Friday Spotlight: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Body Swap

One of the plot bunnies I’ve wanted to do for a long time is about a body swap. I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept as Hollywood has made many moves based on the premise. From Freaky Friday, Turnabout, Vice Versa to Rob Schneider’s hilarious comedy The Hot Chick, it is always fun to watch two totally different people forced to overcome their problems while they live in each other’s shoes.

People said the neighbor’s grass always looks greener, and I’m sure at one point in your life, you harbor a curiosity on how it feels to live a life as somebody else. Living a better, exciting life. So what would you do if somehow, your wish came true? Would you freak out? Would you be happy to finally be living a life like you have always wanted or is it just a disaster waiting to happen?

In my newest book Switched, two of my main characters, both lynx shifters, come from opposite backgrounds. Both are facing problems and are at the end of their rope. Both wish to live as somebody else. And one morning, they got what they wished for. They switched bodies.

Kelly White is a successful litigation lawyer who is on way to her success. She had just been promoted as partner in the prestigious law firm where she busted her ass off for the past few years, working like a lunatic so much that it has taken a toll on her marriage. Her relationship with her husband Andy turns so bland, she’s afraid she will lose him soon if she doesn’t do something about it. Problem is, she’s an introvert, and terminally prudish. Everything she does in her attempt to rekindle the love back into her marriage fails miserably. When she finds out that some sexy, flirty woman is stalking her husband, Kelly wishes that she were good in the sex department so she could regain Andy’s love back.

Nicolla Evers is a famous pornstar, but behind her glamorous life, she is tired of the spotlight and yearns to live a nice, quite normal life in suburbia with her twin boyfriends. Problem is, Nicolla’s manager, Harry Strickland, a porn mogul, won’t let her out of the contract. Harry practically enslaved Nicolla until she could no longer serve his purpose.

I had so much fun when I wrote this story. Just imagine, a prudish lawyer waking up one morning in a pornstar’s body, and vice versa. In order to keep their deception until they could figure out a way to switch back, prudish Kelly is forced to shoot an adult movie, while Nicolla, who has no office skill whatsoever, has to attend a cutthroat corporate business meeting with her bosses. The two shifters fight like cat and dog, but in the end, they agree to help each other out.

I’d like to share Switched‘s exclusive excerpt with you. Enjoy!

Switched
Lizzie Lynn Lee

All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2009 Lizzie Lynn Lee

ISBN: 978-1-60521-295-1
Available at Changeling Press: http://www.changelingpress.com/product.php?&upt=book&ubid=1272

Nicolla watched in dismay as Andrew left the house. He went without saying goodbye or exchanging any pleasantry like a normal couple would. He only nodded at her, sipped his coffee and hurried off to work. This left Nicolla puzzled. Were they mad at each other? Had they been in a big fight? It didn’t feel like they were fighting. If they were, she didn’t sense any hostility between them. Their reserve toward each other felt as if they were two strangers who just happened to be in the same boat, trying to be civil for the long trip.

She jumped when the inhuman voice of the house A.I. announced she had a phone call. The vid comm. screen on the kitchen wall flickered alive. Nicolla almost snorted in her coffee when she saw the person who was making the call. It was herself. Well, someone who inhabited her body. Nicolla shivered, freaking out. This whole thing just felt so fucking wrong.

“You! I demand to know who you are.”

“Jesus,” Nicolla replied, “do I really sound all whiney like that? I always thought I sounded sexy.”

“Answer my question!”

“Bitch, you ain’t gonna get any answer if you keep your attitude like that.”

“But, this… isn’t me. I don’t know how this happened, but you’re in my body.”

“You’re Kelly White?”

“Yes. Wait — how do you know my name?”

“Well, you’re in my body.”

“You’re Nicolla Evers — the porn star?”

“I’m a legitimate actress,” Nicolla snapped, feeling cross. “I’ve starred in many successful movies, and I have the biggest fan base in the industry.”

“Sure,” Kelly replied in a cynical tone. “I bet that’s a hard job, flaunting your titties and opening your legs all day for the camera.”

“Well, maybe if you didn’t let your ass become as big as a footstool, your husband would pay you more attention.”

“My behind is perfectly fi — wait, you met Andi?”

“Yeah, what’s up with him?”

Kelly inched closer to the cam. She looked panicked. “Did he know? Did you say anything to him?”

“Your husband is an ice king. How long has this been going on? Did he screw around behind your back?”

“Andi would never –” Kelly stopped midway through the sentence. She sniffed indignantly. “It’s not your business. What did you say to him?”

“I didn’t say nothin’.”

Kelly glowered. An awkward moment passed between them. “Well, we still have a problem.”

“Good fucking observation, genius.”

“Listen, you –” the word “bitch” seemed to almost jump from Kelly’s mouth. Nicolla fought hard not to laugh. “Did Andi notice?”

“Notice what?”

“That you’re a shifter?”

Nicolla widened her eyes. “You’re a Misfit?” She frowned and flexed her fingers, willing herself to shift. Her inner cat wasn’t interested in playing. It ignored her completely. The cat within her was dormant. It had become almost non-existent, as if someone had renounced it for too long. Kelly’s body had something to do with it. “What are you?” she asked Kelly with suspicion.

“I’m a lynxae.”

“No shit, me too.”

“You can’t tell Andi you’re a shifter. He never knew.”

“Why not?”

“Why not? Do you think I would have made it this far if they knew I was a shifter?”

“The blood skipped, didn’t it?”

“Three generations. You?”

“La-di-da! If it had skipped, I wouldn’t be living in the District, would I?”

Kelly pursed her lips. “Well, we have to get this problem fixed. I can’t live like this forever. I’m not a porn star.”

Nicolla folded her arms. “Oh, so my lifestyle is too degrading for you?”

“I’m not good at –” Kelly paused. “Listen, I have an important meeting this morning, I mean, you have an important meeting. You have exactly one hour and twenty-seven minutes to –”

“Fuck that shit, bitch, I ain’t going anywhere.”

“Yes. You. Will.” Kelly brandished her fist in agitation. “Today is the most important day in my life –”

“What, you and your beloved Andi are going to renew your marriage vows? You two could really use it.”

Kelly’s face flushed from her dig. “They’re going to make me a partner and today is the confirmation interview. Now get your lazy butt to the shower and make yourself decent. For the love of God, whatever you do, you have to show up at that meeting.”

“Are you crazy? I can’t go. I know nothing about your fancy-pants lawyer stuff. I’m a porn star, remember?”

“Didn’t I say it was a confirmation meeting? All you have to do is sit nice and agree to what everybody has to say. It’s a piece of cake. Even a monkey could do it.”

“Why don’t you just hire a monkey, then?”

“Goddamn it! Look, if you’re posing as me, we have to make this work until we figure this whole thing out. Do you think I’m happy doing your job? Somebody just called me and asked if I had my… my…” Kelly looked utterly horrified, the next word spitting out of her mouth as if it would kill her if she said it too loud. “Enema. Why would I need that kind of procedure for a film shot?”

Nicolla chortled. “Oh yeah, I forgot. I have, I mean, you gotta shoot a DP scene this afternoon.”

“What’s a DP?”

Nicolla’s chortle turned into a full-blown roar. “I don’t know if you’re truly innocent, or you’re just sexually retarded, but this is just hilarious.”

Kelly’s face flushed deeper. “Lay off with the insults already. For your information, I’m not good in the sex department.”

With a great effort, Nicolla refrained from her mirth. It still came out as guffaws. “I’m sorry. You’ll find out soon. You’ll like it, considering you’re married to an ice king.”

Thursday Spotlight: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Oiran, Shibari, Nyotaimori: Taking a peek into Japanese kink

I was in Tokyo when a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to see Tokyo nightlife and visit its pleasure district. I was a newlywed at the time and I was sure my husband would go bananas if I ever strayed into such places, so I had to decline her offer. My friend is a Japanese-American who was in Tokyo to connect with her roots and to study Kinbaku, the Japanese bondage art. It wasn’t until years later I became curious about Tokyo’s akasen – red-light district – called Yoshiwara, when I was researching for my shunga books. The history behind it fascinated me. So I hunted my kinky friend who had become a celebrated bondage model, and she agreed to help me with my research. I regretted not taking her up on the offer to visit Yoshiwara years ago. It would have been an interesting experience to see one of the oldest Japanese pleasure districts.

Yoshiwara has been around since the shogunate era. The second Tokugawa Shogun, Hidetada, issued an order to restrict prostitution into designated districts: Yoshiwara for Edo (Tokyo), Shinmaci for Osaka, and Shimabara for Kyoto. The original Yoshiwara was burned down by the great fire around 1600, rebuilt, and relocated to a new location in the outskirts of the city. During the Tokugawa era, samurai were discouraged to go in there but it didn’t deter them from visiting Yoshiwara for a night of pleasure. The district wasn’t exclusively running on sex trade; they also offered many entertainments such as Kabuki (Japanese theater), teashops, and bathhouses.

One thing that intrigued me the most from the old time Yoshiwara was the hierarchy of the courtesan. They were called yūjo or woman of pleasure. These yujo were usually sold into prostitution by their parents or family at a very tender age. These girls were then trained and, when they were old enough, they became prostitutes to climb their rank: kamuro, shinzō, hashi-jōro, kōshi-jōro, and if they were lucky enough, they could become tayū or castle-toppers like oiran, courtesan worthy for daimyo. Not all women or young men who went into prostitution were sold by their family. Women who had been convicted by the government for crimes they’d committed often had to spend their punishment in brothels. They lived in seirō houses and were supervised by Madame chaperones called yarite. The security in Yoshiwara back then was strict to prevent the courtesans from escaping the district.

My book Flight of the Heron took place in the Genroku period, around 1689 of our calendar. My heroine, Lady Yukiko Kinshiro, was on a quest to avenge her sister’s death, but helplessly fell in love with a daimyo (Japanese feudal overlord) who was rumored to be responsible for her sister’s death. Yukiko went undercover as a tayū, or Lady of the First Class Rank, to ensnare patronage of Lord Matsushita in order to kill him. A daimyo at that time was always surrounded by his samurai retainers. Assassinating a man in his rank wasn’t an easy task. Problems arose when Yukiko found out that Matsushita wasn’t the man he was rumored to be, and she started having doubts whether he was really responsible for her sister’s death.

When I did my research for Flight of Heron, I stumbled upon how rich and intriguing the sexual training of these courtesans was. I honestly think the sex workers nowadays wouldn’t know half of the knowledge of these yūjos. Among the banquet of kinkiness, I chose to feature a lot of bondage play in this story. In this era, rope play wasn’t as widely popular as it is in the present day. Kinbaku or Japanese bondage art was derived from Hojōjutsu, or the traditional Japanese martial art to restrain people using cord or rope. The term Shibari wasn’t popular until the late 90s to describe the art of Kinbaku. Shibari in Japanese means “to tie or to bind.” A person who ties the bottom is called nawashi or ropemaster. My friend confided to me that she prefers Shibari better than the western bondage because Shibari isn’t just aesthetically beautiful with all those knots and decorative bindings (nawakeshou), but the pressure and strain of the ropes on the breasts or genitals heighten the pleasure as well.

Besides bondage play, I also featured food-play in one of the sex scenes. My friend is also a nyotaimori model, catering for private parties. Nyotaimori, or female body presentation, is practice of serving sushi or sashimi from a naked female body. She would lie for hours on the table while her clients, who are usually CEO or big shots with money to blow, feast food from her body. Her clients aren’t allowed to talk to her; they can only eat and admire her as an object of art. She did allow, however, some clients, usually the ones she liked, for a wakame-sake, or drinking sake from her pubis. I feature this practice in the Flight of the Heron because I thought this kink is very sexy. She told me some men have this fetish because they found sake that has comingled with a woman’s sexual moisture and body temperature tasted even better than sake straight from the flask. Crazy, don’t you think?

I certainly learned a lot from her by the time I finished my research. She invited me for a nyotaimori party the next time I visit Tokyo. I will definitely go for it. Who knows, my husband might get a kick from it and inspire him with a few ideas for our next, ahem, rendezvous. *huge grin*

Wednesday Spotight: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Cyberpunk ~ Embrace the Future

William Gibson’s debut novel Neuromancer introduced me to a new branch of sci-fi genre called cyberpunk, and I was immediately hooked on it. The premise that the hybrid between human and machine is plausible and human consciousness can be synthesized in a virtual environment fascinated me. There’s something about the dystopian setting in this genre that I liked more than traditional galactic vista sci-fi fiction. The combination between artificial intelligent, mega corporations, postmodernists nuances, and of course, anti-hero hackers as the main characters in many cyberpunk novels made me addicted to this genre. And when John Scalzi took it a step further with the idea that human minds could be transferred into another living (human or clone) body, enabling that person to live, basically forever, plot bunnies didn’t stop bugging me ever since.

Inspired by the concept that human immortality can be executed through preserving the human mind and transferring it to other media, I was compelled to write my own version of cyberpunk series featuring Eve Aizawa. Set in the far future, humanity has invented the technology so advanced, it enables people to preserve one’s memories into a device called neuras.

Aging is no longer one of the causes of mortality as long as you are kept in a virtual reality, or ultimately, given a new body. Humans have invented FTL (Faster Than Light) travel and have populated the galaxies, and we all communicate via a virtual world called GridStream that breaks the barrier space and time between the star systems in the universe through a device implanted in our skull called HD or neuras hardware.

Everybody has their own Standard Mailing Address that allows us to receive electronic mailing and you’ll be able to talk to someone who is a half galaxy away simply by accessing your Brain Machine Interface and see that person through your retinal camera. The future sure is exciting.

Coming up with the high-tech concept was half the work. I knew I had to come up with an equally interesting character to star in this dystopian world. Eve Aizawa came to me at three in the morning while I was playing a video game and demanded I tell her story. She’s a spitfire: a rather foul-mouthed gal with a chip on her shoulders as big as a small moon. She isn’t perfect, not your typical run of the mill heroine, but I think that’s what makes her more interesting. Personally, I think a perfect heroine is passé.

The first book of the series, Eve of Seduction, is one of the most complicated stories I’ve ever written, plotwise. Eve was a digital inmate, currently incarcerated in a virtual prison because she masterminded the biggest heist in history. Because she’s a brainiac, a secret counter-intelligence agency known as Viper employs her as their black contractor. And as the payment, Viper docks her sentence with every job she successfully completes. I decided to explore “the noir aspect” in this story when Eve was sent to infiltrate a shadowy tycoon, Jean-Val Cedolin, to discover his secret and what she found out in the end, totally blew her mind.

Deus Eve Machina, the second book of the series, follows Eve’s escapade when she is downloaded into the clone of a gangster’s daughter who commits suicide while under the government’s interrogation. Eve’s employer, Viper, used her as live bait because the fiancé of the dead girl currently possesses a secret list that could bring down the whole underground syndicate. As if Eve’s mission isn’t complicated enough, a rogue mercenary who is sent to kill her by a rival gangster falls in love with her and offers Eve a deal: his protection in exchange for her body.

I had so much fun exploring the high-octane game of sex and power aspect in these erotic thriller novellas. Body swapping, biotechnology through genetic manipulation, and enhanced human strength through biomechatronics could be overwhelming concepts to some people who weren’t familiar with cyberpunk. But since not many erotic writers out there put out these types of books, I felt compelled to introduce readers to this exciting genre.

Are you ready for the future?

Tuesday Spotlight: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Behind the Black Veil~ The Ninja Art

When we hear the word ninja, one thing that crosses our mind is skilled assassins swathed in black, their faces obscured with veils and they are armed with deadly weapons such as nagato and shuriken, plus their uncanny ability to disappear before our eyes in puffs of white smoke. Hollywood had helped glorified the ninja’s images to the western audiences and for a while, I thought of ninja as the stereotypes they portrayed until I read a manga series titled Path of the Assassin by Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima, both are world renowned manga artists. My curiosity piqued as I read more about these fascinating covert assassins.

In the medieval time, they were called shinobi, short for shinobi-no-mono, retainers of the Japanese feudal warlords who were trained in the unorthodox art of war, and the term ninja become popular with the westerners after World War II. Spies and assassins have existed throughout Japanese history, but the term shinobi wasn’t glamorized until the 15th century where they were employed by warring Japanese feudal overlords. They spy, infiltrate, sabotage, and kill on order of their warlord. Unlike how they have been portrayed on many Hollywood movies, they didn’t exclusively garb in black. They wore civilian clothes, peasant clothes, or priests’ robes, or one of their favorite disguises was to dress as monks to make them easier to blend in with the general population.

Female shinobi, which was called kunoichi, often disguised themselves as entertainers, servants, or prostitutes in order to infiltrate the enemies’ domain. They were adept with poisons, special survival skills and martial arts that are known in the present day as ninjutsu. They were often associated with having superhero abilities and they were fanatically loyal to their masters; they adopt a certain creed of die rather than live in humiliation if they fail to execute their lord’s order. After reading many books about shinobi, I knew I had to write a story about them. I wrote Prince and the Assassin.

In Prince and the Assassin, my heroine Midori-no-Murakami is the last of her kin, bearer of the kitsune-bi that marked her as a true assassin with her otherworldly deadly skills. She kills without a blink, without feeling, and is loyal to the bone to her master, an enigmatic overlord named Buntaro. But all that changes when she meets a stranger named Fukuda who later on, she discovers was the Imperial prince who was on the top of her kill list.

I toyed with the premise if you find your soul mate, how far would you go to save and protect the one you loved, despite the oath you have sworn to, and the strict creed that demands you to do it or die. It wasn’t easy for me to wrap this story as many traditional Japanese folklores always ended in tragedy, and in keeping to make this story realistic, I had to come up with a few twists. But deep down, I’m a hopeless romanticist and I’m a firm believer that love can conquer everything.

Monday Spotlight: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Shunga: A Lost Ancient Erotic Art or Medieval Porn?

My first introduction to the art of shunga was totally by accident. I have been a long time aficionado of Japanese culture, and I am a big fan of manga and anime. Once, I was in a shopping trip on eBay to find a spicier branch of anime (hentai) when I stumbled upon an eBay seller who offers medieval Japanese picture books called shunga. Intrigued by it, I placed several bids and won, and two weeks later, I received my books shipped from Japan. I was enthralled.

The picture books weren’t like anything I had seen before. Even though I can’t read the poems written in kanji that accompanied each work, I was amazed by the vivid, frank, and lush artworks depicting human lovemaking. It got me thinking that the medieval Japanese people beat Playboy by almost a millennia.

So, what is the art of shunga? Shunga is a Japanese term for erotic pictures. Translated literally, the word shunga means picture of spring, which is a euphemism for sex. Mostly executed in the form of ukiyo-e and screen paintings and accompanied by poetic narratives, the art of shunga flourished in Japan during the Heian period (794-1185), where they were only reserved for members of the elite society. But by the 16th century, shunga was enjoyed by all castes, including chonin and peasants. During the Tokugawa period (1603-1867), the Shogunate issued edicts to ban shunga and similar erotic books such as kōshokubon.

Inspired by the art of shunga, I continued to collect many books about the Japanese history and shunga books through auction sites and eBay, and last year I was finally compelled to write a series featuring the art of shunga. In my series Shunga Chronicles, I attempted to capture the splendor of this ancient erotic art by combining the famous Japanese folklore, lush setting, and classic love story formula, and retelling them in western-friendly prose.

Changeling Press published Lady of the Snow, the first of the series. My debut ménage M/M/F novella features a tale of Shizuka, a yuki-onna – a snow maiden – who is allured, tamed, and mastered by Lord Hiraoka Ichizo and his second-in-command, Tenshin Satoru, the very enemies she is supposed to kill in order to bring peace to her homeland.

After Lady of the Snow, Prince and the Assassin followed. In this story, I unravel the secret world of ninja, about the story of Midori-no-Murakami, an assassin for Lord Buntaro, the most powerful overlord in the land. Midori-no-Murakami is torn between her sacred oath and her newly found love when her master orders her to assassinate the prince, who she is secretly seeing.

When I wrote the finale of the series, Flight of Heron, I wanted to go with a bit of kink. This historical fantasy book features some BDSM elements like shibari (Japanese bondage art) and nyotaimori (human presentation/platter), which follows the escapades of Lady Yukiko Kinshiro, who seeks revenge for her sister’s death, but helplessly falls in love with the daimyo who is allegedly responsible for the murder.

Since the banning by the Bakufu (the military government during the Tokugawa era), the art of shunga went underground, but became more popular than ever until the introduction of photography in the Meiji era (1868-1912), where shunga gradually became a relic of the by-gone era. This is quite a shame since I think shunga is the most earnest expression of human sexuality ever forged in woodblock printings. Nowadays, the original shunga prints are highly sought after by art collectors and often auctioned at eye-popping prices. But sometimes, you can get them at decent price on eBay and online auction houses, depending on the artists, era, and quality. Dunno about you, but I just love that medieval porn! (g)

About the author:

I write. I doodle. I play guitar. Not necessarily in that order. I’m an incurable chatterbox, heavy metal aficionado, bookworm, and a night owl, since most of my stories were done in the wee hours of the morning because of my caffeine-induced insomnia. I’m a big South Park fan, I’m fluent in Cartman speak, and I’m working on mastering my Kennynese. Cookies and donuts are my main diet and I currently owe a fortune to the swear jar. Visit my site: www.ilizzie.com to see my complete list of titles, read exclusive excerpts and hot erotic shorts, or watch the trailers of my books. Friend me, too, on Facebook, MySpace or Twitter. I won’t bite, I promise.