Sunday, October 31, 2010

Artificial Articles for Anal Insertion

By Lisabet Sarai

This week at the Grip, our ever-creative Charlotte has mooted the topic “Kinky Obsessions”. That stopped me for a while. I'm not the obsessive sort normally, though I guess I'm as kinky as the next girl... Then I had a brainstorm. Today I'm going to discuss a particular device that appears in so many of my stories that I guess it comes close to qualifying. Those of you with more delicate sensibilities might want to stop reading now, because, yes, I'm going to talk about butt plugs.

I was about to write, “My first novel did not include any butt plugs”. Then I realized that this wasn't true - on the very last page, in the Epilogue, one magically appears from the dominant's pocket and is inserted into the heroine's derriere as she bends over, bound, in front of a crowd. Was that the beginning of my fascination with artificial articles for anal insertion? Or do the origins of the butt plug's appeal lie further back in my history?

I've written too many novels and stories to do an enumeration (and anyway, I'm too lazy!), but I'm willing to bet that a butt plug has sneaked into at least eighty percent of the BDSM tales I've penned. So I have to ask myself, why does this category of toy keep popping up (or perhaps I should say “popping in”) in my fiction?

In the interest of journalistic honesty I must admit that I've never used a butt plug, either as the inserter or insertee. However, all you have to do is look at one of these items to feel dirty and nasty. They are the epitome of the obscene. They are available in a huge range of sizes, colors and styles – smooth or with ridges, capped with rings or jewels or even horsetails.

A butt plug can be used as warm-up, stretching the sphincter in preparation for deeper and more energetic penetration. One sexy scenario involves training a sub by inserting progressively larger plugs each day in order to increase his or her capacity for buggery. A plug can be used as a punishment or as a tease. In my recent story “Just a Spanking”, the Dom required his sub to wear one under her clothing while lecturing to her undergraduate class about computer science. Every time she moves she feels it shift inside her, reminding her of her submission to his will and pushing her closer to an orgasm that would shatter her professional reputation.

Live anal sex can be intensely erotic, a celebration of trust and a pushing of limits. Being plugged is just plain embarrassing, even if it feels good. In fact, the more embarrassed, humiliated and ashamed the victim is, the hotter the scene.

I realize that not every reader will share my enthusiasm for this device. To each his (or her) own. I won't say that butt plugs are exactly a fetish, but at very least I seemed to have imbued them with a remarkable amount of erotic charge. They worm their way (so to speak) into my writing even when I'm not paying attention. And I seem to associate them very strongly with power games. I don't recall ever incorporating one in a non-BDSM tale (although they're obviously popular for vanilla or solo sex as well).

Maybe what I need to do is write a story that involves nothing but butt plugs, as a way of exorcising this kinky cliché from my work. You know, the way eating a whole basket of cherries can turn you off cherries for life? No fellatio or cunnilingus, no nipple clamps or whips, no genital sex – just the torment/delight of being plugged. But who would want to read such a tale? Unless, of course, I'm not alone in this obsession...

Butt Plugs Anonymous, anyone?

Note: the photos in this post come from Good Vibrations and Love Honey, two top-quality purveyors of sex toys. Should any of them appeal to you - please purchase via the links at the Erotica Readers & Writers Association and get yourself a discount.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Medium Shares Her Experience

By Margaret West (Guest Blogger)

Thank you so much for inviting me here today to talk about the paranormal. As well as being an author of Paranormal Romance novels, I’m also a working medium and have been teaching Psychic development and Angel therapy for over twenty five years. First, let me explain what the word ‘paranormal’ means. It’s an item, event or vision which is unsolved by science or cannot be explained by it.

So let me start off by speaking about orbs.

Spiritual orbs found on digital film have created a new wave of paranormal research across the world. The topic of orbs has been explored and debunked for years. Skeptics believe orbs are dust particles caught on camera or faults occurring from digital photography technology- especially when using a flash. But how can they explain away orbs seen by the naked eye? I have seen them myself, so I feel qualified to say that they do exist. So what exactly are they?

Orbs are the human soul or life force of those that once inhabited a physical body here on earth. They are pure spiritual energy - usually the first stage of manifestation (spirit people appearing). They appear to the eye, to have a mind of their own and move in a deliberate manner. Blown up on the computer they are quite beautiful, with harmonious hues of rainbow colours. Some well formed orbs will even show features within them.

So why do spirit people appear as orbs? To conserve their energy. When you shed your physical overcoat you are made up of pure energy. It’s very hard for them to show themselves as they looked in life. That’s why you should appreciate them when they do appear.

Let me explain the difference between Ghosts and Spirits, as there seems to be a lot of confusion. Ghosts haunt, while spirits are interactive. Ghosts manifest from residual energy. You can't interact with them because it would be like trying to speak to an actor in a movie you’re watching. What you see is like an etheric play. An event in a person’s life that was so traumatic they leave behind a blueprint of it, which replays over again. This is why people say they see a specific ghost every night at a house, castle etc. It just stares out of the window, walks down a hallway and so on and so forth. But it doesn’t say anything to the person viewing it. That's because Ghosts can't see/hear/feel you. You’re not part of their event.

Spirits are people who have gone to the other side of life. BUT, I must stress, just because they have crossed over, it doesn't make them suddenly become all-knowing super-heroes. Their personality doesn't change just because they've died. If they helped you in life with good advice, they will still do that spirit side. If they always steered you wrong, they will continue to do that from the other side. In my experience, spirit people come back with messages for their loved ones because they might be able to help, give comfort, release that person from their debilitating grief, or tell them 'I'm all right'.

So many people ask me, is my mum, dad, etc. happy, okay, free from pain? Of course they are. Once a person leaves the confines of physical life, they leave behind illness, disfigurement or impairment. They are whole again. Which reminds me of a story Colin Fry once told. He had a son from the spirit world who came to speak to his mother and father. Whilst they understood the message, they didn't recognize the handsome, upright man who gave the message. Colin told the spirit man, "They don't know you." The man said, "They will know me like this." His image changed to that of a man with severe Downs syndrome. The parents suddenly realized their son was more than all right. His spirit was whole again.

When people lose a limb, many say they can still feel it. I believe this is because the spirit is still whole. What they feel is their spiritual self. People from all walks of life come to me. But they all leave with the same thought. Death is NOT the end. It's the beginning of a wondrous journey.

But I will leave you with this thought. Hold your loved ones close to your heart. Tell them you love them every day. Don't wait until it's too late and you have to come to someone like me to relay the message.


Born in England, Margaret moved to the Kent countryside five years ago to get away from the busy life in London. She is married with two grown up children. She is a working medium, based in a London Spiritualist church and when not writing her novels, works as an Angel Therapist, Crystal Therapist, Parapsychologist and Psychic Development tutor.

She’s been writing over 20 years in various fields: academic modules, novels, short stories, magazine columns and Blue Mountain sympathy card range. Her main love is writing paranormal romance, incorporating her spiritual experiences into her books.

If you want to learn more about me and my paranormal life, visit me here.

For information about my writing:

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Devil Came Down to FaceBook

The Devil Came Down to FaceBook

I logged myself on FaceBook

I passed the password test

I found I had two messages

And a pending friend request

I scanned the messages quickly

Which two of my friends had penned

And then I saw the notification:

Satan wants to be your friend.

Now I didn’t really think it was Satan

I know he’s not really alive.

But I’ve got more than six hundred friends

In fact I’ve got six sixty-five.

And I felt sure it wasn’t Satan

FaceBook must be beyond his old tricks.

But if I accepted his friendship

He’d be number 6 6 6.

“What can it hurt?” I thought boldly.

It’s a joke, he can’t be on the level

I clicked on confirm: my screen turned blood red;

And that’s how I befriended the devil.

“Thank you for adding me,” he wrote on my wall.

“I now own your soul, and you’ll be in my thrall.

Let the innocent hearts feel the fear that I strike.”

I read all of this. And then I pressed LIKE.

My real friends were uneasy

Any fool could see that

I was bombarded with messages

Through FaceBook’s instant chat.

You’ve befriended the devil

He’s the father of sin

You need to act fast

You should delete and block him.

I laughed at their warnings

I said, “Take a chill pill.”

And I closed down the chat

And opened Farmville

Imagine my horror.

My crops had been blighted

My fields were left barren

My barns had been ignited.

My livestock were missing

I’d lost the fruits of my labour

And a slow pulsing message said:

Satan’s your new neighbour.

So I quickly left Farmville

And went to Café World

And here greater horror

Slowly unfurled.

My kitchens were closed

My tables were broken

My finances drained

of every last token

A slow pulsing message

Told me I could not play

And it added that Satan

Had closed my café.

I was imprisoned in Mafia Wars

Satan now ruled

And all matching gems

Had been nicked from bejewelled.

My superwall was crumbling

The Happy Aquarium had turned sad

He’d nuked Restaurant City

The devil is bad.

I turned to my friends with my problem

I figured they’d do what they can

But I saw, when I rechecked my profile.

I was left with one friend – just Satan.

I PM’d him. I poked him. I tried to defriend him.

None of it worked in the end.

A message appeared: “Oops! An error occurred.”

And it said Satan still was my friend.

So I deleted myself off of FaceBook.

And I opened a brand new account.

And I’ve slowly won back the old friends that I’d lost

And my lake in Farmville has got trout.

If you’re on MySpace or FaceBook or Twitter

Ignore Satan’s friendship request

It’s clear you’ve not got much life to begin with.

Please don’t let the Devil get the rest.

Report him, ignore him, or block him

Do whatever it takes in the end

But whatever you do just remember:

You must never make Satan your friend.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

What is Horror?

The door is being held open by a polite old lady waiting for her family to catch up. I slip into the lobby and the popcorn smell passes over me like mosquito fogger, while I lean against a fluted pillar and look down at my shoes. My shoes actually appear to be spinning. I’d put my head between my knees but it would embarrass my kid who is ecstatic and already negotiating in my ear for the Blue Ray disc when it comes out. Not for nothing is this film genre nicknamed “queasy cam”. The effect of the movie “Cloverfield” on me is not so much horror or empathy for its long suffering characters as . . . car sickness. I feel like a James Bond martini – shaken but not stirred.

Cloverfield is more or less about an alien invasion by some hulkingly gigantic, rarely viewed sort of monster knocking sky scrapers over. It’s filmed by the protagonist using a hand held video camera, such as you might pick up for a hundred bucks at Sam’s Club. He does this while running for his life, grieving for his girlfriend and being oppressed by stern jawed military types Who Are Gettin’ It Done Mister. Sort of like Godzilla on an amateur budget. The frame is constantly swinging wildly in different directions, just like your own home movies, while dodging deafening, strobe light explosions. Two hours of this and you’ll ralph your Skizzles or maybe have an epileptic seizure.

Queasy Cam is that greasy area where fiction collides with reality TV. The first Queasy Cam was a movie about ten years ago called the “Blair Witch Project” (BWP). I have a lot of respect for the BWP. It is one of an elite few scary movies that managed to genuinely disturb me. The power of the BWP back in its halcyon days was that for a while no one knew if it was a documentary or fiction. Controversies raged over it on the evening news. There were grim web sites like this one devoted to it:

The premise was that several cans of film had been recovered in an archeological dig of an old colonial era house in an isolated area of the Black Forest Hills near Burkittsville Maryland. The film turns out to be hand held camera footage made in real time by three film students who vanished without a trace in the woods one year previously. We see these doomed kids film themselves over a period of five days as they run out of food, smokes and eventually lose their map after becoming hopelessly lost in the woods (“This is America! People do not get lost in the fucking woods anymore!” wails one of them.). None of these kids are getting any sleep either, as the forest at night is becoming more and more alive with odd laughter, whispers, snapping twigs and occasional distant screams. And then – they’re gone. Just like that. And I’ll tell you what - the last two minutes of their camera footage is the most subtly frightening element I have ever seen in a horror movie, and I mean flat out.

BWP project has the power to get in your head if you watch it under the right circumstances. When my wife and I saw it in the theater she left angry. Why did I take her to see this amateurish, slapped together piece of shit? Could we get our money back? A few months later I rented the video to see it again, and left it out and went to bed. She had ironing to do, nothing to watch, so she put it on, alone late at night while the house was asleep. After the first hour she was jumping at shadows and whimpering. She was too freaked out to sleep. The magic was humming.

I’ve been thinking a lot about haunted houses these days. The BWP is in fact a haunted house movie, though it takes place in the woods. So is “Alien” and “Solaris” though they take place on space ships far from home. A house is that place where you’re supposed to be safe from the world. Its family and sanity and personal. When something unknown invades that space its disturbing right down to the part of the brain we inherited from reptiles. It’s the ultimate invasion. Especially when its someone you know who is going off the rails. The thing about BWP, when you’re not sure what you’re watching, is that it is deeply disturbing to think that the world you thought you knew and understood can really be so different from what’s really going on out there, and what’s out there can make this world disintegrate right out from under you.

I hope someday to write a really excellent horror story. As an apprentice writer I think I’ve come close once or twice, but never really gotten it. Not yet. So when I see something like BWP that succeeds in making me squirm, in making me think to myself “Son of a bitch, this isn’t fun anymore!”; a scary movie that is to other scary movies what eating small Thailand chilies raw is to Taco Bell, I ask myself – how do the magicians do their tricks? How did they get to me?

Sigmund Freud doesn’t always get the credit he deserves, but he made some critical discoveries that relate to what we do here as writers. Freud observed that the subconscious does not know the difference between fantasy and reality.

Stop. Think. Conjure on it.

That’s an amazing observation.

That is the white-hot core of the art to which we aspire. One more time, O Friends of the Inner Sanctum –

The subconscious mind does not know the difference between reality and fantasy.

It’s easy to prove. The subconscious governs many non-voluntary functions. Such as boners and wetties, for instance. Someone reads something erotic, or has a sexual fantasy. If the magic is working, the man gets hard and urgent. The woman gets wet. But there’s no one there, the act of copulation is in the imagination, but the subconscious doesn’t know or care. As far as the subconscious is concerned baby – You’re Gettin’ Some.

The vicarious experience of fear is the same. Something threatening is happening and the subconscious thinks you’re in danger. So the technical problem is, how do you get in someone’s head? How do you convey to the subconscious the experience of mortal danger and horror?

When you study the masters, like Edgar Allen Poe, you find that Poe worked very hard at constructing atmosphere and description, the dream like experience of a nightmare unfolding around you. There’s not a lot of action in his stories compared to, say, “Cloverfield” with its harried camera man. His best tales, such as “Masque of the Red Death” and “The Fall of the House of Usher”, are structurally very simple stories, little more than vignettes. Instead, Poe devotes himself to the patient creation of the story’s environment, the slow drip drip drip of escalating dread. Both of these are haunted house stories, and he describes everything right down to the rugs and curtains in tremendous detail and ominous language. It’s all about making you feel like you’re there and when the Very Bad Thing happens you’d better run.

The other thing I’ve discovered about horror (and the news is not good) is that, like erotic fiction, it’s a very personal thing. What gets the machinery moving in my subconscious will not always be what works for others for reasons outside my control. The erotic stories which have excited me in the past tend to be the odd stuff, about human beings in collision with each other. Likewise horror is very personal. It requires the suspension of disbelief, and a willingness to be reminded that security and life and love are illusions that can vanish in a day or an instant.

There is this wonderful film shot on Market Street in San Francisco in 1906. You can see it here:

or by googling “Youtube Market Street San Francisco 1906”.

Take a minute now to look it over.

In 1906 one of the Miles Brothers, who owned a photography studio by that name on Market Street, stood in the cabin of a trolley car with a brand new invention that was taking the country into a new age, the movie camera. As he leaned the wooden box camera out the front window of the street car and turned the hand crank, the lens caught the daily flow of a typical ride from one end of the street to the far end of the other, about a three mile trip on a fine spring day right after a good rain. Newspaper boys mugging for the camera. Horse drawn carts crossing fearlessly in front of the trolley car. A few open top automobiles. Other Trolleys scuttling like roaches on each side. Ladies in voluminous dresses. Men standing in doorways of shops, smoking, chatting and watching the world go by.

A film historian did some investigating through old newspapers and weather reports of the day and discovered the exact date this film was made. It was filmed about April 15th of 1906. The film was then developed and sent on a train to New York City to have some copies made. That is why the film survived.

Most of the people watching the trolley car and its Blair Witch style cameraman ride by in real time, the news boys, the pretty ladies in dresses, the working men making deliveries – in three days two out of every three of the people you’re seeing, man and boy, woman and child, those people are going to be dead. Three days. Many of them will have died roasting to death while trapped in rubble. Three days after the film was made, while the only copy was in transit, the great earthquake and fire struck. That is the part about life that our subconscious understands and we don’t.

C. Sanchez-Garcia

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Zombies On The Brain

Before I get started on this week's topic, I should warn you gentle reader. I'm still stuck on zombies. So if some zombies creep and shuffle their way into this post, I hope you won't hold it against me.

Though in all honesty, the zombies I write about don't creep, or shuffle. You seen the Olympic sprinters in 28 Days Later? Yeah, that's what my zombies do. They charge at the hero and heroine full pelt, bloody teeth bared, all-black eyes staring like something unholy and from the movie Krull.

And you know why? Because I want some goddamned peril in my stories. I mean yes yes. The zombies in Romero's trilogy are all well and good. They moan. They lumber. They look like they've had an accident with a can of grey paint.

But they're not quite snarling, drooling, barking sprinters, are they? You could get away from them just by taking a polite stroll for a few moments. How scary does that honestly seem? I can hardly see myself calling my planned trilogy of zombie stories:

"They Strolled A Bit, Politely"

Though I will admit, I've agonised over what to call them. Because the things is, I don't just want them to be about zombies tearing people's necks out. I want them to be about something rarely seen in a zombie movie or even a zombie book:

Hot end of the world fucking.

Because come on. You know it would be. You've finally gotten to a safe place. You're with some hunky, sweaty guy who's just as terrifed for his life as you are, and you're both sure that tomorrow could be your last day on earth. Why are so many sexy zombie books about actually having sex with a zombie, when you could be fucking Brutus, the hot zombie survivor?

And you know he'd be called Brutus. Though when I say Brutus, I'm actually thinking about CJ, from Dawn of the Dead. You know- this guy:

Can you imagine it? Running your hands up his gigantic, hulking, sweating biceps. Tearing off his clothes before the zombies do, then maybe nailing him up against something apocalyptic, like a minivan you've converted into a tank.

Oh, I almost want the zombie apocalypse to happen, just on the off chance I'd get to do that with him.

Anyway. Where was I? Oh yeah...writing a post that didn't mention zombies. After I've just written a post entirely comprised of zombies.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Auntie Kathleen's Paranormal Dating Advice Column

Paranormal is anything not easily explained by science, such as those special noises my car makes for me but not the mechanic and why I once bought spray cheese in a can. Then there's the stuff you don't want explained away such as ghosts, fairies, vampires and shape-shifters of all kinds. Let's not forget those fascinating cryptozoologic creatures like Chupacrabras, Big Foot, the Jersey Devil, and BatBoy, or the ultimate crossover - a jackalope shape shifter. Who wants to live in a world where none of that is possible? 

Okay, maybe it's no fun to think of something sentient hunting you down for a snack, but if the creature's hot, sex might not be out of the question.  (Safer sex tip - make sure he's fed before you start peeling off the dainties. If he says that you look good enough to eat, he might not mean it the way you would.) 

For some reason which I don't understand, I tend to write a lot of paranormal stories. It's not that I think that ghosts are sexy or even desirable as lovers. Sometimes a girl wants a hard cock, and ectoplasm isn't going to get the job done. Plus, where can the relationship go? People will think you're bonkers talking to an empty chair across from you in the restaurant, not to mention that ghosts are notorious for "accidently" leaving their wallets at home. That's right. Ghost = cheap. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Werewolves in fiction have that whole alpha male vibe going. That sounds sexy until you realize that for every one alpha in a pack, there are twenty betas, and anyone who has ever been a beta tester for software knows that beta = unfortunate glitches. Even if you should end up with the alpha, then what? For the one moment you're in desperate need of rescue, he's at his best. The rest of the time he's just an overbearing guy with an extreme view of gender roles, and don't even get me started on his monthly version of PMS. BTW, if you're a guy- female werewolf = bitch. 

Then there are vampires, the ultimate Freudian mash-up of forbidden sexual desires. You get more verboten kink for your monster lover buck in a vampire than with any other paranormal creature. In these economic times, who doesn't appreciate a good deal? So just remember that Vampire = value.


And speaking of budget-minded vampires, how about a snip from my  novella, Unbound: Bonded II.  Are you tired of those Byronic hero vampires who do nothing but brood in their gloomy castles? Bored by angst? Feel that vampires can be a touch whiney? Then Bonded is for you. Gleefully mixing pop culture with madcap comedy, the Bonded series assaults vampire dignity at every turn.

Fionn has waited six hundred years for revenge against Brandr, the vampire who turned him. The first part of his plot goes so well. He kidnaps the young vampires Kyle, Jamie and Henry from Brandr’s house. That’s all that goes according to plan though. Usually, the kidnapper makes demands, but this time it’s the hostages, and they'll make Fionn’s life hell until they get what they want. After a couple nights suffering at their hands, Fionn begins to worry that Brandr won’t take the boys back.  

Revenge. It seemed like such a good idea at the time…

(These are gay vampires, but I promise you that this excerpt is PG-13  and generally squick-free)
Unbound: Bonded II
The door to Fionn's apartment slammed open so hard that it almost hit his face when he stormed
through it. He threw his gym bag onto the floor. "What the hell?"

No one heard him over the pounding music.

Wearing only his underwear, Kyle danced on the kitchenette table. A few dollar bills hung from his waistband. Jamie and Henry grooved together in sensual slow motion. Their cheeks pressed together as they kept their eyes turned toward the couch.

Fionn stomped over to the radio and turned it off. "What the hell do you think you're doing? My landlord called me at work and told me that there was a loud party in my apartment. He said he was going to call the cops and that he was going to evict me!"

"Sucks to be you," Kyle said. He ran his hands up his bare chest. Even though the music stopped, Jamie, Henry, and Kyle kept dancing.

Fionn jumped back when he looked over at his couch and saw three of his neighbors sitting there with vacant grins on their faces. Wounds from vampire bites bled at their necks. "What the fuck?"

Kyle ground around in a tight circle. The table wobbled under his feet. "We were bored, so we decided to dance. Then your nice neighbors showed up to join the party. You know how it goes -- we were thirsty, they were human..."

Fionn clutched his blond fauxhawk. "You can't do this. I'll get evicted."

"Dude! Do you have any idea how hard it is for two vampires to keep three humans under their thrall? Don't distract us, man," Jamie said.

"I demand you release them immediately."

"Whatever you say, Douchebag, but the second we do, there's going to be a lot of screaming going on."

"You may want to turn the music back on, just in case," Kyle said.

"Don't call me Douchebag!"

"Douhebag. Douchebag. Douchebag!"

"Stop it! Stop it!" Fionn screamed. "Just shut up, all of you. My God. How did Brandr put up with the three of you? It's like... like..."

"Brandr calls us the unending go-go boy slumber party from hell," Kyle said. He nodded, as if he was trying to be helpful. "Oh look. Your eye is twitching just like Brandr's does."

Fionn sank into a kitchen chair. He clutched his head between his hands. "Please tell me this can't get any worse."

There was a knock on the door. Kyle leapt down from the table, sending it tumbling to the floor. Before Fionn could stop him, Kyle flung open the door. Two Los Angeles cops stood in the hallway.

"Yay! More strippers!" Kyle clapped. He gave the older cop a long, lewd glance. "Hello, Daddy!"

Fionn groaned.


Unbound: Bonded II, Bonded, The Quality of Mercy, and Twice Blest are available from Torquere Press.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Paranormal Pleasures

By Lisabet Sarai

I've always believed in magic. When I was a child, I had rituals to ensure that there'd be a snow day on the morrow, or that the teacher would forget to give us homework. Sometimes they worked – more often, it seemed, than would be true by chance. We lived in a semi-rural area and my father would spin tales of ghosts, demons and other creatures of power that lived in the woods around our house, chilling and delighting me and my siblings. Later, I'd catch glimpses of these supernatural denizens out of the corner of my eye and I'd know I wasn't alone. Somehow, I was never truly afraid – I accepted that there were more things in heaven and earth than television, arithmetic and doing my chores.

When it comes to the paranormal, I've never really grown up. I haven't personally encountered any spirits, but from time to time I've had vivid, prescient dreams and even waking premonitions that turned out to be true. I'm convinced that on rare occasions I have experienced telepathy. And sometimes, it seems that I have the ability to cast spells and shape reality, to materialize my fantasies.

That is, of course, what writers do – make our fantasies real. Writing paranormal fiction lets me indulge my belief in the powers beyond the mundane surface of our world.

These days, “paranormal” seems to include everything from vampires to time-travel For me, the defining element in paranormal fiction a sense of wonder. I've gotten somewhat tired of vampire fiction because for the most part, it has lost the power to amaze and excite.

That didn't stop me, of course, from writing my own vampire novella, Fire in the Blood. I like to think that Etienne, the vampire hero in this work, does evoke a sense of awe in the two human protagonists (as well as, I hope, in the reader). His power lies in the force of his personality, the nearly irresistible attraction he exerts. Flirting with a vampire is flirting with death, and that somehow heightens the excitement for Maddy and Troy. Even after Etienne has accepted them as lovers, they are still overwhelmed by his unearthly glamor. They are quite literally enchanted.

Rendezvous is another paranormal tale of mine, set, appropriately, on Halloween. My heroine, Rebecca, is much like me. Halloween has always been special for her, an opportunity for her to cast off her sensible, ordinary self and assume a new look and a new identity: someone extraordinary, sensual and seductive. When Halloween night finds her stranded by a breakdown in a seedy motel nearly a hundred miles from her friend's annual party, she's terribly frustrated and disappointed. Then she discovers that her room is haunted by the invisible but unquestionably virile ghost of a rake who seduced local women nearly half a century earlier.

I loved writing this story, because I was able to describe the way I'd personally feel if I found my motel room was inhabited by a ghost. Scared, definitely, but thrilled nevertheless at the tangible evidence of the supernatural. Of course, a ghost who happens to be a well-practiced dominant, like Tony, would add to the excitement.

The costume worked its magic. I was astonished at how regal I looked, and how desirable. The bodice pinched my waist to tiny dimensions, and forced my breasts upwards. The square-cut neckline drew attention to my swelling flesh, barely hiding my nipples. In fact, they were not hidden at all. Though I'd lined the top with muslin as the pattern specified, the tight nubs were clearly visible through several layers of fabric.

I cradled my breasts and used my thumbs to trace circles around those sensitive buds. With each cycle, the spring of tension in my cunt wound tighter. A light flick of my thumbnail sent electricity down my spine and triggered spasms of pleasure. I worried briefly that the juices trickling out of my cunt would spoil the satin. But after all, what did it matter? There was no one to see me tonight, no one to please but myself.

“You certainly do look sexy. Like something right out of de Sade.”

“What? Who...?” I whirled around in confusion, my heart slamming against my ribs. The voice had been close, right next to my ear. Yet the room was empty, unchanged. The same rippling walls, the same thread-bare carpet, the same rusty stains on the ceiling. The rumpled bed where I'd had my tantrum. The almost-empty glass on the dresser.

Ah, the liquor. I must be more drunk than I thought. I turned back to the mirror, searching my face for signs of intoxication, and yelped as something, someone, pinched my nipples.

“Hey! That hurts.” Indignation overwhelmed fear.

“It does, at first. But afterwards, it changes, doesn't it? Afterwards, it feels quite delicious.” I stared at my image, mouth hanging stupidly open, as invisible hands caressed my breasts. Strong hands, gentle hands, hands that seemed to know exactly how to make me shiver with delight. “That's what most people don't understand about pain. It's the gateway to the most exquisite pleasure.”

The voice was a melodious baritone, rich, deep, almost hypnotic. “You fear the pain, but that's foolish. You must surrender to the pain. Let it move through you. Let it wash away your doubts and your inhibitions. Let it open you to ecstasy.”

Firm, unseen lips nibbled at my neck. A warm, wet tongue traced the curve from below my ear to my exposed shoulder, then down to the hollow at my throat. With each touch, extravagant new species of pleasure bloomed in my sex. I closed my eyes and let my head fall back, savouring the delicate caresses and the amazing sensations that they triggered in my cunt.

Then suddenly, something sharp pierced the rounded flesh of my shoulder. I screamed, surprise heightening the agony that gripped me, and tore myself away from the grasp of the unseen intruder.

My reflection made me gasp in horror and wonder. Droplets of blood oozed from several wounds on my shoulder, wounds arranged in the distinctive semi-circular shape of a bite.

I felt an arm around my waist, pulling me backwards against the unmistakable bulk of a male body. I struggled against his seemingly supernatural strength.

“Let me go!” There were fingers at my back, unlacing and loosening the bodice, working their way into my top.

“Is that really what you want?” A hand snaked into the opening I had left in the voluminous skirts—a slight modification I had made to the pattern. After all, what was the point of wearing a sexy costume if it made you inaccessible?

I live in hope that I'll someday have an experience like Rebecca's. Meanwhile, I read and write the paranormal tales that make my heart race and my spine tingle, tales that prove that magick is still alive.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

NaNoWriMo - What to Expect When You're Expecting a Novel

By Nobilis Reed

So you're going to attempt National Novel Writing Month?  Bravo!  I applaud your courage.  Before you start, however, there are a few things you should know.

One: There will come a point where what you're writing no longer bears any resemblance to the outline you so carefully crafted ahead of time.

You have written an outline, haven't you?  It's a very important step.  It's what made it possible for me to win last year.  I had worked out who the characters were, what they were going to do, and where the story was going.  It was essential. I can't imagine attempting it again without an outline.  In fact, this year I not only have an outline, I have character sketches with individual character arcs for each important character.  While you're not allowed to write prose before November the First, you are allowed to write all kinds of other material to prepare, and I encourage all participants to take advantage of that loophole.

But as I said, there will come a time when you find that what you're writing no longer conforms to your outline.  You'll look at what you've written and realize that you have a choice.  You can either go back and fix what you've written to conform with the outline, fix the outline so that it works with what you have, or just forge on ahead.  When this happens, there is only one course of action which is in the true spirit of NaNoWriMo, and which will serve you well in succeeding.

Forge ahead.

You can go back and fix things later.  I recommend January or February.  Your novel will be a wreck, but it will be something you can work with.  You can't edit a blank page.

Two: There will come a time when you do not feel inspired to write, in spite of the fact that you understand that inspiration is not a requirement for writing.

You do understand this, don't you?  It's basically the first lesson of NaNoWriMo.  If you don't learn it, there's no way you'll finish.  In fact, it's the only important lesson.  You. Can. Write. Anytime.  You don't need to set aside three hours to get "into the zone".  You don't need to have perfect quiet.  You don't need to have inspiration.  You need to have a story, and something to put the words down with. That's it.

When you are struggling with writer's block, you have a choice.  You can sit there and wrestle with it, trying to figure out what's wrong with the piece and fix it.  You can give it a rest for a while, and come back to it later, perhaps writing something else in the meantime.  Or you can just forge ahead, even though you know that the words you're writing are not the best words you could be writing.  There's only one course of action which is in the true spirit of NaNoWriMo.

Forge ahead.

They may not be the best words you could have thought of, but they will be words and they will be recorded.  Again, you can't edit a blank page.

Three: There will come a time when you have to make a difficult decision, prioritizing writing against other activities, like cleaning your home, paying attention to your spouse, or other things that are ordinarily considered essential, in spite of the fact that you have told your loved ones that NaNoWriMo is important to you.

You have told your loved ones that NaNoWriMo is important to you, haven't you?  Having the support of those around you is essential to success.  Distractions are often mediated by a person rather than internally (though that happens too) and if you can touch base with a conversation that came before NaNoWriMo, then you can harken back to it, and do what you need to do to win NaNo:

Forge ahead.

Of course this doesn't mean you should quit the day job or delay taking the feverish kid to the hospital.  Those are easy decisions.  I'm talking about the tough ones, the ones where you worry that your relationship might suffer, or that you might be breaking a mostly-unspoken agreement that's kept mainly out of habit.  If you've had that conversation, then those difficult decisions become a bit easier.  Any damage you do to your relationships, you can fix over Christmas, when you won't be working on this novel anymore.

I think you can sense a pattern by least, I hope you can.  If so, then I think you can extrapolate my guidance for dealing with any other obstacles you might encounter, and you have the best advice I have for winning NaNoWriMo.

Good luck.  I'll see you in December.

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Friday, October 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo? Um, I think not ...

I would LOVE to be able to crank out a novel in a month. Heck, these days, I would be glad to crank out a novella in a month. A short story even would be nice.

Given that my tank of creativity has been sitting on empty since March, even a flash fiction piece would be just dandy right now.

I love the concept of being able to push yourself to ge a novel done, just get it done, in a month. I love the idea of other writers providing support and guidance.

The most I have ever written in a month was 12K and I was about whipped out by the end of it. Then again, I am happy writing short stories, so that was three seperate worlds I had tapped in to. Worldbuilding, character development, dialog, and all ... three times over. I felt emotionally drained, but man, what a feeling.

So I can certainly see the draw of just opening the flood gates of creativity and seeing what comes rushing out.

I'd love to see a reciprical concept for short story writers. Maybe a NaShWriWk. : ) Maybe that would give my muse a kick in the ass that she needs.

Now my husband, he could easily do a NaNoWriMo. In fact, that's just the way he writes, in great big floods. I've gone to classes and come home hours later to find him sitting in his chair watching TV like the great brain dead, with a goofy smile on his face. His welcome to me is "I wrote 10,000 words". The next day, more of the same. A few days later, it happens again.

Maybe a week later, again. He is one lucky son of a bitch like that. But I love him.

And really, I couldn't handle writing like that. I like my brain to be functioning in the evenings.

So I will stick with my current mode of writing as the mood strikes me, but I sure wish my muse wasn't such a fickle bitch. I swear, she is musing around ... cause I haven't gotten any since March!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


I watched a poet last month. An amateur poet. The poet stood up and said, “This poem probably isn’t very good. I wrote it in five minutes.”

Well, way to engage my interest. I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear this poem in the first place. Now that you’ve told me you put no effort into it, and you don’t know whether it’s good or not, I’m sat here praying for deafness.

(As a matter of fact, it turned out the poem wasn’t particularly good but I’m sure that detail was merely incidental).

It’s not the first time I’ve seen an amateur poet piss on their own work in this fashion. What is said in a spirit of self-deprecation comes out as the epitome of ‘can’t be bothered.’

“This is only a short poem…”

It’s another line that slices through the jugular vein of enthusiasm. I think it’s the word ‘only’ lurking in the centre of the sentence. The phrase is said as though short poems are inferior to longer poems.

Seriously: are any of us that worried about the size of a poem? Did anyone ever turn to Shakespeare and say, “Bill – can you pad out these sonnets so that they’ve got more than 14 lines? They’re a bit short at the moment and we all know that short poems, regardless of content, are all a bit shit.”

I mention this because those participants of NaNoWriMo I’ve spoken with in the past have often surprised me with this same fashion of understated self-deprecatory achievement. Whenever I’ve spoken with someone who has participated, my first instinct is to congratulate them on completing a full first draft.

Invariably, they come back to me with the words, “But it’s only a first draft.”

Not much of a sales pitch, is it?

As someone who has written one or two novels, I know how difficult the first draft can be. I also know the first draft is essential for any successful title. It’s the starting point from which a second draft can be forged. And from there, it’s a simple matter of editing, revising and redrafting to produce a completed novel.

To all of those participating in NaNoWriMo – good luck. I hope November goes well for you and I wish you every success. And, more importantly, whatever lessons you learn from this month’s writing, I sincerely hope they’re ones that you can savour and cherish.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dey Yoomin. Like me.

My feet shoot out. I feel myself go.

I’ve run out of cookies too. Turn off the laptop. Fizzled. I want to walk around the book store. To the science fiction. Then the mangas. Look at the tarot cards and the feeling is strong so that I want to run. Maybe jump up and run in place. Fucking thing fizzled right out from under me. I thought it was something true and holy, but it was just ordinary. It felt holy because it was rare, writing in negative space like grass growing through cracks in the sidewalk, writing by divination and coin toss. I was going good, I know I was going good, and the whole thing it just fell apart. I lost steam. I'm confused. I'm freaked out. I’m scared the Republicans will win the house.

Here, look at this book. Somebody left this thing over here with half a piece of cheesecake, look at this, big damn book, a thousand damn pages. Left this Dune book by Brian Herbert. He’s not even that good a writer like his dad, how does he do it? Keep going, how? How do you bust out a thousand pages like that? And because why, they sell these books by the pound or what? How?

A young girl with hairy legs and a wool ski cap bunched on top of her head sits at the next table. The mermaids, they won’t sing to me no more either, Mr. Prufrock. Shit.

I waited too long, so it fizzled out from under me. Its like not talking to somebody too long, and they fade on you, next time you see them you don’t know what to say, stories you try to write, they do that to you. But faster. They fade out fast. They dump you. They break your heart.

I’m stealing looks at the girl with the hairy legs. I’m astonished that she doesn’t turn me on, not at all. How does that work? In Panama, they have these Pentecostal women you see on the bus who don’t shave their legs ever because maybe the Bible says they can’t and these women, these women with big hairy legs, they drive me wild. I want them fierce. I want to lick up their big hairy legs all the way up to the top. This girl isn’t sexy to me. Why? I hope she’s sexy to somebody who’s nice to her.

My imagination is fizzled out too.

I’m so glad I don’t this for a living. How do people do this for a living, day in and out? Like Joyce Carol Oates or John Updike? Well, he’s dead, but.

There’s a security monitor overhead. Why do they need that in a bookstore coffee shop? Who the hell steals books, anyway? The girl with the hairy legs gets up and goes away. Some hairy old creep, peeking up over his laptop, stealing looks at her hairy legs, creeping her out. Stupid old hairy creep. Well, you’ll be old too someday, my lovely. You wait.

A big black woman sits down there where the hairy legged girl was. She has a fancy tall clear plastic Starbucks cup. The cup has something beige colored and high caloried and expensive. It has whipped cream. It has drizzles of chocolate. It has a red straw. The woman, what she has is this. She has a big ass. A real tool shelf back there like she was magically drawn into real life by Robert Crumb. I’ve been reading old Robert Crumb comics a lot these days. When you read Robert Crumb’s stuff you look at women’s asses a lot.

So I’m thinking. I’m never going to write a novel, I’m thinking, I just don’t have the stuff. The big assed black woman comes up to me and stands right over me so close I can feel the heat of her skin coming off her, and begins undressing herself while I’m looking straight up the brown cliff face of her belly and feeling scared and excited and wondering if she’ll go on and if the security camera is catching this and maybe it’ll land on Youtube so I can keep this moment forever and she keeps going, and its all coming off, but nobody is looking at us and now she’s topless like an African woman in those old King Kong movies but without the coconut brassiere and her belly is big and her bare chest is big, and her tumescent nipples are astral and infinite and everything is huge and floppy and buoyant and totally primitive and out there. And there – oh my lord - she has hairy breasts. Lord have mercy. I have sinned oh lord, but not yet enough.

“So? You lookin at, you old hairy cracker fuck?” she says.

“Lookin’ at you sweet thing.” I say.

“What you doin’ there?”

“I ‘m writin’ a novel?”

“You ain’ writin’ no muhfuh shit. You think you some muhfah writer?”

"Well - "

"This ain't no place for novel writin' shit. This here's fo' coffee place shit. That all right wi' you, Mr. Highty Mighty muhfuh novel writer man? Huh?"

"Well - "

"Fuck's wrong with you?"

“Fizzled out.”

“You like my tits, you muhfuh cracker?”


“Finish yo’ nasty sorry-ass muhfuh novel then.”

“Can’t think of anything.”

“You scared? Think some muhfuh lady editor gonna read yo’ dumb-ass muhfuh shit?”

“Maybe I kind of hoped so, I think, yeah.”

“Fuck,” she says. “Ain’t nuthin. Dey yoomin. Like you.”

“So. Is it okay, you think, if I quit maybe? Call it a day?”

“Nah, no.” she says, motherly and slow. Comforting. “Wri’ mo’.”


“Praise Jesus.”

"Yes, ma’am.”

The black woman who has been sitting at the table finishes her drink. She glances over at me. She gently scoots her chair out and gets up. She leaves her table, tosses the drink, gives me a funny look. I stare when I day dream. I move my lips too. I was probably moving my lips just now.

"Sir, are you all right there?"

"Yes, ma'am. Thanks."

She leaves.

Okay. Nah, no. Wri’ mo’ then.

. . . here we go . . .

C. Sanchez-Garcia

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Bring On The Zombie Apocalypse!

My personal record for words written in a day is 10k. I've written and submitted a 35k novella in five days. And because of this, I have absolutely no doubt that I could write a novel in a month. I could do NaNoWriMo. I could. Heck- with those figures, I could write a novel in a week.

But then I get to the but. Yes, I could do all of this, but...

Why in God's name would I want to? For a start, writing is exhausting. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Don't let your husband/wife/mother/brother/dog tell you that you have it easy, sat on your can all day, tapping away at your laptop.

Writing is hard. After a night of hammering out ten thousand words, my eyes get a weird crust all around them. They feel full of garbage. My little finger twitches of its own accord, my legs have turned to jelly. I go outside and it's like having a nuclear bomb go off behind my eyes. Sometimes I forget to eat and drink or go to the toilet, and then have to do all three at once.

Shoving ham into your mouth while trying to wee isn't fun. Nor is falling asleep in the middle of hamming and weeing, then waking up passed out on the bathroom floor only to remember that you might have eaten and wee-ed and slept, but you didn't drink.

So now you have a mammoth dehydration headache and a mouth like the insides of a pork chop.

But that's not even the worst thing writing can do to you. That part is actually quite fun! Plus, you managed to complete ten thousand words. Hurrah!

No, the worst part is when you're there, exhausted in your bones and in your soul and just drained from pouring all of that out of you and onto the page...and then you reread it, the next day.

And oh, how it sucks great big donkey balls. How much you hate yourself, for writing such unadultered shite. Life has no meaning. Everything is despair. Bring on the zombie apocalypse because Lord knows it sounds better than slogging away at something you've mysteriously lost the knack for.

Which is all just a long way of saying: no, I don't do NaNoWriMo. And no, I never will. The thought of waking up on the bathroom floor after a month of forgetting to wee, drink, eat, sleep and take it easy on myself is just too grim to bear.

Monday, October 18, 2010


 I don't mean special little snowflakes.

For years, I've read about people participating in National Novel Writing Month, but it seemed so different from the way that I write that I didn't get involved. This year, I decided to take on the challenge. Normally, on the strength of a good opening and a vague idea of the end of the story, I dive in head first and figure out the middle stuff as I write it. This is known as being a panster - as in "By the seat of your pants."  Normally, I'm not too keen on the idea of an outline. It seems too rigid. But this is my chance to try new things, and veterans of former years advised prep work, so I've spent a lot of time this month getting my act together.

I'm using Randy Ingermanson's snowflake method of writing. Instead of sweating out the dreaded synopsis after writing the novel, in the snowflake method, you write the synopsis first. Actually, the first thing you write is a single sentence that summarizes your story. His advice was to look at the New York Times bestseller's list for examples, so I did. Talk about being forced to truly focus on what your story is about! In a way, that wasn't such a foreign idea for me, since I had a note on my computer that said, "What is the story about?" to remind myself to stay on theme as I wrote. I found out that there's a huge difference between nebulously knowing what the story is about and writing it down. He says take an hour to write it. I wrote mine in ten minutes, came back to it days later, worked on it some more, and finally had a version I liked a week later. I had moved on to the other steps, something he says is fine to do, but kept going back to the beginning. As that one sentence took shape, the later steps were easier.

The second step was to write a five-sentence paragraph that tells the beginning, middle, and end of the story. (That's not exactly the way he puts it. I advise searching the internet for his steps as he has other helpful advice.) I struggled over this part since, as I said, I usually waffle the middle part until I write it. 

This is my approach to mentally outlining a novel in a nutshell:

However, "and then some stuff happens" isn't an option in writing the five-sentence paragraph, so I had to focus on an actual chain of events. Whoa! The nebulous suddenly had shape! It wasn't "sort of an idea" anymore. It was beginning to look like a real plot.
As I worked on step 3, the character sketches, I went back to tweak the paragraph in step 2 because with every word I put down about my characters not only did they come more into focus, so did the story.

In step 4, I took my paragraph from Step 2 and expanded on each sentence. I realized that I almost had in mind too much story (a frequent problem of mine), so I cut back to the most exciting, tightly focused part of the story. Having too many characters is also a problem, so I kept the action between the two main characters and an important secondary, but it also gave me an idea of the supporting cast I would need.

 Step 5 is telling the story from each main character's POV. He calls this a character synopsis. By now, the word synopsis has been used so much in this process that I no longer flinch when I see it. I think that's a good thing.

That's all I've done thus far with the ten steps, but I work at it every day. While I thought this approach would kill my creativity, all it does is change the order in which I create. Instead of wondering twenty thousand words into the novel what happens next, I'm figuring that out now.  It seems much more efficient.