So long, Black Lace

Sadly, the Black Lace line of fiction is coming to an end. This long-running British series of novels and short story collections had its ups and downs but was, overall, a very impressive line of erotica.

Black Lace began in 1994 with the goal of creating erotica from female authors that would appeal as much to the female sensibility as to men. (The original books have the tagline "erotic fiction written for women by women" on the back cover.) The books covered a wide range of settings, from historical romances to contemporary adventures to tales with a science-fiction or magical/paranormal setting.

Far from being generic Harlequin-style cookie-cutter bodice rippers or stories of handsome rich men, Black Lace books really pushed the edge when it came to the erotic. There was often a strong element of romance -- even if a heroine didn't meet their true love, they often met a kindred free spirit (a.k.a. fuck buddy) -- but there was also plenty of wild action.

The Black Lace books often included s&m, multiple partners, domination and submission, toys and gear, male-male action, and plenty of very explicit sex. Anyone expecting these books to be tame because they're written by women is in for quite a surprise!

What happened with the line? As an import series, the books sometimes reached American bookstores with an annoying infrequency. Also, after a few years the books became infused with British slang, to the point where it felt like every kiss was a "snog," every friend was a "mate" and every bar was a "pub." And last month Black Lace announced that they wouldn't be printing any new titles in 2010.

Even though Black Lace won't have anything new for a long time (if ever again), their existing catalogue of work is still impressive. Many of their books can be found on the website http://www.blacklace-books.co.uk/ and more can be found on eBay or Amazon.com. Below is a listing of some of my favorite Black Lace novels, in no order except for my favorite being listed first. They're not for the faint of heart, but well worth reading by those who enjoy strong erotica.

White Rose Ensnared by Juliet Hastings
Elena's Conquest by Lisette Allen
Darker Than Love by Kristina Lloyd
Odalisque by Fleur Reynolds
Crash Course by Juliet Hastings
Cassandra's Conflict by Fredrica Alleyn
Gemini Heat by Portia da Costa
The Devil Inside by Portia da Costa
The Stallion by Georgina Brown
Ace of Hearts by Lisette Allen
Gothic Blue by Portia da Costa

Written by James Lynch


Justine Elyot said...

Excellent post - but may I just point out that Black Lace will continue to publish new material until January 2010 (including my own debut book). I am British, but hopefully didn't go too crazy with the snogs and pubs :).

James Lynch said...

While I'm very glad that they'll have some new books (btw, what is the name of your book?), the fact that they're not putting out anything new after 2010 suggests that they're contracting instead of expanding. That, in my somewhat less than humble opinion, suggests the beginning of the end.

Justine Elyot said...

I agree that it does seem to the be the end for Black Lace and Nexus (I don't see how they can return to the market with no editor now anyway) - I just wanted readers to be clear that there will be new material published between now and January.

My book is called 'On Demand' - thank you very much for asking :). It's very likely to be the last Black Lace title ever.