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Season’s Change

I should have posted this several months ago. I’m dealing with some really intense personal stuff this year, and when it isn’t kicking my ass emotionally, it’s lobbing grenades into my plans. I may or may not post again specifically to talk about what’s going on with me, but that’s for another day.

Anyways, I’m sorry I’m just sharing this now, but I’m in a new anthology! If you remember, I loved Chemical [se]X when I read it and reviewed it in December of 2014. After I reviewed it, I told the editor, Oleander, that if she ever did a volume two to please let me know. She did better than that, and asked me if I wanted to contribute!

I first heard the song Persephone years ago after a friend shared his Escape Key album with me. Michelle Dockrey wrote the song. The line “They all forget I had a choice, y’know/I could’ve chosen not to eat or drink” clicked for me. I knew that one day I would write my take on Persephone.

Hey, guess what I wrote for an anthology about aphrodisiac chocolates?

I changed the pomegranate into a chocolate with a pomegranate filling and I had a story where eating chocolate would be a key part of the larger story. I could’ve gone with other myths (my oldest daughter’s middle name is Athena), but it made sense to do Persephone/Hades.

Rape of Prosperina by Benini
Often also called Rape of Persephone

I’ve never liked how passive Persephone is often written. So I knew that my Persephone would be in the model of Michelle Dockrey’s. She would make a choice, rather than have choices made by other people about her life. When it came to Hades, I remembered that he didn’t only create Tartarus, but also the Elysian Fields.

Excerpt:

She’d gone willingly to Apollo’s bed.  Sun was vital in the growth of plants.   But the sex had been….pedestrian.  Boring.  Uninspiring.  Just as she’d always found it.

“What’s wrong with me?” she whispered.

As if in reply, the ground started to shake. Soil exploded upward as a team of black stallions spewed forth.  The god driving the chariot was clad in unrelieved black from head to toe.  Surely he was hunting some poor lost soul.

Persephone’s breath was knocked from her body when Hades’ powerful arm snatched her.

“What are you doing?” Persephone gasped.

She was shocked when no trees bent to block her abduction, nor did sylphs step forth to attempt a rescue. The only sounds were the pounding of the stallion’s hooves and her own ragged sobs. The iron band of his arm held her tightly against him as the horses dove back into the underworld. 

They raced along the River Styx. Persephone remembered the stories she’d been told as a child—always keep a coin in your shoe in case you must pay Charon’s fee. Hades had no need of coins for passage. The stallions leapt the water with no more trouble than she might have had stepping over a small stream.

The landscape passed too quickly for her to comprehend what she was seeing.  At times she had the impression of tremendous beauty and peace while music swirled around the chariot. At others, paralyzing fear nibbled at her and cries of agony assaulted her ears.  They raced deeper into the Underworld until Persephone knew she would never find her way back to the river.

A building in the distance grew larger.  Black as obsidian, with turrets stabbing upward, the castle seemed no more welcoming than the god beside her. The stallions slowed to a stop by the entrance.  Hades hefted her over a shoulder and carried Persephone into the castle. She trembled like a sheaf of grain in a wind, too frightened and angry to speak.

It seemed as though Hades walked for hours before she was tossed onto a bed.

“Why? Hades, what purpose?” she asked, tears running down her face.

“Zeus said you can’t bring forth the harvest. He seemed to think that since the ground is dead around you, and the people are dead around me that we would be a perfect match.  He gave you to me in marriage.” Hades’ voice was emotionless.

“M-marriage?”  Her teeth chattered as his words set in.

“Yes.”

“What are you going to do to me?” she whispered.

“Nothing! I’m not interested in sporting with a terrified girl. Stay out of my way, wife.  In time, let’s hope that we can tolerate one another.” Hades frowned, before adding, “Don’t eat or drink anything. Keep out of the kitchen.” He left, kicking the door shut behind him.

Persephone shivered at the finality of the slam of the door. Fear dug into her skin like a bramble. Underneath the fear, though, there was relief. She wouldn’t have to receive the offerings of grain and flowers accompanied by pleas to warm the land for their plows.

From an Amazon review- Delilah Night’s take on Persephone, which had me hooked from the opening lines: “they forget I had a choice, you know. I could’ve not eaten.” I loved how deftly consent was woven into that tale which could’ve gone so easily into Belle & Beast terrain.

Buy it on

I did a boudoir photo shoot

*This is not a sponsored post. I was not asked to write this post. I received zero discounts or perks.*

I’ve wanted to do a boudoir photo shoot for a long time now. As an amateur photographer I’m fascinated by sexual photography–naked or nearly so bodies, fetish photography, the whole nine yards. I longed to be a model in one of those photos, but the voices in my head that said I’m not pretty enough or thin enough drowned that desire in a bog of self doubt. I generally hate how I look in photos, with the exception of my wedding photos (which the voices remind me was twenty-five pounds ago). But beneath all of that was a sense of inevitability.

Several months ago I was introduced to Groupon (remember, I just moved back to the US–I’d heard of it but it wasn’t as big a deal as it is now when we left in 2010). One day I was idly scrolling through offers in my area and stumbled across a discount for a boudoir photography shoot with two photos for a steep discount.

My partner turned forty last year and I turn forty next year. No matter what the voices in my head said, he has always found me beautiful.  decided to push my boundaries and do this shoot for him. Or at least I told myself it was for him.

I booked my date and because of childcare and travel issues had several months to dread and second/third/hundredth guess my decision. Initially I made up a bogus appointment to explain why he needed to take the kids one day while I went into San Francisco. I’m a terrible liar and my excuse fell apart, so I told him what was up. He was incredibly supportive and together we crafted the four looks I would shoot with.

The price of the shoot was just the beginning. I hadn’t thought about all the details.

In the months before the shoot…

I’ve had back surgery, and was told heels were off limits for me. But I wasn’t about to wear flats in a sexy shoot. I bought three pairs of heels and a pair of dominatrix boots.

I bought a new piece of lingerie.

I bought new lacy panties.

I bought a man’s white shirt as mine didn’t look so fresh, and I wanted a better fit.

Celebrate Your Sexy sent me an email to ask me questions, including how do I feel about photos of myself and what are my concerns. (Top concern–I’d hate the photos and it would wreck my fragile self esteem).

The week of the shoot….

I got my eyebrows, lower arms, under arms, and full legs waxed.

I got a pedicure and acrylic nails.

On the day of the photo shoot…

I couldn’t find one of my outfits and had to rethink an entire look. This totally freaked me out. (It was on top of my bureau so I wouldn’t lose it–which I discovered that night.)

I had my hair and makeup done.

When my stylist asked what I wanted done with my hair I said “make it look like I just had really good sex.” My straight hair was curled and teased. Since I was (mostly) going to keep my glasses on, we added fake lashes and just did some liner on my eyes. I did a blood red lip (fiery liquid lipstick from Stila–it is my go-to and the only red I’ve ever tried that didn’t look pink-y or orange-y).

All of this added up to way more than the photo shoot cost. A more secure/more cost conscious person could probably do without these extras, but this is my journey.

The experience…

I was ready about an hour before my shoot, and I sat in my car so as not to sweat my make-up off in the insane heat wave that gripped the Bay Area a few weeks ago. This gave me plenty of time to contemplate if I wanted to take anxiety medication.

I drove to the location of the photo shoot with a carry-on suitcase full of clothes/shoes/props and texted the photographer that I was downstairs.

The photographer immediately put me at ease. We talked through my outfits and shoes. She let me plug my phone in and put on a playlist (regret–should’ve had a better playlist as it wasn’t something I’d really thought about or planned for). We talked about my props and which outfit they went with, etc.

We set up my four outfits, and I changed into the first one–a sexy red dress with red heels with a matching black lace bra and panty under it. The photographer started me off on the bed, moving the lights and herself around me. She walked me through poses, and told me to tell her when something was just not okay for my back or any other reason. Some poses were indeed uncomfortable, and I gained a small appreciation for what it must take to create ads and layouts in magazines (apart from photoshop).

My second outfit was a turquoise bra and panty under a white men’s shirt and black heels. I posed with a copy of Capturing the Moment. I wished I’d brought my own laptop, but the photographer lent me hers. I’m hoping I like one of these photos so I can use it here on the site.

My third leaned hard into kink. A nightie with a vinyl/pleather breast bra top, black lacy panties, and dominatrix boots that on my five foot two/three inch frame went nearly into my vagina. I posed with a riding crop with a sparkly handle and one with a heart-shaped surface.

My fourth? Mesh with nothing under it and black heels. I should have felt self conscious or uncomfortable, but by that point I felt comfortable with the photographer, with my body, and most shockingly–with the camera.

The photos…

I’m seeing them on Friday. I wanted to write about the experience before I saw them, and then I’ll write another entry about that experience.

Final thoughts…

I had such a positive experience that I volunteered to model in a plus sized lingerie show next month. It was a safe space.

After the shoot they give you a pamphlet with next steps and it’s not until you reach that point that you learn the ridiculous per photo costs. However, this seems to be a standard thing in the world of boudoir photography. So the selection process will be brutal, or at least I hope I like enough of the photos for it to be a difficult decision.

I’d definitely recommend Celebrate Your Sexy if you go into it knowing the photos are really expensive. They shoot all over the US.

Here’s hoping that I’ll have an excellent Friday morning.

Exciting news

Capturing the Moment

Capturing the Moment

Exciting news #1–Capturing the Moment is now on sale as a paperback.  You can buy it here.

happy

Exciting news #2 is that I’ve had my first acceptance of 2107. I’m very excited to share more about this anthology when the editor gives the ok.

beta reader kitty

Finally, we have arrived back in the US after nearly seven years in Singapore. While I’m partially excited to be back, I wish it were in a different political climate. One of the things I’ll need to do is find a balance between writing and activism.

My next big project is to work on Plunder. I had some good feedback on the first draft, and although it means a total overhaul, I have faith that I can do it. When that is back in my beta’s hands, I have the idea for the start of a paranormal erotic romance series because apparently I can’t stay in my subgenre lane. I also have the plan for another contemporary, with the ambivalence of leaving and arriving in a home country that feels foreign (which is what I’m experiencing right now) with the added complication of a budding international romance.

 

2016–The Year in Review

2016
From the loss of Bowie, Prince, Alan Rickman, and Carrie Fisher (among so many others) to the political disasters of Brexit and Trump, I think we can all admit that 2016 kind of sucked on a macro level. I had two procedures (one major) on my spine and continue to have chronic pain, but at least I’m (mostly) out of a wheelchair now.

However, it’s wasn’t all bad.

Recommended Reads

I wanted to read more than I did in 2016, but I still have some year end recommended reads that I’ve reviewed this year. I’ve joined the Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge. Follow my progress and add me as a friend here.

  • I loved Lez Talk: A Collection of Black Lesbian Short Fiction, edited by S. Andrea Allen and Lauren Cherelle. It includes two stories by one of my favorite authors, K.A. Smith. Read my rave review here.
  • Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins was so amazing, I ran out and read a ton more of her books. There aren’t a ton of authors of color in mainstream romance, and she’s possibly the best of the best. Not only are her stories well plotted, she does her homework on the history as well. My review here.
  • Basically anything by Kait Gamble (I reviewed five of her books here, but I read even more) but if I had to pick a favorite, it would be Sins in the Sand. By the way, she just published a new book, Faking It, which I’ve bought and am looking forward to reading.
  • Basically anything by Alisha Rai (I three of reviewed of her books here, although I’ve read even more) but my favorite is Glutton for Pleasure.
  • Finally, one of my favorite reads of 2016 was Tamsin Flower’s serial novel, Alchemy XII. It opens on New Year’s Eve and continues month by month through December. (I was a beta reader for this series, and I loved every minute I spent with Harry and Olivia.)

Big Publication News

(Check out my Published Works page for a complete list of purchase links if Amazon Kindle isn’t available in your country)

 

Capturing the Moment

under-the-mistletoe

My first solo title, Capturing the Moment , and my first anthology, Coming Together: Under the Mistletoe were published and both have received great reviews!

 

Other Publication News

  • Intrepid Horizons, edited by Jessica Augustsson, included my story, Dumped. Blurb–A Unicorn’s (former) Virgin is left out as bait for a dragon, but things don’t go exactly as planned.
  • Rogues, edited by Delilah Devlin, included my story, Plunder.  Blurb–Sparks fly when the Caribbean’s most fearsome pirate falls under the spell of a sexy spitfire who’d rather send him to Davy Jones’s locker. I am working on a full-length novel version of this story, which will hopefully be published in 2018.
  • Coming Together Under the Mistletoe, edited by me, included two of my stories Kid Comet and an updated version of Baby it’s Hot Outside.
  • My essay An Expat Fourth of July was published by Long and Short Reviews.

 

Other Stuff I Wrote

  • Flash Fiction (for Wicked Wednesday) Dream or Nightmare
  • Flash Fiction (A Wicked Wednesday Top 3 story) Off Limits
  • Flash Fiction (for Wicked Wednesday) Keep the Shoes On
  • What I did for Lust, will be included in the upcoming anthology, Prompted.
  • Kid Comet, the third in my North Pole Chronicles series, was in Under the Mistletoe.
  • I further updated Baby it’s Hot Outside, was in Under the Mistletoe
  • For Love of Snow White was submitted
  • I expanded my first published story, Renewal, and submitted it
  • Lab Rats, was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  • Forbidden Territory was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  • I expanded Love is a Virus, and it was rejected (nbd, how publishing rolls)
  •  I wrote the first draft of the full length novel version of Plunder. (It sucks–all first drafts suck)

2017

My writing goals for 2017 are to finish Plunder and to write 5-10 short stories, including at least one more installment of the North Pole Chronicles.

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