Monday, 31 March 2014

Eyecandy Monday

Yesterday evening (well, 3a.m to be precise) I subbed Sons of Summer.
Today's job is to revise, edit and sub a contracted short story on the theme of Drenched. Hence the eyecandy :-)
No pressure then.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Phenology: March

"March brings breezes loud and shrill
To stir the dancing daffodil."

Last year we had a really long winter, which didn't break until mid-April. This year, despite a series of torrential rainstorms in January, we've been seeing signs of spring since February. Although spring does seem to keep changing its mind...

Here are my phenology photos for March:

Did you know daffs are actually deadly poisonous?

Pussy willow - the grey catkins of goat willow, and others of the Salix family. Used as a symbol of the Chinese New Year.

Soon they burst into fuzzy yellow flowers.

Lesser celandine, or pilewort - a favourite of Wordsworth and Tolkien, amongst others. Maybe I should stop grumping that it absolutely infests my garden.

Blackthorn - which is one of my favourites. The flowers appear long before the leaves, on bare spiny branches. Later in the year these bushes will give us sloe berries to steep in gin :-)

Violets - and this is the first year I've ever noticed them growing wild.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Cover Him With Darkness - Pre-order!

I'm going to finish Sons of Summer today if it kills me.

In the meantime - here's the second cover reveal for Cover Him with Darkness -  and yes, I know I showed you a totally different cover a few months back, but this is the NEW new official version, and it's EVEN BETTER :-D
(although Blogger-upload seems to have created a whole lot of pink blur that really isn't there in the original jpg, sorry)

I'm really glad that they've put "a romance" on the front too, because it distinguishes it from my hardcore stuff that causes fainting and nosebleeds, and will hopefully keep fans happy.

And just to prove how official it is - Cover Him with Darkness is now available for pre-order in the US!! 
and the UK!!


Monday, 24 March 2014

Eyecandy Monday

This picture is the perfect metaphor for my week.
No, it hasn't gone totally pear-shaped yet - although the guy with the skip turned up this morning, said he couldn't put the skip down because the guys with the hardcore had already occupied the drive, and took the skip away again - but I'm feeling tied up by all the stuff that HAS TO HAPPEN ALL AT ONCE, today, this week.
And the house is occupied by bluff Geordie workmen, which is a lot more entertaining in fiction than in real life. This is totally Kay Jaybee territory!

Still, it's all going to be great when it's finished. And look - pretty ropes!

Sunday, 23 March 2014


I'm so sorry. This is not my fault.
A friend sent it to me.
I shall reprimand her immediately ...

Friday, 21 March 2014


So when I was in France last week, I stayed in Carcassonne for 4 very happy and calorie-heavy days

This was the view of the citadel from our hotel :-)

Carcassonne is in the south-east of the country, in the Aude region. If you like castles, this really should be on your list of holiday destinations - not just for the spectacular citadel itself, but for all the Cathar castles scattered around the area (of which, more in a later post).

Statue of Dame Carcas at the main gate
The city is named, in local legend, after Carcas, the wife of the local lord (Saracens at that point, in the 8th century). When the castle was under siege for 5 years and her Turkish husband Baalak died, she took charge and held out to the point of starvation against the Emperor Charlemagne's army. Then she took the last pig and the last bag of wheat to the top of a tower, fed the wheat to the pig and pushed the pig off. "Sacre bleu et zut alors!" said Charlemagne: "They've got so much food left they're throwing it away!" So he lifted the siege and went home, and all the bells of the city rang out. "Ecoutez-vous, you smelly lot!" said the locals in Franglais. "Carcas sonne!"
(Boom-boom-tish. And don't blame me because the French like a bad pun just as much as the English!)

Front door

The citadel of Carcassonne itself was built over thousands of years, with contributions from the Romans and various medieval owners. It is VAST. I mean, stupidly big for a castle. There are 53 towers on the 2 miles of walls. Think Harrenhal.

Outer and second walls

Second (inner) walls
It eventually fell into disrepair but was rebuilt in the 19th century by Viollet-le-Duc , the same guy who rebuilt Notre Dame in Paris. So it's a bit of a disneyfied Victorian idea of what a castle should look like.

The inner town

Bridge from the inner barbican to the third (inmost) set of walls

The outer defensive wall surrounds a big  dry area, and then there's an inner wall, which surrounds a whole village (including a cathedral), and then in the middle of that village is ... the inner chateau! It takes a couple of days to look around properly.

Exploring the battlements of the inmost citadel

The "modern" town of Carcassonne lies across the river at the foot of the hill. It is very very quiet. Not as quiet as Bruges (obviously), but it does have the distinct air that most people have run away from the zombies or died of the plague or something.
Maybe it's just Europe.

A light snack before dinner

The few remaining inhabitants eat a lot of duck and drink a lot of beer and go to bed early.

We helped them out with the beer-drinking. To the utmost of our abilities.

They have an entertaining line in local artworks:

!!! This well-endowed gargoyle is on the modern cathedral
Can't resist, eh?

There was (coincidentally) supposed to be a Game of Thrones convention on that weekend in the citadel ... but the organisers went bust and cancelled two days beforehand, leaving the poor bloody nerds high and dry. Local papers reported it thusly:

But I am proud to report that we played the game Carcassonne in Carcassonne - even if it was on a tablet!
The geek - it burns...

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Call the Midwife

Look at me - I'm like a proud midwife! Look what those babies have done!

No less than three of the stories I was involved with choosing and editing for Geek Love have been accepted for reprint in The Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 13 - edited by Maxim Jakubowski and out at the end of this year (or possibly the start of 2015).

The authors and stories that so thoroughly deserve this honour are:

Kirsty Logan - The Purpose of Tongues (a Japanese coffeeshop f/f)
Jesse Bullington - Porn Enough at Last  (a post-apocalyptic manga-loving threesome)
Haralambi Markov - Pages and Playthings (dystopian superhero group craziness)

I'm so glad that Geek Love has received some recognition for the frankly awesome writing talent that went into it. Three out of forty-five stories (and it was nearly four, but one author declined) from a single anthology is a very good proportion indeed. Maxim always leans toward the literary in his erotica, and his choices are spot-on.

Go Geeks!!

Monday, 17 March 2014

Eyecandy Monday

Confession - after Eroticon I disappeared on holiday for a few days. I've been horribly neglectful of the poor old internet, which must be feeling very lonely without me ;-)

When I'm on holiday I'm in another mental space. Now that I'm back I have several days of desperate insecurity ahead of me as I try to catch up on my life and responsibilities. First thing: check that the dogs are still alive...

Then start writing, I suppose. Eeeek.

Friday, 14 March 2014

I'm John

Remember the song from "Storybook International"? It has turned out to be the theme music for my WiP The Wheel of the Year.

I'm not (entirely) kidding!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Eroticon exposed

Like I would...
What a weekend!
I've been away at Eroticon 2014, the smutwriters' convention, in Bristol.
The old city-centre of Bristol is very pretty - much improved from when I knew it as a teenager and spent an evening hanging about in the ice-rink car-park*.

I shared a very pleasant hotel room with Vida Bailey, who BROUGHT CHOCCIES and shared all the goss and kept me going all weekend :-D  Thank you Vida!

Obligatory selfie
I got yummy books and a useful spanking stick:

Photo from Lily Harlem's blog
And yummy food in wonderful company:

God, it's a hard life
And I went to sessions on censorship, story structure, sex and spirituality, and flash fiction (thanks to Kristina Lloyd we got to play Flash Fuck Bingo, which has to be a first for this nation), plus a mesmerising BDSM demonstration.

Ashley Lister saying unforgiveable things about The Hobbit. He will pay...
And there was the night in the bar and the cocktail party too ... I didn't get nearly enough sleep!

I met with too many writing friends, old and new, to recall: Vida, Lily, Lily, Cara Sutra, Kristina, Ashley, Tabitha, Bella, Jennifer, Jacqueline, Lexie, Lucy, Kay, KD, Victoria, John, Jilly, Ruby, Zak ... oh goodness, I'm bound to have left people off by mistake. Sorry!

But now I have a cold. In fact, I gather we all have the same cold...
Smutwriters, eh?

I'm going to end with a THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU to the extraordinary Ruby Kiddell, who has somehow managed to bring into being three UK Eroticons now, out of thin air and her own incredible organisational ability and hard work. You are an erotica demi-goddess!

*A pathetic true story ...

Monday, 10 March 2014

Eyecandy Monday

I want to sing the praises of photographer Michael Stokes.

He does beautiful pics of men, and specialises in military servicemen.

Go see his tmblr!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Gone, gone ... to Eroticon

I'm off to Bristol today for Eroticon 2014.
It's the sex-writer/authors/bloggers convention in the UK, and it's always an inspirational and warm-hearted event.
(Also the catering is excellent...)

If you are planning to be there too, I hope to meet you soon!

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Bearded Lady

Yes, this is what I look like with a beard.
I sort of like it, though I suspect the men in my life may not approve ;-)

Roll up, roll up! see the Amazing Bearded Lady from the icy steppes of Russia!

I was at a LARP event last weekend. It was set in the 1930s and we were all rather down-on-our-luck carnival performers. This being a Cthulhu game, our luck did not get appreciably better, it must be said.
I spent much of the weekend hiding under various beds (Don't knock it, it works!), but then died in the final face-off against the monster when I was horribly mashed by a tentacled ex-friend and then thrown through a Gate into the Void.

There must be a moral in there somewhere...

Anyway, my character was an immigrant from Murmansk. Here's the full get-up - I was actually pretty proud of my Sami-style drum painting. And the beard survived being slept in!

What I learned about having a beard: ALWAYS check yourself in a mirror after eating. Especially soup. The debris problem is hell.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Eyecandy Monday

Well it's Shrove Tuesday this week, so here are some rather wonderful Carnival costume pics.


Maybe I'll make it to Rio one year!