Thursday, August 30, 2012

Guest post by Sophie Duncan - There were 3 in the Bed...

I'm pleased to host Literary+ member, Sophie Duncan, a gal after my own heart, talking today about menage in fiction.


Much gratitude to Tressa for hosting me today and thanks to Literary+ (especially Paul Carroll) for organising the blog tour for me.

There Were 3 In The Bed - Menage, ewww or gimme gimme!

My title today came to me, because, as I was considering this subject for a blog post, that old song 'there were x in the bed and the little one said roll over, roll over', came to mind and it made me laugh as I thought about the extra arms and legs and other unmentionables in a PG post that a writer is dealing with when they tackle a menage. Of course, menage does not strictly mean a sexual relationship, but the type of menage I'm discussing here is definitely of the sexual kind and, usually when I read or write it, it means the sexual relations go all ways, not as in the classical menage a trois where one person has two lovers and those two lovers are not sexually involved.

three in the bed

Phew! Menage is a tricky concept to define and writing it can be even more complex. Traditionally speaking, we're used to duos, one-to-one relationships in both our romance and erotica (less so in porn - and if you want to see my definitions of those three genres, check back to yesterday's blog tour post). When we move on to three or more in a relationship, lots of things get complicated and not just the sex scenes. Personally, I like reading and writing menage, those challenges in dynamics make for an interesting read/write and, well, three in a bed can be hot! I'll state clearly here, I'm talking fiction, fantasy: I have no objections to equal, consensual multi-way relationships in the real world (by equal, I mean any combination of male and/or female partners allowed, no restrictions, I'm not attempting to start a religious debate), but I'll keep my own menage fantasies safely on the page :). For other people, two is the perfect number, any more and it gets icky for them. To those people, I say, fair enough, each to their own, I like pairs too, but for me there is just something a little kinky and erotic about breaking that convention.

My only published menage*, apart from fanfic, is Bonds of Fire, which, again I mentioned yesterday, and including an all-male threesome romance (emphasis on PG13 here) in a science-fiction/fantasy story has made it both my most popular release to date, but also the one that has drawn the most vitriol. Apparently, some people reading fantasy don't want a m/m/m romance popping up in the middle of the story. Personally, I didn't even think twice about it, it didn't occur to me that the relationship in the story would 'ruin' it for some people, although I have now listed that content in the description due to some folks' comments, not everyone who was surprised by it was nasty BTW. Anyway, my point for mentioning this story is that I enjoyed developing the relationship in this story. One of the empaths, Yakov, is the catalyst for romance developing and he is already in a relationship with Malachi, the other empath, before Drekken, my protagonist, enters the equation.

There were two scenes I had a lot of fun writing. The first may be obvious to anyone who has read the book, and even if you haven't, you'll understand why I enjoyed it when I say it was the nearest this story gets to a sex scene: it's a little playful flirting, okay, so they are naked, but that's because they've all just been washing in a pool and there are children present (in the form of dragon hatchlings), so there's nothing overtly sexual going on. This is a two-on-one scene where the empaths, the established relationship, are teasing Drekken, the newcomer, and I like writing flirty scenes like this, they are light, fun and gently erotic (if I can get them right, that is ;) ). The second scene deals much more with character: Malachi and Drekken to be exact and Malachi's jealousy over the easy way Drekken and Yakov had begun to hit it off. The society in which I have set this story does not have hangups about gender in relationships, and only gives a nod to pair-thinking as 'the norm', but I wanted to explore the protective side of Malachi when it comes to Yakov and how he deals with the new dynamic.

Throwing a new person into an established relationship and watching the fireworks is something that is done in fanfic, usually because a TV show already has a popular male-female pairing and some of the fans want to see the bromance pairing joined into that relationship. You get any number of combinations in Harry Potter fandom, from Harry/Draco/pick a girl (or guy for that matter), to James/Lilly/Snape and anything in between, you'll also get multi-way relationships with The Marauders as well. In fact, in any fandom where there are more than two leads, you're likely to get menage of established characters and, even when there are only two male leads, you sometimes find writers throwing in an original character to spice up the mix (beware of the dodgy Mary Sues in this form though). Menage is by no means as common as pairings, but it can be a fun read if done well - bad menage, though, is up there with bad porn, especially when the writer loses track of where that hand is and who is doing what to whom :P.

And so, my final thoughts on menage: it's not a kink for everyone, but if you like it, you like it and those of us who do would love to see more quality menage out there. Give me romance, give me sex, show me the unusual character dynamics that multi-way relationships can produce and I'm usually a happy girl.

*I will have another menage (erotica) coming out soon, Incubus Shadows, in the Wittegen Press Giveaway Games Anthologies.

Sophie Duncan

Sophie was born with the writing bug in her blood, boring her primary school teachers with pages of creative writing and killing her first typewriter from over use when she was thirteen. She began publishing her work on line while at university where she discovered the internet and fanfiction. It took another decade for Sophie to realise her long-time dream of releasing her own original fiction as an author through Wittegen Press.

Death In The Family (Heritage is Deadly #1)

Leaving a good London school with solid prospects, Tom Franklin has the world at his feet. Yet one thing has always haunted his perfect life: his dreams. When Tom discovers that the nightmarish images of dark places and even darker instincts are in fact repressed memories from his early childhood, he must face the heritage from his birth-father, a savage vampire known only as Raxos.

Realising his memories are his only hope of controlling his awakening instincts, Tom returns to, Coombedown, the sleepy, Cornish village in which he was born, unknowing that the night-breed in his veins will lead him into danger.

Death In The Family is a young adult, paranormal novel.

Death In The Family Literary+ Blog Tour Schedule:

Literary+ is a marketing initiative which was founded and led by Shen Hart. This is a time of evolution and progress, the market is being opened up to e-books and self-publication. As a fellow writer, Shen understands that self-publication is a hard and often lonely road. She started Literary+ to bring together authors and related creative specialities with the goal of helping each other. With a tight knit, friendly and welcoming community at its core, Literary+ holds a strong focus on marketing. As Literary+ continues to grow and evolve it will use innovating, original and experimental marketing methods and schemes to get its member's books into their reader's hands.

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