Friday, December 31, 2010


For AT. 

I didn't know what happiness was until I tripped over you that night. Did it qualify as the end of a long, long night or the very crack of dawn in the next day? All I know is your laughter split open the sky and I fell into your arms like I’d fall into bed. And then, well, we fell into bed.
Over and over.
And rolled around in there and came up smiling, it seemed, every time. Now I’m here, naked, waiting for you to come home and join me in bed. You make my whole heart sing, babe.

Okay, maybe it's a bit scrappy. But it's a sincere 100. Happy New Year to all of us. xxx

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Dirty pink fingernails

no longer required: a new interview up at Erotica For All.

Thanks for having me, Lucy!

(Pic is of my beautiful '69 Valentino typewriter)

Pause #2

... it's midwinter, I've got some horrible lurgy, and - I don't feel like I've run out of things to say about condoms yet!

So, I'm going to go quiet for a week or so, come back in the new year and extend my vague competition to the end of January. There are lots of interesting links and things in the comments that I'll pull out for an airing (hope that's okay, those who've shared) and more flashes to come.

Happy New Year, everyone, and I hope that 2011 brings peace, love and joy to you all. xxx

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A pause in the rubber parade for ...

Some lovely news!

Here's the fabulous guest list for Alison Tyler's next Spice anthology 'With this Ring, I Thee Bed', out in April 2011. Hooray!

Now or Forever by Nikki Magennis
Racing to the Altar by Sommer Marsden
Forever Hold Your Peace by I.K Velasco
A Lucky Wedding by Thomas S. Roche
Something Old, Something New by Sophia Valenti
Kiss the Bride by Lana Fox
One Last Time by Saskia Walker
Forsaking All Others by Janine Ashbless
Mother of the Bride by Cheyenne Blue
I Married a Gigolo by Jax Baynard
Strippers and Cigars by N.T. Morley
Something Blue by Shanna Germain
Speak Now by Heidi Champa
Wedding Crasher by Rachel Kramer Bussel
Blushing Bride by Bella Dean
Anniversary Waltz by Portia Da Costa
I Will by Erastes
A Vow for a Vow by P.S. Haven
Seven Year Itch by Kristina Lloyd
Rites of Passage by ADR Forte
Naked Nuptials by Alison Tyler
Love, Honor, and Obey by Rita Winchester
May the Best Man Win by Kate Pearce
Taking Vows by Kristina Wright
The Wedding Stoppers by Michael Hemmingson

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Do you take plastic?

I took the pill until I broke down. Greasy hair and the world through a glass, darkly. The last thing I wanted was sex. My friend tried the coil – cried with the pain, bled like a miscarriage. Another had hormones implanted under her skin, her periods ceased, she took years to revert to normality.

I tried counting. Guessing the danger zone. That ended in tears.

But a condom. Fits all cocks, takes on all comers. Pocket sized, portable. Suits all sexes, any slot.

If the man I love won’t wear one, he’s not the man I love. Pretty good indicator.

~ #3 in a series of flashes celebrating the condom

Practising Safe Sex

What are we practising for? The Fucking Olympics? Maybe Nirvana – perfecting our technique for the virgins we’ll meet in heaven. That harem of beautiful but coy types who’d rather close their eyes, get it over with.

‘You’re cute when you’re blushing, d’you know that? Just relax.’

It’s not always easy to be easy – there are so many facets to a good fuck. Including some things that aren’t easy to practise: a lover’s chemistry. And it may not be safe, no matter how strong our amulets. There’s always the risk of failing, of falling. In love, or out of it.

~ #2 in a series of flash pieces celebrating the condom

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Even in times of drought ...

They may still save your life!

Cleanliness by Craig Sorensen

Thanks to Craig for permission to post this lovely flash piece.


            My hand rests on the overflowing trashcan.  A warm juicy rubber drapes over another, cold but very wet.
He could have tidied up the place.
His calloused finger starts at my tailbone, teases my pucker and I gasp, traces down into my wetness and paints my clit.  His cock resolves, stabs my hip.
His arm appears like a crane on the Manhattan skyline, dips toward the nightstand and retrieves a shrinking ribbon of foil pouches.  I swallow.
A sweet rip.
Unfurling latex crackles.
“Again?” I whisper.
I spread my legs and jack up my hips.
Cleanliness is overrated.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Conscientious condoms

I was wondering about the impact of condoms. These are carbon neutral, fair trade and ultra thin!

"The Southern Indian rubber used in the manufacture of these high quality condoms has been sourced under fair trade conditions; ensuring a fair deal for our producers and the environment."


If it’s tucked in your back pocket, or slipped quietly into the overnight bag, I know exactly what’s on your  mind. If you toss a pack quietly into the basket as we walk round the supermarket, my heart beats faster. By the time we get to the freezer section I’m burning up.

You leave a trail for me, through the maze of laundry baskets and obligation and forgetfulness, a series of little silver flags. Square winks. Glittery parcels. Messages in foil envelopes.
I’ll write back in sign language: my three wishes: a hot fuck, a heartfelt kiss, our good health. 

 ~ #1 so far in a series of works in honour of the condom.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I have a 12 month old baby on my lap right now bashing me with the sharp corner of my favourite Mazzy Star CD - what better time to set a contest in celebration of our favourite stretchy superhero, the condom?


Actually, this comp is in honour of recent encouraging news about the fight to find HIV treatments. It's great to hear about possible hope.

But I read this article and what struck me was a comment left by someone: 'Eroticise the condom'.

Well, I may not be able to do much, but that's something within my sphere of possible!

So, for the chance to win a signed copy of the fabulous Vampire erotica anthology 'The Sweetest Kiss', post your used condoms to me at - no, wait, that was a joke. Really.

Enter either with a short flash bit of fiction (up to 100 words) about how acquiring, wearing and sharing condoms is sexxxy, or a thought about what makes those little scraps of rubbery stuff so fucking wonderful. (Fucking wonderfully). Non-writers, don't feel left out! This contest is for everyone. Pop in and slip on your favourite brand of johnny, and show it off. I mean, let me know what kind it is.

Enter by midnight GMT, the end of the year. I'll pick a winner and post out this lovely book and maybe some lucky prophylactics, too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Old Fashioned Glamour

Hey, it's nice to have some proper Writing News to announce round here lately!

I'm delighted to say that my story 'Old Fashioned Glamour' - a tale of witches in the 1950s, set in rural Scotland, will appear in Kristina Wright's Dream Lover anthology, out next year from Cleis Press.

I'll be sharing pages with lots of lovely friends, including: Shanna Germain, Alana Noel Voth , Kristina Lloyd, Lucy Felthouse, Justine Elyot, Lana Fox, Kate Pearce, Madeline Moore, Sacchi Green and ... I'll tell you more once the full TOC is announced!

Blessed be! xxx

Friday, November 05, 2010

I do! They do! We all do!

Lovely news - Mistress of Ceremonies Alison Tyler has given us the nod to post. So I'm thrilled to say that I will have a story appearing in her new Spice anthology 'With this ring, I thee bed', out sometime in 2011.

My story is called 'Now or Forever' and features a yellow garter, cold feet and high emotion. Here's the gorgeous cover. I can't wait to see the table of contents! And I really can't wait to get my hands on this book.

I think this calls for a toast, don't you?

Monday, November 01, 2010

Turning tight circles

Yes, I should be writing a novel. Or an essay.

So instead I'm writing a story from nowhere that is really not part of the plan, but that is too tempting to resist. It's about crisp autumn days, a doctor working out of hours and the server in a deserted cafe.

No, that's not what it's about. That's how it looks from a distance. Up close, there are cakes under glass, plated and wrapped in cling film. A doctor with frizzy hair and tired eyes and a lost relationship. A server with dyed black hair and clear eyes and flawless skin and a bold demeanour.

That's not what it's about either.

Ah. Letting go. Maybe that's what it's about. I'll tell you when I've finished. Just now I'm going to hang around in that empty cafe and see what happens when the silence gets thick.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Widgets and fidgets

The lovely Lucy Felthouse has set up a grand new site - Erotica for All is a destination for writers and readers of all things sex. Check out my author profile here, and if you have a good poke about you'll find lots of free reads and other interesting stuffs.
Meanwhile, lately it's felt like the internet has been sucking my brain out through my eyeballs. So I've been avoiding it somewhat and playing in the autumn leaves, instead. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Notes from the wayside

Today I have some time in the studio.

Little time.

I am getting somewhere. I know this blog is the wrong place to put this stuff. What I'm trying to do today is break through the walls I've made. Maybe cross pollination is in order. Maybe one needs, sometimes, to go over an edge to get anywhere.

Anyway. I'm trying to marry imagined forms and observed landscapes. I'm trying to scratch my way through the paint to find the picture. It's muddy and messy and I feel a little unhinged.

The best time is when there are so many voices in your head you learn to ignore the fuckers. Eventually, they drown each other out.

Saturday, October 09, 2010


Writing time is inbetween time right now.

When the baby's asleep, when everything else is not threatening to drive me insane. I write. Sometimes I write in my head, while staring at a wall and doing something else.

Because there's a lot more to writing than laying words on paper. As I'm studying, as I'm working on exercises and thinking about character, story and words, I feel keys turn in locks, ships change course by degrees, and realise, every so often, that writing and life are so deeply and closely intertwined that one cannot help but affect and be affected by the other.

So now is the time, mostly, for sketching out plans, dreaming big and vague, and stripping everything back to look at what makes it all work (or not work.)

Next year, I hope to write novels.

Monday, October 04, 2010

A room of one's own

So - torrential rain all weekend. I had a grand total of four visitors that were people I had not personally invited. One of them wanted to buy a painting, but wouldn't spend more than £30. I made a breathtaking total of six pounds, (postcards) balanced against the considerable cost of taking part, insurance, printing, signmaking, cooking and all the hours of sweat, stress and toil. Also, the baby didn't sleep this weekend. At all. So, neither did I.

On the other hand - so many dear friends and family turned up, helped out, cooked, sat, played with the baby, ate, drank, laughed and washed up. My lovely neighbours all visited, even the dear old Mrs with both walking sticks who had to be helped up into the studio. The show looked fucking lovely, even if few people saw it. My new studio is now open and shiny and waiting for me to move in and start work. It's properly had its head wetted. This is the kind of weekend that I live for, really. It's been very special and I am very, very lucky.

Thanks to all of you for your virtual wishes! The event was a fiasco of sorts, it's true, but a really lovely fiasco from where I'm sitting.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I follow the baby around, wondering when he will learn what is dangerous and what is fine, how to be safe in the world.

Then I realise that knives will always be sharp, stairs will always be steep, and his bones will always be breakable.

I think I'm a really morbid parent, in between being quite crap at it.

Anyway, today I am waiting for the babe to wake from his nap so I can strap him to my chest and start to move pictures into the half-finished studio.

Tomorrow I will open my doors (fnar fnar, thank you) for the world - who I am fairly sure won't be in a big rush to come along. 'Publicity disaster, total fiasco, the worst organised event in history' - this is what they will be saying years from now! (I'm not being self deprecating, I'm actually being passive aggressive towards the fuckwit that [didn't] organise the event.])

Ah, my glittering career. Isn't it pretty? From a distance, this car-wreck affair looks quite glamorous, no? No? How about if you squint?

'Life is a shipwreck, but we sing in the lifeboats' - Voltaire - quote of the week, via Shanna Germain, who would certainly be my desert island companion of choice.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It is goode to be frugall

To live in ane smalle house, with out accoutrements and unnecessarie embellishment. Tis goode to do with out sofa nor easy chaires, to sitte on the lap of one’s beloved. Tis goode, when done with the dayes work, to retire to bed, for there be no where else to go in ane smalle house. Each may warm each other by the application of hands, touche of skin and even perchance mouthes, if blankets on the bed of one’s beloved be thin and thread bare. Lament not an empty bellie, for it is said ye who is hungry fuck-es the hardest.

From a fragment of manuscript found, sorry, founde in the local Abbey. Probably.

This week I am hand-correcting brochures, sealing plaster, laying floors and trying to balance my tea intake with enough physical labour that I don't go all freakyweirdy. Back soon with more stuff!

Monday, September 20, 2010


I woke up early this morning, crept out of bed and walked silently out of the house. Left you curled warm in your sleep cocoon. I wore only my sleeping T-shirt, the thin cotton one with the snags and the dropped hem, trailing red thread. I walked out into the garden where the dew was heavy on the grass. My bare feet were soaked, so cold my bones ached. Cut grass stuck to my ankles. Shivers ran up my legs. No-one else was up, not even the birds. Everything was perfectly still. The air slid over me like a river.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Daylight Saving Time

In thirty years I have learnt how to kill time, spend it, waste it, mark it and make it. I have quality time set aside that I keep a careful watch over. There are rush hours crammed with crowds. Sick days written off. I have down time, like exhaled smoke.
For two weeks in the summer I vacate my life and go elsewhere to pass the time, frittering it profligately, tossing hours into fountains, baking whole days in hot, dusty landscapes. It’s then that I envy the wastrels, sitting silently on benches, watching the world pass with their mouths open.

Silent movie

I have grown skilled at moving without sound. When I get up from the bed and leave you behind, I rise like a ghost, curling silently, pulling myself into space and rolling and dropping to the floor without taking a breath, rustling the sheets, creaking the wooden bed-frame, thudding on the floor, letting my joints snap, or crying out loud.
I look back as I walk away, to watch your rosy mouth, your closed forget-me-not eyes. I watch your chest rise and fall. Such a small movement, one breath after the other. Just mouthfuls of air holding up the sky.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A day (or two) late and a dollar short ...

Happy Birthday the lovely, sweet and kind Danielle!

I'm sorry I missed it - and I hope you had a wonderful day full of pizza, beer and happy thoughts.



Thursday, September 09, 2010

A Todo

Like a dodo, only very much not dead.

My todo list is choking me. I want very much to keep posting flashes here, but I'm starting to hyperventilate lately so I'm pausing.

I have an art show in ooh, about three weeks. It's an open studio, and the studio is just a bit not actually built yet. Guuuuulp. Once we've done that, me and my magical, wonderful boyfriend, we will juggle a baby while actually painting some pictures hah no we won't. I will do some simple drawings on greaseproof paper.

I am trying to do my homework. It's hard, and I love it.

I am also trying to work out how to self publish a lovely little POD book of flashes. Wow, publishing. Not so much hard as really, really dull. Tax forms and ISBNs and blah. This is why it's easier to get someone else to publish you.

Oh yes, I may have a shot at a new publisher. If I can just knock out a novel over the next few weeks.

Am I writing this post just to scare myself, or am I actually trying to keep you lovely people up to date with what's happening in my life? Hm.

Onwards! Upwards! Hurrah!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Uncommonly sexy


Here's a lovely review of Alison's Wonderland, from Ashley Lister at Erotica Revealed. Here's what he has to say about 'The Red Shoes (Redux)':

Characteristic of her[mine! he means mine!] style for making the commonplace uncommonly sexy, and delivering sultry, poetic prose.

As my tutor would say: Yowza!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


I arrived in Madrid already half cut and reeking of lavender; dazzled by movement, aeroplanes and the subway lights. By the time I reached Puerta del Sol my bag was hanging open, purse gone. Lost, penniless and already forgetting the handful of Spanish that I thought I knew, I called my mother reverse charges. ‘Wire me money,’ I said, when I really wanted to weep and ask her to come and get me. There was an echo on the line, one of those awful delay-lays that make-ake you hesitate-ate to speak more-or. I missed home for the first time ever.

Hm. Madrid number one is in Frenzy: 60 Stories of Sudden Sex. Some random blogger trashed that story rather horribly, and now it feels a bit tender to think of. But maybe tender is good.

Maybe some time soon as I have no time what the fuck am I doing here you should see my to-do list maybe some time soon I will get back to posting proper blogs and fiction. For now this is what I'm doing. Crawling in the dark. Throwing words ahead of me.

It makes me nervous. Maybe nervous is good.

Picking Apples in Hell

Sex in the City: Dublin v. 4

Just received my copy of 'Sex in the City' Dublin! Hoorah.

Lots of lovely reads to be read in here, and it's great to be sharing pages with Craig!

Each of the stories in these books has a page of background from the author. They're fascinating to read, but I'm a little bit freaky about my story blurb thing. I wrote it when J was 5 days old. I'd had about two minutes sleep in a week and got up at 5 a.m. to try and write down my thinking behind the story.

Mostly, I don't read my work once published. Too scared. Like I said, a bit freaky.

Anyway, I like the title of this one. I hope I did it justice. I also hope I did a passable Irish accent - and that the characters ring true. It's a fairly intricate plot, for me. I hope it works. And I promise there are no leprechauns in it.

Well. Maybe one. An ironic one. But probably not.

; P

Table manners

We sit at the kitchen table to eat. I have a taste for salt, lately, and I’m cramming buttered rice crackers into my mouth, handfuls of food, not caring what goes on my face or in my lap. Our conversation is timetable negotiation; I offer you an hour, you haggle for more. Who will do the work and who will do the watching. Neither of us is willing to give in. I cut an overripe pear into slices. At last we can’t argue any more. I lean over to undo your trousers and kiss your stomach. The schedule is wrecked.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


The light is a gift, it shakes down through the sycamore trees, catches the edges of leaves, illuminates a piece of patterned cloth tied to a branch. As it hits a sheet on a washing line, making the whole white square glow like a screen about to show a film, it also spills over me and my son, hanging the washing. It turns his fine, silky hair to copper, mine to gold. Makes the clothes dance on the line as they hang there, worn by the air, filled with readiness, shimmering with tomorrow’s shadows. The darkness is also a gift.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday, I'm in love

I died in a dream last night. Folding clean laundry, I was suddenly breathless, disembodied, pinned in my mind.
After I woke my boyfriend talked about sleep paralysis, while I got out of bed and pulled the blind open.
White out: the house wrapped in fog, the landscape obliterated. We dressed up warm and drove to the market at Will's farm. I filled a box with carrots, yellow pears and cress. Waited behind a woman with a voice clear as a bell.
I looked out over the fields beyond the yard to see the mist dissolve, the sun burn through.

I wonder if it's some kind of affliction; the creeping drabbles or something. It appears I can only post 100 word flashes at the moment. The truer to life they are the better. This is odd.

Happy weekend, all. x

Thursday, August 26, 2010


You can dance in a cupboard if you put your mind to it. Face up against the door, smell of the oak plank in your nose, bruises on your elbows and knees. Suck oxygen through the keyhole and watch out for mothballs underfoot.
‘Can you hear something?’ someone sitting at the kitchen table might say, buttered scone halfway to their open mouth.
Their companion may shrug, turn back to their tea and blow on the surface.
‘Go on,’ they’ll say, leaning forward and ignoring the steady banging that signals you learning the complex yet expressive moves of an Argentinian tango.

For my mother

We try to stretch days, time, our lives. I can hear it screech, sometimes I can hear it creak and snap. I still can't stand up straight since J was born. I'm crawling about on my hands and knees in the dark, with my face in the dirt.
Silver is annealed by the application of heat. Softened so it can be worked. Train the point of a blowtorch on the metal and watch as it reddens, from deep cherry to a dull red and on until its bright orange. When it glows like this, unbearably, it is ready to work.

Whispering streets

Once a gypsy in the street grabbed my hand and told me I’d live to eighty four. She was making it up, of course she was, fast-talking bullshit in a low singsong burr, my hand gripped in hers, her long curved metallic painted fingernails dragging across my palm. She wore a silver bracelet. A string of charms, tiny tarnished mementoes that hung shivering from the chain. Around us the stream of hurrying people battered the pavement smooth.

I should have taken her curtain of long black-dyed hair and pulled it aside and laid my mouth against her tanned cheek.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Keeping Score

The day fills up with questions. I rewind and replay conversations. Weigh relationships in the palm of my hand; test for firmness, prod the tender parts. I make a tally. Change my mind. Circle, repeat and adjust. Memories become clearer as they turn into stories, though they stray further from the truth. Everything we believe is fiction, a lie, distorted, uncertain, and unclear. Everything but the beat of a heart, the beat that I can hear if I lay my face on your chest. This beat, and then this one. I can’t say more, I can only chase your pulse.

Written in a similar spirit to The Sound of One Hand Clapping, in  Hurts So Good: Unrestrained Erotica

Friday, August 20, 2010

Missing you

There are the times when the kiss has missed and landed clumsily; half on a cheek, half meeting air, when my mouth slipped, bumped against your collar and I came away with just the scent of you in my nostrils. When the moment passed, the body wilted, the lights came up too soon or the baby cried.
When we’ve fallen back or broken away and been too shy to meet each other’s eyes, but met them anyway and for a few racing seconds held our gaze and looked beyond and found there such electric freshness, such clear and beautiful longing.

Missing a beat

My heart has a fault. A flaw.
Hardly anyone understands.
A friend of mine had a murmur, turbulent blood. ‘It’s Grade six. Very loud with a thrill. You could hear it if you were standing next to me.’ I wondered if he’d pull a photo out; the proud owner of a noisy heart.
No. This is not extra rushing hot blood. This is the space inbetween, the skip, the leap up into a blank sky, when you’re not sure if you’ll ever come back to land. Not something a doctor can fix, this: the absence of you in my life.

Look after your heart.

Lightness falls

I lay down this evening as usual to feed the baby to sleep. He taught me patience, and the courage to make promises. Hush, hush. Everything’s okay.
I hold his feet while he kicks, and wait until his eyes start to close. Slowly he stills. The bed becomes a boat rocked by heartbeats. Once we are curled quietly like a yin yang with the light turning blue, I start to miss the cat. At night she would sit on my hip, balanced on one small warm spot, her paws neatly together, and purr us all gently into the drifting night.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

And now, back to hearts and flowers. Well, hearts this week, anyway.

Heart of midlothian

High in the old city of Edinburgh, along the Royal Mile, a heart made of cobblestones is laid into the pavement. Some say that’s where they used to hang innocents, or those who had stolen to feed their family.

Also unclear is why those that pass must spit on the heart. Perhaps it’s to show contempt for the laws that valued property over life. It has become superstition, and every day the heart glistens with spit, for the same reason I tell my boyfriend that I love him every morning as he leaves; just in case he doesn’t come back.


The tender hearted may wish to avert their eyes.


It must be a feast day, a fiesta of some kind. We visit the shops with our bags and baskets, my son and I. We’re early, they’ve just opened; the lights still flickering on overhead. Under the fluorescent glare there’s excitement from the sweating crowd. We turn to watch. They let a calf loose, a velvet black one, who skids around on the marble floor, who whirls and kicks and trips on his long dancer’s legs. The butcher has a sharp knife and a grin - he also has dancer’s legs. My son takes my hand. We join the queue.

If you know me, you'll know I am erratic to say the least. If you are not a frequent visitor; I'm afraid you caught me on an unerotic day. My cat got hit by a car a couple of days ago. Now here come the maudlin posts. Sorry, guys. This is how I deal.  

I should also add that this is my morning writing, straight from a dream. I don't know of anywhere that does slaughter calves in butcher's shops, but it wouldn't altogether surprise me.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Consider the artichoke

A strange creature, this green handful; both sceptre and orb, torch and weapon. A soft-pricked beast with thick stalk.

First, snip the points and tips. Steam for one hour. Pull the leaves. Each is a bite to dip in butter and lemon; each a mouthful barely tasted. Eventually, you’ll reveal the choke: a curious plug of fibre, as though the thing is furred on the inside. Pull this away, too.
What you have left over is the heart. Take a bite. It tastes of an empty grass field, a day that won’t rain, a lover that won’t meet your eye.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Criticism. Yes. Again.

I wanted to write a post about audience and criticism and how we hope to not write into a void. I wanted to think about the phrase ‘dance like nobody’s watching’, but also Shanna’s point that we are responsible for what we write: ‘As a writer, tone matters’. I think of Craig's post on Amazon Vine and felt childish.

Audience matters. Criticism, feedback matters. Recklessness, bravery, contradiction, consideration, perversity all matter. Everything matters. When you are writing, everything matters.

I believe that a writer is also their own audience. That it’s hard to see one’s own work from the outside, because we are so blinded by our own motivations sometimes; and equally it’s hard to see a criticism from the inside because we are also blinded by our reactions. We have to move back and forth, each time abandoning more, each time gaining.

I think so much of writing is digging. Out of the dark, towards understanding, towards clarity. Reading is a part of writing and that is also digging. I am maybe not making any sense, I am maybe just turning over earth now and getting hypnotised by the smell of fresh loam and metaphor. Try harder. Write more. Cut more. Try again. Fail more, fail better.

Writing means being audience and performer by turn.

I am taking lessons at the moment. I asked Alana Noel Voth if she’d take me on as a writing pupil and she did and I’m loving, thoroughly loving the process of being challenged and criticised. I’m so lucky to have found a wonderful teacher. I think not all great writers make great teachers, but maybe the best are so used to being both empathic and honest that they make the best teachers, too.

I’m also lucky that I find myself among writers who are eloquent, hard working, thoughtful, honest, brave and kind. All of these writers teach me, all the time.(I wanted to pepper that sentence with links to the people I’m thinking of, but I realised that would be unnecessary.) Everything matters. Everyone matters.

As a writer, here’s a blessing: may we have good criticism. By which I mean not positive or negative necessarily, but honest, clear and fair. Thank you.

Friday, August 13, 2010

dirty books iii

It’s a nice thick one, four hundred pages at least. Average length – around seven inches, cut. Stiff, but not hard-backed. I lick my lips. Can’t wait to get this baby back home and curl up with it. Lay it in my lap and stroke it. God, I might just have to sneak home early. Maybe I can – under my desk? Fuck. Fuck it, why not? Nobody can see. Ease it open. Lower my eyes like I’m really concentrating on Monday’s spreadsheet. Run my finger slowly down the page. Find the first paragraph. Read: ‘It’s a nice thick one … ’

Read more flash from me in Frenzy, ed Alison Tyler

Thursday, August 12, 2010

dirty books ii

You go in and they’re lying there just waiting to be picked up. Sluts. One on top of another, overlapping. Lapping. Jesus. They’ve been used, and now they’re showing their best faces like cut price harlots. Thumbed. Scuffed. Bent open, wide open. Some of them fall that way; splayed. If you looked closely you might see smudges where the other hands have been on them, other fingers flicked through them, other fingertips moistened perhaps by a quick tongueful of spit.
Give in to it. Grab as many as you can. Stuff them under your coat, gather them in your arms.

Find more of my flash fiction in ... Pleasure Bound

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

They love dirty books

... and I love their site. And ethos.


If this is the future I like it. Look at those pretty covers, too.

dirty books

I tear off the brown paper wrapper. Pristine, almost severe lines. Perfect. I run a hand down the spine. It’s eggshell, that satin sheen that slips so beguilingly under my fingertips. Embossed. Oh yeah. A flowing, generous font, serifs intact because, yes, this book is generous enough to add curlicues and embellishments, cute little flourishes.

I prise it open. Stick my face in deep so the pages brush and press against my cheeks, like softly furred flanks. Push and burrow my nose into the crack. Inhale.

Smells of washed bodies, unperfumed skin puffed with talc. Dry kisses. Clean sweat. Promise.

Read more of my flash fiction in Playing with Fire

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I am

Sex in the City: Paris v. 2

I wandered foolishly into a thicket of Amazon Vine Voices the other day. What struck me was that everyone keeps claiming a precise definition of erotica. A frequent criticism flung at stories, it seems, is to say 'this is not erotica'.

How many other genres have definitions so vague and mutable that it seems like an endless pastime just trying to work out what the fuck the genre should look like, let alone whether any particular piece is good or not in itself?

I'm not blame-free, I've spent a good deal of time wondering the same. We know it has to have a human head, (ahem) and probably some genitalia, at least in allusion. But then, there's EllaRegina's beautiful story with the fabulous character that has merely hooks and eyes.

Really, I'm omnivorious when it comes to erotica. I like porny stuff and I like the most subtle literary stuff, and lots in between. But then, I'm a bookoholic and I'm loath to reject any good writing merely because it doesn't fit some nebulous idea of a genre. Maybe it would be best to broaden the definition of erotica, rather than narrow it.

After all, if you're looking for a wide embrace, surely you'd find it on the erotica shelf?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010


I always thought 'character' and 'actor' shared the same root. To do with action. Shows how much of an ignoramus I am:

Character: early 14c., from O.Fr. caractere (13c., Mod.Fr. caractère), from L. character, from Gk. kharakter "engraved mark," also "symbol or imprint on the soul," from kharassein "to engrave," from kharax "pointed stake," from PIE base *gher- "to scrape, scratch." Meaning extended by metaphor to "a defining quality."

Sense of "person in a play or novel" is first attested 1660s, in reference to the "defining qualities" he or she is given by the author.

(From etymonline)

act (n.)

late 14c., from O.Fr. acte, from L. actus "a doing" and actum "a thing done," both from agere "to do, set in motion, drive, urge, chase, stir up," from PIE root *ag- "to drive, draw out or forth, move" (cf. Gk. agein "to lead, guide, drive, carry off," agon "assembly, contest in the games," agogos "leader;" Skt. ajati "drives," ajirah "moving, active;" O.N. aka "to drive;" M.Ir. ag "battle"). Theatrical (1510s) and legislative (mid-15c.) senses of the word also were in Latin. The verb is first attested late 15c.; in the theatrical performance sense it is from 1590s. In the act "in the process" is from 1590s, originally from the 16c. sense of the act as "sexual intercourse." Act of God "uncontrollable natural force" first recorded 1882. To act out "behave anti-socially" (1974) is from psychiatric sense of "expressing one's unconscious impulses or desires."

Well there you go.

'Never confuse movement with action' - Hemingway.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Sunday walk

In writing as in life every time you think you have hit upon a seam, a road to run on, you read something that knocks you off down a side trail and you forget that you used to run along here, on this riverbed, and you try it out for a while. Everything is a running along like you do in dreams, circling, listening to the rhythm of your feet, focussing on the placement of your feet, how they peel off the ground and how your legs stretch and the texture of the road. Of course most of the time you lose yourself in thoughts of the maps in your head, half remembered and mistaken and distorted, and forget to look at the road under your feet, the landscape all around you. We write ourselves into the landscape of our own lives, back into the landscape, back and forth, forgetting and remembering.

And to be perfectly honest mostly I don't really run, I just walk shamble stop start lurch.

Meanwhile, read these two beautiful poems by Robin Sampson.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hey, geeks -

Fucking machines: Human Computer Erotic Interaction? Mmhm, there's a call for papers here.

Meanwhile, I'm just about to get my free read of Jeremy Edward's story from 'Spark my moment'. Jeremy's a fabulously witty eroticist with the lightest of touches, and his lovely lyrical stories are just what I need after a day dealing with the tax office ...

Today I am also facing my fear of dialogue and laughing in its face. I hope if I am brave I will vanquish the heeby jeebies and become much better at patter.

"Take that, you febrile hound!"

See, it's working already.

Of all my writing fears, I think dialogue tops the list. What are your writing phobias? What are you hiding (from) behind that page of text?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The 'Othering' of pornography

A fascinating and in depth essay/article on porn and porn users.

'[P]ornography in particular is seen as ‘the lowest of the cultural low’, worse than the National Enquirer or Elvis paintings on velvet, ‘the nadir of culture’'.

Well, I have to say the view from the nadir is not bad.

I vacillate between feeling happy in Eroticaland and feeling that I should be somewhere else. Lately I've been wondering if the secret is that Eroticaland is not a country with borders, different to other Booklands, but just another region of Bookworld. Or maybe even just one way of looking at humans/the world.

Donna George Storey's fabulous erotic story John Updike made me do it is up at Clean Sheets, showing how a story can be literate, thoughtful and horny, all at once.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It's a dirty job

I have various answers when people ask what I do for work, ranging across the spectrum of honesty/respectability from 'writing' to 'fiction' to 'erotica' to 'porn'.

This weekend I was away with a group of people I don't know, and someone asked the usual question, and I said - because she seemed a nice, open kind of woman - 'erotic fiction'. Woah! She shrieked with laughter and her whole face lit up.

How lovely it seems to cheer someone up just by telling them what you do.

Maybe that's the best response you could get. (It certainly beats the sleazy/sneery response, which is my least personal favourite.)

'I've written a whole bookful of racy stories, in my head', said her friend, with a big dreamy smile.

: )

Friday, July 16, 2010

Gingerbread house

I'm not quite sure how, but *somehow* I managed to write and edit and submit the first story I've written in about a year. Phew, and again, phew!

It seems when you've got offspring it's always a choice. Something's got to give, and this week it was the housework. Ah well.

I've always been what my mother and stepmother call a slut - in the original sense of the word (I think). I mean, I've slept on bare mattresses in a friend's hall next to cat litter boxes. I remember it started to rain one night and I lay there with cold water dripping onto my face and the stench of cat piss in the air, and thought I must be somewhere in the vicinity of rock bottom.

But since J turned up somehow keeping the home clean makes it feel less like I'm being submerged in an inexorable avalanche of dirty laundry, cat litter, mashed up food and wet towels. Where did it all come from, all this stuff? I thought I was a young, bohemian artist. Turns out I was a middle-aged housewife with a double chin and a bottle of bleach in the cupboard, all along.

Or maybe I just aged ten years overnight. That happens in fairy tales, too.

Everything changes, but it seems there will always be cat litter somewhere in the picture.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Yes! Although right now the0 bbaby is 0 ... helping.

I've just finished the first draft of a story - the first since over seven months ago. Bit rusty, no doubt. Still, it's good to be back. Witchy 1950s, yeeha!

Thursday, July 08, 2010


I don't know why, when I don't have time to write, let alone blog, let alone update a second facebox, that I have done this. But I have. Perhaps it's the thought that I might be able to split into two different people and then I will have time to do all the things I wish and also be a good mother.

Anyway, here I am on Facebook, friend me if you're there too!

I'm also wishing that I could buy the audio version of Alison's Wonderland, which seems to only be available in the US at the moment. Bargain price for you statesiders, too. The preview (um, prelisten?) sounds wonderful.

Edited: Excuse my ineptitude. Maybe this link will work?

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Magic words

Of course life isn't like a fairy tale. Of *course* not ...

And just because I've driven past a little shop in the local village a hundred times and never seen it before, doesn't mean magic is afoot. Nor does it mean anything that it's called 'Wonderland'. Nn-nh. Coincidence! Pure coincidence.

: )

(Thanks to baby J for arranging his blocks to complete the picture. I think he ate the other 'S'. And he doesn't have any apostrophes)

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Friday, July 02, 2010

Writing what you don't know?

Today someone left a comment on Alana Noel Voth's interview.

'Women should not be writing gay and bisexual men's erotic fiction.'

It was, unfortunately, anonymous, so I'm responding into the ether. That's a shame, as I think it would be nice to be able to discuss this - well, if not face-to-face, then at least with some feeling of reciprocation. Anyway. I'd be really happy if you would come back and elaborate on your point, anon - or if anyone else would like to chime in on this.

Personally, I don't write much if any 'gay and bisexual men's erotic fiction.' Per se. I've written stories that include gay and bisexual men, perhaps some in an erotic context - I can't honestly remember right now because I've written a lot of characters.

You may think that means I'm not involved in this question, or that my opinion is irrelevant.

But for one, this is mah blog. And also I'd say that the very most wonderful thing about fiction is that everyone is involved, or at least can be.

Can fiction actually ever belong to anyone? Is it really possible to restrict not only the authorship but also the readership of certain writing?

'Imagining what it is like to be someone other than yourself is at the core of our humanity. It is the essence of compassion, and it is the beginning of morality.'
- Ian McEwan, in an interview

I thought a lot about this and then I remembered that - before they committed a bizarre act of publishing hara kiri, Black Lace (my publishers) were of course an imprint 'by women and for women' - so, they restricted - attempted to restrict - authorship as well as readership. Although everybody knew that men read BL books but nobody said.

I also remember our long and tumultuous arguments on Lustbites about this very issue. The necessity for a restricted authorship policy.

The thing is, there is a slight difference between having some calls/imprints/publishers with restricted authorship* requirements, and deciding that no woman/man/centaur should ever even dare to try and write womens'/mens'/centaurs' fiction. I can fully appreciate that some groups wish to keep an enclave of their own - a private space, in some sense. Although that's a bit spurious because publishing is by nature kind of flinging open the doors to your psyche and inviting the world in.

Anon, I want to know - what is it you wish for? You can't restrict what someone else finds arousing, surely that must be most humdingerly and gloriously evident?

Oh hell can't we all just get along in a lovely filthy muddle without our cocks [or lack thereof] getting in the way?

*is authorship a word? Forgive me, I've not had much sleep.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

And they all lived messily ever after

Sorry, sorry, sorry. I meant to post, but everything went baby-shaped late last year! This is J, my son, and me.

I'm very happy. Everything is good, wonderful, difficult, different.

I am starting to write again, in fits and five a.m. starts. Eventually I hope to start bloggering and all sorts again, but right now I want to concentrate on watching, open mouthed, as this fabulous small thing grows and squeaks and laughs and wriggles upward and outward.

... And he's crying again, and off I go again. Hope you're all well in blogland, and thanks very much for the messages! xxx