It’s great to be guesting on Kristabel’s blog and meeting readers who enjoy reading about past times. Dipping into different eras is something that’s happened fairly recently in my erotic romance writing. But whichever time I’m writing in, the romantic theme and the happy ever after ending is vital to me.
It's great to have you, Toni! Historical erotica is not as popular as I think it should be.
Journeying back in time to introduce characters to readers is testing for an author. It’s going to be really naff if you try recreating too many of the speech patterns but equally, dollops of today’s colloquialisms will distract from the story line. On that theme, I was reading Kristabel’s excellent post about the Regency period and about Downton Abbey and thinking how that ‘upstairs downstairs’ theme applies to so many eras. We all know about wicked masters seducing parlour maids but Orchid Pink isn’t quite so straightforward. Certainly when the words mistress and maid arrived in my head, I wasn’t to know just how revealing Adelaide Beauchamp’s personal journal would become.
So what makes my heroine different from countless others? She’s 28 years of age when we meet her in 1900, just when the Victorian era’s poised to hand over to the Edwardian one. The New Woman is a bit of a theme but it’s Adelaide’s dilemma that will hopefully appeal to you. She’s torn between her Sapphic tendencies and the feeling of needing to conform. Please her father. Do what nature intended her for. Have a baby or two. Hmm. Adelaide’s a passionate being and she also has a hang up about the whole maternal thing.
Researching this era reminded me how much repressed passion simmered away against a background of potted palms and antimacassars! This is what I’ve set out to recreate. If you like, I wanted to rip the frilly covers from the piano legs. This fantastic, debauched, innovative and energetic era sizzles and pops, despite the ‘We are not amused’ strap line attached to it. Yes, many women were fulfilling the role of domestic angel but many others were kicking off those well-worn boots.
What about certain female needs? I’m looking forward to watching the movie Hysteria, the subject of which is the invention of the electric vibrator. There’s a clip on YouTube. And if you google Joseph Mortimer Granville, inventor, you’ll learn a lot about how women’s sexuality was perceived. We weren’t capable of having orgasms, allegedly. But women were allowed a physician-assisted paroxysm! Adelaide would tell you different. And does. At the risk of leading you astray, let’s open the door to my heroine’s bedroom. Daisy isn’t present but I think you’ll get the picture.
That night I undressed, fantasising Daisy’s fingers loosening my buttons and stays. My nipples hardened under this imaginary touch. I refused to acknowledge the danger of employing someone so capable of melting my willpower. I’d conducted my personal life with discretion, avoiding tittle-tattle, but now my longing for tenderness and laughter swamped my common sense like a deluge from a watering can. She was inexperienced for the post of lady’s maid but I could coach her, talk to her of books and society scandals. Show her pretty things. Even if I didn’t hang around front rooms and foyers, I read plenty of newspapers and periodicals.
I turned back sheet and coverlet and climbed into bed. Daisy had invaded my senses and I was too alert for sleep. In my bedside drawer was something to help, something to which I tried not to resort too often. My very first lover had tried to teach me to applaud my body’s needs. But my upbringing was a tight corset and though Ruth Carroll had loosened the stays, I still felt I was beguiled by the devil’s violin.
I dipped the dildo between my thighs, working it gradually inside me and closing my eyes to the ruffled ruby-redness of my bedroom. I needed to shoo away that shadow of prudishness. Like a scene from a magic lantern show, I saw a slice of azure sea, a half-moon of sandy cove flaxen as my first lover’s locks. Ruth had captured my heart and my soul three years before. You need unbuttoning, Addie, she used to say.
Poor Adelaide is fully aware her father would be horrified to discover his only daughter indulging in impropriety with a servant. Would that matter more than the gender of that servant? Possibly. We know that Adelaide keeps a secret personal item in her bedside cabinet. We can only wonder how difficult it was for a woman to purchase such products in the days before Ann Summers became an integral part of our high streets and before online ordering became clickable.
I hope I’ve entertained and intrigued you.
Demure Adelaide hides a passionate nature beneath her elegant gowns. After hiring a delicious new maid, Daisy, she can’t wait to initiate her into the delights of the orchid house. Though resenting paternal pressure to marry businessman Thomas, Adelaide finds excitement in his touch and his erotic whisperings. Yet, when he reveals his sinister side, she seeks solace elsewhere. Christmas brings snowflakes, also a vivid reminder of a heart-wrenching past. Intrigue and obsession rock this Victorian household as Adelaide’s poignant search for love leads her into storms. Will she ever bask in the sunshine?
Orchid Pink is available from Amazon UK, Amazon US and All Romance eBooks, as well as other good eBook retailers.
About the Author:
Toni Sands lives near the Black Mountains in Wales. Many of her ideas arrive while she’s walking by the river or travelling by train and she also finds inspiration when visiting London. This is where she enjoys roaming galleries and gazing at colourful window displays. She drinks too much coffee and often talks to strangers. Her erotic romances feature in collections by Virgin Black Lace and Accent Xcite, both paperbacks and e-books. She writes to entertain, sometimes finding, as in the case of her new heroine, a character will pop into her head, demanding to have her story told. Toni enjoys networking and belongs to the Romantic Novelists’ Association. She’d like to keep on writing as long as her readers keep on reading.