*a portrait of Silver Phoenix and Zhong Ye
from Fury of the Phoenix.
i've had sex on my mind a lot
lately, as i'm rough drafting my third
novel. it wasn't until i actually finished
writing Silver Phoenix and Fury of the Phoenix
that i realized how much sex played as a theme
in my series. in the Kingdom of Xia that i created,
girls, once they were of age (when their monthly
letting began), were immediately shown The Book
of Making by their mothers, an illustrated tome
educating the girls on how to pleasure their future
husbands, and how best to get with child.
because this was their place in the world, to stay
within the inner quarters and make babies.
it's not much of a leap. this type of thinking
is part of many cultural histories, part of, perhaps
some cultures and thinking to this day.
so much of my stories are about how the girls
navigate this culture and these expectations of
ai ling, my heroine, who runs away from home to
avoid a betrothal to a vile merchant in his fifties
looking for a third wife. she's terrified by the very
idea of being sequestered in the inner quarters for
the rest of her life, embroidering and minding children.
and throughout the two novels, sex is expected of
her, forced upon her, and used by her as a weapon.
silver phoenix, a handmaid to mei gui in the imperial
palace, given away at twelve years as a song girl
(prostitute) because she was a third daughter. she
yearns for children, and a family of her own.
mei gui, an imperial concubine, one of thousands
in the imperial palace. most never cross paths with
the emperor their entire lives, much less make it to
his bedchamber. her best hope of rising in status is
to bed the emperor, and bear a son for him.
each of them feel very differently about sex,
and each are strong and heroic in her own
ways in dealing with sexual expectations.
sex as a theme rose subconsciously for me in
these two novels. but i shouldn't be surprised,
as i've always been intrigued by the notion of
sex as something a woman can give or withhold.
be forced upon as a duty. to use (or not use)
to her advantage.
which is also why strong female leaders in history
fascinate me, such as Elizabeth I and Cleopatra,
how these women were portrayed and how they
portrayed themselves. and how sex always tied in.
Elizabeth I, refusing to take a husband to become
The Virgin Queen. Cleopatra, famous for her affairs
with both Julius Caesar then Mark Antony.
now, as i'm drafting my third novel, the theme of
sex crops up again in a very different way. my
heroine is a shape shifting serpent demon,
very well known in chinese folklore, similar to a
succubus. and i'm faced with an entirely new
set of rules and issues here. haha!
it's going to be interesting. 8)
if you want to read about the serpent demon
who makes an appearance in my debut, Silver
Phoenix, simply comment to enter. i'll give away
a paperback copy for every 38 individual entries.
contest is open to US mailing addresses only. i'll
announce winners in my september post. good luck!
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