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RHYLL: Thanks for your time, Fred. There are a lot of firemen in romance novels. What makes fire fighting such a suitable profession for a romance novel hero/heroine?
FRED: Firemen are fetishised, aren’t they? Anyway, believe it or not, this job is perfect for the delivery of love missives. We use more paper and email than people think, plus we have lockers where you could slip in a note.
RHYLL: Is a cute meet between hero and heroine possible?
FRED: Oh yeah, a cute meet over a false alarm, a real fire, a backyard blaze, visiting the kindergarten or something. Lots of opportunities.
RHYLL: And is there opportunity for eye-fucking?
FRED: Of course. What else is there to do when you’re in a helmet, hot as Hades and the fire’s under control?
RHYLL: Does this career involve someone in authority with the power to keep you apart from a loved one and thus fan the flames of your desperate longing?
FRED: We don’t fan the flames, we try to put them out! But yeah, different shifts/stations can be hell on firey couples.
RHYLL: Any opportunity for discrete groping?
FRED: Locker rooms, showers, getting into and out of trucks. It can happen anywhere if you’re discrete.
RHYLL: Excellent. What's the potential for mistakenly overheard conversations like?
FRED: Good. Could happen in locker rooms, showers, training, confined space of the fire truck, radio conversations.
RHYLL: Is there scope for shenanigans with the photocopier?
FRED: We have a photocopier, but there are much better places for shenanigans.
RHYLL: (Fans self.) Does much self-disclosure happen in this job?
FRED: It can happen, especially with kid visits and kids’ questions. They are always a surprise and you can answer without thinking. Plus, sometimes under stress the strangest things happen.
RHYLL: Do fire fighters have a common character flaw that could serve as a barrier to romance?
FRED: Oh yeah, workaholics abound, plus those with the desire to protect. We’re also in danger quite often, so lots of barriers. Sometimes heavy off-duty drinking goes with fireys, and some are gym junkies. We’re kind of compulsive people.
RHYLL: What special qualities do fire fighters display?
FRED: Alpha attributes. Courage—some people call it craziness, some selflessness. We just say it’s our job.
RHYLL: What's sexy about your job?
FRED: We’re a team working together to achieve a common goal. I guess the uniform and the truck are always called sexy. Plus those firey calendars!
RHYLL: So, is it true that all fire fighters have the bodies of Greek gods/goddesses?
FRED: Full-time fireys can spend hours in the gym waiting for call outs and honing their bodies. On-call fireys aren’t quite so lucky (they have day jobs and just run out for fire calls).
RHYLL: Who's hotter, fire fighters or soldiers?
FRED: Fireys! We get uniforms better than military ones, ours have helmets and sometimes breathing gear too.
RHYLL: Competitive much? What are the tools of the trade?
FRED: Items that we use for rescue, knives, axes, steel saws, jaws of life, etc.
RHYLL: Any special skills?
FRED: For a small station we rock a good party! Plus, rescue is our middle name.
RHYLL: Some romance writers love a good abduction scene. Are fire fighters any chop at abduction?
FRED: You could hide someone in the truck I guess. People expect firemen to carry distressed people, so you could probably walk out with someone and no one would even remember.
RHYLL: Noice! Thanks, Fred.
(Note: score would have been higher if a firey calendar had been supplied with interview answers. So the agronomists beat the pants off you, Fred.)
I'm in the giving mood...I'm giving away free copies of my 2014 Victorian Grammar Tragedy desk calendar to anyone who wants one (Australian residents only, sorry, unless you send a SSAE or I really, really love you). Just message me on Facebook with a postal addy if you'd like one.
What do toads and frogs have to do with Halloween? Well, have you heard of the horror frog?
Not only does the horror frog have retractable claws, but breeding males also have a hair-like structure on the body and thighs, leaving them looking just a weensie bit like a were-frog. Grrrrrr.
Found in central Africa, the horror frog is a roasted delicacy in the Cameroon, where some still hold the traditional belief that frogs fall from the sky and, when eaten, help childless human couples become fertile.
In addition to folklore and myths, frogs and toads have also long held a place in fiction, such as in the Brothers Grimm’s The Frog Prince and Mark Twain’s The jumping frog and other sketches. (Interestingly, in the original Grimm version of The Frog Prince the frog's spell was broken not by a kiss but when the princess threw it against a wall in disgust. Ouch!)
But did you know frogs and toads have also starred in erotic fiction?
Jean Johnson in Bedtime Stories (a collection of erotic fairy tales) retells the The Frog Prince tale in an amusing way. Instead of dropping a golden ball into a pond, as was common in some versions of the tale, Princess Gisette accidentally drops her golden dildo into a muddy river. (Oops! Darn it.) The enchanted frog (Prince Henrik) then offers to help her retrieve it in exchange for her help with breaking his enchantment.
In A Sporting Chance, the cane toad is a pet rather than a protagonist, but much rides on whether or not she wins the Australia Day Cane Toad Derby for her owner, Jane, because Jane makes a rather unwise bet with her sexy boss that could see her wearing a French maid outfit for a whole day if her pet loses the race. Read an excerpt here.
To win a free copy of A Sporting Chance, suggest a name for a pet toad in the comments. I'll announce the winner (the person with the best pet name) on this blog.
Each year, on the first Tuesday of November, is Melbourne Cup Day in Australia. Supposedly, it’s “the race that stops a nation” but in practical terms, this means:
It’s all very Australian—except for the race entrants, those cocaine-snorting, multi-million-dollar wonder-ponies with gold-embroidered sphincters and pedigrees that fork off the Hapsburg family tree.
That’s why we need a more egalitarian cup day, an event for the masses, the people’s race—Cane Toad Derby Day.
Here’s how Australia’s new national event will roll:
I’m open to further ideas, bring ‘em on. And if you have a great name for a racing toad, let’s hear it.
In Australia, the 26th of January 2013 heralds Australia Day. Since I’m too lazy for flag waving, face painting or cane toad racing, I thought I’d instead list ten erotic romance scenarios based on Australia Day.
Here we go…
1. Fifi whips herself up a ravishing frock made from the Australian flag to wear to her local Australia Day party. Unfortunately, during her impromptu Macarena performance, several important stitches come undone and the hero is forced to fling his body over hers to cover her unmentionables. Romance ensues.
2. Lola is a professional lamington and pavlova sculptor. Since she’s just starting out in the business, there’s no way she can decline when the local BDSM club invite her to cater their Australia Day event. There’s trouble when several dungeon masters decide she’s tastier than her lamingtons. Felicity, a big-breasted dominatrix, fights them off with her cat ‘o nine tails to save her. Romance ensues.
3. Max, a lifesaver, is running across a car park to catch up with the Mr Whippy van when he trips over the lip of his Australia Day thong and is knocked unconscious. Kind-hearted Fay helps him to his feet, straightens his Speedos and takes him to the doctor. Turns out Max has amnesia from the fall so she lets him stay at her one-bedroom apartment until he regains his memory. Romance ensues.
4. When former copper, Mick, sees the way Jonno wraps his lips around a didgeridoo, he knows he’s found the man for him. But by the end of the Australia Day party the priceless didgeridoo has gone missing and Jonno’s in deep doo-doo. Mick uses his policing skills to help Jonno track down the missing didgeridoo. Romance ensues.
5. On Australia Day, Gemma from America decides to watch a three-day cricket match with her new Aussie friend. Not having had years to develop the required immunity to boredom, she falls into a coma on the second day. A handsome stranger leaps up from his seat and revives her with emergency cunnilingus. Romance ensues.
6. At the beach, Daisy uses her Australia Day face paint to write ‘eat me’ on her belly. Several fellow bathers take the message literally. Romance ensues.
7. Bianca and Toby eye off the same sausage at a sausage sizzle. They both make a grab for it, Toby gets his hand over it but Bianca wrestles him to the ground. She chokes him with a headlock until he passes out. She eats the sausage. He regains consciousness. Romance ensues.
8. At the Menage Appreciation Society’s Australia Day party, three strangers (Doris, Ben and Martin) compete in the ‘three-way kiss under the flag’ competition and win a free trip to Budgewoi for a week. Romance ensues.
9. After winning big at an Australia Day game of two-up, Meg gets rip-snorting drunk and wakes up with a male swimwear model. Never one to complain about the cards that life deals her, she lures him into staying longer with her fine cooking and Karma Sutra colouring-in book. Romance ensues.
10. When Delilah stays at her boyfriend’s place for Australia Day, she decides to bring her pet cockatoo with her. Wally the cockatoo finds himself trapped in a cage with Esme the Galah. Feathers fly, but during the day they overcome their species differences. Romance ensues.
If these Australia Day scenarios have whet your appetite for more Oz-themed erotic romance, check out A Sporting Chance (which is set on Australia Day) and the other Hot Down Under stories on Amazon.
I’m an out-and-proud admirer of Charlotte Stein’s writing, and I’m very happy to say that her latest release, Addicted, tickled my little literary armpits in the most irresistible way.
Here’s my ode to Addicted (available from 24 January) which also provides ten good reasons to read Stein (anything by Stein).
If you need any more convincing, check out the review at Heroes and Heartbreakers.
Gifts not to give this Valentine’s Day (or not without some distance between you and your beloved)
February is the month for promoting really crappy Valentine’s Day gift ideas. Here are some of the worst offenders I found online.
I will garrote you with these, yes I will…
Love apron. If anyone were stupid enough to buy me a cooking apron that read “Love: It’s what for dinner” I would have to garrote them with the ties. In fact, any apron gift would be used that way regardless of what it said. Ditto goes for tacky lingerie.
Jerky. That’s right, there’s a company that believes you should express your love with a subscription for beef jerky. Confused as a goat on astro turf? So am I. If anyone made me a gift of jerky, I would assume it was because one of us was a bit of a jerky.
Microbrew Beer Bucket Gift Basket. Admittedly, this is not a bad gift idea for someone who really likes beer. What disturbs me is the galvanized bucket included. Perhaps it’s just me, but gifts that say ‘and here’s something to vomit into later’ just aren’t very classy.
Custom Engraved Dog Tag Set. Okay, someone’s crack pipe was running hot when they came up with this concept. I’m not sure what this gift could mean other than ‘I love you so much I dream you’ll join the military and get posted to a far away war zone’. Ouch.
A monogrammed set of four ticking striped handkerchiefs. Don’t worry if you just said ‘what the fuck?’ because that was my response, too. Apparently this gift is for ‘emotional moments or dabbing eye make-up’. I guess you could give it to a girlfriend as well.
Plush teddy bears are not a bad option. They can be used to make a satisfying bonfire after a break-up.
What’s the worst Valentine’s Day gift idea you’ve encountered?
OMG, I haven’t blogged since February, sheeeeyit. But, yanno, I’ve been doing fings, so a girl gets busy and all, and, and…
Okay, enough of my excuses. Now I’m going to talk about Cate Ellink’s new book, The Virginity Mission. I’m excited about this one because before I knew Cate very well, she sent me the MS to take a look and let her know what I thought. I was worried, because I’d just joined the erotic romance writers’ forum and I thought, eek, what if I think it’s poopy??
But it wasn’t! Not even a little bit poopy!
Instead, I loved the inner and outer (physical) journey of the main character, Mac. Her scientific expedition’s trek through the wilderness meshed really well with her journey of seeking to change herself (through losing her virginity) and (unintentionally) falling for someone. Ellink captures all the insecurities and hopes of the female protagonist perfectly (she’s great at writing emotion) and the main character is very authentic and credible, someone you could imagine running into in real life and liking. Author does a great job of stringing out the suspense, so watch out, this one’s a page-turner (I read the whole thing in one sit). Those hoping for a giant raptor to show up and eat half the characters will be disappointed, but if you’re after a satisfying, believable romance then you can’t go wrong with this one. (If I hadn’t liked the book, I probably would have been hoping for raptors.)
Check it out for yourself in June, or take a peek at the blurb at Escape Publishing.