Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Story

I read a blog post through the week that's been making me think. Cara McKenna wrote the post and was talking about her latest WIP and how she was struggling to redeem the hero - an alcoholic loner with a rope fetish.

You know what I realised? I never really challenge myself with my characters. They're always "nice" people. Why haven't I been brave enough to tackle an unlike able hero/heroine and tried to redeem them?

Big scaredy cat.

And that's what I love about Cara McKenna's stories - her people are real, with real problems and sometimes larger than life issues. Yet I go for easy people, easy issues. Guess I'd better learn to tackle the tough ones.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Phallic Friday - Vaginas

Today's topic is Vaginas.

Why? Because a writing friend alerted me to a fantastic book that's just been released called 101 Vagina (even though I keep thinking Vagina101, as if it's a lesson!).

It's a book which portrays photographs of 101 vaginas with the aim to break down the taboo about vaginas and body image in general. What a fantastic idea! For me, this is a major break through for women.

I've heard of men comparing their penises, especially as children, but I have never been a part of women comparing vaginas (although maybe it's only my sheltered life!). And vaginas are a body part, like everything else, that I wonder about - is it too different? too ugly? too fat? too flabby? too long? too hairy? not hairy enough? too weird?

I have had a vagina discussion with a male who's seen quite a I do know that there are all shapes and sizes and different men like different things. But I really haven't seen that with my own eyes - I just have to take his word for it! :)

I've always wanted to write my erotic stories with an emphasis on describing the "meaty" parts of my characters but I've not been game. I've done a bit with penis description but vagina description is not something I've tried. Penises and vaginas are glossed over in generic terms, not really described in detail. (Or am I missing the more descriptive books?) Maybe I should be brave and try it. I have a story I'm writing with an uncircumcised penis and a girl who hasn't touched an "unskinned"one before. Maybe I should make that story rich on "meaty" bit details.

Am I that brave?

101 Vagina interests me greatly. I'll have to save up! And the next book they're planning is 101 Penises. Won't they look great on my coffee table? LOL

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


I had a little rant yesterday about life...

and today my blog gets it into its head to have all my Wildlife posts THIS Wednesday. Why? Why ? Why?

And can I fix it?


Sorry guys... OD on wildlife... it's all I can offer!

Wildlife Wednesday

Here's another mystery critter.

It's a bit smaller than the Vinegar Fly Anita Joy identified a couple of weeks back. Picture taken the same day - it was damn hot! - and they were both sitting on the water tank in the shade.

He's some kind of fly, I'd guess from the big fly eyes. But I have no guesses for him. No pictures even looked like him. And I don't have a clue where to start looking! Yes, I could key it out - if I had the insects book (which is about a foot thick) and the insect, but all I have is the photo.

I have some things I know coming up. Phew! I was beginning to lose faith in myself :)

Wildlife Wednesday

This fish is a Bream.

Another with a long waffly story :) But I associate this fish with my Dad and a sister.

My sister always said she hated to eat black fish. So my Nana always made her a special piece of fish that my Grandfather caught especially for her - bream. My sister ate it happily. It was some years before I asked how my grandfather caught bream when he never fished for them - but since I didn't ask it in front of my sister, all was well!

My Dad fishes for bream. He does this by having a special line just for bream. It's an old hand line (fishing line wrapped around a cork cylinder) and on the end there's a bream hook with a special cut of steak. The hook and a heap of line get cast out to drift in the sea. Then after some period of time, a great chunky sinker drops to the bottom. So there's a weight on the line but not right when the fish bites, because bream are timid biters, you see. So when the line runs, you know you have a fish on it. Bream fight when caught, darting and weaving, angling towards rocks and weed trying to snap your line. It's great fun watching Dad pull in a big bream.

But here, in the beautiful Jervis Bay, the fish are protected by the Marine Park. So there are lots of gorgeous bream that make my mouth water... but no fishing. I like having somewhere to snorkel where there's lots of fish. Makes for a fun afternoon!

Wildlife Wednesday

Luderick, or Black Fish. Photographed at the beautiful Hyams Beach at Jervis Bay. A perfect place to snorkel or swim.

I know this fish because he's my family fish. Let me explain. My grandfather and his father before him, all the brothers in those generations, my Dad and his brother and sister, myself and a cousin all go blackfishing. And this isn't just any old fishing - well, not in my family. It's an artform!

We holidayed with my grandparents every February for all my childhood. In fact, my grandparents were never alone when they holidayed as the whole extended family had allocated visiting times with them. It's just how they holidayed. So we drove and drove for hours to visit them (which is really only an hour and a half - it just seemed like forever as a car-sick kid) and we always had to take up green weed. Yep, seaweed (which helped so much with that car sickness!). Special green weed we spent ages hunting and then collecting and then laying out evenly on damp hessian bags.

When we got there, the Saturday morning was spent with my grandfather sorting the weed. I sat and watched while he teased weed apart and used some indecipherable system to separate "good" from "bad". The "bad" got chopped up into little pieces to make burly (this consisted of building a sand castle, my job, and sprinkling weed over it and then mixing it up. The burly was hurled out by the trowel-ful to attract fish when fishing). The "good" was used for bait - it was tied to the hook in such a way it made a long ribbon dangling in the water below the hook, which is how the fish like it. How my grandfather knew that I will never know!

For years, I did the weed culling, the sand castle building, the mixing, the packing of the boat - and I waved the men off to fish. You see, I had to be 13 years old to learn to black fish (some family tradition!).

And when I turned 13, off I went on my big adventure. It was seriously hard work. The rods were heirlooms and my beginner's rod was about fifteen foot long with this reel larger than my hand. The reel doesn't spool up and down like a normal fishing reel, it's just a big round wheel that you lay sideways and feed the line from. Then when you got a bite - known because you're very-difficult-to-see float bobbed in the water - you had to fling the rod backwards while you grabbed the line, thus jagging the hook in the fish's mouth. This is easy when you're tall and have big hands. At 13 I was short with little hands - actually much the same as now!

But even with these difficulties, I was hooked. Blackfishing is one of the joys in life. It's soothing, peaceful, quiet, filled with routine and tradition. And black fish make me think of my dad, my grandfather and the generations before him who lugged green weed to Woy Woy to go blackfishing!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Stress-head City

I need to suck in a big deep breath. I've been stress-head city and impossible live with - even for me!!

Do you ever have times when everything you do HAS to be done NOW? And there's not enough hours in the day to get it done? Even giving up my precious sleep, there's still not enough hours.

That's me.

Impossible to be with.
Yet I'm stuck with me!!!!

So, how do you manage life so it gives you spoonfuls instead of throwing the whole damn bowl at you and expecting you to eat quickly?

I've never worked it out. Don't know that I'm ever going to.
But at least I'm venting... and that has to be good for me... doesn't it?
And I made it through - or else I wouldn't be capable of venting, I'd be barely able to breathe.

Thanks for listening. Ahhhhh....

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Story

While on 'holidays' this past week I took a pile of books with me, and a pile of edits to do, and a notebook for new ideas, and ... you get the picture? I took lots to do and all I managed was to read one book!

One book.

Thank goodness it was a good one.

I was at a wedding last weekend, then we circumnavigated Barrington Tops National Park driving in a few times when you could. Then I had a few days rest while Mr Ellink went to a work conference (but he kept popping out of things to check up on me), which all amounted to lots of kilometres done, lots of photos and eating and chatting, not a lot of reading and even less writing or editing.

But I digress.

House for all Seasons is wonderful. It's the story of 4 women who are brought together after 20 years of almost non-contact. They had been friends at school until tragedy and life sent them all off in different directions.

I don't want to give too much away, so I won't say alot. Jenn J McLeod does an amazing thing by weaving the story together from 4 separate parts/points of view. It's very clever. The town and the people are brought to life. The 4 'friends' are people I'd like to meet (well, maybe not all of them!) but definitely some of them.

I'm a sook, so I cried... often... but not buckets. I smiled a lot. I laughed. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Actually, I was pretty miffed each time I had to stop reading it. I wanted to get lost in the world and stay there.

If I could only pick one book to read on my holiday, I'm glad it was this.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Phallic Friday - more menages

Just a quickie today because I'm travelling and I miscounted the posts I needed and country travel means crap Internet connection, which is not making me happy.

Last time I visited menages, I forgot to point out that Keziah Hill writes very believable multi-women  menages. I fall into her stories and don't get any jealousy vibes between the women. That's how I need to write multi-women stories... But at the moment I'm editing existing stories...

And right at this moment, just to make you green, I'm poolside at a motel while I edit. I'm missing the sexy pool boy and the hunky batman bringing me riotous bright drinks with paper umbrellas, but I have blue water, sunshine, deck chair and shady umbrella. The Internet connection may be crap...but maybe this makes up for it. I'll see if I can work out how to insert a photo.

A bit delayed... but better late than never! No pool boys showed up :(

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

Another terrible photo, sorry, I tried hard. This little spider was on the opposite side of the web to me (and it was in the garden and I had no hope of getting around to his side without ruining his web) and he was weaving. He was racing around and around that web as fast as anything, little silk trail from his behind creating his concentric circles. I was fascinated. I don't think I've ever seen a spider weave as quickly as he did.

And... he's a mystery spider. Although, he could be an orb weaving spider of some sort, he has the right kind of body shape.

So... I'm learning that I know not much :) Lucky I got out of Environmental Biology! Did I tell you I was useless at keying out critters and plants for ID? (although I probably don't need to tell you - I've demonstrated it quite well!) The guy who was our prac tutor used to say "No" before I even opened my mouth to say what I thought it was!!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Sunday Story

Today I'll share a short story (about 3000 words). It's not erotic, just a bit of fun. I entered it into the RWAus Little Gems (sapphire theme) contest but it wasn't chosen for the anthology, which is okay, when my husband read it he said it was quite sarcastic and no one would like it! I didn't mean for it to be sarcastic or a parady or black or anything. It just fell out of my fingertips like this - and when that happens I go with it and profusely thank my Muse!

Farewell Sapphire
Sapphire is a tiny town in Queensland, home to 550 people, give or take the tourists, and me. Our closest town is Emerald, and our greatest claim to fame is the gem fields surrounding the area. Some imaginative soul named the towns around here - Emerald, Sapphire, Rubyvale. I often wonder if he found a Sapphire here and that’s why he called it so, or if he just wished he had.
I’ve lived here all my life and have planned my escape for almost as long. As far as small towns go there’s nothing wrong with Sapphire. I want to live in a larger town, or even a city. I dream of Brisbane, or Sydney or Melbourne. In my youth, I had scrapbooks filled with magazine and newspaper photographs of these Australian cities. Now I’ve moved on. New York, Paris, Rome, London or Perth capture my attention now.
Imagine living in Perth…. Still in Australia, but miles from other capitals. It’d be like a country on its own. A river through the city that never dries up. The ocean at your western shore. And the whole continent between my new abode and Sapphire.
Mum and Dad run the Sapphire Caravan Park and we’ve worked in it since time began. There’s five of us. I’m the eldest. Then my sister, Emmie, two brothers, who got normal names, Harry and Jack, and our baby sister, Ruby. I tried to gloss over the girls names but you can’t gloss over Ruby. Emmie is Emerald but we never call her that. I bet you can’t guess my name… yep… no prizes, Sapphire. Sapphire in Sapphire. What were they thinking? I get called Sappy when I’m teased, but Saph mostly.
See why I hate being here?
If I was Sapphire in Sydney, it would be a beautiful name, especially teamed with my bright blue eyes. But Sapphire in Sapphire with sapphire eyes - seriously!
Anyway, tomorrow I’m eighteen. And eighteen is the age I promised I’d leave town. I amended it from sixteen when Emmie sobbed and told my parents the day before my birthday. Now everyone in town knows I’m leaving. No secrets here. Emmie’s still sobbing but as I’ve tried to tell her, Emerald in Sapphire isn’t half so bad.
The most difficult part about leaving is physically getting away from town. The bus stops in Emerald, which is fifty five kilometres away, but there’s no bus in Sapphire. So, do I hitch or walk? I can’t walk. Not only is that too far but my birthday’s February so I’d never be able to carry enough water to survive the summer sun baking me.
There are a heap of grey nomads going through town. And the Caravan Park’s the perfect place to pick them up. I’ve sussed out a few of them and the general vibe is that they won’t take me. They all have rebellious kids and grandkids, so they think they’re doing the right thing. My folks won’t talk to them. They say it’s my plan I have to carry it through. Fat lot of good they are. All I need them to say is that it’s okay. But no. They don’t really want me to leave. They’ll lose their best cleaner.
I have one hope. One hope buried deep in my chest and I’m not sure I can even write it down. If I write it, my dream will vanish. So I’ll keep it secret. But don’t be shocked if tomorrow there’s a surprise for me… a huge surprise.
I walk into breakfast and everyone sings Happy Birthday. Mum puts a huge plate of scrambled eggs in front of me and Dad drops two bits of bacon on top. Emmie butters toast and sits it alongside. Birthdays are a big deal in my family.
“Thanks, everyone.” I give Mum and Dad a big hug each. I grin at Emmie but she’s sulking still, even if she did make me toast.
Breakfast is the precursor to an extended birthday. Because we’re so busy in the mornings, checking people out and cleaning, the gift giving and cake waits until after lunch. So breakfast is the sampler as we all wait for the exciting part.
Once breakfast is done, I’m off to clean rooms and the boys clean camp sites. Emmie cleans rooms too but we don’t work together. We work from different directions and when we meet, we’re done. The morning travels along fairly well but butterflies have taken residence in my stomach. You kind of know why, but I can’t tell you anymore. I sneak glances out the front of the Caravan Park whenever I can, but nothing changes. Each time I look my heart’s in my throat taking out all the air. Then when nothing’s there, it drops back to my rib cage and air rushes in. Lucky I’m young or I’d think I was having a heart attack.
When I meet Emmie at the last room, we clean it together. When it’s sparkling and I close the door behind us, I’m laughing a maniacal chuckle.
“Oh my God, Emmie. That’s my last room. Ever. Ever and ever. Amen.” I grab her around the waist and twirl her but she’s not excited like me, she’s sobbing.
“I don’t want you to go, Saph. I don’t want you to leave me here.”
I tilt her chin up. “When you’re eighteen Emmie, I’ll come and get you and take you to live with me.”
“But that’s two years away.” She says it like it’s a life sentence.
I chuck my curled finger beneath her chin. “It’s only as long as I’ve waited since you ratted me out last time.”
Emmie hangs her head and her sobs reduce to sniffles. “I’m not sorry.” She says, defiant even when distressed.
We pack away the gear and clean up ready for lunch. “He won’t come, you know.”
I whirl on Emmie, eyes blazing, fists clenched tight so my nails dig into my palms. I can’t say a word. I stalk into the house for lunch.
How dare she?
How. Dare. She.
I suck in big deep breaths trying to tamp down my fury. I’m almost gulping, like a great big carp chucked up on the riverbank.
I don’t wait for Emmie to shower first. I hog the bathroom. I scrub and wash, for the last time in this horrid bathroom. I wrap myself in the tiny scratchy towel and go to our bedroom to dress. My stuff’s packed ready to go. I’ve left a yellow sundress out so I’m happy and bright and cheery as I leave. I slip it on.
I almost bought the sapphire coloured sundress. I thought Sapphire, leaving Sapphire, wearing sapphire would have been more memorable, but yellow looks better on me with my tanned skin. And I can’t turn up in a bigger town looking silly. I’ve got to turn up the best I can.
Lunch is a feast. Mum’s done a heap of different salads and a chook. It’s my favourite summer meal. After gorging on salads, a huge chocolate mud cake appears. A sparkler shoots dazzling light while everyone sings again. The cake is delicious. Mum’s a great cook. We all have seconds.
And then the gifts. Emmie, Harry, Jack and Ruby have all chipped in and bought me something. A small gaudily-wrapped box is laid into my hands with much ceremony. I slip off the ribbon and tear open the paper. A jeweller’s box. When I open it, a large light blue sapphire gleams in a platinum setting. The pendant I’d admired in the shop a few months back. The pendant with the most stunning sapphire I’ve ever seen. It cost them a fortune. I’m speechless. Looking from one expectant face to the next, I realise they’re waiting for my reaction and until now I’ve been too stunned to have one.
I burst into tears. Emmie does too. Ruby grabs my arm. Harry and Jack roll their eyes.
“I love it. Thank you. I’ll wear it all the time.” I hug each of them in turn, squeezing Emmie extra because I know she organised this.
Dad puts the pendant on for me and everyone stares at it. “It matches your eyes.” Emmie’s words are breathed out in awe.
“Perfectly.” Mum says in the same sort of breath.
When I look in the mirror though, all I see are bloodshot eyes from crying. I’ll have to check it out later. For now I’ll believe them because it’s the most beautiful sapphire in the world.
Mum and Dad hand me a card. “We thought this would be the most useful thing.” Dad’s voice is serious but a bit choked up.
Inside the card is a cheque. A cheque for more money than I’ve ever seen.
“No. No.” I shake my head. “You can’t give me this much.” It’s two thousand dollars.
Mum’s hand closes on my upper arm. “Love, it won’t go far when you’re on your own.”
Dad smiles. “And it’s not anywhere near how much work you’ve done here.”
“Thank you. This is the best birthday ever.” I mean it. I give them all a hug again. I love my family. They’re all so special. But as much as I love them, I can’t stay here.
The bell in the office rings. No one jumps to get it but everyone glances at everyone else, like someone’s supposed to get it.
I stand up. “I’ll get it.” I rub my hands over my eyes, hoping they don’t look all bleary, and walk out to the office to book in whoever is early.
Opening the office door, I stop still. Dead still. The door’s about a quarter way open. My body’s stopped beside it unable to fit through, but I can’t shut it either because my feet are in the way. But I’d never shut it.
My ride’s here.
“Darren.” The word comes out like a whisper. Then everything inside me gathers together tightly before springing forwards in a whirl of body parts. My voice finds itself and I call out his name, loudly, with every bit of happiness and hope I’ve held onto for two years. “Darren.”
The counter vanishes and I’m in his arms, whirling around the front of the office so fast that brochures fly into the air.
“Happy Birthday, Saph.”
“Oh my God. Darren, you came.” Not that I doubted him, not ever. Not once. Never. Not a tiny bit. “You’re here.”
“I’m late. Did I miss the cake?” He’s laughing at me. He’s laughing with me. He hasn’t taken his hands off my waist yet, even though he’s stopped twirling me, and it’s probably just as well as I don’t know if my knees will hold me upright.
“We saved you a piece,” Mum says from behind me. When I look around they’re all there. Like they were expecting him. Like they had more faith in him arriving than I did.
“Did you plan this?” I ask, staring at Mum.
“Honey, you planned this two years ago. It’s not my doing. But if you don’t want to go—”
“No. I’m going.” I don’t want her to have the tiniest shred of a doubt. “But I’ll come back to visit. And this will always be home.” I fly to Mum and hug her. Then I hug Dad, and Emmie, and Harry, and Jack, and Ruby. “I’m ready to go.”
Dad laughs. “Saph, Darren needs a break. You don’t know how long he’s been driving.”
I turn around to Darren ready to apologise. “No, Mr Jenson. I stayed at Mum and Dad’s last night, so I’m ready to rock and roll.”
“I’m ready too.” I can’t keep my teeth inside my lips. I have this Cheshire cat grin that won’t leave.
“I’ll pack you some food,” Mum says as I race to the bedroom for my backpack.
When I fly back to Darren after a brief farewell to my room of eighteen years and a stop to grab my gifts from the lounge room, we wait for Mum to appear with food. Mum never lets you drive anywhere without a water bottle of iced water and a foam esky of food.
After a whirl of hugs, kisses, farewells and tears, Darren and I are on the road. I wind down the window and hang out to wave goodbye to my family. I show two fingers to Emmie, not as a bird, but to remind her of my promise. I’ll keep it just as Darren kept his. When we get to the town limits, I wave farewell to the sign, and scream, “See you, Sapphire.”
And then, exhausted, I fall into my seat. It’s like all the air has sucked from me. Like I was only alive in Sapphire and I’m dying as I leave but I know that’s not true because I’ve left Sapphire before for holidays and survived.
“It’s just adrenalin, Saph. You’ll be right in a bit.”
“I can’t believe you came, Darren. I dreamed and I hoped but you never said and so I didn’t say anything.”
His hand slides over mine and squeezes lightly. “Saph, we’ve been dreaming of this for thirteen years. And the last two years have been hell without you. I can’t wait to show you Brisbane. I can’t wait to travel south.”
“Why didn’t you say something about coming?”
“I promised your folks I wouldn’t push you into going.”
I close my eyes. “They never believed I wanted to leave. Even when I said it a hundred and fifty million times, they always thought you were the bad influence because you were older.”
Darren laughs. “Little did they know…”
I know it’s illegal, I know I shouldn’t do it, but I do it anyway. I take off my seat belt and wriggle over to Darren. My hand slips on his shoulder and I kiss his cheek. I press lots of little kisses to his cheek. The little kisses move closer and closer to the side of his mouth. I haven’t kissed him in so long.
There’s a bounce or two as Darren pulls the car off the road and stops it. Then my lips catch his. It’s as if I kissed him yesterday, but sweeter than if I’d never kissed him before. His mouth moves beneath mine, like a ballet. We sip tiny tastes of each other until we need to feast. Then the kiss becomes wild and wickedly wonderful. I’m glad he’s pulled over so I can taste him without worrying about the police. He tastes of Darren and nothing has ever tasted this good, not even Mum’s chocolate cake.
When our kiss slows, he sets me back into my seat. “Saph, if you do any more of that, we’ll never get out of the gem fields.”
Laughing, I do my seatbelt up. Darren does his and starts the car. We move off. “How far will we get to tonight?”
“At least Gladstone, maybe even Bundaberg.”
“And how long to Brisbane?”
“Another day.”
Another day to city. Another day to reach our city starting point.
“In two years I have to go back and get Emmie.”
Darren nods. “But we have two years to find our city, Saph. Two years to establish ourselves, or to travel, or to move about.”
As his ute eats the kilometres, I call a toast out the open window. “To the future!”

Friday, March 15, 2013

Phallic Friday - a confession

I'm cheating a little - because I'm travelling this week and I don't know if I'll have a chance to blog. You may have seen this on the Hot Down Under site. If so, my apologies! If not... enjoy, because I don't confess very often! :)

Confessions of an Erotic Romance Writer

I don’t tell many people what I write. It makes some people squirm. Others react negatively (often vocally with abuse that I think is uncalled for and unwarranted). But yesterday I had the best reaction from people.

My aunt knows about my writing. I was visiting her. She asked about it, in front of a cousin who didn’t know. I had to confess that not everyone knew my habit. My cousin was shocked but laughed (in an embarrassed, OMG way). My aunt asked why I’d told her. It’s because she’s always been forthright, open in what she discusses and thinks. I’ve always admired this openness about her (openness and humour, a great mix). She was flattered.

My aunt had been in a job for years where everyone was around the same age. Then she had to change jobs. She was now one of the “oldies”. She said it shocked her that the younger girls would be talking about something and giggling, then when she came in, all went quiet. If she made flippant/sex-related remarks, they all tittered like she said something wrong. She realised she’d become “a grandma” and they didn’t think she should know these things. I didn’t know about this until yesterday. At about this time, I told her about my writing, she said it made her feel good that I didn’t think her staid and old-fashioned.

During the conversation that ensued, my cousin’s hubby supplied the name of a film-star my aunt couldn’t remember… for films not from Hollywood usually with a rating of at least one X. My cousin nearly fell off the chair. More of that OMG laughter, blushing, hands across mouth. But when no one else was horrified, the conversation continued as if there was no embarrassment. We conversed about sex in a normal manner – no personal conversations, just films and books.

It was refreshing. Refreshing to be with open-minded people in the majority, who carried on a conversation without having to squirm, abuse, or die of shame. It was amazing to have such a reaction, to feel unashamed, to discuss openly.

It made me wonder if I’d cheated others of such a discussion. Have I invented “grandmas” who would be open to my writing but I’ve kept it away from them, making them feel old and left out?

I know I haven’t told my Book Group. Some of them would be very supportive. Maybe I should be a big girl and own up to my writing. What’s a little more abuse or embarrassment anyway!?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Publishing News & Call Story

"I'm on a mission... a mission from..." Oh, wait, that's the Blues Brothers!

I have my own Mission... and it's coming in June... with Escape Publishing!

                              The Virginity Mission.

Yes, that's my mission.

And because it cracks the 40 000 word barrier, I now become a Published Author in RWAus and get to give my Call Story.

My Call Story
I forget when I started writing this story but in August 2011 I received the first lot of comments back from one of my trusty readers. It was called "Rainforest" because I suck at titles.

In November 2011 it became "The Virginity Mission" and was submitted... and rejected with a form rejection.

In early 2012 I re-worked it because I'd learned more (lots of emotion missing from story). I entered it in some contests and got some mixed results (as usual) and reworked it some more. Threw it into another submission... and another form rejection.

In June 2012 I made another re-working. Another submission... another form rejection.

In late August 2012 I tried another submission... and another from rejection.

All these rejections were the silent, non-helpful kind. No one answered my questions - Does my writing suck? Is it the story? Am I missing things (like emotion), or putting in too much (like repetition)? Is it not fitting the genre? Is it just hopeless? Should it go in the bin?

Through all these rejections my trusty readers kept telling me it was a good story, they liked it, it should be published.

But who do you believe? Your friends (who were strangers before they became your trusty readers but are now friends and does that mean they're still objective enough to judge?) or the silent rejections (that could mean anything at all)?

Then in January 2013 I submitted again. One of the trusty readers had been hammering me about trying it with Escape Publishing - who were publishing things that didn't fit true genres. Since this story is a virginity story, it's pretty sweet for erotic, and it has some adventure in it so the hero and heroine aren't together for some of the story. A mess really. It had no hope of being published... but I sent it because what the heck, another rejection won't kill me.

A week or so later, they wanted the full. OMG! This was a bit hopeful. I sent the full.

I waited. I waited. I checked my emails every day (multiple times a day). I was hopeful but I kept telling myself they wouldn't want it. No one else had.

And then on the 12th Feb at 8 pm in the middle of doing something else I checked my email and my stomach dived. It was her! With sweaty palms, a knot in my gut and my breath held, I clicked it open. 

I'm delighted to accept it for publication.

OMG! I could hardly breathe to tell my hubby. They wanted my story. 

I've made it. The goal I set in 2008 is attained. And I've done it the way I wanted - get in with some short stories, learn the ropes and then get a larger story published.

And my new goals - a larger story next time, more stories to follow, and a career doing this fantastic thing called writing!

And there's no way I could have made this without help from a lot of people! The Romance Writers of Australia is incredible and I've learned everything through that group - almost everything! I did a Romance Intensive course with the amazing Anne Gracie and brilliant Bronwyn Jameson. I did lots of online courses with various people, received lots of contest feedback from here and overseas. I did the first 5DI where I indulged for a week in writing with Sophia James who gave me the courage to believe in myself and my stories. I participated in the Hot Down Under project where lots of girls helped, but Mel Teshco and Tracey O'Hara were the movers and shakers, and Jess Dee showed me repetition (lots and lots and lots!). I have amazing Crit Partners - some from the beginning of my journey, more I've met along the way - and all have helped shape my writing. I have great friends, family and a very patient husband.

To have a Virginity story as my first "published" piece, is kind of fitting! :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

Like last week, this is an insect I don't know but he looked incredible sitting against the water tank on a hot day, so I snapped a shot.

Now, back to the insect book. My first glance and I think he might be a March Fly - but he's not like the March Flies I swatted regularly around my horses... or maybe I was too busy with the horses to look closely at the crazy biting fly.

But I'll look again.

And I can't find anything else.

The Australian Museum says March Flies are also called Green Heads (and this one has green eyes) but no photo. And the photos I can see of March Flies, don't look like this fellow. Most are hairy bodied and this one isn't. And the wing patterns aren't right.

So he's the man (or insect) of mystery... unless someone knows what he is.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Sunday Story

His Brand Of Beautiful
Lily Malone is one of my regular readers and commenters and she has her first book out this month and His Brand Of Beautiful is beautiful. Christina Clay is a likeable heroine, who is not your typical rich girl. She has a wicked sense of humour and great timing. Tate Newell also has a good sense of humour, which is just as well because he's often the brunt of hers. He assumes she's the rich girl of his mind, without taking the time to know her, and this leads him into all sorts of scrapes.

I thought this was a fun read. I loved Lily's word choices and her voice. The main project that brings Tate and Christina together is that she wants him to develop a wine brand for her. And this is the part I loved. I adored the wine brand. The campaign was fun. I could see the labels in my head. I wanted to go buy a few bottles and enjoy good wine. This is a book that made me want to read it out loud to friends, laughing, over a few glasses of red!

If you're looking for a nice read, and don't mind a giggle and a wine, you can't go by His Brand Of Beautiful.

Hope you enjoy it!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Phallic Friday - Menages

Menage is the commonly used term in erotica to describe sex with multiple partners. Menage a tois was the original phrase which indicates three people in a sexual act. Menage by itself literally means a household; the people living under the same roof. But I'm using the term as the multiple partner thing.

I love reading menages that are done well. Kaliana Cole is one of my favourites. When I first read her writing, it blew my mind. It was so real, gritty and sensual. The first of hers I read was her Hot Down Under short story - Shelter From The Storm. I then hunted up her first book, Good Horses, Fast Cars and Real Men. Then I fell into Liberty Springs, her town where all forms of sexual relationships abound.

The first story has three brothers and Emma - No Bag Limit. Ty, the eldest is really enough of a hero to have a story of his own but he shares the story and the woman with his twin brothers, Zach and Colby. And Zach and Colby are gorgeous too. All three are delicious characters that blend together to be the perfect man. Alone just wouldn't be right. And Emma is woman enough to handle them all.

Hook, Line and Sinker had me caught completely in her stories. And this one flicked back to just a pairing. But wow, the world of Liberty Springs was where I want to be.

There are another 3 stories, all spectacular, and more info can be found at Kaliana Cole's website.

Another ripper menage is Kylie Scott's Flesh. At first you think Daniel's hot, then Finn comes along and it's difficult to decide. Then, what the hell, the end of the world is nigh, why decide!?!? And all is right in the world :)

I'm really sold on the multiple men stories (need any more recommendations?)... and I'm starting to see why men like the multiple women idea. But how feasible is it? Do women share well?

I've not had the real life menage experience, but in my former net-junkie life, I have. The multiple women, one man thing really didn't work for me and I struggle to write it. The cyber-guys involved did all the right things - one was actually a master at making sure everyone was involved. But the girls... well... maybe I 'intuit' too much... but that big old ugly green monster reared it's head far too many times for my liking. Sometimes I felt like backing away and saying, "Hey, he's yours. Stop feeling threatened." Other times I just got so uncomfortable I logged off. Girls have a nasty way of excluding you - I learned it in the playground when I started school. It's subtle, often unseen by others, but I know. They turn their back, lift an eyebrow and give a sharp pointed look, huff a sigh, roll their eyes. It's subtle but pointed. Even on the internet!

And when I go to write a menage with multiple women... I get those vibes again. The "I will not share my toy" vibe.

So for me, menages are all about men. Lots of them. And I'd like to go visit Liberty Springs. Hell no, I'd like to live there! And if I can't do that... then I'd like to be Kaliana Cole when I grow up :)

How do you feel about menages - in fact or fiction?

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

I found this guy on the flyscreen door. He's tiny and I've focussed on the flyscreen instead of on him, but hopefully you can see him okay and get the idea of him.

So what is he?

Let me make a confession. I studied Environmental Biology and I have books and books and books on ID of everything, and I thought I was pretty good at knowing 'what critter is that'. Since doing this blog - I realise I have no idea! I have invented names in my head for critters. I think they're right and then I go Google (to check for the blog) and I get some totally different animal.

So I'm pulling out my book, An Introduction to Australian Insects. I have a few of these critters to look for so I hope I stumble across them somewhere.

Okay, success #1. This little guy is a PLANTHOPPER. He feeds on Eucalypts but does not cause damage. His scientific name is Siphanta acuta and he's a member of the Hemiptera order and the Flatidae family, growing to 5 mm.

Okay, so I'm feeling more intelligent now. All I have to do is remember he's a Planthopper - and not keep calling him my invented name :)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sunday Story - Bird By Bird

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeI gave a friend of mine Bird By Bird for Christmas. Then, when I went to visit last week, she left it on my bedside table for me to read - but I was NOT allowed to take it home. So I did what I had to do - read it while I was there :)

I've been messing around with writing for a few years now - it's 8 years since she laid down the creative writing challenge to me, but before that I wrote for work, and at uni and through school. And I realised that what I've learned and done instinctively over my life, is right. Right for me, anyway :)

These are the take home messages I got from Bird:
  • pour every bit of yourself into your writing every time you write
  • never be half-hearted
  • take advice
  • give yourself space, distance and time
  • if it takes 2-3 years to write a book, it's okay
  • write for you, not for publication
  • love your subject passionately or you won't have the impetus to finish
  • surround yourself with people who understand. When you need help - ask. When they need help - give.
  • finish things
  • you'll never run out of ideas
  • observe, scribble notes, pay attention to life
  • interpret what you see your way but write it real, with all the minutia
  • libel: mask all your characters with lots of different traits. Never let anyone be identifiable.

I can't say I liked this book. I skim read it because I wasn't taken by the author. Maybe it's US humour that I missed, but things fell flat for me. Sometimes I didn't want to know her. But her advice is solid and she's been around writers all her life, so she's picked up lots and lots of tips. I mean, that's a lot of take home messages for one book!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Phallic Friday - Butcher Shop

I know, a weird topic but I'm suffering from brain drain after a holiday - you know, when you want to be back on holidays but you have to work? That brain drain.

So... I thought I'd share a discussion I had last week with my 'ideas' friend. I can't blame her for the warped ideas I use for my stories... but she's the girl who starts my Ideas-Muse spinning. We're like two ideas-people who spring from topic to topic, craziness to craziness, insanity to insanity. She's the one who challenged me to write a book (bet she regrets it!) when I thought I could do nothing.

Anyway, my local butcher is fantastic. He's just taken 2nd place in the Australian sausage contest (seriously). So of course, I had to take some of the award winning sausages to my friends who don't have the chance to partake in such delicacies!

And when you rock up with a pile of sausages, tales of your great butcher and you write erotic stories, your friends start putting all these things together and suggesting you write a butcher shop steamy story.

Now I've had those thoughts myself - but how could I ever shop there for my dinner if I wrote his shop into a story? Would I be able to ask for my kilo of thick sausages without turning red? Could I ask for chicken breasts without blushing?

My friend and I spent a good few minutes (okay, nearly an hour) laughing until we cried, as we came up with butcher shop sex. Cool rooms, meat saws, carcasses, sausage mince, smoke houses. Seriously sexy stuff - and then some!

And when I came home and went to get dinner ... gosh, I was blushing as I opened the door. I don't think I'm ready to write butcher shop escapades... but those ideas won't stop!!

Do you have such wicked thoughts, or wicked ideas-friends?