Thursday, April 29, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Today I thought I would share the wondrous designs of Italian hatmaker Borsalino in honor of my Great Aunt. She's gone now, but I still have some of her own domestic collection. Aunt Mildred would have loved some of these!














For the last one, I had to go old school with a classic. My favorites, though, have to be the headbands. Maybe it's time to go shopping. Another excuse to go to Japan, perhaps? The latest boutique opened there in 2007. And what is more important than good head gear?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Exciting News

I just received an email from Mel Keegan, esteemed author of 25 novels featuring pivotal gay characters and themes in a variety of genres. Before I get to his all-important message, I must tout the man’s talent. Currently reading his science fiction "Narc" series, I can't get enough of the iconic characters, Jarrat and Stone. The guys' romance really enhances their hair-raising battles with futuristic drug syndicates. Mel Keegan has written everything from fantasy to historical and even a wonderfully funny comedy piece. And that's not all, as he's doing great things to support other authors of gay and lesbian titles.

The man has a wonderful project in the gay and lesbian author site, The GLBT Bookshelf, which I've mentioned before. He took my humble erotica novelette, "Miya", and turned it into an e-book for a Bookshelf advertising fundraiser in March. I currently own the rights to “Miya” with its lovely cover created by the talented Jade.

Now for today’s exciting news, Mr. Keegan is going to publish another of my stories as an e-book! This piece was formerly available for free reads elsewhere without a fancy cover, so I'm excited by this prospect and proud to help promote The Bookshelf! Jade again offered her talent to the project , too, an added bonus. Once the free downloads are available from my meager catalog and others such as Mel, himself, I'll put up a link for you.

When that time comes, I hope folks will come enjoy free reads and spread the word about The GLBT Bookshelf. As for me, I'm going to go squeal like a little kid and then get back to work polishing my sci-fi slanted, gay erotica titled “Memoirs of a Corporate Stress Reliever”.

You can find it here:
Free Gay Ebooks

Happy reading!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday

If you feel like enjoying a little smut, stop on by my Sand Castles blog. Karen and Sky enjoy an easygoing romp until angst rears its head.

Blue Sky

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

I never expected to own a home. Somehow, I always thought my future would be one of drifting and moving - so much for that sketchy, romantic plan. Now inertia has set in and the likelihood of moving dwindles more every day. Instead of lamenting, I’ve decided to list thirteen positive reasons for staying put.

While sometimes tempted to have a pessimistic slant, such as the money poured into the place, I happily never resorted to negativity.

1. The loan was signed on Halloween night – It’s my favorite holiday and I still remember driving to the empty residence with a cautious lookout for trick-or-treaters

2. My driveway is short and straight – silly sounding but convenient in many ways, including when the region received last winter’s record snowfall

3. Hardly anyone races vehicles down our street since the neighborhood is a series of cul-de-sacs

4. There is only one way in and out – see above, as it cuts down on traffic

5. The house is brick with a minimum of painting required around the eaves

6. None of the neighbors pile junk in their yards – not since the small-time punk drug dealers moved, anyway

7. Folks are mostly very friendly – one guy offered to mow the bottom strip of our steep backyard so we don’t have to drag the mower down stone steps

8. Our crime rate is extremely low to the best of my knowledge (I should probably bring that up with other residents, though I engage a monitored alarm system daily, either way)

9. The suburb is situated within a reasonable drive of three metropolitan areas – museums, sporting arenas, and my favorite, music venues, abound

10. Scores of fine restaurants populate the entire region

11. Well-maintained bicycle trails extend for miles – a beautiful stretch runs right through my town

12. A state-of-the-art furnace controls the climate – to quote Jason Lee as Azrael in “Dogma”, “There is no pleasure, no rapture, no exquisite sin greater, than central air.”

13. And hands down, the best reason is Amorphophallus titanium. Implausibly thriving by my front door, this botanical gem was sold unwittingly under the name “snake plant” for the mottled, reptilian-looking stalks supporting a delicate network of leaves. Native to the equatorial rainforests of Sumatra, this specimen blooms infrequently in the wild. This spring, for the third time since I brought it home, the huge bloom is emerging from the ground inches every day. The dark green spear currently resembles an excited model of a mammalian body part for which botanists named the species. Before the month is through, the odor of decaying flesh will flood the entrance to my home as this look-alike to the related calla lily opens its titanic inflorescence. Then the majestic, reeking structure will collapse and I won’t see the beautiful foliage until June or even July. This spectacle will keep me put as surely as anything, I must admit.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen odors I despise:

Cigarette smoke
Fresh-cut grass – due to allergies
Pickles, though I’ll eat them
Car exhaust
Bubblegum – too sweet
Wormy, post-rainy day stink
Tequila, especially mescal
Campfire smoke the next day in my hair
Wet dog
Applewood smoke bacon – it lingers long after my partner has downed the nasty stuff
Stale sweat – combine with cigarette smoke and watch Darla turn inside-out
Burnt matches
Burning rubber – a tire fire near my grandparents’ home lasted an entire summer when I was a kid

There seems to be a theme here with smoke. Interesting.

For the fun of it, I listed fragrances I adore on my Sand Castles blog. It’s not so steamy, but I enjoyed the comparisons. You can read here:

Thirteen Fragrances That Turn Me On

Monday, April 12, 2010

Signs of the Times

Driving across my home state in the USA, I saw a billboard that made me grateful to be a passenger. I simply had to do a double take upon seeing bold white lettering on a bright, red background.

It said:

We Get Vomit

Seriously, I’m not making this up.

Twisting in my seat, I read beneath those ominous words the name for an emergency health care center. And I have to tell you that their advertisement did nothing to entice me to darken their door. Of course, things might be different if I were the victims implied in another sign noted a week later.

This second eye-opener adorned a pretty, arched footbridge spanning a kidney-shaped pond. The structure has existed at this local arboretum for as long as I’ve been visiting. Last Friday, however, a prominent message informed me that the way was closed.

Here’s how signmakers worded the closure:

Due to recent incidents involving wheelchairs, the footbridge is now closed to all pedestrian traffic until further notice.

Incidents? Honestly, I can’t tell you if the images in my head provoked a greater degree of abject horror or slapstick-inspired amusement. At any rate, the situation only felt stranger as I watched an older couple walk to the middle, disregarding the warning that turned out to be strangely missing from the opposite approach. One would think a chain across the parallel railings would have been installed to block interlopers. What do I know?

At any rate, a friend advised me the likely purpose of the message. According to his learned opinion, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is responsible for disallowing everyone access to the bridge. In other words, nobody should enjoy the view if a handicapped person cannot. The fact nobody in their right mind should have considered taking a wheelchair up that incline makes no difference. We all get punished for stupidity.

It’s just a sad, crazy world.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday

My naughty, adults-only side came out today. If you're new to me, or my Sand Castles steamy blog, click below to enjoy for free my latest raunchy read:

The Sky is the Limit

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Thursday Thirteen

The other day I was trying to think of a particular rock band. It started with the letter D and I mentally ticked off several others before thinking of the name Depeche Mode.

Amused, I decided that the groups on my iPod starting with that letter would be my Thursday Thirteen list. Of course, I will start with the fellows that inspired it. The irony is that I depleted my resource by the time I got to thirteen. Anyway, here they are in no particular order.

1. Depeche Mode
2. Dir en grey
3. Deathklock
4. Disturbed
5. Dire Straights
6. Def Leppard
7. Dimmu Borgir
8. The Doors
9. Devo
10. Dio
11. The Drifters
12. Duff McKeegan’s Loaded
13. The Dixie Cups

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Flash Fiction Friday

Late Night Programming

“I think I should have an affair,” I blurted, five minutes before my session ended. Scrutinized, my therapist awaiting more, I continued recklessly. “I need someone energetic. Attentive. Sexy. I want a man who’ll wake up alongside me and give me physical distraction from these nightmares.”

“You’ve had another one?”

Knowing Dr. Samuels didn’t refer to some young stud, I nodded. I hadn’t planned on telling her. The ongoing themes being helplessness and futility, the subjects of my dreams ranged widely. The good doctor seemed to enjoy hearing them.

“Tell me about it, Karen. My next appointment cancelled, so we have time.”

Aha. I picked up my water glass and took a sip before settling back more comfortably in the overstuffed chair. Her white-noise generators reminded me disturbingly of my husband’s C-pap machine.

“I saw the usual jumble of imagery, confusion of place and time.”

“That disorientation is part of your powerlessness manifesting. Tell me the underlying story.”

“Some character my brain manufactured invited me out to dinner at some distant, fancy resort. Two someones, in fact, who both struck me as day-job acquaintances.”

“Why would you want to go, then, since you’re no longer fond of travel? Were they men or women?”

The psychologist seemed to sit straighter at that. Good grief. She probably anticipated a raunchy tale, even though my dream-sex only ended in frustration these days. Was this the closest she got to the real thing? I certainly understood, in that case. My answer would deflate her libidinous hopes, though, for she knows as well as anyone that I only go for men.


“Go on,” she urged mildly, uncrossing and re-crossing her legs.

“Well, one of them planned to drive separately so that she could swim afterward and stay at the lake as long as she liked. The other gal and I understood the truth but didn’t call her one the ruse,” I said, pausing when the doctor shifted in her seat. “She had a not-so-secret lover near that resort.”

“Interesting. Do either of these women have names?”

“No. They almost never do. These women are ultimately the victims.”

“I see. So the dreams continue to have deadly endings.”

“More often than not, these days.” That used to be rather rare and often part of the solution, such as killing terrorists or home invaders. A few times, I committed righteous murder as another person defending herself or himself from aliens. Sometimes I battled zombies, movie-quality entertainment almost. “Last week, some little girl in a wheelchair died and I was at fault. She forgave me with her last breath. Then I woke.”

“It still bothers you.”

“The fact my mind would conjure such a thing? Yeah. I know it’s not real when the lights come on.”

“Understood. Let’s move forward. Where were you last night?”

“At my childhood home, though the scenery quickly warped.”

“That seems to be a recurrent locale of late.”

“Yeah,” I lamented, “less fun than outer space or a Post Apocalyptic wasteland. And the first thing that I remember clearly, I couldn’t find a usable bathroom and privacy to get cleaned up. It’s odd, seeing as I’m so much younger than my brothers and sisters. A free bathroom was never an issue growing up.”

“It’s another take on the obstructions you perceive in your life. You have a basic need that can’t be fulfilled. Did you end up in a maze?”

“Of sorts.” She caught on fast. I had to give her credit. “The usual motif of a crowded house became interspersed with tight places and decrepit, primitive bathrooms off dingy halls. At one point I had to crawl over a table where my cousin sat with food and wine.”

“Have you noticed that you often include food and alcohol in some manner? I think you feel a bit out of control with them.”

“You think?” I countered, uncomfortably shifting my overweight self on the cushion and taking another drink of water. “We’ve talked about how I need to cut back on my drinking, and overeating only arises after I’ve had too much. The dreams come either way any more, but they seem less intense. I didn’t drink last night.”

Intuitively, she asked, “Who did you see besides your cousin?”

“Lots of dead aunts, uncles, and my paternal grandmother. They all wanted to hug and kiss me, waylaying me further when I finally thought I could leave with my associates.”

“Not friends.”

“No, though I felt understandably horrified when some strangers at the family gathering kidnapped them.” I paused and she simply grimaced, unsurprised by the turn of unconsciously derived events. “That’s when things got really weird. The people involved treated it like some kind of game, stuffing the ladies in a trunk to take a joy ride. I had a surreal view of the car careening madly through snowdrifts before it disappeared from sight. Of course, my mind conjured horrible scenarios for the endangered women before I jerked awake.” I skipped the part about the cold sweat.

“What else went on at the house after the girls vanished?”

“You know me too well,” I admitted mildly. “I manhandled a couple of the guests who assisted the kidnapping, randomly shoving and pushing when they got in my face.”

Her mechanical pencil scratched like a mouse caught in a trap. I didn’t know what else to say. The lead clawed what must have been a deep line beneath her writing, telling me Dr. Samuels prepared to say something she knew I wouldn’t like. I remembered one particularly lonely night as a little girl. A broken mouse dragged the trap the length of my closet door in tiny, pained increments.

“You know I can’t condone an affair, Karen. And you’re smart enough to understand this would only harm you. You would hurt your husband, yourself by default, and probably anyone else you brought into your life under such deceitful conditions.”

“Yes, of course. Everything you say makes sense.”

“You don’t need a sex addiction on top of everything else,” she added, making me snort.

We both knew the sort of material I wrote for a living. What can I say? Sex sells. And while I wanted to buy into the false promise of a shallow affair, I could not.

Rising with purse in hand, I promised, “I’ll be good.”

“Don’t go that far. Just keep the infidelity in your imagination and bring it out in your stories. Maybe you can even use some elements from this dream.”

“I wouldn’t go that far,” I retorted ruefully, wondering if I should offer her popcorn next time.

I shut the door. It cut off her amusement, laughter lost under the breathy whir of those damnable noise cancelling devices.

“Same time, same channel,” I muttered, wishing I could stop comparing myself to a rerun.

~the end~

Next Friday, Karen breaks her promise in a sequel that will be posted on my erotica blog. I hope you’ll check out “The Sky’s the Limit” on Sand Castles. And tell me what you think! We writer’s adore feedback.

Thursday Thirteen

Not to play an April Fool's joke, but I made the list a little racy on my other blog. I hope you enjoy.

Sand Castles