cecilia tan Rotating Header Image

Barcelona Trip, tons of slideshows

It’s February 2014 when I am finally getting a chance to post my photos from the Spain trip back in September. I’ve put slideshows from my Picasa albums into the previous posts, but after the sixth day of the vacation I ran out of time to write up anything we did! So here are just some slideshows!

CARDONA, Salt Mine and Castle

FIGUERES, The Dali Museum:

GIRONA:

LES COLS, OLOT:

BARCELONA, VIA VENETO:

BARCELONA: LA PEDRERA

BARCELONA, 41 DEGREES

BARCELONA, PARK GUELL

I read my lesbian BDSM story “Penetration” aloud (NSFW)

In the world of funny coincidences, a short story I wrote almost 20 years ago got two shout outs in the media last week!

The story is “Penetration,” which first appeared in Best Lesbian Erotica 1997, was later reprinted in “Best of Best Lesbian Erotica,” and also appeared in my collection of erotic short stories that HarperCollins published in 1998, Black Feathers. The story became somewhat infamous at the time, especially since I used to read it aloud to squirming audiences everywhere.

At For Books Sake, Ali Williams wrote an article about “Everyday Objects in Erotica,” ranging from food & drink to detachable shower heads.

Then over at Bon Appetit (yes, the gourmet food mag), Rachel Kramer Bussel wrote about “Food in Erotic Literature.” And picked “Penetration” as one of the “12 Examples to Make your Mouth Water.”

Since it’s been so long since the story was published, and right now you can only get it in the ebook of Black Feathers, I thought maybe I’d re-visit those days when this was a staple of the stories I read at women’s bookstores and sexuality conferences and BDSM events and make an audio recording of it.

So here you go, through the magic of “SoundCloud”, seven minutes of Penetration:
https://soundcloud.com/cecilia-tan-author/penetration-short-story

Not Safe For Work!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

People often ask me what I think about Valentine’s Day and I think they expect me to go “ack! p’tui! I hate pink and gooey sentiment and cheap chocolate!”

While all those things are true, though, I love true sentiments, excellent chocolate, and the fact that we HAVE A HOLIDAY SPECIFICALLY ABOUT LOVE. Why wouldn’t I love that? We have how many holidays that are about war? Death? A bunch. We have exactly one holiday which is expressly about love and about appreciating the people you love, and that’s today.

Now, while I think it would be best if people were always so open and free with their emotions that saying “I love you” every single day would be a matter of course, I know not everyone lives in the utopia that I do. Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say or when. There are times when love hurts. But on Valentine’s Day everyone has permission to say it, to express it. Some people need that permission. I don’t begrudge them a holiday that gives it to them.

Yes, I’m the one who told my high school boyfriends that if they ever brought me flowers I was breaking up with them immediately. Why? What I told them, actually, was this: 1) I wasn’t a “girly girl” and if they were going to treat me like one we should not be dating. 2) If they ever felt they had to use flowers as a way to say something, anything, that they felt they couldn’t just TELL ME, then the relationship was already lost. So it wasn’t the flowers themselves I objected to. It was the stupid ways that flowers were often used that I didn’t want to be a party to.

You’ll note I never told them not to get me chocolate, though. I’m not crazy.

Alison Tyler talks about THE DELICIOUS TORMENT with me

Recently I had the pleasure (and I do mean pleasure) to read the latest in Alison Tyler’s memoir-cum-novels (and I do mean cum), The Delicious Torment: A Story of Submission The followup to Dark Secret Love, The Delicious Torment is aptly named, a terrific and tasty mix of female-submissive BDSM served with literary panache. After devouring the morsels of story that make up the book, I then had the pleasure of interviewing the author.

Cecilia Tan: Would you say that writing itself is a fetish or kink for you?

Alison Tyler: Writing is a necessity to me. Like water or air or chicken wings (with Frank’s hot sauce). If I don’t put words to paper, I get jittery. Editing anthologies fuels my fetish, because I am a total voyeur. I love to see how writers tackle different topics. (This is why I adore hosting my Smut Marathon. There’s one topic—and fifteen, or so, writers who each bring something new to every assignment.)

Cecilia Tan: Do you feel the memoir elements of the book constrain you or free you? 

Alison Tyler: Freeing. Like going to a costume party and wearing a glittery mask. There’s that peek-a-boo excitement of playing hide-and-seek with truth and fiction. Continue reading →

Pithy Highlights of the Things I Said (while on blog tour for Slow Seduction)

Here’s a compilation of all the essays I wrote on BDSM, romance, etc. and all the interviews I did during my blog tour launching Slow Seduction.

Jan 28: Interviewed by Audra North
“James is trying to teach Karina that it’s very important to love the WHOLE person you’re with, not just their submissive side or their dominant side.”

“The key to the change in Karina is not that through the BDSM ‘training’ she’s learning what her dom likes. It’s that she’s learning what SHE likes.”
Read more at Wonkomance.

Jan 29: Interviewed by Alison Tyler
“I feel like my whole generation of BDSM kinksters has moved into being foodies. In our 20s we were on the forefront of taking/teaching classes and designing new SM toys and combining our geekery with sensual adventuring. Now that we’re in our 40s it’s the same only we’ve replaced kinky sex with gourmet food.”
Read more at Alison Tyler’s Trollop Salon

Jan 30: On Kink-Positive Writing and BDSM, Guest Blog
“Can you imagine if contemporary romances portrayed sex as something the heroine was merely supposed to ‘endure’ for the sake of the hero’s passions? Lie back and think of England? No, books these days tend to portray sex as something the heroine enjoys, and loves, needs, and wants with the hero. Well, BDSM is sex.”
Read more at Exploits of a Chick Lit Aficionado.

Jan 31: Interviewed by Pamela Richardson
“These days I know Robert Pattinson is the thing, but the desperately sensual movie vampire of my teen years was David Bowie in The Hunger.”

“The romance genre has a lot of hero types I would never want to ‘submit’ to in real life: many of them seem like domineering assholes, frankly, and that’s not to even mention subgenres where the hero is an actual rapist. But I also recognize there’s a vast divide between what I think is valuable in a life partner (or play partner) and what works as fantasy fodder for most people.”
Read more at Badass Romance

Feb 1: Reviewed by Jeannie Zelos
“It’s such a treat to get an author who’s clearly put a lot of thought into how to portray sensuality and passion, without just giving us constant, in-your-face, boring-after-a-while sex. … I really enjoyed that Cecilia has taken a different direction with this book. When she does do sex, then it becomes something to be treasured, something special and revered, a magic moment between two lovers, more than just another quick shag, and fits the novel perfectly.”
Read the review at Jeannie Zelos blog

Feb 2: The Power of Fanfiction: The Power of Squee, guest blog
“My job as an erotica writer, I have always felt, is to stir the passions inside the reader. If the reader isn’t holding her breath, clutching her heart, or squeeing with pleasure and glee at what I’ve put on the page, then I’m simply not doing my job.”

“Writing fanfiction sustained me in those dry years [of my career]. It kept my writing chops in shape and it actually honed my ability to induce squee.”
Read more at The FanVault blog

Feb 3: Why Writing About Female Submission is a Feminist Act, guest blog
“As Karina learns, dominance and submission doesn’t mean James dictates her every move. It means they have a framework within which each partner has agency. Unlike ‘traditional’ relationship structures, which hand the majority of the power and privilege to the male partner, in a BDSM relationship the power is split in a systematic way.”
Read more at the I.G. Frederick EroticaWriter blog

Feb 4: Sex City Radio podcast: listen to my segment of the show at Sex in Words

Feb 4: Blog Post: Pre-Raphelite Art in Slow Seduction
Sometimes things I invent for the sake of plot of convenience in my books… turn out to be real. Blog post with lots of photos of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings and galleries where scenes take place in Slow Seduction. Read more & see photos: http://blog.ceciliatan.com/?p=1683

Feb 5: BDSM Romance: It’s Everywhere Now, guest blog
“BDSM is a bit like Mexican food. To some it seems strange and exotic. Why would you put hot peppers into food? Don’t they hurt?”
Read more at Tilly Greene’s Hot Thoughts

Feb 6: Interviewed by Kerry Adrienne
“All I saw was Karina pulling the marble out of James’s pocket and putting it in her mouth, the big moment in the scene where they meet in the bar.”
“I knew I was trying to write a BDSM book: most people minds would have gone straight to the dungeon or to handcuffs or a spanking. My mind went somewhere else completely.”
Kerry Adrienne’s Escape Velocity blog

I’ll be taping an appearance on Susie Bright’s podcast “In Bed With Susie Bright” later this month, as well.

And then there is the two-part video chat I did on uStream, now on Youtube: Continue reading →

More erotic romance covers: flowers, more ribbons

So my search continues to try to find an erotic BDSM romance that used a pearl necklace on the cover before Slow Surrender, but it’s looking more and more like the designer at Hachette might have been a very early adopter of female accoutrements/jewelry to “the look.” (See my previous picspam post of trends in erotic romance covers ever since 50 Shades of Grey. Who knew that book title was going to literally describe the monotone and desaturated look that would come to dominate? Heh heh, I said “dominate.”)

I mentioned in the previous post there were SO MANY books with a red ribbon. That’s expanded to blue and purple now, too:

And I mentioned lots of covers have flowers on them as the single object of focus. Here’s a compilation of recent flower covers: Continue reading →

Writing the Pre-Raphaelites in Slow Seduction

They say sometimes fiction becomes real. I’ve had the experience numerous times that something I cooked up in my imagination turned out to be real.

For example, in the BDSM novella I wrote for Entwined, Dear Girl, our heroine is intrigued by the small leather book she sees a man holding in his hands. Is it a small Bible? An address book? She later discovers it’s a cell phone case made to look like a tiny leatherbound book. About a year after I had written that story I was browsing Amazon.com and what did I find? Smartphone cases that look like small leather books! (Yes, I bought one immediately.)

The most recent example, though, of my power to make stuff up only to have it happen was during the writing of Slow Seduction. When the book opens, Karina has gone to London for the summer. A curator at the Tate Britain has brought her there to lead tours of a special exhibition of art never-before-gathered-in-one-place. In book one of the series, we learn Karina wrote her thesis on Pre-Raphaelite art. This exhibit is to be the first time so many pre-Raphaelites were ever exhibited together.

I totally made that up.

Except then I went on a trip to the U.K. (for the IASPR scholarly romance conference in York, England), which was going to give me one “tourist” day in London. And when I looked around to see what there was to see, I wondered if maybe a few of the pre-Raph paintings I talked about in the book might be on display.

And I discovered that a huge exhibition of never-before-gathered-in-one-place Pre-Raphaelite art was going to be opening at the Tate Britain shortly before I would arrive.

I even had the museum right.

So, of course I had to go see the exhibit! Which was marvelous. The Burne-Jones paintings I had picked out as Karina’s favorites while writing Slow Surrender were the finale at the end of the show! I spent several hours there, until hunger and thirst drove me in search of afternoon tea.

In the course of writing Slow Seduction, I was able to set many scenes in the gallery and in the museum.

What follows are photos of the gallery and museum with some of my descriptions on where they fit in the book. It will not be spoilery if you have not yet read the book, but if you have read it, here’s what the art I couldn’t show in the book looked like!

Continue reading →

Fans of Slow Seduction, earn a hot bonus scene from James’s POV!

Just like I did for the release of the previous book, for the release of Slow Seduction I’m thanking folks who help me celebrate and spread the word about the book by sending them an exclusive bonus scene from James’s point of view. Similar to the previous one, this one is a scene that takes place in Slow Seduction, but in the book we only see Karina’s side. The bonus shows it from James.

Here’s how it works. Trade me a photo or screencap for the story! I’ll email the special scene to ANYONE** who emails me a screen capture/photo of the following:

* The paperback on sale in your local bookstore
* Your copy of the book with your cat (or other pet)
* Yourself with your book (or your ereader showing the cover!)
* Your book with a string of pearls!
* Your review or recommendation of the book to your friend on any social media! (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Livejournal, your own blog, Pinterest, G+, Yahoo email list, etc!)

Email your photo to ctan.writer (at) gmail.com OR tag me and post it on any of the social media where we are connected: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc…? But remember, it’s very important to email me also so I can send you the scene! Please let me know if it’s OK to re-post your photo and include a statement in your email that you are 18 or older! (Yes, the scene is that hot!)

WHAT IF YOU WANT THE BONUS FROM SLOW SURRENDER, TOO?
If you want both James scenes, well, trade me two separate photos of two different recommendations, reviews, or books “in the wild”!

Any questions, leave a comment on my blog (http://blog.ceciliatan.com) or contact me in email: ctan.writer at gmail dot com. Those are the two best ways to contact me!

**Note: You Must be 18 years of age or over! Don’t get me in trouble!

Buy SLOW SEDUCTION: Hachette web site | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBookstore | Google Play | IndieBound | Powell’s and many other places ebooks and books are sold.

Connect with Cecilia Tan: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Tumblr | Livejournal | G+ | Blog | Instagram

Cover Art Trends in Erotic Romance

So, if you’ve been following any of my posts over the past year about my recent romance series from Grand Central Publishing, you’ve seen the covers feature a “pearl necklace” theme (hur hur, it’s okay, you can laugh about the double meaning…). Today I’m going to explore a little bit of the world of cover design in mass market romance publishing. I love my covers–I think they’re sensual and beautiful, but there’s so much more going on here for the publisher than merely making something beautiful. There are some trends happening, and I’ll explore them below with copious graphics. Continue reading →

J.K. Rowling– Wising up to romance at last?

Earlier today, J.K. Rowling got everyone’s knickers in a twist when the news broke that, in an interview conducted by Emma Watson (the actress who played Hermione in the Harry Potter movies) for Wonderland, Rowling said that Hermione should have married Harry instead of Ron. (See the story on Hypable.)

With that one statement, Rowling torpedoes not only the one love relationship in the series that she took time and care to really set up (Ron/Hermione), but sinks Harry/Ginny as well. I’ve always felt that the epilogue was forced onto the books. She says she wrote the epilogue first and kept it as a beacon to guide her through the whole series, knowing that the Jane Austen-esque double wedding was waiting at the end.

One of the reasons this particular announcement is causing so much uproar, though, I feel, is that the romantic elements of the Harry Potter books were among the weakest and most ripe for criticism. Reasons below. Continue reading →

Cecilia Tan's books on Goodreads
The Siren and the Sword The Siren and the Sword (Magic University, #1)
reviews: 16
ratings: 88 (avg rating 3.60)

Boys of the Bite: A Gay Vampire Anthology Boys of the Bite: A Gay Vampire Anthology
reviews: 9
ratings: 55 (avg rating 3.65)

The Velderet The Velderet
reviews: 11
ratings: 49 (avg rating 3.98)

The Prince's Boy: Volume One The Prince's Boy: Volume One (The Prince's Boy, #1)
reviews: 21
ratings: 49 (avg rating 3.88)