New Novels

Why I wrote Goddesses.

When 50 Shades came down to a giveaway price on Amazon, I decided I had to read the novel that had caused a paper-pulp shortage in North America. I was glad I bothered, because I now know that even politically incorrect misogyny can get the attention of a major publishing house and earn them billions. It’s all down to marketing and in that department, E. L. James could teach us all something. The film critic sites were scathing. wrote -

There was absolutely no chemistry between the main actors. The sex is about as sensual as a log of wood thrown on the road.’

That was how I felt about the novel, too.

Only one thing to do, I thought - write a proper novel on the defeat of misogyny and the triumph of the sexual being. I knew it would do me good, too. Cathartic, so to say, after all, I went to a boys’ secondary modern school in the early 60s - you know, that decade of repressive barriers being torn down, love-ins, dope, Beatles, Bob Dylan. It passed us by in Cheam in 1963. Our school motto should have been ‘Show no tears, show no fears!’

School repression was backed up by a parent generation who had grown up in the war years. Their biggest fear was that someone would do anything outside the safe and ordinary life of suburbia. The energy that went into preventing their unmarried children getting laid was immense and only matched by the energy the school management put into stopping the boys wearing long hair. My father feared I was homosexual and any expression of the female side to my character he squashed.

Thus, I abhorred Grey using his wealth to blind his victim to his unacceptable behaviour, in 50 Shades. It's about power. Money gives you power, but if you don't have money, you use your belt. Grey did both.

But you can’t just rail against a best-seller. Write the answer to it!

Goddesses - 49½ Shades of Charcoal is finished, edited and ready to publish. Part 1, is about my heroine discovering her sexual self. She is a powerful and successful woman, so just right for blackmail. She lets her guard slip and has an encounter on a train. Not just one. On successive strap-hangs on the Northern Line she progresses from rubbing to full sex, with a man she doesn’t know. They escape prosecution and her PA justifies her dalliance by quoting the actions of the ancient Goddess, Lilith, followed by Inanna, and her Sumer poem.

The Sumer Poem of Inanna


‘My vulva, the horn,

The Boat of Heaven,

Is full of eagerness like the young moon.

My untilled land lies fallow.


As for me, Inanna,

Who will plow my vulva?

Who will plow my high field?

Who will plow my wet ground?’


‘He has sprouted; he has burgeoned;

He is lettuce planted by the water

He is the one my womb loves best …


My honey-man, my honey-man sweetens me always.

My lord, the honey-man of the gods,

He is the one my womb loves best.

His hand is honey, his foot is honey,

He sweetens me always.[…]


Make your milk sweet and thick, my bridegroom.

My shepherd, I will drink your fresh milk.

Wild bull, Dumuzi, make your milk sweet and thick.

I will drink your fresh milk.

Let the milk of the goat flow in my sheepfold.

Fill my holy churn with honey cheese.

Lord Dumuzi, I will drink your fresh milk.

Translation – Wolkstein

Source -

Okay - you get the picture.

Part 1 of the book finishes the sexual liberation phase, when the two protagonists attempt to role-play Beardsley’s Venus and Tannhäuser in a London hotel. It remains more humorous than sexy until they discard the goat costume. And asks the question, ‘could Tannhäuser really have drunk Champagne from Venus’s horn or plenty?’

My heroine remembers her formula for the volume of a cylinder and calculates if a small bottle of Krug will fit. She describes in an email, how she would reward her Tannhäuser, but finishes the mail with, ‘PS. I fear this pleasure, out of anatomical and hygiene reasons, must remain virtual. Please forgive.

Part 2 is the crime thriller. How does Venus undo the crooks who try to misuse her new sexuality? For that, she returns to Baltimore, and the lair of a man who does everything in Charcoal.


My problem is - I haven’t the courage to publish, but  perhaps a new publisher will take the decision from me. I hope so.


Abe and Connie go to Baltimore to retrieve the compromising pictures. They stumble across Greg's secret BDSM lair and find his favourite colour is charcoal. They also notice, Greg is obsessed with cleanliness. Time to despoil.

The next room was the dungeon, or so it seemed to me, with racks and tables upon which one could be tied. We studied the options in silence.

‘I wish I’d paid more attention in my physics lessons,’ was how I broke the hush. ‘Look at those pulley systems.’

‘I studied engineering. Get on the table and I’ll show you how it works.’

‘Why me?’ I whined.

‘You said it! You were a bad girl in physics.’

‘OK. Front or back?’

‘Start off on you back. That will smear more beef around.’

I climbed up and Abe began manacling my limbs. Then he attached ropes and looped them over conveniently placed pulley systems. I had to trust him. Inattention in physics or not, the mechanical advantage could have done serious damage. Firstly, my arms were stretched, pointing slightly upwards and then my legs pulled apart. Two more attachments meant he could pull my thighs up.

‘Now what?’ I giggled.

He was rummaging in drawers and eventually produced some kind of mini-vibrator, which he inserted. There was a hum and a tickling, but if I’m honest, erotic thoughts were not on the agenda. I felt plain daft.

‘Can’t you make an effort,’ he complained. ‘You could at least fake an orgasm.’

‘No, I can’t. Ridiculous is ridiculous and I feel ridiculous.’

‘I thought you did ridiculous when you did your Beardsley study.’

‘That was different. Beardsley set a challenge. It was like competing in some kind of Olympic discipline.’

‘I think this is supposed to be ridiculous. It’s about humiliation,’ he said.

‘Oh. I didn’t realise,’ I said with sarcasm, ‘In that case - you do one and I’ll do one.’

‘How do you mean?’

‘You humiliate me and then I’ll do you.’

He wasn’t so certain. What could I have in mind?

‘Hasn’t Greg humiliated enough?’

‘No. I don’t feel humiliated by a man who spied on my sex life. He should be the one who can’t sleep nights. I played a goddess, remember? Inanna, who carried her femininity on her sleeve, for all to view. She wasn’t ashamed of her libido - she was proud of it. Let the hormones rage, who will plough my field! That is what I shall scream in his face. Why do you need to hurt me, to dominate me? Why can’t you love me as your equal? Lilith - remember. Maligned throughout history, because she claimed her love drive was equal to Adam’s. Go fetch the whip if you must, but I will turn your violence against you.’


He took me, stretched me on the table, penetrating, firstly violently, but then with increasing tenderness. We forgot the whip and the paddle. We despoiled his perfect table - left our puddle for Greg to savour.

Goddesses - Summary

Goddesses - 49½ shades of charcoal

Misogyny versus Mirth - a novel by Clive La Pensée

75000 words divided into 39 chapters.

Text edited by Dr. Hilary Johnson.

Summary - Connie Grimshaw, is a successful business woman in an international consultancy. She has worked hard and ignored her emotional needs. One day, on a business trip, she realises the cost of her repressed attitude to sex. Her PA (Dee) recommends she models herself on the pagan goddesses, lives by their rules and develops the vamp in herself. The Goddesses help to rationalise her lascivious behaviour, but don’t stop her getting into hilarious, embarrassing and sometimes, dangerous situations.

But there are forces at work, which see the opportunity to make money through mismanagement of Connie’s feelings. Can she defeat the bad boys?

Story goal. – Connie’s first flirt after her hormones take over, is easy to excuse. She wants to get Greg, (CEO of a US firm based in Baltimore) to sign a contract, that would save her company. He signs, but rejects her offer of steamy sex. Her PA, is passionate about pre-Christian sagas and helps her with her conscience, by telling Connie that an ancient Goddess, (Lilith – Genesis) would have done the same to achieve the goal.

Back in London, life becomes a boring strap-hang on the Northern Line, until, on a packed evening train, a man invades her space.  She excuses him by arguing that he couldn’t help the contact – or was she excusing her own inaction? Dee invokes Inanna, and her Sumer poem, to justify Connie’s tolerance of the inexcusable. On subsequent evenings, Connie, and her anonymous suitor, advance the flirt, he playing Goliath and she Inanna. They become reckless, and are caught, but escape arrest. Connie is triumphant. She has kicked her repressed upbringing, can have sex in public, despite the dangers. Dee is thrilled that Inanna motivated Connie to ignore convention – and the law - and that Connie is now a suitable blackmail target.

Conflict. After the scare, they use a hotel, and no longer need goddesses. They role play sex scenes in Beardsley’s Venus and Tannhäuser, and discover Beardsley never tested his ideas. Love making, dressed as Venus and her unicorn, descends into farce and giggling fits.

The envelope with photos of Connie having sex on the Northern Line, arrives. Connie floats on a hormonal cloud and is dismissive of any danger. She does take advice from her landlord (Abe), who is an insurance investigator. He works out that Greg in the US, now owns the raunchy pictures, and was aided by Dee to get them. As there is no money demand, Abe speculates that Greg will try to blackmail Connie into revealing industrial data.

Connie, ignoring dangers, and against Abe’s advice, uses literary sources to inspire a new scenario. (Gautier – Mademoiselle du Maupin).  She dresses as a man, allows herself to be seduced anonymously by her lover, who thinks he is getting gay sex. When he discovers the object of his desires is his lover, his bisexuality and that he is a professional seducer of rich women, is outed. His gay leanings will scare off blackmail targets, and he has enraged the homophobia of customers. He leaves town, but returns when broke and seeks Connie’s help.

Resolution. Abe and Connie spend Christmas in Baltimore, using Christmas day to get the original pictures from Greg’s empty apartment. Two black waitresses from their hotel, who know all the dives and shady taxi drivers, help with locations. They also destroy Dee’s reputation, cunningly quoting the New Testament, on camera, in a swinger club, where Dee looks for a pick-up. They sell the video clip to a local news agency. Dee is busted and flees the US.

Abe and Connie fail to retrieve the photos, but gather enough about Greg’s deviancy, to cause a stalemate. Greg must flee Baltimore. His fraudulent activities would be a life-sentence in the US and the police are now interested in him. He arrives in London, to seek a new life and revenge.

Dee agrees to swap sides and help Abe and Connie. She sets up a play, loosely using Freya and Odin to contrast good and evil. Abe takes a practical approach and uses a law firm to unite Greg’s rich and famous blackmail targets. Knowledge is power. Greg is busted again. He agrees to work with Dee, take therapy and destroy all information held about Connie. Abe marries Connie.


Sexual scenes are in Beardsley’s words, or from the Sumer song, Inanna sings etc. The edition presented here, intended for publication, is never over-explicit about Connie’s behaviour. Clever hints can be more erotic and leave space for wit.