Saturday, June 1, 2013

In Service to the Senses

By Demelza Hart (Guest Blogger)

Thanks so much, Lisabet, for having me over at your blog. As I still feel like a relative newbie to the whole publishing world, I thought I’d give a little insight into what brought me into it.

To be honest, I still expect the whole notion of me writing erotic romance and erotica to be revealed as a complete fantasy, as a bizarre dream life from which I will soon awaken. Not because it’s something I’m ashamed of or in denial about, far from it, but because it’s something that had never occurred to me five years ago and which has taken me completely by surprise. It was one of those things ‘other people did’.

I have loved and been nourished by the erotic writing of so many authors since my sexual stirrings as an adolescent, and I have always loved writing myself, but it was a bizarre combination of circumstance and fortune which set me on the path I’m now following and adoring, as, I’m sure, is the case for many.

I’ll confess – I say confess, as I know to some the genre I’m about to name has some sinful connotations – my first foray into writing (beyond the meagre things I’d produced for my job) was fan fiction.  I stumbled upon some beautifully written fan fiction entirely by chance while trawling the internet for something else entirely one day. I don’t consider myself a ‘fan’ at all, but certain characters and their erotic dynamics interested me instantly. But it was the ease of posting fan fiction and the instant feedback received which gave me the motivation to write something myself and place it in the public domain, something which, back then, I would not have had the self-belief to dare with conventional publishing.

After devouring a few outstanding stories (yes, they do exist in fan fiction), I thought, ‘You know what, I think I could have a go at this.’ So I did. I formed my ever-vivid sexual imagination into words and posted a story. To my astonishment and delight people really loved it. The genuine, large and eloquent response to my writing – character and dialogue driven, appealing to the mind and senses, exploring what drives people to have sex and how it informs their life decisions … plus a lot of belly-churning erotica – was extraordinary and surprising and I’m still very humbled and thankful to the readers of my fan fiction.

I remained in that comfortable world for a few years. I still thought of it as something intensely personal, something I did largely as a form of therapy. I was going through a difficult personal time; I had young kids; I was unable to go out as much as I wanted; there were work and personal pressures – writing erotica was my outlet, my release. The words, ideas and situations flowed quickly and easily and provided me with a deep personal satisfaction (now now, that’s not what I meant … entirely.)

The comments and questions I received were pushing me towards publication. But, like a lot of things in life, I needed someone to give me that final push. I knew I had tons of original characters and stories in me, but – I acknowledge – I can often use a kick up the arse. One of the very few friends who knew about my writing told me of an erotica writing competition with Xcite Books. That was the impetus I needed. I didn’t hesitate. I wrote a story; it became one of five winners and was published (“Swept Away” in the Escape to Erotica anthology). After that I jumped on every call for subs going and have been very lucky so far to have had acceptances for every anthology to which I’ve submitted. It ain’t goin’ to last, I know! I’ve just signed the contract on a trilogy with Xcite Books that I’m thrilled about and find the ideas are now brimming. I need to be tough on myself and limit my writing to one thing at a time. I’ve got too many WIPs floating around at the moment.

As much as I love writing short, steamy, sexually focused stories, I adore developing character and motivation in longer novellas and novels. I suppose my focus is on need: the need for fulfilment, the need for devotion and attention, and the need to give in return. Need drives our attraction – we are attracted to different kinds of people based on our own particular needs. I enjoy exploring the need for the illicit. I find it hard to write a sex scene between two people who have the moral and social consent to do so. I’m attracted by age differences, social inequalities, clashes in hierarchy: those situations which society deems to be inappropriate but which human need often ignores.

My new release, In Service to the Senses, plays on the notion of extreme social differences. It’s set in a grand house in Edwardian times, at the height of British class inequality. Lady Isabella, Countess of Atherton, is stuck in a loveless marriage to a bullying and brutish husband. Frustration and isolation have led to her extreme need. Her husband’s valet, Edward Marham, satisfies those needs amply. But their relationship develops beyond the merely physical, and their emotional need for each other soon becomes apparent. Edward only wants to see her happy, and is content to share her with the new footman, Fred. Isobel increasingly finds physical and emotional fulfillment through a person who is not deemed by society to be her equal. But Edward’s needs seem to mean he will leave for America. Can they live without each other?

In this extract, a haughty Isabella confronts the cocky Edward after finding him in a forbidden part of the house. This scene highlights the complex dynamic between them. After Edward has told of his desire to break free from a life of service, and Isabella has expressed her consternation at how someone of his social status will achieve this, she questions him.


“You intend to sleep your way to the top, do you?”

“Well…” The smirk deepened and he took a sauntering step towards her, letting his eyes linger on her supple breasts. “It’s worked so far.”

She slapped him. She hit him so hard, square across the face, that the sound resonated off the high windows of the Long Gallery like a pistol shot. But Edward’s face showed only momentary shock, shock which quickly turned to ferocious intent. He brought his hand up as fast as lightning to grip her across the chin, his fingers and thumb digging into her tender skin. Her eyes widened in alarm as he moved in, heated and malevolent.

“Oh no, my lady.” He leant down, his eyes searing into hers, his hot, sweet breath dangerous against her lips. “You love yer fury, don’t you? You crave all that rage and passion. You might live in this grand house with all yer fine clothes and yer fine pretences, but inside you’re as hollow as a shrivelled nut shell. You need me to shake up yer stagnant, grey little life. And you don’t want to lose it. You can’t bear the thought of me leaving you all alone with that great stinking bastard you call a husband. You wanted to see what it was like, didn’t you? The sting on yer palm when you strike.” With that he spun her around with brute force. “Lean on the desk. Palms flat on it.”

“Not here. Damn you, Marham. Someone will see.”

“They’re finished here for the day. Now shut yer mouth and wait.”

He threw her skirts up over her hips, revealing a naked backside—she wore no drawers at his behest. And he made her wait. For long moments, minutes even, he simply stood in silence while she lay before him, hands flat on the table, her rump exposed, waiting for his touch. …



In Service to the Senses is on general release from Total-E-Bound on 7th June as part of the At Your Service anthology. It will be available for pre-order as a stand-alone story on 14th June.

About Demelza

Demelza lives in England with her husband and two children. She works full time and, when not being a mum, sings, acts, reads, writes and discusses life, love and lust with friends. She’d love to get to know you through facebook

Twitter -

and her blog -


Lisabet Sarai said...

Greetings, Demelza! Welcome to Beyond Romance and to the wonderful world of erotic romance!

You needn't feel apologetic about getting your start in fanfic. I know a lot of excellent authors who came the same route. Fanfic gives you permission to explore your fantasies - and that's exactly what you need to do to write genuine, compelling and arousing erotic romance.

Good luck with the new book!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for having me Lisabet. It's a curious thing, the whole fan fiction start, and I'm not sure the EL James situation has helped or hindered the perception of fan fiction.

It has certainly given me the confidence and focus to move to original writing and publishing - what more can I ask?

Demelza x

Kate Deveaux said...

Great interview Demelza. I'm so excited that the Anthology is coming out June 7th! Loved your story, I read it already in pre release. Downton Abbey behind closed doors!

Congratulations on the single release as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Kate. Love your story too. That Vi is one lucky lady! I'd like a Clarkson all of my own. ;-) I'm excited too about June 7th - seems like we've been waiting a while. If you would like to pay a visit and post to my blog at any time, I would love to have you.


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