Thursday, May 8, 2014

Top "Ten" Novel Passages That Influenced My Writing by Alison Tyler + Giveaway! (US)

The Delicious Torment
by Alison Tyler

The second in a series of novels by bondage connoisseur Alison Tyler features heroine Samantha progressing with her predilections and exploring the deepest recesses of her master's dungeon and her heart.

The Delicious Torment is a Story of O-meets-9 1/2 Weeks coming-of-age tale fueled by lust, longing, and based on the author's personal diaries. The Delicious Torment takes readers to Sunset Strip, way up in the sky in a penthouse apartment overlooking Los Angeles with a love affair ensconced in an S&M relationship filled with corsets, crops, and plenty of kink.

In the introduction, Tyler notes, "This is a novel with me at the center. That is, my heroine is based on me. I’ve sketched her with broad strokes, but at our core we are the same. She’s gotten herself entwined with an older man—nothing new there. But now she has to learn how to maneuver a 24/7 relationship."

Novels I'd Take with Me on a Desert Island (and Most Influenced My Writing!)

Start with the fact that I am in love with this topic. I am a voracious reader and an even more obsessive re-reader. To the point where I have entire passages of books memorized verbatim. I roll the words around in my mouth at odd times—in bed, in traffic, while standing in line. This morning, my husband said, “You’re scaring me, you know that,” when I started to quote The Walrus and the Carpenter. (I guess you had to be there.) I’ve had the entire piece memorized for too many years to name. But ten. Let’s go with ten. Ten backwards to my favorite? I think that’s the way to play.

10. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich. Nonfiction and memoirs are one of my guilty little pleasures. The writing in N&D is so sleek and smooth. Ehrenreich paints a picture easily with only a few key descriptors. This is a book I have two copies of. (I didn’t realize that until I looked at the shelf.)
I leave. I don’t walk out, I just leave. I don’t finish my side work or pick up my credit card tips, if any, at the cash register or, of course, ask Joy’s permission to go. And the surprising thing is that you can walk out without permission, that the door opens, that the thick tropical night air parts to let me pass, that my car is still parked where I left it.
9. Wrecking Crew by John Albert. Another memoir. One of my friends pointed out that I like when people in stories talk to me. Directly to me. House of Cards—when Kevin Spacey addresses the camera, breaking the fourth wall, I go weak. Wrecking Crew begins:
You never know what’s going to save you.
I swoon from the first sentence.

8. Just Another Love Story by R.R. Knudson. I first read this book decades ago, and somehow I knew to keep the copy. Battered. Beloved. There is something shadowy in the writing. The description isn’t fully there. You have to fill in the missing parts. I adore this book.
Before he could respond by turning, he smelled Je Reviens. He felt arms stealing around his deltoids and an earring against his traps. He couldn’t look. This was California, wasn’t it? Dream state?
7. The Godfather by Mario Puzo. True story: I once read a well-worn copy on an airplane to somewhere. Each time I turned the page, the paper fell out in my hand and I stuffed the crisp page into the pocket in front of me. A fellow passenger stopped me at our destination to ask what book was so powerful that I was tearing out the pages as I read them. But I’d simply read the story so many times, the spine had given up the ghost. Some make fun of the purple prose. But the scenes stick with you. Where Just Another Love Story gives you less, The Godfather gives you more:
Then he did something he always did, something that had never yet failed to arouse him. Delicately and as lightly as it was possible to do so and still feel something, he brushed the tip of his middle finger deep down between her thighs. Some girls never even felt that initial move toward lovemaking. Some were distracted by it, not sure it was a physical touch because at the same time he always kissed them deeply on the mouth.
7. Legs by William Kennedy. This man is a god to me. I actually considered applying to Albany because he was a professor there. Can you see me? California chicklet in chilly New York state? But that’s how hard I fell for his words. (I love Ironweed and Billy Phelan’s Greatest Game, as well.) Kennedy taught me about mystical realism, weaving fantasy into a hard-hitting novel:
Jack (Legs) Diamond, aged thirty-four years, five months, seven days, and several hours, sat up in bed in his underwear and stared into the mirror at his new condition: incipiently dead.

“Those simple bastards,” he said, “they finally did it right.”

He moved without being able to move, thought out of his dead brain, smiled with an immobile mouth.
6. Garden of Eden by Ernest Hemingway. I’m not a Hemingway harlot. I don’t go gooey for Papa. But I can remember reading this novel in the sculpture garden and not noticing twilight had fallen. Not realizing I was bringing the book closer and closer in order to make out the words in the lavender dusk. This book affected me two ways: the words, yes of course, but also the twisted plot line. I find Catherine’s transformation addictive:
The young man put his arms around the girl and held her very tight to him and felt her lovely breasts against his chest and kissed her on her dear mouth. He held her close and hard and inside himself he said goodbye and then goodbye and goodbye.

“Let’s lie very still and quiet and hold each other and not think at all,” he said and his heart said goodbye Catherine goodbye my lovely girl goodbye and good luck and goodbye.
5. Written on the Body by Jeanette Winterson. Sexing the Cherry, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, and The Passion also live on my keeper shelf. But this one is a new story to me every time. (Plus, she talks to me. Or rather, she talks to you.)
You had no choice, you were swept away. Forces took you and possessed you and you did it but now that’s all in the past, you can’t understand etc etc. You want to start again etc etc. Forgive me. In the late twentieth century we still look to ancient daemons to explain our commonest action. Adultery is very common.
4. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. This is the first novel that I stayed up all night to read. We were visiting a friend in New York, and she had a waterbed for a sofa. I spent all night ebbing and flowing on the waterbed, soaking up each page. I wanted then to be able to write a book that would keep a reader up all night.
“Hold your tongue, woman,” shouted her husband unexpectedly. “I’m sick and tired of hearing about Prudence being bewitched. All these years you been telling me our child was half-witted. Why, she’s smart as a whip. I bet it warn’t much of a trick to teach her to read.”
3. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett. I got in trouble in school for reading noir while I was supposed to be learning the classics. Why Hammett and Chandler are not taught alongside Melville and Wharton is baffling to me. This is hard-boiled detective writing, but people often forget about the precision of the descriptions:
Samuel Spade’s jaw was long and bony, his chin a jutting v under the more flexible v of his mouth. His nostrils curved back to make another, smaller, v. His yellow- grey eyes were horizontal. The v motif was picked up again by thickish brows rising outward from twin creases about a hooked nose, and his pale brown hair grew down—from high flat temples—in a point on his forehead. He looked rather pleasantly like a blond Satan.
2. The Lone Pilgrim by Laurie Colwin. Hands-down, this is my favorite book of shorts. I remember being shocked when I first read the stories. Characters are often cheating on their partners—and happily so. There is a lustiness to the words, a richness to the prose. The tale that calls out to me the loudest is The Achieve of, the Mastery of the Thing (which is from a line from a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins who is one of the writers whose words I roll around on my tongue).
Once upon a time, I was Professor Thorne Speizer’s stoned wife, and what a time that was. My drug of choice was plain, old-fashioned marijuana—these were the early days when that was what an ordinary person could get.
1. Getting It Right by Elizabeth Jane Howard. He’s not your typical hero, Gavin isn’t. He’s a 31-year-old virgin who lives at home and imagines perfect sublime girls who don’t exist. Gavin’s sensibilities are so spot-on. I think of him as a friend. I first read the book when I was eighteen, and I’ve owned numerous copies over the years. Elizabeth Jane Howard showed me you could write off-beat, untraditional love stories, and that was acceptable.
There was a silence between them during which Gavin became conscious of his total absence of fear. He could look at the figure before him— at the orange hair and orange mouth painted on to a dead white face, the plate-glass diamante spectacles, the corseted bulk of the silver lamé—simply as part of the pieces of declared truth about her which neither of them felt the need to judge or disclaim.
This book also features a poem by Sir Thomas Wyatt that I have now known word for word for more than half my life.

Did you catch my mistake? Yes, there are two number 7s! And then when I went to drop a book, I couldn’t choose which one to remove. So my top 10 list goes to 11!

About the Author

Called "a trollop with a laptop" by East Bay Express, "a literary siren" by Good Vibrations, and "the mistress of literary erotica" by Violet Blue, Alison Tyler is naughty and she knows it.

Over the past two decades, Ms. Tyler has written more than twenty-five explicit novels, including Tiffany Twisted, Melt with You, and The ESP Affair. Her novels and short stories have been translated into Japanese, Dutch, German, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, and Greek. When not writing sultry short stories, she edits erotic anthologies, including Alison's Wonderland, Kiss My Ass, Skirting the Issue, and Torn. She is also the author of several novellas including Cuffing Kate, Giving In, and A Taste of Chi.

Ms. Tyler is loyal to coffee (black), lipstick (red), and tequila (straight). She has tattoos, but no piercings; a wicked tongue, but a quick smile; and bittersweet memories, but no regrets. She believes it won't rain if she doesn't bring an umbrella, prefers hot and dry to cold and wet, and loves to spout her favorite motto: You can sleep when you're dead. She chooses Led Zeppelin over the Beatles, the Cure over Nine Inch Nails, and the Stones over everyone. Yet although she appreciates good rock, she has a pitiful weakness for '80s hair bands.

In all things important, she remains faithful to her partner of seventeen years, but she still can't choose just one perfume.


Books à la Mode is giving away
 a print copy of The Delicious Torment—yay!!

To enter, all you have to do is tell me:

What three books influenced your life (and/or your writing) and how?

PLEASE remember to include your email address or Twitter handle in your comment so that I know who to contact when I select winners. Don't make me track you down! No email = no entry!
Don't forget the entry eligibility terms and conditions!
Sponsored wholly by the publisher—a huge thank you to Cleis Press!
Giveaway ends May 22nd at 11.59 PM (your time).
Open to US readers only—sorry everyone else! Check my sidebar for a list of currently running giveaways that are open worldwide.
Void where prohibited.
Although I do randomly select winners, I am in no way responsible for shipping and handling, or for the prizes themselves.
As a reminder, you do not have to follow my blog to enter, though it is always very much appreciated ❤
Good luck!