Friday, 30 May 2014

Phenology - May

"Here we go gathering nuts in May
Early in the morning"
(traditional nursery rhyme)

Except of course we don't. There are no nuts in May, stupid.
There are knots of may:

A knot is a flower cluster.
In May, the Hawthorn (or May-Tree) comes into flower and turns the hedges white again. Traditionally it's supposed to be for the 1st (May Day) which was a St. Mary / pagan mother goddess festival involving young people pairing up and getting all tra-la-la in the greenwood, but changes in the calendar have wrecked that somewhat. I generally reckon the hawthorn is first in full bloom between the 4th and the 12th. This year it was early.

May blossom has an ambiguous reputation - it was considered incredibly unlucky to bring it inside the house because "Hawthorn smells of death". It's quite true. Depending on the individual tree, and how old the flowers are, hawthorn can smell sweetly floral, or reek of carrion. It can also smell markedly sexual, which probably ties into its fertility/goddess/courtship connection.


By the end of May, even on a bad year, pretty much all the trees are in full leaf. The very last trees to put on their summer clothes are the oak and the ash. Supposedly this foretells the summer weather:

"If the oak before the ash
Then the earth will get a splash 
If the ash before the oak
Then the earth will get a soak"

 This year the ash came in last - someone needs to tell the rain it can stop now!

Talking of smelly flowers, May is the time for ramsons, which stink of garlic,
and cow parsley, which takes over every piece of unmowed verge in the country:

Cow parsley may be my favourite English plant of all. Its dusty smell is so quintessentially British, it takes me right back to childhood summers every time.

More decorative are bluebells:

It's been a fantastic year for them, apparently

and the big candles of horse chestnut:

Lots of white flowers, right?

Here come the daisies

Even the dandelions have turned to white fluff:

"What time is it?"

But they are swiftly replaced in the Yellow Meadow Flower Calendar by buttercups:

"Do you like butter?"
In fact, it's the month of the year when, rain or shine, you just can't stop plants waving their disgusting genitals all over the place.


Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New short story!

I was too busy writing my own books to sub to many anthologies last year, but I was asked to pitch a short story for this one, and so I'm delighted to announce that my mythological fantasy story Three Legs in the Evening has been accepted for The Sexy Librarian's Big Book of Erotica! Edited by ace podcaster Rose Caraway and published by Cleis, this book will be out in November and features erotica covering the range of genres you'd find in a good library.
Except Junior Fiction. Obviously.
And probably Serial Killer Thrillers.
"Imagine a library — a very special one run by a librarian whose only concern is pleasing her patrons. In fact, this librarian will stop at nothing to service her readers. To that end, she has carefully collected a fantastic and fantasy-filled set of stories guaranteed to satisfy literary lusts in The Sexy Librarian's Big Book of Erotica. This voracious volume is simply bursting at the binding with amorous archives and bibliophilic bliss; it is a veritable dictionary of desires, with stories by top eroticists Rachel Kramer Bussel, Tamsin Flowers, and Salome Wilde, as well as Rose Caraway, the sexy librarian herself."
I do like the leggy cover, although I fear that that big black tome may be a bit awkward for one-handed reading ;-)

Pre-order at Amazon US :  Amazon UK

Monday, 26 May 2014

Eyecandy Monday

After the horror I inflicted upon you yesterday, here is a tentacular Lovecraft tribute that won't burn your eyeballs and blast your soul.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind

I like Lovecraftian horror. I like thongs.

I have to admit the two things do not mix well.

In fact what I am about to share below only confirms that "We shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new Dark Age".

SAN loss 1d6/2d10
Cthulhu fhtagn!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Pinning again

After some pointy-stick-prodding from Cleis, I'm back on Pinterest. To be fair, I'm enjoying it now that I've learned my lesson - NO PUBES, NO BOOBS (no, not even if other people appear to be flouting the regulations like crazy) -  and it is nearly as addictive as Facebook. In fact, it's like Facebook for introverts who don't like any of that horrible interactivity stuff.

I've added a couple of relevant "boards":

Angels and Demons

Inspiration for "Cover Him with Darkness"

Obviously these will grow over the weeks. So get pinning stuff for me to collect, you other Pinterest peeps!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Guest post - Tabitha Rayne is Taking Flight

Falling into Fantasy

Boy, am I excited to be here. Janine has let me come over today to talk about my new erotic book. But before then, I though I'd have a little chat about fantasy and the erotic. I barely read fantasy or sci-fi unless it is under the erotica umbrella. There's something about the erotic imagination that, for me, lends a heightened reality to these stories. Perhaps it is because when you are falling into your own sexual fantasies, it is the one time in your day when your mind has to utterly let go, that you imagine and fantasise about anything. The suspension of disbelief is not just easy, it's necessary. Especially if you're by yourself! So this makes me think that by connecting your imagination with your sexual experience, perhaps you open up a portal of belief. If I feel turned on by cyborgs coming to carry me away in their big strong electronic arms, or some sort of ethereal light-being coaxing my orgasm through my very skin, then perhaps it is this arousal that makes the story feel real.

I wonder if anyone gets what I'm on about, or indeed can translate it into something coherent. Janine? ;) I guess what I'm trying to say is, in the erotic fantasy – anything is possible – your imagination can truly soar.

So my mind is really pretty easy to get onside... if it's sexy, I'll believe it!

My new erotic fantasy, Taking Flight is set in a not-too-distant future where men are dying out from atmospheric toxins. I thought I'd share this snippet where my leading lady has finally voiced her desire to be tied up. It is quite different from what she was expecting...

Anyone could find her here—bandits, guards… She tried to rationalize her fear but her physiology took over, flooding her senses with fight-or-flight cortisones. The sensation started in her chest and swelled, radiating to every cell, making her soar above herself and stare down at the sight of a naked, disheveled forest nymph, bound and hanging. The imagined sight made her part her legs and bear down, catching her arousal in her abdomen and forcing it into her pussy, where she tried to focus all the energy that was threatening to send her out of control. It took all her concentration to keep everything centered there—all her fear, desire, lust, euphoria—but she knew it was essential somehow.

A sharp crack snapped her back to the reality of her situation again; someone was close. She tensed every sinew. Alert and staring, Deborah scoured her surroundings. Something moved in the shrubbery. It darted like an animal, low and erratic, as if cornered, but it didn’t add up. She strained her senses in its direction and tried to catch the scent on the barely breathing breeze. Human.

Shuddering, she could feel her body expand to a vast canvass of nakedness. The nasal breathing of someone staring hard at the object of their intent filled her ears. Deborah gripped the strapping on each wrist tight and tensed her muscles in a way that she hoped would alert the watcher to her strength in this situation, not her vulnerability. Her skin flushed with warmth under the scrutiny of the shadowy, hidden figure. They stared at each other; she completely exposed and he—she could smell it was a he—completely obscured. There was a strange control conundrum going on in Deborah’s head: as long as he kept himself hidden and meek, she felt like she was holding the power. She let this thought roll around in her psyche and was amazed to feel her body relax and melt into this newfound confidence. Letting the ropes take her weight, she hung a little, shifting her feet apart and opening her legs to share her wet treasure with the voyeur.

A rustle in the leaves signaled approval and Deborah ventured a twist of the shoulders that carried down through her chest, hips, and knees, and ended with a flourish on her pointed toes. Her body needed to move and sway now, and she carried on her slow, snake-like dance, throwing her head back as she dangled on her bindings. They took her weight easily as she lifted her outstretched legs and brought them up in a V shape to display her splayed, ripe pussy to the stranger. If Deborah could have found the will inside her to stop, she would have, but something had crept in while she was experiencing the beauty of the forest—something feral had awakened. Maybe the forest itself had her under a spell, mimicking its unashamed joy at being alive. She wanted to celebrate the day, the moment, the life, her sex. She wanted to fuck and be fucked, not just physically but spiritually. And she felt like she was on the brink of both.

Her exposed pussy welled and pouted, and the muscles inside fluttered and beckoned the watcher close. Lactic acid built in her arms and legs as she tried to hold herself in the tortuous pose. It was sharp and exhausting, but she kept her limbs in the air, shaking as she tired, but determined to keep up the view of her wanton sex. She was so open now, and so wet. Desire poured from her, streaming from her juicy cunt down onto the rosebud of her ass, then her thighs. She was so lost in the sensations of her pussy, she felt she was her pussy. She left the physical restraint of her own flesh and traveled to the peaking center of her body. All her emotion and feeling focused at the one point she knew so well. Her clit swelled and throbbed and she rode it hard with her virtual body, thrashing and humping, getting soaked in her own desire. Her pussy gaped with arousal and she filled it, stretching and fucking herself until there was only this point. Everything stilled and ceased to exist. She hung in the void for what could have been an eternity—or a flash—then she crashed out, coming and climaxing and spasming.

Taking Flight by Tabitha Rayne
The prequel to A Clockwork Butterfly
Genre(s): Futuristic Erotic Romance
Price: $4.99

Lovers on the run in search of a bond that transcends all else.

Dr. Deborah Regan is a scientist working on a cure to the poison that's killing the male population and destroying the natural world. But when she makes a breakthrough in her research, it becomes clear that the authorities have no intention of finding a cure, and now that she's getting closer to an answer, she's a threat to them—a threat they need to deal with quickly.

Deborah and her partner, Marcus, flee to the forest where they meet another couple on the run. Birch and Hazel show them how to survive in the wild and teach them the theory of ultimate unity. They believe that by finding sexual nirvana at the point of intense orgasm, they will break through the barriers of physicality and become one.

It soon becomes apparent that Deborah has an aptitude for falling into this trance-like state, and she manages to bring Marcus on her journey. Their spirits can indeed join together at the meeting point, suspended in time and space while they climax.

When Birch and Hazel become jealous of the young couple's ease at reaching ultimate unity—something they've unsuccessfully tried to do for years—they betray Deborah and Marcus to the authorities. As they are separated, Marcus begs Deborah to continue to search for the ultimate sexual unity, because he's convinced that no matter where they are, this connection will allow them to meet again on a spiritual plane.

Will this metaphysical union be enough for a couple so deeply in love?

I hope that whetted your appetite for more saucy forest shenanigans :D Thank you so much for letting me loose Janine x x


Tabitha Rayne has been told she is quirky, lovely and kinky – not necessarily in that order or by the same person. She writes erotic romance and as long as there’s a love scene – she’ll explore any genre.

Her short stories are included in anthologies from Cleis Press, Ravenous Romance, HarperCollins Mischief, Xcite, Oysters & Chocolate, Burning Books Press and House of Erotica. Her novella, Mia's Books won a Reader's Choice Award with TwoLips reviews. Taking Flight is the second book in The Clockwork Butterfly trilogy from Beachwalk Press.

Tabitha also has a passion for art and takes great pleasure in painting nude ladies.
Brit Babes Blog
Spicy Author Blog
Amazon Author page
Goodreads Author Page

Monday, 19 May 2014

Eyecandy Monday

Today the weather has turned hot. So hot that in fact I didn't put any clothes on until 3pm.
I still drank coffee though ;-)

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Galley slave

Well, after all these months, suddenly everything is happening RIGHT NOW!

I am about to start the final galley edits on Cover Him with Darkness, and apply the last touches.
This is my final job. After that, the book is done and I cannot change anything.
Oh, the responsibility...

There are angel wings in the page-breaks!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Horny handed ... if only

Two wheelie bins filled with hacked up bamboo ... results in a load of blisters.
Damn it, I'm going soft. I used to have hands like trowels, I tell you. I could cut down trees with a karate chop.

Still, doing this is a lot better for me than slumping in defeat over my keyboard and weakly cursing Pinterest/my website host/Yahoo mail, which has been my main pastime the rest of this week.

There is nothing that stresses me out faster than tech going wrong. Argh.
Sometimes I think I may be in the wrong job...

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Order, order!

Did you know, if you pre-order a book on Amazon they apparently order three more into stock? Pre-ordering genuinely helps authors get distribution and notice.

Coincidentally (ahem) I now have TWO books available for pre-order ... and double-coincidentally, yes, they're both due out on October 14th!

Fierce Enchantments is my third collection of red-hot erotica shorts:

Amazon UK : Amazon US

Cover Him with Darkness is my latest paranormal erotic romance novel:
Amazon UK : Amazon US

Monday, 12 May 2014

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Dang, he sure has purdy eyes

I'm catching up with Deadwood at the moment. I rather like Seth Bullock.

Partly because he's one of the very few characters in the first series that could reasonably be described as a physically attractive human being, but also because he has seethy eyes. He constantly looks like he's trying to hold back a tidal wave of rage.

There has to be Seth/Sol slash out there somewhere, surely?

Friday, 9 May 2014

One night stand

This is the night stand on my side of the bed ... and these are all the books on my "to read" heap :-(

Yes, I buy WAY too many books.

And if you are an author scanning this photo in order to spot your own titles - all I can say is Sorry. I read really slowly :-(
Blame Facebook...

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Cover Him with Red Ink

And this, gentle reader, is why we need human editors and not just automated spell-checkers:

The ULTIMATE author nightmare. No, really, I'd have contemplated topping myself if this were mine.
So anyway, this week I have been tackling line-edits for Cover Him with Darkness. It's not an unpleasant task at all, I find - this is the stage where we dot the 'i's and cross the 't's, and there are no big sweeping changes or re-writes to worry about. I'm just polishing, really. But I do have to concentrate, so it's not the sort of thing I can do late into the evening.

Caffeine is my friend. My bestest friend, hoo boy yeah yeah yeah!

I had a marketing meeting with Cleis yesterday about the book too - via Skype. It went really well, I thought. They are putting in so much work behind the scenes! And they are the first publisher I've had who are arranging my blog tour for me. YAY! Excuse me a moment while I weep with gratitude ... and I do mean that :-)

Oh, for those who wonder ... it's pronounced "Clee-is." It's only taken me a decade to find out!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Fat Blue Lady

It's the start of May - Beltane, or May Day - so that means it's time to give my Fat Blue Lady a new coat of paint and pop her out in the garden for the summer :-)

After I stopped being a Christian, many years ago, I felt that I still needed a spiritual dimension to my life (because that was what I was used to) so I went through what I guess was a "pagan-curious" phase. I looked into Wicca but rejected it rapidly on the grounds that it was just as dogmatic, bigoted and divorced from reality as the religion I'd left. I could never bring myself to take magic seriously. But for a long time I was sympathetic to alternative spiritualities and I hung out with pagans (there are a LOT of them in re-enactment circles, so I met them through work), and I even studied modern shamanism for a couple of years.

My skepticism grew as time went on, and eventually I had to admit that, sod it, I really was an atheist.

Funny thing is, I don't miss anything about Christian ritual at all - no, not prayer or Christmas carols by candlelight or the promise of Heaven - but I do desperately miss pagan ritual sometimes. I loved the fact that it was tied to nature. I loved the going outdoors and putting myself into a mental state where I felt I was directly in touch with the great big living wonderful Universe. Even more beguiling for pagans is the idea that the Natural Universe is aware of and paying attention to you. It's very validating.*

One of the things I'm hoping to recapture when I write The Wheel of Year is some of the joy and the mystery of pagan worship, and that shivery sense of intimacy with something far bigger than oneself. I'm hoping to make the world seem magical once again. Because writing can do that:
I believe that Magic is Art and Art whether it be music, writing, sculpture or any other, is literally magic. Art, like any magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words or images, to achieve changes in consciousness… Indeed to cast a spell is simply to manipulate words, to change people’s consciousness, and this is why I believe that an artist or a writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world to a Shaman.
—  Alan Moore

My base mental attitude to Nature is one of awe and wonder and worship. In my heart I am a nature-worshipping heathen. The thing is ... my heart just can't take my head along for the ride. Fiction is as close as it gets.

*(But is it true? Is it bollocks.)