Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bangkok Noir and an Interview with Lisabet Sarai




Dark desires flourish in the glittering City of Angels...

Diana Fanning, aka the Professor, runs The Academy, the only genuine BDSM bar in Bangkok. She's the first person police colonel Apichat Weeranwongsakul consults when a bar girl turns up brutally murdered, tightly bound, with clamped nipples and every orifice stuffed with sex toys. The colonel figures the killer might be one of her customers. But he has his own secrets. He needs Diana to satisfy his shameful dreams of being beaten and abused. Meanwhile, a mysterious American named Sam stalks Nok, the lovely natural dominant who is the Professor's star performer. Nok is used to being the one in charge. She can't understand why she craves the discipline Sam administers.

As more women are slaughtered, always in kinky circumstances, the Professor finds herself in an exclusive world catering to the perversions of Bangkok's wealthy and well-connected. Simultaneously looking for evidence and satisfying her own lusts, she doesn't realize until too late that the power she's used to wielding won't save her from becoming the serial murderer's next victim.

Excerpt from "Bangkok Noir"

I picked up the little whip that Ajarn gave me to use in my act and swirled the thongs lazily around above my head. Then I stuck it between my thighs and rubbed it back and forth. Mmm. I could smell myself, as I got more and more wet.

I checked my audience. Everyone was watching me. I chose first one man, then another. I stared at each one until he was too embarrassed and lowered his head. I didn 't smile, just stared. Letting them know with my eyes that I was in charge. The boss lady.

At the end of the row of benches, I noticed somebody new. A handsome farang with hair the color of straw, wearing business clothes that looked expensive. He smiled at me, a strange smile that made me feel like I was naked.

Of course, my costume doesn't hide very much. Normally, that gives me a feeling of power. Maybe I will allow them to see the hidden parts. Maybe not.

With this man, it didn't matter what I was wearing. I felt like he could see right through my clothing. Like he could see every bit of me, even if I wore street clothes. My nipples started to ache, and my G-string got more slippery than ever.

For the first time since I started working for Ajarn, I was nervous. I stumbled on my spiky heels. I almost lost my balance. Luckily, I was able to turn the mistake into a sexy dip that showed off my bare rear. Most of the customers didn't notice.

The blond man was not fooled.

My heart was beating so hard that it hurt. When I finished my dancing time, I ran into the toilet and splashed some water on my face. I crouched down, my back against the wall, listening to the chatter of the other girls. My eyes closed, I tried to follow my breathing, the way the monks taught me. All I could see was the farang looking at me, with that X-ray stare of his, like something from a science fiction movie.

I stayed in the bathroom for as long as I could. I knew Ajarn would notice if I was gone too long. Finally, I had to go back out. I peeked out from behind the curtains, trying to see if he was still there. When I saw that his seat was empty, I sighed with relief.

I headed toward the bar to get a Coke. My throat was tight and dry. Then I felt a hand on my arm. It was him. His skin was so cool, it made me shiver.

"Can I buy you a drink?" he asked. His voice was kind, and made me think of music. Still, I felt something like terror. He stared at me without blinking. Now it was me who had to look away.

Ajarn was on the other side of the room, watching us. I couldn't refuse.

"Thank you, sir. Just a moment. I go get a Coke, come back right away."

"Let me go with you," he said smoothly. He took my arm and walked me to the bar. After we got our drinks, he guided me to a table in the corner.

"Sit," he ordered. I didn't want to, not really. But what could I do? I clicked my glass against his. "Chok dee," I said. "Good luck to you."

His smile made me feel like I had eaten a meal of live butterflies. "Same to you. What's your name?"

"My name Nok. What your name?"

"You can call me Sam," he said. "Nok is bird, right?"

I nodded. He brushed my long hair off my shoulders and down my back. Then he took my chin in his hand. He raised my eyes to meet his again. I felt like I was captured. Trapped.

"Very appropriate. You're as delicate and airy as a sparrow." I thought of those caged birds they sell at the temples. You set the birds free to make merit, but they always return to their masters.

Without warning, he kissed me. His lips were as soft as his voice, at least at first. I thought I should stop him, though. I tried to pull away. His right hand held my mouth against his. His left arm wrapped around my waist. I couldn't move.

So I gave up. I let him slide his tongue into my mouth and suck the breath from me. The funny thing was, as soon as I gave in to him, I began to like it. He smelled like soap and expensive cologne. He tasted like his whiskey. I could feel that he was strong, much stronger than he looked, with his slim body and fancy clothes.

He kissed me harder, biting my lip. I felt like I was melting. He let go of my chin and played with my breasts through the stretchy mesh. My sex was on fire against the hot, sticky leather.

Suddenly, he pinched one of my nipples, digging in his fingernails. His mouth smothered my cry of surprise and pain. After the pain, though, I felt amazing pleasure, shooting up my spine like lightning.

"You like that, Nok." My English is only so-so, but I could tell he wasn't asking a question. He was telling me. And he was right.

I was terribly embarrassed. I wanted him to do it again.

He bent me backwards. My hair nearly brushed the floor. He put his mouth on the other nipple and sucked. I felt like his mouth was between my legs, sucking me there. It was heaven. I reached up, wanting to stroke him, but he pushed my hands away.

Then, when I was not expecting it, he sank his teeth into my flesh. Everything went dark for an instant. Then pain exploded in me, brilliant as the sun. I was burning up, but I wanted to burn.

When I opened my eyes, he was watching me. That strange smile was on his face, but he also looked worried. "That's enough for tonight, Nok," he murmured. "I have an appointment elsewhere. But I will come back for you, soon."

I was too dazed to say anything. He stuffed a thousand baht note into the cup with the bill, to cover two one hundred baht drinks, and stood to leave. I grabbed his shirt. Not thinking, but not wanting him to go.

"Please, sir..."

He flicked his thumb across one of my aching nipples. Delicious echoes of pain rippled through me. "Be patient, Nok. Be patient and wait. Now is not your time."

Before I could say or do anything more, he was gone. I sat on the stool, confused. Ashamed. Frustrated. Sticky and dirty and smelling like a whorehouse. I buried my face in my hands, almost ready to cry.

Someone tapped me on the shoulder. "Your turn to dance again," said Lin. I nodded and stood up. I was still shaking.

"Who was that guy?" she asked. She knew that something was wrong with me.

"Just a guy," I said. I made myself sound uninterested. "Just a customer."

I paid my respects to the shrine in the corner, then climbed back onto the pedestal. I began to dance, showing off my whip to customers. Trying to look like I was in control.






The Interview:


1. When did you first decide to begin writing erotica?

I've always written for my own entertainment and self-expression, and I've always been fascinated by sex and desire. So in some sense, I guess I never made a conscious decision to write erotica; it just came naturally. I was moved to try publishing my erotic tales when I read Portia da Costa's Black Lace novel, Gemini Lace in 1998. I found the book marvelously diverse, impressively intelligent, and intensely arousing - altogether inspiring! I hadn't heard of Black Lace before, but I thought I'd try my hand at writing the sort of book they published. The kinky gods smiled on me - my first submission was accepted. The rest is history, albeit a minor footnote. (I found being published was addictive!)

2. What about BDSM erotica curls your toes enough to want to write about it?

I'm most interested in the emotional/spiritual aspects of BDSM, the intimate, sometimes almost magical, connection between the dominant and the submissive. I'm hooked on the intoxicating effect of complementary fantasies and the thrill of bringing those fantasies to life. My BDSM tales are perhaps less extreme physically than some authors', because based on my experience, the impact of a scene doesn't depend nearly as much on its physical intensity as on the psychological dynamics. My tag line really sums up my approach to erotica: "Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac".

3. For me, the power exchange is such a beautiful thing. In your book Bangkok Noir, Diana, aka The Professor, is a complex character that develops a relationship with the Colonel. What inspired this story? I loved that she had physical flaws, but was still a beautiful and powerful woman in her own right and not afraid to show it.

To be honest, I don't really know where Diana came from. Well, that's not completely true. She's about the age I was when I first created her, early fifties, and I wanted to write a character who really broke the stereotypes. I wanted her to have secrets and scars, both physical and emotional, because you don't survive into middle age without having endured some difficult times.

I had her voice in my mind when I wrote the first sentence: "When the police colonel walked into my bar, I knew it was a bad sign." Still, I had no idea Colonel Apichat would turn out to be a submissive. I didn't realize what he wanted until I was several chapters into the story.

I really like his character, too. He's a tough guy, strong, loyal and resourceful. His need to submit in no way undermines his masculinity (although he thinks it's shameful).



4. The tone of the book is very noir. The murder mystery and exotic clime hooked me right away and I could not put it down. Are you planning on continuing the story?

I don't have any plans to continue it right now. To be honest, I find writing dark stuff like BANGKOK NOIR to be difficult and emotionally draining. Personally I'm an optimist and a bit of a romantic. Furthermore, I have next to zero experience (thank heaven!) with violence and crime, the nasty stuff that permeates BANGKOK NOIR.

Actually one point I wanted to make in the book is that BDSM - or at least flavor of BDSM that interests me - has nothing in common with that sort of violence. Some of the scenes in the book involve moderately extreme kink, but it's consensual in every case. As the Professor says, "It left a sour taste in my mouth that someone would take the trappings of good, old-fashioned BDSM and twist them to such evil service."




5. Do you write to music?
No, not usually. When I'm writing, I pretty much tune out every other stimulus - even physical discomfort. I wrote the last chapter of my first novel, RAW SILK, on a deadline, while I had a terrible cold and a raging headache. While I was in the midst of creation, I scarcely noticed.



6. What was the toughest scene you ever had to write?

Hmm. Scenes are difficult to write for various reasons. Sometimes when I have trouble with a scene, it's due to the fact that I don't understand my characters, or that I'm trying to force the story in a direction that's not natural.

However, as I noted above, violent scenes are hard for me. The scene in which Diana is tortured was really tough to get down. I kept wanting to end it, but I knew I had to spin it out as long as I could, to ramp up the suspense and the drama.



7. In the book, you walk the reader through two BDSM clubs. Are these typical of clubs in your experience? 

I have a confession to make. I've never been in a BDSM club (alas!) However, I've visited swing/sex clubs and when I lived in Thailand years ago, my husband and I were frequent customers at the go-go bars. So I extrapolate from those experiences, augmenting my imagination with research.


8. What are you currently working on now?

I'm playing with a multi-genre erotic romance novel called RAJASTANI MOON. It incorporates elements of BDSM, menage, Bollywood, steampunk, werewolf, and Rubenesque subgenres. I wanted to challenge myself, to see how many genres I could pack into a single story. Fun!

I'm also plotting a sequel to my M/M science fiction novel QUARANTINE, which came out in July. Readers are screaming for a series. (Well, one or two of them anyway!) I still have a ways to go before I'm ready to start writing on that, however.

In addition to writing, I'm currently putting together a charity anthology of vampire erotica called COMING TOGETHER: IN VEIN. All sales from the book will benefit Doctors without Borders/Medecins sans Frontieres. I'm hoping that will be published around Christmas. I've been working on my own tale for the book, tentatively entitled "Renfield's Lament".



9. What is your favorite BDSM character? Switch, Domme, Dom, sub? When you are crafting a male sub character, do you prefer them macho or very submissive?

I don't think I have a "favorite". I like variety. I've written every variant listed above. Although I write more often from the submissive point of view, mirroring my own experience, I'm fascinated by the interior life of a dominant. I like to create Doms who doubt their own abilities or intuitions - because I think many dominants do indeed feel inadequate or lost at times.

I try to capture the truth that kinky tendencies don't define who a person is - they're just part of the mix. So knowing that a male is a submissive really doesn't tell you anything about his level of assertiveness - or anything else for that matter.


10. What is one thing you would tell someone who is just starting out writing BDSM erotica?


Don't try to write BDSM just because you think it will sell. If power exchange doesn't personally excite you, your stories won't feel genuine, and won't arouse your readers.

There are two other essential pieces of advice I'd offer, too.

1. Start with the psychological aspects of BDSM, not the physical. The dynamic flows from the inside out.

2. Do your research! And that doesn't just mean reading other BDSM fiction. A lot of the D/s stories I read are terribly inaccurate. Some describe dangerous practices that no sane practitioner would ever engage in. Lots of people have BDSM fantasies. Make sure your stories have at least a base of realism.






What I Liked:

This book was full of mystery and intrigue. The exotic clime was refreshing and led me places I had only ever wondered about. Shady strip clubs in the orient combined with the lure of BDSM and a hint of darkness. The main character, Diana, was compelling in her complexity and vulnerabilities and I found myself turning the pages faster and faster. 

What I Didn't:

The ending was a cliffhanger and I am dying to know what happens next. 

Overall:

The club setting was perfect for exploring the shady side of Bangkok. The BDSM elements were shown in their darkest shadow and lightest light and each scenario drew me for different reasons. Diana is a strong Domme and a caring employer. When her girls are placed in danger, she does whatever she has to do to keep them safe and away from the murderer. Getting herself killed is a real danger and my heart was in my throat on more than one occasion.

The erotic situations are rich in detail and fraught with peril and very delicious power exchanges. This is not a fluffy novella by any means, but the rich texture of it was like eating rocky road ice cream. Every lick brought you closer to bliss. This novella is rocky road with whipped cream and a cherry. Add sprinkles. 

5/5




 Want to find out more about Lisabet? Check out her links:

http://www.lisabetsarai.com/welcome.html

Lisabet's Publishers


Here are two new titles to check out:




Thanks Lisabet for joining us today! Leave a comment below and Lisabet will pick a winner for one e-book copy of Bangkok Noir on Tuesday, August 28th! 

10 comments:

  1. Wow! Thanks for showcasing my book, Erzabet! I'm delighted you like it. I hope that some other readers will give it a try.

    Warmly,
    Lisabet

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  2. Me again... I think I'll do a giveaway, just to make sure that at least ONE person gets the chance to read the book. Leave a comment (with your email) and on Tuesday I'll randomly draw one name, and give that person a free copy of Bangkok Noir!!

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  3. Congrats on the showcasing, I can't wait to read it.
    doglady@frontiernet.net

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  4. What a great showcase and interview!
    tessa.bamberg@kolumbus.fi

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  5. I know I want to read Bangkok Noir. I haven't been to that city since I was on R&R from Vietnam in 1965. The first day there I went shopping and found a beautiful blue sapphire ring and a twelve place setting of bronze ware in a wooden box. In Baht the price of the cab was worth 50 cents. The driver said he would take me anywhere I wanted to go and back to the hotel for that price. Eight hours later I was back at the hotel. As I paid he said he wanted more money. I thought here it comes. The then asked me for another 50 cents. Then he asked if I could get him some Salem cigarettes. in trade for taxi service. Welfare & Rec gave us two cartons of Salem cigarettes. Starting that evening and for the next six days I had a cab standing by at the hotel whenever I walked out the door and to pick me up from one destination to another any time for no additional charge.

    I met a woman at a bar called the Do Drop Inn. We talked the whole time I was in the club. When I got ready I asked her to come to my room. She said she had a headache, but would be there the next day. Sure she would. About noon there was a knock on my door. She came up. We spent the day going to different places including the Bangkok Zoo where we fed dinner rolls to these weird looking fish and admiring the shrubs trimmed to look like zoo animals. We went shopping and I bought her a dress. Even though she was a sex worker she only took the dress and the food we ate together. We went to her home where she introduced me to her parents and her little sister who was washing the dog. Needless to say I got wet. We were constant companions for the rest of my six day stay. We even wrote to each other until I left to go home. I got married when I returned so that was the end of that.

    I saw more Rolls Royce's than than it would take to fill a super sized cargo ship.

    I would love to go back and see the changes. The following year I went to Singapore aboard ship. At that time there were homeless people living in the streets and on rooftops. The next time I was in Singapore it seemed like a completely different city. (2001) There were no homeless, the city was clean and customs searched my baggage at the airport looking for chewing gum. You could be arrested for not flushing in a public restroom.

    I look forward to reading Bangkok Noir whether I win it or buy it. I want to see what changes there are in Bangkok.

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  6. This was really interesting. Thanks for the interview. I think the creation of Bangkok Noir is really interesting. The fact that Diana was designed as flawed inside and out is pretty intriguing because it gives the character some background to work with. Thanks for the giveaway! jepebATverizonDOTnet

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  7. Sounds AWESOME!!! Added to my wishlist! :)
    -Amber
    AmberLynn @ yahoo.com

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  8. I've already read Bangkok Noir. I found it a very interesting character study. I don't write BDSM because I'm not really into the whole pain-as-pleasure part of the relationship. I've read some books, like this one, that make it clear that to the participants, this is something they were born with a desire for...it has nothing to do with early "experiences", like a very popular but badly-edited book series hints. It's like being gay...not a choice, but a lifestyle.

    And I also found Diana to be a very strong woman with whom I could identify. I thought this was a very well-written and interesting story. Great job! I'll keep in mind your other titles, Lisabet.

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  9. Greetings, everyone!

    Sorry not to have been around more. Work is one of those things that really interferes with life!

    Ray - your experiences in Bangkok don't surprise me. Thailand is an amazing place.

    Fiona - thanks so much for your positive comments about the book. I don't know about being "born" interested in BDSM, but I do think that in many cases it has nothing to do with being abused or punished in childhood. I had a great childhood, with very loving parents, and look at how kinky I turned out!

    Anyway, I've randomly drawn a winner. Congratulations, PADogLady!

    For everyone else - I do giveaways pretty frequently. If you want to be notified about each and every one, sign up for my Yahoo email list, Lisabet's List:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/lisabets_list

    And thanks once again to Erzabet for hosting me!

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Thanks for commenting!