Labiaplasty is the fastest growing cosmetic surgery in the UK, and girls as young as 14 are going under the knife. WARNING: this film is graphic in nature and shows an up-close labiaplasty procedure.
My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved in the tragedy in Connecticut, including the Lanza family. I know they are hurting right now as well. ♥ Peace and blessings to each and every one.
Holy smokes, I’ve had a busy month! I sold the house I purchased in 2005 and moved into an adorable little rental in downtown Boise’s Northend. Let’s just say I really despise moving, and if I ever do it again it will be too soon.
I’m still working on my next manuscript and hope to finish it before the end of the year, but today I took a break from writing and surrounded myself with family, food, and football. There’s nothing like a little love and laughter to remind you of what’s really important, and I hope each and every one of you had a safe and spectacular Thanksgiving.
Peace and blessings
I just came (pun intended) across this title and had to share.
Excerpt: “This isn’t just about getting me hot till my juices run clear, and then a little rest. There’s pulling, jerking, stuffing, trussing. Fifty preparations. He promises we’ll start out slow, with wine and a good oiling.”
P.S. Yes, this is a real book.
On September 17 I bought a new pair of hiking boots (Salomon Quest 4D GTX) and decided to break them in on the Boise foothills. Note to self: don’t wear a tight-fitting, ribbed, light-colored tank top without a bra on a trail where you’re likely to run into other hikers. Although the temperature was only in the 70s the hike was rigorous and I quickly proceeded to sweat like a pig, resulting in two rather large and conspicuous sweat stains under my breasts. It was because of these that I finally decided it was time to go. It was 12:18. “Damn it!” I muttered to myself. I didn’t want to leave; it was such a beautiful day, but I hadn’t eaten anything before I left the house that morning and I was starving.
Not a bad little hike, I mused in an attempt to console myself as I walked back to my car. I’d hiked a total of 2.6 miles. I’d only seen a few people on the trail that morning and hadn’t passed anyone for twenty minutes when I saw something out of the corner of my eye that I thought had to be a mirage. What the…. I stepped closer: approximately 25 yards off the trail a man wearing nothing but a pair of black shorts and tennis shoes was doing a headstand against the trunk of a tree. He blended in so well with his surroundings that I had to do a double-take to make sure he was really there. I smiled.
“You mind if I take your picture?” I asked.
He laughed. “Sure.”
“Don’t see that every day,” I said by way of explanation as I lifted my iPhone and snapped the shot.
I’m not a runner, but it has come to my attention that post-run headstands “drain the legs” of lymph and other fluids, resulting in decreased muscle stiffness/soreness the next day. Maybe I’ll try it the next time I go on a long-distance hike.
Which leads me to my next big adventure: hiking the Three Sisters Loop, a 55-mile moderately difficult multi-day hike through the Three Sisters Wilderness in Oregon with an elevation gain of 8,200 feet.
I can’t wait!
Every year I need to get away–go off the grid for a while. This year I chose Hell’s Canyon, where there’s no cell service, no internet access (unless you want to spend $5/hour to use theirs), and no one to interrupt your peace and quiet. Although I was tempted a few times to log on (What is going on in the world? I wondered) it would have defeated the purpose of getting away from it all.
I had my tent, my sleeping bag, my cook stove, my lantern, my camera, my fishing pole, food and drink to last a week, and several books … everything I need in the world to survive.
Although the fishing wasn’t the greatest, I got some pretty amazing photos. Next year’s plan: a multi-day hike through the Oregon wilderness with nothing more than what I can carry on my back.
Let the planning begin!
It’s no secret that I love to read, and I’ll read anything–any genre–that interests me. I’ve read everything from Justin Halpern’s Sh*t My Dad Says to Kathleen Grissom’s The Kitchen House to Bentley Little’s The Association to Richard Preston’s The Hot Zone. I can’t get enough, but now I’m on an enchanting mission.
I have a “to-read” list of erotica titles, mostly classics, and I’m reading my way down the list. It’s like a homework assignment, but much more fun than anything I ever brought home from school. 😉 In the past month I’ve read The Story of O, Delta of Venus, Little Birds, The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, Beauty’s Punishment, Beauty’s Release, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Other titles on the list include (but are not limited to) Venus in Furs, Memoirs of Fanny Hill, Lolita, Moll Flanders, The History of Tom Jones, Philosophy in the Boudoir, Dangerous Liaisons, Justine, Fear of Flying, Vox, and Candy.
The list is extensive, and it seems I’m adding to it all the time. I’ve read some of the titles before; others I haven’t. In fact, there are at least 35 more titles on the list that I haven’t read, but I promised myself I’d finish them all before year’s end. Why? I read them because it’s important for me as a writer to understand why these books are classics and why people are still talking about them today. It’s also important for me as a woman to know myself … to be able to easily identify my likes and dislikes, not only for my personal life but because the more passionate I am about something the better I write about it.
I’ve read passages that turned my stomach and others that made me think, “Oh my!” as a smile spread across my face, but I force myself to read each book to the end whether I like it or not. Reading can be fun, but sometimes it’s work.
Do you have an erotic classic or modern-day favorite? If so, I’d love to hear about it! Maybe I’ll add it to my list, and maybe it’ll turn out to be my favorite, too.
Not everything I write is erotica. In fact, I wrote mainstream fiction, essays, poetry, and travel articles for about ten years before ever trying my hand at “the adult stuff.”
Four or five years ago a writer friend suggested I enter an erotic short story contest. Funny, but it had never occurred to me to write adult literature, so the idea posed a challenge. I figured, Hey, I like sex and I like writing. Those are the only tools I’ll need, right?
Wrong! I can tell you from personal experience that erotica–good erotica–is the most challenging writing I’ve ever done. You can’t just jump on the bawdy bandwagon and expect to be an erotica master overnight. This stuff takes practice, and lots of it. I mean, there are only so many words for a man’s private parts, and if you use the same word 50 times in your story people will get bored. It’s no longer erotic. That’s the key. What you’re going for is in the name of the genre itself. If your story ain’t got it, the public won’t read it. That simple.
So I wrote something and sent it in. To my surprise my story took second place. Hmm, I thought. That’s interesting. Before I knew it I was receiving emails from people all over the world telling me how much they’d enjoyed the story and I was hooked. I entered contest after contest, and time after time my stories took either first, second, or third place. Then I saw an erotic novella contest. I’d never written anything over 10k words before, and once again I embraced the challenge … but I got my deadline dates mixed up and ended up entering three days too late (Three days! Ugh!), but I received an email from a California screenwriter who’d read my story, and his email changed my life. It read, “Every single thing in this story worked, and it left me breathless. The depth and richness which you instill in these characters is like something I would expect from a full novel. You send your protagonist Skylar spiraling through an entire series of emotions–all in a relatively short span of time–and your reader follows along, engaged in every single sensation of her life … her joy, her sorrow, her contentment, and her despair. Your characters are truly remarkable in their complexity and realism. From a narrative standpoint, the structure is simply amazing. A roller coaster doesn’t have this many ups and downs! You manage to drag your reader along through every soaring high and despairing low, always leading forward with a promise of more to come. This is, quite simply, the level of writing that all erotica should aspire to achieve. This story is, truly, one of the most remarkable short stories I’ve ever read, in any genre. Simply fantastic.”
Wow! I was stunned, honored, humbled, and very inspired, and I’ve been writing erotica ever since. That novella, Ten Days in January, went on to win writing.com’s Quill award for Best Erotica in 2009 and is now an eBook available on Amazon.com.
To all my loyal supporters and friends, thank you! I couldn’t have done it without you. Below is one of my mainstream (non-erotic), award-winning short stories. This one is titled Noah’s Ark. I hope you like it.
* * *
Imagine you’re lying on a soft rubber raft in the middle of the ocean. The day is warm; the sea calm. You close your eyes and dip your fingertips beneath the surface of the water. It feels cool and inviting. You’re very relaxed. Your breathing is slow and steady.
I can practically hear Dr. Shoshana Lowenstein’s soothing voice calming me, guiding me through one of her imagery sessions as I kneel here beside my “therapy” tree. Shoshana told me to find a place where I feel at peace and to go there whenever the sadness threatens to overwhelm me. I instantly thought of this tree. I planted it when I was seven years old, back when my parents still owned the farm … before they died and left it to me. We’ve become friends, Shoshana and I. I think she feels sorry for me. I think she thinks she can fix me, but I’m not so sure I can be fixed. Killing your own child kind of screws you up in the head.
Deep cleansing breath in … and blow it out slowly. That’s good, Mary. Relax. You’re safe here. Again, big deep breath.
I keep my eyes closed and concentrate on the breeze, the sound of distant thunder, the earthy aroma of imminent rain. Noah loved the rain. He’d tug on his Kidorable green froggy rubber boots, shrug into his matching raincoat, then go splashing through the puddles behind the house. “Wook, Mommy!” he’d yell, arranging tiny plastic boats around his feet. “I’m a giant in a wake, but da peoples awen’t scawed ’cause dey knowed I’m a good giant.”
My constant companion, Despair, wraps her cold, clammy arms around me and I have to bite my lip to keep from wailing. What’s inside me wants out so badly, but I won’t let it. My breath comes in hitches and gasps. My eyes sting from the tears, but I squeeze them shut even tighter. You did this, I think. This is your fault. You deserve this pain.
There are times I swear I can hear Noah’s voice in the middle of the night. I used to run through the house in the dark, frantic in my efforts to find him. I’d call his name and demand he tell me where he was hiding. “Noah James, come out this instant!” Jim, my husband, was understanding and supportive at first. He’d hold me while I cried and tell me everything was going to be alright. He didn’t know then that everything wasn’t going to be alright. He didn’t know then that my crying would keep him up night after night, week after week, and that he’d have to migrate to the couch just to get a few hours’ sleep. He didn’t know he’d eventually migrate out of the house altogether. I don’t even know where he is anymore.
We’re a statistic.
I’ll have to sell the farm. I can’t run the place by myself. Mom and Dad would be so disappointed, but it’s probably for the best. Everywhere I turn I see something that reminds me of Noah … like the tire swing out back and the Sit ‘n Spin on the front porch and the Baby On Board bumper sticker on my car. No more baby on board. I guess I should take that off. Is that what mothers do when their children die? Remove the Baby On Board bumper stickers from their cars? Women who lose their husbands are called widows. Men who lose their wives are called widowers, but there’s not a word in the English language for what I am.
I’ve replayed that day over and over in my mind. It’s the first thing I think about when I wake up in the morning and the last thing I think about before I fall asleep at night. I even dream about it sometimes, but in my dreams Noah doesn’t fall off the second floor balcony and his little head doesn’t bust open on the sidewalk like a sun-ripened watermelon. In my dreams I’m able to get to him before he tumbles–I’m able to hold him safely in my arms and scold him for going so near the open double doors.
Why did Jim insist on pouring those damn sidewalks? “They’ll cut down on the mud,” he said. “But what if Noah falls?” I said. “Little boys are accident prone. What if he trips or something?”
Why did I leave the balcony doors open?
It’s not your fault.
“Shut up, Shoshana.” There’s no one near enough to hear me talking to myself like a crazy woman. I already know people think I’m an unfit mother. I’ve noticed their accusatory glances and overheard their whispered accusations, but being shunned by my hometown has hardened me. I really don’t give a shit what people think anymore.
Mary, you can’t carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. You can try, but eventually it will crush you. It’s not your fault; it’s no one’s fault. That’s why things like this are called accidents.
“You know what, if I want your opinion I’ll pay you your one-twenty-five an hour and ask for it from the comfort of your ridiculously pretentious office. Not now, Dr. Lowenstein. Not here.”
I remember fighting the urge to throw myself onto Noah’s coffin as they shoveled dirt into the hole that would cradle him for the rest of eternity. My mind screamed, Stop! He’s afraid of the dark! I could have easily allowed myself to become irrational, hysterical even, but Jim held on tight and wouldn’t let me go.
They shouldn’t make coffins that small.
Family and friends arrived with balloons, and we all took turns tying little notes and Noah’s favorite toys to them before releasing them to drift up, up, up into the clear Wyoming sky. “No two-year-old boy should be without his toys,” Pastor Larabee said, giving my shoulders a good squeeze. “Not even the ones who live in heaven.”
It’s drizzling now. The clouds are looming black and ominous over Lingle, a town just five miles away. The storm will hit here soon enough. It doesn’t rain much here–flash floods are even rarer, but they’re not unheard of. Channel 7 warned us of the possibility this morning on the news.
First a trickle, then a small steady stream begins to flow down the center of the parched creek bed below me. I guess the meteorologist was right for a change. I wish I’d worn a real coat instead of this damn blazer.
I remember Jim’s hands–cracked and weathered from a lifetime of hard work. He had strong hands, but they could be delicate and tender when he wanted them to be. I remember how they trembled that day when he tried to attach the little balsa wood ark he’d carved for Noah to a green balloon (green was Noah’s favorite color). I lifted Jim’s hands to my lips and kissed the tips of his craggy fingers. “Let me,” I said. When the string was good and snug around the boat–it had a long way to travel, after all–we watched the balloon disappear above us, and with it our hopes, our dreams, our hearts, our desire to live for one more moment without him. “Noah’s ark,” I whispered. “He really loved it you know.”
It was the only time I ever saw Jim cry.
That was six weeks ago. It seems like yesterday; it seems like a lifetime. After Noah was born I was so in love with him that I couldn’t imagine life without him. Didn’t want to imagine it. I used to wonder how people did it–how they could lose a child and continue living. Where did the parents find the strength to get out of bed in the morning, to cook breakfast, to keep themselves going from one hour, one minute, one second to the next? Why bother going to work every day? What’s the point?
I don’t have to imagine anymore, and there isn’t a point, really. You do it because it’s what people expect of you. So your kid’s dead … bills still need to be paid, lawns still need to be mowed, laundry still needs to be washed. Life goes on, whether you want it to or not.
It’s raining pretty hard now. I’m drenched straight through. It feels good; it reminds me that I’m alive, but Mother Nature is a moody bitch who can’t be trusted. I think I should be heading home. My knees pop when I stand and my feet are asleep. It takes a second or two to work out the kinks and get the blood flowing again. I marvel at all the garbage and debris that rushes past in what was just a dry creek bed minutes ago. It’s a proper creek now littered with plastic bottles and candy wrappers, cigarette butts and empty beer cans. God, people are such pigs.
I snatch my blazer closed and turn toward home. A hot bath and a cold glass of wine is just what the doctor ordered. I really should clean this crap up once the storm’s over, I think, glancing one last time at the river that’s materialized behind my house. There’s a child’s toy boat. It looks kind of like…. I stop walking and watch the familiar shape float by. It can’t be. I close my eyes and count to ten. The boat’s still there when I open them, just further away. I stumble forward, take an unsure step or two, then begin to run. I lunge over the bank and into the freezing rain water, but I’m not as agile as I used to be and I fall. The rocks cut into my knees and rip open my hands, but I’m able to maintain my balance long enough to reach out and scoop up the toy for a closer look.
I run my finger over the giraffe’s head, poke it through the tiny windows, caress the miniature flag on top … it’s Noah’s ark, and I drop to my knees in the mud. All the anger, all the despair, all the loneliness and guilt I’ve struggled to keep inside comes rushing out in gut-wrenching, breathless sobs. Noah! I’m so sorry, baby. Mommy’s so sorry.
Oh God, please forgive me.
When I’m not writing my own erotic adventures, I reacquaint myself with the classics. I’ve spent the past week rereading The Story of O, Delta of Venus, and The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty. Next on my list are Beauty’s Punishment, Beauty’s Release, and Lady Chatterley’s Lover. I find that, from a writing standpoint, it behooves me to remain in a lascivious state of mind, essentially setting the tone and preparing my imagination for the task at hand. My typical routine is to write during the day and read in the evening (although I have been known to write until four o’clock in the morning when I’m in the zone).
Is there a specific salacious topic you prefer to read about? How about a particular act or type of sex play? Which books really turn you on, and which ones turn you off? How detailed do you like your erotica? Do you prefer the writers tone it down, or do you like it nasty?
Inquiring minds want to know.