Thursday, 25 August 2016

Writing Imperfect People by Marissa Farrar

Not so long ago, romance novels were traditionally thought of as the typical bodice rippers we saw on the Mills & Boon shelves in our local bookshop. They’d depict rugged men and flawless heroines, in some state of undress, on the book covers.

A lot has changed since those days, and I think romance has become a far deeper genre than it ever used to be. Yes, it has the connection between two people at its centre, but it also deals with some very real topics, and, in turn, I think the characters are becoming more realistic, too.

If you’re looking for the Mills & Boon of today – the millionaire stories of beautiful people coming together – then you won’t want to read my books. I write about people who are not just imperfect, they are often disfigured or damaged in some other way (and I don’t just mean the ‘my parents left me and no one loves me’ damaged).

In my most recent novel, No Second Chances, my female main character is a veteran, and she’s returned to her home town not only suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but also missing a limb. In my dark romance novel, Defaced, which is the first of a trilogy, my main male character has a birthmark so disfiguring, his father does not allow him to leave his house, and calls him Monster. In my BBW novel, Cut Too Deep, my female main character, Jenna, is curvy and self-conscious of it, but she is also sporting a number of terrible scars from a car accident, and has internal injuries too.

Even in my current work in progress, Dirty Shots, I’ve discovered the main character has an illness I was pretty much unaware of throughout most of writing the story.

Writing imperfect characters is important to me because I believe we're mostly imperfect, too. Even the most beautiful people who appear to have perfect lives, are also carrying their own insecurities and unhappiness. For me, this just makes them more interesting.

Keep reading to see how I describe a couple of my characters from the books I mentioned earlier

Excerpt from Cut Too Deep

Jenna studied every inch of herself. She cupped her large, heavy breasts in her hands, lifting them up to imagine what they would look like if they were round and perky like the women in the magazines men seemed to love. She sucked in her stomach as best she could, then let it out again with a huff. She grabbed the folds of flesh around her middle, pinching the rolls as if she could cut them off with pretend scissor fingers. She twisted to look over her shoulder, at the further folds mid-way down her back, and the expanse of her backside, at the thickness of her thighs and the dimples that covered them.
Once her inspection of her fat was complete, her gaze moved to the huge, twisted scar that ran from the mid-point of one side of her back, right around her waist, to just above her groin. The doctors had done the best they could to stitch her back together, but the scar still appeared like a giant red and white welt, as if she’d literally been cut in two. That wasn’t far from the truth. The metal of the passenger door had folded upon the truck’s impact and sliced into her torso. She’d barely survived.

 Excerpt from Defaced

Her mind was in a jumble, trying to take in the two opposing things she saw.
Monster stood before her, regarding her with solemn, chocolate brown eyes.
His beauty struck her like a blow. He had a smooth, square jaw, a straight, sculpted nose, and wavy dark hair cut short and swept back from his face with some kind of product. His high cheekbones and full lips gave him the appearance of a model, a beauty that was almost unworldly. He was smartly dressed in a grey suit with a white shirt beneath, and black dress shoes which shone beneath the artificial light of her room.
But her eyes took in the part of him she couldn’t ignore. Running down the center of his forehead, down the left hand side of his nose, to skirt the corner of his sculpted mouth, was the darkest port wine birthmark she’d ever seen. Where most of those kinds of birthmarks were red or purple, his appeared to be almost black.
Years of training herself to not react to the birthmarks of her patients allowed her to hide her initial shock and dismay. 

If you'd like to read my latest book about another imperfect person, you can pick up No Second Chances from most online book store. The paperback and audiobook are also on their way!

When I was seventeen years old, I was told to stay away from Cole Devonport. Kids like him only ever meant trouble. I should have listened, but I didn’t, and surprise, surprise, I was the one who got hurt. But escaping Cole didn’t mean the end of my pain. Life has a way of screwing me over, and after joining the Army as a way of forgetting him, I suffered a loss I’ll never recover from.
So now here I am, back in the town I ran away from, with my alcoholic father apparently looking after me.
The last thing I need is Cole showing up on my doorstep because nothing has changed—with his prison tattoos and don’t-screw-with-me edge, Cole Devonport still means trouble...

I let everyone down all those years ago. I made mistakes and I’m not proud of them, but I’ve done my time and now I just want to keep my head down and get on with my life. I thought I was doing exactly that until I heard Gabriella Weston was back in town.
Despite what she thought, I was always in love with her. She might hate me, but whether she knows it or not, she also needs me.
I want to make it up to her, but with my past still trying to pull me down, perhaps it would be best if I just stayed the hell away like she keeps telling me to. Problem is, I can’t seem to resist her, and I’m the type of guy who always gets what he wants...

‘No Second Chances’ is a stand-alone, second chance, contemporary romance. It is a full length novel with no cliff-hanger!


Monday, 22 August 2016

Special Announcement from Lily Harlem

Thank you for reading this special announcement.

Recently, after parting company with a publisher, I've gained the rights back to a number of novels and novellas. As I've never owned the rights to the covers, I'm now in the process of republishing them with new artwork.

However, I feel it important to point out to my wonderful readers that the content of these books remains unchanged, so if you've read them before, it's the same sexy romance stories between the pages.

In the hope to avoid any confusion here are the books that have been given new covers and re-released. Click on the covers for more information and buy links. 

MATTRESS MUSIC is the first in my Rock Starz series, MIRROR MUSIC and MENAGE A MUSIC soon to follow.

I did once again manage to use the gorgeous model Francis Cura on the cover of COLD NIGHTS, HOT BODIES - he's a perfect Shane!

DANGEROUS TO KNOW is pure erotica - my only piece of work that has no romance whatsoever - so don't expect hearts and flowers, it's filthy!

HER DOMINANT BILLIONAIRE is slightly unusual as the new publisher 'did' insist on a new title as well as new cover.

Previously this BDSM novel was titled IN EXPERT HANDS, so please don't repurchase if you've already enjoyed Imogen and Kane's sexy story. Though if you haven't, do grab it, it's had a clean sweep of 5* reviews.

And...drum super sexy hockey-themed series, HOT ICE, is set to hit the shelves again on 1st October.

What's more, book #1, HIRED, will be FREE and there's a brand new novel RUSSIAN HEAT that comes with a free bonus story called ROOKIE RULES.

There'll be more details in my next newsletter but if you want a sneak preview of the gorgeous new covers, head on over to my website

Of course I have new material set to hit the shelves as well as these re-releases. Look out for my paranormal novella TAKE ME, my BDSM story KINK CLUB, a sci-fi called HER MASTER'S WORLD and also MOBSTER, all due to hit the shelve over the coming months. 

Thank you for your support, any questions, just drop me a line. And do sign up for my September newsletter that has not one but two contests for subscribers to enter.

Stay well and safe.

Lily x 


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Words are sexy: using erotica communicate your desires.

Hello everyone, it's Kay here. Today I thought I'd write a little about just how important erotica can be in a relationship...
Words are sexy: using erotica communicate your desires.

Everyone likes to be told that they’re beautiful or handsome.

Who wouldn’t want to hear a lover say that they could get lost in your eyes, or that you have an amazing body?

Doesn’t it feel amazing when a partner’s expression alone tells you that they could stare at your chest all day, and that they dream of caressing your butt at the most inappropriate of moments?

These compliments, spoken or blatantly unspoken, can frequently be a front to hidden desires beneath.

When you tell your partner, ‘I’ve been thinking about your butt all day,’ did you actually want to say, ‘I can’t stop thinking about licking your arse’, or ‘I want to spank your butt until its bright red and you’re begging for me to fuck you’, or even, ‘I can’t stop fantasizing about having anal sex with you?’

Taking the leap from making a flattering or suggestive remark to communicating your deepest sexual desires and fantasies can be a daunting or embarrassing prospect. Many couples go through their entire lives without ever being brave enough to tell each other what they’d really like to happen within their sex lives.

So, how can this barrier of blushes be breached?
Read some erotica. There is a massive array of wonderfully sexy stories available, suiting all genres, tastes, and sexual orientations. Start by reading a sexy story on your own. See what story lines work for you, find your secret fantasises in written form, and maybe discover new ones. Try reading your favourite parts of a story out to yourself; this can help you to build up your confidence, and become more relaxed about telling your lover what you’d like.

Once you’ve found what sends you into masturbation mode, then it’s time to tell your partner about it. Start by saying that you’ve found a great story that you’d really like to share with them. If you feel brave enough, read it out loud to them. Reading to someone is a sexy experience in its own right, and saying sexual words aloud can be a huge turn on.
However, if you can’t bring yourself to speak the dirty words you want to share, don’t despair. Mark the start and end of the piece you want your loved one to see, and encourage them to read it to themselves. Stay close while they’re reading, caress their skin, do something familiar that you already know they’ll enjoy- who knows what might happen next...

If you yearn to be tied and beaten, but you aren’t sure how your lover will respond to this request, start by finding erotic stories concerning light bondage and the occasional slap- then build up slowly to your true desires. Rather than be repulsed by learning what their partners secretly want, sharing erotica has been shown to help create a private environment of trust, lowered inhibitions, and a mutual sharing of ideas and desires.

Although taking the initial step towards telling your partner what you’d like in the bedroom (or anywhere for that matter) maybe daunting, research has shown that it can lead to a fuller, happier, and far more exciting sex life.
If you’re new to erotica and don’t know where to look for a good read, then right now, you are in the right place! Us Brit Babes are all different- we all write in different styles- and yet each of us has something for you- every fantasy can be found right here!
Happy reading,
Kay xxxx

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Mixing Memories with Imagination

Hey, Brit Babe followers, welcome to our blog. It's my turn to chat today and I've brought with me my naughty night nurse! Though be warned, she’s a bit of a handful as you can tell by that jaunty jut of her hip and the way her uniform is just a little bit too tight. Oh and those shoes, I couldn't do a shift in them!

I’ve always had a nurse story bubbling away at the back of my mind. I trained as a nurse when I was 18 and then worked in London for many years. The hours were long and hard, the work certainly stressful, but it was also incredibly rewarding. Helping patients was part of the job and I thrived on the adrenaline-inducing department I specialized in – Accident and Emergency (Trauma). This was my home, be it during the day or on the night shift. One of the things I adored most was the sense of teamwork between doctors, nurses, the porters, lab staff, radiographers and domestic workers (cleaners and kitchen staff). If everyone didn’t get on together, communicate, work hard, then the place just couldn’t run. It was very rare to find a lazy staff member; that type of personality just didn’t survive! It was a case of working hard, then a bit harder, then if you had time, go play too. Mmm, yep, we played pretty hard if I remember correctly!
The hospital social club was an ancient building, tin roof and drink so cheap I was sure it was subsidized by someone – I don’t know who. It was generally full, mostly people in a uniform of some description, or if not in uniform they still had tired faces and were most likely just out of scrubs after being in theatre all day. Mr Harlem and I had many a date at the ‘social’, in fact, I think we probably had our first date there!
During my nursing years I made many friends, most of them are memories now but a few have stood the test of time and without them still in my life there would be a great big hole. It does that to you, working in such an intense environment, you see people for who they are, beneath the layers. Those girlfriends have made up for me not having a sister and we’ve continued to rise and fall together on the crazy crests of life.  I adore them.
I’ve certainly called on hospital experiences and drawn on remembered characters during my last five years of full time writing, but none so much as Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse.
Now don’t think this book is a memoir, it isn’t (OMG, if it was…!) but certainly the main character reminds me of someone I used to know, as do the two main doctors, Javier and Carl, though, of course, their personalities have been embellished considerably.  Some situations in the book are also reflections, and the descriptions of the hospital wards, corridors and Rose Cottage – that’s the fluffy name given to the morgue – are all exactly how I remember them.
I’ve just had a review for Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, and much to my delight it is written by a nurse…

It (Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse) centers around Sharon, a night shift nurse in a hospital somewhere in England. If she lived in the U.S., she’d be called a float pool nurse because she can work almost anywhere in the hospital. You follow her sexscapades over the course of a few days/weeks and see how much trouble she gets into as well as how many people get between her legs. She’s naughty, remember?
This book had the potential for utter ridiculousness. As a nurse, I take my profession pretty seriously and I didn’t know if this book would make nurses look like trollops. It didn’t though. It felt real! The author’s grasp of medical lingo as well as the possible happenings in a hospital all felt right. I swear she mentioned Maslow and I guffawed. It appealed to the nurse and the instructor in me. The sex was good, but not overdone and I enjoyed the characters.
And my gosh, the book actually had a plot and a decent one at that. Plus, I was rooting for her to end up with the sexy doctor. Well done, Lily Harlem. You definitely won me over. 

I don’t mind saying that I was pretty nervous when the reviewer reached the point were she said the words ‘utter ridiculousness’ and then stated that she was a nurse, but phew, thank goodness she went on to say it ‘felt’ real. That is exactly what I was trying to achieve, an amalgamation of two big parts of my life, my erotic romance writing and my nursing days – this lovely reviewer made me happy dance. Oh, and if you’re wondering what Maslow is, it’s a psychology model used for assessing needs, starting from the very basic, moving up through the need to achieve, be encouraged etc and finally reaching self-actualisation.
I hope if you do read Confessions of a Naughty Night Nurse, you enjoy Sharon’s naughty escapades. Here is the blurb and a sneaky excerpt taken from the beginning of the book.


When scalpels are set down, the ward lights turned off and the patients asleep, there is always time for mischief …

I guess you could call me a jack-of-all-trades nurse. I find work satisfaction in whichever department the hospital needs me most, as long as it’s through the darkest hours. Needless to say I’ve seen it all over the years, been there and done that, what’s left to shock me isn’t worth knowing. But it’s so often the quieter nighttime where the real high jinx abound.

Yes, the nocturnal life is the one for me. With a weakness for sexy guys wearing white coats and dangling stethoscopes, my fantasies are often realised and I’m adept at finding relief from the hospital grind in shadowy corners and cozy linen cupboards.

Of course my dedication to patient comfort is paramount. What kind of nurse would I be if it wasn’t? But when one act of extreme, albeit highly inappropriate, kindness forced me to become the hospital director’s snitch, the length I went to in order to keep my job, satisfied my desires and found me the love that had always evaded me. A love that made me push even my not-so-professional boundaries to the extreme.

I checked my iPhone again. Another message from Tom.
You coming?
I typed back quickly.
Yes, so will you soon!
The porter appeared. He was new, a young guy, wide and stocky with hair so short you could see his scalp through it. He had the word love tattooed over the knuckles on his right hand.
‘You got one for Rose Cottage,’ he grunted, tugging the closed, coffin-style trolley along behind him.
‘Yes, sideward six.’
Luckily Mr Parslow’s skinny body was light, and within a few minutes we were heading out of the ward with him safely ensconced in the metal trolley.
‘Hey, Sharon,’ Tinkard called. ‘You may as well go for your break after you’ve done that, it’s just gone midnight.’
‘Right you are.’
The ward door shut with a heavy click and I put some muscle into pushing the trolley along the deserted corridor. As the pace picked up I stared at the lumpy back of the porter’s head and wondered if he was the one who’d found Javier and Iceberg.
If only I could see into his mind.
I pondered on whether I should question him. Just come straight out and ask if he’d seen the hottest medical senior house officer since Pompeii’s hospital had got showered in ash, shagging the Wicked Witch of the West where the sun doesn’t shine.
I thought better of it. My asking alone could become gossip, and I was keen to avoid gossip that included myself. There were too many skeletons in my cupboard, and, for that matter, in clinical rooms, sluices, linen rooms, and in that handy, unused office at the back of the pharmacy. No, I would keep quiet and do my own investigating.
Stepping out into the night, I was whipped in the face by my hair, the band holding it in a low ponytail no match for the ferocity of the gale. I hunched my shoulders and stooped, trying to shelter my face from the needle-points of rain blasting my cheeks. The sound of the torrent of drips hitting the metal trolley was almost as loud as the wind creaking at the row of oaks leading to Rose Cottage. Their boughs strained and moaned, their leaves hissing in great waves of noise.
The porter sped up behind the back of the canteen and put considerable energy into pulling. By the time we went past the incinerator and turned the final corner, I found myself jogging along the uneven path.
Luckily Tom was waiting with the door to Rose Cottage held open. We rushed in, the trolley banging over the door-bar and a scurry of leaves whirling around our feet.
‘Fucking hell,’ the porter said. ‘It’s cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey out there.’
Tom shut the door, winked at me, then took hold of my end of the trolley and wheeled it into the bay of body drawers. I trailed along behind, tucking my wind-wild hair back into its ponytail.
‘Yeah, good job the VIPs in here don’t care about shitty weather,’ Tom said, stopping at twenty-six C and then opening the trolley’s lid to reveal Mr Parslow’s covered body.
‘Bloody hate this part of the job, me,’ the porter said, staring at the shroud-covered lump and shuddering. ‘Don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.’
‘You go if you want,’ I said, ‘I’ll help here.’
He widened his eyes and took a step backwards. ‘Really?’
‘Sure, I’ve done it a million times. Doesn’t bother me.’
‘Bloody hell, thanks . . .’ He nibbled on his bottom lip and scanned my coat, as though searching for my name badge.
‘Sharon,’ I said. ‘Go, we’ve got this covered and I bet you’ve lots to do.’
‘Yeah, I have actually.’ He yanked his sleeves over his hands and strode back to the door.
Tom followed and I heard him lock it shut, as was standard procedure at Rose Cottage. The NHS couldn’t risk body snatching, that’s why Tom was employed as night security here.
‘Poor sod,’ Tom said, wandering back in. ‘Looked white as a sheet, didn’t he?’
‘They all do to start with.’
Tom pulled open the drawer and together we slid Mr Parslow onto the metal; his body, although light, was a dense weight. Tom then pushed the drawer shut and closed the door with a resounding slam.
He wrote Mr Parslow’s name on a piece of card and slipped it into a slot beneath.
‘So how long have you got?’ he asked, a naughty smile tugging his lips and his smoky-blue eyes twinkling.
I raised my eyebrows. ‘No time at all. Change of plan, I have to get straight back, sorry.’
‘Ah, Sharon,’ he said, frowning. ‘Why do you go and tease me like that? You know how much I look forward to your visits. They’re the only thing that keeps me going in this lifeless place.’
‘Sorry.’ I glanced down his body. Through his uniform – dark-navy trousers and shirt – Tom’s well-defined muscles could be made out, as could a fantastically long wedge of flesh behind his fly.
My pussy clenched as I remembered last week when I’d paid him a visit. He’d bent me over the desk and rammed himself into me for nearly an hour. It had been so damn hard to walk back onto the orthopaedic ward I’d actually considered nicking a pair of crutches.
I hitched in a breath, knowing I wouldn’t be able to keep up my pretence for more than another few seconds. Tom’s big dick and his skilful use of it was too damn irresistible. ‘The ward is crazy busy.’
He reached for me but I stepped away. ‘Just a kiss and a quick grope then, to keep me going.’
Quickly I moved even further away, towards the autopsy room. ‘Ha, ha,’ I said gleefully. ‘Just kidding, I’m on my break now.’
He flattened his lips into a tight line, as if holding back a broad smile, though at the same time narrowing his eyes as though furious with me. ‘You little minx,’ he said. ‘You’ll pay for that.’
‘Only if you can catch me.’ I darted into the autopsy room, dark except for a couple of low lights over a set of huge scales. The air was cool and laced with disinfectant.
I glanced around. There was a big, steel surgical table in the centre, a row of cupboards, several filing cabinets and a desk holding an ancient computer monitor.
‘Sharon,’ Tom called, the door shutting behind him with a soft whoosh. ‘You can’t escape.’
‘No, please, no,’ I said with a giggle and ran towards the far side of the room.
He chased but I dodged at the last minute, went to run for the door. He cut me off and I swivelled, found myself barging into the bolted-down table in the middle.
I gasped as the air flew from my lungs, but recovered quickly and, with my hands flat on the cool surface, scooted to the end.
Tom was facing me now, his face strewn with shadows, but I could see the thrill of the chase had flushed his cheeks and caused him to pant.
‘Come here,’ he said, edging closer.
‘No.’ I moved away from him in a circle around the table.
But it was futile; he was tall, fast and strong. Suddenly I was grabbed and tugged to the end, my body pulled up against his.
He pressed his lips down hard on mine and instantly the game was over. Now it was all about carnal satisfaction. With Tom, I was always guaranteed a spectacular orgasm and I couldn’t wait to start riding towards it.
‘Ah, yeah, baby, I’ve got you,’ he said, shoving my coat off and flicking it out of the way. ‘You gonna take it good again? Like you did last week?’
‘Yes,’ I panted, tearing at the buttons on his shirt. ‘Yes, that was so hot, I could hardly bloody walk the next day.’
He chuckled, low, deep and sexy, then kissed me again, the stubble on his chin scraping my skin and his breaths blowing hot and hard on my cheek.
He had my uniform up around my waist now and was forcing me to lie back on the ice-cold table. He stepped between my legs and leaned over me, pressing his groin into the gusset of my knickers.
‘Really, on here?’ I said, slotting my fingers into his hair and drawing my knees up so they pressed either side of his hips. ‘Where they chop up dead people? Isn’t that a bit freaky?’
‘The French for orgasm is petite mort so it’s kind of fitting.’ He was fiddling with the elastic of my underwear, at the juncture of my thighs.
‘Yeah, I suppose, but, oh –’ My words were cut off and turned into a delighted moan. He’d plunged two fingers high up inside me and found my clit with his thumb.
‘Oh, you’re such a dirty nurse,’ he murmured, kissing and licking over my cheek.

Buy Links - ebook and paperback available - currently only 99c/99p

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CONFESSIONS OF A NAUGHTY NIGHT NURSE isn't my only medical themed erotic romance. In SHARED and SHARED TOO one of the heroes is a pioneering neurosurgeon, in RULE BREAKER, the heroine is a prison nurse who falls for the wrong guy big time, and BREATHE YOU IN has a central medical theme. My M/M novel DARK WARRIOR, set in Kenya, also has a doctor as one of the heroes.


Thursday, 28 July 2016

Flexibility and Freedom by Lucy Felthouse (@cw1985)

Hi everyone,

One of my editors emailed me recently to ask about my writing schedule for the rest of 2016 and early 2017. I admit, I drew a bit of a blank. Not because I'm not planning on doing any writing - quite the opposite - but because I don't have a schedule. 

People that know me might be surprised by this - I'm often touted as the Queen of Organisation. And I am, really. But not necessarily when it comes to writing. Yes, I hit deadlines if I have them, and get stuff turned around fast when needed, but knowing what I'm going to be writing in a month's time, let alone any further out, rarely happens.

Honestly... for me, this is a good thing. As much as a big part of me would love to have the whole books in all major bookstores and supermarkets thing, huge launch parties, reviews in national newspapers, and the yummy royalties that would go with all that, it would mean giving something up. Flexibility and freedom. Right now, unless I've committed to something particular, I can write what I want, when I want. Just this week I've switched WIPs because I decided to have a go at writing a story for an anthology one of my publishers is putting out. If I was under a strict schedule, with specific dates I needed to have a book to a publisher by, things like that wouldn't be possible. But because my writing time and schedule is my own, it means I can write the short story, then skip back to the other WIP. Or maybe change to something else altogether, if another opportunity comes up.

Obviously I can't write for every opportunity that comes up, or even every one I'd like to. I just don't write quite fast enough for that. But I do assess what opportunities look best for me and my writing, and which ones excite me the most. And, as I say, much as I'd like the increased income that would go with a stricter, more traditional publishing career, at the moment, I love being able to write what excites me - nothing more, and nothing less.

Because that's what it's all about, isn't it? Yes, I also love being paid for what I do (not to mention I need the money to, you know, eat and stuff), but if it was a grind, if every word was a struggle because my heart wasn't in it, then that would be depressing. And there's enough of that in this world. So I'm sticking with happiness, and my heart being in it :)

Happy Reading,
Lucy x


Author Bio:

Lucy Felthouse is the award-winning author of erotic romance novels Stately Pleasures (named in the top 5 of’s 100 Modern Erotic Classics That You’ve Never Heard Of, and an Amazon bestseller) and Eyes Wide Open (winner of the Love Romances Café’s Best Ménage Book 2015 award, and an Amazon bestseller). Including novels, short stories and novellas, she has over 140 publications to her name. She owns Erotica For All, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes. Find out more about her writing at, or on Twitter and Facebook. You can also subscribe to her monthly newsletter at:

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Eclectic Writings from Victoria Blisse Inspired by my Time in a Writing Group

Photo taken on my way to Writing group. Proving I'm dotty!

I’ve recently had the pleasure of attending a writing group which has been an inspiration and introduced me to new friends. It started as a favour to a mate really but I ended up really enjoying myself. It was really fun to write completely out of my comfort zone. Okay, erotica might not be comfortable for many to write but after 12 years it’s like second nature to me.

So I thought today, to celebrate my last day at Writing group (It meets on the other side of the city and as much as I love it, it’s a long way to go) I thought I’d share my collected works inspired by the dreaded pot of doom (a lucky dip of story prompts) and various writing exercises. Hang on tight people, it’s going to get eclectic in here!

The Girl with the Yellow Ribbon
It stays with you, life, love, longing. No matter what you do, how far you go, how you change.
She haunts my dreams, the girl with the yellow ribbon in her hair. 
She runs through green grass, arms flung wide, eyes sparkling with mirth and the yellow ribbon trailing behind her, golden curls bouncing on her shoulders below. Sometimes I hear her laugh, sometimes the scene is silent but I always wake up with a longing deep in my soul which meditation only masks but doesn’t take away.
I can sit for hours, cross legged, eyes closed, letting the elements whirl around me. Here, on my island. No one will disturb me. There is no one else here. Wildlife will carry on regardless around me. Bees buzz, birds sing. Sometimes a bug will walk over me instead of around, it doesn’t move me. I centre myself. Wiping away pain, fear, regret to find the inner sanctuary of peace.
Some days I find it within a few short hours, other days I sit and I sit and the agitation remains. On those days I do the hard, physical work I need to keep me alive, here on my island away from anyone. I live in a cave, my heat source and my oven is the fire I make up each night. I eat only what I can forage or what kindly fishermen leave for me when they want a big catch.
It is strange the human need to do something, to find something to put their hope in when all hope is lost. I can’t encourage fish into nets, nor would I want to but the men of the sea bring me supplies because when all hope is gone they can use it as a practical prayer to a God they barely believe in.
But just in case, they do it. And if the big catch comes, no matter when, they remember the food they left for me, the little monk on the island and they connect their act of kindness to a random act of the sea, of life, of God. It works for them, it works for me. It is the way of things.
As is the dream. Every night I see her, blue eyes sparkling, mouth wide with a smile, dancing across the grass. 
Sometimes I only glimpse her from the back. The yellow ribbon dancing, standing out from the corn coloured strands of flowing hair. Some nights I’m chasing her, some nights I’m held still, I can’t move, some nights I call to her, hold out my arms and beg her to come to me. She never does.
I had a life before the island, filled with success, abundant excess, all I could buy, all I could consume, all I could take.  More was my desire, more was my need, more was what I strived for but I could never have what I really wanted. A child.
Barren, I tried everything to conceive but all my wealth was not enough. All my hope, all my prayer, all my fervent wishing. None of it worked and when my life became so full of things I got bored. I gambled, drank and abused my body. It wasn’t giving me the one thing I wanted so I filled it with hate until the hate spilled over and out into the world. No friends, no family left, I was alone.
I tried all the religions, looking for the answer. I never found it, not really. But in Buddhism I found myself. I found the strength to let go. To love me. To change. My path led me to this. An island bought with immense wealth but lived upon in poverty. I live to survive and survive to live and my soul finds rest.
Except at night, when she haunts me, the girl with the yellow ribbon in her hair, the child I can never have.

Everything Must Go

Everything must go.
All you think, all you know
just perceptions in the wind,
lightly to your conscious pinned.
Veiling like swirling snow,
waves battering to and fro,
weeds choke plants that grow.
Everything must go.
All you want, all you need.
Leave greedy desire,
cast into consuming fire.
Scatter them like seed.
Bending like a reed,
the burning ache to succeed.
Everything must go.
All you covet, all you crave,
only holds you back,
You just see lack.
Don’t rant and rave,
don’t be boring and behave.
Just be brave.
Let everything you know, go.
And find peace.

The Conman, his lover and the Goldfish

Chrissy flutters long lashes and passes him a bag containing an orange fish. The man grins, cheeks flushed red and wishes goodbye to the centre of her cleavage.
“You were a little coy,” her lover tutted as the bell on the door jangled, “you could have sold him more carp.”

I’ve got you under my skin
The echoes of memories flood back. I try my hardest to keep them under control or they’ll take over and I’ll end up the crazy old woman who talks to thin air and keeps a jar of ashes on my dining room table. Nope, I’m not going to be that person, my love.

We danced to that song (the Frank Sinatra version) when it was fresh and we were young, oh so young.  I knew from the moment you put your arms around my waist that I loved you. It was like a bolt from heaven and when we kissed that just sealed the deal. Your lips were so gentle and so strong and I held onto your wide, masculine shoulders and let myself fall deeper in love with you.

We had our ups and downs of course, there was that Bitch Katie Summer who was desperate to get her claws in her. You were a good man with a suit and a good office clerks wage and she wanted out of the factory, she didn’t want you really, just wanted your status and your job. I don’t recall that day with much fondness just a certain satisfaction in the sting left in my palm once I cracked her round the face with it. She left you alone from that moment, scared that I’d curl up a fist the next time I heard her talking about you with such sordid, vulgar intent.

Only I could do that. I hear the words’ reverberation on the air, the whispered sweet nothings of the night we consummated our marriage to the raunchy and rude demands that came as we grew to know each other’s particulars. Our lives gently overlapped, you finished my thoughts let alone my sentences.  You had your chores, I had mine. You had your joys, I had mine. You had your friends, I had mine.  But I was always the happiest when I was with you, my other half.

I’m not thinking about the end, no, no. I did enough of that at the time. No, I remember you the way we met, laughing easily, smiling widely and taking care of me.  Or how you were that night of our Ruby Wedding where we danced again to our song and made the children and their kids feel queasy with the public affection.  Ah, those were the days, my love, those were the days that echo in my heart.

I’ve got you deep in the heart of me,
So deep in my heart that you’re really a part of me.
I’ve got you under my skin.

Save a space for me in Heaven, my love, I’ll be there soon. I can’t wait. I’m too old now, my knees don’t work and my ears don’t hear and I feel lost and confused without you. I know you’re just in the other room waiting for me, I’ll be there soon, my love, I’ll be there soon.

From Here to Maternity

From here to maternity seems such a long way,
I'm trying and trying each and every day.
My husband is lagging,
His ardor is sagging,
But we'll make love tonight come what may.

An invite back then was all he'd need,
Before eagerly sowing his seed.
Now I must ask,
don stillettoes and latex mask
If I want trouser snake to be freed.

Having sex used to be fun,
not so much now I really want a bun
in my oven.
All the good lovin'
Comes out a bit over done.

It'll be worth each and every try,
when we first hear our baby cry.
He'll dote on the kid,
Be glad that he did
Not let the opportunity pass by.

From here to maternity isn't so far
We don't need no help, thank you, ta,
We'll keep copulating
Continue the mating
Until I'm filled with a new little star.

Dear Pen Pal,

It was an umbrella, a simple umbrella but it turned my life around.

If I said it hadn’t been a good week, that’d be an understatement.

I always stand out from the crowd, ripped jeans, stretched ear, pastel pink hair and the audacity to have been born a black man too. Mostly it makes no difference, people might stare now and then but I am fabulous, darling so I don’t let it get to me. But the other day when I was bullied and abused whilst waiting for the bus I went home in tears.

“Good God, mate, look at that!”

Those words will haunt me for the rest of my life.

“An example of all what is wrong with this country in one disgusting package.”

They weren’t drunk, they weren’t high, they were rude. I don’t like recalling the incident. They called me names, asked me questions, tried to pressgang the others waiting at the stop to join their side. Some did, others stayed silent but I fought my battle alone. And they hit me. Not with any force, not in a way that left bruises on anything but my soul but they pushed me down, pulled my hair and only stopped when the bus arrived. No one asked me if I was okay, no one stopped to offer me a hand or a word or anything.

I picked myself up, brushed myself down and stood in the rain for the next bus.

But the damage was done. I was shaky, sad, scared to leave the house. Each day was a battle with myself to just do what I had to do. Because those moments of hate, those words of disgust had taken control of me.

Then today, it was raining. It’s Manchester, so that’s not so surprising. But it was full on lashing down and as the summer sun had been shining when I went into work for my afternoon shift I hadn’t thought to wear a coat. So I left the café at six o’clock with nothing but my work shirt and trousers and lingered in the porch in vain hopes that the deluge would stop. I felt in that moment like the weather was a reflection of my life.

Depressing, cold, harsh. Sunshine lost.

“Here you go, mate,” a voice broke through my melancholic wonderings.

I looked up, startled.

“I’ve got my mac, I don’t need it. You take it.”

There was nothing that stood out about the guy, but his smile. Genuine and large.

“Are you sure?” I asked and the stranger nodded.

“Oh, aye. You need it more than me.”

And with that he pressed the bright red brolly into my hand, pulled his hood tighter and walked on.

“Thanks, mate!” I yelled after him, he turned a hand and waved a reply but didn’t stop to look back.

I walked to the bus stop, sheltered by my new red umbrella and smiled all the way. My heart lighter than it had been for days, my eyes damp with tears of gratitude buoyed along by the generosity of someone I would never really know.

As I walked that short distance, the hate lost control and love took the lead.

 I might not always carry an umbrella, but I will look for those in need and offer that kindness that changed my life today to others. That is the power of good, of light, of positivity.

It’s the little things that make a difference.

I hope that these words will inspire you too, my friend, so the love will spread to the other side of the world.


Fabulous Me.

Just Before by Victoria Blisse

My heart beats, dull and throbbing, soundless to him but oppressively deafening to me. The dreariness of  depression flits with elation, as I look for a sign in the insufferable gloom of self-doubt that it will happen.

 Alone in front of him, the terrible chasm between us is mere centimetres in reality but I feel a sickening need pulling in the dark depths of my desolate, rolling stomach. Leaves of arousal fall in a dark shroud of melancholy, like a wind shaken tree in autumn, the stirrings low and hideous. Shadowy and uncertain, which way does the gale blow? Will it drop the leaves to sit decayed and rank in my soul forever or will the iciness of the unnerved storm blow them into him?

The seconds stretch out tedious, tense, thick. The dreary monotony of time ticking on, torturing me in the moments just before our very first kiss.

This piece was created by taking the semantic fields from an extract of The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allen Poe and giving them a positive twist.

Dull, dark, soundless, autumn, oppressively, low, alone, dreary, melancholy, insufferable, gloom,  desolate, terrible, decayed, rank, depression, hideous, iciness, sickening, dreariness, unnerved, shadowy

And one more, which is dark and you've been warned!

No Words Left

There was always something to say. From that moment we met, yelling over the too loud music in that student dive. I couldn’t look away from your eyes and you tried really hard to look into mine and not into my brazenly bared chest.
On the first date, sharing a pizza and sipping on coke. When we talked about all the things we loved and found out things we had in common. Aversion to fruity pizza toppings, a need to straighten skewed pictures on the wall. Yes, even when in a public restaurant and you had to lean over other diners to do so. We both adored all things horror, especially films and that led to our second date where we got in trouble for talking over the movie. The old couple in front weren’t much happier when we snogged our way through the rest of it, either.
We didn’t stop talking, not even that first night we slept together, when you told me in detail how beautiful I was, how soft I felt and how much you loved me. We laid in bed, tangled limbs, setting the world to rights, seeing a future with us in our dream careers, with a big house, several children and even more dogs. Greyhounds, our agreed favourite.
On our wedding day, we wrote our own vows, read them with hesitant voices, looking between sheets of paper and each other’s faces. We smiled, kissed, laughed and danced. Ate cake and called each other Mr and Mrs for the next week, sipping cocktails on our honeymoon.
Our words changed when we moved in together, they got more practical. We became experts in DIY, you taught me how to unblock the sink and we talked and talked until we could afford our first TV.
We weren’t expecting our first child, we did more than just talk in our TVless days and apparently I wasn’t as careful taking my pill as I should have been but we painted her a nursery, bought her all she needed and loved her, oh how we loved her. There was no way to know she wouldn’t grow up, that she’d not even see a full month of life on this earth. When there was a break in the flood of grief filled tears we talked and talked about why and how and we couldn’t understand. I’ll never understand.
You bought me a puppy and I remembered how to smile, how to live, how to survive with a hole in my heart. When you were working, long hours, late nights, I snuggled with my hound and told him all the things I longed to tell you. But you weren’t there.
I went back to work, to get away from the silence by talking all day, trying hard to sell to abrupt, irritated voices over the phone. Struggling to meet sales targets, struggling to find normality in a world of madness where a mother had no daughter and it seemed everyone expected her just to deal with that. Even you.
I didn’t even have my dog to talk to any more. He’d gotten out, chased a neighbour’s cat into the middle of the road and the car couldn’t stop. I blamed you for that even though I wasn’t sure it was you who hadn’t turned the key. It might have been me.
The talking became shouting as we became too tired to even try any more. And trying became too difficult as every month the pregnancy test stubbornly said no. Each one bringing back the grief of losing her. At first you would hold me, talk to me, tell me it was all going to be fine. Then you began to avoid me at that time, not wanting to deal with yet another breakdown. Not wanting to deal with me.
Discussions turned into rows. You wanted to change the nursery into a study, so we could both work towards the dream careers we wanted. I couldn’t believe you were so quick to remove the only connection we had to our baby. I wondered how you could be so uncaring and you wondered how I couldn’t want to move on.
I wanted us to go to couples therapy and you said we should talk to each other instead of talking about each other to a shrink. You talked about me to your mates at the pub and I talked about you to myself. You went out more and more, I stayed in, signed off work by the doctor, wanting to hide away. To not feel, to not care, to not fight.
And then you told me you were leaving. You packed your bags. I asked why, I begged you to stay. I promised you I would change, that I’d move on. I said that I didn’t want you to go. I’d do anything to preserve our relationship.
You said it was too late for that. Our relationship was broken beyond repair. You couldn’t live in the past anymore with me. You told me you had to move on. That you had moved on.
You had found someone else.
Someone who’d listened to you talk.
Someone you had a future with.
I screamed, I yelled, I threw a vase at you.
You walked out of the door.
Several months later you came back. A chance to talk, to arrange and make things work.
I cried, I pleaded. I told you I’d forgive you, that I’d take you back but I didn’t want it to end this way. Taking you to the second bedroom I showed you that the nursery had gone. It was an empty room with cream walls. A blank new canvas.
You shook your head and left me with the paperwork.
Sitting, staring at the space I need to fill with my name, the signature that will destroy the love that we shared.
No words left.
Only heartbreak.
A bottle of vodka.
A strip of pills.

And a tiny, baby bootee.