By Diane Scott Lewis
Back in the old days, before the internet (cringe) I decided to become an author...I mean, how hard could it be? I took a pen name since my real name was the same as a woman who had just posed for Playboy Magazine. I didn’t want anyone to confuse me with her—my husband is still laughing hysterically over that one. It took me much-longer-than-I-thought-necessary (and those piles of rejections) before accomplishing publication.
Since then I’ve had five historical novels published.
Later on, I was curious (jealous) of a young author who was making millions on an erotic novel called Fifty Shades of Grey, so I thought, since I write historicals, why not pen a historical parody of this story? Little did I know at the time that several others had already written parodies of this book; but I believed I could give it a new prospective.
I’d researched the eighteenth century for many years, even perusing rare books at the Library of Congress. Now, I prided myself on being somewhat of an expert on the later eighteenth century, the 1780s through 1790s. The majority of my novels take place in this period, and none are romantic fluff; I like to reveal the seedier side of those bygone days. Thus, I thought how perfect to set my naughty novella in this era. I wanted it to be very much tongue-in-cheek, but using the restrictions, class-system, etc. of the time.
I set the story at a sprawling manor house in England, with an uppity matron, her distracted husband, and the matron’s guest—her extremely handsome and lascivious brother. Into this mix, I put a naive young woman, a pastor’s daughter, who arrives to work as a maidservant.
First I tried self-publishing, but that didn’t get me very far. I didn’t sell those millions I dreamt of, and still didn’t own my villa in Italy, or chateau in France. Then, after finding my wonderful new publisher, who at the time did erotica, I decided to submit it to them. The novella was accepted and published.
Now for the perils of marketing. I am a member of a huge group that caters to authors of English-set historical fiction, and we are allowed to promote on the site. I was a fairly new member, so I blithely posted my link and talked about my story. Immediately (and I’m not exaggerating here) I was scolded, and warned, that this site does not and never will promote erotica. I withdrew my links, tucked my tail between my legs, and was prepared to be booted out of the group. However, the very kind moderator talked me out of leaving, though I’m certain other members still cyberly stare aghast at me.
Everyone who has read it thinks the story is hilarious. Even a very famous author read an excerpt and called it “very funny.” I won’t name her since I don’t have her permission to quote her. But be assured, she’s extremely famous.
I still don’t have my villa or chateau, but I love writing historicals, and had a blast creating my parody.
Following is a blurb and excerpt from: Miss Grey’s Shady Lover
In this erotic, tongue-in-cheek parody of a bestselling novel, Anya Grey enters service at Pretentious Hall in the eighteenth century. She meets brooding, dangerous, but strikingly handsome, Lord Libidinous who soon involves her in a sultry, sexual relationship to soothe his damaged soul. Prepare to laugh, and sigh, at their sexy, and explicitly steamy, antics.
With a deep breath, she plucked up the glass, put it on a small silver salver, and walked down the dark, wood-paneled corridor. Candles flickered in sconces, giving off the faint smell of beeswax and smoke.
At the library door she scratched, then heard a resonant “come in.”
Shoulders back, she entered the room. A fire crackled in the marble hearth to her left. Books lined the many shelves in cases against the walnut paneled walls. A polished desk sat to her right. The room was dim, shadows everywhere. She froze in place.
Lord Libidinous sat in a leather wing-backed chair near the fire. He looked up and waved her over. He glanced at his gold pocket-watch. “Ten minutes past ten. I’d nearly given up on you, Miss Grey.” He spoke almost languidly while her muscles tensed.
She approached unsteadily and stood before him, the salver tight in her grip. “Here is your wine, as you requested, sir.”
“Ah, you are an obedient girl, aren’t you?” He smiled, the firelight glistening off his white teeth. “Set it on the table.”
She bent and set the salver on the low table with a click. “Will that be all, sir?” Grateful for the kerchief around her neck that hid her voluptuous cleavage, a sight she’d allowed no man to see, she prayed he’d send her on her way now.
He picked up the glass and took a slow sip. “You disappoint me, Miss Grey. I thought we were going to have a lengthy discourse.”
Anya straightened and smoothed down her apron. She also smoothed a stray lock of hair behind her ear, another annoying habit she had trouble overcoming.
“What would you care to discuss with me, a mere servant?”
His eyes flashed with humor. “The war in the colonies, the disruptions in Parliament, or why does an educated young woman work as a kitchen maid? There are so many topics to converse on, don’t you think?”
She avoided his intense gaze. “My father, the vicar, said before his untimely death, that too many good men are dying in America, the taxes are too high here to support the war, and Parliament is split over the war and taxes. As for me, I need the wages, sir.”
His lordship laughed and slapped his knee. “By God, you are an amusing creature, Miss Grey. Of course, education is often wasted on women, who should be comforts to their husbands and raise his children.” He leaned back in the chair, watching her with a raised dark brow. “Why isn’t a comely woman like you married?”
“No one found me comely enough to marry, I suppose.” She caught his scrutiny and slid back a step. “I was known to be outspoken; perhaps that deterred any suitable swain for my hand.”
“Outspoken? I didn’t get that impression earlier.” He leaned forward, elbows on his elegant knees. “Or do I make you extremely nervous? I’ve been known to do that to the fairer sex.”
He was brash, insufferable, but still he drew her in a way she couldn’t explain. She stared at his sculptured mouth. “What else do you require, sir?”
“I require that you sit here beside me and keep me company.” He pulled over a stool, close to his left leg, and patted it.
“That would be highly improper, your lordship.” She slid back another step, her mouth as dry as that desert she’d never visited. “Lady Snoot would disapprove.”
“Never mind my sister. She’s gone to bed.” He again touched the chair, his gaze sharper. “Sit, Miss Grey. It wouldn’t look well on you to upset the new proprietor of the manor.”
Anya wanted to run for the door, but his dark eyes held her. A tingle started low in her abdomen, a sensation she’d never felt before. With stilted movements, she did as he ordered and sank onto the stool, careful not to brush his leg with hers. She gathered her skirt and petticoats close. “You are quite intimidating, sir. But I believe you enjoy being so.”
“I know what I want, that is all.” He nodded his elegant head. “And I was wrong about Biblical discussions. What do you know of Sodom and Gomorrah?”
“It was a city of great sin, and destroyed because of it.” She still hoped he’d send her out. Her hands shook at the mention of such a sinful place. “What if someone sees us? I can’t afford to lose my good character.”
“Since my dear sister’s husband is a milquetoast, and Bertha humors me, remember, I am the master here. And Lord Snoot knows that only too well.” Libidinous laced his long fingers together, his expression unreadable.
The danger from him seeped over her, but she couldn’t move. She clutched her hands in her lap, her heart racing like the curricle that had killed her father. “Since you have me cornered, what else would you care to discourse over or of?”
“Of you, Miss Grey. What do you enjoy in this blighted world?” His smile made her quiver, though he reminded her of a ravenous wolf.
“I like...flowers in the garden, the fresh smell of grass after a rain...” Under his intense stare she strained to remember anything else. “Chocolate is quite tasty.”
“Yes, yes, all very enjoyable.” He leaned farther forward and traced a finger along her wrist. “But do you like being touched in a certain way?”
Her skin tingled. “I...suppose that...it’s nice...very friendly...”
“What about being more than friendly?” He tugged at her kerchief. “I see you are a woman of suppressed passions.”
Her breath hitched and her hands flew up to stop him. “This is too friendly already, sir. And my passions are just fine where they are.”
He caressed the material, thus putting pressure on her bodice. “Are you afraid of pleasure, my innocent vicar’s daughter?”
Her stomach did a strange summersault and her breasts tingled. “I...don’t know. How would I know what I’ve never experienced? But I do feel this is very unseemly, though slightly gratifying.”
He chuckled, his fingers still caressing. “That is my point, my dear; I can show you pleasures you will never imagine. If you will trust me and only allow me to.”
A heaviness shifted low in her body. Her nipple puckered, stunning her. “I might not be ready to imagine them, sir.” She squirmed on the stool, which increased a strange pleasure down there.
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