mercoledì 29 luglio 2009


I thought the responses to this question were worthy of being brought front and center. I think I already knew the answer to it, because I have always been struck by the affection, tenderness, celebratory quality of the writing of the great majority of writers we work with. These qualities seem to be unifying factors that run throughout the work we share. There is depth and nuance, emotional connection. There is palpable character. There is recognition and often self awareness. If there isn’t HEA there is something thoughtful to be taken from the story. There is always story there that transcends the sex. There is often sexy playfulness. There is usually mutual respect. There is very little gratuitous sex. There is love of life, of sex and sensual pleasures.

This could have something to do with the editors we work with who choose carefully, edit and compile anthologies to reflect how they want sex portrayed, in a positive light. This may also have to do with other writers and editors who encourage and support our writing with positive comments and specific feedback.

Am I being too Pollyanna? No I don’t think so. The writers and editors I’m thinking of have little real need to help other fledgeling writers, they are very successful in their own right, they just do it.

It’s not always one big happy family, but it has been encouraging and very supportive of many writers, who deserve to be read, be it through blog tours like this and this, or flash contests like this. As well as the multitude of open interactive ideas and companion blogs.

So, love informs the sex and affectionate support encourages the writers.

For my part, a huge thanks to all who tirelessly initiate, organize, and participate in these creative exchanges, and thereby support each others writing.

Here are the responses which were just as I suspected.

As for love and lust. I think of the two as separate entities. There can be one without the other, but the blending of the two produces a powerful result. Like blending spices.

So I have written about lust without love, and love without lust for that matter, but not nearly so often as I have explored the blending of the two in varying degrees.

Love and sex, sex and love? Can you have one without the other? Um, hell yes, you can! My characters usually do, but damn, isn't it nice when you have both emotions working at the same time? It's like a well-oiled machine winding through the curves of the erotic highway.

I'm a big fan of love, but in the erotic arts I think a lot of mileage can be had from plain old lust. That being said, one would probably find that the central characters in most of my stories appear to be in love, or falling in love, or growing into love, or on the verge of what might turn out to be love, etc.

So, finally, lust and love. While I totally understand the appeal of sudden sex without all of the emotional entanglements, in my own life I've never been able to divide the two. Even with something as obviously one-dimensional as a pickup, I always felt at least a pang of tenderness for my partner at some point. Having tasted what a deep, long-time commitment can do to sex, I can't even really fake it fictionally when it comes to casual sex. I suspect I could nominally enjoy it, have an orgasm, etc, but it would always be the packaged cookie rather than homemade. I know other experienced adults feel differently, of course, but for me "pure lust" is more about falling in love with my own desire than another person.

Okay, now to lust/love. They are different. I think of lust as a very serious want. Sometimes blinding. Hehe, often blinding. It exists in my one-track mind. Ah, but love. I have to say that in my experience, sex without love is all-in-all rather unsatisfying. There may be electric moments, but something is missing. I think with love - real love - not imagined love - there is trust. And trust can enliven sex even after many years.

As for my characters - it's funny - I find that sometimes there is love and sometimes there is not. There's something else. I hadn't really thought about it before. I'm so little published that most of you have hardly read any of my stuff, so you don't know what sorts of things I've been writing (other than the Trollop flashers). This is actually quite fascinating to think about. I'll probably be back later.

Interesting question too! Fresh from the consciousness/spiritual retreat I attended this weekend, the answer in me is that love always is whether we are conscious of it or not. I would likely have given that answer anyway, but it seems especially fresh right now. :) In writing, it seems to me that would be there the same way (for me) — the love is there whether I or the characters are conscious of it or not. It occurs to me that may not make sense...but that seems okay to me right now. I'll leave it alone. :)

I hear you Isabel, there also must me an element of love in me for my characters as well or the story dies on the page. And the love doesn't have to be a grand passion or the result of finding the perfect partner necessarily. As Robin mentioned, trust is perhaps the even more magical component, which is why BDSM stories are so potent, even though I'm not exactly a card-carrying practitioner (just an occasional tourist). But Emerald's points really opens the whole discussion up into a kind of ethereal realm where it's all about love, whether we know it or not. I kind of like that.

I'm a hopeless romantic - my characters are almost always in love.

domenica 26 luglio 2009

A Spice for All Seasons

Delving into these herbs and spices has been delightfully sexy. It is so fascinating to learn about everyone's interests in addition to writing. Thank you Donna, for hosting us and keeping our noses and taste buds primed and, in a sense (or many senses), enhancing our writing.

My head is still spinning with the flavors and scents from the fabulous opening ceremonies with Donna, chili-n with Erobintica, an encuentro with cilantro with Neve, comin’ with Sommer, delicious sin-a-mon with Gina Marie, a great thyme with Scarlett, orgasmic sneezes with Craig, and in a dill-irious pickle at Jeremy’s.

Join us next Sunday when I’ll be honored to turn over the blog stage to Marina St. Clare, who helped plant the seed of this delightful sex and food blog fest and will be writing about basil. The scent of freshly picked, sun warmed basil has the same effect on me freshly ground black pepper does. Is it because I associate it with summer, which is the sexiest season to me? Marina will turn us on to the intoxicating and sweet side of basil. I had no idea there were so many wonderful ways to imbibe and taste basil but she does!

8/2 Marina St. Clare—basil
8/9 BadAssKona—rosemary
8/16 Emerald—poppy seeds
8/23P.S. Haven—salt
8/30 Gala Goodbye

A Love Affair with Ginger

We live in an area where the pace is slower, where tradition trumps technology, where the people are very close to the earth and they mark the seasons by their bounty. Everyone keeps a kitchen garden and enjoys fresh fruit and vegetables as the seasons change. Right now we’re living on warm sun ripened tomatoes, firm green beans, zucchini, and tart sweet berries. Soon we’ll add fresh corn to the mix and frosted violet plums, figs, apples and then subtly sweet chestnuts.

To me, spices are seasonal as well. Fall and winter seasonings are rosemary and sage rubs, marinades and sauces for roasts and potatoes. Spring means lighter, livelier flavors like thyme.

Summer is crispy skin wood burning oven roasted chicken on a bed of tarragon and slathered with tarragon butter. Basil, picked fresh leaf by leaf, with tomatoes marinated in balsamic vinegar and tossed with goat cheese.

Each season has its bounty, but one of my favorite flavors lends itself to all seasons and a variety of dishes, both sweet and savory.

Ginger, a flavor for all seasons

Fresh ginger is pungent and aromatic, has a bite, a sting, and a delicious flavor and stimulating aroma. It lends itself to accenting chicken or fish, sliced into match sticks or grated into sauces. Powdered ginger is used in cakes and cookies. Just the scent is enough to evoke all of these tastes and send me into a sensual spin.

This delicious recipe whispers summer picnic to me and is from one of my favorite cookbooks of food porn, California Cooking, which could also double as a coffee table book of spectacular California seasonal landscape photos (if it weren't such a foodie mess).

Cold Lemon Chicken

4 to 5 whole chicken breasts, halved, boned and skinned
8 large dried black mushrooms
2 or 3 lemons
3 tablespoons peanut oil
1/4 cup fresh ginger, cut into fine julienne
1/3 cup red and green bell peppers, cut into fine julienne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon chili paste with garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

Put the chicken breasts in a flat bowl and place the bowl on a rack in a covered steamer over boiling water. Steam for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender. Let cool in the juices, remove (reserve the broth), and cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Set aside. Strain the both, measure it, and if necessary add enough water to bring the amount to 1 cup. Set aside.

While the chicken is steaming, put the mushrooms in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let stand for 30 minutes, drain, squeeze dry, cut off the stems, and cut the mushrooms into fine julienne. Set aside.

With a sharp paring knife or vegetable peeler, remove the rind of 1 lemon in long shreds, being careful not to include any of the bitter pith, and cut the rind into fine julienne. Grate the rind of the second lemon. Squeeze enough lemon juice to measure 1/2 cup.

Heat a pan (preferably a wok) and add 3 tablespoons of peanut oil. When the oil is hot add the ginger and mushrooms and stir-fry over low heat for 30 seconds. Add the peppers and julienned lemon rind. Stir-fry for a few seconds. Add the reserved chicken broth. Bring to a boil and add the lemon juice and salt. Add the grated lemon rind, chili paste with garlic and lemon extract. Add the chicken pieces and cook for 90 seconds. Transfer t a bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving.

[Note: I’ve included the whole recipe, but this lends itself to simplification, and I do]

Ginger, the root or rhizome of the ginger plant which we use in cooking thrives in warm dry climates and has been prized for centuries for its versatile uses. It contains so many medicinal -epsias and -inatives and -algesics, it is also a substance for all ailments, from nausea, to fevers to insomnia. There was even a legendary application for it stimulating tired or lazy horses.

Ginger’s aphrodisiac qualities have long been reported and it is mentioned in the Kama Sutra, which brings me to the question of this blog.

Food for thought: What’s love got to do with it?

This is the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision on obscenity brought about by the case against the confiscation of uncensored copies of D.H. Lawrence’s 1928 novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, “a novel that inveighed against sex without love.”

My question for you on this hot and spicy summer Sunday is this: What’s love got to do with it? Do your characters have to be in love? Is it love or is it just lust? For my characters, even if it wasn’t love at first sight or doesn’t work out in the end, there was love in the mix.

A Woman for All Seasons

Cold slapped my face and burned my nostrils. The ice and snow crackled under my boots as I walked up the path to the front door. I could see the warm radiance from the fireplace through the bay window when I reached for the doorbell.

I stood in the warm kitchen while she turned the giant gingerbread snowman from the pan onto the cutting board. Everyone ooed and aahed before she took a large knife and sliced it into squares. I rolled my eyes and stifled a sardonic grin biting the inside of my in lip in snide collusion with my partner, even as I my body responded autonomously to the sweet sharp scent of the ginger. I thought her snowman was a little silly.

Later I was sitting on the arm of the leather sofa flanking the fireplace, and she stood next to me offering a plate of warm fragrant gingerbread swimming in half melted vanilla ice cream. I caught her musky scent too.

“Mmmm, thanks. Smells good.” I took the plate and held her caramel eyes.


“Yes, I figured. Homemade gingerbread, sweet.”

“No, I mean my name is Ginger,” she said smiling with a flash in her eye.

“Oh! Sorry.” I laughed. She was disarmingly beautiful in an androgynous, tall, rectangular way.

“Charlotte. Nice to meet you.” After small talk of the who do you know here sort, the vibe was so strong I knew we would get to know each other, intimately.

My nostrils flared at the sharp scent of ginger and I forked into the cake, soaking up the vanilla specked ice cream and let the flavor explode in my mouth. When I bit into the soft cake and sweet cream, my cunt melted.

“Nice.” and I held her gaze again.

It all began that night in the hall. We were in the hallway on the way to get our coats and the attraction was so intense we leaned against the wall and kissed. Soft wet mouths exploring quickly and gingerly lest we be caught out by my lover.

Winter came and went in a series of clandestine meetings. She cooked for me and regaled my senses with her creative flavor combinations. In her vast kitchen in the cool of that spring she served steamed fresh sea bass and basmati rice drizzled with gingered citrus sauce accented with cilantro.

When the weather turned warm we sat on her terrace overlooking the harbor and sipped icy ginger ale in frosted glasses.

That summer we picnicked on a soft old bedspread in the woods. She made savory chicken salad with match sticks of ginger and lemon zest, sautéed with red and green peppers and black mushrooms. I brushed my lips on her cinnamon freckled breast and tasted the salty mixture on her tongue as we made passionate love on the sun speckled forest floor and she came moaning with my tongue jabbing her melted cream cunt.

In the first chill of fall we watched old films in her living room by the fire dipping ginger snaps in milk and I felt like a child in total abandonment in her arms.

That cold November she roasted chicken and we bit into the crisp skin blanketed in warm caramelized onions laced with turmeric, ground coriander, cumin and ginger. We made quiet love under the soft white down comforter afterwards.

She would not hear of me leaving my partner of fifteen years and she couldn’t live with duplicity. Winter came again and the scent of ginger warms my nostrils but stings my heart with the intensity of her absence.

domenica 12 luglio 2009

The Old Bump and Grind

Things are heating up at Craig's today with a scintillating stop on the tour of the spice bloglands...and here's my take on it.

venerdì 3 luglio 2009


Alison is AT it again.

Sometimes it is just Water Under the Bridge.

Thank you Alison.