Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Story

I'm griping today. I read a book this week that is not erotic, and maybe more a literary type book than genre, but it could slip into romance. I don't think I'll give the title because I don't want to be an author-basher or completely negative about this book.

There's a female lead character who's 29 and one of the best midwives in the district with almost as much education as a doctor. Okay, so health worker, knowledgeable, expert in her field.

She's pregnant, won't name the father, and has hidden the pregnancy for as long as she can (30 weeks I think it was).

So far, I was doing okay.

But as the book progressed I started to lose it a bit and by the end I was really shaking my head.

Within an eight month period, she has unprotected sex with at least 3 men (2 of whom are sexually active - we know that for sure because it's discussed). The reason for this is that she has PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) and can't fall pregnant...but I feel it's an author invention, to create uncertainty over the father's identity. Not only that, I feel the author has chosen poorly to do this.

Why isn't this health professional worried about having safe sex to be safe from any other risk factors, like sexually transmitted disease? We don't have safe sex just to stop pregnancy, not now days.

What really irks me is that she's a health professional and highly educated. She should know this. And 2 of the men are also health professionals - why don't they know it too?

To me that's a wrong premise. So wrong.

I know it's a work of fiction, but we're using a real profession, a real education system, and the story is showing that health professionals don't practice safe sex. That's wrong.

It's the wrong message to give to readers.

It's the wrong way to be showcasing health professionals.

I wouldn't be so riled up if these people weren't involved in occupations where they would be very well aware of the possible consequences of unsafe sex. The story relied heavily on showing how accomplished this girl was in her chosen field...yet her life showed the opposite.

Maybe I'm being overly picky because this safe sex thing is a topic I've wrestled with and have adopted (except when I forget and my crit partners notice!) - so maybe I'm a bit like a reformed smoker banging on about the risk factors of smoking. Usually I can glance over it - in this case, I just can't. It's just wrong premise for the chosen characters, in my opinion.

Does this premise bother you?

Friday, November 27, 2015

Phallic Friday - tradies

I'm late, again. So sorry (esp. Lily) but I think I have a good excuse. You see, last night we had electricity issues and I had to shut down way earlier than expected and my post was still in limbo.

A tree came down next door and landed on the power line to their house with such force it ripped their house as the extra wire was dragged out of insulation and fascia board, and then the powerpole moved about 3 inches in the sand and had a 20 degree slope towards our houses. Fortunately our powerline just danced a merry dance as all this happened. And how do I know? Because I was about 2 m from the front door when I heard the snap and as I ran outside the tree hit the ground and I saw the powerlines dancing. So, I turned around and went through the house and out the backdoor, still not knowing what happened. The trees on the other side of us are humungous and I didn't even think of the old Banksia in the other neighbours.

So, anyway, after all that excitement, the electricity mob turned up to sort out our issues. At first I thought the guy was too young and blase to know what he was saying. It seemed like a disaster - live wires on the ground under a tree, us on one side, neighbour on the other, with a precariously balanced pole. Recipe for disaster in my book. But not his. He talked through the options as calmly as if nothing had happened. He called a mate to help with the pole. Then he set to work.

He pulled this baby chainsaw from his ute. We all sniggered - me, Mr E and neighbour. Then he and baby got to work - and could they work! No more sniggering at chainsaw. It cut through that tree like a knife in hot butter. Mr E and I were only just keeping up with his cutting and our removal. And this guy could use his baby. Just as cool as you like slicing. No fuss. No extra energy. Just sweet as. It was a pleasure to watch a master at work.

Then his mate came in the bigger truck. In a little break I asked if this was a common problem. Yep, they get one or two a day! So no wonder it was a well-oiled machine at work here.

Once the tree was chopped and stacked (he did have to use the larger chainsaw for the trunk) they got to work on the pole, shimmying up an extension ladder right to the top to check out the lines and insulators and wedges and stuff. I've no idea, it was almost dark by then, but they had safety harnesses and they tied themselves off to the pole and the ladder was tied to the pole, and it was fascinating! Then they winched the pole straight using the ute-mounted winch. Yep, 1001 things you can do with a winch! If I hadn't seen it, I wouldn't believe it. They rammed the sand back in around the pole and voila! It was like nothing had happened.

The tree fell just after 6 pm, by 8.30 pm we were inside with everything fixed. It was amazing. The two guys were incredible - calm, efficient experts. And that made me realise why tradies are so sexy in romance novels - they know what they're doing. They go about their business calmly and in a manner that exudes confidence (even when you think they're daft). They have safety measures but they treat them so matter-of-factly that you accept it as part of the job, nothing special. They do their work - get in, get out - with such efficiency you can't help but be impressed. And that's why tradies make great, sexy, heroes.

I might need to write some tradie stuff now!!

(PS No photos, because it was going on dark, which is a shame. You would have liked them - men and their poles!)

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Friday, November 20, 2015

Phallic Friday - libido

This week's article of inspiration can be found here. It's about libido - particular mismatched libido with partners. But then I saw another post (here) which is along a similar theme - about how the happiest couples have sex once a week.

There have been quite a lot of articles about the amount of sex you're 'supposed' to have in recent months (I always keep an eye out for such things for Fridays) and they're beginning to really annoy me. One of the things I firmly believe is EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.

Sure someone can sprout forth that the happiest couples have weekly sex, others will turn around and say if they don't have daily sex they're not happy, where others will tell you sex doesn't make them happy. No one is right. Everyone is different.

I've never had a partner with a perfectly matched libido. Some have wanted more sex than I did, some wanted less, but if you're in a relationship, I think one of the keys is discussion, and another, compromise.

The guy who wanted more sex than I could manage was happy with any form of sex - so blow jobs, hand jobs, massages, anything really, were enough to keep him happy. And that kept me happy. I could be inventive and imaginative, in words and actions and his needs were met. Kept me interested and both of us happy.

The guy who wanted less sex than I wanted, well, we found other ways to keep each other happy in the relationship that weren't sexual (talking, walking, shared activities/interests, family) and I had my trusty vibrator for use when he wasn't around (he felt inferior if I used it with him - fair enough).

In both cases, we talked and adapted. Everyone's different and we needed to work around that.

Not only are people different but lots of things affect libido - not only factors in your relationship but factors outside it too. So your sexual needs may change over time, from week to week, or year to year. So long as you're both happy, does it really matter how much sex you have?

I like sex for intimacy and at first, with the guy who wanted lots, I felt much closer to him than to the guy who wasn't so keen on sex. But I realised there were other ways to achieve intimacy than just sex. It did mean a shift in my thoughts, though, and that wasn't an easy task :)

So, whatever your relationship gives you, whatever you're willing to compromise on, whatever you're happy with is exactly the right amount of sex for you. If that's once an hour, once a day, once a month, once a year, or we had sex once, I don't think it matters. Do what's right for you. Everyone's different.

How do you feel?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - fish

Some fish today from Green Island near Cairns.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Sunday Story - Exhibition

IMG_0026I've just read Nicolette Hugo's Exhibition. This is her second book, after The Arrangement.

I started reading Exhibition on the train after a stressful day. I was looking to escape my head which was busy processing stuff from the day. This story made me forget my day. When I got home, I read a couple more pages before my eyes gave up on me. Then a few hours later, I woke up and had to finish it (kind of eye interval!).

I don't often get quite so caught up in a book as to wake up and continue reading it. But there was something about the heroine, Grace, that caught my imagination/attention.

Grace had a traumatic childhood event that has left her emotionally scarred. As a coping mechanism, she likes to keep her distance from people by hiding in plain sight. Added to this, exhibitionism calls to her. She sees it as a dark side she wants to ignore, but can't. She's not a whole person if she ignores this sexual need.

A chance encounter at a BDSM party with a Dom who 'sees' people's needs, exposes Grace to more than she expected. Her unraveling begins.

As we learn about Grace, I became deeper and deeper involved in her story. She's a fascinating character and the struggle within her to accept her needs was incredibly depicted.

I think my recent exploration into a variety of fetishes made this book richer for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved Grace's strength and her vulnerability. I loved her fear and her need. I loved how she wanted to hide but needed to be seen. Grace is fascinating.

And don't get me started on Jason, the hero. Holy hell.

Exhibition was fascinating. I'm looking forward to whatever Nicolette Hugo has in store next.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Phallic Friday - make love not porn

I read an article through the week about the changing face of the porn industry, if you're interested you can find it here. The article is about Cindy Gallop, a former advertising exec, who has a website called, Make Love Not Porn ( which "aims to make sex socially acceptable".

Amen to that!

The article intrigued me and so I went to check out the website. At first there's a disclaimer (and it needs a good proofreader) but upon entering, I was a bit shocked by the pinkness. I'm not a fan of pink...and I'd guess half the population at least aren't too fond of pink...which made me wonder how many people are going to hang around on an ultra pink website. But that's only my pet-hate, right?

There's a whole heap of Fact vs Fiction (or Porn vs Real World) things at the start and they're good. Things like - Anal sex is fine in porn; but in real life not everyone likes it. Pubic hair is never in porn; but up to personal taste in real life, which varies person to person. In porn, camera angles mean often on genitals touch; in real life skin on skin is what a lot of people enjoy. I like those facts. Simple. Real. Not preachy.

The site doesn't aim to denigrate porn or make judgements. It's a site for discussion, open-mindedness, and to show there are different ways to have healthy sex.

There's a section for watching real life sex videos, and for uploading these for others to watch. There's a t-shirt to buy and an e-book. there's space to send in your ideas and requests for corporate investment.

There are a lot of comments listed on the site by people in their 20s, so I guess that's the target market.

I hope the site does well. The porn industry is huge and there's easy access to it now with online content. When I was young it was so difficult to access any sexual information, so I'm glad that it's more freely available. I'm also glad to see someone making sex real. The 'studio-ness' of porn has always been one of my bugbears.

All people are different. All people like different things. These are great messages to get across. I hope it remains non-judgemental, open and real.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - peacocks

These photos are taken at the zoo, but peacocks can be domesticated, like chooks. I lived on a farm a while back and the lady had a peacock, Cheeky, and for the first week every time he called, I thought someone was being killed. For a stunningly beautiful male bird, they have a shocking voice!
The colours of peacocks really intrigue me. They are so spectacularly beautiful, the colours are almost iridescent - in the male anyway. The females are poor drab things... but they get to choose their mate from his awesome display of tail feathers - and I don't know that lugging around all those feathers and then standing them up and making them shimmer, would be much fun!

A male's tail is more than 60% of the bird's total body length, according to the National Geographic (here). It doesn't say what the weight of that massive tail is relative to the bird's weight, but that would be something I'd be interested to see! Although, Cheeky was never hampered by his tail. He roosted in the same branch up in the tree near the shearing shed whether he was lugging that tail or not.

Everyone takes photos of the front of the tail with it's magnificent display of colour and patterns, but I think the rear of the tail is quite and impressive sight too (and this bird just wasn't going to let me get a front on shot, he kept turning as I walked around him). Those brown feathers at the base are quite striking, as is the black with white fluff above it, and then the white 'backbones' of those feathers really gives you a good idea of how many feathers make up that tail. And the hints of colour are there in the wisps, it's just not as magnificently coloured as being in front.

I used to collect Cheeky's tail feathers and I had a vase full of them, they were stunning. And then someone told me they were unlucky and had such a flip that I tossed them out. I'm sorry I did that because superstition isn't something I usually worry about, and I think those colours are incredible - even if the tail is excessively showy! :)

Are you a fan of peacocks? Are you superstitious?

Friday, November 6, 2015

Phallic Friday - first impressions

I was chuckling at this article the other day - you can access it here - listing the guys you're likely to meet on Tinder. Let me list the types of guys they included:
  • Topless guy - always photos without shirt
  • Cute Puppy Guy - photos with dogs, adorable dogs
  • Multiple people in my profile pic - so maybe you'll just glance and think we're all hot
  • Corporate loser guy - photo taken in a bar wearing a suit
  • Me with a famous person guy - photos that say, "check out what great company I keep"
  • Me and my hot friend guy - photos where maybe you'll mistake me for my hot mate
  • I'm always surrounded by hot babes guy - photos with lots of attractive women
  • Selfie guy - photos you've taken of yourself (often naked).

This list made me laugh, and cringe. In general, we make such snap judgements on first impressions, even with photographs. Profile photographs on a dating site (kind of like author pics) must be the most difficult thing to decide upon - if you think about it for more than a moment.

I think too much about this sort of thing. A selfie is, for me, the simplest and easiest way to get a profile shot...but it's not easy to take a selfie. So, what do you do? Ask a friend to take a shot for you? I had to do this once for a work colleague (for a work shot, not a Tinder profile) and I found it really difficult. What I thought was a good shot, he hated, and vice versa. I thought a 'location' shot was kind of staged and tacky, a big toothy smile was too much, but that's what he wanted and that's what I took - it was for him after all, what did my opinion matter? But doing that made me realise that we all have different interpretations of what we see. When I saw tacky and goofy, he saw warm, friendly, and works in that location.

It makes me remember a clothes party I went to where this busty girl tried on a shirt. She came out saying, "Man, I'll take this. Check how great it makes my boobs look." Her Mum agreed with her and happily forked out the money for said shirt. I was sitting there hoping to heck she'd buy it a few sizes larger so the buttons didn't pop off as they strained to hold the fabric across her boobs. Where I looked and saw a shirt too small, she looked and saw her great assets.

And maybe this article is written by someone like me - cynical - and not by someone who wants to look warm and friendly, or happy with their mates, or comfortable with fame or attractive women.

They say, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and maybe first impressions are just the same.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Wildlife Wednesday - sugar glider

Back at Shoalhaven Zoo, and another cute critter we met was the Sugar Glider.

These guys are tiny - the top photo is an adult Sugar Glider in the hands of the adult zoo keeper (yes, he of the snake kissing!). The bottom photo has a 4 year old's hand patting the same Glider. So they're little.

And soft.

Koalas have soft fur, so do possums, but the Sugar Glider's was so soft it was almost like you weren't touching anything. Like when you wipe your finger through Fairy Floss (Candy Floss/Cotton Candy for any Americans; hope I have that name right for spun sugar).

And the tail was all fluff and no substance. You could hardly feel anything there. It was an odd experience.

If you want some information on Gliders, you can find some here on the NSW Government website.

Sugar Gliders have a membrane along either side of their body, from the fifth finger to the first toe. This membrane allows them to leap from a branch and glide across a distance of up to 50m to another branch.

They require tree hollows for shelter. Their diet consists of gum/sap from wattles and some eucalypts, invertebrates and exudates from invertebrates. They live in social groups of up to 7 adults and their young, and share a common nest. When the young are 7-10 months old, they go off on their own to start a new social group with other 'booted' youngsters. Owls, kookaburras, goannas and cats often make meals from these youngsters on the move (ref: The Australian Museum Complete Book of Australian Mammals).

We have lots of trees around my place and I'd like to imagine families of Sugar Gliders around here - but they're so tiny (and generally nocturnal) that I don't think I have a hope of seeing one, except at the zoo!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday Story - So Far Into You

My good writing friend and blog visitor, Lily Malone, has her new book out and it's an absolute gem. Check it out if you like gorgeous characters, a great story, wine, dogs, WA and/or SA. 

So Far Into You.

In a nutshell:
Remy doesn't have much, and Seth has everything. Even though he'd like to share that with Remy, his horrible mother isn't going to let that happen. By chance they meet again, but can their past conflicts be overcome?

The heroine:
Remy is so gorgeous, unassuming, hard-working, independent and she really doesn't have a nasty bone in her body. She's a very worthy heroine.

The Hero:
Seth may be well-off but he's working hard to grow a wine business. Remy brings out the best in Seth whenever they're together. They make a great pair if they can work things out.

Lily Malone has a fabulous way with words. I found some of her descriptions just brought something straight to mind, or made me laugh, or had me admiring her craft. Here are some of the fabulous lines from So Far Into You -

  • "Her dress was the colour of a ripe slice of watermelon."
  • "...stare at the way her nipples fought the fabric..."
  • "...Arum lilies everywhere, white heads popping up like a thousand swans."
  • "...her tummy fluttering like warm silk ribbons in a breeze."
  • "She was a goddamn lawsuit waiting to paper-plane through the door and land writ-side up on his desk"
  • "A winter's ghost stole summer from the sun"
  • "...She liked gardens how she liked her pubic hair: all clipped and trimmed, with nice neat edges. Remy's garden looked like David Attenborough might pop out from behind a bush at any moment with some rare bug clinging to his finger."

I think this book is my favourite of Lily's .... and I'm especially glad there was not one mention of vomit or descriptions of it either (her last story had a vividly described scene) that's a five star review from me ;)