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Tuesday 14 May 2013

The Seven Genre Solution By Lisabet Sarai

Please welcome back, special guest, multi-published author Lisabet Sarai...

The Seven Genre Solution
By Lisabet Sarai

Greetings, everyone! I'm so happy to be back here at H.K. Carlton's Pick a Genre Already – where I can truly be myself. What do I mean by that? Well, as I bop around the web doing guest appearances on various blogs, I take on the role of M/M author (e.g. at R.J. Scott's recently) or BDSM author, or ménage author, or science fiction author, or whatever. I customize my posts to the audience I'm addressing. When I'm visiting H.K., though, I can admit the truth. Not only do I not have a signature genre (though BDSM comes closest), I have little or no patience with genre labels.

To me, “genre” implies constraints, rules you have to follow in order to satisfy the readers' expectations. I believe readers need to be more adventurous, that genre labels have the tendency to encourage a certain narrowness of focus. And I've always enjoyed stretching the rules.

When I wrote my first three novels (Raw Silk, Incognito and Nasty Business), I considered them to be erotica. I really knew nothing about romance and its sub-genres. However, now the first two books are being marketed as erotic romance. Meanwhile all three have happy endings focusing on a committed relationship. At the same time, they don't really fit what I now understand is the traditional romance model, in that they include sexual interactions between secondary characters and between the hero/heroine and individuals who are not their eventual partners.

So what?

Personally I'm a great lover of variety. (See my post at Emily Wells' blog about PuPu platters, for more on this topic...!) I have no problem whatsoever with a book that mixes heterosexual, gay and lesbian relationships. I've written contemporary, science fiction, paranormal, historical, interracial, multicultural, steam punk, BDSM, voyeurism, menage, gay, lesbian, suspense, mystery, even a bit of humor. I refuse to be labeled.

I think this attitude probably hurts my sales. Many readers are more cautious than I am. I guess I can understand a reluctance to spend money on a book that's different from what you've read before – but don't readers get bored?

Anyway, I'm sorry, but I'm not about to pick a genre. It's just not going to happen. However, with my most recent release, I've hit upon a possible solution to the problem of satisfying readers. Rajasthani Moon, which is now available at Total-E-Bound (at 10% off until May 31st) is my most ambitious genre-bending effort to date, in that it includes elements of seven different sub-genres: steam punk, shape shifter, BDSM, ménage, Bollywood, Rubenesque and multicultural. I figure that there's something for everyone!

I began writing this book as a lark, with the deliberate intention of incorporating elements of as many genres as possible. Once I'd created Cecily, Pratan and Amir, they took on a life of their own. The book flowed much more quickly than many I've written, perhaps because I'd thrown all constraints to the winds. The result is – um – can I say a bit over the top? – but I personally think it's great fun.

Here's the blurb and an excerpt. You be the judge.

Oh, and because my delightful hostess is one of my favorite people, I'm doing a special giveaway of Rajasthani Moon here on this post – the first anywhere. Get a copy before the general release date of May 31st! Just leave a comment, with your email, telling me how you feel about the question of genre labels.


Neither kink nor curse can stop a woman with a mission.

Cecily Harrowsmith, secret agent extraordinaire, is a woman on a mission. When the remote Indian kingdom of Rajasthan refused to remit its taxes to the Empire, Her Majesty imposed an embargo. Deprived of the energy-rich mineral viridium, essential for modern technology and development, Rajasthan was expected to quickly give in and resume its payments. Yet after three years, the rebellious principality still has not knuckled under. Cecily undertakes the difficult journey to the rugged, arid land of the Rajputs to determine just how it has managed to survive, and if possible to convince the country to return to the Empire's embrace. Instead, she's taken captive by a brigand who turns out to be the ruler's half-brother Pratan and delivered into the hands of the sexy but sadistic Rajah Amir, who expertly mingles torture and delight in his interrogation of the voluptuous interloper.

Cursed before birth by Amir's jealous mother, Pratan changes to a ravening wolf whenever the moon is full. Cecily uncovers the counter-spell that can reverse the effects of the former queen's hex and tries to trade that information for her freedom. Drawn to the fierce wolf-man and sympathising with his suffering, she volunteers to serve as the sacrifice required by the ritual—offering her body to the beast. In return, the Rajah reveal Rajasthan's amazing secret source of energy. In the face of almost impossible odds, Cecily has accomplished the task entrusted to her by the Empire. But can she really bear to leave the virile half-brothers and their colourful land behind and return to constraints of her life in England?

Reader Advisory: This book instantiates kidnap/captive fantasies. It includes robot bondage devices, animated nipple clamps, electric play, clockwork dildos, flogging, spanking, anal sex, double penetration in a dirigible, a small amount of F/F intimacy, scenes of MFM and sex with a werewolf in shifted form.


Tossing the switch onto the mattress, he turned his back to her and strode over to the communications
console. The apparatus glowed as he flipped it into active mode. Cecily wondered where he’d got the viridium to power the device. Unless of course the rebels had managed to smuggle the precious mineral into the country from elsewhere… But where? All the neighbouring kingdoms had been brought under Her Majesty’s sway.

“Amir—are you there?” Pratan lowered the volume of his voice as he spoke into the mouthpiece, and switched to Hindi, but Cecily had excellent hearing and a natural linguistic facility.

“Brother! How are you? I’d hoped to see you here at the palace tomorrow for the new moon festival.”

“I’ll be there. With a guest.”

“A guest. And who would that be?”

“I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s a woman—a damned seductive woman—whose carriage I ambushed this evening. She looks Indian—dark skin, black hair, plenty of flesh on her bones—but I think she’s English. She’s got these amazing blue eyes… Her given name is Cecily. That’s all I’ve managed to get out of her.”

“With your skills of persuasion? I’m most surprised, brother.” The Rajah’s amusement came through clearly. “And you’ve given up?”

“I figured I’d let you take a crack at her.”

Amir chuckled. “I could enjoy that, though Sarita might object.” There was a pause. Pratan scratched his head. Cecily found herself distracted by the way the muscles in his back shifted. “Bring her along then. Should I send the aerocopter to pick you up?”

Cecily shuddered. Faced with the threat of a trip by air, could she maintain her silence?

“No, no—I think I’ll commandeer her vehicle—quite a fine self-propelled amphibious coach, a good deal more sophisticated than any of ours. I imagine it should have more than enough fuel to make it to Jaipur, since I suspect that’s where our mystery woman was heading.”

“Sounds as though it will be an excellent addition to our fleet. I’ll alert the engineers. So I’ll expect you tomorrow, then. Travel safe, brother.”

“As long as I keep my—ah—guest securely bound, I doubt that I need to worry.”

Accha! I look forward to meeting her. Ram ram.”

Ram ram, Amir. Till tomorrow, then…”

“Wait a minute. ‘Cecily’, you said? Something’s tickling the back of my brain… Let me examine the Universal Electropaedia…” In the ensuing pause, Pratan glanced over his shoulder towards the bed. She assumed a demeanour of indifference. “Ah, yes…Dark complexion, you say, and blue eyes?”


“Between twenty-five and thirty years of age? About eleven stone?”

“Ten stone four pounds!” Cecily interjected before she could help herself.

“Yes, and tall too, for a woman. And from the way she’s straining against the ropes, I’d say she understands every word we’re saying!”

Her spirits sank. Did the Electropaedia actually include an entry for her? Why hadn’t the Empire’s censors excised it? This unforgivable breach of security might well have sealed her fate, though she wasn’t about to give up yet.

“Brother, I believe that you’ve succeeded in capturing one of Queen Victoria’s most notorious agents—Miss Cecily Harrowsmith. According to reports, she is brave, brilliant, beautiful, and as dangerous as a king cobra.”

Pratan rubbed his bruised shin where she’d kicked him and grinned at her with genuine menace. “That sounds like her.”


Don't forget to leave a comment if you'd like to enter the drawing. And for more information about me and my varied backlist, visit my website http://www.lisabetsarai.com and my blog http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com

Thanks for hosting me, H.K.!

~ Lisabet


  1. Hi, H.K.!

    Thanks so much for having me as your guest and letting me rant!

  2. YOU new book does sound like it has something for everyone. I would be fun to read and pick out the different sub-genres.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

    1. Hi, Debby,

      Actually, my goal was to "blend" the sub-genres. A novel shouldn't seem like a patchwork quilt, but an integrated whole.

  3. I've been dying to read this book ever since I read the first excerpt. All those genres in one? That is SO PERFECT for you Lisabet. In fact, I'm hoping that you've created a new genre that incorporates multiple genres - and you will be the queen of it!

    1. Thanks so much, Normandie,

      I've never been called queen of anything...!

  4. Such a beautiful cover! You made me realize that a good writer is also a skilled rhetorician, appealing to an audience. The Seven Genre Solution shows you have a good natured respect for your potential audience for this book. OF COURSE, we want to read Bollywood, steampunk, multiculturalism et al! All of us will pick three or four to focus on, like I just did! Sweet.

    1. Hello, Brenda,

      I don't think anyone has ever called me a "rhetorician", either!


    2. Urb (you ARE Brenda, aren't you?)

      I thought I had your email address, but I can't find it and you didn't put it in your post. Please email me!

      lisabet --- at --- lisabetsarai.com


  5. Thank you Lisabet. We need more authors like you to bend the genres and blast the way to new forms of fiction. And publisher acceptance.
    I can see you now ... organizing the protest groups, marching up and down the sidewalks in front of the offices of the Only-formula-fiction-accepted-here publishers with your sign "Bend the Genres!" ... being hauled off to jail, the moving speech at the arraignment, courtroom filled with cheering authors, the disruption, the riot, getting on the front page as the leader of the only grassroots authors protest group, becoming the Heroine of struggling writers everywhere .... Opps went to far with that one. Just wanna say thanks again.

    1. Oy, BD!

      Definitely don't want that kind of publicity!

      I have to give Total-E-Bound credit, though. They're willing to let authors break some rules. Especially my editor. She knows that what I give her will always be a bit - um - different.

  6. Oooh, love this excerpt - what a wonderful mash-up of genres! and loved your post as well. I'm inspired by your creativity and flexibility. Rajasthani Moon sounds fabulous. :)

    1. Thank you, Bebe!

      "Mash-up" - I should definitely use that word, so that gen X and gen Y will understand me...

  7. Genres are useful from a marketing standpoint, but I think they do more harm than good sometimes. Writers feel less encouraged to think outside the box (or get convinced that something truly innovative won't sell), while readers get pushed into comfort zones too easily. Good for you!

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

    1. Hi, Trix,

      My point exactly - readers who never branch out from their "favorite" genre are really missing things.


  9. shoot! lindarb49@hotmail.com

    1. Hiya, Hotcha!!

      Glad you could join in the fun!

  10. I love books that don't conform to genre - it's what I love best about reading.

    felinewyvern at googlemail dot com

    1. Hello, Ilona,

      I need more readers like you!

      Thanks for dropping by.

  11. It's great to see you again Lisabet, can't wait to read your new book!


    1. Hi,Emily,

      Recovered from your birthday yet? ;^)

      Thanks for dropping by!

  12. Lots of sub-genres combined in one book. Sounds interesting.

    Count me in for the giveaway, thanks! :)


  13. Hello everyone!

    Well, I figured it was about time to pick a winner. Congratulations to Brenda (Urb)! I'll be in touch to send you your book.

    And thanks to all of you for taking the time to read and comment!