Monday, 31 January 2011

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Natasha Attlee

National daytime TV magazine programme This Morning is in serious danger of earning my deep respect. No, not because they got Gino D'Acampo to cook a gammon steak stark naked. But because of their interview with this really bright and articulate woman, Natasha Attlee:

She's actually the great-niece of a British prime minister, but she appeared on the programme under the heading "addicted to sex" because she discovered at a very early age that what she liked was no-strings sex with lots of different men. Now in her twenties, she makes a very good living running fantastically posh swingers' parties.

I happened on the interview quite by chance, and gritted my teeth awaiting the usual reactions: the slut-shaming, the "Oh you can't really like it, you must be damaged in some way," the "Aren't you really looking for lurv?" There was none of that. (Nor did she complain at any point that she was addicted to sex, btw!) Instead the interviewers actually listened to her story, asked intelligent questions, and seemed impressed by her level-headed self-awareness.

So good on you, This Morning. Bringing sex-positivity to the masses, eh?

The interview is here: I'm afraid I couldn't find any embedding code and you do have to sit through an advert first. If it doesn't play for those of you outside the UK I am sorry - it's a really interesting clip with some food for thought (for example, her take on losing her virginity in a threesome was that it was actually less scary that way, because she had a friend there to support her).

Friday, 28 January 2011

The Priest Calendar

You may have noticed, gentle reader, that I have in the past been scathing about dogmatic religion in general, and downright rude about one sect in particular. But I would hate you to think me unfair. I am happy to acknowledge the good things that the Catholic Church has brought to the world. Among these (indirectly) must feature ... The Priest Calendar!

Yes, every year, the streets stalls of Rome feature a lovely little black-and-white calendar full of (purported) hot Catholic priests. I found this out because I have a friend who goes to Rome every year with her mother, and she always brings one back to display at work and hone her irony on.

Most of the men are rather clean-cut and pretty, but this guy below from a couple of years ago is my favourite:

I know one shouldn't judge a person's professional capabilities by their appearance, but to be honest I'm not sure he looks like someone I'd go to for spiritual solace. On the other hand, if I wanted to get tied up and have the demons exorcised the hell out of my ass, he'd be top of my list  :-)

The bad news is that the 2011 Calendario Romano is sold out.
The good news is that they are recruiting for the 2012 calendar! So if you know a cute and willing priest or seminarian...
(Damn, I can't even type that word without sniggering.)

Okay, that's enough playing nice. Normal service is now resumed.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

At time of writing...

  • I've got 5 stories out that have been accepted by editors but need final approval from the publisher before I can tell you. In fact one is named in the blurb already up on Amazon, and I still can't tell you!
  • I've got 4 short stories out with editors, no answer yet.
  • I've revised and reformatted my novella The King's Viper. It needs a final read-through next week.
  • I'm in the middle of writing my second short story this month, which is pretty good going for me, although I know plenty of writers who work much faster.

It's a petplay story, btw. It's a theme I've written about before, and as part of the BDSM spectrum I find it pretty interesting. It strikes me as a form of D/s with extra fun, roleplay and built-in consent: it's a collaborative thing. I understand that the theme divides readers though. It's interesting that official guidelines from Ellora's Cave say that, according to their readers' focus group, "Pet play was also mentioned repeatedly as a squick." I'm really not sure why that should be. Why is it any less acceptable than, say spanking?

Any thoughts?

Anyway, nothing to do with petplay, but if you like real dogs you ought to read this illustrated story from Hyperbole and a Half. Jo sent me the link and I laughed so hard I ended up folded over the computer desk crying and dribbling (Sorry for the horrible mental image there!). I have a feeling that the Special Needs Dog looks a lot like a greyhound....

Monday, 24 January 2011

Eyecandy Monday - tattoo special

Danielle and I were discussing this picture last year. I think she's beautiful and incredibly hot. The tattoo doesn't enhance that for me but, right at the moment, it doesn't detract either (I'm not so sure how she'll feel about it in 15 years time...).

Anyway, I thought I'd have a trawl through my eyecandy files and find you some more with tattoos. There have been several in my eyecandy of the last few years, but today's are all new to this blog.  Enjoy!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

TftD: for Emerald...

... who has been musing upon gender socialisation.

It's not just makeup and pretty clothes, of course. It's...
  • babies
  • monogamy, and slut-shaming women who aren't inclined to it
  • complaining about my problems but then getting angry if someone suggests an actual solution
  • telling all about my partners' private sexual habits and shortcomings to female friends whose business it most certainly isn't
  • nail art (WHY??!)
  • regarding men as ridiculous, malleable fools
  • rom-coms
  • the colour pink
  • Loose Women  (the daytime TV show)
  • chick-lit and misery-memoirs
  • shoes

You know, I think I'm better off not being a girl. I'll just stick to having a vagina and stuff.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Simply the Best

Yay! - Best Women's Erotica 2011 and Best Bondage Erotica 2011 are both now available east of the Atlantic as well as in the USA. So benighted Brits can check out my sweet threesome story Abigail's Ice Cream, and my fin-de-siecle corruption story The Ingénue (excerpts after the links).

An interesting review of BWE2011 has recently appeared on Amazon US. Rebecca says:

Even though some of these stories did not turn me on, they were all beautifully written, without exception. I have yet to read a collection by editor Violet Blue that fails to impress me in terms of the storytelling and the sex, but this one didn't have much romance. I don't expect to find all that many sweetheart stories in such a wide-ranging collection, but I was disappointed by the utter lack of softness (with one exception - I adored "Abigail's Ice Cream" by Janine Ashbless).

So there you go - I am officially the soppiest, most romantic thing on the block!
Who'd have thunk it?

Best Women's Erotica 2011 at Amazon UK : Amazon US
Best Bondage Erotica 2011 at Amazon UK : Amazon US

To celebrate being adored (thank you Rebecca!), I have put two new pages of notes about these stories up on my website (Go to the main page and scroll down to the list of short stories). I've also written my master's thesis fairly extensive notes on my Viking story The Grief of the Bond-Maid, for those interested in the background to the story.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The anti-crush

Last week I watched Season of the Witch (which was a thoroughly enjoyable fantasy romp btw). But I watched it with gritted teeth, thanks to one thing: Nicholas Cage.

I have an anti-crush on Nicholas Cage. It's completely irrational. I recoil from the sight of him. My skin crawls. And it makes no sense at all - it's not like he's done anything to earn my dislike. I'm sure the gentleman is perfectly lovely in real life, though I know next to nothing about him except that he's a big comics fan, which ought to endear him to me. He called his son Kal-El for chrissakes, which wins a Geek Gold Medal: he is one of us. And he seems to deliberately pick roles in films that I'm going to be really tempted to watch: National Treasure, Season of the Witch, The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Kick-Ass. Not classics of cinema any of them, but fun fantasy movies with a bit of thought put into them.

Which is a bit unfortunate really. Because the trailer for a new film is unveiled and I shout "Aargh -It's Nick bloody Cage! Again!"
And take a look: by the book, I should really fancy many of the characters he plays. The pictures here tick every one of my boxes - in theory. He goes out of his way to oblige my fantasies - I like grizzled, crusty, battered guys. I like action heroes. I like bald-at-the-front-long-hair-at-the back!* I even thought that Balthazar (in The Sorcerer's Apprentice) was a really romantic character - he's been separated from his true love for centuries but he hides his pain in order to tutor the movie's poxy ungrateful hero. Then Cage opened his mouth and this horrible drawling mumble came out and I went Eurghhhhhh.

It's the voice, at least partly. And the weak chin - he does remind me of  Jake "Haddock" Gyllenhaal. But I shouldn't revile a guy just because I don't fancy him. And I shouldn't not fancy him. I can only think someone has innoculated me with the Nicholas Cage Anitgen while I wasn't looking.

Is it just me? What about you? Have you got a completely baseless, irrational, anti-crush on someone famous?

*Hey, someone has to.
For a rundown of the Bad Haircuts of Nicholas Cage, check this out  :-)

Monday, 17 January 2011

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Thought for the Day

Heh heh. You betcha...

Oh - They're referring to prayer? Really?
Funnily enough, that wasn't what I was thinking of at all...

Friday, 14 January 2011

A Menace of Mermaids

A Mermaid: John William Waterhouse (1849-1917)
[click to enlarge pictures]

Mermaids, of course, were the perfect excuse for the frustrated Victorian art-lover to stare at some luscious nudes - they could hardly be depicted in full-length bathing costumes, after all! So it's not surprising how popular a theme they were among the kinky artistic set. I'll start with couple of very famous mermaid pictures by Pre-Raphaelite John William Waterhouse. You've probably seen these before.

The Siren

You might notice a recurring thread of female domination/male submission running through this post. Mermaids seem to take a lot of pleasure in drowning pretty men, as above.

The Merman

Here's a Waterhouse I bet most people haven't come across - and very unusually, a merman. I don't know if it ever got past the sketch stage. Pity. He seems a bit disconsolate - I imagine the girls are all off drowning sailors, leaving him to hump seals. Or maybe he's the only merman around and he's gay.

 The Depths of the Sea: Edward Burne-Jones  (1833-1898)

The picture above is a particularly sadistic one - cop a load of the expression on that mermaid's face!

The Mermaid and the Satyr : Ferdinand Leeke (1859-1923)

This mermaid is being horribly mean - satyrs can't resist the prospect of a bonk. I don't hold out much hope for that one.

The Fisherman and and the Siren : Lord Frederick Leighton (1830-1896)

Oops, there goes another pretty boy.

Artists seem to be confused between mermaids and sirens, btw. Technically sirens are half-bird, not half-fish. She's definitely a mermaid, that one.

Ulysses and the Sirens: Herbert James Draper(1863-1920)

I suppose the confusion is one of function: both mermaids and sirens sing and lure sailors onto rocks. But sirens are more irresistible - their song is magic. And let's face it, half-bird is not nearly as pretty as half-fish (I can't believe I just wrote that! I mean, why should that be?).  Anyway, in the Draper picture above, one of the "sirens" is definitely a mermaid and the others have legs.

 The Mermaid: William Arthur Breakspeare (1855-1914)

For a change - a mermaid being menaced. By a giant squid. An early precursor to tentacle-porn?

The Sea Maidens: Evelyn de Morgan (1850-1919)

Let's have a break from the menacing, for a moment. This is a mermaid picture by one of the few female painters working at the time. I'm wondering why they look so much like each other.

Mermaid Appears: Warwick Goble (1862-1943)

Okay, so a bit late to qualify as Victorian, but definitely kinkery. Goble was an illustrator of children's books ... and you can just imagine the effect this would have had.

 The Little Mermaid: Harry Clarke (1889-1931)

And this is Clarke's idea of a suitable illustration for a Hans Christian Anderson collection. Awesome - but nightmarish.

The Land Baby: John Collier (1850-1934)

Hm. What do you think is going to happen next, eh?

The Mermaid's Rock: Edward Matthew Hale (1852-1924)

Okay, we are definitely back into Menacing territory.

The Mermaid: Howard Pyle (1853-1911)

This guy seems to have fainted. Sudden rush of blood from the head, I suspect.

People haven't stopped painting mermaids, oh no - not by a long way! I'm finishing with one modern mermaid picture that I particularly like, though it's on the grim side. I'm afraid I have no idea where it came from. It's absolutely beautiful though.

And if you want more modern mermaids, you could start here - and go on for a long long time!

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

I bet J K Rowling gets this all the time

Well, it's a landmark of sorts! We were shopping for second hand books in the many charity shops in town last week, when I found one of mine. First time ever! It was Wildwood, in fact. I felt it was sort of a pity that whoever originally bought it had not treasured it close to her heart for the rest of her life ... but every real author ends up in Oxfam sooner or later, lol.

And yes, I bought it. Always good to have a spare.

Then we moved on to the next charity shop and I randomly picked up a volume called Howl. "Loose Id?" I thought. "I know that imprint. It's on my online resources list."  Flicking through, I found a werewolf threesome. I turned to the elderly volunteer assistant. "This book should so NOT be in the children's section," said I.

"But it's for teenagers, isn't it?"

"Er, no. No it's not. It's all about sex."


"I'll buy it though."

"Oh thank you! I wouldn't know what to do with it!" At that point the assistant went off on a flustered rant about how she didn't know how some people dared drop off the books they did - seemingly oblivious to the fact that I dared buy it and she was really grateful that I was taking it off her hands.

People, eh?

Monday, 10 January 2011

Eyecandy Monday

I saw 127 Hours yesterday...

In  2003 Aron Ralston went hiking down a canyon in the Utah desert. He failed to let anyone know where he was going, and didn't carry a phone. A rockfall trapped his right arm. After 5 days struggling to free himself - out of water, and knowing that he was dying - he cut his arm off using a blunt penknife (it took over an hour) and hiked 8 miles to find help.

It's hard to imagine being that resourceful, that courageous, that much in command of oneself. We live in a victim culture, where we always want someone else to take responsibility when shit happens. Would I have the balls to do that, I ask myself? I doubt it.

Nowadays, with the help of prosthetics, Ralston still climbs and goes canyoning - and he's married with a kid. He wrote all about his experience in a book called Between a Rock and a Hard Place, and it's been made into a film called 127 Hours by Danny Boyle. He regards his ordeal as something so positive in its effect upon his life that, given the choice of going back in time and not making the same mistakes, he says he'd do it all again. It has given him perspective on himself and his life. He lost a bit of himself, and found the whole.

He says he learned that "our purpose as spiritual beings is to follow our bliss, seek our passions, and live our lives as inspirations to each other." And that "On the poster for the film it says there is no force on earth more powerful than the will to live. I say – except for the will to love. And that's really what got me out of there."

(Interview with Aron Ralston about the film.)