From Lit Snob to Genre Fan with Kate Belle

‘…there’s a lot to learn from genre fiction.’

Like you, I love to read. Before I started writing seriously my reading tastes were selective, particular even, and very much focused on the literary. I’d even go so far to admit I was one of those deplorable literary snobs. (Actually, I’m not sure that part of me is yet dead – I think it’s just dormant).

Then, as I joined writing courses and groups, I realised two things. There are many excellent non-literary books out there worth reading and, more importantly, my reading choices were limiting my writing ability. I also realised that there are many literary books that weren’t worth my time, no matter how the literary elite heralded their apparent value (mostly because I didn’t have a hope in hell of understanding them).

Part of learning to write was learning to read more widely. The experience of workshopping forced me to read more commercial types of work and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. I developed friendships with other writers who wrote in genres I simply wouldn’t have bothered with previously and they exposed me to new writers and books.

I started reading review blogs and writers’ blogs and exploring the ‘commercial fiction’ shelves of the second hand bookshops and discovered there was a lot to learn from genre fiction. Pacing, rounded characterisation, building a compelling plot and the power of simple words. All these things exist in good literary fiction too, of course, but there is a drama to the commercial fiction genre that just grabbed me. Perhaps it’s my Leo personality, but I just love an ‘OH MY GOD’ moment when I’m reading.

Then my first publishing opportunity arrived. For commercial erotic fiction. I knew I could do it because I understood now what commercial fiction readers wanted from their books. So, without hesitation, I prepared a proposal for my agent and submitted it. Within a week she rang to tell me it had been accepted. I had my first publishing contract with Random House’s new digital imprint, Random Romance.

If I’d stuck to my snobbish literary ways, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to try my hand at writing romance. It was a genre I was previously very ambivalent and a bit cynical about. But my years of exposure to different genres had paid off in spades. I loved creating these stories, loved writing them, and really enjoyed knowing where they would end (I’ve always had problems with writing endings).

While I still tend to buy literary types of work for my personal bookshelves, I don’t stick my nose in the air when it comes to commercial fiction. I appreciate that writing quality genre fiction is a worthy pursuit with its own challenges and benefits. And it’s nice to know I can no longer be labelled a snob.

 

Breaking the Rules: Grace is a beautiful woman in complete control of her world. A long time ago she chose a career over children and marriage, and has never regretted it. Then Ramon Mendez walks into her office. Ramon is about to commence his PhD, a work on erotic literature, and from the outset there is something about him that makes Grace’s blood run hot. Aware of the need to maintain her professional reputation, she rejects his advances, but he persists. And during their intimate supervision sessions, her defenses start to crumble, for Ramon’s work is exposing desires within Grace she never knew existed.

Read a sample chapter.

Breaking the Rules: iTunes & Amazon.

 

Bloom: Thirty-six-year-old Emma’s life looks as perfect as could be. She loves her solid, straight-laced husband Gary, who has given her three beautiful, if spoilt, children and a secure life. But something is missing. Gary hardly notices her anymore and she feels frumpy and invisible. Her friend, Lisa, talks her into joining a social boot camp class at the local gym. Emma immediately recognises their instructor as the gorgeous runner she sees each evening while walking her dog in the park. He introduces himself as Ramon Mendez. In spite of herself Emma is besotted.

Before long her mind is filled with guilty fantasies of him. One evening, when things at home have become too much to bear, she bumps into him alone in the park. An opportunity presents itself and no one need ever know. Ramon promises and delivers everything that’s missing from her marriage – passion, romance and excitement – but Emma must discover if they are the things she really wants.

Read a sample chapter.

Bloom: iTunes & Amazon 

 

 

Kate is a woman of many passions who juggles her pens with the rest of her life. She holds a tertiary qualification in chemistry, half a diploma in naturopathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Kate believes in living a passionate life and has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternized with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.

Kate lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, juggling her strange, secret affairs with her male characters with her much loved partner and daughter, and a menagerie of neurotic pets.

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Twitter: @ecstasyfiles 

Food of Love with Kate Belle

Hello to Manic Readers everywhere! It’s great to be here from DownUnder. I’m a debut Australian erotic fiction author and my first two novellas were released under the new Random House Random Romance digital imprint on 1 February 2013, and boy I’m excited to see my creations out in the world. I also have a novel, The Yearning, coming out in April/May 2013, so have a busy year ahead of me.

A lot of people ask me what it’s like to write erotic fiction.

To be honest, I’m secretly in love my character Ramon, so spending hours at the computer with him is no chore. Of Spanish extraction, this hot-blooded man has more animal magnetism than most women can handle, and a body to match.

Ramon loves women. So much so, he became an expert in female sexuality by studying psychology and ancient sexual practices such as tantra, karma sutra and taoism. As a result he is a masterful, generous and wise lover who understands how to unlock the sexual potential in women’s bodies and minds.

Ramon seduces women who have hit a troubled romantic spot in their lives, taking them on a journey of sexual awakening. But there is a mystery about him. He makes it clear to his lovers that he isn’t interested in relationships. He helps them sort out their problems so they can move on while he remains happily single. One can’t help but wonder why? And will there be a lover one day who finally captures Ramon’s elusive heart? I’ll have to keep writing about him to find out!

There’s something about writing the steamy scenes in my novellas that makes me hungry. As I was writing the first two books in this sexy series, I kept craving food. Not just any food. I needed satisfying, delicious, sensual, soul food. It probably had as much to do with the way I was writing, as what I was writing. Once I got into a love scene I couldn’t stop. I kept writing, through lunch, crossing my legs and ignoring my rumbling stomach, because I just HAD to finish it. By the end I’d be hot and flustered, a teeny bit sweaty and hungry!

It got me thinking about aphrodisiac food. I fondly remember a seafood banquet I once had with my husband on an anniversary and how smoochy we both felt afterwards. I think my Ramon is the sort of man who would have some sensual recipes he uses to soften his dates up before he makes his move. So I researched aphrodisiac foods and, as a special treat for Manic Readers, I’m sharing a couple of Ramon’s ‘no-fail-seduction’ recipes. Try them on your valentine, you might be surprised at the effect!

Strawberry and Fetta Salad
1 cup slivered almonds2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 cup raspberry vinegar

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 cup vegetable oil

1 head romaine lettuce, torn

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced

1 cup crumbled feta cheese

Directions

  1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the almonds, stirring frequently, until lightly toasted. Remove from heat, and set aside.
  2. In a bowl, prepare the dressing by whisking together the garlic, honey, Dijon mustard, raspberry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil.
  3. In a large bowl, toss together the toasted almonds, romaine lettuce, strawberries, and feta cheese. Cover with the dressing mixture, and toss to serve.
Oysters Rockefeller
2 slices bacon24 unopened, fresh, live medium oysters

1 1/2 cups cooked spinach

1/3 cup bread crumbs

1/4 cup chopped green onions

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 dash hot pepper sauce

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon anise flavored liqueur

4 cups kosher salt

  1.  Directions
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.
  3. Clean oysters and place in a large stockpot. Pour in enough water to cover oysters; bring the water and oysters to a boil. Remove from heat and drain and cool oysters. When cooled break the top shell off of each oyster.
  4. Using a food processor, chop the bacon, spinach, bread crumbs, green onions, and parsley. Add the salt, hot sauce, olive oil and anise-flavored liqueur and process until finely chopped but not pureed, about 10 seconds.
  5. Arrange the oysters in their half shells on a pan with kosher salt. Spoon some of the spinach mixture on each oyster. Bake 10 minutes until cooked through, then change the oven’s setting to broil and broil until browned on top. Serve hot.

A must add to any aphrodisiac meal is asparagus, lightly steamed and topped with shavings of parmesan cheese, and finish with quality chocolate truffles – the way to sweeten anyone’s heart.

Kate’s books:

 

 

Breaking the Rules: Grace is a beautiful woman in complete control of her world. A long time ago she chose a career over children and marriage, and has never regretted it. Then Ramon Mendez walks into her office. Ramon is about to commence his PhD, a work on erotic literature, and from the outset there is something about him that makes Grace’s blood run hot. Aware of the need to maintain her professional reputation, she rejects his advances, but he persists. And during their intimate supervision sessions, her defences start to crumble, for Ramon’s work is exposing desires within Grace she never knew existed.

Breaking the Rules: iTunes & Amazon

 

 

Ramon stood silently regarding her, as if weighing up his next move.

‘Will you please unlock the door?’ she asked again, unable to look him in the eye.

‘No.’

His voice was gentle. Grace fiddled with pens on her desk, rearranging them, and then finally throwing them into the top drawer. She needed to make her agitated hands busy. She heard him take two steps toward her and stop. She refused to look up into those eyes she knew would make her come undone at the seams.

‘I have something for you.’

His voice was husky, filled with heat. Grace laughed. It came out too loud and echoed off the walls of her office.

‘Really? What could you have that I could possibly want, Mr Mendez?’

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a hand disappear into his pocket. When she turned to face him he was standing with a tiny scrap of lace and satin dangling from his forefinger. Grace clutched at her throat. Was that a g-string? She felt blood rushing to her face. She feigned outrage.

‘And what do you expect me to do with that?’ She couldn’t stop the shrillness in her voice.

Ramon moved languidly toward her, his eyes never leaving her face. Grace didn’t know where to look. She shifted to sit on the corner of her desk and folded her arms over her chest. Ward him off. Breathe deep, take control, force the uncertainty back.

One step away from her he halted. He folded the creamy satin underwear into his hand.

‘Wear it,’ he breathed.

A ripple of want ran over her skin. Grace clung to the edge of the desk with both hands to steady herself. She inhaled the musky smell of him, all spicy aftershave and shampoo.  Robbed of speech, she could only shake her head.

‘You have a beautiful body, Grace. It deserves to be dressed in beautiful things.’

It was only when he touched her she realised she had closed her eyes. She felt the warmth of his hand slide from her hip to the small of her back, the strength in his limbs as he pressed his body gently against hers. His other hand picked out a wavy strand of her hair and rubbed it reverently between his forefinger and thumb.

‘I like your hair like this. You should wear it out always.’

His face was dangerously close to her own, his breath warm against her ear. He lifted the underwear and stroked her cheek with it. Smooth, cool satin.

‘Wear it,’ he whispered. ‘Please.’

Grace quivered as her resistance crumbled. She placed her hands flat against his chest and pushed at him weakly, giving a tiny shake of her head. Beneath his shirt he was a wall of muscle. She thought of the picture of the Marie Claire model and desire flowed through her. Having read his book, knowing what he knew about sex, about women, what he may be capable of, how could she resist him now?

His hands drifted to her skirt zipper as he dusted her jawline with kisses light as butterfly wings. Grace struggled with her racing heart. She shouldn’t be allowing this, she should push him away, but it felt so good to be caressed.

‘Let me show you how beautiful you are,’ he murmured into her throat.

Unwillingly she tipped her head back. The sensation of his lips on her skin was exquisite. How had she lived so long without this? The fingers of his left hand tugged at her skirt zipper. It slid open without a hitch. His hands, deft and confident, tugged the skirt down over her hips until it slithered to the floor.

 

 

Bloom: Thirty-six-year-old Emma’s life looks perfect. She loves her straight-laced husband Gary, who has given her three beautiful, if spoilt, children and a secure life. But something is missing. Gary hardly notices her anymore and she feels frumpy and invisible. Her friend talks her into joining a social boot camp class at the local gym. Emma immediately recognises their instructor as the gorgeous runner she sees each evening while walking her dog. He introduces himself as Ramon Mendez. In spite of herself Emma is besotted.

Before long her mind is filled with guilty fantasies of him. One evening, when things at home have become too much to bear,  she bumps into him alone in the park. An opportunity presents itself and no one need ever know. Ramon promises and delivers everything that’s missing from her marriage – passion, romance and excitement – but Emma must discover if they are the things she really wants.

Bloom: iTunes  & Amazon

 

Author Bio:

Kate Belle is a passionate author, adequate wife and devoted mum/step-mum. She lives, writes and loves in Melbourne, Australia, but is a country girl at heart, and juggles her pens and her iPad addiction with a busy family life.

Kate has many strings to her bow. She holds a tertiary qualification in applied chemistry, half a diploma in naturpathy and a diploma in psychological astrology. Her employment includes a video library, a travel agent, cleaning campervans for hire, the public service, a disability organisation and a university sports centre. She has ridden a camel through the Australian desert, fraternised with hippies in Nimbin, had a near birth experience and lived on nothing but porridge and a carrot for 3 days.

Kate also believes the world would be a better place if human beings could learn to appreciate the simpler pleasures of life.

Find out more about Kate at

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