Sunday, November 12, 2017

Charity Sunday: Room for Reading - #CharitySunday #Literacy #NewRelease

Charity Sunday banner

Welcome to this month’s Charity Sunday! Like most authors, I’ve always been an avid reader. A love of books and reading is one of the most valuable gifts one can give to young people – simultaneously a deep pleasure and an invaluable tool for survival.

Hence, this month, I am supporting Room to Read, an organization promoting literacy, education and gender equality worldwide, but especially in lower income countries. Their motto: World Change Starts with Educated Children

Since it was founded in 2000, Room to Read has constructed over 1,900 schools and established more than 17,000 libraries. The charity has published more than 1,100 original local language children’s titles and distributing over 15.5 million books. More than 31,000 girls have received enhanced educational opportunities and life skills training. Overall, Room to Read has impacted the lives of more than 10 million children, in places like Laos, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Tanzania, and South Africa.

As is usual on Charity Sundays, I will donate one dollar for each comment I receive on this post, between now and next month's Charity Sunday. So if you’re here, reading this – take a minute or two to comment. It doesn’t cost you a penny to do a bit of good for the world.

Of course, I’m also here to entertain you and make your visit worthwhile. Here’s a bit from my taboo erotic romance Miranda’s Masks. The choice seems appropriate since my heroine Miranda Cahill is a graduate student working on her PhD in literature.

In this exclusive excerpt, Miranda meets the hero, and explains her unconventional dissertation topic.

The grizzled head of Harold Scofield poked through the door. “Hello, Miranda. I am sorry to intrude, but I have someone to whom I would like to introduce you.” Miranda smiled to herself; her genial thesis advisor always sounded like a grammar textbook. The gray-bearded figure in suspenders bustled in, followed by an attractive young man in dark-framed eyeglasses.

Miranda, I would like to present Mark Anderson, our new lecturer. Mark will be handling the Dickens course for the summer session.”

Mark, this is Miranda Cahill, my most promising graduate student.” Miranda blushed, and Dr. Scofield’s eyes twinkled. “Miranda has chosen a rather controversial topic for her thesis, a new interpretation of the corpus of Victorian erotica.”

The newcomer’s polite smile expanded to a grin. “Really. That’s fascinating. Sounds far more—stimulating—than my dissertation on the metaphorical significance of orphans in Dickens and his contemporaries.”

Miranda’s blush deepened as she noted the double entendre. She met his teasing gaze, almost defiantly. “Yes, it is an intriguing topic, and I believe one of considerable literary and social significance, as well.” He had thick, dark hair, slightly tousled. His eyes behind the glasses were velvety brown with glints of gold. In his face, she saw intelligence, energy, and humor.

Miranda has championed an unusual theory, that the explosion of sexually-oriented writing during the latter half of the nineteenth century was a reflection of actual practices, rather than a reaction against repressive public morals.” Her advisor appeared to be enjoying the role of agent provocateur. “She believes that the detailed accounts of sexual adventure and aberration published during the era chronicled real experiences, not merely fantasies.”

Hmm.” Their bespectacled companion looked both amused and interested. “What evidence do you have to support this proposition?”

Well, to begin with,” said Miranda, automatically adopting an academic tone, “a significant fraction of these writings are first person accounts. And a surprising number are related from a woman’s perspective. If this were primarily a literature of fantasy and titillation, I would expect a male point-of-view to dominate, as it does in modern pornography.” Miranda was encouraged to see that her audience listened attentively and gave due consideration to her points.

Secondly, these tales are full of real-world details and commentary that would be superfluous and even distracting in fictional erotica. The protagonists discuss social issues such as poverty, child abuse, oppression of the lower classes, things that can only detract from a work intended as escapist fantasy. Even a hack pornographer knows better than to mention the unpleasant or the mundane, illegitimate pregnancies, unpaid bills, rising damp. Yet references to such items are common in the corpus.

Finally, I find in many of these writings a thoughtfulness that conflicts with the conventions of the pornographic genre. The narrators are engaged in a wide variety of sexual activities, which are described in vivid and provocative detail. At the same time, in many cases, they reflect on their own desires and behaviors, sometimes justifying themselves in the face of the official morality, sometimes castigating themselves for weakness and sinfulness. Either way, there is a psychological depth that would be redundant in fictional erotica.”

So, what you are saying,” interposed Mark with a grin, “is that a fictional character would simply go ahead and bugger his maid, whereas an individual writing a clandestine diary would spend some time and effort wondering why he wanted to bugger his maid, before he got around to actually doing it?”

No, no, that’s not it at all!” Miranda, embarrassed and flustered, wondered if the new instructor had been reading her manuscript over her shoulder. Her eyes flashed. “You’re not willing to take me seriously, any more than the submission review committee for the Association for Modern Literature!”

Now, Miranda,” soothed her advisor. “Mark was just teasing you.” Looking again at the attractive stranger, Miranda saw that Scofield was telling the truth.

Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you.” Mark held out his hand like a peace offering. “I really am delighted to meet you. Your theory is unconventional and provocative, but who knows, it might actually be true.” His skin was cool and dry, the pressure of his fingers firm and confident. “Let me take you out for coffee, and you can tell me more about what your research has turned up thus far.”

As he released her hand, he brushed his fingers lightly against her palm.

The secret, sensual gesture terrified her. Miranda found herself reacting as she so often did in the presence of a man who desired her. She felt herself tense, contract, her fears and uncertainties condensing into a dense, cold knot under her solar plexus. Her face was stiff and wooden as she tried to smile. “Thank you, but I can’t right now. I have an incredible amount of work to get done.”

Diligent, industrious Miranda,” her advisor scolded her lightly. “You need to take more time for yourself. It is Saturday, after all.”

Thanks, but I need to work harder. I need more evidence to support my theory. Deeper study, of a larger number of texts.”

Please…” Mark began, disappointment plain in his voice. Then he saw clearly that she would not be swayed. “Well, maybe another time.” He smiled so warmly that the icy knot thawed slightly. “I definitely would like to get to know you better, Miranda.”


Barring any unforeseen issues, the book should be out at the end of the week. Don’t worry, I’ll let everyone know!

Meanwhile... why not leave a comment and share the gift of reading?


Helena Stone said...

Not that previous charities weren't worthy, but this month I just HAD to comment. I mean, how could I possibly not support this charity considering I am a reader, a writer, and a librarian. I hope you'll get tons of comments and good luck with the upcoming release, it sounds fascinating (as does that theory).

Tig said...

Great choice of charity! And a very enjoyable snippet. I particularly liked Mark's pithy summary of her approach. Tee hee. Isn't it so awkward to have one's mind read at the first meeting??

Anonymous said...

Wonderful choice of charity.

Sue A. said...

What a great charity! And the excerpt was fun, as a first meeting it really went well beyond simple introductions!

ingrid said...

Wonderful charity to give to

Larry Archer said...

As a avid reader and hubby of a women's libber, I salute your choice for the charity event. Keep up the good work and looking forward to your new story.

Unknown said...

Thank you for the sexy snippet and for your generosity in supporting such a worthy charity!

Tina Donahue said...

Great idea, Lisabet!

JeanMP said...

Great charity to contribute to.

Big Ed Magusson said...


Author H K Carlton said...

Another worthy cause, Lisabet! Good luck with the new release.

Colleen C. said...

What a great cause!

Tim Smith said...

Good excerpt, Lisabet, and up to your usual literary standards. A very worthy cause you're supporting this month, too.

Tim Smith

Cheyenne Blue said...

Great cause and intriguing excerpt, Lisabet.

Reviews By Crystal said...

It is so awesome that you are doing this. What a great cause too!

H.B. said...

Great cause and very generous of you to do.

Marle said...

Once again a great snippet. Mark's words provoking aganst for Miranda's research. Will be very interesting to see how you let their relationship blossom. And what a wonderful charity for you to support.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic charity (and ooh, hot boy in glasses)!


Lucy Felthouse said...

Great snippet, Lisabet, and well done for supporting such a worthy cause.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks to all for your comments! Just donated $20 to Room to Read.

Come back tomorrow, for my December Charity Sunday post.

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