Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Beyond the Veil #magicalrealms #fantasy #PNR

Beyond the Veil
By Morticia Knight

When I began writing romance, my dream was to become a top paranormal romance author. I had cut my adult romance reading teeth on fare by PNR authors such as Karen Marie Moning and Christine Feehan. They were the first mainstream authors I’d read who had high heat levels in their books and I was hooked!

I took a left turn along the way, because even though I had plenty of paranormal plot bunnies lurking in folders on my computer, I also had other story ideas as well. An open publishing call went out for hunky men in uniform for a gay romance anthology, and I submitted one of those stories. While I didn’t make it into that antho, I instead ended up writing a series with that initial premise. The publisher felt it had more potential that way than as a short.

Fast forward several years later, and I’ve written many men in uniform stories (one comes out today as a matter of fact *wink*), plus lots of kink. But other than one turn with aliens for my Soul Match series, everything has happened here on this earthly plane.

Then, about a year and a half ago, that paranormal romance author wanted to get their turn. Since readers identify Morticia with hunky alphas facing danger or Doms wielding whips while in this dimension, I decided a new pen name was in order. I now write paranormal and mpreg books under the name M.M. Wilde.

These genres have opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me. I’ve written wolf shifters who are made aware of an ancient prophecy by a human caught up in a shared destiny with them, and a swan shifter who is rescued by a wolf shifter in the magical town of Vale Valley. Vale Valley can only be seen by those who are in need of love and a home. In the swan stories, I’ve had even more fun, because the swan shifters lay eggs instead of giving birth. There were so many literary options there to explore, and I rediscovered just how much I love world-building.

Tolkien has been mentioned already this month and with good reason. His fantasy world is one of the all-time most magnificent of ones, and I’m a complete and utter fan. One of the aspects I’m obsessed with more than any other are the elves and their culture. To me, the majority of the magic of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit stories can be found in the realm of the elves.

I had an idea for a story featuring the realm of the fae, and how they are in an alternate reality—beyond the veil—from the rest of humanity. I focused on the moon fairies of the world I created, and how they live in the constant glow of the moon in a never-ending night that is filled with plenty of beauty and joy. Of course, this story wouldn’t work for Morticia, so M.M. Wilde had to take over. Entwined turned out to be very sweet, while also being erotic. That’s the one area where I remain consistent across pen names!

While I intended for this story to be a standalone novella, there’s a chance I might revisit this magical realm again. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of our characters, especially when they’re as sweet as Bram and they live in such a fantastical place!

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Princess Plague

Sacchi Green

Long, long ago in what feels like a long way away, whenever I used to wish on star the wish would be that I could be a princess. Not a queen, definitely not a queen, because when you became a queen you were a grown-up, and the fun part of your life was over. I have one specific memory of making such a wish while riding in a car in a place near home, when that wouldn’t have been my home until I was in second grade, so I must have been at least seven years old. Is that too old to be wishing on stars about being princesses? In any case, I must have been exposed to stories about princesses—I was reading voraciously even by that age--and movies, too. I think Disney’s Cinderella was out by then, and probably Snow White.

Even then I knew that my wish had no chance of being granted, and that the kind of princess I wanted to be was a fantasy princess, in a fantasy story. The fact that many happily-ever-after stories ended with the princess becoming a queen was a drawback, but in some of them she just married a prince, which put off the queen part into the misty future. Still, the end of the story meant the fun part of a princess’s life was over, however “happily” you were told that they lived “ever after.”

Apparently this plague of princess yearning is still infecting little girls. My granddaughter, who is now thirteen and has outgrown the infatuation, was into princess costumes for Halloween as much as any other girl when she was considerably younger.  These days she's more into science fiction and the occasional monster.

I don’t remember what specific fantasy books intrigued me as I grew older, but there must have been some in our small-town library besides the well-known fairy tales. In my teens I went more for mysteries and science fiction and regency romances by Jane Austen and her successor Georgette Heyer, romances that didn’t deal much with royalty but did to some extent with the English nobility, which was close enough. Heyer’s were arguably fantasies of sorts, but not of the fantary genre. Tolkien’s books are the first ones I remember as being major, world-building fantasies, and those didn’t make it into print in the USA (illegitimately, at first) until I was in college and too busy with academical work and the occasional romance that edged into erotica to jump on the fantasy wagon, even for Tolkien. Eventually, of course, I did, and eventually read all of Tolkein to my kids, or rather my younger son, since the older son was reading Tolkien on his own by second grade. In Lord of the Rings, the character I most wished to identify with was Eowyn, not a king’s daughter, just his niece, but I was over princesses and entranced by strong, heroic women, of whom there were still very few. Many, many stories set in fantasy worlds followed. I especially remember Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider series, although those eventually tried to provide more science-fictional explanations for what had seemed like fantasy.

Much later, when I finally got around to the writing I’d always thought I would, fantasy was where I went. My first published story was in Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Fantasy Magazine. I was over the princess bit, of course; my heroine was a strong, influential general in an army of women, called “Silverwing” by her troops because she was going gray at the temples. She had long ago blocked out terrible memories of her earlier life, but was forced by emergency to recall, and use, the great powers of the Earth Mage she had always been but denied in herself. Other stories followed, enough to let me join SFWA, the Science Fiction Writers Association.

Then came my seduction into the world of erotica, certainly fantasy of sorts. Over the years of editing and writing for anthologies, I managed to slip in a very few erotic stories that could be classed as genre fantasies, too—one even had a shapeshifting dragon. That one is reprinted in my new collection, Wild Rides. Another was in a steampunk anthology, teetering on the brink between fantasy and science fiction. I tried for years to get my publisher to let me edit a lesbian fairy tale anthology, and eventually, just after I’d won my second Lambda Literary Award, they caved and sent me a contract. Much delay ensued due to the publisher being sold after my book was completed but not yet in print, but the new owners did bring it out at last, and it’s done pretty well, including being a Lambda Finalist. Nevertheless I can’t talk them into letting me do another one.

Which brings us back to the princess obsession. My anthology, Witches, Princesses and Women at Arms: Erotic Lesbian Fairy Tales does include several princesses, but none of them are looking for a prince, and all of them are well able to save themselves, though sometimes with the help of other women. I wrote a story myself for this one, with princesses even, but the main characters are a female troll and a woman from a Viking family forced to marry a weakling prince because the king wants to be sure of a strong grandson, and is holding her roaming brother prisoner until she produces such a child. I’ll close with an excerpt from that in which various princesses are introduced. You can judge for yourself just how far I've come from the princess obsession.

Sacchi Green

Trip, trop, trip, trop. Hjørdis stood back in disgust as Princess Tutti pranced across the bridge, hips swaying, the false tail strapped to the seat of her gown twitching. A coy toss of Tutti’s head knocked the goat horns on her headdress slightly askew. “Oh, Mr. Troll,” she piped in a falsetto voice, “are you there today? Don’t you want to eat us up? Look, this time there is a meatier prey than just we little goats!” She cast a mocking glance back toward Hjørdis. “A buxom brood mare!”
Hjørdis would have swatted the silly girl’s rump if there had been enough of it to be worth the trouble. Or, more truthfully, if she herself had not been bound by oath to abide peaceably among these puny southerners. For now. As it was, she took a threatening stride onto the wooden planks. Tutti ran off giggling toward the meadow, from which sounds of pipes and laughter and occasional playful shrieks rose above the lazy burbling of the stream.
Princess Vesla, also adorned with horns and tail, came up timidly beside Hjørdis. “There truly was a troll under the bridge a week ago,” she said in a tremulous voice. “When Tutti called out, I heard his voice, like the rumbling of stones. She thinks it was Werther, the dancing master, trying to frighten us, but I’m sure it wasn’t!”
“Oh? What did he say?” Hjørdis made some small effort to tolerate Vesla, who was not so spiteful as her sister Tutti. She felt also a slight sympathy for the girl, who had formed a hopeless passion for Hjørdis’s captive brother Harald. At least accompanying them on their outing, however nasty it promised to be, was an excuse to leave the castle.
“He said, ‘Scrawny bones not fit to pick my teeth! Get you gone!’” Vesla shivered. “But we haven’t heard him since.”
Hjørdis knew a great deal more about trolls than these little twits ever could. More than anyone could who had not known Styggri. That sounded all too much like what Styggri would say, in a humorous mood. But Styggri had crossed into another world from which there was no return.
Hjørdis looked more closely at the bridge. Its sides and the pillars beneath were stone, with wooden planking wide enough for two carriages to pass side by side over its double arch. And wide enough for a troll to lurk beneath, although why one should wish to, or venture this far south at all, was beyond her. Still… She gazed far upstream to where water surged out from a cleft in a rocky hillside. Nothing to compare with the jagged mountains and plummeting rivers of her home, but still part of a long arm of hills and ridges reaching out from those same mountains.
“You go on to your frolicking.” She gave Vesla as gentle a shove as she could manage. Gods, these pampered southern girls were brittle, twiggy things! And their brother the prince—her husband under duress—was no better. “I’ll sit a while here in the shade of the birches. This heat annoys me.”
“Oh! Are you, then…already…”
“No! And if I were, it would be too soon to know. Go along now!”
Vesla went, trying to keep the gilded wooden heels of her shoes from making as much noise on the bridge as Tutti’s had done. Once safely across she looked back over her shoulder. “Give Werner a few stomps from me,” Hjordis called. The foolish dancing master deserved whatever he got, with his tales of ancient times in foreign lands where satyrs danced on goat hooves and bands of women ran wild under the spell of a wine god.

Once her vow was fulfilled, Hjørdis would leave this flat land, leave even the child, which would doubtless be taken from her in any case. Better not to think of that. Better to be lulled by the voice of the water, close her eyes, and see the mountain home of her memories.
At first, when the voice of the water changed, that too seemed a mere echo of those memories. The longer her eyes remained closed, the longer she could imagine that Styggri was there, moving through the stream…climbing the bank…circling to stand behind her in the utter silence only a troll could manage...and Hjørdis felt a sudden presence like an unseen shadow cast across her. A troll, some troll, stood there.
“Good day, Elder Cousin.” Hjørdis spoke the formal greeting in the ancient troll tongue, as she had been taught by her uncle. Whether the trollfolk were truly distant kin of mankind, as they might well be, there was no denying that they had followed the retreating ice high into the mountains long before her own people had arrived. And more than likely that many a family had traces of trollblood in their background.
“You do not cross the bridge?”
Not a voice like the rumbling of stones at all. Closer to the murmur of fine gravel sifted through their fingers when they had searched together for blood-red crystals of garnet, like the silver-wrapped pendant that hung between Hjørdis’s breasts. Not Styggri’s voice as it had been when she was young, in the Huldra form, able to be-spell men…and Hjørdis…with her song; yet it was her voice.
"Good day, Elder Cousin.” Hjørdis spoke the formal greeting in the ancient troll tongue, as she had been taught by her uncle. Whether the trollfolk were truly distant kin of mankind, as they might well be, there was no denying that they had followed the retreating ice high into the mountains long before her own people had arrived. And more than likely that many a family had traces of trollblood in their background.
“You do not cross the bridge?”
Not a voice like the rumbling of stones at all. Closer to the murmur of fine gravel sifted through their fingers when they had searched together for blood-red crystals of garnet, like the silver-wrapped pendant that still hung between Hjørdis’s breasts. Not Styggri’s voice as it had been when she was young, in the Huldra form, able to be-spell men…and Hjørdis…with her song; yet it was her voice.
Hjørdis could not bring herself to turn and look. Hope leapt, then wavered, weighed down by disbelief, even a shiver of dread. "In five years you would not know me," Styggri had said, "even if I returned from under the mountains and did not cross over into the ice world." And Hjørdis had known it to be true. Troll women lived long, but left youth and any fleeting grace or beauty behind quickly. There were fewer and fewer of the trollkind left, even high in the mountains, and all she had known until Styggri had seemed very old indeed, including Styggri’s mother.
She must look, soon, but first she spoke. “There is nothing across the bridge for me.”
“Your prince is there.”
“No one of mine is there. No one of mine is still in this world, or so I was made to believe.”
Another spell of silence. Then, in the day-to-day speech of the mountain Norsemen, easier for them both, Styggri said, “I came back after all, and found you had gone off to wed a king’s son.”
Hjørdis’s neck was stiff from the effort of not turning. She stood and swung around in a single motion. “How can I know you are not a shade, an illusion, a snare?” But she did know. The deep-set gray-green eyes, shadowed now by thicker brows and creased at their corners, were still clear as mountain pools. The hair, even paler than it had been, arched back from a thong cinched high on her head, a traditional style seldom seen now even among the oldest trolls. Her nose was more pronounced, her face broader than it had been, and so was her body, arms and legs heavily muscled as was the way with trollkind, male or female. In elkhide breeches and loose wool tunic she could have been either, to a casual observer.
“What would you take as proof?” Styggri’s face remained carefully expressionless.
Hjørdis moved forward until the fine velvet of her gown brushed the homespun wool. She had been the taller by a little when they were younger; now they stood nose to nose. Slowly she bent her head, pressed her mouth to the hollow of Styggri’s throat, and drew her tongue along exposed skin that shivered at her touch. “Taste does not lie.”
She raised her head. The wide smile on Styggri’s face was the final proof. Years rolled away. They might have been lying on the sunlit rock beside a reed-edged mountain stream where Styggri had first spoken those words.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Magical Connections

By Tim Smith

This month’s topic presented a challenge for me, since I don’t write paranormal, fantasy, or shapeshifter romance. The other posts I’ve read have explored those very well, but I was left thinking “What am I going to contribute to this?”

It finally dawned on me that romance itself is magical, whether you’re writing it, reading it, or living it. Think back to the first time you encountered someone who instantly drew you in, the person you felt an immediate attraction to. While it’s true that physical appearance is part of the initial attraction, quite often it’s something deeper than that.     

Take it a step further. What was the magical connection you felt that wouldn’t let you go? Was it their smile? Their voice? The way they looked at you? Their mannerisms? Their willingness to engage with you for the first time? Did they say something that immediately put you at ease and helped you get over your anxiety of meeting someone new?

Now think about what fueled your desire to know them better. Something gave you the confidence to take that next step. Did you find them easy to talk to? Did they laugh at your jokes? Did they make you laugh? Did you find that you had some things in common, things you wanted to explore further?

If you’re lucky, a thing like that happens at least once in your life. For some of us, it’s happened more than once. Physical attraction may be part of it at first, but I like to dig deeper. I’ve met women who were what you’d call “stunning,” the ones who were the center of attention in a room full of people. That may have drawn me to them initially, but after a few minutes of conversation, I was disappointed to discover that it was all surface without substance.

One magical encounter when I was younger had nothing to do with physical attraction initially. The first thing that caught my attention were her eyes, bright blue and full of life, containing excitement and enthusiasm. Next was the smile, one that was friendly and open, accompanied by body language that wasn’t tense or defensive. Then came the voice, a smooth sultry sound that massaged each word, lulling me into a sense of dream-like euphoria. That was followed by some easy conversation peppered with a few laughs. There was also an interest in what I had to say and a willingness to satisfy my curiosity. The realization that she was very pretty didn’t hit me until later.

It was a truly magical connection.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Penetration: A Bit of Travel Erotica

Ellie watched him watching her all day as she explored the Forum and the Paletine, all the while the South American band on the sidewalk beyond the entrance, its members all dressed like Santa Clause, played an endless brassy version of Jingle Bells -- several weeks premature, in Ellie’s opinion. But even their brassy, slightly out of tune, homage to the season became background noise in the quiet of the Forum and the Paletine. She could have been on a different planet, in a different time, as she plugged this mystery man into a half a dozen fantasy scenarios unfolding in her fertile imagination, all involving filthy sex in the ancient site.

He was younger than she. God, wasn’t everyone these days, and she was always more aware of the march of time at the end of the year with her next birthday looming in the wings. Still, Ellie wasn’t so old that she didn’t recognize lust when she saw it. She gave a quick glance over her shoulder expecting to see the object of that lusty look in his eyes standing just behind her; someone young and beautiful, someone for whom the birthday looming in the wings meant only lovely, expensive gifts from secret admirers, someone more used to receiving that look, but the little nod and the Mona-Lisa-on-porn smile he gave her assured her that yes, she was the one. The look belonged to Ellie. 

She didn’t know why she wasn’t afraid. Maybe she should have been. But there was something extraordinary about him, and she couldn’t help feeling that he was as much a stranger to Rome as she was, or perhaps it was more that Rome, at least the way it is now, was a stranger to him. But then that was probably just her imagination running away with itself, wasn’t it?

But still there was something about him that made him stand out in the crowd, as though he were somehow more luminous, as though there was, perhaps, another dimension to him. But that’s often how Ellie’s fantasies ran when she was in the zone, when she was writing a new story. Nothing had to be ordinary in fiction, after all. Having said that, no one seemed to notice as he moved among the scuttle and press of tourist jostling no one, drawing no attention, not even the surreptitious glances of the young women hoping for a whirlwind Roman romance on their holiday to titillate their friends with upon their return home. He carried nothing. He wore no jacket, only a dark green sweater and jeans, warm enough for the late November sunshine.

Wherever Ellie went, he was always there, a few steps behind her or a few steps in front, always lingering when she did, hurrying on when she did, taking in the views when she did. In the Hall of the Vestal Virgins, she couldn’t keep from admiring his height and his dark good looks mimicked against the blue of the sky in the reflecting pool. In the shadows of the senate building, she could just catch the crook of his smile in a sliver of light filtering in through the open door. On the wall overlooking the Circus Maximus, he left her a perfect red rose, his shoulder just brushing hers as he slid past her in the push of a group of Chinese tourists. Ellie might have given a startled little gasp at the warmth of him, the electric brush of flesh against flesh separated only by a few millimeters of cloth. His breath against her ear was the dry sky and earth scent of cedar and rosemary, and she instinctually opened her mouth to take it in with her own breath. And then he passed and was gone, and she looked down with a start at the prick her finger on one of the thorns. Strange that the physicality of sucking the bright droplet of blood from her own finger was somehow arousing. 

All day it was like that, and Ellie had lingered far longer than she intended, enjoying the little game of cat and mouse, of hide and seek, of furtive glances, of half shy smiles. Before she realized it, the shadows were long; the docents would be herding everyone out of the Forum and Paletine for the night soon. It was in the now deserted underground passage near the House of Livia that he approached her at last. Consent was unspoken, but it was there as surely as if she had worn a big red YES across her forehead. That big red YES had had all day to evolve from consent to a desperate plea as he took her face in his hands and kissed her. For a second the world tilted around her and then shimmered like a mirage. The kiss deepened, his tongue caressing hers, his lips bruising; Ellie’s lips bruising back, his teeth nipping, and her opening to the bite of him, clinging to him, fists curled in dark, soft hair, breasts pressed against hard muscles that rose and fell reflecting her own struggle for breath. 

“If I take you here like this, in this place, you’ll belong to me,” he said, pulling away to slide his hand up under her blouse and cup her breasts in turn. “And when I call you, you’ll come back to me, no matter where in the world you are. You know this?”

“I know.” Ellie replied already shamelessly fumbling with his fly. And she did know. It occurred to her that she had known from the moment she saw him and, heaven help her, she was completely okay with that. 

He shoved her hand away and she heard the scrape of his zipper as he maneuvered himself free, as he shoved up her skirt and slid her panties aside with slight of hand that exposed her, open and begging like a nestling waiting to be fed. Perhaps Ellie whimpered at his touch, or perhaps it was the sound of the last sparrows settling into the cypress trees to roost as the day drew to a close. It didn’t matter which it was, all that mattered was that he was going to relieve a need she only just now realized had been aching inside her for a very long time. She felt the heat of him hard and smooth and searching against the inside of her thigh, and she struggled to get him where she needed him, but he held her there, calming her, speaking softly to her. 

“It won’t take long,” he said, opening her with two fingers, finding her more than ready. He held Ellie’s gaze with urgency, with focus, with secrets about to be revealed, fingering her until she squirmed and shivered and ached. “It won’t take long,” he repeated, “but I promise you, it will last an eternity.” Before she could question his meaning, he lifted her, hands cupping her bottom, until her back was pressed hard against the ancient brick wall and, with a quick thrust of his hips, buried himself deep, holding still for a moment, holding her still for a moment, sighing against Ellie’s neck, catching his breath as though he were inhaling her. And when she began to thrash, desperate for relief, he held her tighter and whispered against her ear. “Make it last. Soon enough you’ll wish we could have lingered.” And then he began to thrust and undulate and move deeper inside her 

At some point he bared her breasts, managing the bra with the same slight of hand he had her panties. He suckled from her as though from her breasts he could drink from the fountain of life itself. Her nipples, wet with his saliva, chilled in the dry Mediterranean evening, peaked beyond painful, existed only for his mouth. Her body was slick with the need of him, gripping and grasping and urging him deeper into her over and over until she dissolved around him, falling to pieces, crumbling to dust, disappearing on the breath of a breeze as had all those who had lived in this place before. And at the very point at which there was nothing left but an essence almost as old as the very bedrock of the Paletine, he spilled himself into her. Again and again he filled her until surely he had replaced the very blood in her veins with his lust, with his passion, with himself. And when he was finished, when they were both finished and the world settled back into place and time began to move again, Ellie came back to herself in little spasms and gasps, receding shudders and softening heartbeats leaning against the wall, trembling breathing in the scent of cedar and rosemary and sex. 

“Are you all right, Signora?” Ellie started at the voice of the docent standing at the end of the passage. “I am sorry but the Forum is closed now. You must leave.”

Ellie nodded, still not trusting herself to speak, and followed the docent on unsteady legs out of the passage, down the steps past the House of Livia and to the exit gate where the South American Santas were still playing Jingle Bell,sand the traffic of the Eternal City still buzzed and honked its way down the busy thoroughfares as the sky darkened to midnight blue with evening’s approach. But there was no further sign of the man. She hadn’t expected there to be. It was only after she got back to the St. Regis Hotel and settled in to reflect on the events of the day over a nice glass of Primitivo that she found the remains of a crushed red rose in her jacket pocket and the prick on the tip of her finger stung with muscle memory.

Ellie never slept on planes, especially not on a flight as short as one from Rome to Heathrow. But this time she did, or she thought she did. But maybe she wasn’t really asleep, and she certainly wasn’t on BA flight 547 heading back to London either. She was in the House of the Vestal Virgins lying on the grass looking up at the night sky. There were people moving around her, but not close enough that their presence mattered. She could hear the chatter of women’s voices, and strange music wafted on the night air. Everything felt different, smelled different. Nothing was ruined. Everything was made new and yet still old enough that history was lost in myth.

This time he came to her in a toga. It was white and so was he, bathed in moonlight as he was. He knelt in front of her and lifted his robe, his eyes locked on hers as though he could convey to her what he wanted, what he needed, what he was offering. In response Ellie rucked up her own strange robes and lifted her hips, showing him her own wants and needs that went so much deeper than the physical need for penetration. With a slight nod and a lowering of dark lashes, Ellie knew that he understood what she wanted, what she always wanted, what she always knew penetration really meant. He entered her with a grunt and an oath in a language she didn’t understand, and then he lowered himself until his weight rested on his elbows and he still held her gaze. “Don’t you know there’s no place you can’t now go, no time you can’t visit, no thing you can’t now hold in the grasp of your mind?” Then he began to thrust, slowly, deliciously, as though they had all eternity. 
“You’re mine now,” he whispered when he came, “and time and circumstances no longer matter. You’re mine and,” he bent his dark head to lay a kiss on the place between Ellie’s breasts where her heart hammered the rhythm of her own release, “and I have always, always been yours.”

Ellie woke up with a little jerk in the World Traveler Plus section of flight 547 bound for Heathrow. Only a few moments had passed, but she had not been present for those few moments. She had been back in Rome, back with him. For a moment she sat disoriented, astounded at how clearly she had heard his call and how quickly and easily she had gone to him. It had taken no time, no space, no effort. She had been penetrated deeper than flesh, and it was for Ellie like it is with all writers. When it happened, Muse or overly active imagination, the story that comes has to be written.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

The Magician and Me #Tarot #Writing by @GiselleRenarde

Universal Waite deck © U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
I'm coming home to things I loved as a teenager. Tarot is one of those things.

When I can't sleep, I listen to tarot podcasts. One night, I listened to a podcast about calculating your birth card. I knew about significators--cards you use to signify yourself or other people--but I'd always used the card associated with my astrological sign as mine.

My birth card (Major Arcana card you get to by adding down your birth date, month and year until you have a number that's less than ten) turned out to be... The Magician.

I wasn't feeling particularly magical when I made this discovery. This past year has been full of grief, depression, anxiety, and plenty of other deep feelings. I've been in midlife crisis mode, big-time. I've made sweeping changes and questionable choices.

Where work is concerned, I wondered: "What is the point?" My books are still selling, but only the old ones. When I write something new, I can't seem to convince more than 3 people to buy a copy.  It's disheartening, it really is.

Life felt like something that was happening to me, not something I was actively engaged in. When I was numb, I didn't care whether I lived or died. When my feelings came back, I had too many all at once. Too many emotions, too strong. What's preferable? Feeling too much or feeling dead inside?

When I realized The Magician was my birth card, it opened up something inside me. Couldn't have come at a better time, because I was really starting to feel like I had no control over my life. Huge choices and life events all seemed to be in other people's hands, and I felt like I was just waiting for others to make a move so my life could finally begin.

The Magician doesn't wait around. The Magician makes things happen. He is me. I can manifest my will here on earth! I can do it!

One of the tarot podcasters I listen to and love is constantly saying that nothing's fixed in stone--if you don't like the direction your life is going, you can change it. For some reason, that had never occurred to me. I felt like I just had to wait around until something happened, and hope it was something good.

The Magician card convinced me that I have a part to play in my own life. I don't have to feel like everyone else is running the show (though, realistically, I still do, most of the time). I have the option of making choices and acting on those choices. I can choose which direction I want my life to go.

Even that much is progress. A few months ago, I felt like I had no life left in me.


Saturday, July 20, 2019

Sexy Shorts by Cameron D. James

Unfortunately I don't have any published work even remotely fitting this month's theme, so let's go with the one that's on sale this month!

Sexy Shorts: Volume One: Gay Hookups and Anonymous Quickies is FREE on Smashwords until the end of July 2019! (Are you reading this after July 2019? You can still get this ebook for free by signing up for my newsletter! If you insist on paying full price for it, click here to find out where it's available.)

Sexy Shorts: Volume One: Gay Hookups and Anonymous Quickies by Cameron D. James

When men burn with desire…the only way to quench that fire is to give into it…

In this scorching hot bundle of ten super short gay erotica stories, you’ll find horny and desperate men engaging in discreet encounters, anonymous hookups, quickies in public places, older on younger, and much more.

Sexy Shorts: Volume One includes five new stories and five previously-published stories. As a BONUS, this book also includes Go Deep (Men In The Hot Room #1), Cameron’s yoga-themed gay erotic story that’s been downloaded over 12,000 times!

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I follow the guy into his bedroom, eyeing his ass in those tight jeans. I don’t normally hook up with daddy-types on Grindr, but something about this dude is making me hard. He turns around and sits on his bed, giving me a sly grin. I immediately fall to my knees in front of him and grab the zipper on his fly, yanking it down. I need to get to that daddy-cock.

“Whoa,” he says, placing a hand on top of mine. “What’s the rush?”

“It’s sex,” I say, sort of confused by his hesitation. “Get off and get out, you know.”

He wraps his fingers around my hand, holding me tight. “I thought we’d kiss a bit, enjoy the moment.”

“I don’t kiss,” I say. “Kissing is for lovers — this is just a hook-up.”

He chuckles and I get a surge of irritation. If I had known he wanted a boyfriend, I would’ve hooked up with someone else. He pulls me to my feet, then has me sit next to him on the bed. I can’t help but let out a sigh of frustration. I want to eat his load, not kiss his lips.

He doesn’t let go of my hand and we end up just holding hands and staring into each other’s eyes. He’s attractive, I’ll give him that. And his charm on Grindr was what had won me over. I guess I can indulge him, if only just for a few moments.

Not letting go of my hand, he puts his other hand on the back of my head and slowly pulls me toward him. Our lips press together and he starts to kiss me. I don’t want to be like a dead fish to him, so I kiss him back. He moans softly into my mouth and that sound of pleasure, that burst of warm air of him sighing into my mouth, seems to turn something in me … something … I wasn’t sure what.

With my free hand, I reach up and caress his chest, feeling his muscle through his shirt. Soon, I move my hand up to the back of his head, holding him the way he’s holding me, and I kiss him passionately. It feels unnatural, at first, but the more I do it, the more I get into it.

He nibbles on my bottom lip and I moan just like he had done. He nudges me backward and I fall down on the bed, breaking our kiss for a moment, making me desperate for his closeness again. I almost whimper in need, but then he lies next to me and rolls onto me, propping himself up with his hands. He presses his lips against mine and suddenly that warmth and connection is back. I open my mouth and let him slip his tongue inside. I caress his tongue with mine, feeling the velvety softness, tasting the beer he’d had before I came over.

As he kisses me, he starts to grind his hips against mine, rubbing his bulge over my bulge, bringing me a surge of pleasure that only kicks the passion of our kiss into overdrive. I wrap both my arms around his neck, pulling him even closer, locking myself onto him and not letting go — I can’t let him go.

But then he grabs my hands from around his neck and forces them down to the bed above my head. I whimper, desperate to have my limbs locked around him again, but then he presses into me — hard. My wrists are pinned to the bed and he puts more of his weight on me, bringing us even closer together. As our bodies rub together, I can feel everything through our clothing — his cock, his balls, and his hard nipples. And every brush of friction brings a new electric tingle of pleasure to my body … pleasure I had never experienced before.


Sexy Shorts: Volume One: Gay Hookups and Anonymous Quickies is FREE on Smashwords until the end of July 2019! (Are you reading this after July 2019? You can still get this ebook for free by signing up for my newsletter! If you insist on paying full price for it, click here to find out where it's available.)

Thursday, July 18, 2019

#MagicalRealms by Ashe Barker

They say, do they not, that a good teacher is never be forgotten? They remain with us throughout our lives, their influence permanent and enduring. I suspect the same is true of poor teachers, though for very different reasons and I could mention a story or two from my own school days to illustrate the point., But that is not what we are about today. This is the theme of magical realms and for this I need to share with you my recollections of Mr Woodcock.

Mr Woodcock taught me for a year at junior school I was, I think, about eight or nine years old. He was a tall, skinny man with big glasses and a perfect aim with the blackboard rubber. He could hit a fly, on the wing, from across the room so was, clearly, a man to be taken seriously.

From the moment he walked into the classroom, he had our absolute attention. That, I would suggest, is the first requisite of a good teacher. He was interesting.

He was also interested. In everything. And he never passed up an opportunity to teach. On one occasion a sudden and violent storm appeared out of nowhere. The skies blackened, it went totally dark and huge hailstones started landing in the school playground. Mr Woodcock abandoned the arithmetic lesson in favour of poetry writing and had us all rush to the window and write a poem about what we saw. That plan was hastily revised when the hailstones started to smash the milk bottles in a crate by the school gate and we penned our literary masterpieces from the safety of the back of the classroom.

It was Mr Woodcock who introduced me to magical realms, in the form of the Chronicles of Narnia. Up until then I had existed on a bland diet of Enid Blyton and her tales of pixies and gnomes intended for much younger children, but C.S. Lewis wrote for children like me. His tales were of adventure, danger, good and evil. And Mr Woodcock was able to bring Mr Lewis’s magical realms to life with his inspired story-telling.

At the end of each school day we would down our pens and pencils, put the books away and pull our chairs up around Mr Woodcock’s desk to listen to a chapter. He started, not with the tried and tested old favourite, The Lion. The Witch and The wardrobe, but instead Mr Woodcock introduced us to The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. We sat, in rapt amazement, in absolute silence, as the tales of Prince Caspian, the mystical Aslan, the courageous human heroes and heroines (yes, heroines!)  and the magical world of Narnia unfolded in our imaginations. Mr Woodcock was able to do the voices, and somehow he always managed to finish on a cliff hanger at exactly the moment the bell went for home.

We would plead with him to let us stay and listen longer, but he was adamant. He knew how to work a crowd, did Mr Woodcock.

Next came The Horse and His Boy. By now I was well and truly hooked. By the time the summer holidays arrived and Mr Woodcock went the way of all gifted teachers, on to bigger and better things, I was an avid reader

Looking back, I do think my love of books and story-telling started there. I persuaded my mum to buy the Narnia books, the entire series, and I read them all. I read ahead, so I knew what was coming, but still, Mr Woodcock’s performances at the end of each school day held me enthralled.

There have been many since to rival C.S. Lewis’s masterpieces. My own daughter loves Harry Potter and prides herself on being something of an authority on all things Hogwarts. Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, there is no shortage of literary enchantment to be had and comparisons seem futile and pointless. They are all quite, quite excellent.

But Narnia and Mr Woodcock will always be my favourites.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

It's not about power; it's about love - #Lesbian #ParanormalRomance #Gloucester

The Witches of Gloucester cover

Paranormal is actually one of my favorite sub-genres. For some reason, though, most of my stories that feature magical realms tend toward the darker side. In some books (e.g. Necessary Madness, The Eyes of Bast, and Serpent’s Kiss), my protagonists must battle incredible evil before they get their happy ending. In some books (e.g. Underground, Fourth World), many characters don’t get a traditional happy ending at all.

One major exception is The Witches of Gloucester, a lively, sexy, seriously magical lesbian ménage fantasy.

Its not about power. Its about love.

The historic port of Gloucester, Massachusetts has a special charm, due at least in part to its resident witches. For decades, raven-maned Marguerite and red-headed Beryl have lived among its hard-working inhabitants, making magic and mischief. Love and sex fuel their supernatural abilities, but duality limits their power. To reach their full potential, they need a third witch to complete their circle.

Rejected as a nymphomaniac by her puritanical boyfriend, Emmeline escapes to Gloucester to work on her PhD thesis. From the moment she arrives, Marguerite and Beryl sense her erotic vitality and unrecognized paranormal talent. The platinum-haired beauty may well be the enchantress they have been awaiting for so long. Now they need to show Em that her prodigious libido is a gift, not a liability, and to persuade her that her destiny lies in the sea-girt town they guard, and in their arms.

Good Harbor Beach, Gloucester, MA
Photo by Lisabet Sarai

Here’s an excerpt in which Emmeline is introduced to her own powers.

* * *

More tea, Emmeline?”

Marguerite’s voice roused her from her lascivious memories. Her hostess gestured with the blue-and-white pot. Emmeline stared into her empty cup. She didn’t remember drinking anything beyond the first sip, though the flavor of lapsang souchong lingered on her tongue.

No – no thank you.”

More cakes, then. You must. Otherwise we’ll have them left over, and they don’t keep.” Beryl offered a plate still half full of delectable confections.

Thanks, but I’m stuffed. Really.” Recklessly, Emmeline dared to meet Beryl’s hazel eyes. The half smile on the redhead’s full lips set up a wet tingle in her pussy, but she persevered in her slight rebellion. “Probably you should have invited the rest of the Welcome Brigade.”

To be honest, we wanted to keep you to ourselves, my dear.” Marguerite rose to push the table away from the divan, clearing an area on the floor. “We had the feeling that you were someone special.”

But we weren’t quite sure.” Beryl slid off the sofa to sit cross-legged on the carpet. “Why don’t you come down here? Across from me, that’s right. We’re going to play a game.”

A game? What kind of game?” Memories of high school spin-the-bottle flashed through Emmeline’s mind. I wouldnt mind kissing Beryl, she mused. Or Marguerite either. She’d never been attracted to women before – at least not consciously – but now the notion seemed the next natural step.

Cards,” Marguerite answered. She lowered herself to join them on the floor, tucking her legs underneath her, then placed an over-sized deck in the center of the triangle formed by their bodies. An intricate design decorated the back of the cards, full of stars and planets, fanciful animals and twining vines. The illustration, plus the size of the cards, led Emmeline to expect a tarot deck, but when Marguerite turned over the top card, it was an ordinary three of hearts.

Take a good look at this card, Emmy. Fix it in your mind. Close your eyes and visualize it.”

Card tricks? Spin the bottle sounded like more fun. Brushing the thought away, Emmeline did as Marguerite instructed.

Can you picture it?”

Yes. Of course.”

Now open your eyes. I’ve hidden the card somewhere in the deck. I want you to find it.”

Don’t be silly!”

I think you can do it, Emmeline.” Beryl fixed her with that penetrating green-gray stare of hers.Concentrate. Send your mind out seeking that three of hearts. Listen until you hear it call.”

Please! I don’t have any kind of psychic abilities or anything.” The two women stared at her, focusing on her face. Their scrutiny sent hot blood climbing into her cheeks. “Aside from a couple of strange dreams that seemed to predict the future... Honestly, I can’t.”

I believe you can,” said Marguerite, her voice rich and sweet as whipped cream. “You can if you try.”

Do it for me, Emmy.” Beryl leaned forward. Her blouse gaped at the neckline, revealing the symmetric curves of her bare breasts. Emmeline’s own nipples snapped into aching knots.



She heard authority in Beryl’s voice, power that had been cloaked until now. It simply wasn’t possible to refuse.

Okay, okay...” Em shut her eyes once again and summoned the image of the card.

Some force tugged at her hand. At first she tried to ignore it, but as the pull grew stronger, she gave in. With the three of hearts blazing behind her closed lids, she reached for the deck, gripping it with her thumb and forefinger about a third of the way down. She cut the cards, laying the part of the deck she’d removed face up on the floor. When she opened her eyes, a ten of clubs showed on top.

You see? I told you...”

Marguerite’s voice was almost inaudible “Look at the card on the top of the stack you have left, Emmeline.”

She flipped the card over to reveal the three of hearts.

Fear, excitement and lust washed through her in alternating waves. She pushed the exultation away.

It’s just random luck,” she said, wanting but not daring to believe. That force, that attraction – she’d imagined it. She was suggestible – Tim had always said so – and these two women had formidable wills.

Try again,” Beryl urged.

The two of spades, the Jack of diamonds, the ace of hearts – she found them all, one after the other. The pull of the card she sought grew stronger each time.

What does it mean?” she asked at last. She sounded small and scared to her own ears.

Let’s try something else first.” Marguerite drew a card from the deck, gazed at it for a moment, then placed it face down in front of her. “Tell me which card I just picked.”

The answer came to her almost before the tawny beauty had asked her question, with no effort at all. “Four of diamonds.”

Now me.” Beryl selected not one but three cards, setting them out in a row. “You know what to do, Emmeline.”

The messages weren’t so clear this time. She felt as though several different people were shouting in her head. Images of cards flashed by, too fast and indistinct for her to decipher. “I don’t know,” she whimpered. “I can’t...”

Beryl seized her by the wrist across the gap. Power jolted through her. The pictures snapped into focus. “Nine of spades, six of clubs, Queen of hearts. Oh my God...”

Marguerite gathered Emmeline into her arms as the girl burst into ragged tears.

* * *

The Witches of Gloucester is currently on sale for only $1.50 at Smashwords.

It’s also available as an audio book.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Magical Encounters

by Jean Roberta

Anthropomorphic animals in fantasy stories allow human readers to imagine inter-species romances that aren’t exactly bestiality, since animals who behave and speak like humans are not part of the real world.

My new collection of stories, Spring Fever and Other Sapphic Encounters, includes several new and reprinted fantasy stories. My story “Madame Blanche” is a version of “The White Cat” by Countess d’Aulnoy (originally written in French in the 1600s), and it first appeared in Rumpledsilksheets: Lesbian Fairy Tales from Ravenous Romance press. Both main characters feel they are under evil spells. Madame Blanche, the lady of a mysterious castle, must live in the form of a cat, along with all her courtiers.

“Prince Val,” as she calls herself, was born female but believes she was meant to be a man. Can each of them morph into her (or his) true form? As you could probably guess, love is the key.

Note that this story is romance, not erotica. It doesn’t get more explicit than this:

"Blanche had large eyes as green as emeralds, which she would fix on her guest whenever she spoke. The gaze of the little cat made Val feel as though her very thoughts were heard and accepted. She hoped Lady Blanche could not guess what lay under her manly attire.

After luncheon, all the cats and their human visitor mounted wooden horses in the stable yard, and galloped to a place where rats were as numerous as stars in the night sky. What a hunt it was! Val had brought her bow and arrows with her, and she fired at the prey while her feline companions leapt from their mounts to attack the biggest rats with teeth and claws. Some of the rats fought fiercely enough to injure their attackers, and then the wounded cat-courtiers jumped back onto their wooden horses to return to the castle where a cat-physician awaited.

And so Val spent many days in the delightful company of Lady Blanche and her companions, who grew accustomed to the human in their midst. During court balls, Val danced with the little cat in her arms to compensate for the great difference in their heights.

When Lady Blanche needed rest, as she often did during the day, she sought out Val and curled up on her lap. Val learned that her furry companion welcomed Val’s touch. Blanche often bumped Val’s hand to show that she wished to have her ears rubbed or to be scratched under the chin, and when Val stroked her back, she shivered in ecstasy. As the lady cat's eyes closed and she purred contentedly, the warmth of her little body would permeate Val’s trousers and awaken her hidden womanhood, including the button of flesh that so longed to be touched.

In short, Val fell in love in a way she found more surprising than anything she could imagine. "Lady," she told her hostess one day, "I don't know how this could be, but I love you so much that I wish I could marry you. Alas! If you cannot become a woman or tell me how to change your form, could you not ask the one who bewitched you to change me into a handsome tom-cat?"

The answer was like an arrow piercing Val’s heart. 'No, my love.'

That night, she could not sleep comfortably, even on a bed of goose-feather mattresses. Emerging from her bedchamber in the dark, she heard the quiet click of little claws on marble floors. Val followed stealthily, following the sound of cat-paws to a small chamber at the top of a tower where moonlight poured through a round, uncovered window. The little cat’s white fur gleamed in the watery light as she jumped from a table to an armoire to an old chair. She wore no clothes and seemed possessed by restless spirits. When she flung herself to the floor and crept along on her belly, singing in her own language, the Princess understood her condition. Lady Blanche was in heat. "

Another fantasy story, new to Spring Fever and Other Sapphic Encounters, also takes place in a castle. In this case, a visiting wizard named Sir Theobald has come to help Lady Elinor withstand a siege by sex-demons in the absence of the lady’s husband. The story is told by Lady Elinor’s companion, Margaret, who notices that the wizard has brought along his own manservant or apprentice, Robin, a man with goodly thighs. Two more servants, Joan the Cook and young Stephen, make up a group of half a dozen who are determined to raise sexual energy to resist intruders.

Lady Elinor says she will only mate with her own wedded lord, and the wizard tells her how to make this happen.

"When the door to the chamber was locked, Sir Theobald created a large circle on the uncovered floor with salt that he carried in a bag under his robe. 'This will have to do,' he told us, 'to control any spirits who may join us. My lady, a frosty window must serve as a scrying-glass. Stand as high as you can on a chair, and look into the frost on a window-pane. It is a world in miniature, and you must study it until you see your lord walking toward you through a crystal garden.'

Lady Elinor did as she was told. “I see him!” she exclaimed. 'He approaches!'

'Then we must all gather within the circle,' said the wizard, 'and you, my lady, must not let your lord’s image fade from your mind until each of us can see him as clearly as you do yourself.'

My lady lifted her skirt to step over the line of salt, and we all enjoyed the sight of her slender legs. 'Ah,' remarked Sir Theobald. 'No clothes are allowed within our circle of truth. We must all be skyclad.'

Joan began unlacing her gown, showing a deep valley between her large, rolling breasts. She paused, as though for modesty, but then I perceived that she was revealing herself in phases that resembled the acts of a play. After the debut of her breasts, she removed her cap and undid her golden hair, releasing it in waves down her back.

Stephen struggled to remove his clothes without taking his eyes off our lady or Joan. I placed my shoes near the door, then stood as close to the fire as I dared while pulling off layers of cloth and folding them into piles. I was sure my buttocks were reddening from the enchanting heat of the fire. I hoped that we would all kindle enough warmth of our own not to mind when the fire died down.

Stephen stared openly at my sturdy arms and hips, and I noted his strong preference for female flesh.

We six were soon an oddly–assorted group, as naked as lunatics or honest beasts.

'Hold hands,' commanded Sir Theobald, 'and don’t break the circle!' I clutched young Stephen’s hot, dewy palm with one hand, and my lady’s small, cool fingers with the other. The light from the windows declined like a receding tide.
'Hocus pocus penis maximus,' chanted the wiseman under his breath. 'Futuere amare vivere.'

Sir Lionel appeared in the center of our circle, and his expression showed bewilderment. His hair and beard were untrimmed and unwashed, and his skin shone with sweat beneath its coating of dust. He looked thinner than before and wore only a ragged linen shirt that showed his bare legs and his cock, which stood out proudly from its nest of greasy brown hair. The man smelled of woodsmoke and of earthier things.

'Wench?' he asked, looking at each of us until he came to his wife.

'Lionel, my love!' she screamed, as though in answer. She leaped into his arms and wrapped her legs about his waist. Without more ado, he guided his eager cock into her weeping cunt while she squirmed forward to accept it.
I felt as though we five were witnesses to a wedding night, but it was not a perfect union. The lord grunted as he thrust into her again and again. 'Ah-h-h.'

My lady leaned forward to rub her small breasts against her lord’s hairy chest as they galloped together. She looked into his eyes as though seeking something.

Sir Theobald’s cock looked full enough to burst, and I saw that Robin and Stephen were in the same state of readiness. Joan and I shifted from foot to foot, rubbing our thighs together.

The wizard moved behind Sir Lionel, and tore the shirt from his back; the cloth parted like a spiderweb when pierced by a knife. Then Sir Theobald licked one finger, and slid it slowly into our lord’s nether hole in time to his thrusts. 'My lord,' murmured Sir Theobald into his ear, 'where are you?'

I could see our lord’s strong buttocks clenching from the stimulation he was receiving, both fore and aft. He seemed unable to speak. He clutched his lady’s bottom with both hands, and pulled her tight against him in an agony of pleasure. He groaned and trembled, and it seemed clear that he was discharging inside her. Sir Theobald withdrew his finger, and backed away.

Tears spilled from Lady Elinor’s eyes and poured down her delicate face, now reddened with sorrow. She seemed unable to recognize the rutting plowman who held her, although she would not have parted from him.

'My lady,' admonished the wizard, 'calm yourself.'

'Lionel,' she whispered. 'do you not know me?'

'A fine house,' declared the lord, who seemed unaware that the house was his own. He gently pried his lady’s thighs from his hips, and set her on her bare feet.

Sir Theobald stood before our lord, took his shrinking cock in his hand, and squeezed it unmercifully. 'My lord!' he shouted.

'Ye gods of old!' shouted Sir Lionel. 'Am I dreaming?'

At last, I could catch a breath. Our lord seemed to be back in his own body, and present in every sense.
'If you were,' retorted Sir Theobald, 'you would not feel this.' He released the cock in his hand, stepped behind our lord, and smacked him smartly on the backside.

'Such unkindness,' groaned Sir Lionel, although he could not banish the smile from his face. 'Elinor, my love, you were not to venture into dangerous lands to find me.'

'The visitors’ parlor?' she retorted. 'How dare you?' she continued. Her still-unsatisfied arousal seemed transformed, by some alchemy, into rage. 'How dare you tell me how to behave as a proper wife?' She stared him in the face, and smacked his cheek with her little hand. He flinched, although probably not from pain.

He wrapped his strong arms about her. 'Please forgive me, Elinor. A wife is happier if she never sees her husband away from home.'

She leaned down and bit one of the arms that held her. He grunted, and let her go. 'You are in our house, Sir Fool, trapped in the circle of truth. I will be happier if you tell me what you truly desire, and all you have done since I saw you last.'

The lady stood like a straight white lily, and glowed like a torch. She appeared to grow taller as her lord bent his head in submission to her.

'That is a not a tale for delicate ears,' he warned her. 'My angel, I have no wish to lose your love.'

Glancing about me, I saw Robin’s thick red cock in Sir Theobald’s fist. There, at least, no love seemed likely to be lost on either side. As I watched, I saw some clear substance coating the hard cock and easing its movements as our wiseman stroked it faster and faster.

'Silence,' growled Sir Theobald, and Robin clenched his teeth as he strove to comply. It was not clear to me that the comely young man was the only one of us required to control himself. Joan openly cupped the golden curls below her belly, and I guessed that she hoped to insert a finger or three without attracting notice.

In a moment, I thought, we will all descend to our hands and knees like four-legged beasts, and reconfigure the circle by entering each other’s mouths, cunts, and back passages with fingers, cocks and whatever else would serve (half-melted candles?). The image in my mind aroused me so much that I could have reached a paroxysm without touching myself at all, but in the spirit of mutual consideration, I refrained. My cunt felt very wet.

In due course, Lady Elinor gets a chance to punish her lord for his debauchery with female sex-demons while he was away from her, but Sir Theobald reminds her that wise queens must not be hypocrites, and Sir Lionel has a right to know how Lady Elinor has amused herself with Margaret during the long winter months. Margaret realizes that Joan has admired her for a long time, while Stephen just wants to lose his virginity. In a land of enchantment, dreams can come true.