By K D Grace (Guest Blogger)
First off, I’d like to thank the wonderful Lisabet Sarai for inviting me over. It’s always such a pleasure to spend time with her. I was very excited when Lisabet asked me to post about something near and dear to my heart – a weekly phenomena that occurs every Friday over on my blog. It’s something I’m having so much fun with that I almost feel guilty for doing it. Over at my place, Friday afternoons, I’m following in the footsteps of Charles Dickens, Herman Melville, Henry James, Alexander Dumas, Arthur Conan Doyle and Stephen King – hoping some of their genius rubs off on me as I write my second blog serial, In The Flesh.
With the growth of movable type in the 17th century, the serial became popular because books were very expensive and putting out a story in small installments on a weekly basis made it affordable and accessible to a much larger audience. I’m giving you a quickie primer here from Wikipedia – some of it I knew, some of it not.
Serials have never really fallen out of favor even as books have become cheaper and cheaper. I remember as a kid my mother used to read stories in the GRIT newspaper that were in serial format. Some magazines still do serials. In 1984 Tom Wolfe ran Bonfire of the Vanities in Rolling Stone. Stephen King, Michel Faber and lots of others have experimented with serialization. With the internet and the rise of successful and respectable self-publishing along with the advent of the eReader and eBook format, the serial is becoming even more popular. Add to that the sudden attention gained for fan fiction through Fifty Shades of Grey and sites like Wattpad, which are places strictly for writers to serialize and share their stories with readers, and the serial is having a wonderful resurgence.
I discovered that writing a weekly serial for my blog, and also Wattpad, for no other reason than for the sheer pleasure of it was a great way to experiment and bring a little change of pace into my writing as well as a way to write some of those stories I’ve been wanting to write for ages, but just never had time to.
Writing has been a pleasure for me all of my life. In fact, writing has been THE pleasure of my life, second only to sex, and that’s probably because the two are, in my mind, very closely linked. My characters, more often than not, take me in directions I totally wasn’t expecting to go, and they control the stories I write. As frightening as it is to give over the reins, the results are always exciting for me, and for the reader. I’ve found that there’s no better place to let the characters have their head (you see what I did there???) and enjoy the wild path they lead me on than a blogged serial with weekly installments. It doesn’t interfere with other projects, it’s a fantastic break from the WIP, and that means I always go back to that work in progress refreshed and ready to write on. Plus there’s always that added adrenaline rush of wondering if I’m going to be able to pull it off yet another week’s episode, and just how the hell my characters are going to get out of the mess I left them in last Friday! In the serial’s immediacy, there’s a discipline involved and a rhythm that’s been good for my writing and my creative process.
I wrote my first serial, Demon Interrupted, in episodes that came out only every three weeks. I took that opportunity to tell the story of a secondary character in my Lakeland Witches Trilogy. I wanted to know Ferris Ryder’s story, and I thought a serial might just be the way to discover his secrets. It was the most fun I’d had writing in ages! I completed it the Halloween before last and, I’m very excited to announce, it’ll be included in the release of the Lakeland Witches Box Set that will be coming out early this year! Check my blog for updates on that.
Which leads me to another benefit I’d not really thought about before I started my serial experiments. Writing a serial is a painless and fun way to get another story done without it interfering with the WIP. It takes a bit of discipline to set aside the time to do 2K a week on another project, but once the story gets going, that 2K often becomes 3. It’s a pleasure to take that little break from the usual writing routine, and the end result, as well as the interaction with the readers, is so worth the effort. When it’s finished, it’s already a clean manuscript, which needs very little change before being published in other formats.
What I love most about writing a serial for my blog is that it’s a chance for me to completely let the Muse lead me on a weekly basis. Also, I really love the fact that it’s something I can give my readers, a little guilty pleasure every Friday, sort of a literary nooner. It’s almost like they’re looking over my shoulder as the story unfolds, and that’s a very exciting, very immediate, way -- not only to write, but to bond with readers as well.
Please DO remember that this is a free read unfolding every Friday on my blog, so do head on over and enjoy the rest!
When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize.
Long toward morning I woke with a start. The room was awash in the scent of roses, and I was certain someone had called my name. “Annie?” I half whispered. There was no reply, no sound other than the anxious breathing that must surely have been my own. Surely. The pitch black of the room pressed in all around me like another presence, so close that I felt if I switched on the light, I would suddenly come face to face with it. The bile of panic rose in my throat. I threw off the duvet and fumbled for my phone, dropping it on the mattress before I could finally slice the blackness with a sliver of light. The drop cloth curtains trembled on either side of me, no doubt from my own panicked actions, and the smell of roses thickened.
Careful to keep the sliver of light, I slipped into my robe and hurried to check on Annie. Even in the stairwell I could hear her moans. As I neared the transept the air felt charged and heavy like that moment in a storm just before lightning strikes. The hair on my neck rose and goose flesh prickled up my spine. I held my breath as I tiptoed closer. The plastic drop cloths had been shoved onto the floor in a heap, and there in the moonlight she lay, thrashing atop the altar, her hair splayed like a halo around her head, her nightie pushed up over her hips. She arched her back and cried out, reaching her arms upward to something I couldn’t see.
I wanted to run, but instead, I stood frozen, bathed in cold sweat, waiting for logic to explain everything away, as the moonlight around her seemed to explode and coalesce with her ecstasy. The smell of jasmine, Annie’s favourite flower, cloyed at my throat making my head ache. After what seemed like an eternity, the urge to flee finally took control. Heart pounding, I stepped back, hoping to leave unnoticed, when suddenly I felt a rush of wind against my face and breathed the musky odour of sex. I stumbled backward, unable to hold back a small yelp. My phone slipped through my fingers and skittered under a pew as the scent of jasmine gave way to roses.
In the heavy press of darkness, I half ran, half fell down the hall back toward my room, tripping over the edge of a drop cloth thrown across the floor and coming down hard on both knees with a breathless curse. I pulled myself to my feet gasping for oxygen, groping at the wall for the electrical switch, desperate for light – any kind of light. Though I was disturbed by what I had seen, I was more disturbed by the fact that it had aroused me even through my fear. As my eyes adjusted, light coming in from the small window in the door of the makeshift kitchen bathed the room in monochrome grey. Another gust of wind blew the door open with a loud crash. I yelped and jumped forward to force it shut. Then I could have sworn I heard my name again, called out with such longing that I couldn’t stop myself. With hands slippery from nervous sweat, I fumbled the door open again and stepped out onto the patio. The clutter of Terra cotta pots looked like strange squat specters in the dance of moonlight and shadow. Making my way past derelict strawberry jars, several bags of ancient compost and wheeless wheelbarrow, I emerged into a large garden over grown with weeds. It was the deconsecrated churchyard, I reminded myself with a shiver. In the bright moonlight, I stood holding my breath. Listening.
Annie had taken twisted pleasure in speculating about the graveyard that had once been the back garden. She had imagined exhumed medieval skeletons taken to the London Museum to be studies and cataloged. She had imagined underground catacombs where ghosts of priests and and murderers alike scurried on secret missions, some sinister, some holy. I shivered at the thought and pulled the robe tighter around me. I had not found her speculation amusing then, and I found it even less so now. I found nothing about this place amusing. Fighting my way through a tangle of ivy I came to a stone bench that looked like it well might have belonged in a graveyard. Not wanting to go back inside Chapel House, I sat down, hoping desperately that if I thought long enough I’d find a rational explanation for everything that had happened or I’d wake up and discover it had all been a bad dream. Staying in places with intriguing pasts often brought me unsettling dreams.
I could smell roses again -- old roses, not any sort of modern hybrid. Only old roses would smell so strong and so sweet amid the rank growth of weeds. As I breathed in the scent that seemed to be coming from just over my shoulder, I felt a humid breeze on my neck, brushing my nape, like breath exhaled with the settling of a kiss. The leaves rustled around me, and the bench was suddenly in shadow. With a start, I turned to hear the sound of footsteps retreating down the path. “Annie? Hello?” I clamoured to my feet and followed the rustle of leaves, the scent of roses always just ahead of me. “Annie, this isn’t funny, alright? This isn’t funny!”
I hadn’t remembered the garden being so large. It felt as though I wandered the paths for hours. My spine constantly prickled, but a quick glance over my shoulder always revealed no one following me. The paving stones were mossy and slick beneath my bare feet. I stumbled along ignoring the scratch of bramble and the sting of nettle, shoving my way through leaves damp with dew until I broke through, as though I’d just pushed aside a curtain. With a gasp, I stopped short, nearly losing my footing on the moss.
The smell of roses was overwhelming. The sense of not being alone crawled along my spine on little insect feet. In a small copse set between aging lilac bushes taller than my head and a gnarled hawthorn hedge that might have once been apart of a formal garden, he loomed over me. I swallowed back a scream just before it could escape, just as I realized he was an angel, or at least a statue of one.
Slightly more than human size, his weathered marble toes barely touched a low plinth, as though he were just alighting. One large hand was extended in invitation toward me, the other rested on his naked chest over his heart. A billowing veil of stone just covered his groin so that his perfect form, all but the most intimate of it, shown silver in the moonlight, frozen in a motion of welcome, muscles tensed in anticipation, empty eyes locked on mine.
With my heart battering my ribs, I stood unmoving, stone cold, as though I were his marble counterpart. I know this sounds crazy. And even after so much time has past, it still sounds crazy every time I think of it, and yet I knew then, just as certainly as I know now that something ancient, something primal, moved over my skin, like the brush of spider webs and dust motes, fingering its way deeper, into secret places, places in myself where even I never dare go. Whatever it was, it knew me, it understood me, and its longing for me was terrible.
The recent short stories, ‘journal entries,’ and In The Flesh, along with Landscapes, a story I wrote for the wonderful m/m collection, Brit Boys: On Boys are all tied into a bigger project linked with my present WIP and the world it involves. I’m having fun on a grand scale, and sharing it with my readers as I go.
Thanks again for having me, Lisabet! Always a pleasure!
About K D Grace/Grace Marshall
Voted ETO Best Erotic Author of 2014, and a proud member of The Brit Babes, K D Grace/Grace Marshall believes Freud was right. In the end, it really IS all about sex, well sex and love. And nobody’s happier about that than she is, otherwise, what would she write about?
When she’s not writing, K D is veg gardening. When she’s not gardening, she’s walking. She walks her stories, and she’s serious about it. She and her husband have walked Coast to Coast across England, along with several other long-distance routes. For her, inspiration is directly proportionate to how quickly she wears out a pair of walking boots. She also enjoys martial arts, reading, watching the birds and anything that gets her outdoors.
KD has erotica published with SourceBooks, Xcite Books, Harper Collins Mischief Books, Mammoth, Cleis Press, Black Lace, Erotic Review, Ravenous Romance, Sweetmeats Press and others.
K D’s critically acclaimed erotic romance novels include, The Initiation of Ms Holly, Fulfilling the Contract, To Rome with Lust, and The Pet Shop. Her paranormal erotic novel, Body Temperature and Rising, the first book of her Lakeland Witches trilogy, was listed as honorable mention on Violet Blue’s Top 12 Sex Books for 2011. Books two and three, Riding the Ether, and Elemental Fire, are now also available.
K D Grace also writes hot romance as Grace Marshall. An Executive Decision, Identity Crisis, The Exhibition, Interviewing Wade are all available.
Find K D Here: