My stop on the Forbidden Fruit Blog Tour today. Before I start on my Q&A with Rachel O. Esplanade, just a friendly reminder that Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire is still available for that very special price of 99 cents. (Also: thank you to everyone who has bought the anthology already!)
Over to Rachel…
Harper Bliss: Welcome to my blog, Rachel. Very happy to have you. It’s no secret to my readers that I’m a huge fan of sexy sports stories so, naturally, I loved your story “The Rules” in Forbidden Fruit. I simply have to ask: are you a sporty person?
Rachel O. Esplanade: I am absolutely a sporty person. In general, I enjoy playing, watching and cheering on most sports as well as cycling as much as possible. I am especially fond of team sports and, in particular, enjoy playing field hockey and gaelic football.
Harper Bliss: Our esteemed editor Cheyenne Blue pointed out to me that I actually own the only other anthology you have a story in (Ultimate Lesbian Erotica 2005, Edited by Nicole Foster). Seeing as it’s been almost 10 years since your last publication, what compelled you to submit a story to Forbidden Fruit?
Rachel O. Esplanade: What compelled me to submit a story to Forbidden Fruit was the anthology’s call for submissions. As soon as I read it, I immediately thought of that intricate relationship between coaches and players on university sports teams. It is important for coaches to build a sense of belonging, to instill in players a desire to work together for a common goal. Often this is achieved through team outtings and social events.
Also, university teams can lead to some blurring of the lines between what is appropriate and inappropriate behavoir on and off the field. For example: last year’s MVP graduates and joins the coaching staff the next year; this year’s star rookie is actually an international graduate student and only a few years younger than an assistant coach; or if the team physio realises that they are taping uninjured thighs before each match… But what keeps all of these possibilities in check? What prevents someone from not manipulating the power dynamic to get closer to someone else? Those are the ideas that came to mind when I read the call for submissions. After that, “The Rules” pretty much wrote themselves.
Harper Bliss: This is a mandatory question in all the Q&As I conduct with guests on my blog: Which celebrity is at number one of your imaginary to-do list?
Rachel O. Esplanade: My absolute number one is Miss Sugarpuss, a fabulous cabaret and burlesque performer in Montreal. A more globally renowned celebrity who is a close second is the fabulous Drew Barrymore. A gorgeous woman with an entrepreneurial spirit and a delightfully mischevious smile. That Roller Derby movie, “Whip It”, swooooon!
Harper Bliss: Because it’s so excellent, I stole the next question from fellow Forbidden Fruit author Lisabet Sarai, who interviewed me on her blog yesterday. 😉 Have you ever partaken of “forbidden fruit” yourself? Care to share with my readers?
Rachel O. Esplanade: Oh dear. I most definitely have. It was delicious.
Harper Bliss: Please tell us a bit about your story, “The Rules”. You must love hockey?
Rachel O. Esplanade: I do love hockey, I enjoy playing it and watching it, especially live games. Unfortunately, I haven’t played field hockey in a long time, which may be why I felt compelled to write a story with protagonists that play the sport. During my early years playing sports, I had many crushes on fellow players. Crushes which I chose to not follow through on at the time. My desire to play, to be part of the team, to abide by its unspoken straight rules of conduct, were much stronger than my desire to explore the sexual possibilities with teammates.
Now that I am older, and have enjoyed reconnecting with one of those crushes in the most delightful way decades later, I wonder how much my need to stifle my attraction in my youth was about abiding by the rules rather than due to a fear of the explosive sexual chemistry that would have rocked my world and forced me to re-evaluate my priorities at the time. Who knows? One can never go back but one can explore the possibilities in erotic fiction, which is what I attempt to do in this story.
Excerpt from “The Rules”:
You were so blissfully happy when you received your Most Valued Player award. Your mini dress displayed your beautiful full form in a classy, sexy way—the skirt stretched over your strong thighs, with the tiniest hint of the snaps at the end of the garter belt holding up your stockings. I remember being lost in the aural fantasy of the snap of garter belt straps against your skin. I wanted to snap them while my lips nipped at the hem of your skirt and my other hand glided up your thigh to find a purchase around a cheek, a fesse as you call it. Mes fesses you’d say to the other players if they ever made fun of your horrible French. Mes fesses—my ass, or, I suppose, my ass cheeks. I was sitting there, fully enraptured in my fantasy when you accepted your well-deserved award. Until you thanked me in your speech and pulled me out of my erotic reverie into an unsettling, blushing moment when I had no idea what you’d said and I felt like the biggest creep. Especially when you beamed your happy, grateful smile at me.
Later, when I held your award as you collected your things, I sensed you caught me checking out your ass, your fesses, in the mirror as you changed out of pumps into walking boots in the ladies’ cloakroom. A movement at the corner of my eye informed me the gig was up—you were staring at my reflection in the mirror. But when I looked in the mirror, your eyes were focused on your boots.
Why did I check out your fesses? It was only a quick glance. Barely worth it. How old am I? Forty, not fourteen. Too old to be sneaking looks and blushing at unobtainable crushes. And you—twenty-three or twenty-four? Even if I weren’t your coach, I was being creepy. What was I thinking? But that was it—I wasn’t thinking. I was drinking you in, enjoying your flushed cheeks from your well-deserved moment.
A well-deserved moment for me too. One more year. One more year of keeping those boundaries solid, in high relief.
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Leave a comment on any post in the Forbidden Fruit blog tour to be entered into a random draw to win one of these great prizes. Prizes include a paperback copy of Girls Who Score, lesbian sports erotica edited by Ily Goyanes, Best Lesbian Romance 2011 edited by Radclyffe, an ebook of Ladylit’s first lesbian anthology Anything She Wants, and a bundle of three mini-anthologies from Ladylit: Sweat, A Christmas to Remember and Bossy. All of these titles contain some stories written by the fabulous contributors to Forbidden Fruit: stories of unwise lesbian desire. You must include an email address in your comment to be entered into the draw.
I’m adding something extra here. Anyone who leaves a comment on my blog has a chance to win a signed paperback copy of my short story collection Girls Only: The Collection!