In the past few years, I’ve discovered a surprisingly effective method for kick-starting my imagination: look at what I’ve been doing, then do the opposite. Some of my best stories have grown out of frustration, a feeling that I’d gotten stuck writing the same sort of tales over and over.
For instance, I wrote The Antidote as a reaction to a long spell penning nothing but erotic romance. I was tired of toning down my language and keeping a tight rein on my characters’ sexual attractions and activities, so that they only lusted after the person involved in their happy endings. “I need an antidote to all this romance stuff,” I told myself, then realized I had a great title. The story unfolds in a near-future in which an authoritarian government suppresses sexual desire in the interests of public order – but where a highly illegal antidote is available, for those willing to take the risk.
My multi-genre novel Rajasthani Moon began as a reaction to the current tendency to slot every story into a well-defined sub-genre. “Let’s see how many different genres I can include in a single book,” I thought. The resulting mash-up has elements of steampunk, suspense, shapeshifter, ménage, BDSM, Bollywood (a sub-genre only Totally Bound seems to recognize) and Rubenesque genres. Personally, I feel it’s one of my most successful works, at least from an entertainment perspective. As one reviewer wrote: “At first you have a kidnapping fantasy with rip roaring sex that honestly left me breathless. Then you have a ménage with kinky toys that made me crunch ice. ( A lot). Then you add a paranormal twist and I couldn’t decide what I enjoyed more. It all worked. Every part of it.”
My lesbian novella The Witches ofGloucester likewise started in a search for contrast. I was putting together a volume of my lesbian erotic short stories to submit to LadyLit. In the process, I noticed a lot of similarities among the tales. All but one were realistic stories with contemporary settings. Every one revolved around just two women, and most of the stories chronicled the characters’ first sexual encounter. I thought I needed something different, for balance. A paranormal fantasy, perhaps. And maybe I could work in a three-way lesbian ménage, perhaps with some moderately hard-core activities. Furthermore, perhaps I could create some characters who were lovers with a long history, women who knew one another extremely well.
I started writing about Marguerite and Beryl, the two resident witches of Gloucester, Massachusetts, and found I couldn’t stop. The floodgates opened. At the outset, I expected the tale to be in the 4-5K region. It turned out to be more than 12,000 words.
When I submitted the manuscript for the collection to LadyLit, they recommended that we pull out Witches and publish it as a standalone title. Of course, I’m happy to have two books rather than just one...but now I’m back in the situation of thinking the collection (entitled Her Own Devices) might not have sufficient variety!
Anyway, here’s the blurb for The Witches of Gloucester — a perfect summer read! You’ll find a full list of links at http://www.ladylit.com/books/the-witches-of-gloucester-by-lisabet-sarai/ and excerpts here on the blog and on my website.
It’s not about power. It’s about love.
The historic port of Gloucester, Massachusetts has a special charm, due at least in part to its resident witches. For decades, raven-maned Marguerite and red-headed Beryl have lived among its hard-working inhabitants, making magic and mischief. Love and sex fuel their supernatural abilities, but duality limits their power. To reach their full potential, they need a third witch to complete their circle.
Rejected as a nymphomaniac by her puritanical boyfriend, Emmeline escapes to Gloucester to work on her PhD thesis. From the moment she arrives, Marguerite and Beryl sense her erotic vitality and unrecognized paranormal talent. The platinum-haired beauty may well be the enchantress they have been awaiting for so long. Now they need to show Em that her prodigious libido is a gift, not a liability, and to persuade her that her destiny lies in the sea-girt town they guard, and in their arms.