Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - Possums

We have resident possums here - a few. We also have an awning across from our house to the garage. The possums use it as a thoroughfare and some nights they belt across there and it sounds like the house will fall down. My hubby has a fit. He's convinced they're elephants and their weight will bring them through the tin. I used to raise possums in WIRES, so I know they weight next to nothing and are all fur and fluff, but he won't believe me. In 4 years, we haven't had a possum break through yet - but he's still waiting!

This possum brought her bub for a feed from the dog bowls. She was quite tame and would take a piece of apple from your hand (but maybe don't tell my hubby that!).

I'm not a morning person and one day at 7 am, I get a pounding on my front door. I mean, who visits the neighbours at 7 am!? I got dressed and went to the door expecting the police. It was this older man - like an old farmer, but we live on the coast. He started abusing me (politely, as old men do at 7 am!) because I'd stolen his possum and baby and he wanted them back, right now. If I wasn't half asleep I would have bopped him and shut the door, as it was my brain wasn't functioning fast enough to keep up with his words.

I'd mentioned to the man down the street that a very tame possum had been eating from the dog bowls. He had a much younger dog than I and I thought his dog might end up in a fight if the possum went down there. He said something to the man at the back of him (my 7 am visitor). The 7 am visitor had a possum he kept as a 'pet' which he locked in his garage. He then went on 6 weeks holidays and didn't leave anyone to feed his possum. It escaped (I missed that bit so I can't tell you how) but he thought I'd trapped it and was keeping it as a pet in my backyard.

I told him it was a wild animal and as such free to visit my yard or his garage as it saw fit. He left and I closed the door none too gently. If I was the possum, I'd be living in a tree, not locked in his garage for his entertainment. People!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sunday Story

Oops... it was the long weekend and I went to Sydney and I forgot to do my Sunday column. Sorry!

I've been wading through a mammoth book, Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. I wish I could say I loved it but the characters were not my type of people. So why did I keep reading it? Good question. I almost stopped so many times. The things that kept me going were that it was full of universal themes, many I agreed with, and the writing was a pleasure to read.

I think the fact that Mr Franzen wrote a book that I didn't enjoy but also didn't stop reading (and it's a door stop, not something little) is a tribute to him. How did he make me keep going? How did he make me push through when I wanted to put the thing down and walk away?

I think it was the way he switched and changed the story and left you with hooks. The most memorable was when the son was in business trouble (business, financial, moral, ethical, the lot) and he rang his Dad (who he did not get along with) and said, "Dad, I'm in trouble. I need your help." How was this going to pan out? The Dad was a man who could have blown up at the kid or he could have helped out, you weren't sure which. But turn the page and we're on another plot thread following another person and we don't know what the father said. We don't even know how the kid is. You have to keep reading to know. Some of these hooks you had to wait until the end to find out what happened. And that's what kept me going. Damn it!

I hate hooks as a reader. I fall for them totally. I'm the girl who sits up until 5 am because I just have to find out what's happened, eyes barely open, brain pleading to go to sleep... but no, the hook is in and I need to find out what happened.

Do I write them? Not well. Usually I end teh chapter on a hook (I've learned that much!) but turn the page and I tell you what happens! LOL. Useless. I need my hooks to carry on for longer than that. I need whole story hooks.

And that's this week's lesson. Thank you, Mr Franzen.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Phallic Friday - Fellatio

This post is more about writing than anything else. Sorry if I’ve disappointed you!

A while back there was an idea to write to a theme of "Lick, Sip, Suck" and most people were doing alcohol inspired stories. Of course, I thought I'd do something different and base mine on giving head - or more precisely the inability to do so. The final scene could be the heroine finally giving a passable blow job.

I wrote the story, sent it to my wicked CPs, and at the same time found out the theme got canned. Which was just as well as my CPs weren't happy with the story line. And sadly, I had to agree once they pointed it out (they’re good).

So, new plan... Split the old story into two different stories. The one with the "suck" theme still having a ‘fellatio failure’ theme - maybe even having Fellatio Failure as the title, what do you think?.

Then a (male) writing friend suggested a series of 4 fellatio stories. My failure idea, one where the girl is porn-star good, and another 2 stories. But what other ideas can you spin off from blow jobs?

The rumour mill tells me that American girls are good at head and learn to give it at an early age. Is this true? How do they learn? My at-school fellatio education (admittedly in an all girl school) was severely lacking and consisted of bananas and laughter. So if I want to write a story where a girl learns to suck cock early on, what does she get taught? How is she taught? And is it a story with pursuing?

Do women want to read about blow jobs? Or am I feeding into a male fantasy here?

I'm interested in all opinions here - theoretical or more practical :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - Crimson Rosella

The Crimson Rosellas have young ones at the moment and the noise is not as awful as the King Parrots, but still loud. I don't know if I was a parent if I'd reward a squawking child with food! The have to feed their young for 35 days and for me, that's 34.95 days too long!

The King Parrots will eat out of your hand but the Crimson Rosellas are timid. They scoot away almost as soon as you go outside. There is some improvement though. In the 4 years we've been here, we must have a few young re-appear because there are a few birds who will stay around until you're about 6 foot from them - they they take off.

The Crimson Rosella was one of the patrol group names when I was in Girl Guides. I belonged to the Kookaburras for a long time and when I was moved to the Rosellas I was quite sad. Although it was a promotion, I always thought of myself as a Kookaburra :) Funny what you think as a kid!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Sunday Story

I've read a lot of debut author e-books this week, some of them I've been unable to finish and some have been fantastic.

I also read on the LoveCats blog something Lilian Darcy said that struck me. She said she had her first novel accepted by Harlequin Mills & Boon and in a way she wishes she didn't because she had to learn her craft and improve her story-telling in the public eye.

When I put both of this week's things together, I realise that I'm still in the learning phase and although I get frustrated at rejections and critiques, for me it's better to have that than to alienate potential readers by putting up 'still-learning' work.

I don't like public embarrassment. I've tougher it out for years but I hate it. Deep down it erodes at me, even though you'd probably not guess that from the outside.

I need a thicker skin. I need work on my craft. I need time for my learning, and time for my writing. I don't want to rush this journey. I have short stories published and I'm stoked by that.

I'm incredibly impatient, but I also want quality. So it comes back to patience. And that's what I've learned this week.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Phallic Friday - Fantasies

Fantasy by definition is: imagination, especially when unrestrained (The Macquarie Dictionary).

If you look at that definition, everything you write is fantasy but I wanted to look at sexual fantasy.

Sexual fantasy, in my mind, is when your unrestrained imagination finds something that stimulates your mind and causes arousal. For me, there can be sexual fantasies that you're happy to experience, and then the ones that stay locked tight in your mind, only for your private arousal and never for sharing/acting.

When I was young, I went to the Rocky Horror Picture Show stage show. I'd seen it on TV and I enjoyed it, but wow, as a stage show I was blown away. I wanted Frank'N'Furter, in a big way, those stockings got to me. It helped that Daniel Abineri had great legs, and Russel Crowe, who had even better legs, was Riff Raff, I fell in lust!. I did tell you I went many many times, and this was the late 1980s, didn't I?.

This was a fantasy I could share... but how many men will dress in stockings for you? LOL. I did find a brave man once - he wasn't Russel Crowe but he had great legs. There was no Time Warp dancing but I'll never forget the moment he walked out and I saw what he was wearing. I became a puddle of lust in about three seconds. Not just that he was wearing stockings, but he did it for me. He wanted to please me. A very heady high.

Capturing the indecision about sharing, the fear of the reaction in the other person, the secret thrill of acting out the fantasy, and the sharing of something private and personal, is what I try to capture in my stories. I'm not sure I do it well but I'm working on it.

Someone who does it well is Charlotte Stein Have you read her books? She writes in the first person about fetishes, dropping you into the mind of the heroine so you can understand the motivation, the thrill and the reasoning behind enjoying the fetish/fantasy.

So what fantasies would you like to read about? I'm looking for a new idea.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wednesday Wildlife - Snails

I found this cute snail on the water tank. It's quite tiny even if the photo makes it look huge. I like snails. I like their shell, their body, the elasticity of them. I like those stalks for eyes. I can pick up snail and let it leave it's silvery trail on my hand.

And we have slugs. Big, fat disgusting slugs. I loathe touching them, they're slimy and sticky and revolting. I can't bring myself to load a photo on here - they're gross.

Can you make sense of that? Why do I like one and hate the other when they're related?

And, have you noticed how quickly the weeks are going? No sooner do I do a Wednesday post... than it's Wednesday again! What's the story?

Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday Story

Okay, so I know it's Monday... but I had the idea yesterday :)

I thought Sunday was a good day to do a story review - Sunday Story. Sunday Story will be about something I've read, or a story I'm working on, or something like that.

This week my best read is Dianne Blacklock's False Advertising.

In 2011 (I think) Dianne Blacklock was nominated for a RBY (Romantic Book of the Year) and I hadn't read that book - actually, I hadn't read any of her books. So the name got filed in my chaotic mind as 'an author I should check out'. Things don't surface very often in my chaotic mind but just before Christmas, the mobile library (known by my librarian as the Book Tardis) came on its fortnightly visit and would not be back for a month because of New Years Day. So my eye was after thick books (you know, in case I ran out of books - which in reality won't happen for at least a year due to the books already in my house on my TBR pile). And there was False Advertising, thick and calling to me.

When I picked it up to read, I'd immediately found a friend. Helen was cursing her husband who'd left her without milk for her coffee. I clicked with Helen (although my husband never does that) and then the police arrived and I knew her husband had died.

Then there's Gemma. She's pregnant, travelling home but her boyfriend rings to tell her he can't pick her up at the airport. When she turns up at their home, all his gear has gone. Another loss.

I was so excited to read this start. I have this story I'm working on (not erotic) which I call The Death Story (I'm no good at titles). It's the story of a woman touched by death, and new friends are going to help her cope and show her, her strengths. So, a similar story (in a thematic way), it makes the adrenalin pump.

Helen and Gemma are chalk and cheese but along with a cast of other characters - Pheobe (Gemma's sister), Cameron (Pheobe's husband), Gemma's parents, Helen's gorgeous son, Helen's in-laws, Charlie, and Myles/Myers. They are all characters to love.

And that's what The Death Story needs - lovable characters. I have the story now I need to make my people as lovable as Dianne Blacklock's. Thank you for showing me the way.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Phallic Friday - why is sex taboo?

Let me tell you right up - I don’t have an answer.

It’s something that’s always bugged me though, so I thought I’d blog about it. I was brought up in a fairly strict Catholic family. When I had the birds and bees chat (which was less chat and more book reading) and learned what a virgin was, I lost a bit of faith in the religion. It whittled away over time as my knowledge (and scepticism) grew. I wonder if religion is a major culprit in making sex taboo. Sex was not taboo in the pagan tradition. I wonder if religion developed in the opposite manner deliberately - like a rebellious teen.

Humans seem focussed on striving forwards - being bigger, better, faster - and sex doesn’t do that. Sex is a tangential distraction. Is that why it’s become taboo? It keeps us from achieving? Women put off having children so they can further their careers, and it’s encouraged. The subliminal message is that procreation doesn’t come before a career - sex is not important.

I went Googling to see what I could find. There’s a very interesting post I found from The Honest Courtesan. I think I might have to check that site out. Amazing what you find on Google.

In a Psychology Today article, Nathan Heflick claims that sex is taboo because it reminds humans of their basic, core animal nature. And maybe he has a point. There’s nothing more animalistic than rutting - all that sweat, grunting and primal instincts. He links the animalistic nature to humans fear of death - and weren’t orgasms referred to as “a little death” in years gone by? So if we think we’re above animals, and we’re scared of death, then sex is definitely not something we want to experience too often, is it?

I hate to think what this means for erotic writers and sex maniacs - are we linked more closely to animals and/or death? :)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - Magpies

I have a gorgeous family of magpies come and visit us. When the youngsters were just out of their nests, their folks dropped them into our yard for a visit. The dogs' bowls became a great food source (and much easier than pulling worms out of the ground!) and the birds kept coming back. They also spent some time in the garden and the lawn getting real bird food.

They became so friendly, they'd sit at the back door and warble until I came out to give them something extra - like some sunflower seeds. Sometimes I'd break up the dog biscuits to smaller crumbs for them. There's something about that warble that melts me. It's special. And when they're singing it just for you, it's an incredible feeling. Sends goosebumps racing along my spine.

My dogs didn't mind sharing their remains with the maggies. In the photo, one dog is just behind the birds and the other just in front - sleeping!

I've always been a fan of the magpie warble and I've always had magpies near me wherever I've lived. I know they have a terrible reputation for swooping during the nesting season when they're protecting their young, but I think I've only been swooped once that was scary. Mostly when they know you (because you're in their area all the time) they don't worry you.

Are you a fan of magpies? Or do you have a swooping story?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Phallic Friday - Reading for arousal?

Why do you read (and/or write) erotic stories?

I’ve been thinking about this question for some time now and I have a multitude of answers. The obvious answer - that I read (and write) for arousal - is not the one that first comes to my mind. My first answer is… for knowledge. I know, a strange thing to say. Let me try to explain.

In year 6 when we had the ‘birds and the bees’ talk, I was given a book. I learned all I knew from that book. Being a bookworm, I guess I naturally gravitated to reading for knowledge. You can’t die of embarrassment when you’re reading, like you can by asking a dumb question. I like to learn. I like to expand my mind. I like to read.

When writing erotic stories, I think it’s important that scenes have a “truth” to them. I’d hate to think people were seeking knowledge when there’s no knowledge behind the writing of the story. I’m not saying as a writer you need to do everything you write, but I believe you have to have an understanding about (and empathy for) what you write.

Sexual knowledge is important. I was guest of honour at a welcome-to-town ladies luncheon some years ago when the conversation ended up about sex. Someone shared the building with the youth worker who had free condoms and dental dams available. These were brought to the lunch (why? I have no idea). There were a dozen women and no one could explain what a dental dam was used for. No one could even imagine what it was used for. Maybe it was a test, I don’t know, but I ended up explaining. I couldn’t stand people not knowing, especially in the age of safe sex. To say they squealed like twelve-year-olds is no exaggeration. I was horrified. Can't grown women talk about sex without acting like kids? How are we meant to learn and teach kids if that's the reaction to a safe sex issue? They seriously needed education, maybe through erotic reading. Hmm… might send them some bookmarks!

I’ve read all manner of erotic stories. All manner of crime stories. All manner of horror and fantasy. I’ve learned heaps. It doesn’t mean I’ve gone out and tried it all! But I like to know what’s out there, what’s in other people’s minds, how other people think of things and describe things. Is that weird?

I’m also a bit of a rebel at heart. I like to read these stories purely because they’re not ‘mainstream’ reading. I like to write them to push me beyond my mainstream life. I like to push myself beyond my comfort zone, make my brain contort to think of how things would feel even if I’ve never experienced them.

There’s somewhat of a challenge in writing sex scenes. They need to be plausible - body parts are located in the same place on everyone. They need to convey the act without being flowery or revolting. It requires discussion about parts of the body, and body emissions, often not deemed fit for discussion.

Some of the most sensuous writing can be found in erotic stories. A sentence that whips the breath from you. A phrase that perfectly conveys. A paragraph that slides across your senses.

It’s not often that a story, or a scene, grabs me and causes arousal but when it does, what a ride!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Next Big Thing

I've been avoiding this post because it's like a chain letter but I guess I'd better do it since the festivities have ended.

Jenn J McLeod tagged me in The Next Big Thing, which was good because I became part of a crazy group. Not sure what that means yet, but with Jenn, it could be anything! It led to the Next Bog Thing, which was fun.

The others tagged to do this are Lily Malone, Kerrie Paterson and Allison Tait.

So here I go:

Cate Ellink’s Next Big Thing

1) What is the working title of your current/next book?
I’m so bad with titles. I don’t like creating them and so I don’t worry if it doesn’t have one right until the end. So this one was called the theme, and now I’ve finished is called “Deep Diving”.

2) Where did the idea come from?
Hmm… should I tell the truth? It’s kind of convoluted. Phase 1: I was sitting at the NRL Grand Final in October and having lust-filled ideas about one of the Melbourne Storm players. So I started writing this story about a girl who meets him on holidays. Phase 2: At a writers retreat a theme was discussed and since this story was in its infancy, it fitted the theme. Phase 3: I was struggling with motivation and a friend helped me out big time - motivation and final scene nailed.

3) What genre does your book fall under?
Erotic definitely. Romance too because it has a Happy For Now ending.

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Well, the hero would have to be the Melbourne Storm player in question - even if he isn’t an actor. Although, Dean (Jensen Ackles) from Supernatural could be a close second.

The heroine, hmmm, she’s played by the reader. I just don’t get a good picture of my heroines. She’s fit, tanned, a triathlete, with curly hair. Is that any help?

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Cooper and Samantha are paired up as dive buddies and he’s the best she’s had so when he wants to take it to bed buddies, she’s determined to make sure she’s different to every girl he’s had before.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I hope it will be picked up by a publisher.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft?
It’s been 3 months since I started and it’s with my critique partners now (it’s 20K). The writing part is fast, the re-writing and self-editing is slow. I just hope it doesn’t need much more!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
It’s like lots of erotic books - steamy sex between two consenting adults, who may or may not fall in love!

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
RWA erotic romance writers inspired part of this book, a very sexy Melbourne Storm player and a great friend inspired the rest.

10) What else about the book might pique the reader's interest?
It’s set on Lord Howe Island, which is the most incredible place, in the water and out. In the water the snorkelling is as good as the diving. My first trip there, except for sleeping, I lived in the water. The second trip I did more land-based activities. So I’m combining all of that beauty and adventure into this story.

Samantha is a retired Olympic triathlete who fails at nothing. By the end of the story, she’s confronted with a sex act she knows she can’t do but with Cooper, she can’t afford to fail. Will she be able to overcome her fears?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday - Bogong Moth

The Bogong Moth is supposedly a delicacy, but I couldn't bring myself to eat them - they're much too "fluffy".

CSIRO have information about Bogong Moths but here's a little to whet your appetite.

Each year as the weather warms in south east Australia, bogong moths (Agrotis infusa) prepare to migrate.
Through spring they fly to the high country of the Snowy Mountains in southern New South Wales and the Victorian Alps. 
They have been doing this for thousands of years to escape the harsh summer environment in their winter breeding areas of the Darling Downs in Queensland, western slopes and plains in New South Wales and drier inland regions of Victoria. In autumn they make the return journey.
Bogongs fly at night and, attracted to lights, can cause problems for floodlit buildings by blocking air-conditioning ducts and setting off alarms.
During the day they hide in dark crevices.

I've only had this backyard 4 years and I haven't experienced a Bogong plague here. In one of my old residences, my back screen door was coated every night with Bogongs. It was a sight to see! My dogs loved them - nothing like a little added protein snapped from before your nose :)