Oh So Lovely Blogs

one_lovely_blog_awardTwenty-three days ago the lovely and talented Felicity Johns nominated my little site for the “Oh So Lovely Blog Award.” I think this is the same as the “One Lovely Blog Award,” but you know, I kind of like the way Felicity worded it.

Twenty-three days is a long time to wait to accept something, isn’t it? In that time, Felicity has been nominated for the award again by someone else. I told you she was both lovely and talented.

My delay had a few factors in it, but one was, I admit, that I was at first a bit nervous about this award. I had heard of it, and of its cousin the Liebster, and I feared it might be a lot like the dreaded chain letter: “Forward this award to fifteen people within five days, or terrible, terrible things will happen!” I knew, of course, that this is not at all the spirit in which Felicity nominated me, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to perpetuate something if it would only aggravate the people I nominate.

Because, of course, the terms of acceptance state that you must nominate others. Thus the similarity to the erstwhile chain.

I set out to do a little research into the origins of the award, and the main thing I found is that quite a few other bloggers, upon being nominated, have set out to research the origins of the award. If you Google “one lovely blog award origins” you will find numerous blogs in which the authors relate their inability to find much out about it. This was also the case for me. The origin seems to be shrouded in mystery. However, in the conduct of this research I did find one blogger who had some interesting things to say that changed my mind. Lorraine Reguly pointed out that, despite the chain nature of the award, it actually does carry some real, tangible benefits that the original chain letter (or chain email) does not: it is seen by many other people, not just the victims nominees.

In nominating me, Felicity highlighted my site to her own readers, and some of those readers (perhaps not many, but at least a couple) have come over to check me out. In accepting the award, I am highlighting her site, and perhaps some of you reading this now will click over to check Felicity out (you should, you know; she’s totally worth it). And when I nominate others, which I will do, and all of whom are absolutely deserving of your attention, I will be highlighting their sites, and again, I hope that some of you will be inspired to perhaps find a new writer, poet, artist, or thinker that you hadn’t previously encountered and with whom you will fall in love, just as I have.

So, all reservations now put aside, let’s jump right in! The rules for “Oh So Lovely Blog” (or “One Lovely Blog” if you prefer):

  1. You must thank the person who nominated you and include a link to their blog. (Thank you, Felicity! You are a dear heart! Now, everyone, go visit her at The Dark Night Chronicles: Roam the passages of erotic fiction.)
  2. You must list the rules. (Um, like this, eh.)
  3. You must add 7 facts about yourself.
  4. You must nominate 15 other bloggers and comment on one of their posts to let them know they have been nominated. (At 15, this might seem a little spammy; use your judgment, I say)
  5. You must display the award logo and follow the blogger who nominated you. (Logo above, and OF COURSE I’m following Felicity! Duh!)

Seven facts. Hmm.

  1. I have visited fifteen countries on five continents and lived in four of them. I still only speak one language fluently, however, and know just enough of another to order food in restaurants and maybe get what I expected.
  2. I once flew in a commercial jet over the Khyber Pass in Afghanistan, and although I was by then getting pretty close to 30,000′, I couldn’t help but wonder about what was happening on the ground at the time.
  3. Every time I see the golden glow of the setting sun on the city towers of downtown Seattle, I am inspired to write poetry.
  4. I never actually intended to publish any poetry on this blog — or photography, for that matter. It was meant to be purely about erotic romance stories, and the process of writing them, and of course my never-ending work-in-progress. However, the few poems I’ve put out seem to gather the greatest number of likes, and so I can’t help it, because, hey, I love the attention. 🙂
    1. I am definitely not a poet, however. I’m a scribbler at best.
  5. Naturally, I read a lot of erotica and erotic romance. It’s a genre (or set of related genres) that I absolutely love and simply cannot get enough of. However, I also read a lot of science fiction, fantasy, and spy thrillers, and have just wet my toes in steampunk. In the non-fiction department, I read a lot of history, of different periods, and although not so much lately, I used to read a lot of philosophy, especially eastern philosophy.
  6. I am very much turned on by themes of dominance and submission, and bondage in general (especially bound wrists, for some reason that I’m sure a psychiatrist would have a field day with). If you’ve read my short flash fiction pieces, you already know this.
  7. I never use two words when two-hundred will do.

Ok. the nominations. I’m going to bend the rules a bit here. Don’t worry, I will list fifteen for you, but I want to say that I really see this post as a way to highlight them. These are fifteen artists who have touched me in one way or another, and so I want to give something back to them. I could easily name more than fifteen, but some of those I would name have been nominated before and already have big followings (so don’t really need my help), or they have made it clear on their blogs that they don’t accept awards (and I want to respect that — and if I missed that for someone I nominate, please accept my apologies here). Some of those I list here do already have big followings, but I a) couldn’t find any indication of an award already on their site, and/or b) I just want to list them anyway, because I love what they do.

Some of these artists are educational — they write so well, and with such a command of knowledge and experience, that I learn heaps of fascinating things from them. Some of them write with such heart and raw emotion that I am deeply touched by them. Some of them are wickedly (and naughtily) funny, and I have to struggle not to laugh out loud when reading in the company of others. Some are so steamy and hot that I dare not read them in public — I want to carry them with me in secret and experience the full lushness of their prose and poetry, and yet I will share these delightful secrets with you. Some wander the field so widely that I am amazed at the wonderful workings of the human mind and the many places it can go. Some produce images of such stunning beauty that I want to just stare at them for ages and ages.

Naturally, many of these talented writers write in the erotica category, so if that’s not your thing, be warned. However, not all of them do. That isn’t my only interest, after all. Most of them write prose, short and long fiction, while others are poets (true poets!), and a few cross the lines and write both. A couple are photographers, who I think found me because I put a few paltry pictures up and tagged them photography, and that led me to find them, in turn. Many are published, some are not. Some are aspiring to paid publication, and some prefer to put their work out here, in their blog, or make it otherwise freely available. Some are (I think) living on the proceeds of their publication, but some are not (but some of those would like to be, and I would love to see that happen).

All are extremely talented and thoughtful and put their hearts into their work.

In no particular, in fact rather highly random, order:

  • Delilah Night
    • Erotica Author, Undercaffeinated mom. I first came across Delilah’s short fiction in the Summer Loving anthology with her story Baby It’s Hot Outside. I made some comments on her blog about it, and before I knew it I was beta-reading for her submission to another upcoming anthology (coming out in 2015). Trust me, you’ll love her pirate story!
  • GlobalUnison
    • Naima is a poet and social commentator who, although she has gone quiet for a while, still remains top commenter on my blog. Naima challenged me with a one-word prompt that resulted in my poem Blue, and I challenged her back to produce Water, which she did with finesse and aplomb. Come back to us, Naima!
  • MsTranquility
    • All About Life, Love, and Relationships. Serena writes beautiful poetry, usually stemming from her own life and experience. She writes in the moment, expressing whatever emotion, whether light or dark, is hitting her then. She writes prodigiously, often creating several pieces per day. Her work is frequently uplifting and inspiring, but even when it goes to a dark place it is moving and touching. Serena is also one of the sweetest and kindest people you are likely ever to meet.
  • Rachel Woe
    • Erotica & Erotic Romance Writer. Although not yet published, it is only a matter of time before Rachel’s name is on everyone’s lips as one of the greats. She has been honing her craft, and it shows. Rachel enjoys putting her characters in ‘real life’ situations and injecting them with sexual tension (her words, but it’s a perfect description), and she is one of the best at putting the reader inside the protagonist’s head. I found her through her story Condolences, and that’s a good place to start.
  • Rajiv Chopra
    • A Gypsy, Bismillah & Esmerelda The Spider Sit With Yama At The Vaitarna. Rajiv is not easy to classify, like a handful of others in this list. His is mostly a photography blog, and his photography spans several subjects and styles. He is most definitely a talented artist with a camera, and you can spend quite some time browsing around his collection. However, he is also something of a deep thinker and philosopher, and he writes about… well, whatever he feels like writing about. Sometimes he writes what looks like pure whimsy and fun, but you usually have the sense there’s something deeper going on, if only you could put your finger on it.
  • Shehanne Moore
    • Smexy Historical Romance. Shehanne has published a number of historical erotic romances (see The Unraveling of Lady Fury for a delicious taste), and she maintains a blog that is perhaps the most unusual I have encountered to date. For one thing, it is apparently overrun by a group of highly demanding and mildly psychotic hamsters (don’t tell them I said that about them, though), and she spends some effort keeping them corralled. Shehanne’s main character, Lady Fury, also maintains her own blog, and that one is infested with pirates.
  • The Muscleheaded Blog
    • The “Bastion of Bad Taste.” Chris is another one who is not classifiable. He’s an iconoclast (with big biceps!) who writes snarky humor and about odd things found in the news, or whatever else he feels like. He also enjoys finding and posting vintage pinup art highlighting sensuality of a prior age. At the end of the day, though, he’s a sweet guy with a big heart who doesn’t give a damn about political correctness.
  • Tamsin’s Superotica
    • Tamsin Flowers writes erotic short stories and novels that are definitely cut from a different cloth. With titles like I Was a Teenage Zombie Virgin and Pow! It’s Shibari Girl!, well, you see what I mean. I just finished reading her collection of zombie erotica Zombie Erotoclypse — wait, did I just say “zombie erotica?” Let’s just say I never thought a zombie could be sexy, but Tamsin has taught me otherwise. She has a lighthearted and refreshingly fun approach to erotica that I know you’ll enjoy as much as I do. She has been published in anthologies too numerous to count, and is one-third of the team (along with Malin James and Jade Waters) that make up Pillow Talk Writers.
  • Catherine Winther
    • Dark Otherworldly Romance Author & Poet. I have only recently discovered Catherine’s blog, but her snippets from works in progress have me hooked. She writes dark paranormal romances, and the cover picture of evergreen trees dimly seen through mist on her blog captures the tone and spirit of her prose. She also writes about the process of writing, which I think a number of us do, and it’s always interesting to see the different paths on this shared journey that we each take. Her current work-in-progress is Rain.
  • Willow Snow
    • Stephanie is another talented poet, and by chance the daughter of Serena from MsTranquility. She has, at times, used the pen name Rosalie as well as Willow. Where Serena’s poetry is usually grounded in her own experience, Stephanie’s can fly to the farthest reaches of her imagination. She writes about rainclouds and umbrellas, dragons and automatons, love, fear, longing, and loss. Many of her themes resonate so well with me that her mother has suggested we should work on a duet (I’m game!), and indeed her piece Clockwork Heart moved and inspired me to write Clockwork Love as a response.
  • The Great American Landscape
    • A Photographer’s Journey Honoring the Spirit and Light of America’s Great Lands. Rick Braveheart doesn’t need awards or nominations from me. He has been artist-in-residence with the National Park Service twelve times. His landscapes are currently featured in the US Embassy in Niger to share the beauty of America with visitors. To say that he has earned his recognition is an understatement. Nevertheless, I cannot not mention him here, as his photography is stunning in its awesome beauty.
  • Malin James
    • Erotica. Sex. Culture. Three simple words, yet Malin James infuses them with meaning in her writing. She goes on to introduce her site with “Erotica is a hungry genre. It invites, quite deliciously, the reader’s participation. I look forward to sharing it with you.” Besides erotic fiction that has been published in numerous anthologies, Malin also writes essays on sexuality and society that are as educational and insightful as they are entertaining and captivating. Every time she posts something, I learn something. What she doesn’t know is that I lurked on her blog for months (well before starting my own blog) before gaining the nerve to comment, as I was so in awe of her. Now I wonder why I was so afraid, as Malin is not only friendly and welcoming, she is also very encouraging of the efforts of others. It is easy to see why her friends and colleagues treasure her so. She is also, along with Tamsin Flowers and Jade Waters, one of the three founders of Pillow Talk Writers. Be sure to ask her why she loves old laundry dryers so much.
  • Charlotte Cuevas
    • While perhaps Charlotte would blush to be included with such company here, I do hope she won’t mind. She describes herself as a children’s librarian and teacher who is “pretty old school” and spends her time in coffee shops or city parks in “typical librarian fashion: reading, writing, cleaning my glasses, and shushing people who are having too much fun. ;)” She then goes on to have a whole lot of fun publishing a poem a day and a piece of flash fiction a week. She recently completed her “365 Poetry Project,” a poem a day for a year, and due to popular demand she is now extending it to a second year, along with “52 Flashes of Fiction.” She also just recently published her first poetry anthology, Candy Pizza. Charlotte’s poetry spans a wide range of subjects, from Faramir (you do know the reference, right?) to being Funky Fresh, and of course the Candy Pizza of the anthology’s title.
  • Jade Aurora Waters
    • I suppose you could say that I was introduced to Jade by Malin and Tamsin through their participation on Pillow Talk Writers, but I have definitely come to love Jade’s writing on her own behalf. Whether she’s describing how she discovered her love of exhibitionism while introducing another writer’s book, or expressing her sexuality through erotic poetry (see especially Owned, which was recently featured as a spoken performance on the Kiss Me Quick podcast), or discussing stripper werewolves finding themselves in orgies, Jade delights in the kinkier side of life and invites you along to delight with her. Her short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, and some of them are right on her website.
  • Tess MacKenzie / Lust Hurts
    • I’m Tess. I write smut. And so Tess introduces herself in her trademark rambling, I-hope-you-don’t-mind-well-whatever-here-goes style and proceeds to entertain in a delightfully naughty and hilarious fashion. She really has two different blogs, one featuring most of her fiction, and the other sort of an experiment, much edgier, a bit darker, and possibly semi-autobiographical. She isn’t saying whether it is or isn’t. Kind of a Diary / Not All of This is True, she writes on the front page of that site, and she leaves it to your imagination to figure out which is which. Tess explores her deep fantasies in her writing and shares them with us, and along the way we get to discover a very kinky, deliciously lovable young woman who just may lead you right over the edge.

There you have it. I could nominate many more fabulous writers and artists I’ve come to appreciate through my time here, but I had to stop somewhere. Please visit them, as I have little doubt you will love them all as much as I do.

Thank you again, Felicity, for your nomination. 🙂

The Lady of the Lake

My dear friend Shehanne, the lovely and talented author who brought you “The Unraveling of Lady Fury” and other “smexy historical romances,” and whose hamsters were getting a bit out of control and needed something to… ahem… calm them down, invited me to be a guest over on her blog. I recounted for her a trip I took a few weeks ago, traveling deep into mountain wilderness by mailboat, in search of… well, something, I’m sure. Hop on over to Shehanne’s blog and take a look. 🙂

shehanne moore

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‘The air is rent by a blast of the boat’s horn, and with a surge of power the Lady of the Lake pulls away from her dock and sets off into the morning mist. Mighty engines push her hundred-foot hull through the cold waters, and yet at full steam she makes a sedate fifteen miles per hour, carrying passengers, cargo, and the US mail uplake into the heart of the wilderness.

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High overhead, patches of blue sky shine through gaps in the October clouds, the promise of a brighter day ahead, but for now I still shiver as I stand on the aft deck, watching the town of Chelan slip away like the last promise of civilization. Vineyards cover the dry lakeside hills in a patchwork quilt, while million-dollar summer homes and vacation resorts dot the shoreline, private docks bereft of watercraft now that summer’s last gasp is ending…

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Clockwork Love

[Inspired by and in response to Willow Snow‘s “Clockwork Heart“]

 

This clockwork love,
Winding down the gears,
Imperishable, perpetual,
Through time immemorial
Winding down the years.

The ticking tocks,
Spinning round the face,
Inexorable, inescapable,
A life not quite immortal,
Counting down the race.

The machine slows,
Gears are wearing out,
Inevitable, predictable,
All is breaking down yet
We are breaking out.

Our forms fade and
Functions fail, but then
Enduring, everlasting,
Love incorporeal survives
Timeless beyond our ken.

Clockwork Heart

Willow Snow (who answers to at least three names I know of!) is quite the poet, prolific and imaginative. Her piece here, “Clockwork Heart,” evokes romance and steampunk and an eternal longing for something not quite in reach. It also inspired me to write a companion piece, so stay tuned! Meanwhile, have a look at Stephanie/Rosalie/Willow/MoonlightSonata’s poetry and blog. You won’t be sorry. 🙂

Willow Snow

Spinning the wheels

Within my mind

Working overtime

To meet the demands

Of my heart’s desires

Almost unattainable

But certainly not intangible

Versing time

To win the battle

Before the tick tock stops

Those are the dealings

Of a clockwork heart

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Credit

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Pillow Talk Secrets: Details, Details, Details…

Jade Waters, Malin James, and Tamsin Flowers are three lovely ladies and three talented writers who have much to say on the subject of writing, and sex, and of course writing about sex. They’re also, as it turns out, dab hands at steamy poetry, too, as those following them know from their recent challenge to each other. I cannot encourage you enough to read their blogs and their published works. They are frequently thought-provoking, often educational, always entertaining, and 100% steamy in their luscious use of language.

Beside their own individual blogs, they also collaborate on Pillow Talk, where they present topics of interest to the erotica and erotic romance writer in an engaging informal interview or panel discussion format. In this latest installment, the topic is details and descriptions: how much to include, and how much is too much? See what they have to say, and join in the conversation on Pillow Talk.

Pillow Talk

Hi everyone!

Welcome to the next round of Pillow Talk Secrets! Today, Malin James, Tamsin Flowers and I—your host for the day, Jade A. Waters—have some major details to discuss…physical details, that is. The question is, how much physical description is “ideal” in erotica, and is it the same for readers as it is for writers?

We are so delighted you’ve joined us—so without further ado, let’s talk about those dirty details…

Pillow Talk Secrets

Jade: Hello, ladies! So nice to be back together again! How are the both of you?

Malin: Hiya! I’m doing good—got my first cup of tea right here, so I’m feeling fine (though I’ll feel better after the third!).

Tamsin: Hello girls—hope you’re both well!

J: Good to see you both. I’m very excited for today’s session! Shall we dive right in?

T: Absolutely!

J: All right—today is all about the dirty deets. As in…

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Sneak Peek–Pirate Story

Delilah Night is a highly talented writer, and I was honored to be a beta reader for this delightfully naughty pirate tale. I can’t tell you much, of course — sworn to secrecy by the blood of Long John Silver! — but it’s a great read, with a plucky and strong heroine that you’ll just love, and a hero — or antihero? — who’ll get your juices going.

funny-pirate

About a week ago I sat down to write a new story.  Before I knew what had happened, Ia found myself taken hostage aboard a pirate ship by quite possibly my favorite hero and heroine to date….

“Put it down, lad. Don’t think to try me,” he warned her.

Defiantly she stepped out of line and faced him. He raised an eyebrow when he saw she was no lad. His distraction presented the perfect opportunity; her sword sliced through the air. Bree grinned fiercely as she scored first blood, but her victory was short-lived. It was humiliating how quickly he disarmed her. She found herself face down on the deck with the pirate captain’s boot planted firmly on her back.

This would never have happened if Papa hadn’t sent me away. Fighting had been yet another useful skill she’d had to abandon in favor of nonsense like bossing around servants…

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Offline Retreat

Once more I am headed into the mountains, bound for a place where no roads go, that can only be reached by boat, floatplane…

 

or multi-day wilderness trek (crossing a few high mountain passes along the way).

 

WiFi doesn’t penetrate there; cellular towers are unknown. I will leave the electronics behind and immerse myself in nature and the pages of an old-fashioned bound and printed book. I will not tweet, or status update, or blog. I will not open a laptop. I will put my phone away.

Four disconnected days.

 

But… I will still think about you. And I will return.

Because I love you all.

Yes, you, too.