Most authors borrow from their own experience in crafting their fiction, to a greater or lesser extent. People, places, and situations from our lives get selected, altered and recombined. This helps to make our tales lively, realistic and believable.
In my most recent release, Incognito, I mined my personal history to a greater extent than usual. The novel is set in the historic Beacon Hill district of Boston, with parallel plot lines in the present and in the late Victorian era. As it happens, I had the good fortune to live in Beacon Hill myself for eighteen months, back in the nineties, and I loved every minute. As I wandered along the cobblestone streets, marveling at the ivy-covered row houses, I felt as though I were going back in time. I’ve mentioned in other blog posts that I have a peculiar affinity for Victorian architecture, fashion and culture. Living in Beacon Hill was a dream come true.
My heroine Miranda literally walks in my footsteps. In fact, her apartment on Charles Street, with its wrought iron fire escape looking out on the brick alley, is more or less based on the place I rented. The antique and bric-a-brac shop where she discovers Beatrice’s diary was a place I often browsed. Louisburg Square, where Beatrice’s home is located, is as elegant today as it was in her time.
I even threw in some of my favorite restaurants. Both Iruña and the Guernavaca Cafe are closed now, but when I lived in Boston, they were much as described in the book. The trendy sandwich bar across from Miranda’s building where she and Lucy have lunch is also based on a real place – and according to the Internet, it’s still in business!
Of course some of the book’s locations come purely from my imagination, like the Fantasy Factory sex club and the seedy bar down by the waterfront where Miranda plays billiards with the bikers. All in all, though, I shamelessly indulged myself while writing Incognito, recreating many happy memories.
I wonder if my readers can tell?
Incognito New Release Giveaway
Win a $10 bookstore GC or free books in my INCOGNITO giveaway. Contest runs from June 1 to June 15.
To enter, do any or all of the following. (Each action is one entry.)
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o Email me, telling me what book of mine you’d like to read: email@example.com
On June 16th, I will randomly select one grand-prize winner who’ll get a $10 gift certificate, plus two runner-ups who can choose any ebook from my indie back list.
During the day, Miranda Cahill works diligently on her doctoral thesis. At night, she has sex with strangers.
Public coupling, multiple partners, age play, spankings, bondage, lesbian lust—each salacious adventure exposes new dimensions of her depravity. Her secret life explodes when she realizes her masked partner at a kink club and the charismatic colleague courting her are in fact the same man.
Dickens scholar Mark Anderson seems like an affable, uncomplicated Midwesterner, but he has hidden depths, myriad talents, and an unlimited appetite for erotic variety. With Mark as her guide, Miranda comes to accept the intricacy of her own desires, as well as to trust her heart.
Reader Advisory: This novel is an erotic romance featuring a committed relationship and culminating in a wedding. Nevertheless, the main characters participate in a wide range of taboo sexual activities, both together and separately.
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0B1N7CTMQ
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0B1N7CTMQ
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/2940165857058
Lisabet Sarai became addicted to words at an early age. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – over one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.
You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads, Pinterest, and Twitter. Join her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh
June 12, 1886
I scarcely know how to commence this account of my adventures and my sins. Indeed, I do not fully understand why I feel compelled to commit these things to writing. Clearly, my purpose is not to review and relive these experiences in the future, for in twenty minutes’ time these sentences will be invisible even to me. Perhaps in the years ahead, I will trail my fingers across the empty parchment, colored like flesh, and the memories will come alive without the words, coaxed from the pages by my touch like flames bursting from cold embers.
I have a secret life, another self, and that secret has become a burden that I clutch to myself, and yet would be relieved of. So, like the Japanese who write their deepest desires on slips of rice paper and then burn them, I write of secret joys and yearnings, and send that writing into oblivion.
Let me begin again. My name is Beatrice. The world sees me as poised, prosperous, respectable, wife of one of Boston’s leading merchants and industrialists, mother of two sweet children, lady of a fine brick house on fashionable Mount Vernon Street, with Viennese crystal chandeliers, Chinese porcelain, French velvet draperies, and Italian marble fireplaces. I devote myself to the education of my dear Daniel and Louisa, the management of my household, works of charity, cultural afternoons. In sum, the many and sundry details of maintaining oneself in proper society.
Though I have borne two children, I am still considered beautiful. Indeed, with my golden locks, fair skin, sapphire eyes and rosy lips, I am often compared to an angel. How little they know, those who so describe me. For in truth, I am depraved, wanton, and lecherous, so lost that I do not even regret my fall.
My husband is a kind, intelligent, and honorable man, for whom I have the deepest regard and affection. He treats me with the utmost consideration and respect; he rarely comes to my bed and when he does, he is profuse with apologies for his unfortunate lust. Alas, he hardly knows or understands me. I understand him to a much greater extent, enough to know that I must lie still and silent under him, not move or cry out as his manhood dances inside me. Everyone knows that for proper women, the rites of the flesh are a trial that must be endured; men are subject to carnal weakness, and women’s lot is to be the passive receptacle of their spending. This is what my husband believes. Knowing he believes this takes the fire from the moment, and makes it easier for me to play my frigid, compliant role.
I know better, though.
Today, I walked in Louisburg Square with Daniel, Louisa, and their nurse. The weather was glorious, sky of limpid blue sown with fluffy clouds, new leaves dancing in the breeze. My parasol raised against the sun, I did not see him until he was almost upon us.
He was of medium height, sumptuously attired, as fair-haired and blue-eyed as I. His mouth had a fullness that I liked, the look of someone who savors the sweet things in life, and a readiness to smile. As he swept off his hat and bowed, I noticed his hands, with long delicate fingers clad in beige kid gloves.
“Good afternoon, Madame,” he said courteously. “I trust that you and your children are enjoying this fine weather.”
Meanwhile, his eyes were sending me a different, more intimate message, which would have been lost on someone who was not sensitized to such things. There were no words in this message, only images, emotions, sensation, a quickening of breath, a heat, a tightening.
I am perpetually amazed at how we recognize each other, those of us who live beyond the pale of propriety. Is it some primal scent that we exude? Some subtle clue in posture or expression? Could it in fact be some spiritual connection, a mingling of thoughts in the ether? The mechanism is obscure to me, but I know the phenomenon only too well. I have sat in a concert hall with two hundred elegantly dressed, respectable members of proper society and found my eyes drawn to a single face in the balcony, a set of eyes that knew me, saw through my finery to the hungry flesh beneath.
“Good afternoon, Sir,” I said, my voice low and modest. “It is indeed fine, especially for so early in the season.”
“Of course, that may indicate that it will become hot sooner than usual.” The gentleman’s eyes sparkled with humor at his little private joke. Hot indeed, I thought to myself, adjusting my expression to signal some slight disapproval.
“I do not believe that I have the pleasure of your acquaintance, Sir,” I said.
“Forgive me for my lack of courtesy.” He reached into his waistcoat, withdrew a card and wrote something upon it. “Here is my card.”
“Thank you.” I examined the card. It was not, in fact, a visiting card, but a blank upon which he had inscribed the following few words:
Ten O’clock this evening
No. __ Beacon Street
With respect and hope,
His name was unknown to me. Clearly he must be one of the many visitors to our prosperous city. I gave him my most luminous smile. “Perhaps we will meet again, Sir.” “I do hope so, Madame. Adieu for now.”