January 23, 2015
I am now officially halfway through the second week of the flu.
I keep telling myself I'm better.
My body keeps telling myself I'm not.
So this is a quick and dirty post to let you know that Those Boys, the sequel to Those Girls, is free all weekend from Go Deeper Press.
These are two novellas that I'm extremely proud of. Currently, I'm working on a prequel about Sandy, my bisexual male Dom. The novel is called Those Days—and it's about how Sandy discovered his predilection for being in charge, how he learned his special skills, as it were.
If you haven't answered my Monday Question (from Tuesday), please stop by and toss me an idiom.
For other Free Smut, please check out this post.
January 20, 2015
No it's not Monday. But I was sick and slept through Monday. So I'm calling a do-over. (Side note: This was a brutal flu. I tried to fake feeling better for a few days, then gave up and hibernated. This is the first day I feel human again.) But I missed my Monday question, and I am not going to accept the flu as an excuse. Here's my query:
What kind of an idiot are you?
No, no, wait. That's not my question. My question is:
"What kind of idioms do you use?" Or even better, "Do you use idioms at all?"
Yeah, I get those confused—idiot/idiom. (Maybe *I'm* the idiot.) But the other day, I tried to write "rake over the coals" — and instead wrote "rake over the carpet" — and, really, nobody ever rakes anyone over a carpet. (Although people assured me it might work—rug burns, and everything.)
Which made me think... I'm awful at idioms.
I'm not the only one. I had a boss who couldn't use them to save her life. (Ha. I idiomed there.) She was the type to write, "A bird in the pan is worth my hand in your bush." I swear. She mix-matched idioms until you couldn't even figure out how they started out. She was, "a silk's purse from a mole hole" bad with them.
There are some I know I over use: over the moon, a million years ago, back in the day, during the ice age... I'm not actually sure those all are idioms. They might just be phrases I like to keep in my back pocket for a rainy day.
Some idioms remind me of friends and relatives. My grandmother used to say, "Close but no cigar," and "How do you like them apples?" My grandfather used to say, "Abra-cadabra-vermooth!" (Which is not an idiom, but is kind of adorable. My grandfather was a card.)
Apparently, some of the most common idioms are:
• A penny for your thoughts
• Once in a blue moon
• See eye to eye
• Costs an arm and a leg
• Speak of the devil
So now you. Idioms? Yes, no, maybe... once in a blue moon?
January 17, 2015
Playing with words is my hobby. Yes, I write for a living. But I juggle words for pleasure. I roll them on my tongue. I look up definitions a bit obsessively. A day doesn't pass without me learning a new word.
Once upon a college, I won a deejay spot by penning a 50-word piece about why I wanted to be a deejay. The radio station said mine was the only entry that did not begin, "I want to be a deejay because..." (Mine was a murder mystery. I know I've said. But I'm still proud.)
Writer.ly delights me. I don't know anything about the owner of the site. But I love the prompts. Whenever I have a chance, I take a shot. Six words on a theme. It's like gambling, somehow. Rolling the words as if they were dice. I fucking love it.
Yesterday's prompt was: "In six words or fewer write a story about what you see out your window."
And I was too sick to play. The best I could come up with was: "Oh, she's lovely. Is she real?"
My six words are based on a scene out the window—but it was out the window of my car.
If you get a chance, play along!
January 16, 2015
Sommer Marsden has a new book out... and I would love to say some fancy words about it, but I'm under the weather. My fancy has left the building, as it were.
Here is her gorgeous cover (courtesy of the super-talented Willsin Rowe), and here is the link to the new book.
I realized this morning that I have not actually eaten since this hit me on Tuesday night... which might explain why I'm shaking. It's a coughing/trembling kind of flu.
So I will hit the sofa and see you on the flipside!
Here is her gorgeous cover (courtesy of the super-talented Willsin Rowe), and here is the link to the new book.
I realized this morning that I have not actually eaten since this hit me on Tuesday night... which might explain why I'm shaking. It's a coughing/trembling kind of flu.
So I will hit the sofa and see you on the flipside!
January 15, 2015
Sommer Marsden sent me this lovely shot of my "Wrapped" tattoo which allows me to link you to a brand-new review for Wrapped Around Your Finger. Yes, I had other plans for today. But on Tuesday, I came down the flu. So I'm operating on Dayquil and willpower.
The review says: "Love stories don't come any deeper or better than this, with or without erotic pleasure. But I'll take mine with."
Today, I was going to write a piece called "I Write Smute." But that one will have to wait.
In my haze, I am reaching out to authors with new pub dates for future anthologies. I've finished two. I hope to tackle Bondage Bites shortly.
My offer still stands, by the way. If you read my other books in the series, and you would like The Parisian Dream, please drop me a note to msalisontyler at yahoo dot com.
January 14, 2015
Assuming the mail was spam, I deleted the message.
Nicole then called me and asked, "What did you think of that article I sent?"
Ooops. I realized in a flash—not Spam. An actual email, which I'd deleted. She went on to explain that she'd been sent the article by a different friend, and she'd been so shocked by the contents that she'd read most of the piece out loud at work. Nicole owns a store. Apparently, some of the ladies waiting to pay were mildly (or majorly) shocked as she announced, "Pussy is supposed to smell like pussy!"
I tracked down the original article here. This isn't a new piece, but it's definitely thought-provoking.
A few years ago, I decided to watch Saturday Night Live from the beginning. There was a spoof of a douche commercial featuring Gilda Radner. I went on Youtube to watch the original douche commercials that SNL was lambasting. They were almost spoofs of themselves!
But this got me interested. Not in douching (of course) but in the history of the word "douchebag" as an insult. For some reason, I thought the term was older than it is. After poking around a little, I learned that the word "douche" dates to 1766 and has French and Italian origins. But the insult is much greener than that. One site said simply that the term dated to the 1960s.
Not good enough for me.
From Here to Eternity (1951) uses "douchebag" as an adjective.
Henry Miller's Plexus (1953) has a character named Minnie Douchebag.
But what all experts seem to think is that Hubert Selby—in Last Exit to Brooklyn (1964)—used the word the way we've come to know and love it:
"...and she yelled to Jack to comeon and she/d fuckim blind not like that fucken douchebag he was with..."
I should have guessed it was Selby.
Funny aside, when I first found the excerpt, the website had *** out the word "fuck," which made an already complicated passage read like a censored ransom note.
So there we go... a very brief history of the word "douchebag."
Next week, I think we might tackle one of my favorites... Motherfucker. (I can't write that without hearing Hans Gruber in my head.)
P.S. Friday, I have a big reveal. I'm on the edge of my seat!
P.P.S. Fabulous print is by Parachute 425.
January 13, 2015
Here I am, back again, with your double-shot of Sophia Valenti (who loves coffee as much as I do). This story is from one of our anal collections—Happily Ever Anal. Her story is called "Thinking Outside the Box," and the piece is one of my favorites.
This is the start of the story...
Thinking Outside the Box
By Sophia Valenti
I had a little problem. Actually, it was a big problem, and it was sitting in the palm of Jake’s hand. It’s impressive how such a tiny velvet box can hold so much anxiety.
But, of course, a ring isn’t just a ring when it’s a shiny diamond that represents the rest of your life. If his gift were only a rock and some metal, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but this ring represented so much more than that. It was a symbol of hopes and dreams, and the promise of a future for which I wasn’t sure I was ready.
I’d wondered what was up all evening. Jake had seemed unusually excited as he’d prepared dinner. I initially thought it was because he was eager to show off the skills he’d learned at his latest cooking class. However, that hadn’t turned out to be the case.
He’d set the table with fine china and lit cream-colored tapers, creating a romance-movie moment. I appreciated that he’d gone through so much effort to prepare and serve us such a wonderful meal. However, it was what happened after dessert that truly surprised me.
As I enjoyed the last morsel of my chocolate mousse, I glanced up to see Jake staring at me, his blue eyes shining happily. With his slightly mussed blond hair and expectant grin, he looked as irresistibly sweet as he was sexy. I smiled at him, and my gaze dipped downward—and that’s when I saw the little black box in his hand. As he opened it to reveal the sparkly solitaire inside, panic rose in my chest. I know he spoke, but it took a moment for his words to register in my brain: “Will you marry me?”
My spoon fell from my hand, clattering against the china.
Not waiting for a verbal response—thank goodness—Jake told me that he knew I’d need time to think about his proposal. But he followed up those words by saying that he’d made up his mind about me—that he wanted to spend the rest of his life by my side. He could wait, and he’d be there for me when I was ready.
My snarky subconscious was quick to pipe up: And how long is that gonna take?
Jake put the box in my palm and closed my fingers around it. His hand was warm and comforting on top of mine, and I managed another smile and a nod, which was good enough for him, being the patient soul that he is. As he turned his attention to the last bite of his dessert, I wondered what was wrong with me. Here I had the perfect guy who wanted to give me the perfect life, one that any of my friends would envy. Yet I was unable to grasp the proverbial brass ring—or more literally, the gleaming platinum one.
It’s not that I didn’t love him—I did. I just wasn’t sure I was ready to make such a commitment. I’d always lived life on the fly, doing what I wanted in that second and swirling with the current of the moment—until Jake showed up. He’d been wonderful, and even though my life had become slightly more routine because of him, I didn’t mind. I think that’s what scared me the most—that this sort of unexpected happiness was so ... comfortable. I’d seen countless television gurus swear that a good relationship took work and sacrifice, and I’d decided early on that being someone’s wife wasn’t for me. I didn’t have time to devote to that sort of “work,” especially when there were no guarantees of success. But dating Jake was nothing like the relationships on TV. He and I got along perfectly from the get-go. We’d been friends for a long while before lust kicked in—and once it did, there was no turning back. As great as it was, however, a part of me still worried about how our relationship would affect my goals. That concern always seemed to be in the back of my mind, and I found it impossible to shake.
The first time Jake had mentioned marriage, I’d shrugged my shoulders, telling him that I didn’t think I was cut out to be a wife. I had plans, and though I never said it out loud, I couldn’t understand how being so intertwined with another person could help me fulfill my dreams. Jake seemed nonplussed by my response, casually reasoning that perhaps I’d change my mind someday. I didn’t think it likely, but I wasn’t interested in arguing. I was more interested in climbing onto his lap and riding his dick to an earth-shattering climax, which I did only a few seconds later.
How I’d felt that night was similar to the way I did at that moment: I wanted—no, I needed—a distraction to take my mind off of this life-changing decision, at least for a little while, and the distraction I wanted most was Jake’s rock-hard cock.
I placed the black box on the table and leaned forward to kiss Jake. He embraced me, swiping his tongue across my lips and growling softly when my mouth opened to let him in. I closed my eyes, enjoying the ticklish way his tongue flicked against mine, teasing swirls that mimicked the delicious dance he’d demonstrated against my clit more times than I could recall. I nearly melted in his arms as he slid his hands upward, cupping my head and tangling his fingers in my ebony tresses. He tightened his grip on my hair, holding me in place as he claimed me with his kisses. I liked the feeling of being so possessed, so wanted. And just like that, all of my nerves disappeared, my concerns having flown out of my head. I abandoned myself to the physical sensations that were thrilling my body: the pulsing of my clit, the ache in my pussy, and my growing desire for his dick.
Jake’s hands slid down my back, leaving a trail of tingling flesh in their wake. I could feel the warmth of his hands through the thin fabric of my dress, and I wanted more. Wetness was pooling between my pussy lips, and as I squirmed in my seat, my swollen clit rubbed against the crotch of my panties, the white cotton offering just enough friction to make me moan. As we continued to trade kisses, I rested my palms on his chest, feeling his heart beat under my fingertips. Working my hands down the front of his shirt, I opened his buttons and parted the fabric. I wanted to feel bare skin against bare skin, and I caressed his naked chest, my fingers grazing his tiny nipples and tickling his taut stomach. I enjoyed the way his breath caught in his throat when my fingers dipped inside his waistband.
Jake broke our lip-lock in a hurry, scooping me up into his arms. As he carried me toward his bedroom, I clung to him tightly, nestling my face in his neck and feeling as if that was exactly where I belonged.
In the bedroom, Jake lowered me to the mattress, and in seconds he’d covered my body with his. Bending my legs, I hugged him with my thighs as I wrapped my arms around him. I could feel his thick erection, nestled underneath his jeans, and I wriggled my body against his. He responded in kind, pumping his hips toward me as his hands explored my curves.
Between breathless kisses, Jake and I helped each other strip until there was nothing between us but his unanswered question. His query was a distant whisper in my mind, and while Jake may have been thinking of it as well, from the look on his face, he seemed to have more pressing concerns, and for that I was thankful.
Leaning down, Jake tongued one of my nipples, maddeningly light flicks that made me desperate for a rougher touch. I arched my back, encouraging him to take more of my breast into his mouth, but he would have none of that. Jake pushed me against the mattress, holding me down and letting me know he was in charge, but that didn’t stop me from trying to be bad.
Reaching between us, I took hold of Jake’s hard shaft, stroking him with a firm hand. As my fingers rode up and down his dick, I could hear the subtle change in his breathing, from slow and steady to ragged and erratic, and he pumped his hips toward me and fucked my fist.
Encouraged by the flush that covered his cheeks and the ecstatic look on his face, I drew him closer and rubbed his cock against my wet slit. The head of his dick slid along my hot, slick flesh, up and down and back up again to nudge my sensitive clit. The act was as much of a tease for me as it was for him. When I couldn’t wait another minute, I held him poised at my entrance and lifted my hips to beckon him inside me—and that’s when my careful attempt at seduction was turned on its head.
Rearing back, Jake pulled away from me and slipped out of my grasp, uttering, “Oh, no you don’t, you naughty girl.” His words were immediately followed by a low, throaty laugh that sent shivers down my spine. “You always like to pretend you’re surrendering,” Jake whispered, “and then you try to turn the tables.”
I thought about defending my innocence, but he was absolutely right—and we both knew it.
“But I want you, Jake. I want you to fuck me,” I murmured, reaching out for him.
“Don’t worry, baby, I’ll fuck you,” he said as he grabbed my wrist, “but it’ll be how I want and where I want.”
There was a hint of danger, a sexy threat implied in his words that flooded my body with indecent excitement. But that was nothing compared to the way I felt when he grabbed the belt from his nearby bathrobe, rolled me over, and tied my wrists together behind my back.
I didn’t fight him, nor did I didn’t want to. I’d started this scene to avoid making a certain decision, and now I didn’t have to make any. It was oddly relaxing, freeing even. Being bound, I felt absolved from any sort of action. I was entirely naked and putting myself in his hands, trusting him to deliver whatever sort of wicked pleasure he desired...
Thank you to Sophia for being today's two-fer. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and visit her blog!
Thank you to Sophia for being today's two-fer. Be sure to follow her on Twitter and visit her blog!
Sophia Valenti and I have worked together for years. She proofs my stories when I'm unsure. She talks me off ledges. She's someone I'll always sit next to at a party because her wit is dark, delicious, and divine. When my family went through a rough spot, she was one of the friends who came forward rather than falling away.
If you met my father, you would sense that he is a good person. He has that aura. Right for the sake of right. (There is, quite honestly, a little Captain America in him.) Sophia strikes me the same way.
Now, add into the mix that her writing is out of this world, and you have one of my favorite writers, confidants, and friends—all wrapped into one dreamy package.
For today (I just tried to spell that with a "two"—two-day), I am serving up a short story Sophia wrote for Sudden Sex called Riding the 5:15.
On a side note, I have been chronicling items, settings, and scenes I adore in films. "Trains" is on an upcoming list. So this story fits perfectly into my world.
Riding the 5:15
By Sophia Valenti
I’d noticed him before, the young man with the dark, searching eyes. Our paths had crossed occasionally in the evenings—that is, whenever I was able to get out of the office quick enough to make the 5:15 train. He’d glance my way the second I’d board the car, and then he’d keep his eyes trained on me for a long while, conveying his interest with his unyielding gaze. I’d catch him out of the corner of my eye and could never hold back my smile. I liked the attention—and our little routine. He’d stare at me patiently, appreciatively, waiting for some sort of hint, a sign that would encourage him to sidle up and talk to me during our thirty-minute ride to the suburbs. But no matter how many times our paths crossed, I never acknowledged him—until last week.
It was the evening before a long holiday weekend, and it seemed as if everyone in the city had high-tailed it out of town by midday. I rushed from my office and through the steamy streets, eager to head home. The air was thick and damp, feeling as if the city were on the verge of one of those violent summer downpours—the ones with heavy raindrops and striking claps of thunder. Electricity seemed to be already coursing through the air. Or maybe it was the sensation of my own frazzled nerves resonating within me. Either way, I soon realized I had three blissful days to unwind and indulge myself however I wanted. And that lit a spark in me, one that set me in a mood for some adventure.
By the time I descended into the station, my thin sundress was clinging to my curves, my skin hot and damp. I hurried across the empty platform, hearing an announcement that told me my train’s departure was imminent. Clutching my purse, I hustled down the last few steps and into the train car, the doors closing behind me a second later.
I glanced around the car, seeing that it was empty—except for one familiar passenger.
There was my handsome stranger, reclining in his seat, with his tie loosened slightly and the first few buttons of his shirt open. He appeared relaxed and as ready for the weekend as I was.
Boy, did he look good. Rather than ignoring him, I stared directly at him this time. After all of those weeks of one-sided admiration, I felt I’d earned the right. Brazenly, I let my gaze trail from his intense eyes, to his full lips and manly jaw, before taking in his broad shoulders and legs crossed casually at his ankles. My eyes then reversed their path, heading upward before locking with his. His lips quirked up in a smile, and my cheeks flushed with heat. I felt like all of my senses were on high alert.
Feeling bold, I sat directly opposite him, and his smile grew wider.
“Just in time. Lucky you,” he said, extending his hand. “My name’s Paul.”
I put my hand in his, enjoying the feeling of his strong fingers wrapping around my palm. “Hi, I’m Maya,” I answered, my voice nearly a purr. “But it remains to be seen how lucky I’ll get.”
Paul sat up a little straighter, but his easy laugh let me know that my words didn't didn’t shock him. But what they did do was add an extra dash of sexual tension to the attraction that was already sparking between us.
He and I made small talk about our jobs and the weather, politely filling the time, until the conductor came by to check our tickets.
“This train’s nearly empty,” he said to us. “Enjoy the peace and quiet. I know I will,” he added before disappearing.
“Mind if I join you?” I asked, nodding toward the seat next to him.
“Not at all,” he answered, smiling wickedly as I took my place at his side.
Reaching up to his face, I caressed his stubbled cheek with my hand. He growled low in his throat, nuzzling my palm. I leaned in close, kissing him and inhaling his scent, enjoying the sensation of his soft lips pressing against mine. Paul threaded his fingers in my hair, tightening his grip and making me gasp into his open mouth as his tongue began to tease mine.
When our car cleared the tunnel, sunlight streamed in through the windows, and as the train picked up speed, so did we. Before long we were kissing wildly, lost in our embrace, as the train rhythmically rocked along the tracks. Paul’s hands slid down my body, caressing me through my flimsy dress as he lavished my neck with kisses. Despite the train’s air-conditioning, I felt red-hot inside.
When Paul’s hand slid up my thigh, I moaned with longing. Not able to wait, I wriggled out of my panties, and then straddled his lap.
“This is a much better seat,” I whispered.
“I’d have to agree,” he said, his intense stare thrilling me to my core. I felt as if he could see into my very soul, instantly reading the depth of my desire for him.
We resumed our lip-lock as Paul brought his hand up under my dress again, finding the split of my body and using his thumb to circle my clit before flicking it gently. I was on the edge, but I needed more.
“I want you inside me—now. I can’t wait,” I told him in a heated whisper.
Deep down, I knew there was a chance we’d be discovered, and while that excited me, I knew it might also call an end to our game. And that was something I couldn’t tolerate. I was hot and wet and desperate; there was no time to lose.
I reached into my purse to fish out a condom. Paul face lit up with a half-cocked smile, and he hurriedly opened his pants. His erection sprang upward, and I stroked it affectionately before rolling the latex along his length. Then, with my dress billowing around us, I lowered myself onto his cock, sighing as I took him inside my body.
Paul brought a hand to my hair once more, tangling his fingers in my tresses as I began to ride him. I started off slow, but increased my speed, feeling the rhythm of the train pulsing within me as we sped to our destination. Outside, the sky grew dark and fat raindrops slammed against the windows, turning the world into swirls of gray. Paul reached underneath me, his thumb once again finding my clit, and I ground against him lewdly. Working my hips, I quickly sparked my climax, biting my lip to keep quiet, while he grabbed my hips and powered his cock in and out of me. Our mouths met once more, and a few seconds later, loud crack of thunder came, masking the sound of Paul’s orgasmic groans, but I felt their vibrations in our kiss as we rode out the last spasms of our climaxes together.
They say that life’s about the journey, and I’d have to agree. But the journey’s even better when you have company that’s as sexy as Paul.
Read an interview with Sophia Valenti here.
Read an interview with Sophia Valenti here.
Sophia Valenti is the author of Indecent Desires, an erotic novella of spanking and submission, and her fiction has appeared in the anthologies Alison’s Wonderland and With This Ring, I Thee Bed, as well as Kiss My Ass, Skirting the Issue, Bad Ass, and Torn.
Please stop back this afternoon for a double-shot of Ms. Valenti.
January 12, 2015
I like this one. I did a test run at a party this weekend:
"Which villain would you most like to fuck?"
Immediately, someone asked, "In literature or film?"
Clarification was requested because sometimes a character isn't exactly good—say Tony Soprano—but the person is still the hero in the show. (Clint Eastwood in many films.) I'm looking for villains.
One guest said, "Gene Hackman in anything." I swear, that wasn't me. Even though I adore Gene Hackman. Another said, "All of the villains in Die Hard." So I guess that's a gang bang led by Hans Gruber. One of the male guests said Richard the III. (I appreciated the fact that I got men to answer.)
Upcoming this week:
• a Two-fer Tuesday with Sophia Valenti.
• The History of the Douchebag
• It's Not Me, It's You
• I write Smute
• Fire Escapes, Ledges, and Rooftops
So stay tuned!
January 11, 2015
"The grass is green."
If you say that online, someone will invariably tell you the grass is not green. The grass was never green. How could you say green?
Someone else will tell you that their grass isn't green. Then they will tell you that you hurt their feelings by announcing your grass is green.
Someone will complain because they have no grass. Someone will say "grass" is spelled with an e.
Someone will inform you that you should give to their kickstarter fund that would allow them to have green grass.
Someone will say according to CNN, grass causes nerve damage.
Someone will tell you your grass is fat.
Someone will tell you that you are fat.
Someone will tell you that you used smart quotes when you wrote "The grass is green," but that you should have used straight quotes.
Someone will say that Aerosmith did a cover of "The grass is green." Why didn't you mention that?
Someone will say that grass is overrated.
Someone will complain that you dedicated another damn blog post to grass. They are disappointed in you. You have let them down. They are going to go to a different blog, a greener blog, on the other side of the fence.
Someone will say that your grass is sexist.
Someone will say that you are sexist for even mentioning the word grass.
Someone will say grass is a feminist issue.
Someone will say Grass should always be capitalized. Someone will say it should be spelled Gr_ss.
Someone will want to fuck your grass. "Your grass is so wet," they'll tell you. They can't wait to go down on your grass. Someone will ask if you keep your grass mowed, like, real real short.
Someone will say if you send them money, they'll give you the secret to longer, harder, thicker grass.
Someone will say there's no ass in grass, and then they will laugh and say, "What? Didn't you get the joke?" You won't get the joke. Because it's not funny.
Someone will tell you that they are an expert on grass. And you did it wrong. Whatever it was you did. You're wrong.
Someone will want to fuck your mother's grass.
Someone will say that their religion will help you to see the grass more clearly.
Someone will say fuck grass, baby, let's talk about hay.
P.S. My alternate title for this post: "There's a troll in your grass."
January 10, 2015
I'm not an artist. I don't even play one on TV. I can't draw a stick figure. My straight lines curve. But I have engaged in a long-time love affair with art. I was an art history major in college. (Stop laughing.) One of my cousins is the curator at one of the most prestigious art galleries in the world.
Art is like poetry to me.
Now here's the part where I'm totally honest about myself. I don't get a lot of art. I can't wrap my head around most of it. I own a button featuring two people squinting and staring out at the great beyond with the caption, "But is it art?"
Yet the pieces that draw me in, the pieces that speak to me, are so powerful I'm knocked sideways.
Do I have a favorite artist? You'll guess before I say it, but I love Warhol. Back when the Contemporary Museum of Modern Art was housed in the Temporary Contemporary building, there was a Pop Art exhibit that I still walk through... in my mind.
(I love Warhol for his words. For his Polaroids. For his colors.)
One of the people I look for on Twitter is Matt Forster. To me, his Tweets are like mini art exhibitions. I pause. I stare. I tilt my head. I take a breath.
I am a city girl. Show me an exhibition of pastoral paintings, and I will find the one with the telephone wires to stand in front of. I like grit. Urban. Cities. I like street lights, graffiti, asphalt. But Forster's paintings light me up.
Recently, I've started seeing images in real life that remind me of his work. Not only am I not an artist, but I'm also not a photographer. (Isn't it amazing how many things you can not be in life?) Yet, here are two pictures I took this week. Don't they remind you of his paintings?
Be sure to follow him on Twitter. I think his work is exceptional.
January 09, 2015
"Are you calling me a Peeping Tom?"
"If the window fits..."
My friend continued by naming movies I adore, and calling me out scene for scene:
• The Player: Tim Robbins talks on his phone while watching Greta Scacchi through the windows.
• American Beauty: Kevin Spacey lifts weights in the garage while his neighbor takes video through the window.
• Foul Play: Goldie Hawn spies through a window as two ladies playing dirty Scrabble.
• Rear Window: This is my favorite Hitchcock, probably because of all the window watching.
• Heartbreaker: He washes a window before coming inside to make out with a pretty executive.
• Slam Dance: The opening shows what dwellers are doing in their apartments. (But that's different, because a character is watching through a window.)
• Body Double: The whole premise is based on watching through a window.
• Body Heat: William Hurt gazes at Kathleen Turner through the window as his passion builds to epic heights.
• Die Hard: Bruce Willis spies a woman in an apartment across the way.
• Fast Times at Ridgemont High: All right, this is the reverse. But Judge Reinhold drinks in Phoebe Cates through a window.
• Dirty Harry: Am I remembering correctly? Doesn't Dirty Harry use binoculars to watch a woman undress?
I'm sure I'm missing many. What's interesting to me is that only two of the films truly rely on watching as part of the plot. The concept of looking in simply touches on my voyeuristic heart.
There are overlaps, as well. I tend to appreciate Harry Dean Stanton films, so: Slam Dance is on the same list with Alien and Repo Man... I enjoy movies about artists, so The Player is on the same list with The Moderns.
Of course, these "lists," don't actually appear anywhere. But as a hardcore film fanatic, I found it interesting to be so gently nailed by my desires.
"You like to look in windows."
If you do, as well, consider joining my club. I've posted a free voyeur story called, as luck would have it, "Not a Voyeur."
January 08, 2015
Yes, I do know how lucky I am. I grew up surrounded by artists, writers, cartoonists and comic book creators. (My dad once interviewed Stan Lee for a project.) I saved my allowance to spend at the comic book store. I kept my Archies and Mad Magazines for decades. (I never grew out of Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions. Never.) Vintage superhero lunchboxes line my kitchen shelves. I wear Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman t-shirts as part of my standard uniform. My first tattoo was going to be Spiderman.
But I had no idea I'd love Guardians of the Galaxy as much as I did.
One of my friends explained why last night. "You like misfits."
"Everything you like is about misfits. The Full Monty? Misfts. Rocky Horror Picture Show? Misfits. Wrecking Crew? Misfits. The Commitments? Misfits. The Crying Game? Misfits. You don't care if it's a group or one misfit all by himself. You like them—and you like it best when everything works out for them."
Well, yes. I think she just summed up my entire personality. But I didn't realize. Guardians of the Galaxy does contains all that I crave in a story. A group of unexpected people come together and not only survive but succeed. That might not be the plot of all the misfits books and movies above, but it's spot on for Guardians.
"Aside from that," my friend continued, casually refilling my tequila, "there are mixed tapes. Mixed tapes are very important in your world. You don't go a week without wearing a mixed-tape shirt. You told me that you put together anthologies as if you're putting together a mixed tape."
It's interesting when someone sees you for who you are—and you didn't even know. I wonder if I like misfits because I always was one. A friend in school joked that if I ever hosted a party, it would be the most bizarre group of people ever. Because I hung out with a few jocks, band geeks, the nerds from the newspaper, punks, stoners, a solitary cheerleader, the boys from shop, the fabulous ladies from the makeup store.... Basically, I didn't have a clique. I slid quietly from circle to circle.
When I first wrote erotica, my books were definitely misfits. There was no shelf space for erotica in most stores. Every so often, one of my titles would land on a "human sexuality" or "gender studies" shelf. But my novels didn't fit in romance, weren't considered high-brow enough to be shelved as "fiction."
Maybe most people feel like misfits. Like we don't really belong anywhere. We're always on a quest for acceptance. And that's why situations like this sting so much.
Or maybe I'm trying too hard to analyze a movie that was simply entertaining, energetic, upbeat, and exciting. I saw it twice—the magical darkness of the movie theater exactly the same as it always was for me. Drawing me in. Taking me home.
Making me feel as if I belonged.
January 07, 2015
You see this a lot online (and actually, I see it quite a bit in real life). Someone begins a conversation by saying, "No judgment..." and then judges. Or starts by saying, "Don't take this the wrong way," and then says something that anyone anywhere anytime in any galaxy would take the wrong way.
I was trained by the best. My full-blooded Hungarian grandmother was queen of this type of tactic. "Don't take this the wrong way, but you have a short fuse," she'd say, destined to set me off like a Fourth of July sparkler. (They're small, you know, but hot.)
Recently, though, I realized that sometimes judgment is okay to have. For instance, there's a pasta company that is notoriously homophobic. I can judge that company and buy other pasta. I learned (to my dismay) that a candy company gave money to an anti-gay marriage law. No more of those jelly beans for me.
I have the right to judge (with my pocketbook) and shop elsewhere.
I've run into this type of situation so often lately. One faction of it is: This is my opinion. I can say it loud and proud. And you can't judge me.
I half agree. Have your opinion. Say it loud. Say it proud. But if I don't agree, I'm allowed to go on my way.
The flip of this is the people who say things "only for your own good." Oh, my god. Can we agree to knock this concept off the table? One of my friends, and I am working very hard not to call her a "friend," has taken several courses in brutal honesty. I'm not being poetic. She has paid money to a teacher who has—in my opinion (Ha! Judgment!)—trained her to be unspeakably rude.
This friend has continually proffered her opinion on my clothes ("Don't you have enough already?"), style, ("I would never wear those prints together"), choice of craftiness ("Infinity scarves are not nearly as useful as regular scarves"), to the point that I actually stiffen when she comes close to me, waiting for the next insult... I mean, remark.
And then there's my favorite: Can't you take a joke?
Oh, fucking hell, man. I can take a joke. What you said was not funny. Jokes are funny.
So I'm not judging you if your brutally honest opinion is that I can't take a joke... but I will be buying my beans and pasta elsewhere in my mismatched prints and infinity scarf.
P.S. Speaking of favorite books, tell me yours here.
P.P.S. For another take on judgment, check out Sommer Marsden's piece.
January 06, 2015
The man's response was unexpected.
"How am I? How am I?" He turned to nobody in particular. "She wants to know how I am!"
Apparently, he was not well.
He proceeded to run down his ailments and life's woes from the previous three years. Then he left us on our own. Sam just shook his head at me, as if to say, "Look what you unleashed." But at least that was that, right? No, no. The man wasn't done. Throughout the evening, he continued to come back to us. To let me know he'd had to call his friend in Oregon to let the friend know that I had asked how he was.
(Just to be clear—I am very happy to listen to how people are. But this man and I are not close. And the intimate things he told the two of us were not things you generally share with people who aren't close to you.)
So you'll think I learned my lesson. That from that moment onward, I stopped asking. Or talking in general. That I trained myself instead to say, "Nice to see you," or some other fluff. But recently, I was in line at a coffee bar behind a woman who was so loud and so obnoxious on her cell phone that I couldn't help but make a snarky, under-the-breath comment to the person closest to me. It was low-hanging fruit. I swear. I should have zipped my lips.
Apparently, people don't speak to the person closest to me very often. He was thrilled. He leapt at the chance to converse and sat himself down with me when I found a table. He proceeded to tell me the story of every time he'd ever seen someone use a cell phone in public. Like this one time in the city, when he was certain a cute girl was talking to him, so he kept responding to her. Until she moved away from him. She had on a Bluetooth and he had not seen the device from that angle.
Honestly, I would love to write a story based on this scene. I can see this perfectly. She'd say to her friend on the phone, "How'd you like dinner last night?" And he'd respond, "Oh, it was delicious. Thank you."
Suffice it to say that I'm not the expert on manners I would like to be. However, yesterday (when this post was already in progress), Shanna Germain and I began to banter. And fuck me sideways, I'm loving our conversation. Hers started with this fabulous quote I need tattooed on my thigh:
This is the year in which I stop engaging with people who don't respect me. I've got manners coming out of my ass, but I'm not wasting them anymore.
Sounded like a book pitch to me:
Manners Coming Out of My Ass: An Etiquette Guide for the New Millennium.
(Someday I would like to spell "millennium" correctly on the first go. That day was not today.)
Chapter One: Don't be a Douchebag
Chapter Two: Best Practices for Dicks, Cunts, and Assholes
Chapter Three: Diffusing a Blowhard
Chapter Four: Blowing off a Dillard
Chapter Five: Surviving the Fair-Weather Friend Flu
Chapter Six: Utilizing the Gag Rule
January 05, 2015
Now that the year is over, I am seriously excited to ask:
What was your favorite book from 2014?
The book can have any copyright date. I'm not asking for only books written in the calendar year. And it can be any genre. I read a huge amount of cookbooks (go figure) and non-fiction.
My personal favorite was I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron. The funniest thing about this book is I constantly have to look up the title. I'm not kidding. I tell people it's called I Forget Everything. Coincidentally, Delia Ephron (Nora's sister) wrote one of my all-time most beloved children's books: How to Eat Like a Child. The book was hard to find for awhile, but I believe it's back in print.
Nora penned what I think is one of the best Shouts and Murmurs ever: The Girl Who Fixed the Umlaut. (My other faves: Buzzed by Noah Baumbach—which I have taped to my wall—and Confessions of a Pilgrim Shopaholic by Paul Rudnick.)
I Remember Nothing was a quick read. I finished the collection of essays in a single sitting. (Except for breaks in which I called my best friend and my mother to read parts from the book aloud.) I loved the juxtaposition of longer pieces with others that were only a page. Truth is that I worship the way she put words together:
Of course, there are good divorces, where everything is civil, even friendly. Child support payments arrive. Visitations take place on schedule. Your ex-husband rings the doorbell and stays on the other side of the threshold; he never walks in without knocking and helps himself to the coffee. In my next life I must get one of those divorces.
She was a writer who made simplicity look simple.
But it's not.
For a few years, I wrote a weekly column for a small paper. I wrote in a chatty, convivial style. I broke all the journalism rules. Really. People appreciated my column, and since I stopped working for the paper, several other writers have tried to replicate the style. And failed. Writing in a way that invites readers to sit next to you, to lean in over coffee, to share the joke, is harder than it looks.
Ms. Ephron's book is sleek, sophisticated, self-depricating, silly, unexpectedly deep, powerful, tongue-in-cheek, and revealing. I read her words and strive to become a better writer, myself.
P.S. Fabulous library-themed shirt is by Just Wish. You will be seeing more from the store here in the future!
January 04, 2015
Over the years, I have actually become an ace proofreader... of other people's work. Finding the typos in my own stories is much more difficult. Which is why I'm seriously grateful when readers point out any typos they've spotted. (Simply saying you've found a typo, but not telling me where, is destined to drive me mildly insane. Telling me the location of the error will win my undying gratitude. And probably a pack of Pop Rocks.)
Last year, I received a low review from a fellow writer because there was a typo in the story. He said the typo pulled him out of the moment. The typo was "a" instead of "as," if memory serves. To my delight, because I'm that type of horrible person, there was a typo in his review.
I think the best way to proceed in the brave new world of publishing is to correct the typos you find and move forward. (Oh, god. I just flashed back to the time I spelled "foreword" "forward." Augh!)
Apparently, however Zen I try to be, I am a bit obsessed:
• Stop and smell the typos
• I make mistakes
• Why would anyone suck a dildo?
• I came so hard...
• INSERT SEX SCENE HERE.
• Worst. Typo. Ever.
January 03, 2015
...you might think I spend a lot of time in bars. Well, actually, I spend a lot of time in bars. There is something magical to me about dimly lit, semi-dive bars. Give me a jukebox in the corner. Scuff the booths a bit. Make the fluorescent in the bathroom flicker. I'm yours.
I'm one of those strange writers who works better near other people. I can tune out a lot of white-noise. I prefer static to silence.
So the truth is that Alison on the Rocks is not only set in bars—many of the stories were at least partially written in bars.
"Last Call" was built around these few lines: I don't want to be one of those women who reaches the end of her road and thinks, Why not? What the fuck was I waiting for? I want to sit there on my front porch in my rocker and have shimmering nights like these to remember.
Which, honestly, is the truth.
This gang-bang piece was reviewed by Kristina Lloyd.
Turns out, this is not my only gang-bang story. But this isn't a scene I've written in abundance—unlike spanking or anal or bondage. Casting the characters entertained me. (You should have seen the original list of men who wanted a turn.) Choreographing the actions took brain-power and stick-figure-on-napkin drawing. My favorite part of the piece was making the lonely fry chef happy. I like to give people what they need.
Currently, I'm working on a new novella that I just figured out is set in the same fictitious town as "Last Call." And I realized this morning (one of those 4 a.m. wake up calls) that a novel I'm working on takes place there as well. This hasn't happened to me before too often—the overlap. But I'm rolling with the concept.
I'm hoping enough readers enjoy Alison on the Rocks that I can do a sequel. Alison's Dirty Martinis? Alison with a Twist? Suggestions?
P.S. Gorgeous retro-typewriter flask is by Whimsy & Ink.
January 02, 2015
The six stories in Alison on the Rocks are:
• Last Call
• Stirring Up Trouble
• Sitting Pretty
• Prix Fixe
I worked on these stories over a range of approximately twenty years. Seriously. When I see numbers like that, I have to sit back for a moment and make sure I'm doing my math correctly. How did I get this, um, experienced? I had ebony hair yesterday, didn't I?
"Stirring Up Trouble" originally appeared in the short story collection Bondage on a Budget, which was brought out by Masquerade in the 90s and pitched as a DIY book. (I actually had never heard the term DIY at the time. Bondage on a Budget isn't actually about how to make sex toys on the cheap. There are 69 stories in the book—each showcasing a household item in an unusual way.)
The story is set in a bar I used to frequent on Sunset Boulevard with one of my best friends. If memory serves, the bar is on the bottom floor of a famous Hollywood hotel. I believe we drank martinis. (If you've read my submission series, then you'll know I'm talking about Elizabeth.)
I was looking for a picture to post, but all my photos from this era are pre-digital. Which means they're in a box upstairs. In the porn closet.
In looking for photos online, I discovered that the hotel is currently accepting reservations, and I nearly just booked myself a $2,500 a night suite. There's only one left according to the website! This reminds me of the recent conversation online about a $1,400 a night castle that slept 22. The setting felt very much like the start of a story: 22 writers meet up at a castle. Each one takes a room...
At the time I was working on Bondage on a Budget, I'd penned one novel for Masquerade (The Blue Rose) and signed for three more. I'd been pegged as a go-to writer of lesbian fiction. Here's a silly aside—The Blue Rose has been out of print for so long that someone is attempting to sell a lone copy on Amazon for $2,432.64. Almost enough to book a suite at the chi-chi hotel!
Why was I writing lesbian novels? My publisher said my work had a "breathless" quality. I'd been with both men and women by this point. I was very much into the power exchange of sex stories. And I didn't really care if my heroines fell for men or women. Or both.
"Stirring Up Trouble" is a little fanciful, fairy-tale-esque story.
I hope it leaves you shaken—in the best way possible.
January 01, 2015
I lost my mojo for a little while there. My moxie fled. I couldn't get up for the downstroke.
From late summer through until now, I've been mired in publishing hell. Which is nothing totally new, but this situation is different from previous experiences. The quicksand sucked me down. Too many hours, days, weeks have been robbed from me. And it's not over.
When I can't concentrate on writing, my energy does strange things. I'm always up. Really. I have poor sleep habits. But I like to focus on the words. And with bullshit nagging at me, I have a difficult time. The words still come, but they're strange and garbled. Another language. One I can't always decipher.
On top of that—I had the virtual wind knocked out of me this fall. I was taken by surprise, which happens a lot. Honestly. Even after all these years, I'm an accidental ingenue.
So suddenly I find myself erring on the side of caution. Sliding into the Levis armor. Playing it safe rather than sorry.
That's okay. I like the fact that my forties are more about new beginnings rather than old favorites. When one door closes another opens? Fuck that. I'm knocking down the doors this year. I'm tossing all the keys in the air. And I'm blowing up the buildings.
I've got plans for 2015. I'll let you in on them as I bring each one to fruition.
And sure—I still have to deal with the great sucking quicksand. But I'm walking around the perimeter. I refuse to fall in.
I think it's back.