Wednesday, 31 October 2018


Salome Dancing Elegantly Before King Herod

It's Hallowe'en, so let's have some sexy horror art!

The story of Salome combines all the things that Victorian/Edwardian artists and rich connoisseurs loved: an irreproachable Biblical provenance, a dramatic death, an irresistible femme fatale, and some serious sadomasochism (along with hints of quasi-incest and necrophilia). The barebones New Testament version goes:

"On Herod’s birthday the daughter of Herodias [Herod's wife] danced for the guests and pleased Herod so much that he promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Prompted by her mother, she said, “Give me here on a platter the head of John the Baptist.” The king was distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he ordered that her request be granted and had John beheaded in the prison. His head was brought in on a platter and given to the girl, who carried it to her mother."
 Prior to the 19th Century this story was treated mostly like any other Bible story in art, and in fact it could be difficult to tell whether the painting depicted bad-girl Salome or heroine Judith - like this:

Salome, or Judith, Sebastiano del Piombo (1510)
NOT sexy, right? But by Victorian times Salome stopped being a mere cipher pimped out by her mother to her step-father (Ew!) and accrued this enormous mythic status as the epitome of Feminine Lust, and the destructive power it could wreak on the most powerful of men. Who is mostly to blame for this? An artist, Gustave Moreau, and a writer, Oscar Wilde.

Moreau seems to have been obsessed with the Salome story and painted many many interpretations in the 1870s that focused on the dancer's sensual beauty and her guilt:

The Apparition of the Head of St John the Baptist

Oscar Wilde was introduced to these sensational paintings and wrote a play, Salome (published 1891 but banned in England until 1931!). It actually introduced the motif of the "dance of the seven veils" to the myth, which subsequently became a staple for erotic dancers. That play inspired an opera by Strauss, and suddenly there was full-blown Salomania in artistic circles.

Illustration for Wilde's Salome, by Aubrey Beardsley.

So here's some artistic Salomes, starting with the relatively innocent dancers...

Gaston Bussiere - La Danse de Salome (or The Golden Butterflies) 1923
Georges Rochegrosse - Salome Dancing before King Herod (detail) 1887

Rudolf Ernst (1854-1932) - The Dance of Salome

Gyula Tornai (1861-1928) - The Dance of Salomé
To the ominous just-a-gal-hanging-about-with-a-sword-and platter portraits:

Henri Regnault - Salomé (1870)

Francesc Masriera - Salome (1888)
Francis Luis Mora - Salome (1899)
From here on it gets pleasingly lurid, as Salome forms an attachment to her head and likes to hang out with it socially.

Bela Čikoš Sesija, - Salome (1919)

Franz Von Stuck - Salome II (1906)

Jean Benner - Salome (1899)
Eder Gyula - Salome with the head of John the Baptist (1907)
Pierre Bonnaud - Salome (c. 1900)
Adolf Frey-Mook - Salome and John the Baptist (1910)

Leopold Schmutzler - Salome (c.1910)
Leon Herbo - Salome (1889)
Leopold Schmutzler  - Salome (1907)
But honestly you can have too much of a good thing - even getting head...


Maurycy Gottlieb - Salome with the Head of St. John (1878)


Lucien Lévy-Dhurmer - Salome (1896)

And just in case you think that mum Herodias had a sensible motive in engineering John's death (he had publicly condemned Herod for marrying her, the ex-wife of Herod's brother) ... here she is totally getting her rocks off too:

Francesco del Cairo - Herodias and the head of St. John the Baptist

Same artist, same title ... take a cold shower Francesco
So you see, the problem is not horny kings making bad decisions: it's horny women. According to Art, anyway... 😉

Monday, 29 October 2018

Blue Monday: Ian Smith guests

Every Monday I post a sexy excerpt for your entertainment!

Today's guest is Ian Smith, whose story The Christmas Party appears in new ERWA anthology Twisted Sheets: tales of sizzling menage:

The Christmas Party: Susie goes to her boyfriend’s office Christmas party, and hates it, suspecting her boyfriend is cheating on her. She meets the host’s daughter Emily and her best friend Pritti, and they decide to retreat to Emily’s room to chat over several bottles of wine... then things get interesting.

“Now that’s sorted, d’you know what I’d like you to give me for Christmas?” Emily murmured, squeezing Susie’s hand.

“No, what?”

“A kiss.”

Susie’s face heated instantly as she blushed. Um, okay, let’s see. She leaned closer to Emily, who tipped her head to one side so their noses wouldn’t clash. Susie closed her eyes and held her breath until Emily’s lips softly brushed against hers. Then she felt Emily’s hands on her cheeks, Emily’s tongue against her lips, and their kiss rapidly went from friendly and platonic to slow, hot and passionate.

When they parted, Emily smiled at her. “How did you know what sort of kiss I wanted?”

Susie felt almost breathless, surprised at what she’d just done, but also feeling a thrill of finding something new and exciting. “What else would you like from me?” Oh fuck, shouldn’t have said that.

Emily lay back and swung her legs up onto the bed. “I’d absolutely love you and Pritti to give me an orgasm.” She pulled her skirt up again. “I’ve done something as a nice surprise for Pritti, but I’m sure she’ll be happy to share it with you.” She took Susie’s hand and gently guided it to the top of her thigh, almost touching her panties.

Susie stroked Emily’s soft thigh, feeling nervous and unsure. Pritti moved to Emily’s other side and reached down to stroke Emily’s pussy through her panties, then slid a finger under the elastic.

Pritti grinned at Emily, then turned to Susie. “She’s only gone and shaved herself. Look.” She tugged Emily’s panties down, to reveal a smooth pale tummy all the way down to a plump vulva, the inner lips puffed up with her excitement.

Susie stared, feeling transfixed. I’ve never seen another woman’s body like this in real life. “That’s beautiful,” she whispered. She watched as her fingers seemed to move without her being in control, across the soft warm skin of Emily’s outer lips, then the more textured protruding inner lips, which were warm and slick.

Emily reached down and spread her lips wide. Pritti gently slid a finger inside Emily, then eased it in and out. “I’ll tease her G-spot,” she whispered. “You work on her clit. Start off with things you enjoy, watch her reaction and figure it out from there.”

Susie was still unsure and nervous, but regained conscious control of her hand. She ran her index finger up Emily’s pussy and found her clit, then rubbed it and moved her finger in tight circles very close to it. Feels weird from a different angle, but it’s really fun.

Emily gasped quietly. “You two are right on the money,” she whispered. She bit her lower lip and rolled her shoulders back, then her whole body tensed. Then she smiled at Susie. “Fancy kissing me again?”

You bet. Trying to keep her finger working steadily on Emily’s clit, Susie got to her knees and took her weight on one hand so she could lean down and kiss Emily again. Emily ran her fingers through Susie’s hair as they kissed, tongues dancing together. Emily tensed, then shuddered several times, gasping into their kiss. She relaxed and pulled Susie’s upper body on top of her, enfolding her in a hug.

“That was a lovely Christmas treat,” she murmured into Susie’s ear.

“Now it’s Susie’s turn,” Pritti said. “But I want to kiss her first.”

Susie felt another thrill. My second kiss with a woman. She got up on her knees and leaned across Emily to reach for Pritti. She put one hand behind Susie’s head as their lips met. They each slowly explored the other’s mouth, in no hurry to move on. Susie felt one of Pritti’s hands on her breast, a light and teasing touch. Feeling a little nervous, she did the same and felt excited when she realised Pritti wasn’t wearing a bra. She rubbed Pritti’s nipple with her thumb, and Pritti broke their kiss.

“Keep that up and I’ll get really distracted. You’re an awesome kisser, every bit as good as Emily.”

“I want another kiss, before I get all jealous,” Emily said. “And I want it right now, Susie.”

Susie leaned down over Emily again, resting on her hands and knees, and they started a long, slow kiss. Emily wrapped her arms around Susie’s shoulders as Pritti clambered across and knelt behind Susie.

Susie felt intrigued when Pritti reached under her dress and slowly eased her tights and panties down. Then she gasped into her kiss with Emily as two small, warm fingers teases into her. Surprised, but excited, she wriggled her hips around and Pritti’s fingers went deeper, then slid in and out slowly.

“Pritti’s got her fingers up me,” she murmured.

“She’s naughty like that, but cute with it.” Emily wriggled an arm between their bodies and found Susie’s pussy with her fingertips, then rubbed her clit. “She’s just lucky to get there first,” she whispered. “I’d love to see how excited you get with my fingers teasing you from inside.”

Susie’s climax was even more powerful than the previous one, and she flopped onto the bed beside Emily without sorting out her dress, panties or tights. “You two are evil in the nicest possible way.”

Emily snuggled up to her. “Wait until we all share a bed together. You won’t get much sleep, we’ll want to play together all night.

“Wait until we share a shower,” Pritti added. She leaned across to kiss Susie tenderly. “I so want to lather you all over.”

You and me both, Susie thought. Being with a woman’s nothing like I expected.

Buy Twisted Sheets at:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Ian Smith is a professional scientist and a lifelong avid reader, who lives in the south-west corner of England with his wife, two horses, two dogs, and five guinea pigs.

He started writing fiction a few years ago, and found support and encouragement from the Erotica Readers and Writers Association, and was eventually invited to serve as one of their website gallery editors. To date, he has had nine stories published; three novellas in his “Merely Players” FFM ménage erotic romance series, and six short stories in anthologies. Another will be published in an anthology at the end of October, his first foray into plain romance (as in not erotic romance).

He says writing is one of his creative hobbies, along with photography. He'd love more people to read his work and hopes they enjoy it.

Ian on Amazon UK
Ian on Amazon US

Sunday, 28 October 2018

The Murderer

Just a creepy Hallowe'en painting for you: The Murderer by my old blog favourite, Franz Von Stuck (1891).  The three topless snakey women are the Furies lying in wait for their guilty victim...

Friday, 26 October 2018

TV Ten

For those who don't follow me religiously on Facebook(!?!) ... I took part in the "10-Day TV challenge" this month. The task was, once a day for ten days, to post an iconic image from a TV production which influenced me. So here's my roundup, in no particular order...

1)  Blake's 7

SF rebels in a dystopian future.The series that taught me that happy endings aren't mandatory. Utterly devastating to watch as a child.

2) Sesame Street

I grew up with a lot of American TV because we lived in Hong Kong. Sesame Street was a window onto a world that seemed incredibly alien - yet also happy and hopeful and loving. If I'm a liberal now it's because of this early indoctrination 😉

3)  Sapphire and Steel:


Creepy, genre-bending, starkly original, and the heroes were *shockingly* ruthless in their determination to fix things (OMG poor Mr Tully!). Also I fancied Steel like crazy👿

4) Game of Thrones


What can I say? Ground-breaking. Reignited my interest in secondary world fantasy, which I'd nearly given up on since nothing to that point matched The Lord of the Rings. Marked my personal switch from terrestrial TV to those weird pay channels like Sky and Netflix.

5) The Adventure Game

The prototype for every Escape Room in existence. Also popularised cute dragon shifters before the Romance genre got there.

6) Arthur of the Britons

Aired 1972, and surely the most obscure show I could find for this list ... but it certainly "influenced" me 😉  Here's the blog post I wrote all about it

7) The Storyteller

Starring the incomparable John Hurt, this series made fairy tales cool for people other than small children 💖Along with Angela Carter's stories, this greatly influenced my writing.

8) Michel Strogoff:

This cheesey French tea-time treat taught me *everything* I know about Romance - to whit, that it needs to take place in the setting of a major war somewhere foreign, that the antagonist's sexier than the protagonist, and that the best bit is when the hero gets tortured. (No wonder I'm a mess.) Another one I wrote a blog-post about

9) Blackadder

I am exactly the right age, nationality and class to consider this century-spanning dynastic epic the funniest TV comedy ever written. Because (apologies to all you woke folk) that sneering, world-weary smartarse speaks to my heart.

And I still say "Bob" and "I have a cunning plan," occasionally.

10) I, Claudius

I was allowed at 10 yrs old to stay up and watch this witty but very NSFW series because it was Culture 😄  Still love it to bits - along with Rome, its obvious descendant, and Game of Thrones, its secret bastard child. My most influential scene - a famous prostitute and the Empress Messalina have a shagging competition. The prostitute demands to be paid. "For you it's a hobby; for me it's work," she says. "MY hobby is gardening."

I think I raised a wisdom point from that exchange.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

FantasyCon Chester

Nananana nananana - BAT COOKIES!!

FantasyCon is one of the big genre-fic events of the year in the UK, with an emphasis on Horror. It's inspiring, it's exhausting and it can be a little surreal! This year it took place in Chester, a city famous for its Roman history. Even the hotel venue (which was for once not grotty, hooray) had got into the spirit:

"The Dealers' Room is over there"

Most of the pictures I took were actually of the hotel's profoundly weird collection of statues, for some reason...

"The barbarians are coming!"

"Quick, form a Testudo, men!"
We did some sensible book launches and stuff...

Newcon Books - The Scent of Tears
I drank a LOT of free wine, to be fair...

Cate Gardner and myself at the Alchemy Press launch
But I'm not sure the wine can account for all the weirdness...

And OH GOD I want this wallpaper:

[Some picture credits to Steve Shaw, Simon Bestwick and possibly others ... sorry, I've lost track]

Monday, 22 October 2018

Blue Monday

Every Monday I post a naughty excerpt for your pleasure!

Since the nights are drawing in and Hallowe'en is on the horizon, I thought I'd showcase a story from my erotic vampire novel Red Grow the Roses.

Story? Didn't I just say it was a novel? Well yes, but it's a mosaic novel, made up of stand-alone shorts in different styles and voices. This excerpt is from Story/Chapter 6: Five for the Symbol at Your Door. In this case the symbol is a pentagram: Cerri the pagan witch has been hired to help Doug ward off a prowling vampire. She instructs him to rub himself with garlic oil. Then she finds out that Doug is the local vicar...

Kicking off her shoes she made her way on bare feet through the shadowy house. Lady Bast clear the path for me, she prayed. The bathroom door was closed. Drumming her fingers on the wood in a token knock, she didn’t wait for an answer but turned the handle. It wasn’t locked. From within the room a wave of scented steam washed over her: pungent garlic and sharper more fragrant ginger. Doug was fastening his trousers; he turned hurriedly at her entrance and stared. Shirtless, his skin glistened with oil; his hair was darkened into damp locks. His torso was neat and tight of line rather than broad or bulky. He looked horribly discomforted to see her there, and his hands bunched protectively over his groin.

Oh yeah, thought Cerri: not bad at all.

‘Cerri – please!’

‘You done? I came up to see if you needed any help.’

‘I’m done. I managed fine.’

‘Every inch?’ She gave him a come-on grin. ‘Back, sack and crack?’

He nodded, biting his lip.

‘Bet you didn’t manage between your shoulders. Turn around – let’s have a look.’

He looked like he wanted to protest, but he obeyed without another word, and she glanced over the smooth taut skin of his back.

‘There. You did miss a bit. I’ll sort it for you.’ Silently she pulled her blouse off over her head and dropped it behind her. He’d plugged the handbasin and poured some of the oil out into that, a pool of gold in the white porcelain. Dipping one hand in, she laid it between his shoulder blades and felt him quiver as if she’d given him an electric shock, his spine arching. Her second hand joined the first and she smoothed her fingertips down his back, feeling the muscle and the frame of bone beneath. ‘That’s better.’

‘Oh dear God,’ whispered Doug, which she thought not entirely appropriate for a vicar.

‘Doesn’t it feel nice?’ She was massaging the oil into him now, kneading at the flesh, feeling him push back into her. She watched a drop of oil gather and run down the defile of his spine, and she traced it all the way down until it disappeared under the waistband of his chinos. ‘Oops,’ she murmured, following the drop with a fingertip and nearly sending him into convulsions.

‘Cerri, you mustn’t.’ His voice was hoarse. ‘I can’t. It’s not right.’

‘Why not? You lot aren’t celibate.’

‘That just means I’m allowed to get married. I can’t be having it off with anyone I like, you know.’

‘So you like me?’ She leaned into him, not caring that she was getting her bra messy, her hands exploring their way round his waist to his stomach, tracing paths through the line of oiled hair there. He felt lean and hard and good to hold.

‘I ... I can’t.’ But he wasn’t making any attempt to stop her. She found out why when she reached down to brush her fingers across the front of his trousers and encountered a rock-hard mass bulging against the cloth.

‘Oh? Why not?’ She worked the button of his fly with the other hand.

Don’t. Our bodies are not ours alone. They belong to God.’

‘I can go with that.’ He didn’t seem to be wearing any underwear.

Doug sounded strained, almost ready to crack. ‘We have to treat our own bodies and each other’s as holy. I need to – Oh Christ!’ That was the moment at which she got her hand around the erect shaft of his cock. The blasphemy startled her, but she held on tight as he shuddered violently against her, stretching his spine.

‘Shush, lover,’ she whispered, pressing her breasts against him, sliding her grip up and down his substantial length. Fuck – for a slim-looking guy he was a surprising handful. He’d oiled it too, as promised, and it slipped and slithered under her palm with luxurious ease, every ridge and contour a delight to her. Cerri pulled his trousers down over his hips, letting them slide to his calves, and laid her free hand on his ass-cheek, feeling the clench of his muscle. She licked at his shoulder and tasted the aromatic oil. ‘How long since you had a good lay, Doug? The truth now.’

He rolled his head back, panting. ‘Nearly – ah – not since Uni.’

‘Do you jerk off?’


‘Do you masturbate, Doug? Do you make yourself come?’

‘Yes. Oh God ... I try ... not to do it too much.’

Why not, lover?’ Her hand was moving up and down in a slick inexorable dance.

‘It’s disrespectful ... to those I’m thinking about.’

Without letting go of his erect cock she slithered round in front of him, looking up into his flushed, stricken face. ‘Don’t you respect me, Doug?’ she asked with a gentle smile, her hand never ceasing its work but moving slower now, firmer. She was worried that he would explode far too fast if she let him. His stomach muscles were tight, his shoulders tense. He looked down into the depths of her cleavage as if into an abyss.


‘Take my bra off.’

His hands shook as he smoothed down the emerald straps from her shoulders and released her breasts from their confines. Her nipples were big to match the generous orbs and they pointed at him, beading visibly in accusation. She wondered if she would be able to get him to suck them. She wanted him to suck them. She wanted him to lick her pussy: she had a feeling he’d be very good at that. She wanted him to suck her clit while she straddled him and gobbled his cock.

‘Oh, you’re beautiful,’ he said, like something inside him had broken, and she smiled.

‘It’s okay. It’s fine. You can think about me every time you come. I’d like that.’

Without warning he caught her face up in his hands and kissed her. It was clumsy but that hardly mattered; it was also hungry and desperate and staggeringly sweet. It was as if he were trying to breathe her in. Cerri felt a quite unexpected rush of warmth flash between them.

‘Woah,’ she said, her eyes shining, as they drew apart.

‘Cerri, please...’ His eyes were losing focus.

She liked being in charge. Gently but firmly she pushed Doug back against the bathroom sink, and he grabbed the ceramic with both hands. ‘Spread your legs,’ she murmured, kissing him, and as he did so she cupped his oiled balls in her other hand.

His head went back straight away, his mouth and eyes round. She played with his scrotal sac, rolling the balls within and tickling his perineum. That made him gasp. His cock, already massively solid, seemed to swell in her hand. He was going to come real soon, she could tell; he was going to erupt all over her wicked fingers. She stopped looking up at his face and focused on his crotch, noting each tightening muscle, each subliminal quiver. And the more she played between his thighs, the closer he seemed to get. There were beads of sweat springing out through the sheen of oil now.

Is this what you like, lover?