Raeleen Stewart enjoys nothing more than a new employee. And young Josh Carter is a spectacular addition. Her enterprise, a house of sexual pleasure for female clientele, thrives on fresh offerings. But Josh has an agenda and agrees to the job requirements only to further his role in a plot to destroy Rae and her despicable operation. Long-time pleasure partner and ex-lover Lu Haverson has his suspicions about this young buck, but there’s so much painful baggage with Rae, he can’t get her to reconsider. So he embarks on his own investigation after watching the kid struggle with taking women to bed. Will Rae learn the truth before it’s too late? Can Lu get the evidence he needs, or will his tangled past with Rae get in the way? Lives hang in the balance as Josh faces desperate choices between his life-long training and an unexpected world he never wanted to find. Set in the not too distant future when global warming has forced extreme social change, House of Rae is a fast-paced, sensual story of love, personal challenge, and discovery.
Is it possible for old moral codes to be set aside in order to dedicate shrinking resources toward measures that could help the world, as I portray in War of Desire? Other societies have embraced legalized prostitution. Perhaps not to the extent as in this story, where modern technology and business practices bring the so-called “oldest profession” to its ultimate fruition. And perhaps never in the way I envision here, where the workers providing sexual services aren’t just women in service to men, as most commonly practiced, but also as men and women in service to women.
That’s probably the most radical element in this story, that women would be able to visit a house of pleasure for an hour or an afternoon, pick the pleasure partner she wishes, and indulge in sensual delight where her specific desires are attended. And of course, that’s what the plot hinges on. There will always be people who are fundamentally opposed to any kind of sexual activity outside the boundaries of marriage between a man and a woman. The question is, now that we have methods to manage the production of children and methods to screen for sexually-transmitted disease, do we have to stay locked into the old rule of law, or can we as an advancing society accept a broader framework for what men and women may wish to do?
So yes, this is science fiction that doesn’t have space craft or mutant viruses or laser guns. It’s a romance at heart, rich with erotic scenes, but also a woman’s sci-fi. And frankly, I think it’s long past due. Science fiction, like most literature, has been—at least through the mid-twentieth century—the province of men. And in general, I think men appreciate certain things—war, weapons, and the machinery of adventure–external stuff–and that’s reflected in the science fiction they write. I think women, on the other hand, are more interested in internal exploration–the nuances of emotion, interpersonal relationships, and human sexuality. Why not look at a future where the female agenda dictates some of the landscape?
I’ve been particularly interested in the male response to this book. We discussed it in a science fiction writer’s group, and the mostly male participants were a bit dismissive of any explicit sex. They felt explicit sex was rarely necessary and just bogged down the action. I pointed out that since the plot and character development of the story hinge on sex, there’s no way to tell this story without explicit sex. None of them volunteered to actually read it and report back with whether they thought much of the sex could be eliminated.
I think most readers will be female, because the appeal of the story focuses around the strong love affair between Rae and Lu, as well as the emotion that develops between Rae and Josh. Without this at its core, the story wouldn’t work. But I can’t just label it erotic romance, because the futuristic elements are also key to the story.
In a way, I see this book as an experiment. Will women read a sensual love story even if it’s kind of science fiction? Will men read science fiction, complete with fights and fast action, if the story includes emotion and a lot of sex? I don’t know. This was a gamble mainstream publishers weren’t willing to take, leaving me with little option but self-publishing. I’m thankful that option exists, although there is a strong bias against self-publishing in the literary world. I’m not going to worry about that–I’m just eager to share this great story with others.
War of Desire is the first in what I envision as a series of stories set in the mid-21st century. The storyline will continue to follow House of Rae enterprises in various locations and will delve deeper into the conflicts and intense love that arise between entrenched morality and greater human freedom. Unfortunately, any juicy details about the story line or what characters from War of Desire will be involved would spoil the fun. I hope to have the second novel out by mid-2014.
Her tongue slid over her lips as she met his visibly angry green stare. Possibly a virgin, or at least very little experience. A smile quirked her mouth. Yes, she’d offer him the position, assuming he passed her, um, interview. It should be obvious if he was a terrorist—he wouldn’t accept the job.
Lu took one look at the kid Rae just hired. White bands of luminosity radiated from his body, triggering Lu’s worst fears. Damn it, why did she take these kinds of risks? It didn’t matter how much native ability he may have, whether he’s an Indigo like Rae says. The file spelled it out. The kid’s a plant.
Denele Campbell had her eye on writing from childhood. While pursuing her undergraduate degree in English, she filled her electives with writing classes. Life then did what it does to everyone, tumbling through love and children, household and jobs, pets and pursuits, leaving Campbell to fit in bits and pieces of authorship. Newspaper columns, articles on local history, biographical profiles and small evocative essays kept her writing passion on a low simmer until the mid-1990s, when a collection of non-fiction stories were published under the title “Notes of a Piano Tuner.” Graduate level workshops in writing sharpened her focus, and with more freedom in recent years, Campbell has turned to fiction. “War of Desire” is her first novel.
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