Monday, December 29, 2008

Inbetweener

I've found this wonderful program that translates words into a musical composition, so I've been writing songs to Petra that would make you cringe.

P22, the company that wrote the program, create fonts 'inspired by Art, History, and sometimes Science'. Their Dada typeface is wonderful.


New Year


Yesterday I was thinking about striving, working, struggling, trying. As though if you try hard enough there'll come a point where everything is just how it should be. And how ridiculous that is, like spinning plates and imagining at some point you'll flick your wrist exactly the right way and the plates will all spin on for themselves forever.

My new year's resolutions are always about fixing something. Being less fat or more productive or better at bicycling or whatever. Fuck it. This year, my new year's resolution is as follows:

I shall fail more often. More spectacularly. And I'll fully appreciate the nuances of the hundred different ways to fail.



I’m sure my driving instructor will be delighted to hear this.



Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More from the wilds

Okay, I really was going to try and not gush about her, but look - how could I not?




This is Petra. The only kitty in the local cat home - and she just happened to be the most beautiful of soft rabbit-furred gold-eyed grey-tiger-striped creatures. She has a purr like a road drill, a bright, feisty nature, and a tendency to let off the foulest fishy fart-bombs.

My last furry travelling companion died a few years ago (on Christmas Day - he did make a devastating final exit) so it's a kind of sweet synchronicity that I finally find a cat just in time for the holidays.

As for the rest of the wilds - it's amazing here. The garden's full of long-tailed, blue and coal tits*, the forest surrounding's lousy with owls, and I am so happy I think I might be dreaming. There's a deep, expansive quiet for miles in every direction and the air tastes like champagne.

I have also, for the first time ever, a room to write in. (The one with the blue walls in Petra's pic). When I first started, years ago, I worked in a broom cupboard with views of - well, nothing. Now I've got a holly bush outside the window and winter sunlight falling into the room. And a project I'm very into taking slow shape on the computer.

Life is good, little tiger!

Wishing all my readers and friends a wonderful holiday filled with peace and joy and cheer.

Nikki xxx



(and Petra)



* it's quite hard for a writer of dirty stories to avoid 'tits and pussy' jokes here. I think I deserve kudos for self-restraint, n'est ce pas?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Writing that touches


Shanna Germain


The wild geese are flying past, there's frost on the grass, and it's time for the last 'Writing that Touches' of the year! I'm over the moon to have Shanna Germain as my guest today - a writer and friend that has inspired me in more ways than I can count. (Be sure to enter her holiday competition too!)



Why do you write?

Because I don't know how to do anything else? -laughs- Also, because I don't -want- to do anything else. Writing is the way that I do everything. Everything. It's how I see the world, how I think, how I process, how I come to understand myself and others. It allows me to create change, to uncover truths, to explore the things that make us love and laugh and hate and kill. To break open the myths. To know the unknowable. To speak the unspeakable.

As well as, of course, for all the fame and fortune that I've been promised. -grins- I'm still waiting for that part, needless to say.


Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?


In my writing? The truth. Always. I may write fiction, but I'm always aiming for some emotional truth. Whether I'm writing about sex or death or a first kiss or a last word, there is always something larger that I'm trying to pin down. A moment or an emotion. Something that makes readers draw in their breath and say, "Yes, that's just how it is for me."


What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?


Oh, wow. Anytime I hear back from a reader that has been touched by one of my stories, I feel like I've written a successful piece. Most successful? I don't know. It changes all the time, because I keep growing as a writer -- or I try to.

Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:


Oh, so many, but I have to say right now the recent election has really inspired me. I'm incredibly proud of the American people after this last election. I'd begun to lose hope for my country in so many ways, and I feel that this is a first step toward creating change, toward making things better and, perhaps most importantly, away from the apathy and despair that I so often hear people talking about.


***


Shanna writes about sex and death with a frequency that worries her closest family members, conservative strangers who read her blog and her plain-vanilla laptop, but she's not about to stop. You can read more of her work -- about sex, death and everything in between -- at www.shannagermain.com


Thank you, lovely Shanna!

I'll be taking a short, festive break from the blog and be back in 2009 with interviews from more fabulous writers. Have a wonderful winterval, all!

Nikki xxx

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

From the wilds

Wow its Fucking amazing out here! Have not been eaten by owls. Someone Please send internet. Blurry photos to follow soon!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Writing that touches



Janine Ashbless



I'm writing this intro from a world made of cardboard boxes as I get ready to move to The Country. It seems appropriate that just as I leave for the wilds, I've got the wonderful Janine Ashbless as my guest - a writer whose work often explores dark enchanted forests and fantastical lands. That's where I'm going to live!

Please read on to find out why this supremely talented writer believes 'sex matters' - and leave a comment to be in with a chance of winning an advance copy of Janine's new story collection 'Dark Enchantment'.





Why do you write?


The sad-but-true answer is that it’s a physical need, and an addiction. I have no real choice. When I write down the stories in my head I get a physical buzz from it … and that’s not just because I write naughty stories that make me feel, er, “happy.” If I stop writing for more than a few days I get grouchy and filled with vile self-recrimination and then I start chasing Mr Ashbless round the house with an axe. He much prefers it when I’ve been writing.

Oh – and if I write something AND then I’m lucky enough to get it published I get this lovely validation of my existence from the universe too.

I’m not coming across as a complete nutcase, am I darlings?




Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?


“Sex is important. ” I think that’s what pretty much all of my stories express. The establishment would have us believe that sex is trivial and a bit silly, a footnote to anyone’s life story. This is bollocks. People pour time and money into sex, they destroy their relationships and their careers for sex. And – on the positive side – in the loneliest and bleakest times of our lives sex is a gift of solace and pleasure.

Fictional sex might be as important as the real thing, because let’s face it the stuff that really matters is what goes on in your head, not the bumping together of hairy bits. It’s what’s going on in your head that makes sex not just a trivial genital spasm but a place in which to find something more: escape from the self or connection to the human race, punishment or redemption, love, responsibility, surrender, empowerment, validation, intimacy, even transformation. So I write about those things.

Sex in my stories isn’t always happy but it always matters. And I try and make it hot as hell too, of course!



What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?


In my upcoming short story collection there are a couple of shorts that I’m just so proud of I could pop!

My first collection of short stories, “Cruel Enchantment” was most successful sales-wise, and to be honest that’s the structure I like writing best – erotic short stories. And someone I know once got a shag off a woman he’d just met on the strength of his having once had a torrid relationship with the author of “Cruel Enchantment” – yes, she was that impressed. Is that a measurement of my success?
:-D

On the other hand my second novel “Burning Bright” was most satisfying from a creative point of view, partly because it was such a bitch to get right and partly because I loved the two main characters with all my heart.


Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:


To both rudeness and writing, you mean?
Royal icing. Heavy, cold, sweet sheets of royal icing…



***


Janine lives in the UK, with various rescued and fostered dogs and a husband who does a proper day-job.

blog : website

Her work includes:

Two collections of paranormal/fantasy/horror erotic short stories:
Cruel Enchantment
Dark Enchantment (out Jan 2009)

Contemporary paranormal novel:
Wildwood

Two linked erotic/fantasy novels:
Divine Torment
Burning Bright


Her novellas and short stories appear in anthologies from Black Lace and Cleis, including Best Women’s Erotica 2009.

All to be found under “Janine Ashbless” on Amazon.




Thank you so much, Janine! Next week, presuming I've managed to find the internet in the depths of the forest, I'll be interviewing the shimmering Shanna Germain!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Moving

This week I'm saying goodbye to Glasgow.

I've been here (on and off) since I was seventeen, so the city is layered with years of memories. I think what I'll miss most are:

The Kingston Bridge. Driving high over the river with views of the city spread out underneath ...

... and knowing where to find misfits and vagabonds when I want to.


Stand by for pastoral posts about dew-bedecked grass and squirrels. Perhaps.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Writing that touches




Craig Sorensen



Today is a mixed emotional bag - sad because goodbyes are always difficult, and joyous because I have the pleasure of Craig's company! Read on to find out more about the 'high contrasts' that drive him on ...



Why do you write?

Stories have flowed in my mind for as long as I can remember, and for years I fitfully tried to harness these ideas. I lacked direction, like a musician unable to decide what instrument or even what type of music is his natural voice. Another malady that I have suffered from! During those times, I collected fragments and occasional completed works into a slew of notebooks. I loved the act of writing these ideas, but I always sensed that what I was doing was incomplete.

It took me years until I truly got a handle on it. During those years I guess I was working on what musicians call chops. Coming to understand what I wanted to say, how I could best express it. Through those fitful writing years, I wrote an awful lot of weak stuff. I guess it is like playing bad notes on a guitar, learning what notes sound right to the ear, or mind in the case of writing. A few years ago, it all sort of came together as I focused on and completed a book idea I had worked on for years, but never finished. But it was when I started pouring myself into short stories that it all truly came together.


Is there something in particular that you'd like to express?

It varies from story to story, but in general, I want to express emotions, desires and sensations, and how these ferment as people interact. Sometimes its as simple as illustrating that magic moment when a couple truly learns the depth of their love for each other. Sometimes it's how the power one has over another can mask a greater power beneath. Sometimes it is coming to terms with emotional impacts. In visual arts, I love high contrast. Deep dark colors against flashes of bright. I love to play the drums because of the contrast of the bass drum and a crash cymbal. I want to explore the same ideal as a writer. Pleasure juxtaposed with pain, joy with sorrow.

For years I toyed with erotica, but I suppose that little voice in my head pulled me away from it. Embarrassment, whatever. But as I delved deeper into the writing, I kept finding myself toying with erotic ideas, then trying to tone them down. Sexuality is such a powerful drive, and can encompass so many things. It is all senses, and it is ethereal. In French, orgasm is le petit mort: "the little death." This expresses it well. Sexuality touches a higher plane, and that is why many people fear it. It is an absolute expression of power, and like all power it can be good or evil. Benevolent or dictatorial. The draw of writing to me is the power of creation. In it's most pure form, that is the power of sex. What could be better than writing about sex!


What is the most successful piece or work you feel you've written, and why?


It's always hard for me to state a favorite music or style of art. I don't have a favorite food or even type of cuisine. So it's equally hard to look at a story measured against another. But of the pieces I've had published in, one story that sticks out is "Game Three" which was on Clean Sheets in 2007. It's one of the first stories I had published, and I had thought upon submitting it, that it would have little chance of being published because of the topic: a couple dealing with the loss of a young child, and how their sex life reflects their dealing with the tragedy. To explore their losses, then their pulling up from the ashes was an emotional roller coaster. The comments I received from readers that I touched them with this story was gratifying.

Physical pain is something we often explore in erotica. It felt right to express erotic pleasure and need in contrast with pain from the angle of loss.



Please name a recent thought, event, person or whatever that inspired you:


Inspiration comes from so many places or people. I have no idea how many stories either were born in or found their deeper purpose in the shower. There is a cemetery near my house that I pass on a frequent basis, and the way that evening light floods it, or seeing a solitary figure walking among the headstone can spark a story or a poem that just bubbles to be free. It can be an expression in a person's face while ringing up a sale at a cash register, or seeing two people hug when they meet in the airport. It can be a caption on a T-shirt, and superimposing this on a character that would find the salacious message embarrassing.

But there are two people that influence everything I write:

My wife DeDe has not only been a partner in my writing, but a muse. Though she is not a big fan of erotica, she supported my pressing deeper into this form of writing because it was something so wholly natural for me. She recognized this far before I did, and she nurtured me as I came to terms with my natural voice. She has helped me get my hand around the business of writing. Her contribution to my writing is immeasurable.

I don't know how he would react to the sort of writing I do, but my father, who passed away many years before I began to get my hands around my writing, remains a daily source of inspiration. He led a difficult life, and was a quiet but brilliant man. He wrote a book and got a fairly big name agent to work with him, but he never got the book published. It was much harder, and a longer time line, back in the sixties and seventies to finish a book, or even to get in touch with ones inner voice as a writer, and he simply didn't see that all through. He read a few of my early stories and poems, and was alway so encouraging.

Every time I get a story published, I think of him. I believe he's along on this ride with me in spirit.


***



Craig J. Sorensen is a senior computer geek by day, a writer before early morning light, and a wannabe musician by night. He has lived on both coasts of the United States and was stationed in Germany. Blessed and cursed with insomnia, he pursues his passions all the while juggling time with his talented artist wife DeDe and his amazing kids.

Be sure to visit Craig's blog




Evermore thanks, Craig! I believe next week's guest - the jewel Janine will enjoy the goatee pic in particular ...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

More news



Currently my favourite song. It's all I want to listen to.

(If for some reason you don't have 'Dig, Lazarus, Dig' yet, I recommend you get yourself an early new year's present. I promise you'll love it like heaven.)

A great idea


At last, a way to salvage (some of) my conscience. At Eco-Libris, you can sign up to plant a tree for every book you read. For only $5, they'll plant ten trees on your behalf.

I know that 'The New Rakes' is printed on FSC certified paper, at least, but this is goes a step further to make up for all those trees slaughtered in the pursuit of entertainment.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Encore!

Well, this is turning into a Very Good Day all round!

Another review for THE NEW RAKES - this from Ashley Lister at the ERWA (click for full review)

'Nikki Magennis is an awesome writer. She blends the musicality of this story with her supreme skills as an erotic fiction author.

Kara’s adventure is exquisitely portrayed from the excitement she feels on-stage to the highs and lows she endures off-stage with her access-all-areas love-life.

The sex is arousing; the story is compelling; and
The New Rakes totally rocks.'

Yowee Zowee. Now I'm going to scuttle off and hug myself with glee ... : )

... and the pixies


'The New Rakes' just got a lovely review from Dark Angel -

'
THE NEW RAKES is a fascinating, sexy and exciting read. Ms. Magennis has written a story with great female characters, sexy males and a plot that doesn’t quit ... amazingly well written, to the point you actually feel yourself as part of the story.'

- Becky Gaede, who awarded it 5 pixies! Whoop! What a lovely start to the week!


Pixies and parfum

After years of wearing a delicious, lemon-and-watermelon Japanese perfume (l'eau par Kenzo), I've decided everything must change. New perfume for a new life.

I admit it, I'm just a tad obsessive. I spent yesterday hunting for the right one. I dove into the glamour shops I never usually brave (wearing no make-up, moisturiser or any other scent, so as not to muddle my poor nose). I charged through clouds of flowers and spice, dipped my face into dishes of coffee beans, grilled the sweet-but-mostly clueless perfume sellers.

I tried 'Green lime and cedar', and a few of the men's scents. Came home feeling nauseous and dizzy, with a bottle of 'the vert' and a strong desire to smell feet, body odour, water, soap and anything, anything other than more perfume.

I want road tar and woodsmoke, with strands of seaweed tangled through it. I want lemons cutting through the scent and a hint of oakmoss creeping up from the base. I want it sharp, hard, monochrome, with flashes of brilliant blue and grit. I want, to be honest, a custom perfume from CB I Hate Perfume.

Now I just need the money for a trip to NY, plus whatever small fortune the perfumier charges. Phhh, a girl can dream, can't she?