Monday, 27 August 2012

Guest post by Lily Harlem

Since I discovered Lily Harlem's writing thanks to her Hot Ice series, a steamy contemporary romance series about sexy hockey player heroes (you can read my review of Hired and Cross-Checked here) I knew I have found a new favourite erotica author. Lily's novels were always well developed and well written, but with her latest release she proves that she can write scorching hot scenes! That Filthy Book is a novel she co-wrote with Natalie Dae, and of course I was curious to know how that actually worked in practice. So please give Lily a warm welcome and read on to discover how That Filthy Book came to be!

by Lily Harlem

Thank you very much for inviting me to your blog today, Stella, to chat about co-authoring.

Writing with another author is something I’ve had the great pleasure of becoming involved in over the last year or so. I never thought I would go down that route, never believing my ‘control’ over my characters and my plot lines would allow it. But it seems that is absolutely not the case and it is that lack of control and letting the characters choose their own paths that is, for me, one of the highlights of co-authoring.

My partner in erotic writings is Natalie Dae (also known as Emmy Ellis and Sarah Masters to name a few of her personas). And our first co-authored novel together is That Filthy Book.

Natalie and I met a couple of years ago at a Total-E-Bound event, hit it off straight away with non-stop chatter about books and writing and just about everything else you can think of. The conversations at times got so racy we had to check over our shoulders to make sure we weren’t being overheard – but that’s not an unusual problem for erotic romance authors!

Back home we began to beta read each other’s work and got to know one another’s style pretty well. We weren’t afraid to say that ‘doesn’t work’, or ‘what are you actually trying to say here?’. Honesty came easily to us and became the foundation of our relationship.

One evening Natalie sent me a first chapter. “I’m having a wobble,” she said. “Read this before I go any further and tell me if its complete poo.” (I’m sure any authors reading this will know exactly what she meant, I certainly did!) Anyway, I read it and it was bloody brilliant. Great characters, fab introspection, all in all a really wonderful set-up, but still she scratched her head, unsure of where to go with it, so I said, not wanting to waste any of her lovely words, “How about I write the next chapter?” The reply: “Go for it!”

So I did and it was raw, sexy—in fact, downright filthy! Nat loved it, and not only that, we both felt like we’d just put our characters on the biggest, most thrilling roller-coaster in the world and we were going to have to hang on for the seriously wild ride we’d sent them on.

I quickly realised that writing together was a complete, chocolate-with-sprinkles indulgence. We would do a chapter length each and pass it on, amazing ourselves at the twists and turns in the plot as we wrote. Of course, we had an idea of where we were going, but it was very loose. But that was the beauty of ‘the book’—it went where our characters wanted it to go.

One thing I found amazing was how we both knew the hero and heroine so well. There was never a time either of us questioned, “Would he/she do/say that?” Everything was seamless, the decisions they made, their actions—even if heart-stoppingly shocking—worked perfectly. Sometimes, at editing, I would read it back and think, “Who wrote that? Me or Nat?” Which must ultimately be a very good sign.

What did I learn? Mmm, well writing with someone not only talented but also with a beautiful vibrant use of the English language was wonderful. I learnt a lot as we wrote, experimented too, because it was safe to. Also there was never a ‘writer’s block moment’ or a ‘bugger, now what?’ because Nat knew the novel as well as me so it was only ever a quick question and it was flowing again. We bounced it off one another, quite literally.

That Filthy Book was actually written over just a few weeks; we got into a routine that suited us and the word count romped up. It was then accepted by Total-E-Bound, and Nat, with her other head on as Head of Art at TEB did the amazing cover. I have to say, when she sent it to me I couldn’t stop looking at it. I blew it up to full screen and just stared and stared and stared. I even got up in the middle of the night and stared again!

I knew we had the characters running parallel in our heads, like they were real people we both knew, but when I saw the images she’d created I was staggered by how she’d brought to life what was in my mind’s eye. Everything about Karen and Jacob was right. From their expressions, to their hair colour, physique, and the way Karen is just undoing Jacob’s shirt while they both look shifty. Perfection!!

Reviews for That Filthy Book have been very favourable and we have now written another two books together. Good Cop, Bad Cop which will hit Amazon Kindle in a few weeks time and is a seriously sexy ménage novel set off the coast of Florida, and Anything For Him which is a dark erotic story due out with Harper Collins later in the year. We have also begun a series of short stories that focus on couples asking for what they ‘really’ want in the bedroom. The first is called More, available now, the second is Hard, soon to be released, and the third, well, lets just say the third is still a seed of a story, but will soon grow to fruition.

Ultimately I feel very privileged not only to be writing with Nat, but also able to call her my friend and confidant. She has added a unique depth and a treasured experience to this crazy business called writing.

Thanks so much for having me stop by. It’s been fun. I’ll be hanging around if anyone has any questions.

Lily x

Connect with Lily Harlem at

Connect with Natalie Dae at her website

That Filthy Book by Lily Harlem and Natalie Dae

Out of sight, out of mind. Or so I thought, but it turns out an old, dog-eared book with contents so filthy and so depraved that I’d been forced to hide it after reading, has sank deeper into my erotic subconscious than I’d ever imagined. Luckily though, Jacob is up for exploring the new side of me that has risen to the surface after all these years.

In a whirlwind of wanton adventures that push us to the limits of our sexuality, we begin to re-discover what it once was that had us screaming with pleasure and how to accept that nothing will ever be the same again between us.

Reader Advisory: This book contains bondage, BDSM and an element of dubious consent within a consensually acted out rape scenario.

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