Tag Archives: The Judgment of Eric

To All the Lusty Gardeners: Fifty Shades of Green Interview with Publisher Sandra Knauf

Photo by Lily Knauf.

Photo by Lily Knauf.

Well, here I am, interviewing myself for a press release I put together for Fifty Shades of Green last fall. (When you hear self-publishers wear a lot of hats, that is the truth!) I was going to share this interview back with you then, but other things came up and it got stuck in the Drafts folder here on WordPress. Since the film of the other Fifty Shades book is out, I thought now might be a good time.

If you haven’t bought a copy of my book yet, you’re in luck. We have a special going on now – retail price is $15.95, sale price is $12.95 (and it looks like Amazon has taken another dollar off from there). Don’t delay; the savings will not get better than this! Here’s the link!

—Sandra Knauf

And Now . . . the Interview

What brought this book about? It started as a joke. I read Fifty Shades of Grey and was shocked. Not by the BDSM sex, but by the inequality in the relationship. I thought: This is what women find sexy? The story had no basis in reality and the heroine was the “submissive”—in bed, in experience, and economically and socially. What’s sexy about that?

I talked to friends and saw most had the same reaction. At first I thought it would be funny to do a parody, a novel with a female protagonist who was older and a billionaire, someone who had all the power in society, and in the bedroom, who would mete out discipline to a virginal, college-aged male love interest. But after exploring that idea, I found it didn’t hold my interest. So the idea changed to a collection of stories.

Where did the gardening theme come from? Gardening had to be a theme. It’s my personal passion and it’s the subject of all my publishing work. Plus, the garden is the perfect setting for sexual encounters. Non-gardeners may not know this, but the garden is a sexy, fruitful, lustful place. And besides, women and gardens have shared an intimate relationship since the beginning; starting, one could say, with Eve.

Can you tell us about the writers? I fell in love with all the writers. Most are seasoned erotica writers and avid gardeners, so they know what they’re writing about in both departments. Several are men, and it was wonderful to have that perspective; two of the writers are from Britain, and I found that thrilling as the British are known for their mad gardening skills. Another writer’s the editor for a regional gardening magazine, and one graduated from Harvard Law School. There’s an exciting diversity in styles and backgrounds.

Do you have a background in the erotica genre? No, and I honestly didn’t know a lot about the genre before I started this project. But I learned, and I read some of the best work out there, and the more I learned the greater my respect for the genre grew. This is my feeling on the subject: sexuality is one of the most important, powerful, and certainly one of the most beautiful aspects of our existence and the way it’s treated is sad. We have a culture where sex=porn and that is just not so. There needs to be a return to honoring sexuality and lovemaking. Placing sexuality in a dark, forbidden place breeds a lot of society’s ills.

How do you feel erotica fits into today’s literature and why is it becoming so popular? I feel that readers are looking for deeper connections, and when you have access to a character’s sexuality, you see the whole person. I think this is the reason TV shows have become more sexual—not for the titillation, though that can be a part of it, but because we want fully-developed characters. In a big way, A Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert validated this book project for me. Here was a story, from a respected author, about a virginal woman in the 1800s obsessed with studying, of all things, mosses. There’s a lot about horticulture and history and becoming a fully-realized human being, but Gilbert also explored her protagonist’s sexuality. It was enthralling, reading about this character’s sexual awakening and her desires.

What surprised you most about the stories you received? The imagination, and the heart. Eros is the god of love and where the word erotica originates, and there is a joy and a depth in these stories that goes far beyond the sex act. In pornography there is no heart; it’s only about the stimulation. I found myself moved by some of the stories, such as “Pulse of the Earth,” a healing love story between two men. “Love Lies Bleeding” is so beautifully written it took my breath away, and “Phallus Impudicus” is high comedy. “The Judgment of Eric” is a riddle. There are a couple of stories where love potions figure in and that’s always fun, both from an adult “fairy tale” perspective and from a psychological standpoint. The collection is a mix of many aspects of the sexual psyche.

Did you have a favorite? Yes and no. I hand-picked them all, and I love them all, but there are a few that are special to me. I won’t name my favorites, but what’s funny is they changed during the editorial process. One story I read aloud recently and just went, “Wow. I think this is my favorite.” I also find it interesting that there’s no consensus among those who’ve read the book. This tells me there’s something for everyone.

Do you garden? (And do you think gardening’s sexy?) Can I scream, “Oh YESSSS!”? I have been an obsessed gardener for over two decades, when we first bought a home that had a yard. I went through master gardener training twice, the second time as a refresher course. I remember the first cottage garden I saw. I was 19 and my soon-to-be husband and I were house-sitting for his brother and his wife. Victoria and Danny had little money but they had an amazing garden: chickens and flowers, a vegetable garden, fruit trees in barrels, a tiered strawberry bed. This was in Colorado in the 1980s and enjoying this humble yet wildly productive and beautiful garden I thought, “This is paradise. I want to do this one day.” And I did.

As far as sex and the garden go, there is no place sexier. Flowers are the sex organs of plants, you know. They are beautiful and many emit intoxicating perfumes. If you have a flower garden and a vegetable garden, you have an orgy going on during the spring and summer, right in your backyard! The bees and butterflies are pollinating, the flowers are cross-pollinating. It’s amazing. You’re surrounded by sex.                                                                                                                                                                                         

P. S. I thought you might find it amusing that the pose and setting for my press kit photo was inspired by one of my favorite garden writers—that true champion of organic growing, Ruth Stout! I love her so! It I wrote about her life last year in a mini-bio that you can read either in Greenwoman #5 or in the Kindle publication, The Whole Ruth: A Biography of Ruth Stout.

Thank you, Ruth. Your sexy good humor was just what I was looking for.

My sultry and sensual garden mentor, Ruth Stout. Did you know she enjoyed gardening in the nude?

I imagine Ruth Stout thought this photo funny and suggestive of a “roll in the hay” with the author of books on straw mulch gardening!
(Did you know she enjoyed gardening in the nude?)

And, once more, the link to buy yourself (or your lusty gardening pal/s) a copy. You know they make great gifts, too!

Poppy FInal June 17 copy

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Filed under Art & the Garden, Garden Writers We Love, garden writing, Gardening is Sexy

Fifty Shades of Green Blog Tour

We start the tour with a post by Janine Ashbless on her hauntingly sexy tale "Love Lies Bleeding."

We start the tour with a post by the incomparable Janine Ashbless.

Our 20-blog tour starts today! Five days a week, Monday through Friday, for four weeks. Most of the host sites for this one are in Britain so it’ll be fun to see the response from our friends there.

Will they like our collection of naughty gardening stories? Will we make the connections we’re hoping for? We certainly hope so!

All of our Fifty Shades of Green authors are participating. Each has written a fascinating post on what inspired their sexy Fifty Shades of Green story.

I loved reading these posts on the story-behind-the-story. What fun to peek behind the narrative at the history, the spark that began the creative process, the personal experience that launched an erotic garden tale. Oh, I am a sucker for it all.

If you are, too, check it out. You’ll see:

—how Jean Ashbless  (“Love Lies Bleeding”) originally wanted to write about a ghost in a garden.

—how Slave Nano’s Edwardian BDSM story (“Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester and the Walled Garden”) is really all about class warfare.

—how America’s Spanish Colonial history inspired the setting for the tender eroticism of Evey Brett’s “The Pulse of the Earth.”

—how (like me!) T. C. Mill, inspired by her negative reaction to Fifty Shades of Grey was actually beginning the process of putting together her own anthology of feminist erotica, emphasizing mutual consent and communication in sexual relationships, called, at that time, 50 Shades of Negotiation* when she came across the call for submissions for Fifty Shades of Green. Although Mill’s not a gardener it inspired her to write the enchanting “Rosewitch.” (*Her collection’s name changed to Between The Shores and is coming out this fall.)

There are also some slightly silly (but I hope humorous) posts by me on plant sex, insect sex, all kinds of sex in the garden. Because, you know, the garden is a sexy place. And it certainly was a big inspiration for me in creating the book’s concept.

Below is the tour schedule. I hope you’ll follow us on the tour and tell your friends.

Best to you all this Monday morning.

—Sandra

P. S. For this tour Fifty Shades of Green has been discounted on Amazon. It’s at the lowest price it will ever be—and just in time for early holiday shopping!

We're having a great "Tour Sale" right now on Amazon.

We’re having a “Tour Sale” right now on Amazon.

Our Tour Dates

20th Oct.         http://elizabethcoldwell.wordpress.com/

Post: Janine Ashbless, “The Gardener and the Vampire” & excerpt from “Love Lies Bleeding”

21st Oct.          http://ReneaMason.com

Post: T. C. Mill, “Now Underway: Fifty Shades of Revolution” & excerpt from “Rosewitch”

22nd Oct.        http://sallyannerogers0112.wordpress.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf, “How Fifty Shades of Grey Inspired Fifty Shades of Green” & excerpt from “The Pulse of the Earth” by Evey Brett

23rd Oct.         http://jacquelinebrocker.net/

Post: Rebekah, “A Horned God in Her Garden—‘Phallus Impudicus’” & excerpt from “Phallus Impudicus”

24th Oct.         http://InThePagesofaGoodBook.com

Spotlight (no post). Excerpt from “Sunlight and Water” by Colleen Chen

27th Oct.         http://alliwantandmorebooks.wordpress.com/

Post: Gloria Holden, “Hot for (Native Plant) Teacher” & excerpt from “Exploding Alfalfa”

28th Oct.         http://houstonhavens.wordpress.com/

Post: Simone Martel, “Teaching a Techie Gardening . . . and More” & excerpt from “First, Take Off the Hoodie”

29th Oct.         http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk

Post: Evey Brett, “Padre Kino and ‘The Pulse of the Earth'” & excerpt from “The Pulse of the Earth”

30th Oct.         http://eroticaforall.co.uk

Post: Sandra Knauf, “Dirty Hands, Dirty Minds/Naughty Things to Say in the Garden’”& excerpt from “Seed” by Michael Bracken

31st Oct.          http://hawt-reads.com/

Post: Becky Trachsel, “Love’s First Bloom” & excerpt from “The Education of a French Gardener”

3rd Nov.          http://kdgrace.co.uk

Post: Slave Nano “Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester: A Story of Power in Class in the Edwardian Country Home” & excerpt from “Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester and the Walled Garden”

4th Nov.           http://www.myeroticnotions.blogspot.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf, “Ten Places to Have Sex in the Garden” & excerpt from “Seed” by Michael Bracken

5th Nov.           http://locglin.blogspot.com/

Sandra Knauf Interview & excerpt from “Love Lies Bleeding” by Janine Ashbless

6th Nov.          http://galestanley.blogspot.com/

Post: Andrew Peters, “The Gods Screw Around” & excerpt from “The Judgment of Eric”

7th Nov.           http://lcwilkinson.com/

Post: R. R. S. “Sex Among the Rationalists” & excerpt from “Lavished”

10th Nov.        http://belindasbookshelf.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf, “Other Kinds of Kinky Sex in the Garden” & excerpt from “First, Take Off the Hoodie” by Simone Martel

11th Nov.         http://erzabetsenchantments.blogspot.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf “Plant Sex 101” & excerpt from “Exploding Alfalfa” by Gloria Holden

12th Nov.         https://choward2614.wordpress.com/

Post: Michael Bracken, “The Seeds of ‘Seed'” & excerpt from “Seed”

13th Nov.         http://www.kaceyhammell.com/

Post: Colleen Chen, “The Cultivation of Love” & excerpt from “Sunlight and Water”

14th Nov.         http://afterdark-online.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf, “Flowers That Look Like . . .” & excerpt from “Rosewitch” by T. C. Mill
We end the tour with the sexy sorcery of "Rosewitch."

Ending the tour with the sexy feminist sorcery of “Rosewitch.”

Don’t forget: the book is on sale now on Amazon. You can read one free story on the Garden Shorts website and sign up for a second free story.

See what the writers are talking about!

 

 

 

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Filed under Art & the Garden, Garden Writers We Love, Green Poetry

Fifty Shades of Green

Poppy FInal June 17 copy

 

 

Some of you know about the adults-only publishing adventure I’ve been on this spring and summer, Fifty Shades of Green.  It’s a book project that started out as a feminist answer to the famous/notorious novel Fifty Shades of Grey, but then turned into a one-of-a-kind collection of erotic and literary gardening stories. (With a feminist bent, of course.)

I wanted to announce today that while we’re still a week or so from having the paperback book available, Zora and I have managed to get five individual stories available on Kindle as of today. I am also offering a FREE sample story, “Phallus Impudicus,” for those who sign up for the Fifty Shades of Green newsletter. (Look to the top right of this blog to sign up or go to the Garden Shorts website.)

For those of you with full in-boxes, I’m offering, temporarily, this link to read the story on the Garden Shorts webpage. It’s a hidden page so it doesn’t show up on the site. You’ll only be able to access it through this special link, here.

But, I’d encourage you to sign up for the newsletter. There won’t be a lot of “mail” and through the newsletter you’ll learn more about the project, its authors, have access to discounts and special offers, etc.

We may have the entire book available on Kindle as a digital download as early as today. For those of you who don’t have a Kindle device, you don’t need one; you can download a reader-app from Amazon and read it right off of your computer. It’s easy-peasy!

If you choose to indulge in any of these stories, please let me know what you’ve sampled and what you think! (And it would be great if you told your friends about it, too.)

The second part of this post is about our story covers. While I hope to connect with gardeners and aspiring gardeners through this project we realize there’s a huge erotica market out there and those readers might be  interested in this book.

With that in mind, Zora thought we should create some “sexy lady” covers. My idea was having covers that feature some kind of provocative-looking fruit, veggie, or flower, like the poppy bud on the book’s cover. We talked it over and I sided with the fresh vision of youth; we’d try the sexy ladies. And I realized that this produce/floral idea might only catch on with gardeners.

So, among other things, we spent all week making covers and formatting individual stories and the book.

You’ll can see three of the covers—and stories—on Amazon if you type in “Fifty Shades of Green.”

For the additional two stories: “The Education of a French Gardener” is here. “First, Take Off the Hoodie” is here.

I have no idea why these two don’t come up through the author or editor’s name. Yet another glitch to fix!  There are many in self-publishing. It is anything but easy-peasy.

Now for my cover story. This week I made the cover for “The Judgment of Eric.” It’s a story about a gardener who gets the attention of two Greek Gods, Apollo and Dionysus. They appear in his garden and compel him to participate in a contest—a contest in which Eric will decide which god is the better lover! It’s sexy, wildly imaginative, and homoerotic. (We have three homoerotic stories in the twelve story collection.)

I tried to think of a good image and finally came up with this one. It’s from an ancient Greek amphora (jar).

 

I thought it was art, Amazon thinks it's pornographic.

I thought it was art. Amazon thinks it’s pornographic.

 

Last night I was notified this cover was rejected as pornographic. I disagree, but I adapted it. (And then we all had a good laugh.) Now I don’t know if this one will be rejected, too, but to me it’s  more suggestive. Such is the nature of censorship.

 

 

I don't know, is this "better"?

I don’t know, is this “better”?

 

I hope you’ll take a peek!

—Sandra Knauf

 

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Filed under Art & the Garden, Garden Writers We Love, garden writing, Gardening is Sexy