Friday, May 17, 2019

Fearless Friday

Where has the last month gone? I have no clue at all. The days just fly by.

I have a few things for this wonder, if it's been a month!

I have A Real Online Fantasy Parts 1 & 2 online now! Yipee! For a short time, it's even free. So if you'd like to download it, please do.

You can grab it from your favourite store by clicking here:

My other self wrote a story for an anthology with Kim Petersen and Beth Prentice. Kim has a blog where she's honest about herself and her life. She asked me to write a post for her site and so, I went with honesty. It's easier to be honest as Cate. So I'm a bit scared about this one, but anyway :) I'm owning it!

Teenagers and sex.

This article is saying something I've read before - that teenagers are highly influenced by porn. And not just highly influenced about sex... but confused about consent. 

Porn, a scripted film, does not show discussion, consent, or even 'realistic sex' but do kids know that? It appears that they don't. 

For so long, sex has been such a taboo topic, that people don't discuss it at all. This leads to people finding out about sex my whatever means they can. How did you discover sex? For me, it was via animals and nature. There was a conversation about sex after a sex ed video shown at school, but my questions were a little too confronting and I was sent to my room without answers. And really, asking if a man's penis is different to a dog's is not such a shock, is it?

So, if kids these days are getting information about sex from the internet - which is a pretty handy tool for information gathering - and no one is speaking about sex, then how do they know if what they find is 'real' or 'misinformation'? 

I'm so glad there are people going to schools to discuss sex honestly with kids. I wonder if they'd take an erotic author on the school chat tour? That's something I'd love to do.

Thanks for reading today. I'll try to get back to more regular blogging!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

A Real Online Fantasy Part 1 & 2

I'm so excited! I just got my rights reversal notification out of the letterbox for A Real Online Fantasy, my first published ebook, which means I can show you the stunning cover Patti Roberts from Paradox Book Covers and Formatting (or find her on Facebook) created for me.

A Real Online Fantasy is going to be re-released.

If you've read it, you might remember that Condamine's fantasy is the story. And since it was a short story with the Hot Down Under group, the word count was limited, so I could only ever have her fantasy.

A reviewer commented that they wanted his fantasy too - which is a valid comment, if there's a longer word count - and so I've written extra to include his fantasy.

So we now have Parts 1 & 2.

And since the cover is so incredibly hot, I'm thinking I need to write more parts... but there are so many stories to tell... I don't know what I'll do!

But behold... the hottest cover that I love so much.

A Real Online Fantasy Parts 1 & 2 will be available in ebook and print soon (fingers crossed I can manage that!)

Friday, April 12, 2019

Phallic Friday - female genital mutilation

This incredible article was on the ABC news website last Friday, it's about a doctor in Australia who is reversing female genital mutilation.

I didn't even realise this was possible, and yet it's been around in France for 15 years. Sadly, there are few surgeons who have learned the techniques. But it seems that those who have done the training are truly beautiful human beings and are about caring for all.

This article is so moving at the same time as it is horrifying.

The moving part is about the doctor and his quest for helping others. The fact that other surgeons go to Africa to help people there. The fact that the first woman to receive assistance in Australia has had such a life-changing experience. The way this article is written to give others information.

The horrifying part is that Female Genital Mutilation happens. That it is not only a cultural practice but one practiced because of religious beliefs too. That doctors perform this on young children. That women think it's fine to do this to their baby. That some women don't even know this procedure occurred. That surgeons don't seem to think it is worth doing this training, or discussing this procedure, or helping women.

I hope all forms of genital mutilation can one day be stopped, and used only as a medical procedure when a person is suffering.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Sea Lions

I've no idea where time vanishes to...but it floats away too quickly sometimes!

Back to Kangaroo Island. Today we're at Seal Bay. This is the resting place of Australian Sea Lions. It's not unprotected, but it closely guarded by the National Park. I wasn't quite expecting how protected the place is. It's not a bad thing, it's great that the animals aren't affected by people and tourists aren't annoying them during their resting time. I point it out because it costs money - and more money to be close to the sea lions - and don't take your swimmers because you won't be swimming there!

Flipper tracks
When we went, we thought we'd just do our own wandering and not the guided tour. But then the staff pointed out that the boardwalk for the unguided is right at the end of the beach (up to the left when you're looking at the beach) and on the day we were there, there wasn't a sea lion up that end. There's a viewing platform but no beach access. In the photo above, the headland in the distance is where the boardwalk is. Those steps close by are the Guided Walk's path.

The guided tour is right there in front of the visitor's centre, and you walk down on to the beach, and although you're not beside the sea lions, you're probably only 20m away from them. If you're lucky, they may come up to you, or come past you. And you can see flipper tracks :)

Let me bombard you with my photos.

If you want info on Sea Lions, here's the Australian Museum.

If you want Seal Bay info, pop in here.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Fearless Friday - trusting the universe

Do you hear people say, "Trust the universe", or "the universe has your back"? I always have heard it said. I thought I understood what it meant. I thought I did it too, mostly. But lately, I've been hearing it more and being challenged in how much I trust the universe. This is an odd feeling for one who thinks they do it anyway!

When I trust the universe, I usually get signs, or synchronicities, to show me that I've done the right thing. That all will be well.

Do you ever get signs from the universe?

Maybe you see numbers repeating. You might open your iPad, or flick on the phone, and see 1:11 or 22:22 or 13:13. Or they'll be on something you drive past, or catch on something you glimpse.

Maybe a name gets repeated. You meet someone who changes your life in some way, and their name pops up over and over. In a character you read, in a salesperson, in someone new you meet.

Maybe you talk about something to someone, and then that thing happens. Out of the blue. Completely unexpected. This one happened to me this week. I spoke to someone about fruit bats - I'd raised them, he knew someone who had too. Some hours later, I had a fruit bat crash into my back verandah and I had to help it on its way. I've lived here 11 years and this is the first fruit bat that's crashed into my place, although they do fly over a lot. Weirder still, it was a juvenile fruit bat at about the size they're released after you raise them. I stood there in shock - it's a fruit bat, after we spoke about fruit bats - but no one else seemed to find that significant. I did. It was the universe telling me I'd done the right thing, even though it seemed odd.

Does this happen to other people? Does it happen to you?

Mostly I've heard people mention this associated with loss of loved ones. For example, rainbows are often a sign people see where they'll say, "XX sent me a rainbow, so everything's going to be okay." It's beautiful when that happens. I've heard it said about rainbows, flowers, animals, cloud shapes, even food. It makes me smile every time, but most especially when it's someone who I'd never have picked to say something like that.

I seem to be having quite a discussion with the universe lately. I just hope I'm interpreting the signs correctly! But I'm trusting the universe will clunk me on the head if I go totally off-course :)

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sunday Story - ARRA Book Signing

Sunday 24th March Sydney

Bankstown Sports Club

10 am - 4 pm

Will I see you there?

Friday, March 22, 2019

Phallic Friday - definition of pornography

Back to a Phallic post today because I saw this interesting article on the ABC website on Monday this week, discussing pornography and the current definition (or lack thereof) and a proposed new definition.

The article is written by researchers from Monash University, Melbourne, and since one woman is a PhD candidate, I'm guessing it's her PhD project. What a neat topic!?

The lack of a definition for pornography is something that I've noticed. People often ask why is what I write called erotic and not porn. The first time I was asked this, I was a bit floored. I said that I wasn't writing to arouse, but to explore a relationship fully, including the sexual relationship. It was my understanding that the primary purpose of pornography was arousal. My primary purpose in writing erotic romance is to tell a story and delve into a relationship. My primary purpose writing erotica is to use words to describe a sexual act. When I write erotica, I'm a little more focussed on the arousal aspect that with a romance, because I'm playing with words to create a mood/feeling.

The major point of the article is that in any of the current ways of defining porn, consent is not mentioned. In fact, many instances where consent is obviously missing, are still referred to as porn, when in fact they should be termed as a "sexual abuse". For example, child porn has no consent (because a child cannot give consent) and should be termed child sexual abuse. Revenge porn, is an act of revenge where one part of a broken relationship releases sexual information without the other's (or others')  consent. Rather than labelling this porn, it should be termed online sexual abuse.

The researchers say that changing definitions, and word choices, can be a powerful instigator of social change.

I love this article. I hope it gets a lot of air time, because these word choices do make a huge difference.

Thanks for the research Monash University, Sarah Ashton, and Dr Maggie Kirkman, Senior Research Fellow, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - Long-nosed Fur Seals

Fur seal at American River wharf (spotted on our first day)
Long-nosed Fur Seals (previously known as New Zealand Fur Seals) hang out around Kangaroo Island, which is one of the reasons that calling mobile animals by names that reference a country is all sorts of confusing. It's nice now that there's a push to use the Long-nosed name - and people on KI were quite strict about distinguishing which type of 'seal' you meant when you used that generic name.

These guys aren't the friendly, puppy-like ones. As the dolphin guy told me, these ones might look fun and interact a bit, and then they'll bite you for no reason. He also said these are the ones most closely associated with sharks. He reckoned if you saw a Great White around KI, you were most likely with the fur seals. And this information was good for me, because I'd been tempted to jump in and have a swim with the first seal we'd seen (the day before the dolphins), but there were other people around and I didn't. So that was a bit lucky - I may have been sporting a bite and that would have ruined the whole trip!

At the end of KI, there's Flinders Chase National Park, and the SE corner has Admiral's Arch and Remarkable Rocks. There's a colony of Fur Seals around Admiral's Arch, which is surrounded by rock platforms. So the fur seals do their feeding and then come to these rock platforms for a rest (except for the anti-social one we saw at the opposite end of the island!)

There are mothers and babies, teenagers and bulls on the rock platforms. You could stand there for ages watching them. Some sleep, but there are others who are just trouble. They go around waking up and stirring up trouble. Some play in the waves or the gutters in the rocks. Others climb up and down the rocks looking for a better spot to lie. It was fascinating.

Initially, we saw rocks, then you might spot one or two of the lighter coloured seals, and once your eye got in, there seemed to be hundreds all over the rocks. Little brown blobs scattered in shadows, under overhangs, right on a flat rock that you'd just overlooked. It was funny to watch people come down and go, "oh a seal," and then a few minutes later, "They're everywhere."

We spent some time watching the seals surf onto the rock platform. A couple of them seemed to be just off the edge, playing in the waves, and then they'd take a few waves before they made it up onto the rocks and able to walk higher. I wish I knew if they were playing, or learning techniques.

One seal we watched make his slow way down to a gutter. It took about 10 minutes, and it was like he wasn't sure he was going in (a bit like people at the beach when it's not a hot day). Then he eased his way into the water - no belly flop, but a gentle slide. Once in the water, he was playing - diving, rolling, sticking each flipper up, head up, tail up, rolling, swimming, chasing his tail. It was brilliant to watch and well worth us waiting so long!

I think you can see why 7 days wasn't enough time to see everything on KI!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Sunday Story - Prince of Air and Darkness

M.A. Grant's Prince of Air and Darkness was waiting for me when I got home from holidays and I devoured it.

It's a m/m paranormal romance that has every paranormal creature I could think of mentioned :)

Roark is the Prince of Air and Darkness, the favourite son of the Winter Faery Court (favourite, probably because he's the only one who's stuck around!).

Finny is human, who possesses the ability to link with the energy of ley lines. This is something he can't yet control and is likely to kill him.

Roark and Finny have a strange relationship at the beginning. It's not hatred that keeps them apart, but Roark's thick thick walls. He is so guarded, so difficult to read and understand. Finny si sweet and incredibly likeable and open.

As the story progresses I fell for Roark. He's a fantastic character with such strength and purity of heart.

At times, this story was so incredibly human. It could have been a m/m set at a university campus...and then some mythical creature would appear on the page and bounce you right back into the paranormal. This wasn't at all distracting or a criticism, it's what made the characters so incredibly likeable, and what set up the series. It's the perfect premise - a place where everyone is mixing and 'equal', with just a few tensions that are escalating among the rumours of the possibility of war breaking out.

If you like paranormal, m/m romance - grab this book!

If you enjoy an emotional story telling, grab this book!

I hope you might enjoy it as much as I did.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Fearless Friday - trying a new genre

This week, in my quest for fearlessness, I'm trying a new genre. Don't worry, I'm not giving up on erotica and erotic romance. That's sticking with me! But I'm spreading my wings a little more and going to try to let my mind go to places that have scared me before - the paranormal.

I LOVE reading paranormal stories. They let me escape into worlds where there are different rules, different forms, different expectations. I completely love reading about the mythical and mystical.

If I sit down to write it, I freeze. My brain goes, "Ha! No way would anyone believe that! How stupid an idea. Why would you think that'd work?" It also tells me I can't world build, that it's too hard, that I wouldn't know where to start.

It lies.

I build a world with every book I write. I might use a place I've been to, and describe things I've seen, but many many times the rest is all a fabrication. That whole world around Team Player was make-believe. I don't know the behind-the-scenes of footy teams. I don't know how their friends and family react, interact, feel. I made it all up. It's my world that I created.

And if I can create a world where threesomes become accepted, where two male footy players are allowed to love, then surely I can play with myths and fantasy. Surely I can let loose dragons and shapeshifters and vampires and werewolves. Faeries and goblins, elves and reindeer. Surely I can open up my mind to linking myths and magic. Superstitions with rumours and folklore.

And so...if I'm being that fearless to create worlds, then I need a new me to distinguish between sweet me, raunchy me, and make-believe me. So, I'm thinking of going out on a limb and creating a website where all three of mes are linked. Where you can click to come here to raunchy me. Where you can explore the sweet me, or the paranormal me. And where you can buy my books from me.

At the moment, so many things are in the 'difficult' and 'almost impossible' baskets ... but I'm working on learning and changing and being brave so these baskets empty out and everything gets into the 'doing' and then the 'done' baskets.

So... a few more weeks and I'll hopefully get A Real Online Fantasy under my control. I'll launch my beautiful new cover, have the book available as an ebook and a print book. And I have new erotic story (no footy player in sight this time) being written, and a paranormal series in the wings (ie research and planning stages).

This being fearless can be sometimes exciting!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Wildlife Wednesday - raptors

Kangaroo Island has a place called Raptor Domain. We saw some brochures about it and a private show was advertised where you could hold a wedge-tailed eagle. We were in! There were 3 of us and 3 people were allowed in the private show - perfect.

We saw 5 birds - Australian Raven, Barn Owl, Masked Owl, Pacific Baza and Wedge-tailed Eagle. I think the brochure said 6 or 7, but we spent so much time with each animal we were thrilled with the ones we saw. We chatted a lot to the keeper, Dana, who just loved birds, knew a lot and shared it easily. 

Casper the Barn Owl
The Raven came out first and they’d taught it to pick up rubbish and put it in the bin! It had been rehomed from the National Park where it had been ‘attacking’ people eating at the outdoor cafĂ©. It was much happier with his new role - and so were the diners. The bird doesn't just randomly pick up rubbish, it came with a 'don't litter' message, which works well with the huge environmental focus on Kangaroo Island.

Matilda the Masked Owl
We then met Casper the Barn Owl. he took a liking to Dad and sat on his lap a few times before Dad was covered and protected by the blanket. And just quietly, Dad was pretty taken by the owl, especially how incredibly soft his feathes were. Casper did a fly by over us to show how soundlessly owls fly. Their feathers are shaped in such a way that they make barely any noise in flight, which is great for swooping on unsuspecting mice. All I felt as he went over was a breath of air. Incredible.

Matilda the Masked Owl was our next visitor and again, softest feathers out. Masked Owls are a lot larger than Barn Owls, and although Matilda have very dark feathers, not all Masked Owls are this dark.

The Pacific Baza used to be called the Crested Falcon.In the photo you can't see her crest very well as it's lying flat while she eats a meal worm. But the crest gave her a bit of a pigeon look. But those they're big and bright. They're right at the sides of her head and she watched every little thing that was happening. There was nothing pigeon like about the gaze. 

Pacific Baza
She wore jesses, and I asked quite a bit about them. I thought the bird may take some adjusting to having leather straps on their feet but apparently not. Horses are always stupid when their legs get bandaged as they seem to lift their legs ridiculously high, almost as if they're trying to step out of the bandages. Birds don't seem to be bothered at all. And it didn't appear as if they has to adjust their flight either. Maybe raptors adjust automatically because they often use their talons for hunting, so carrying extra size/weight in their feet is instinctive. Some of the owls start with jesses which are removed when they're no longer deemed a risk of taking off. Dana wasn't sure that the Pacific Baza woudl ever be rid of hers.

Jack, Wedge-tailed eagle
Finally, Jack the Wedge-tailed Eagle came out. He was magnificent. The size difference from the owls to the eagle was incredible, not to mention the weight when they're on your arm! Dad held him first and I took so many photos. Then it was my turn.

Jack was seated on my out-stretched left hand and my right hand had to go into my pocket. If I raised my right hand, I might scare the bird (and I imagine he may attack...but that wasn't said, it's just what when through my mind). Since that was in my mind, the first few moments were interesting as Jack and I sized each other up. I could see that massive beak and it was at about the level of my soft nose, and a lot of scenarios went through my head as I battled fear. But we came to some agreement to trust each other. Jack stopped staring, ruffled his feathers, relaxed on my arm, and I relaxed as well.

Me and Jack, when we're relaxed
We've been hand-feeding King Parrots for some years (and sometimes I offer the cockatoos when I'm feeling brave) and I didn't realise how much that would impact my eagle holding. My hand and arm were quite used to remaining relatively still. I could judge what the bird was going to do - Dana gave me a warning before he ruffled his feathers, but I hadn't needed it because I knew he was going to do it just as she did. That's because King Parrots do the same thing. If you flutter your hand when they're ruffling and relaxing, they go. I knew to remain still as Jack ruffled and relaxed. A bird so very much larger, and yet the philosophy remained the same. How very cool.

Dana and Jack cuddles
After we'd all held Jack, Dana then gave him smooches and cuddles. I could never have imagined anyone doing what she did. It was beautiful to see how much they adored each other. In a way, I wish she'd done that first so I had no fear when holding him... but in another way, I'm glad I had to work through that fear to do something completely incredible.

I thought the dolphins were awesome, and this was a very close second.

If you're ever on Kangaroo Island, don't miss Raptor Domain. They have shows through the day where the birds, as well as reptiles and venomous critters are displayed. It's not a zoo or a wildlife park. It's a rehab and education centre, and it's awesome.