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Challenging Myself

By Lisabet Sarai

I've been publishing for more than a dozen years now. Anyone who reviews my publishing history will notice that I've written in a wide range of sub-genres: contemporary, historical, paranormal, BDSM, fetish, lesbian, gay, menage, vampire, shape shifter, sci fi, etc. One reason that my writing is (by some people's standards at least) all over the map is the fact that I like to challenge myself. When I begin a new story, I deliberately try to write something distinctly different from what I've done before - just to see if I can.

Recently, for instance, I decided to try writing my first steam punk. However, I also wanted to do something different. The resulting story, "Her Own Devices", is set not in England or America, but in an alternate Victorian Hong Kong. It comes out next month in D.L. King's anthology Carnal Machines. To be honest, I'm pretty happy with the result, a tale of industrial espionage and concealed identities, livened up with plenty of sexual intrigue.

Another genre I recently attempted is gothic erotica - you know, tales of crumbling, haunted mansions and degenerate, perverse nobility, storm and shadows on the moors, terror and lust... I don't know yet whether this story has been accepted, but I had a fabulous time writing it.

Sometimes the challenge resides not in the genre but in some aspect of the premise. "Bodies of Light", my contribution to the upcoming anthology Seeing Stars, began with me asking myself: Could I write a love scene involving characters who did not have physical bodies? How would I convey the experience of pleasure without anchoring it to specific body parts?

I'm not sure how successful I was - successful enough for the story to be accepted at least! Let me reassure you, by the way, that "Bodies of Light" offers plenty of normal, sweaty, hard-muscle and smooth-skin physical sex as well. Here's an unedited excerpt, to whet your appetite:


Christine.” The voice rang like crystal and flowed like water, a far cry from the flat, synthetic tones of the Archimedes. “Do not despair, lovely one.”

Christine could not help smiling at the endearment. No one had called her lovely for a very long time. She kept her eyes closed, willing the dream to continue.

We are with you, Christine.” Deeper, richer, edged with laughter, another voice chimed in. “You are not alone.” A cool, soothing palm cupped her brow. Strong hands settled on her shoulders, drawing her upright, then slipped down to cradle her breasts. Luscious heat suffused her, focused on her suddenly-taut nipples. They were smouldering embers ready to burst into flame. Soft lips brushed her neck just below the hairline, sending shivers spiralling through her. Someone unknotted her hair and let the weight of it cascade freely down her back. She sighed as careful fingers eased out the tangles. Each gentle tug at her scalp was pure pleasure.

The caresses ceased for an instant while her chair swung away from the control panel. Then sensations began again, delicious and irresistible – unseen hands kneading her breasts, a warm mouth nuzzling her earlobe, a teasing tickle tracing its way down her belly, firm pressure parting her thighs and the barest graze of a fingertip across her pubis. A fierce stab of delight ripped away her languid mood. She moaned, arching up toward the retreating finger. Laughter poured over her like dark honey.

You like that, sweet?” asked the baritone. The finger returned, pressing into her nylon-covered cleft and sliding back and forth along her length.

Christine gasped. “Oh, yes...” Swirls of fluorescent colour danced on her closed eyelids. Familiar scents teased her nostrils, earth after a rain and new-mown grass. The finger moved faster. The soaked fabric of her coveralls slithered across her sensitized flesh. A climax gathered in her depths, heavy and full as summer thunderheads. “More,” she whispered, just as someone dragged the zip of her garment down below her waist. “More!” she yelled, as sharp teeth fastened on her bared nipple and hard digits plunged into her naked cunt.

Dozens of hands fluttered over her skin, strummed in her pussy, plucked at her swollen breasts. The ripe clouds burst. A torrent of pleasure flooded her senses. Her body dissolved. There was nothing left but pure ecstasy, vibrating through her being like celestial music.

Open your eyes.” The higher voice, the one that shimmered like liquid starlight, spoke close to her ear. The suggestion filtered through her post-orgasmic haze. This dream is certainly tenacious, she thought, her limbs still tingling. Usually I wake up after I come.

We’re here with you now,” added the earthy voice, from the other side. “Look upon us.”

Why should she resist? It was just a dream. Her eyelids felt leaden but she forced them apart.

A stranger stood to her right, a youth with marble-pale skin and hair like spun silver. Smoke-coloured brows shaded his piercing violet eyes. A pert nose and full lips gave him an androgynous look, but his lithe body was undeniably male – especially the column of rigid flesh that jutted from his hairless groin.

Arousal flickered through Christine’s body, faint echoes of her recent climax. “Who are you?,” she queried, her mouth watering at the sight of his sturdy erection. “What are you doing here?”

I’m Alyn,” the young man answered with a smile that stole Christine’s breath. His skin gleamed in the dim light of the bridge as though dusted with stars. Fat pink nipples winked at her from his smoothly muscled chest. She ached to touch them. As though he read her thoughts, he reached for her hand and drew it to his breast. “I’m here for you, Christine. To cherish and to comfort you.”

His skin was silk under her palm. She moulded the shape of his pectoral and flicked at the taut nub at its centre. His cock surged in response. She could see a drop of clear moisture gathering at the tip. She wet her lips, suddenly hungry. “Alyn,” she repeated, rolling the name on her tongue.

And I’m Zed,” came the deeper voice, from her left. She turned to gaze at the second man, taller and stockier than Alyn but equally beautiful. Zed had jet hair and ebony eyes. With his prominent cheekbones, broad mouth and bronzed complexion, he made Christine think of some ancient tribal warrior. A provocative grin lit his face. He seized her other hand and curled her fingers around his swollen cock. “This is for you, little one.”


So what's next? I'm working on a full-length M/M science fiction novel. I've done M/M before, but not sci fi, other than short stories. And believe me, I am finding it a challenge to build a consistent and believable future world.

But that's part of the fun.


L. K. Below said...

Great post, Lisabet. I'm the same way, and it's refreshing to find somebody else like me. I love to challenge myself and create new, different things.

Write on!

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks, Lindsay!

I sometimes feel really inadequate next to people who can pound out three or four stories in a series, without getting distracted or bored. I just can't.


Anonymous said...

Intriguing extract, Lisabet. I'm another writer who flits from genre to genre, and I love trying something different, whether that's writing steampunk, speculative fiction or m/m BDSM encounters. Some writers obviously like to establish themselves in one genre, so if you're looking for a certain theme you'll automatically think of their name, but I always like to see a writer attempting a new genre and carrying it off successfully.