Friday, May 31, 2013

Release Day

Mac and Jason are released to the world today. I'm sending them off with all my best wishes and I hope people they meet will love them as I have.


Phallic Friday - anal sex

Confession time again - anal sex is one of my favourites because it's rough, gritty, taboo and dashed with a slice of pain. I love writing anal sex scenes because I can teeter on that pleasure pain threshold tipping it either way.

But I've never published an anal sex scene. Why not? Because mine aren't like the others, and I haven't got the courage to show mine to the light of day yet.

So, I had this conversation with another erotic author who does a lot of anal sex scenes - and you know, erotic authors have these kinds of conversations.

Kaliana Cole writes stories often with multiple males for a female, and they're ripping stories. I love them. And her anal sex scenes are gritty... but she has these huge lead ups where the woman is "educated" and "prepared" for anal sex. (In mine it just happens). So, Kaliana Cole and I have this conversation that goes something like this -

Me: I think you do amazing anal scenes but why all the build up to it? Why not just do it?

KC (with a shocked kind of expression): Because you have to get people ready for it.

Me: you do? What's wrong with a bit of lube and touching?

KC: No, not the character, the reader. (she must see that I still have no idea) If you look at statistics, most women who have had anal sex have had a bad experience.

Me: Stats?

KC: You know, polls in women's magazines, stuff on the internet, stories you hear. So, you have to get the reader past their bad experience and into a mindset where they can enjoy the anal sex.

Okay... so maybe the conversation was a bit more in depth than this and filled with more stats and more evidence and more detail... but you get the drift.

I write what I want to write - and I hadn't even considered the readers.

Kaliana Cole has done her work and considers her readers, targetting to stories and her scenes to meet what a reader wants.

This was a revelation to me (and seriously, it shouldn't have been, but you do know I'm slow on the uptake, don;t you?) because I was writing for me... not for anyone else.

So, tomorrow I have a book going live. A book I wrote for me, without any consideration for readers. Thankfully there's no rough, gritty, painful anal sex in it... but you know... I'm a bit scared. Is what I like so different to other people's tastes? My contest feedback seems to suggest that at least 33% of the population will hate what I write (I always get at least one judge who hates my story enough to give 50-60% marks). So that means one third of all reviews will be awful. Which means I won't look.

Which takes me back to anal sex - why do I like it gritty, rough, with a dash of pain? It's kind of a bit like my writing life - I must be a masochist!

So... do you have any views on anal sex, or writing and the joy of pain! :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

4 days to go...

Sorry not to have a Wildlife Wednesday but I'm attacked by a winter lurgy.

I'm hoping this chest will make me feel better - do you think I could just lie my head on it, please?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Story Sunday

Next Sunday The Virginity Mission will be out. So I thought I'd leave you this week with some pictures from the mangroves part of my trip.

But before the pictures, this is the last entry in my diary of what I took away from the trip -

I'm not going to be getting back into old habits. I'm going to get out and do things. Spend my money, live it up. That's what I've learnt this trip, that it's the things you do on impulse that you enjoy the most, and the things you do from heart and guts that get you the furthest. Thinking about things delays, causes anxiety and generally helps you chicken out of thrills and action. So from now on, my heart is ruling my head and I'm going to have heaps and heaps of fun!

Ah, yes, maybe I need those words tattooed on my forehead - or my hand, where I'm more likely to see them! Although, I must have spent my money because I have not much in my bank account. :)  I still do things on impulse (much to my husband's despair - he's the ultimate planner). So maybe I did remember some of what I learned.

I hope you enjoy The Virginity Mission, out 1 June.

Some of the roots of the mangroves

High tide and the mangrove system

Me on one of the zodiaks we zoomed around in

A waterhole on the walk 'home'

Friday, May 24, 2013

Phallic Friday - erotic writing

I learned something this week - erotic writers are fiercely protective of their genre. They fight hard and dirty when people seem to be against what they write, or denigrating what they write. I guess I always knew they were but until I saw it happen I wasn't aware of the ferocity.

Erotica has become a "big" seller in the e-marketplace. Quite a few writers have jumped on the popularity of erotic stories so they can make money. Some of these writers have probably made that decision based on dollars and haven't worked through whatever it is you have to work through to become happy/proud to be writing in the genre.

Some weeks ago I wrote a post about writing fears, here. I wasn't sure what I was writing or how to write about it. But now I think about it more, there was something I had to work through (I'm slow so it took about 20 years!) to go from writing erotica for myself, to writing erotica in a "marketplace" and accepting people's negative reactions to that information/story.

All writing shares a part of you with complete strangers. No matter what you write, a part of you ends up in the story - maybe as a character trait, maybe a theme, maybe the surroundings, the weather, an observation you made, a person you know, an experience you had. Some little part of you is shared.

As an erotic writer, this is no different. What is different is people's reaction to what is shared. I think that because details of sex and intimacy are rarely shared beyond a select group (often just the 2 people involved), there seems to be an assumption that by writing erotica, you're sharing your own experiences, rather than like any other book just a sliver of yourself.

Aussie erotic author Kate Belle talked about her experience here, where someone asked if her book depicted how she actually lost her virginity. Do people assume we have to use fact and not our imaginations because it's erotica? Or are they after a bit of gossip? Or do they think they're original and the question is funny?

I'm particularly concerned about the question Kate was asked because my story is also a loss of virginity story. And just to be clear, it's not how I lost mine. My story is based on a trip I did, which I guess could lead people to think everything in it is fact. But the trip is the sliver of me in this story. You can't give everything about yourself away in one story!

However popular erotic writing is with readers, it seems some readers like it for its voyeuristic opportunities. I guess I have to toughen up for that!

And maybe erotic writers need to let the negative criticisms wash over them. If we're happy with what we're doing, maybe we should smile secretly and make people wonder about what they're missing!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lily's The Goodbye Ride

Lily Malone, one of my regular visitors, has a new story available on Amazon from today called The Goodbye Ride. You can get it free for the first few days - what a bonus! Grab it here.

I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek and it's gorgeous. It's a novella and the story takes place over 5 days of the Queen's birthday weekend (great time to read it too, hint hint!). It's set in the beautiful SA town of Handorf and surrounds. Grapes, guitars, motorbikes and wine feature, as well as a delicious hero who wears few clothes, and a lovely heroine who wears scarfs and beanies.

Go on, treat yourself... you won't be disappointed :)

Cover design by Wendy Johnston of Bright Eyed Owl.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

A few weeks back, you can read it here, Lily and I had a whiting sex discussion - as you do - and I started to think about making fish sex sexy... here's my first attempt :)

You'll be pleased to know it's back to normal Wildlife next week :) :)

The Virgin Whiting

"Willia, No. Willia."

I heard their cries but I was hungry. Mum has me on this ridiculous diet so I can attract boys, but I'm starving. The dangling prawn looked juicy, so I leapt at it, swallowing it in one huge gulp. And then I felt the jab. The side of my gills throbbed. Before I knew what was happening I was being dragged upwards. I fought hard, tail thrashing against the water but it was no use, the upwards drag continued.

The screams below were horrifying. My so-called friends had been watching me starve for weeks but hadn't helped me out by sneaking me any food, and now they screamed. Now, when I'd thrown my life away for a tasty morsel. Damn it. Maybe Dad was right and Willful Willia was my rightful name.

Just as the vision of my friends was vanishing, just as the fight in me was leaving, Wilbur swam up from the bottom. Wilbur had shared his seaweed with me. "Wilbur," I screamed with every breath left in me. "I love you." I fought the drag upwards, fought to get back to Wilbur, but with no success. I lost sight of him.

The water grew lighter, in colour and heaviness. I kept fighting even though I knew it was hopeless. And then I broke the surface. I'd never broken the surface before. Ever. A blinding light and a heat hit me first, and then a sense of suffocation. I was a goner. I'd end up on a frypan. Like all the stupid fish in the stories Dad had told me in my youth.

I flew from the water, droplets falling from me as warmth breezed over my scales. I was afraid to try to breathe. What happens if a fish breathes out of water? Do I turn from a fish to something else? Do I die of toxic gases? Does the water in my gills evaporate and I die as if in a frypan?

My body was wrapped in warmth, heat and muscles. Muscles that bent and wriggled against me. Muscles that were rough and smooth. An appendage unlike anything I'd ever seen. I blinked. Actually, the whole creature was unlike anything I'd seen. As big as a shark but with a small mouth and small teeth and eyes that were alive, not shark-like dead.

Instead of scales this animal had something pinky-white covering him in places and then some different material covering the majority of his body - a loose flapping thing. Maybe like flattened seaweed decoration but it was the largest piece of seaweed I've ever seen. More terrifying were the spines that covered the area around his mouth. Grey, white and black spines, encircling his mouth. What on earth would they do? Would they stun an animal into submission before he ate them? Me? Or were they decorative spines? Or something else entirely?

Before I could study him any closer, the pain in my gills throbbed sharply and then was gone. The second of relief was not enough time for me to relax, or rejoice or even say 'thank you' because then he brought me towards these spines. From between the spines lips pouted at me. Big pink rubbery lips, like a big wrasse. I could only stare and await my doom.

The lips touched me. Hot air almost fried my gills. The animal's taste was dreadful. And before I could process anything else, I was flying through the air and dropping into the sea.

The sea.

The sea.

My sea.

I gulped a breath and another and then I scurried for the bottom as fast as my tail could move me. I aimed for a clump of weed on the edge of the school grounds. Camouflage. Somewhere to cry my tears of joy, and reproach myself for my hunger.

I dove into the seaweed and hit against another fish. "Sorry, sorry." I tried to back out but I was so stunned by all that had happened I could hardly move.


"Wilbur?" The relief at seeing him was all-encompassing. I threw myself at him, rubbing my body against his, scraping my fin against his side, blowing bubbles along his tail shaft. And then I moved in front of him, lined up our lips and moved in like the strange animal on the surface had. I let my lips brush against Wilbur's. At first there was nothing. Within a micro-second a tingle began in my lips. I pressed a little harder against Wilbur's mouth. Hips lips moved. The tingle turned to a deep throbbing. His lips were salty, soft and hard in all the right places, and his breath smelled fishy and perfect. Not dead and awful like the surface animal. My lips brushed against his, then toured his face, feeling each part of him with a super sensitive part of me I had never known could explore others.

"Willia, where did you learn that?"

"The surface animal did it before he threw me back in the water. Except it wasn't pleasant with him, not like it is with you."

"You went to the surface?"

I grinned, every moment of exhilaration exploding from me. "Yes, I went to the surface and didn't end up in a frypan. I went to the surface and survived. I thought I'd never see you, and I'm here. And I promise, I'll starve myself until I'm the tiniest girl to make you proud."

Wilbur gave me a look of confusion and maybe a touch of exasperation. For a second I thought he didn't want me, and then he said, "I don't want you skinny. I want you just the way you are - curious, adventurous and everything."

I'd never loved Wilbur as much as I did in that moment. I know it's not the done thing for a girl to ask a boy, but it was time, and if I waited for Wilbur we may not ever do it. "Wilbur, would you come and spawn with me?"

Wilbur's mouth dropped open. Bubbles rose from his gills as if he was spluttering. Maybe the shock of me asking was too much. Maybe I should have stayed quiet.

"I'm dying to spawn with you." His fin brushed against mine and we swam to the deepest channel to spawn. We found a secluded nook and we tried our fish kissing again. This time Wilbur kissed me all over. He even slipped his lip beneath a scale and blew against my skin. It was heavenly. His lips brushed against the finest part of my fins, nuzzles where my fin joins my body which caused a crazy rush of water to flood through my gills, soaking me in oxygen, making my head light and fuzzy. When he brushed his body over mine, so his scales rubbed against mine, his fins brushed over mine and our tails flicked together, I had never felt such connectedness. The world was wonderful. Wilbur loved me and was making love to me. His lips brushed the top of my eye as his body slid forwards. Then he swam in front of me and kissed me, lips to lips.

My body swelled with the feelings he brought out in me. Everything seemed to be swollen, shaking with pleasure, bubbling, waiting for release. And then it happened. Eggs rained from me as the bliss of his lips and the gentle current rode me. Dozens and dozens of eggs fell to the ocean floor cushioned on the current and deposited on the soft white sand. Seeing what he did to me made my heart swell. I could never explain to him how this felt. I was glad I hadn't gone into a frypan without feeling this pure joy.

When the eggs finished spilling, I kissed Wilbur's body. Nibbling against his lips. Flicking at scales with my lip. Blowing bubbles against him until he writhed in the same joy I had. Then I kissed beneath his tail shaft, rubbing against the strongest muscle in his body until a spray of sperm emitted from him. As he deposited sperm all over my eggs, I thought I'd die of the happiness. It was the most incredible sight to see our lives interwoven like that.

"Our children," I whispered in awe at our clutch of creation.

"And they'll be as beautiful and feisty as you." Wilbur took my side and together we left our children to form.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Story

I've been taking a little trip down memory lane, comparing my story with my old diary from a similar trip. If you've missed the last two pasts, they're here and here.
Here's an extract from The Virginity Mission about the rainforest:

The rainforest is incredible. If you look at it from above, which happens rarely on our trip as most peaks are so densely vegetated you can’t see anything from them, the canopy is a carpet of green with bumps of larger trees. Some places have a splash of yellow with flowering trees but mostly it’s green. Thick green canopy coating mountainsides as far as you can see.

Underneath it’s different. Fast gurgling streams run over moss covered rocks, boulders and stones at the base of hills. As you climb a hill, the vegetation changes the higher you go. Near the creek are all manner and sizes of bright green ferns. As you climb higher, the vegetation becomes hardier. Tree ferns appear, large leaved palms and ferns, masses of vines reaching out to snare the unsuspecting.

And here's a bit from my diary:

  • Heaps of vines and creepers both on trees and from trees
  • Green haze to air - often get sick of looking at green
  • Heaps of dead leaves and wood lying on ground
  • Smell of decay everywhere
  • Rotted wood or dead trees often give way, especially when being stood upon or leant upon
  • Heaps of ferns especially ones with prickles that you don't see until you put your hand on them
  • Dense, takes ages to get anywhere
  • Heaps of birds, and insects - mostly heard and not seen
  • Epiphytes on many of the tall trees
  • Emergents are generally very thick trucked and often have large buttresses
  • Some buttresses are like legs that the trees stands up on - saw one which was about 70cm off the ground

These photos are from the trip, showing our sleeping arrangements in a clean state and in a morning-after state. I didn't describe the difference in the book - I probably should have read the diary and looked at the photos earlier :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Phallic Friday - mental or physical?

Today's question is one I wrestle with quite a bit.

Is the turn on from sex, mental or physical?

I lean towards it being largely mental. Why? Well, sometimes if I read or watch or listen or think, without touching any body part, I can be aroused. I have read scenes that have me squirming I'm so aroused from just reading (no body parts touched). It's rare that it goes further than squirming but it has happened. So without anything physical occurring, there's a turn on from sex.

But, my hesitation with my answer is from anecdotal claims that you can orgasm without enjoying the sex...but I wonder if there's a mental component to that even. I have never experienced this.

So, do you have thoughts on whether sexual enjoyment largely comes from the physical or the mental?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

This Blue-tongue lizard has made himself a home in my backyard since my dogs have gone to the big paddock in the sky. I think he's been under the house ever since we came here... but has only taken over the whole territory recently. (One of my dogs had a fondness for lizards.)

I'm fond of lizards but after living in the country for so long, when they appear under my feet, my body immediately freezes and the word "snake" comes to my head, then I remember where I am.

My husband has grown fond of this guy so much so he was looking for him the other morning - and found him under his foot! Lordy! He assures me he didn't put all his weight on him and that he felt the lump under his thong... but I haven't seen the blue-tongue since, so I'm worried.

The Australian Museum site tells me that the Blue tongue is the largest of the Skink family. The Eastern Blue-tongue is silvery-grey with broad dark brown or blackish bands across the back and tail. Individuals on the coast usually have a black stripe between the eye and the ear which may extend along the side of the neck. The Eastern Blue-tongue can grow to almost 600 mm in total length, of which about 360 mm is head and body. 

Blue-tongues eat a wide variety of both plants and animals. Blue-tongues are not very agile and the animals they eat are mostly slow-moving. Their teeth are large and they have strong jaw muscles so they can crush snail shells and beetles.

Blue-tongues live alone for most of the year, but between September and November males pursue females and mating occurs. At this time, males may fight aggressively among themselves. Mating may be rough, with females carrying scrape marks from the male's teeth.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Story

In last week's post I promised you a comparison between The Virginity Mission and my old diary. So here it is -

In The Virginity Mission, Mac has a day of hell where she has to rock-hop along a creek.
Extract from The Virginity Mission:

Rock-hopping is exactly how it sounds. We jump from rock to rock along the creek. I’ve never done this. I’ve walked around rock platforms at the beach, with my parents telling me to be careful and to not hurt myself, but I’ve never rock-hopped. After a few rocks, it becomes abundantly clear that I’m no rock-hopper. Everyone hops happily past me, while I quiver and tentatively step from one rock to the next until I give in and wade.  

This is new and rattles me. Why can’t I rock-hop? 

The rocks become larger and further and further apart. The creek is filled with smaller rocks. I can no longer wade. I have to jump from large rock to large rock. I set myself up for the first jump. My legs become jelly snakes dangling uselessly from my body. My knees are shuddering pieces of flesh, useless to hold me up, much less catch my weight when I land. My stomach takes a nose dive to someplace as low as it can go. 

This is ridiculous. I have to move. I steel myself to jump. I call myself all manner of names. I tighten up my jelly snake legs and then Ed’s hand extends towards me. I hadn’t noticed him come back for me. 

“Problem, Mac?” he asks. 

“Just my knees.” I try to sound flippant but it comes out as a shaky whisper.

and then a little later:

“You have to have faith in your feet, Mac.” I nod and he goes on ahead, leaving me alone to leap and think. 

This question of my lack of confidence has come up again. First Jason. Now Ed. I didn’t realise there was a problem.  

When I read my diary, there were many many days spent rock hopping and I never did learn to enjoy it.

Here's some of the extracts from my diary:

Did quite a bit of horrific rock hopping. I guess I have to trust my feet more because there will be heaps more.

Heaps of bloody rock hopping again, and hills to climb. We crossed the river at one point and I swear the jump was about 2m wide. [two of the guys] have been fantastic pushing me along, pulling me up/across/along. I know I've only got to trust my feet but it's so bloody difficult to "fly" across rocks. spirits were failing badly. I was ready to sit down, bawl my eyes out and ditch out of the big trip. Then [one of the guys] coaxed me along, built up my courage a bit with heaps of encouragement and then we hit a good swimming spot.


I thought I'd made Mac unlike me... but looks like I snuck in there a bit too much! And I'm ashamed to say it, but Mac seems a lot braver than I was!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

First Review

I saw the first review for The Virginity Mission this week. It's on GoodReads and it's lovely. And what's even more amazing is that I don't know the person!

I thought reviews waited until the book came out but I guess not. I didn't intend to read any reviews (much too terrifying). I was on GoodReads and looked to see if the hunky cover was there - it was :) - but all these people had it marked "to read" or "added" which was a little terrifying.

Anyway, thank you Jeannie for enjoying my story.

And that will be the last review I look at. A good one is such a boost. I'll stick with that.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Phallic Friday - Humiliation

I've read a couple of books recently with humiliation causing pleasure in them and it's not something that turns me on. I can't get my head around it. Humiliation makes me furious.

I can "get" that as a "slave" humiliation is part of the deal. But what turns a submissive on about that? What part of humiliation turns a dom/me on?

I've been trying to rationalise it, get inside what makes humiliation work. It's a really powerful "tool" and it's important I can understand it. I can't write it if I don't understand what's behind it, what motivates it and what pleasure you get from it.

I've no idea if I've managed to understand. This is my take but I'd love to know what you think.

Humiliation takes you to the lowest point. You're worthless. You're nothing but an object belonging to the humiliator - subject to their whims. You have no way of getting out of this yourself. You're at the bottom and no one is going to help you up. I think at this point you must give up all hope of self. There must be a total loss of you, a loss of your worth and a loss of hopes/dreams/future.

And the power of the humiliation is that you're lifted out of it. Even though you've given up everything, someone cares enough to pick you up from your disgrace/from your abject misery. Someone rebuilds you, puts you back together, cares for you.

Is that the rationale behind it?

I don't think I ever let myself get to the bottom. I think my fury comes from fighting to stop me landing at the bottom. And you know what... I'm not sure I want to reach the bottom. What if no one did pick me up?

Do you have a take on humiliation? Am I close to understanding the power of it?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

This fish is a Whiting. I extended my backyard and there was supposed to be a heap of fish in a row - but when my blog went crazy and posted about 4 Wildlife Wednesdays on the one Wednesday, it ruined the effect :) Now this poor fish stands alone - but anyway, enough whining for the whiting!

These are my favourite fish and for the dumbest of the dumb reasons. I like their pointy nose, I like that when you catch them they give a decent bite (like they whack into your bait and they're committed) and best of all, I love that you can get them off the line easily and painlessly (not for the fish but for me!!). Whiting never seem to get hooks in dumb places like other fish, and they don't have really awful spines. So you can wrap your hand around them, and jiggle the hook out. All easy, all painless. Love these fish!

Plus, in my family, no one except me liked eating them, which meant they usually got thrown back in the water and didn't end up as dinner.

See, I told you, dumb reasons :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Sunday Story

The month of May I'm dedicating to The Virginity Mission in the lead up to release... but I reserve the right to change my mind if I get sick of plugging, or looking at the cover!

The Beginning of this Story

I borrowed an event from my life as the setting for this story. When I was young, I went on a scientific expedition to the Daintree Rainforest in North Queensland. I'd been camping all my life with the Girl Guides. I'd done a bit of bushwalking with guides but also with a bushwalking club. I 'd done a few overnight bushwalks. I was studying an environmental biology degree. I was fairly fit. I figured this would be easy.

OMG was I wrong!

It was the hardest, most challenging thing I've ever done. I knew no one when I went - except my Mum made me have a lunch for the Sydney people who were on the trip a couple of weeks before I went; I think she was trying to make sure I'd be safe, but I'm not sure how the lunch worked!

I was chosen to go from an application I submitted. So it was a big deal to me. I'd never flown by myself anywhere, and here I was heading to Cairns. Staying in a youth hostel, then catching a bus to Mossman to meet up with the expedition people. There were 120 people on the trip, plus the expedition staff (leader, quartermaster staff, medical staff) and half a dozen Army guys there for transportation (and disasters).

I was so far out of my depth but too naive to really know! Fortunately, I wasn't the only one like that.

I kept a diary during the trip - which lasted 6 weeks. I was tempted to read the diary while I wrote this story... but I didn't. I wanted to fictionalise the trip and not get fact and fiction all confused. So I wrote the story using what I remembered, and inventing Mac (my heroine) and Jason (my hero) and their romance.

This is me - yonks ago - at the start of the rainforest trip.
And last week I grabbed my diary so I could do some blogs with real vs story... and what a shock I got...

Next week I'll show you what I found :)

I've got some photos (nothing as good as the cover though) to show but because they're old, they're stuck into an album on sticky pages (are you old enough to remember those?) and I can't take them out without damaging them. So I cheated and took a photo of the photo in the album - apologies for the glare and the wonkiness.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Phallic Friday - pussy pride

After my penis envy post last week, I came across a post by Remittance Girl about the relationship women have with their vaginas (or non-relationship) and that led me to a Pussy Pride Project site. So I thought I should do something here to show some love for my vagina. A photo was too much information I thought. And I'm not sure I can eloquently write a description of it - although I have been thinking about that, so maybe one day I'll find that courage. Today I decided on a little " poem".

Pulsing, pounding
Underneath all
Yearning for more

Playful touching
Reamed, stretched
Inched inside slowly
Dying for release
Exploring, exposure, explosion.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wildlife Wednesday

These beetles are EVERYWHERE at the moment. Over the last few weeks they've been here - you see the occasional one at the beach, down the street, in the yard - but this last fortnight, there have been hundreds of them. At the beach was most noticeable where they were constantly landing on me and I was trying to save them from drowning... but there was a high tide mark of dead beetles that looked like a black line of small shells - I wasn't saving many! I don't recall ever seeing so many of them.

My sister was visiting last week and she said she'd Googled copulating bugs (!!) to find out what they were (it didn't work for me) - they're Soldier Beetles. And that's what a lot of them are doing - the bug piggy-back - but no photos of that, sorry!

Here's some info from CSIRO -
It is still something of a mystery why the Plague soldier beetle (Chauliognathus lugubris), a native species found in temperate southeastern Australia, occasionally builds up to massive numbers. Its grubs live in the soil, feeding on other small creatures. The adult beetles don’t seem to eat the plants they settle on, although the sheer weight of a mass of them may break weaker twigs. What they are more interested in is sucking nectar from flowering trees, and copulating.

Our researchers have recently found the genes that give the chemical (they exude a white viscous fluid from their glands that repels any predators thinking of getting too close) its anti-microbial and anti-cancer properties, and were able to replicate the synthesis in the lab. This may one day lead to the development of new anti-biotic and anti-cancer related products.

It seems like the south-east of Australia has had perfect conditions for the Soldier beetle this year. I hope they've done a lot of copulating to keep the beetles going. Antibiotic and anti-cancer products from them could have us saving them all from drowning in the ocean.