Whore, a man must sacrifice his riches. To touch a Breeder, a man must sacrifice his freedom. To touch a Priestess, a man must be chosen by the gods. And to touch a Wanderer may end up costing him his life.
There is only one rule in the Wasteland: survive.
Crystal Jordan~~ Book One: The Wanderer
Lilli Feisty~~Book Two: The Whore
Eden Bradley~~Book Three: The Breeder
R.G. Alexander~~Book Four: The Priestess
Crystal: Here’s the blurb for my book:
WASTELAND: THE WANDERER by Crystal Jordan
Release date: May 4, 2010
Love is the most dangerous experiment of all.
There is only one rule in the Wasteland: survive.
For Ezra, the risk is worth the reward. People speak his name with the same reverent terror reserved for ancient wrathful gods, but he must always be ready to fend off those who would take what’s his. And what he wants to be his is Kadira.
Kadira, adopted after she witnessed the slaughter of her devoted parents, has vowed never to love or need anyone. It seems only fitting that she, an outsider, accept Ezra’s demand in trade for the fuel technology her clan needs—but her deep, unexpected need for him is the torture she’s fought all her life to avoid. Worse, the greater her wrath, the more he seems to like it.
Ezra’s mercenary half delights at having the warrior woman in his arms. His scientist half can’t resist the urge to see what makes her react—and what makes her explode.
The real experiment: if the bond they forge is strong enough to make her want to stay.
Lilli: And here’s my blurb:
WASTELAND: THE WHORE by Lilli Feisty
Release date: May 11, 2010
Her quest for freedom plunges her into dangerous waters…of desire.
Bryn is a “Rose”, but her life is no garden. A stolen child, prostitution is the only life she’s ever known—except on the nights she sneaks out in stolen men’s clothing to explore the city. A tiny taste of freedom that makes her long for a life outside sexual servitude, at the mercy of any man who can pay.
Xander remembers no other home except his pirate ship, smuggling weapons or anything else for a fee. He’s been happy with his life and his lover, Hawke…until he rescues what he thinks is a young man from robbers.
Figuring she can blend in with the crew, Bryn jumps at the chance to escape the Brothel. Then she discovers Xander and Hawke have a taste for pretty boys—and that she has a taste for them. In their arms, she embraces their incredible gift: control of her own sexuality.
Though women are considered bad luck at sea, Xander isn’t of a mind to give her up. Yet the time is drawing near when the ship must return to Wasteland to resupply. And what awaits them there is a danger that could tear them apart.
Eden: Here’s the blurb for my book:
WASTELAND: THE BREEDER by Eden Bradley
Release date: May 18, 2010
Destined to serve the desires of an entire city, all she wants is one man. Or maybe two…
Born to the Temple, Nitara knows the Great Goddess’s plan for her: to bring life into what is left of an arid and wasted Earth. Since puberty she has been trained to arouse and titillate, to ensure the continuation of the human race.
As is the custom, the man captured for her is strong of blood, though considered little more than a wild animal. Yet when she looks into his eyes, she sees no primitive creature, but the man whose face and hands haunt her sensual dreams.
For Akaash, a hunter and warrior, it’s his shame that he will be sacrificed to a goddess he doesn’t believe in, for a people who are not his own, leaving behind his Wanderer clan—and his bonded lover, Dhatri. Locked in the bowels of the Temple, he has a month to ponder his fate, all while falling helplessly under the spell of the virgin temptress who will soon take his life.
With each tortuously erotic encounter, however, Akaash realizes that Nitara is as much a prisoner as he. If he can just get a message out to Dhatri, there may be a slim chance both of them can escape…
R.G.: Here’s my blurb:
WASTELAND: THE PRIESTESS by R.G. Alexander
Release Date: May 25, 2010
Damn the rules, damn the gods…even if he has to share her, she belongs to him.
High Priestess Xian has followed the Path of the Peaceful Sun since she was chosen at birth. Yet the joy she receives from helping others is overshadowed by her growing belief that the world they live in is…wrong.
At a crossroads, unsure of her ability to do her job—unsure of anything—she journeys to the ruins of the old city, hoping to uncover secrets that will give her clarity. Instead she finds the path to her goal clouded by an unexpected desire for her handsome guard, Hel, and for the battered stranger they find along the way.
Hel can’t prevent Xian from reaching out to the mysterious Siraj, but there is danger in allowing him to stay. Siraj belongs to no caste, follows no rules but his own. And Xian’s fascination with him makes Hel’s blood boil. No one can know that Hel has always loved her, or the secret he’s kept hidden for years. But Siraj’s advances, and Xian’s curiosity, force Hel to cross lines he never before dared…
LS: Wow, those sound amazing. What an incredible world and beautiful covers. These stories are “erotica”, right? What can someone expect when picking up an erotic novel? How are they different from romance novels? Do they have strong characters? Strong stories? Would the “average Jane” enjoy them? (What about the average Joe? Do guys ever read your books?)
Eden: These stories are erotic romance, which means they all end with a happily-ever-after. The difference between erotica and erotic romance is that happily-ever-after, or at least a happily-for-now. While erotica focuses more on personal journey, erotic romance’s main focus is a developing relationship.
The difference between romance and erotic romance is that in erotic romance the sex is a crucial part of the story arc, character development and relationship development. It’s a sort of sub-plot in itself-in well-written erotic romance, anyway. And I believe strong characters and strong stories are crucial to any well-written book. Writing sex doesn’t absolve an author of the need to write a good book. I write very character-driven books, so character development is hugely important to me.
I think erotic fiction has a wide appeal-a lot of women you might never suspect read it. I get a lot of male readers from my appearances on Playboy Radio and I’ve definitely had fan mail from men, although I couldn’t say for sure if they are the ‘average Joe’s’. Maybe I don’t want to know-lol!
Crystal: Yes-mine always have strong characters and very strong stories. We each took a different group or caste of women in these stories so we could develop them and make them very individual and strong. I consider myself the average Jane, and I love them! As for the average Joe, I’ve gotten thank you notes from men-does that count?
Lilli: Sex all by itself is a story. Sex is when you’re the most vulnerable, when you’re the most intimate. Sure, it can also be hot, but when I write sex, it’s more about how my characters react to the sex, and that’s what I find interesting.
R.G.: My husband likes my stories. (But don’t tell him I told you.).
Eden: You know we can’t keep any secrets from him. He knows everything about all of us! R.G.’s husband is an honorary Smutketeer. We use him as a consultant.:)
LS: Though each of you has your own story, the world is the same, right? How do the stories crossover? Do they need to be read in order? What challenges do you face when writing in a shared world? Was this a new concept for you all?
R.G.: Yes, the world is the same, and one we developed together over a period of nearly a year. It’s almost a snow-ball effect, where each story builds on the other. I wrote the last story in the series, and I tried to pull all the loose threads together. They can be read as stand-alones, but to see the whole tapestry, I vote for reading them in order.
Crystal: I’ve actually done a shared world before. One of the challenges I’ve found is that you can step on each other’s toes when trying to claim your own space, so one of the things we did to avoid that in this series was to share the basic world but each writer’s own caste of women we developed individually. So, there was a shared space, but also an individual space for each writer.
Eden: This is my first shared world. R.G. and I both wrote about the Temple of the Goddess, so we worked very closely together on developing that religion, and while we were writing we checked in with each other pretty much daily by phone and email. R.G. and I both incorporated characters from the Wanderer tribes that Crystal developed, so we made sure to check details with her, and Feisty checked in with each of us, as well. Consistency is crucial when writing a shared world with multiple authors.
I have written futuristic and sort of post-apocalyptic London-although the apocalypse was more a political breakdown-in my Midnight Playground vampire series from Samhain. Book One, THE SEEKING KISS, is out now, and Book Two, Bloodsong, will be out later this year.
Crystal: I’ve written shared worlds before, as well as futuristic and post-apocalyptic, in my books CARNAL DESIRE, UNTAMED, and in a series that is yet to be published (but check the Smutketeers blog for more news coming soon!).
R.G.: And Crystal also wrote futuristic in her novella, IN ICE, which is in Volume V of Kensington Aphrodisia’s Sexy Beast anthology. And that is a must read!
I’ve done alternate universe sci-fi in my books, WHO WANTS TO DATE A SUPERHERO and WHO NEEDS ANOTHER SUPERHERO, available at Ellora’s Cave. Though I haven’t written post-apocalyptic, I write a lot of alternate universe stories based on various world mythologies, especially my Children of the Goddess series, available from Samhain, and my Temptation Unveiled series, also available through Ellora’s Cave.
I had a great time creating the religion for our Wasteland series with Eden, which was based on a compilation of ancient earth myths and religions. I majored in anthropology and minored in mythology and religion, so these subjects fascinates me.
LS: The idea of a post apocalyptic series is very cool, what gave you the idea to do that? Did one of you come up with the idea and share it with the others or did you come up with it as a group? Was selling the idea a challenge? What about writing in this genre? What difficulties did it pose versus writing contemporary?
R.G.: That was another four-way conversation gone horribly wrong, or horribly right, depending on how you look at it.
Eden: I think it went absolutely right!
Crystal: Was selling the idea a challenge? Hell no-we have the most awesome editor on the planet (luckily we all have the same Samhain editor). The moment we mentioned it to her, she was on board. She is the queen of Armageddon!
I don’t write a lot of contemporary, so for me it was ‘Thank God it wasn’t contemporary!”
Lilli: I write a lot of contemporary, but I have written some paranormals as well. I also love paranormal books and movies. I’m a huge Joss Weiden fangirl, and I think I put a little Firefly into my pirate ship.:) The biggest challenge for me was jumping into a world I didn’t create. While it was fascinating and fun, every once in awhile I had to turn around and go, “where am I?” LOL
Eden: I most often write contemporary, so for me it was a huge challenge. Although I had just written my first vampire futuristic for my Midnight Playground series, I’ve never done this much world-building before. It was hard, but I loved it. It was so much fun to get to write outside my usual box-there’s so much more creativity involved when writing an alternate world. I plan to do it as often as possible!
LS: I would definitely say this was a conversation right. So did you have the world first and then come up with your stories? Could you each share a little about your creative process?
Eden: We kind of started with R.G.’s Musketeer psych profiles, then went off from there-which is what usually happens with us. I ended up writing a virgin heroine, which is totally against type for me; obviously we didn’t all stick with those psych profiles. Except for Crystal, who will totally kick anyone’s ass. *G*
I can’t remember how we ended up there. So much of the writing process is a mystery to me, to be honest. My writing process includes a lot of chocolate and the occasional tears. Seriously. I have this Van Gogh-like belief that we must suffer for our art-lol!
Crystal: The process just happens-it’s like magic. And R.G. kept calling to tell us about these end of the world documentaries she was watching, until we figured out exactly what our particular 2012 apocalypse was about.
R.G.: The whole time Eden was writing THE BREEDER, she was totally manic-one day she hated it, the next day she loved it. That’s her process. *G*
Our editor knows a lot about apocalyptic theories, so she was a big influence.
Lilli: These girls did so much world-building, I was lucky. I just opened the door and stepped into the Wasteland. J And then added a few hot pirates and a prostitute. My favorite part was writing little things that referred to the other books. Like, at one point my hero mentions trading with this inventor. The inventor is actually Ezra in Crystal’s book, and you never meet him in mine, but I like how those tiny details tie the individual stories together.
LS: That sounds very, very cool. I do love the way they all overlap/interlink. In the past decade there’s been an explosion of sub-genres. Has this growth made it easier or harder for “out of the box” stories to find homes? Are you excited with the whole movement towards genre-blending? How do you think this will influence the types of stories we’ll see on the shelves?
Eden: I think the publishing industry is more open to ‘out of the box’ story ideas in general, not just in cross-genre. My first Harlequin Spice novel, THE LOVERS (out in January, 2011), has a primary female/female relationship through part of the book, which is very new in erotic romance. I love that some of the publishers are willing to take on different, more challenging material.
LS: You’re having an event at the upcoming Romantic Times Convention and a contest to promote your series, can you tell me about it?
Eden: We have several things planned for the Romantic Times convention, coming up at the end of April in Columbus, Ohio.
We’re doing another photo shoot, so we’ve been putting together our Steampunk gear. I’m such a costume geek, and I love Steampunk, so I’m in heaven! And we’re having a very special contest for those attending the RT Convention. We’ll be at Club RT to meet and chat with readers on Friday, April 30th from 11AM-12PM. We’re having a drawing, and we’ll dress the winner in Steampunk gear (unless they have their own, of course) to be photographed with us! There will be some other little goodies involved, too. You’ll be able to enter on the Smutketeers blog the week before the convention (we all leave on April 27th) in case you can’t make the Club RT time, but the winner must be available for us to reach by cell phone at noon that day, and ready to be dressed and photographed at 12:30. We’ll publish photos on the Smutketeer blog. It should be a blast!
LS: That sounds like so much fun. I’m very jealous I can’t go, but some of the other Lolitas will be there. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Eden: Since this is the Steamed blog, I should mention that we’re kicking around an idea for a Steampunk anthology for next year, so stay tuned on the Smutketeers blog for more information! I have a sort of City of Lost Children-ish/cyberpunk idea, but erotic, so not so much the children part…lol! It’s just more about the tone and the vision.
We’ll also be presenting a panel at RT with Samhain managing editor Laurie M. Rauch on Thursday, April 29th from 10AM-11AM, ‘Sextopia, Writing Sex Scenes Across the Ages and Genres’. We’ll be doing some fun giveaways, so if you’re at RT, be sure not to miss it! I’ll also be participating in a reader party on Wednesday afternoon, ‘It’s Fun to Be Bad’, with some of the star authors of erotic romance, as well as last year’s Mr. Romance, Charles Paz! And I’ll be doing a paranormal panel with some truly amazing authors, including the fabulous Mary Janice Davidson on Wednesday morning.
I have a few releases coming up from Samhain. SUMMER SOLSTICE, Book Three in my Celestial Seductions series, will be out this summer, followed in the fall by BLOODSONG, Book Two in my Midnight Playground series. In May my second Harlequin Spice Briefs, NIGHT MOVES, an erotic train story, will be available. And in October I’ll be debuting my first Berkley Heat novel written as Eve Berlin. PLEASURE’S EDGE is a very romantic BDSM-themed erotic story. I’m excited about the new pen name (I write as Eve exclusively for Berkley), and my gorgeous new website: www.EveBerlin.com
R.G.: RT!! I can’t wait!
News, huh? Well I have my first Berkley Heat book, POSSESS ME, coming out August 3rd, I’ve just signed up for a new 3 novella anthology with Berkley Heat for 2011, and I’m finishing up several e-book series with Samhain and Ellora’ Cave. I also currently have a proposal out for an erotic romance series that is-yes-Steampunk! Cross your fingers.
Crystal: I can’t wait to do the RT panel with my girls. This is gonna be tons of fun!
Let’s see…what else do I have coming out? I just signed a new three book deal with Kensington Aphrodisia, so I have sequels to my shape-shifter books UNTAMED and ON THE PROWL in the works. I also have two erotic urban fantasy novels coming out in 2011 and 2012, but they don’t have official titles yet. Lots of magic, sex, tormented characters, and a few werewolf terrorists thrown in to keep things interesting.
In August of this year, I have SEXY BEAST 9 coming out from Kensington, which is about a mercurial woman who twists a stoic shape-shifter king into knots. Then in October, there’s PRIMAL HEAT, where an ancient race of alien shape-shifters come to claim their mates on earth. For e-books, I have a couple of series I’m working on for Samhain Publishing. First, of course, is the WASTELAND story with my Smutketeers. I also have my UNBELIEVABLE series about a naughty guardian angel who helps the truly hopeless cynics fall in love. Then I’m kicking off a series about demon triads that give you a triple dose of smut. Yummy!
Lilli: Yes, our panel is going to be so much fun! I am really looking forward to it. And now that I’ve overcome my fear of speaking in public, I’ve become quite the talker. And you just never know what’s going to come out of my mouth. J I’m currently finishing up a contemporary for Grand Central about an uptight L.A. chef who is forced to work for an earthy gal who isn’t impressed with his “cultured” ways. It’s a really fun book! And, of course, we have our Wasteland series coming out, which was super fun to write. And I’m currently working on a Steampunk series that takes place in Victorian England. The best part is I get to go to Burning Man this year as research. So much cool Steampunk art there! I can’t wait!
LS: So many great things, wow. Thank you for taking the time to come visit us today, we really appreciate it!
Smutketeers: Thanks so much for having us! We love visiting the Lolitas!
We hope everyone will visit us on our group blog: www.Smutketeers.com , and on our websites:
Thank you so much for dropping by today and we hope you come back soon. Yesterday we announced the winner of the Clockwork Couture ensemble contest. If you comment on that post you can also win a copy of issue 6 of Steampunk Tales. Simply Willow and her beautiful jewelery stop by tomorrow, Wednesday, April 21. Young Adult author Scott Westerfeld visits on Thursday, April 22. On Saturday, April 24th we have a very special treat for you, a release party for O.M. Grey’s debut Steampunk novel Avalon Revisited. Come join us for all sorts of fun and mayhem. We’ll be joined by debut young adult author Kate Milford on Sunday, April 25th as Steampunkapalooza continues all April long.