Friday, December 31, 2010


I watch movies for the same reason that I read books - to be taken away to another world.

I had a friend who was so analytical about everything, he could take the fun out of it without really trying. For example, Barbie. Yeah, I know, there is so much material there to shred that it isn't even a challenge. But me being a biology and him being uber-analytical, there was, I am ashamed to admit, a 20 minute conversation on the dimensions and unreal image of Barbie.

Why, I am still unsure just how we got on that topic, or why we followed through with it, and I don't remember where we went from there.

But I remember all too well the way he systematically shredded everything to do with Barbie, one piece at a time, and my own contributions to the conversation. It was like a verbal horror movie. In auditory technicolor.

Now how does that relate to movies? Hang with me, I am getting there.

As I said, I like movies to escape, to relax, to just be.

To understand, you really have to know me. See, I am high strung on the best of days. I live on stress and chaos. Which, lucky for me, my household provides all too well. (Read: Teenage daughter!)

So when I watch a movie, I don't want to sit and pick apart every aspect of it, reducing it to a mental pile of flesh color plastic like that poor Barbie. Instead, I want a story to be told in such a way that I can just relax in to it, allow it to captivate me, and when it ends, I want to have the wish for a sequel, maybe not to the same storyline, but set in the same universe. Because I want to go there again. And again.

That doesn't mean that I will ignore plotholes and issues. But sometimes, if they are not so glaring that I have to stop watching because I am turning into a Barbie analyzer, I can gloss over them.

To me, that is how movies should influence books, and vice versa, and how both play into the art of storytelling. With a good book, I can gloss over some faint issues. So they didn't really bathe daily in historical Scotland, and they probably smelled much like their horses and sheep. So what ... I can ignore that bit of fancy that the author put in to make their characters more likable. But putting a machine gun in the hands of a 1600's highland cheiftain? Um ... no.

I think that is why I am struggling to hard with the idea of Steampunk. I know it is the latest craze, but I am finding it too much of a suspension of disbelief. I know it is an "alternate" reality, but I just can't get in to. The storytelling of the novels I have read so far hasn't been enough to draw me in, with one exception.

Which is why as much as I love some genres of story-telling, there are some movies I shy away from. I know, just from the prebiews, comments, and reviews, that it will but right up against my suspension of disbelief wall and crash and burn.

So it is better than I not waste my time.

The storytelling of the writer, direction, whatever, just isn't a type that I mesh well with.

But man alive, give me a movie or a book that I can loose myself in, and I willing to let it happen. I love to emerse myself into the storyteller's universe and let them sweep me away.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Giving Short Stories The Power Of A Movie

The spinning top pictured at the beginning of this post comes from the movie "Inception".

The conceit around which the movie is built is the ability to enter a person's dream, shape it and plant an idea that they will later think of as their own. This of course grants great power over the dreamer. As one of the characters puts it, "The seed that we planted in this man's mind may change everything."

On one level, "Inception" is an explanation of what movies are: they shape the collective dream and reach out beyond the dream into the real world. They make the dream more than real and add dreams to our reality.

Movies can plant an idea deeper than just about any other medium. Our conscious minds see them just as entertainment and sometimes that is all they are, but many times, perhaps most of the time, the surface narrative hides the real interaction between movies and our way of viewing the world. We leave the movie without fully realizing the nature of the seed that has been planted.

Often the movie-makers explain their intent:

“Fight Club” was a wake-up call for the IKEA generation who were being sold a consumer dream that they were paying for by spending more and more time at work; they were wasting their lives chasing a dream rather than living in the here and now. The narrator lays this bleak thought before us when he says, “This is your life and it's ending one minute at a time.”

“The Village”, is about a group of people who have constructed a way of life that is meant to keep everyone safe. But the Village is built on a lie that the elders know and will not discuss and which the young feel but cannot name. The message is pitched by one of the main characters, “We cannot run from heartache... Heartache is a part of life. We know that now.”

“The Matrix” was, in its way, another look at the truth that “Fight Club” set out to plant. At one point the “truth” about the Matrix is explained: “… you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.”

Yet even when the movie-makers tell us clearly what they are doing, we leave the theatre with so much else in our minds (“The first rule of Fight Club is…” “I: Let the bad color not be seen. It attracts them...” “I need guns. Lots of guns”) their inception passes unnoticed. When, slowly, the opinion forms that all might not be what it seems and the truth is ours to discover, the idea seems like our own.

When I write short stories, I aspire to use my few thousand words to carry out an inception of one kind or another, but I am aware that text is sometimes less effective than movies at this kind of thing.

I am passionate about movies and novels and short stories and yet I recognize that I experience and remember them differently.

Few things in life give me more pleasure than movies. I don't just watch a movie, I enter it. I concentrate on it to the exclusion of everything else.

A good movie will slip into my mind and stay there forever. I replay scenes in my head, sometimes without realizing that I am about to, long after I have seen the movie.

Of course, novels and short stories also have their place in my mind but it seems that the interaction with my imagination and memory is different.

Texts tend to devolve into plots and characters and flashes of language. They are driftwood on the beach; ready to be reworked into something else.

Movies seem to retain their integrity. They colonize my imagination, growing into a spectacular coral reef that each movie adds to.

So what is it that makes the difference? What lessons should I carry from movie-making into short story writing that will help me to colonize the imaginations of my readers?

I believe that the power of the movies comes from one simple shared assumption between the movie-maker and the audience: nothing in a movie is unnecessary, irrelevant or accidental

Real life is so full of random noise and mindless soul-numbing repetition that even those rare moments that mean something to us can sometimes slip past unmarked.

Movies are packed with 100% meaning; this is what gives them the intensity that makes them so much more attractive than real life.

I think there are five “take-aways” from movies that will increase the meaning in my stories

1. Editing
The average movie does not have long to tell its tale and plant its ideas, typically between 90 and 110 minutes. The main purpose of the editing after a movie has been shot is to make sure that not one minute is wasted.

The difference between a good movie and a great movie is often about the decisions that were made in the editing suite. In movies, every moment, no matter how beautifully shot or skilfully acted or perfectly scripted, has to fight to show that it is necessary to the meaning of the movie.

Take-away: try to shorten your story without reducing its impact or diluting its meaning

I fall in love with my prose as I write it. I need to fall in love to get it right. Sadly, not everything that I love will pass the tests of relevance and intensity of semantic value. I need to leave myself the time to get the distance to see this and then cut away some of what I loved to make the rest better.

2. Meaning in a movie is collaborative
The story is told not just from the script but from the the lighting, set dressing, the costumes, the acting, the filming, the directing and of course the editing. Movies are so rich because their meaning is built in layers that complement or counter-point one another like chords being played on some great organ.

Take-away: align the different elements of story-telling to maximise the meaning and the impact

Go back through your story and make sure that the elements of your writing are appropriately aligned. Do the language and imagery build the meaning of the story in the way that film music and lighting would? Do your descriptions of places and people dress the set and establish location? Does your narrative drive the flow of the reader's imagination the way a camera angle would? Can you get the same meaning with less words by changing the balance of what you try to achieve through these different elements so that each of them makes the optimal contribution?

3. Meaning in a movies is emergent
The audience builds the meaning of the film as it goes along. The movie guides them in arriving at the intended meaning by various forms of foreshadowing or the recurring use of symbols, colours or sounds.

Take-away: give your reader's clues to follow and patterns to spot and trust them to make the connection

If your readers trust that everything in your story has meaning, then they will enjoy spotting where you have foreshadowed the development of plot or character and they will read day to day actions as having significance beyond their surface appearance. In my recent story "Coming Home" I described the mundane act of a man arriving home from work by saying he: "put down his suitcase and laptop bag in the hall and dropped his keys and his phone into the square leather tray that Gina had taught him to use. She had bought the tray out of frustration at his endless ability to mislay the things that were most important to him."

One of the first comments that I got on the story recognized that the whole focus of the story was the man's endless ability to mislay the things that were important to him.

4. Meaning in movies is condensed through the use of known tropes, plots and stereotypes.
Movies are clearly labeled. The audience walks in with an expectation that needs to be met. The use of tropes, stereotypes and well-known plot lines speed up the immersion of the movie goer into the move. They provide a familiar landscape for meaning to emerge into.

Take-away: don't be afraid to draw on tropes and archetypes to move your story along.
Clichés, stereotypes and tropes can be your friend in keeping a short story short. I agree with Sam Goldwyn's view that, "What we need are some new clichés". This needs to be done with skill or it ends up being boiler-plate. Think of it as evoking an image or relationship in your readers' imagination without needing fully to describe it.

5. Movies play Find The Lady with meaning
Movies use tropes and stereotypes to misdirect our attention and lead us to the wrong conclusion. They play with time-lines to reveal information that changes what we thought we understood. This delights the audience if it's done well (The Sixth Sense, The Usual Suspects, Memento, The Illusionist) and reinforces the idea that you should pay attention to every moment of the movie.

Take-away: it pays to surprise your reader without making them feel tricked.
This can be done by the use of an unreliable narrator, or by planting a hook at the beginning that sets one expectation and then flashing back to show another interpretation,or by taking a stereotype and giving it an unexpected twist.

I’d like to share one last idea. The seed for this one was planted in my mind by “Inception”. The movie explains that there is a risk to shaping dreams. To shape a dream you must enter it. You must believe it. You must belong in it. How then, will you know that you are dreaming and not living? That is what the spinning top is for. You take it into the dream with you and spin it. Only in a dream can it spin forever.

Writing is an isolated introspective business. We spin tales from the fabric of our lives and imagination and doing so can be thrilling. But we also need to live and to connect. We need to know that in real life the top stops spinning and we need to welcome that.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Great Red Velvet Cathedral

Usually on Fridays, my wife having finished work, myself a little bored, my son home from school, the weekend looming, all of us having just eaten something Chinese for dinner, locking up the car with fish sauce still in my beard, just under my nose like the pungent late night cat smell of woman which I’m in no hurry to rinse off, we pile into the little Masters Cinema. The theater is, unfortunately for the owners, set up next to the Dollar General store where we go to buy cheap candy to stuff into our jacket pockets to sneak inside, occasionally making an offering of buying an over priced soda at the snack counter to show our gratitude for the pot luck of stories laid out for us, just on their way to die. These half dozen titles or so are drifting through a dim afterlife between their big day in the sun at the full priced theaters, and their lonely oblivion in the DVD stores and Netflix queues.

I love these rituals, which stay with you long after you’ve moved away from a place, and all my life I’ve been on the move, hoping and failing to stay just this one time. It’s a kind of worship, all of us here at the little temple of the story. Its not the same as watching a DVD at home or on the latest Apple gadget. This is a communal experience, one of the last surviving in modern times, the difference between praying alone in your room, and praying as a congregation in a church. We are together in the church of the story. We are packed in here for a shared purpose and an understanding we share. I just love that.

Here the stories are performed, not just played. There is a stage, and there is the dark, and the dark is important, because the world and the things waiting for you are all outside, and you’re here in the intimate crowd to hear only the well wrought dream provided for you together, to lose yourself in the dream and the world of the story, if it’s a world worth losing yourself in.

There aren’t many movies I’d gamble $12 a head on, but here at the little two dollar theater (the rate had doubled from a dollar after the recession) I don’t need so badly for a movie to be great. Good is good enough. A cheap ticket can be very liberating.

In the church of the story, I come partly for the movie, but also for the community. Coming up with our tickets, we pass them to Scotty, a big bearded grizzly bear of a guy, mentally disabled in some indefinable way, but single mindedly cheerful, opinionated and smartly informed about each of the movies behind each closed door. This guy loves movies. He brings an element of goofy exuberance to his job.

Speaking of goofy exuberance, brings me to mind of my father. Years ago the communal experience of the horror movie, though not taken as seriously as they are today, was much more vivid. My Dad told me once of a really great job he had when he was a kid. During the playing of certain fright flicks, his given task was to stand in the balcony with a big bowl of cooked spaghetti. During critical moments in the film, he threw out handfuls of cold wet noodles, like rice at a wedding, down on the twitchy crowd sitting in the dark below yelling “Worms! Worms!” He got a quarter for that, it might have been his first job too.

Movies are how a nation and its people communally dream together. The movies of a time period reflect what the nation was dreaming and worrying about, dreams of love, passion and occasionally nightmare. In the 30’s when King Tut’s tomb was uncovered and America was just beginning to discover the rest of the world out there pouring its bedraggled immigrants onto our shores we dreamed of Boris Karloff in “The Mummy”, Bela Lugosi in “Dracula”. Its no coincidence that these movies were set in the lush playgrounds of upper class British aristocracy, with tuxedoed heroes, and vapid debutantes in lavish ballrooms performed for audiences crawling through the real world horrors of the great depression. They gathered in the church of the story in lush red velvet cathedrals, filled with the incense of frying popcorn in coconut oil, to imagine a life of sequined gowns, orchestras and limousines.

I thought of Dad and his spaghetti noodles when I was watching “Snakes on a Plane”, an over the top disaster movie about crates of venomous snakes let loose on an airliner, with Samuel Jackson yelling his iconic line “I am sick and tired of these motherfuckin’ snakes on this motherfuckin’ plane!” (I don’t know why the Tea Party hasn’t seen clear to stick that line on one of their flags, but that might have been the 2010 election campaign slogan for either party.) Meanwhile, the real action was in the audience all around me. I dunno what it is, but there’s something about snakes in general that just gets folks all percolated. Grown men, big men, men grown fat on southern soul food, were leaping from their seats, waving their wrists and shrieking like little girls. In a pagan ecstasy of terror or god knows what they literally bounced off the walls, danced on one foot and yelled for Jesus to save them. It was less a movie experience than a holy roller revival.

During an idle moment at work, a young soldier asked me why the Beatles seemed to be such a big deal to people my age. Weren’t they just a band? For boomers, a generation partly defined by the advent of mass communication and social change, the Beatles were a communal experience. We grew together as they grew with us. Right after President Kennedy’s assassination when the country was hurting, the Fab Four showed up and a great communal romance began. We watched them change with us as we changed. We took our cues from them as we grew into adults, and saw them grow from charming pop stars to ground breaking artists. We watched them break up. We watched them die. For my son’s generation the great communal romance was in the movies, with Harry Potter, and its young actor/characters. When my kid was starting elementary school we saw young Daniel Radcliffe, only a little older than my son, enter Hogwarts, really just a little kid. The next year a new movie, the little kid is growing up. Now as my kid is becoming a young man discovering girls, Harry has become a young man discovering girls, and moreover we know that soon he is about to die. He is the communal romance of my kid’s generation. As the Beatles introduced my generation to drugs and exotic religions, Harry Potter re-introduced a young generation to the joy of reading a good story. To me there is always something of the sacred about a good story with soul, where ever you find it.

C. Sanchez-Garcia

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sorry About The Depressing Death March

It's funny you should mention movies, because Christmas is a real movie time of year for me. I watch old movies that I've loved from the past - My Demon Lover, Return To Oz, Aliens, Terminator. I watch new movies with varying degrees of success - Avatar, The Girl Who Played With Fire, A-Team.

And I'm sad to say they make my Christmas great. Of course, other things do, too. The hubster, my family, great food, my brother saying something silly, playing games, giving gifts.

But a big part of making me happy? Movies. Though that's not exclusive to Christmas, when I really think about it. Movies have informed my life, have created happiness in it when there was none, have taken me away when I needed it, have given me pleasure when I desperately wanted it - in the same way writing does.

Though movies are the very thing that inspire my stories, so maybe the movies came first. I always remember how much I adored Return To Oz as a child, and then later in life hunting and hunting for a copy. How carelessly I discarded that video tape at age ten, never thinking I'd crave that feeling of being a child filled with longing and wonder again. I craved it so much, I hunted through seventeen video stores, all over the internet, I scoured the TV guides looking for it to appear.

And I think I did it because to me, Return To Oz represents everything that The Wizard of Oz should really say. Because WHY in GOD'S name would Dorothy want to RETURN TO KANSAS? Depression era Kansas, no less. Where everything is grey and dusty and dead, and people you know. Died of starvation.

In Oz, even when everything is falling apart, all is wonderment. Everything is fantastical, and the whole world spreads out beneath your feet. How I wanted to be THAT Dorothy - the one who goes mad with wanting to go back there. How I wrote my fingers bloody with my own story of that dream - of longing to be somewhere else, anywhere else but this grey, dismal, disappointing place. Even half destroyed and ruined by evil witches and Nome Kings, Oz seemed ten times better than here.

Most movies do. I suppose that's the point, really. Nobody wants to watch a movie to be transported to a dry, grey, dull place, where nothing happens and everything is endlessly monotonous. Even movies by Lars Von Trier and Mike Leigh feature things that happen, and in amongst the grey there are sparks of wonderful that will last forever, because the movie never changes. You don't have to go on and on into another grinding year of awful. And even if you do, you can imagine forever that the edges around the movie - the things that you didn't get to see because it ended - make things better.

And if this post seems depressing, dearest reader (if you're out there), know this: whatever grey awful thing happens in my life, whatever depressing death march I have to endure, at least I have movies to make it better.

Monday, December 27, 2010

What a Picture is Worth

Movies have several advantages over books. They can switch easily switch between different character's point of view without confusing the audience. A few bars of music and special lighting can set the mood. Action is clearer. A character can be established in one quick shot. So can setting.  A picture can, indeed, be worth a thousand words.

I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 today at the theater. It's my one movie this year. If you've seen it, you know how the empty, lifeless rooms of the Black family mansion further the feeling that Ron, Hermione, and Harry have been cut off from family. A bicycle and school books litter Sirius Black's old bedroom as if his boyhood was abruptly abandoned, reflecting the situation of Hermione, Ron, and Harry. Later on, when they're on the run, they camp out in increasingly remote locations, further enforcing the idea that they're isolated.

It's skillful visual storytelling. The set design, the cinematography, the makeup, and costumes work together with the script and the actors in every shot to make it clear to the audience that this quest has a high price for each of the three characters. The special effects and action sequences are the height of film making artistry.

I read the book though, so I expected to see that on the screen. I suppose it would be fairer to deconstruct a movie that I had no expectations going in and talk about how the story was revealed. But the thing is, writing and motion pictures are different kinds of storytelling. While I admire a well crafted movie, my focus is on writing. Can I learn about the craft of storytelling from movies? Sure. When I write a story, I envision it in my imagination much like watching a scene from a movie. We're from a visual generation. It's hard to get away from that. When I want a reader to know how a character feels, I give visual cues about their state of mind through their body language. However, movies are limited in the scope of what they can show. Novels aren't. Novels can weave depth of detail, memory, and complexity of emotion in ways that movies never can. So like Lisabet, when I watch a movie, I'm there to immerse myself in it, not to analyze it. I recognize elements of craft, but don't dwell on it. Sometimes, most of the time, it's enough to be entertained.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Just for Fun

By Lisabet Sarai

No, please! Don't spoil my movies, too!

Garce's topic this week is "Movies and the Art of the Story". Now, I know that Garce tends to analyze the films he sees, trying to figure out what makes them work. He and I have had a number of email conversations about "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Das Boot", among other films, in which he waxed eloquent regarding what he'd learned about characterization of villains and the slippery nature of evil. I deeply respect his dedication to his craft. But for me, most of the time, movies are entertainment, not education.

I've been an avid reader since I was a toddler. Alas, since I've begun writing professionally, reading is not the same. Most of the time, I can't turn off my inner critic. I find myself noticing flaws -- flat characters, rough passages of prose, anachronistic detail or implausible turns of plot. Meanwhile, my admiration for well-crafted fiction is tinged with sour envy. I still enjoy reading, but it's no longer purely recreation. My perspective has been irrevocably changed -- I might even say tarnished -- by my author's vocation and the painful knowledge that comes with it.

I really don't want that to happen to film. For me, an effective film is still pure story. The best movies whisk me away to another world, immersing me in the lives and emotions of the characters. If I were to start analyzing the dynamics, the writer's or the director's artistic choices and strategies, that would pull me out of the experience.

Not that I can't appreciate an ingenious plot or a particularly adept characterization. I remember being impressed by both aspects of the 2006 film "Inside Man" (Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Denzel Washington). I recall thinking, in one scene, "Wow, this is a great way to reveal her character." But that kind of reaction is moderately unusual, especially for a movie that succeeds in pulling me in.

I'm much more likely to notice the visual aspects of a movie. Among my favorite films is "Winter Sleepers" (1997), directed by Tom Tykwer. This movie uses color as a mirror for its elegant structure. In each section of the story, the characters are wearing a different hue, which is also echoed in the sets. This may sound silly and overly formal, but it really works, in my opinion.

If you're curious about my other favorites, you can check out the (relatively short) list on my website. I haven't updated that page for a while, but reviewing it, I'm surprised that "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" isn't listed. Other candidates include "Earth Girls are Easy" (1988, starring Geena Davis and Jeff Goldblum), "After Hours" (1985, with Griffin Dunne and Rosanna Arquette, directed, I just discovered, by Martin Scorsese), "The Comfort of Strangers" (1990, starring Christopher Walken and Helen Mirren), and "Bound" (1996, with Jennifer Tilley and Gina Gershon).

I realized in searching for this information that all of the movies above have an element of eroticism. Not all that surprising, I suppose, given my chosen literary genre and my self-confessed (see my bio!) "lifelong interest in sex", but this may give the impression that sexy movies are the only ones I see (or like), which wouldn't be true at all. But it does appear that an element of sexual passion contributes to my remembering them.

When I was a kid, going to the movies was a big deal. It didn't happen very often and was a special treat. In my teens, I could still count the films that I'd seen on two hands, and could tell you the plot of each one. At this point in my life, I've probably seen close to a thousand movies. It's a bit disturbing how few of them have stuck in my mind.

Perhaps if I analyzed the ones that I do remember and cherish, I'd find that they demonstrated the elements of craft that I recognize in my reading. Who knows, perhaps they are especially good examples of "the art of the story".

I don't really care. When it comes to movies, I would like to remain innocent, to react without trying to figure out exactly why. Sorry, Garce, but I watch movies just for fun.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas from the Grippers of the Past!

This post is going to be a departure from our normal guest spot. Some of the past OGAG Alumni are sharing their Holiday Cheer. : )
I have posted what has come in so far, and if other emails come my way today, I will amend the post to reflect them.
Happy Holidays to all of our readers!!!

Oh, it’s so cool to be back here at the Grip. *Waves at everyone* When Michelle asked if I’d like to say hi, how could I refuse? I miss the place, the struggle to get something intelligent out every week, the stress of finding a guest to send something and the pleasure of reading everyone else’s take on the weeks topic. Sigh, yeah, it was awesome fun. Seeing the new faces has also been a plus. New blood, new ideas, new kinks!! What fun. Course you all know I want to take this chance to not only wish you and your families the most amazing season’s greetings, but to also promote a little something, right? Yup! Fraid it’s nothing Christmassy. I seem to have an editor who finds great pleasure in adding to my workload at the wrong time. So, how about a tiny teaser from a book I’ve got coming out in the new year? I’m sure you’ll all enjoy a snippet from Jett’s Gift, due out in Feb.2011 from Total E-Bound.

Six hundred years he’d lived in darkness, feeding off the dregs of humanity and finding love with those who, for the most part, had been cast out or shunned for being ‘different.’

Alex was different, and he loved the man like he’d never loved anyone before. Loved him more than he’d thought possible after so long, so very, very long. Their couplings were nothing less than amazing. Alex, as always, was brilliant in the many ways he’d found to pleasure Jett. The lovely man knew how to do things with his mouth and lips that drove Jett mad with desire. The sharpness of Alex’s mortal teeth tugging at flesh long chilled and lust-tainted with the passing of so much time both astonished Jett and impressed him tremendously. He’d thought he was long past the intensity of arousal Alex garnered in him. Thinking of his lover’s amazing oral capabilities made his rod stiffen to majestic proportions and sensitivity. The gentle nipping of the man’s mouth was enough to set his teeth on edge and send flashes of ecstasy up his spine.

The best of the holidays to everyone!


*Jude Mason – Readers needed: Come, explore with me…if you dare*
To join my mailing list, go HERE

~ * ~ * ~ * ~
Merry Christmas to my friends, readers and fellow authors at the Grip! Jenna Byrnes here, popping in to wave hello and wish everyone happy holidays. I can’t believe it’s been just over a year since I stopped my weekly Grip blog posts. They say time flies when you’re having fun, and whether or not the past year has been fun, I’ve certainly found this to be true. Time, indeed, marches on.

The past few years I set a hectic pace for myself. Many months I had more than one new release at a time. It was fun, frantic, frenetic, fast-paced, furious, and a few other f-words I could probably mention. *G* Alas, it was a schedule I couldn’t live with any longer. After a great deal of consideration, I decided to cut back my erotic writing to the titles I co-author with my friend and fellow workaholic, Jude Mason. Fans of our Kindred Spirits series, never fear. Book five is on the way, and book six will come out sometime in 2011.

I still plan to be around, just not on the same scale I was before. I have a life outside my computer, and I plan to enjoy it. I can already tell you, by cutting my workload down the month of December has been a true joy for me this year. All my Christmas preparations were done early and none of them felt like chores. It’s been a truly wonderful holiday season.

If you’d like to receive special notice announcements when I have news next year, please sign up for my mailing list. No chat, just short emails when news happens. There are also a few free reads in the files section there, so enjoy. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and best wishes from my computer to yours!

Jenna Byrnes
Page Scorching Erotic Romance
~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Twas a Saturday Christmas, and whilst eating Yule Log,

I took time to pause at the Get a Grip Blog.

I’ve spent many hours with my friends who meet here

And I wanted to visit and wish them festive cheer.

You guys made me think, and kept me on my toes

Your comments made my cheeks burn like Rudolph’s red nose.

You’re witty and warm like a good English beer:

And I wish you a good Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Blessings of the holiday season everyone. And I hope 2011 brings you all the success and happiness you so richly deserve.
Visit Ash's website at:
~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Friday, December 24, 2010

Sneaking time under the mistletoe!

Good morning my fellow grippers, and a Merry Christmas Eve to you all.
Ok, so that is about all the holiday cheer you are going to get out of me. I am off to work in about 30 minutes, and since right now I work in retail, it will be a interesting time. Each year differs slightly. Tomorrow though .. yeah, tomorrow is the time for holiday goodness. : )
The topic this week is Holiday Sex, and yes, I am to blame for the struggle some of my fellow grippers had with it. All I can say is, oops!
I figured a topic called Holiday Sex would get everyone thinking back ...
I know when I think Holiday Sex, I think of the newlyweds who are staying at one of their parents house for the holidays, and even though they are all grown up, and married now, they still feel a quality of sneaking around as they lay in bed together, kising, caressing, hoping no one in the household knows what they are up to.
Or maybe, it's Thankgiving, and Uncle Bert is passed out in front of the TV and they are sitting on the couch, very carefully touching under clothing so if anyone looks in, or Bert should snore himself awake, no one will know.
Whatever the meal that is being cooked, there is always the delightful game of molest the cook, while his/her hands are busy prepping food, washing dishes, etc. You know what I am talking about ... sliding a hand under the apron and down the front of the pants, slowly stroking against flesh, teasing without plans to bring things to fruition. (Although, this is not exclusive to holidays)
There's always Valentine's Day ... but most people know a little bit of nooky is going on then, so there isn't much of a sneak factor.
But what about Easter. Sneaking into the kitchen after the kids have fallen asleep, and melting down one of the giant chocolate bunnies and hurrying back into the bedroom with the pan carefully held so as not to tdribble melted chocolate on the rug. The frenzied stripping, as the chocolate hurriedly cools. Then, the agony/pleasure as it is dribbled on bare skin, the slight sting since it still has some heat to it. And then the rapture, oh godness the intense pleasure, as it is licked off drip by drip.
Or my favorite - Earth Day. *smiles* Going hiking with the family and splitting off when you find a nice secluded overhang just deep enough to sneak under where you lay down on the moist ground and with all of nature watching you, you have a quickie, leaving your bra as a signpost of your time spent there.
Those are the paths my mental wanderings take when I think Holiday Sex.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A Pagan Christmas Wish

Christmas has always been a pagan time of year.

Somewhere around the 4th Century, the Church picked December 25th as the date to celebrate Christ's birth in a special "Christ's Mass". The date was selected so that the Christians could compete with established pagan winter feasts like Saturnalia, Juvenilia and Samhain. The New Testament has nothing to say about the day or month that Christ was born on. Making Jesus a Capricorn was strictly a marketing ploy.

As I've watched Christmases slide by over the past few decades, it seems to me that the pagan nature of the festival has started to assert itself more and more. It has become a festival in which we throw ourselves into excess with as much noise, light, alcohol and food as we can lay our hands on.

Christmas parties are a time to get pissed enough to have the courage to try and get off with the girl from accounting with the big tits and the heart-shaped arse, while still having plausible deniability if you fail to pull or fail to get it up or fail to remember her name in the morning.

Christmas is a time when gangs of well-fleshed young women strut through night-dark streets, in tiny Santa's Little Helper uniforms that flash more flesh than they make the effort to stretch over.

Christmas is a peak time for the sale of sex toys and fluffy handcuffs and nickers with "I'm Your Christmas Ho Ho Ho" printed across the arse.

Men's magazine's run jokey articles on the best positions for a festive fuck, with illustrations of "The Sleigh," "Jingle Balls", "The Reindeer" and, inevitably perhaps, "Come All Ye Faithful".

None of this is my kind of thing.

My Christmas is indeed pagan. It centres not on a born-to-die-for-me baby with parents too clueless to book accommodation when they traveled – that lack of practicality makes a virgin birth almost plausible. My Christmas centres on celebrating life; specifically my wife's life and the fact that she continues to share it with me.

When we were in our teens, Christmas Day belonged to our families and we would spend it apart, so we developed the habit of celebrating on Christmas Eve beneath the Christmas Tree. We were young. We were not having sex. And yet one of the strongest sense memories I have is what it felt like to kiss and be kissed in the soft glow of the Christmas Tree lights:






For me these are the pagan spirits Christmas evokes each year.

I hope as many of them as you would wish for find you this Christmas Eve.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ba Bup!


Warm I float.


Soft I touch.

I am. Safe.

Peace I am. Names I need. Where are they kept from me? Safe. Safe I am, with ba-bup. All around me and above me, warm and always with me is ba-bup. I am surrounded and soft, and I press my leg into the warm and the soft and it presses me back. Hot feet I have, touching. Warm and soft, pressing me back. I stretch my arm and my fingers move through warm and touch the soft which touches me back. I hear. The soft I hear. Above me. All around me, never leaving me ever, sweet I love –

Ba-bup. Ba-bup. Ba-bup. Ba-bup. Ba-bup.

I love ba-bup. Inside me, in the middle of me, tiny, I feel I hear so small my own ba-bup speaking back. We sing we two. Ba-bup. Ba-bup.

Beyond the soft pressing me back are other sounds, like bubbles I can’t understand. Names I need. Sounds.

“Ow! He’s kicking. I felt it just now. Put your hand there, quick.”

Ba-bup. I press the soft. Ba-bup. Ba-bup. Ba-bup. I put out my foot against the soft and the sounds come again.

“I felt it! Little man.”

“He’ll be a football nut like his dad.”

“Love you. Everyone’s downstairs watching the game. We can do this.”

Ba-bup. Ba-bup. Ba-bup. Ba-bup. Ba-bup. Ba-bup.

Moving. Rocking which makes me sleepy. I like to sleep. I see things when I sleep. Something long ago. When I sleep I see myself, as I was, and I am big, strong and there is light. Things I used to know names for long before the warm and the soft came. And then I wake.

“Lock the door.”

“Think they’ll mind?”

“They’re downstairs.”

“I don’t know. Maybe we shouldn’t be doing this, not when you’re like this.”

“It’s okay. Hurry. I’m just so glad they let you back for Christmas. I want to show you what the Titty Fairy brought us. Close your eyes.”

“Okay, they’re closed. Unwrap my gift – is it unwrapped?”

“You can open your eyes.”

“Oh fuck me, look at you. Oh my god, can you keep those like that? I mean like forever?”

“Lock the door. Come on. Climb on board, honey, quick, quickie. Quick.”

Moving, moving. Feels good so that I open my mouth to laugh and the heavy and the warm is all in my mouth.

“Let me get you on the edge of the bed, so I’m not on top of your belly. Yeah, that’s the spot. Wait . . . here . . . here it is . . . oh my god. I’ve been waiting for this forever. Oh man.”

Moving moving. Sleepy. Rocking. The warm and the soft is pressing me down, rocking rocking me. And then as I’m about to sleep and the strange things I should know start to appear – I hear ba-bup. Calling me back from what was.

Ba-bup. Ba-bup! Ba-bup! Ba-BUP! Ba-BUP! Ba-BUP!

“Oh fuck. You sexy fucking cunt. I love you, you sexy bitch.”

“Don’t yell.”

“Oh Jesus Christ, Jesus, you sexy cunt, oh my god. You cunt! I just . . .I just . . I just got to – oh Jesus God.”

“Shh! Don’t yell. Shh!”


“I gotta fuck you so bad!”

“Shh, I know, I know.”

“You cunt . . . . I’m gonna. . . oh sweet Jesus, that’s so good.”

“Hurry honey. Hah! Hurry. Ahh! Like that. Just come. Just come.”


All sweetness, all around me. The ba-bup is happy and it makes me happy too. Its fun, the rocking and moving and ba-bup is laughing and ba-bup is happy and I want to laugh too. How? I used to know once, what this is. Before. Before the warm, I knew once the names of things.


“Fucking sexy cunt – I love you!”

“Shhh! Keep it down.”

Like bubbles, bubbles I feel against my skin, and I want to put out my hot feet and touch the soft but I can’t. I want to hold out my hand but I am pressed down and the warm is close and the warm is all happiness and I am happy too because the warm is so very, very happy.


“Aw shit . . .aw god . . . I gotta . . . I just . .. “

“Let it happen. Come for me, honey. Just let it pop.”

“Aw fuck . . . ah! No, no, ahh fuck . . . nuh! Oh Jesus Christ. Oh Jesus Christ. I just . . . I’m sorry. You come too.”

“Did you?”

“Fuck yeah. I love you. You’re so good to me. Why are you so fucking good to me?”

“Oh, honey. Come here, hold me. Love you too.”

BUP!BUP!BUP!BUP!Ba-BUP! Ba-BUP! Ba-BUP . . . ba bup . . .

“Let me stay inside. You come too.”

“No time. Pass that Kleenex box. Come on, hurry hurry. Kleenex.”

“I want you to come too.”

“Not now. At home. Not here.”


“Pass me the stupid Kleenex you bozo, your stuff’s dribbling out of me on their sheet. Hurry.”


“Here – you too, take some, look its hanging off you like snot, you’re going to drip your stuff on their rug.”

“I love fucking you. I just love fucking you. I’m crazy for you. You’re going to have so many babies.”

Ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup

“Your little horns fell off on the floor somewhere.”

“Those are antlers. Those are reindeer antlers.”

“I think you’re a little drunk, Joe.”

“Hell, I’m not. I can kick anybody’s ass in Afghanistan.”

“You’re pussy drunk,”

“That’s true. You did that. You make my balls ache. I think they’re busted.”

“You just needed it bad. You been away too long. Welcome home, soldier.”

“Hey. You too. Merry Christmas.”

Ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup

“Downstairs. Downstairs, cowboy, quick like a bunny.”

“Found my horns. They’re all squashed.”

Ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup

In the warm. Moving, all around, bumping against the soft, sounds again, like strings of bubbles. The warm and the soft, they’re so happy and it makes me happy.

What is the moving? Will ba-bup ever go away and I’ll be alone? I’m scared. I want ba-bup to stay with me forever. What are the names of things? Stay! Ba-bup! Don’t ever go, what are the names of things? How can they stay? I want to know! What is beyond the soft and the warm? I want to know! Now!

Ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup

Ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup ba-bup

“Oh fuck.”

“Mary? Oh my god. Oh my god.”

“I can’t believe I just did that. I’m sorry.”

The tall red headed woman by the sink puts down her can of beer and leans over the butcher block counter, looking down at the bare feet of a woman, who is standing bow legged in a soupy glistening pool spreading now on the kitchen floor.

“Call Dr. Rand, Laura. It’s happening. Tell him we’ll meet him at North Memorial.”

“Wait.” The red headed woman pushes the kitchen door and sticks her head through. “Joe? Get in here.”

On the other side of the door the TV crowd roars. “They’re on the fourth down. Wait for the commercial.”

“Joseph, you get your ass in here, now.”

A young man with plush antlers fastened on his head pushes open the door. “What’s your pr – oh my god.”

The woman in soaked blue jeans grins up at him sheepishly. “Its time.”

“Was it cause we –“ he points a finger up at the ceiling.

“Shh! No, shut up.”

The red headed woman shrieks with laughter and covers her ears. “Too much information!”

The standing bow legged woman tries to move her feet carefully. “Yeah, no. It’s not that, no. It’s just his time, is all. He’s coming.”

She looks up at the young man with the antlers on his head and smiles radiantly. “Merry Christmas, baby.”

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bulging Stockings

Since the theme is Holiday Sex, I thought I'd do something outrageous for this post. Something I've never done before. I'm going to actually talk about my own work throughout! Mainly because Holiday Sex ties in very nicely to two of my stories: Closer, and Waiting In Vain.

I guess I like writing about Christmas sex. Who knew? Not me. I've got no idea why I apparently like Christmas themed stories packed with nakedness and romping. Maybe it's something to do with the word romping, which goes very nicely with Christmas, I feel. As does frolicing- come on, you know what I'm talking about:

"She romped through the snow ladened hills, then froliced through tinsel bedecked living rooms."

Though thinking about it, that line has precious little to do with sex, and much more to do with fizzy twinkly stuff and frozen evol. So since it's Christmas and I'm in a very festive mood, I'll try again, just for you.

"She romped sexually through snow ladened hills, then froliced naked through lube-slicked tinsel."

Better? Possibly. Though I've just this second realised that putting together nonsense snow sprinkled lube slicked sentences tells me very little about why I like Christmas and sex together. The two words don't even go together, really. I mean, the first one starts off with possibly the least sexual word of all time: Jesus' surname. And it doesn't get any better from there. Mas? No. No. Not sexy.

Though I suppose if we shorten Christmas to its heathen brother, Xmas, it gets far easier. Sexmas is practically in the dictionary, for God's sake! Everyone knows Sexmas, even if it's just from the front of some cheeky novelty card that features Santas doing horrendous animal rights violating things to his reindeers.

And that's why I like Christmas paired with sex. Because Santa buggers Rudolph!

Wait. What?

I don't know. I really don't. I think it's just the cold outside, and the warmth inside. But then in Waiting In Vain, my hero and heroine do it in a shed. So I'm not sure how that matches up. Maybe it's the presents? The sexy gifts? I don't think a single gift is exchanged in Closer, though I'm pretty sure my heroine loves what she gets for Christmas.

Who wouldn't want Alexander Skarsgard in their stocking? Not that he'd actually fit, mind. I doubt he'd get his cock in my stocking, though Lord knows I'd do anything to squeeze it in. And after all, isn't that what Christmas is about? Cocks in stockings? I hope so, because otherwise I've just waffled on for half an hour with no point at all, because I had too much Christmas sherry while snogging my hubby on the sofa and quite forgot whatever it was I was going to say in the first place.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Stockings With Care

This is another difficult subject for me. I don't do holidays well. My parents say that one year, I marched into the kitchen and told them, "Let's get this straight. There is no Santa." They say that they begged me not to tell my older sisters and ruin the holiday for them. No matter the temptation, I must have obeyed my parents, because my sisters continued to believe for another few years. I don't remember much of that conversation because of the event that followed. By Christmas Eve, I had full-blown chicken pox. Being miserable the entire Christmas break, only to get well in time to return to school, forever set my holiday expectations to low.

With the Santa incident though, I suspect that my ambivalent feelings toward the holidays started before chicken pox. Do you remember being all excited to see what was under the tree on Christmas morning? I don't. It was always, and still is, a moment filled with dread.  

So now I feel that I've been a huge Debbie Downer, but I've been honest. There is one aspect of Christmas that I like, and that's accidental tradition.  We don't do a Christmas tree, we don't don matching outfits and take a picture, and I haven't sent out a Christmas card in years, but we have our own ways of celebrating. One year for Christmas Eve, I made corn chowder, topped it with crab meat, and made fresh bread. Now when I ask what they want for Christmas dinner, the answer is always corn chowder with crab and bread. It wasn't planned; it just happened.  Most of the way we approach the holidays is like that. Something worked; they want it again; I deliver.

In our house, gifts are opened Christmas Eve and stockings are for Christmas morning. (Once we got past the Santa thing. He always left something, but only one toy.) You won't find a candy cane in their stockings though. This year, there's Japanese soda, chocolate oranges, high end art supplies, and other bits of stuff that uniquely, weirdly, bizarrely, specifically reflect their special interests. Nothing makes the holiday for me like hearing them laugh when something tumbles out of their stocking and they say, "How did you know?" There's magic in that moment. Maybe even Christmas magic. I've never experienced it myself, but it's cool to see it happen for someone else.      

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Mistletoe Kisses

By Lisabet Sarai

Our topic this week at the Grip is "Holiday Sex". This had me stumped for a while. I don't really associate the winter holidays with things sexual. Halloween, yes - what else are outrageous costumes for? And Thanksgiving, believe it or not, because my initiation into BDSM took place during a Thanksgiving vacation. But Christmas? I don't really have erotic associations.

Then I remembered that I received my first French kiss in front of a Christmas tree, from the man who would later become my first lover. I can recall the scene surprisingly well. I was fourteen, staying with my aunt over the holidays. Although she was born Jewish and at time was a disciple of an Indian guru, she had for some reason set up a tree in the living room. I remember that the twinkle of the lights twining through the branches was the only illumination. The moment has a silvery glow in my recollection. P. encircled me with his arms and pulled me against his chest, while planting his lips firmly on mine. I had no idea how to react.

Then suddenly his tongue was in my mouth. The intimacy of that sensation shocked me. I guess I knew about French kisses, academically speaking, but the reality was like nothing I'd imagined. I felt excited and scared and very confused, not knowing what to do exactly, but really, really wanting to get it right. He held me there, exploring me, for what seemed like hours. Afterward, in my room, I was so high I thought I'd float right off the bed. He wanted me - me, shy and awkward as I was, with my heavy-framed glasses, plump thighs and frizzy hair... As for P., he was as beautiful as an angel, pale as snow, with hair like spun gold and sea-blue eyes. And he smelled so good... that's one thing I remember, incense and sweat and peppermint from the candy canes we'd been eating, strange, male, but so delicious...

Once I had dredged up that memory, my thoughts turned to other kisses, midnight kisses as the old year slipped away and kisses under the mistletoe.

I found myself curious about the mistletoe kissing tradition. Mistletoe, it turns out, has had spiritual or magical significance for millenia. It is associated with the divine male essence, hence potency and virility (possibly because the waxy white berries resemble drops of semen). The plant is also entangled in a resurrection myth.

An old Norse tale recounts the birth of the god Baldur, son of Frigga and Odin, the king of the gods. A prophecy regarding Baldur's premature death led Frigga to extract a promise from every plant and animal on earth, that they would never harm her son. Somehow, however, she omitted the mistletoe plant and when Baldur reached glorious manhood, Loki tricked Baldur's blind brother into slaying him with an arrow fashioned from mistletoe. Baldur was dragged into the underworld, but like Osiris and Persephone, was brought back to life by the efforts of a loving woman (in this case his mother).

After Baldur's resurrection, Frigga declared mistletoe to be thenceforth the plant of peace. None of this, of course, explains why mistletoe has become a license to kiss, although the links with the solstice season are clear. Mistletoe is evergreen, symbolizing everlasting life. Pre-Christian cultures associate midwinter with the death and rebirth of the sun. These themes continue to echo in the Christmas story itself.

Apparently American author Washington Irving wrote about the mistletoe kiss tradition as early as 1820. This suggests that it has been practiced for a good deal longer. Most of the sources I found pointed to Scandinavia as the original source of the custom.

However they originated, kisses under the mistletoe retain a sense of mischievous transgression. It doesn't matter who you are, how old you are, to whom you're married. If someone catches you beneath that sprig of emerald leaves and snowy berries, you must submit to his or her kiss. To resist is considered to bring terrible luck. And who knows what you'll discover, mouth to mouth, breath to breath? The potent magic of the Druid's sacred plant might lead to ecstasy - or even love.

I'll leave you with a literary kiss under the mistletoe, from my recently released holiday tale Almost Home.

The kiss caught her off guard.

One moment Suzanne was standing in the doorway to Helena’s den, scanning the occupants and wondering if she knew anyone at all at this party. The next moment someone twirled her around and fastened a pair of firm lips on hers. Out of instinct or habit, she closed her eyes. The darkness heightened her other senses. Powerful arms circled her body and pulled her against a fuzzy male chest. Her partner’s scent rose around her, a complex mix of soap and musk, evergreen and wood smoke. His tongue teased the seam where her lips met and she let him enter, her self-protective reflexes dulled by his warmth and the glass of merlot she’d downed on her arrival. His mouth tasted of eggnog and candy canes, appropriately seasonal. He was delicious, in fact—not just his mouth but the quiet confidence of his probing tongue, the sculpted muscle she felt under his sweater, his bold hands wandering across her back to her buttocks. She hadn’t enjoyed a kiss like this in a long time.

She’d felt chilled and tense ever since her plane touched down in frigid Boston but now her muscles began to unknot. He was a miniature sun, melting her, turning her languid and dreamy. She clutched at his solid form and returned his kiss, trading heat for heat. Tropical colours paraded behind her eyelids—fuschia, lime, peach, and aqua—shimmering like the water in her pool back home. She even began to perspire, her long-sleeved velvet dress suddenly too warm for comfort.

He pulled her full hips against his lean ones. A tell-tale lump, wonderfully hard, pressed against her belly. Her panties and tights dampened, too.

Normally she would have resisted but stress and alcohol made her susceptible. She allowed the kiss to lengthen and deepen, sinking into the pure pleasure of it.

Wishing you a Christmas full of merriment, mischief - and mistletoe!

~ Lisabet

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Uniform Behaviour

I religiously read and love the posts on this blog, so imagine my delight when I given a guest spot! Those crazy Grippers were going to let me loose on their cool-ass blog. I was pretty excited, until I was given the theme – Naughty But Nice.

For a second I thought “crap – they want me to write about Christmas.” Luckily, the next sentence in the email contained some blissful words “…but you don’t have to make it a Christmas thing.” BIG sigh of relief. So here I am, not writing about Christmas. If that’s what you were expecting, sorry! I’m just not a Christmassy kinda gal.

Despite this wonderful news, I still had to rack my brains for something that would fit the bill. Then I realised the answer was staring me in the face. For the past few weeks I’ve been writing, reading, editing and promoting my brand new erotic anthology, Uniform Behaviour – Steamy Stories About Men and Women in Uniform. The anthology in itself is naughty but nice.

It’s naughty because it contains sixteen smutty stories about men and women in uniform. Between the covers nestle mucky stories about firemen, soldiers, sailors, police, security guards and even waiters, priests and cleaners! It’s naughty because it contains stories by me (and you already know I’m naughty), Victoria Blisse (minx), Justine Elyot (super smutter), Elizabeth Coldwell (erotic genius) and many, many more awesome writers. Uniform Behaviour even contains a story written by a soldier currently serving in Afghanistan, and his buddies don’t have a clue! Now that’s some covert writing.

I know you’re now itching to go and buy a copy, but just hang on a minute. I want to tell you why it’s nice, first! Then I’ll let you go, promise. The anthology is nice because a percentage of the proceeds go to charity. Yes, that’s right. Myself and the other authors in the book are foregoing some of the millions we’re going to make in order to donate to a very worthy cause.

A portion of the proceeds from Uniform Behaviour is being donated to UK charity Help for Heroes. The charity was founded in order to help servicemen and women who have been wounded in current conflict. The charity does fabulous work and the founders have recently been awarded well-deserved OBEs.

As someone with good friends in the forces, one of which will be spending Christmas in Afghanistan, I couldn’t think of a better charity to link with Uniform Behaviour.

So you see, my smutty new anthology is both extremely naughty and terribly nice! Why not join in the fun? Grab yourself a copy of Uniform Behaviour from one of these listed retailers and you can be naughty and nice too! And if you’re feeling really Christmassy by now, you could also buy copies for all your friends. How nice is that?!

And since I’m now feeling nice (but don’t tell anyone!) – Merry Christmas, Everyone. xx

Friday, December 17, 2010

What's with the but?

I know that I should be focusing on the topic at hand, but if you will indulge me for just one moment - I graduated last Saturday! Whoohoooooooo! Happy Snoopy Funky-Chicken Macaraina Limbo dancing!

Okay ... now back to our regularly schedule blog topic.

I probably come at it all from the wrong angle, but I have never really understood the whole "naughty but nice" thing. To me, naughty has always been a good thing. If something is naughty, it tends to be a mild taboo, or forbidden for whatever reason, but not truly bad.

Maybe it is because I quite doing the Santa thing when I was 8. Even before then, I always had a problem with the whole around the world to everyone's house in 24 hours. And why didn't I ever get what I really wanted if Santa was so great? Huh?

Yeah. So the divide between Naughty and Nice never really clicked.

When I was younger I was naughty. I put my sisters bras on the fan and then when she would bring friends over I would wait until I could hear them coming up the stars, then hit the switch to turn the fan on right as the door opened. Oh yeah! Bras in the face!

Nothing bad about that.

In high school, I was naughty too. I admit it. But I wasn't truly bad. I did some silly, irresponsible things, but nothing truly awful.

Even now, I am what some people I know would consider to be naughty.

* I write erotica. Shhh! Big secret there. I have even written a short Christmas tale involving creative use of jingle bells, just in case anyone is interested. LOL *cough* Tied With A Bow * cough* I know, I am just naughty sneaking that in there! LOL

* I am bisexual. Yep, hell has a nice toasty spot for me after that one. And please, no lovely "fense-sitter" emails. My inbox is full enough as is. I am still playing catch up from, um, September. *See above off topic comment for reason why.

* I think that sex should be fun. And as I embaressed my whole Race, Class, and Gender class with comments on that particular issue, at least 30 complete strangers can now tell you that no way in hell am I a 'close you eyes and think of England' kind of girl. Me, I am thinking of Australia. The land down-under. *wiggle eyesbrows* (I had to explain that one to some in the class, which was almost as awkward as explaining to my very prudish mother that Rue Paul is a guy.)

* I believe that self-loving is a very necessary aspect of human sexuality, either with a partner or solo. Go Masterbation Month! I wish that I had been the one to think of that! Speaking of, I also love to watch people doing a little self-lovin'.

* And I know it isn't popular, even with some of my fellow grippers, but I love pin-up art! My favorites are Vargas and Garv. I also love looking at women in nudies mags. I know it isn't a popular topic, but well, it's just something that I enjoy.

All naughty things that a good girl shouldn't do. But hey, naughty is nice! Good thing that I never in a million years claimed to be a good girl. But I also try my best not to be bad.

Viva la naughty girls! And naughty guys!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lost In Translation

I’m out of step. I know that.

There are certain concepts that are alien to me. I can read them only in translation; working out what they mean but never having the depth of nuanced understanding that comes effortlessly to the native speaker.

“Naughty but Nice” is one of these concepts.

I know what it means. I see the appeal it has for people. I see the effect it has on their behaviour.

Naughty but nice is supposed to make me smile as I fondly recall risk-tinged pleasure achieved through forgivable transgressions.

Naughtiness, in moderation, is a proof of virtue.

Nice refers not just to the pleasure but to the unstained integrity of the person being pleasured.

Seriously, how can any adult work with a concept like that except on the basis of willful self-deception?

And yet, I can see that they do.

As I said, I am out of step.

Being out of step is not necessarily a good thing. I’m sure I miss out on a lot, like being able to be both naughty and nice.

It’s just how I’m built.

A couple of decades ago, I made part of my living running assessment centres using various psychometric tests. Before you can do such a thing, you have to go through all the tests yourself.

The woman testing me was polite and professional but I have a talent for seeing past such masks. She was not comfortable with what she had found.

She explained it a bit a time.

„You have a very low need for association“.

„You march to the beat of a different drummer.“

„You have extremely high insight into people combined with very low levels of empathy.“

„You have a strong need to shape your environment combined with low needs for approval.“

I’d done the training by then. I knew the code behind these carefully neutral statements.

I smiled at her. Her level of discomfort increased. But then, I’d known it would.

In a soft, calm voice I said, „So I’m a loner who doesn’t so much break rules as re-write them to my advantage; who can analyse the grief, fear, love or joy of others and still be emotionally distant from it; who takes control and has no agenda but their own?“

There was a pause. She looked me in the eyes as she said, „Yes.“

I admired her for that.

„Smile,“ I said, „It’s not everyday you meet a borderline sociopath.“

She did smile but I could see that she had reservations about the borderline part of my statement.

Psychiatrists have a strong emotional attachment to the concept of normal. It’s what enables them to study deviance.

Normal is a very value laden word, don’t you think? How about we replace it with, average or unexceptional, would the psychiatrists still be so keen to use it as measure of humanity?

My version of normal is shared by a single digit percentage of humanity. Still, it’s normal to me.

So in my version of normal, what does “Naughty but Nice” mean?

Naughty is a nursery term that we use to teach children not what is right or wrong but what they will be punished for and what they will not, assuming of course that they are caught.

Nice, as Little Red Riding-hood explained, does not mean good. Nice is one of those M&M words: it’s coated in polite, clean, socially acceptable sugar, but at its heart is the harder nut of almost addictive personal gratification.

Naughty but Nice is a marketing term that gives you permission to play with being bad, to scratch an itch without admitting to have a rash, to give up what you claim to believe to take what you think you need without confronting what any of that tells you about yourself.

I know, for a borderline sociopath, I’m not much fun am I?

I can’t seem to write Naughty but Nice. My heart isn’t in it. Evil? Sure. Guilty?, Definitely. Even honest and loving can make a good tale but naughty? … well, I don’t really get it.

It has all the appeal of dressing up as a Vampire at a SciFiCon and pretending that I become invisible when I cross my arms in front of my chest. I can’t quite manage the suspension of disbelief needed to carry it off and I can’t see the benefit if I succeeded.

I perhaps I’m just lost in translation.

In the spirit of trying to be a better writer, I decided to cook up a naughty little tale for this post. I think I over-shot naughty and landed thigh deep in nasty. See what you think.

I hope to see you again next week.

“Naughty But Nice?”

© Mike Kimera 2010

I shouldn’t have been hard but I was. After the night I’d had any normal man would’ve wanted to be deeply asleep. I’ve never thought of myself as a normal man and I what I wanted was to be deeply inside Christine.

Darkness greeted me as I pushed into the apartment. The blinds were down, blocking out even the moonlight.

Before I could reach the switch, Christine had me pushed back against the door. I could feel her nakedness as she pressed up against me, clamping her thighs around one of my legs.

“Well,” she said, “did she let you do it?”

There was so much hunger and malice in her voice that for a moment I pictured huge fangs ripping at my throat.

“No. She didn’t let me.”

The hand that had been stroking the length of my erection through my trousers suddenly grasped me hard enough to hurt.


I laughed.

“She didn’t let me. She begged me.”

“Sally begged you to fuck her arse?”

“On all fours, arse in the air, looking back at me over her shoulder.”

“Good boy,” she said, unzipping me and roughly yanking my erection out where she could get at it. “You followed my instructions?”

“No condom. No shower afterwards. Left as soon as she fell asleep. Yes ma’am.”

“I can smell her stink on you.”

She bit my neck and worked my cock with her hand.

“I have to taste it.”

Christine slid down my body and took me into her mouth.

“The Valentine’s gift worked a charm.”

The image of it blossomed in my mind, a camisole and panties in a truly dreadful red silk with white lettering.

“Little Sally’s nipples pushed through “Naughty”,” I said. “Her clit was a prominent ridge beneath the “I” in “Nice”. I’ve seldom seen anyone who wanted it that badly. Other than you, of course.”

Christine stood, wrapped one ballet-trained leg around my hip and fed my cock into her wet cunt.

“And did you fuck her badly?” she said, grinding against me.

“I bound her wrists with my tie, pulled her to the floor, ripped off her panties, pushed them into her mouth and set to work giving her the rimming of her life.”

“Poor little Sally. You must have driven the frigid little bitch wild.”

“I told you I could.”

Christine stopped grinding.

“Yes you did.”

“So I won my bet. I drilled your too-nice-to-be-true little sister’s arse. Do I get my reward?”

“Do you want it?”

“It’s Valentine’s night. What could be better that having anal sex with two sisters on the one night?”

Christine pulled my cock out of her but didn’t let go of it.

“You are not a nice man,” she said, squeezing my cock. “You can have me until dawn. You have to leave before my husband gets back tomorrow. You have to use a condom and if you call me Sally I will castrate you.”

Grinning, I let Christine lead me by the cock to her husband’s bed.