Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sultry Spicy Sexy Soup!

It’s summertime, the season of lingering evenings and night skies ablaze with fireworks, the perfect time to invite like-minded friends over for a casual gathering in the garden to eat, drink and talk dirty. It’s my honor and pleasure to be the first hostess on our erotica writers’ Spicy Sunday Blog Tour (co-hosted and inspired by Marina St. Clare who definitely fired up the grill ;-). Already my mouth is watering at the thought of our traveling feast. From basil to thyme, we’ll tempt our taste buds and imaginations to summery explorations of our deepest sensual appetites.

To set the mood for a sultry erotic gathering, I offer this seasonal song from the legendary Ella Fitzgerald.

So, do come on back to my garden and pull up a lawn chair. As you see, we’re shielded from the prying neighbors by apricot and fig trees, mallow flower and maple (besides, in my part of the world, the neighbors themselves are probably doing things that would make us blush). There are plenty of beverages to quench your thirst: a nicely spicy Mas Malbec, some Sierra Nevada pale ales on ice and of course chilled Demon-Slayer sake—don’t we all have demons to slay?--which will be served in my signature 19th century Chinese erotic wine cups (feel free to take one home as a souvenir). Here there’s no need to hide what you do or explain why you’re writing smut instead of “real” literature. We all understand the call to adventure in the land of spice.

(I can't seem to get enough of this cup!)

For our inaugural gathering, I’ve chosen not to focus on any particular spice, but instead to celebrate the magic and potency of the whole array of tongue-tingling seasonings. Spices have played a key role in history and the human imagination. The Egyptians used them to mummify bodies for their journey to the afterlife. In medieval Europe, a hostess was judged by how many rare and exotic spices she used in her dishes, and the lust for more led explorers to map and conquer the world. Herbs and spices can profoundly alter the mood or the metabolism. Some are aphrodisiacs, cinnamon being the best-known (which means I might add a few more shakes to my morning yogurt!).

Spices are especially appropriate for an erotica writers’ movable feast because “spicy” and “sexy” are often used to mean the same thing. Witness the Spice Channel or the chili peppers used to designate adult language in emails. As erotica writers we bring spice to the written word. Our stories pique and arouse the libido as spices do the tongue. An exotic, spicy dish can transport you to a foreign land, just as erotica can take you to a world where the rules and customs are different from our ordinary lives. In each case, there’s always a danger a heavy hand can take you a little too far. And with both, a taste of something good always leaves you wanting more….

Today, in honor of world travel and a happy mélange of spices, I’m offering for your dining pleasure a Bengali lentil soup (see recipe below), along with some fresh-baked buttery naan. This recipe is good for supper on a gently warm summer evening because it’s so very simple, and of course spices are known to cool the body in hotter climates.


Don’t forget to save room for some of my signature cookies—pecan bars, Finnish spoon cookies and yin-yangs, which all make use of Mexican vanilla to achieve their transcendent flavor. For the health-minded, I’m also passing around some fresh blackberries, available by the basketful in the summery excerpt from my Best Women’s Erotica 2006 story, “Therapy,” appended below (the anthology also includes Emerald’s wonderful story “Deal”).

While we’re sipping and sampling, I wanted to suggest a discussion topic that’s been on my mind recently. As I consider the dozens of dirty stories I’ve written over the past twelve years, I can’t help but see certain patterns emerging, repeated images, recurring scenarios, characters stepping back on stage for encores. When I first started writing erotica, each story seemed like a way to explore totally new territory. My narrators were not me, or rather they were a much wittier, braver me, a self all wrapped up in swirling, seductive veils. With so many stories out there now, however, I sometimes feel what I’m actually providing is a clear a map of my erotic desires, a guide to fucking Donna--body and mind--exactly the way she likes it. And, damn, it’s too late to use a pseudonym!

So fellow summer spice party guests, do you find that writing erotica is a way to hide the real you behind a mask of fiction, a different persona, even another gender (and of course a pseudonym)? Or do your stories end up revealing the hidden you in ways you may not have intended…or perhaps welcome? How risky does it feel to write erotica? Is it more like a foreign adventure or a homecoming? Or is it perhaps a little of both?

I look forward to hearing your spicy thoughts. And don't forget to join us next Sunday when Erobintica turns up the heat with hot chili powder!

Now, some food for the body:


Bengali Lentil Soup (serves 6)

1 cup red lentils
4 cups vegetable broth or chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes
2 T olive oil
1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds (a heavy hand is fine here)
1/2 teaspoons yellow or black mustard seeds (ditto a bit more is good)
4 cups onion (2 large), finely sliced
5 teaspoons garlic (3-4 cloves), chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

Note: Fresher spices from specialty stores like Penzey's--the kind that make you pleasantly dizzy when you take a whiff from the jar--make for a better soup!

Mix lentils, broth and tumeric in soup pot, bring to boil and simmer 20 minutes until lentils are soft. Add tomatoes and cook for a few minutes longer, reduce heat.

Meanwhile in skillet, heat oil. Add cumin and mustard seeds and sauté until fragrant, for just a few minutes. Cook at low heat, be careful not to burn seeds. Add onions and garlic and cook until golden brown, about 10 minutes or somewhat more. (I sometimes add in chopped carrots or potato).

Add onion mixture to lentils and cook a few minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add cilantro, cover and let steam a minute. Serve hot—of course.

And food for the mind:

If you like fresh berries, I offer up this excerpt from “Therapy”—the story of a good doctor and a patient who tests his boundaries (clearly one of my recurring themes, not to mention the dirty picnic scene!). In this scene, analysand, Emma, is lying on the couch and setting her seductive plot in motion….

When I rehearsed my story this afternoon, my main worry was that I’d laugh and ruin the effect. But here, in front of Daniel, levity has turned to something more like fear. My insides are knotted, my mouth parched and ticklish. I take a deep breath and close my eyes.

“It was the summer after my sophomore year of college. I was nineteen. I’d taken a crappy job at the university library—English majors don’t have much to choose from, you know--but I took a few weeks off at the end of August to go to my grandparents’ farm in Pennsylvania. It beat reshelving books all day, but I was bored out of my mind. Then one afternoon I decided I needed an adventure, so I saddled up their horse, Mitsy, and rode up Peter’s Mountain.”

Under the veil of my lashes, I check for signs of boredom. Daniel leans forward, the picture of attention.

“I used to ride a lot back then, you know,” I continue. “Sometimes guys would make rude remarks about girls on horseback, but the truth is, a saddle doesn’t touch the right places. There is something else to it, though. Mitsy was a big bay mare with a rolling gait, and it did give me pleasure to feel such a powerful animal move beneath me, respond to the faintest pressure of my thighs….”

His chair creaks. I don’t open my eyes, but my legs suddenly feel hot, seen.

“It was very still up on the mountain. Just me, the song of the insects and the muggy heat pressing on my skin. After a while I realized I was riding past a row of huge blackberry bushes, heavy with fruit. There were so many fat berries I just had to reach out and pop one in my mouth. It was sweet. Not like we get in the markets here. You could actually taste the sun in the juices, tiny explosions of crushed berry essence. I ate another, then a few more. I slipped off of Mitsy’s back and shoved fistfuls into my mouth while she grazed. I didn’t stop until my stomach ached.”

A flutter of my eyelids shows that he is in fact staring at my legs, or rather, at the lacy band that holds the stockings in place at mid-thigh.

“And then, well, only then did I notice that everything was all too neat and orderly. I wasn’t feasting on wild berries, I’d stumbled onto a plantation, someone’s property. They raised these things for money. There I stood with my stained fingers and palms. My lips and chin were probably purple, too. A thief caught red-handed.”

Daniel chuckles softly. I know he enjoys word play.

“I probably should have gotten back on Mitsy and high-tailed it out of there, but I was frozen to the spot, waiting for someone to discover me, scold me, force repayment for my theft. But nothing happened. Just birds chirping and the noon sun pounding down and little by little my fear turned to something else. I felt…brazen, for lack of a better word. As if I were an actor in someone else’s X-rated dream and the director was whispering—go ahead, honey, don’t be shy. Almost in a trance, I pulled the picnic blanket from the saddlebag and spread it out on the ground. Then I took off my halter and shorts, even my underwear, and I lay down, my pale and tender parts exposed to the sun, and I…”

My throat closes around the next word. This isn’t going the way I’d planned at all. I meant to unsettle and arouse him, but instead I’m back there again, a naked girl on a blanket, quivering with shame and excitement.

Daniel’s patient voice floats into my head as if from far away. “What did you do, Emma?”

I tried to speak, but all that came out was a croaking sound.

“Did you masturbate in the field?”

Did they give classes in that in shrink school, too, saying naughty words out loud with nary a tremor?

“Yes,” I squeak. “Funny, I can’t seem to say that word here.”

“Don’t you feel safe?”

“I know I should. But instead I feel nineteen again.”

“There is no reason to be ashamed about any of this, Emma.”

“But there’s more. You see, I didn’t do it the usual way, trying to get off as quickly and quietly as I could under the covers. This time I rubbed myself very slowly until I was sopping wet and just about ready to come, then I’d ease off and start again. As if I were daring someone to catch me. Then I saw him….”

“Who?” For Daniel, the timing is uncharacteristically abrupt.

“The workman, the caretaker. In the shadows at the far end of the row. He was watching me.”

Daniel sucks his breath, faintly, as if drinking through a straw.

“His hand was moving, about waist level. Up and down. What a normal girl would do, if a normal girl happened to find herself naked on a mountainside jilling off, is cover up and get out of there fast.”

“But you didn’t.”

“No. I spread my legs wider and spit into my palms and circled them over my nipples and made all sorts of sounds in my throat, like an animal. By the end it wasn’t even an act. My thighs trembled and my chest was so flushed you’d think someone had slathered berry juice all over my breasts. When I came I groaned so loud, Mitsy walked over and nuzzled me to see if I was okay.”

“And the man watching?”

“When I looked over again, he was gone.”

“Ah.”

“Do you think I’m sick?” I hadn’t planned to say that either, but my heart skips two beats as I wait for his answer.

“I don’t believe labels are very productive, Emma. ‘Sick,’ ‘exhibitionist,’ they’re all terms of judgment and shaming. What matters here are your feelings, in particular your desire to have your sexuality be seen and accepted.”

I can tell he makes a living at this. But I didn’t come here for soothing words. “Isn’t it a problem if I act out those feelings? In front of a stranger?”

“It could be, but in this case….”

“You think it was just my fantasy, don’t you?” I sit up suddenly.

Daniel’s head moves back an inch or two, in what for him must pass as surprise. Is it the strength of my reaction or an unexpected flash of naked pussy?

“I’m not sure that matters so many years later. The scene itself has elements that would be beneficial to explore whether or not it happened in fact.”

“What if I told you I checked afterward and found a puddle of spunk in the grass right where the guy was standing?” In truth I didn’t, but I want to keep the engagement on my territory: action, not analysis.

His upper lip curls slightly. Jealousy? A touch of counter-transference?

“I still believe what’s most important now are your feelings and why you chose to tell me this today.”

I check the clock on his desk, conveniently turned to the couch for the client’s benefit. Twenty minutes left and so much more to accomplish.

“Okay, sure, I’ll admit most of my sexual fantasies are about being seen and accepted.”

“And loved?” Daniel asks softly. “That’s what we all want, isn’t it?”

I nod. He is good at this. Unable to meet his eyes, I study the Oriental rug that covers the floor between us. The pattern seems backwards—the round flowers are like roots, sprouting stems and leaves that beckon with graceful green fingers—tell me, tell me. “The truth is I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. Since the beginning really. I want to do it here. On this couch. I want you to watch.”

The room falls into silence….

68 comments:

Emerald said...

What a delightful post, Donna! love the focus on spices in general instead of a particular one — I really do find spices fascinating. And indeed, isn’t it funny to think that it was one of the things Columbus, for example, was sailing for?!

Your cookies look scrumptous. I love vanilla. It’s one of the select favorites of mine that would have been in the running for me to claim had I not jumped on poppy seeds. :)

How sweet of you to mention "Deal" (::blushing::). I love “Therapy”! (Heh heh. While that has sometimes been true in other contexts, here I mean the story of course.) I remember it being one of my very favorites in that anthology when I read it long before I was acquainted with you personally. :) In fact it was the memory of that story that was one of the things that made me jump at the chance to comment on your interview @ Lust Bites where I first virtually "met" you.

What a very, very interesting question. Hmmm. Let's see. For me it seems to feel more like a homecoming than a foreign adventure. I feel like not addressing/discussing/attending to sex and sexuality openly seems more foreign to me.

I would say I feel like I appreciate fiction because it seems to give me freedom in writing — meaning two things, it seems. One is that whether or not what I'm writing is reflective of me personally or not really remains unknown (to a reader, I mean) because it is fiction. So if for some reason I wouldn't want it to be known that it was personal, I know that the very label of "fiction" means that may ostensibly not be taken for granted. (Actually this is something that it seems to me would render the need for a pseudonym — in this particular context — unnecessary.) Two has more to do with the actual writing: It allows a freedom in that I don't feel like I have to worry whether this is reflective of what I like or want or how I feel — because it is, after all, fiction.

In pondering your question, I feel like I really don't know whether the fiction I've written in the erotic genre has been more indicative of what I find arousing or more of a "shield" to hide that. Well, I guess I would say it hasn't been the latter just because I haven't generally felt (in recent years) a need to hide that. At the same time, I'm not sure I would say what I've written has generally fallen in the former category either. And right now I really don't know why. Fascinating! Perhaps will expound further later after I have pondered it more. (As if I haven't rambled here already enough, lol.)

Thanks again Donna! And thanks for the wine cup — I love that there seems to be a virtually limitless supply! ;)

Craig Sorensen said...

Wow, what in an introduction, Donna! Ella Fitzgerald to kick it off with Summertime. So sultry.

The recipe is divine. The scent of mustard seeds and cumin seed heating is an aphrodisiac unto itself.

And your excerpt smolders!

And a quick semi-aside note, Emerald mentions first meeting you at Lust Bites. Turns out that LB is where I first virtually met you too. Kudos to LB!

I love the cup and am more than happy to take one home, but first I will have a second cup of that Demon Slayer from it!

Regarding the topic of discussion. As I write more and more, I find a tendency to push myself in different directions, to escape into another person’s thought processes. I write my stories from the characters out; everything begins at their motivations. My youngest son is a gifted actor, and has taken a number of classes in this pursuit. For a time he studied method acting. As he described the techniques behind it (really what is better than talking creative flow with someone talented in a form other than our own?) the searching for something within his own experience to drive him to the emotions and motivations behind characters, I realized this resonated with me. I like to tackle unfamiliar things, writing from the viewpoints of women, people from other lands, people in other times in history. But I look for things that I can anchor to when I go to these places. Do I have something in my experience that I can relate to my character?

Methinks that maybe I’m a method author. ;-)

And why erotica? I could get all philosophical and talk about how sexuality embodies the power of creation, how the orgasm is a powerful, pleasurable reflex ignited by controlled, deliberate actions. I could talk how mysterious the urges that drive sexuality are, and how deeply they are hardwired into us, and that no matter how refined we try to be, these base urges bring out the animal in us. I could talk about how this animal unveils truths some often take great pains to mask. I could talk about how broad the means of sexual expression are, and how deep are the emotions behind them.

But the bottom line is, erotica is fucking hot. Hot and spicy!

Thanks for kicking off this wonderful celebration. I may not leave for a while…

Verification word spoedu. A German variety of Speedo. I think one of your neighbors is wearing one.

Ja! Das ist sehr würzig!

Donna said...

Good morning, Emerald, and thanks for being the first to stop by! It is lucky I ordered a huge crate of those Chinese erotic cups for my parties, isn't it?

And omg, that bottle of Everlasting Organic Vanilla is really...sexy. I just sort of stared at it for quite a long time imagining all the things we could do together.

On to the literary topic--I do still appreciate the freedom of fiction as you mention. Halloween was/is my favorite holiday because there's nothing I love more than being someone else for just a little bit (and then coming home again with a bag of goodies). And I also agree that a reader cannot know what is me and what is fiction, although many of them ask, especially with Amorous Woman, "how much of this is real?" I think especially with erotica, people do wonder, although that's always part of the reader/writer dynamic.

While none of my erotic stories are memoir--okay, maybe one or two, lol--I always want to infuse them with "the truth," or rather my truth about eroticism. And over the years that truth seems to take me back to the same terrain more often than not.

Then again, this may not be so mysterious. If you think of any writer, s/he has her special focus. I was remembering what a friend said about Steve Almond, who I'd call a mainstream erotica writer. "All of his stories are the same--'I fucked her and then she died.' Or occasionally it's 'I fucked her, then I died.'" And it's sort of true. But readers love it and want more.

Maybe it's time for me to sit back and hear more!

Donna said...

Morning, Craig!

My first reaction to your comment is--GRRRR [licks paws] ;-). Hey, I didn't make the connection that Lust Bites was my introduction to both of you. Smart move (and thanks to Shanna Germain for that interview!)

"Method author"? I love it. I can really sense your dedication in the authenticity of your stories, too! I find discussions of the creative process in other fields so much more interesting than how-to-write-fiction books (even screenplays bring a fascinating perspective). Maybe writers are like monologists, stepping onto a stage?

I have to ponder this some more--and yes, if the conversation flags, we can always check out the neighbors. Lots of material for erotica writers there!

Craig Sorensen said...

Hi Donna!

I know there are those authors out there who are also performers; who can read well publicly and who are comfortable on a stage. People such as you!

I think one influence that affects the way I approach my writing is that I am not. I marvel at my son (and my other kids, actually) who all have the ability to take the stage and grab an audience. It is a very special gift.

I simply don't possess it, so the writing fulfills being able to become someone else without externalizing it.

Pass a bottle of that Sierra Nevada Pale!

Verification word: welmos - a feeling of being most welcome.

Yep, I'm feeling it.

Maryanne Stahl said...

oh I want to join you in your garden! I forgot to take a lemon last time I was there. and figs--gosh! I need a fig.

sigh

delicious post

Donna said...

Interesting point, Craig, about the introvert vs. the extrovert. In the end what really matters is expressing the voice by whatever means works. Hmm, there probably is a difference in tone and texture, although, well I do like to read my work aloud, but I'm a real introvert, so what's that about?

MAS, lovely to have you stop by. Our picnic by the bay is one of the highlights of last summer! Please everyone, help yourself to lemons. We've got tons--the traditional Eurekas over by the deck and the sweeter and more subtle Meyer lemons (my favorite) by the stairs.

Figs aren't quite ready, but I'm hoping for apricots this year--before those damn squirrels get them!

cerulean said...

Donna,

Should I bring a bottle of Reisling with me? Your garden looks yummy and your cushioned chairs look sooooo comfortable. Thanks for inviting me over.

The erotica I've written so far is beginner's stuff. Just 250-word experiments that have been fun to play with and share. I'm in awe of all the real writers out there who have the freedom and courage to do what they love on a full-time basis. Unfortunately, I'm only an anonymous visitor who comes over to play dress up every once in a while. But thanks for opening your doors to me.

I'm looking forward to spending my summer Sundays with all of you.

cerulean

Donna said...

Welcome, cerulean! Riesling would be lovely. Perfect for a summer day.

Now, your mention of "real writers" touches a chord with me, too. I can't tell you how long it took me and how difficult it was to claim the word "writer" for myself. Maybe not until the novel, which was published a year ago! I could go on and on through several bottles of Riesling on this topic, but I truly, truly believe that anyone who writes is a "real writer." And that we're all beginners--or ideally bring that freshness to our work on some level.

I didn't mean for my discussion topic to be restricted to spice party-goers with a long list of publications at all. In many ways my first attempts at writing were the most intense and memorable and thrilling. So even as a part-time masquerader, I wonder how writing erotica feels for you?

Smut Girl said...

DGS, I love your garden! And your soup. That is a recipe I might have to whip up for the man and then maybe if he likes it he'll whi--oops. sorry. tangent.

As for you topic, I don't really think about it much. I think I write whatever's in my head regardless of whose name is on the byline. I think my biggest issue with the original me vs. sommer is the jealousy. I do all the work and she gets all the credit.

Some stories are completely me. I mean, it would be like stripping me naked and having a conversation with me. Then others, much like Craig brings up, are entirely character driven, but to call myself a liar, they are also me being thrown headfirst into an act, a fetish, or a scenario that doesn't really flip my actual real life switch, so to speak.

So, clearly i need more coffee because I'm not sure if anyone but me undertood the answer.

But what Craig said reminded me of a test I took in high school and I wonder if anyone else took it. It was some personality test and I ended up being and INFP
I=introverted
N=?
F=Feeling
P=?

see how senile I am. only fifty percent retained. But the point is the teacher told me (there were only four INFPs in the whole school and one was my favorite teacher) that we were rare. An 'extroverted introvert' so to speak. Which i flagged as an oxymoron but hey. I've often wondered how many fellow writers are INFP's. Because most of us are extremely introverted in a very outgoing way. Especially the erotica writers.

right! hope that made sense. I have to go scrounge more coffee now :)

i'll be back later for some wine. i love wine. i know that no one was aware of that fact.

xoxo
sommer

Erobintica said...

A wonderful way to start off a spicy summer!

And I love berries just-picked warm. We have wild black raspberry bushes around our yard and the tart little berries are always a summer delight. I have a volunteer one that's come up by the fence of my vegetable garden and I've left it be so I can pick the many berries that it promises to have. Yesterday I picked the first of my homegrown strawberries - semi-wild because though I planted the original plants, I've let them spread around my garden as they wish, transplanting the ones that stray into territory I plan to use for other plants. They're small, but oh so much tastier than store-bought. And luckily the deer that snuck in (somehow- no footprints were left or they were washed away by rain) did not bother them - they ate most of my lettuce and kale and broccoli and cabbage - sigh!

On to the topic of the day - mind if I have sake AND a Sierra Nevada? I'll fill the empty with flowers.

For me, writing erotica is NOT a way to hide the "real me", but more a way to allow the full "real me" to have a voice. I'm just starting out in erotica. The one full story (not a flasher) that I've had published - well, I don't know if anyone has even read it! But I do know that I tend to write what arouses me - at least right now I do - but I imagine that as time passes I will explore unknown territory. I think that's one of the things we like - we writers - we want to live more than one existence - which tends to be impossible in real life.

Does it feel risky? To some extent. But then again, all writing (or most) is somewhat risky. I've pretty much laid my soul bare in my poetry, so erotica is only a matter of upping the degree. I do have to say that since entering this "world" my view of the world and how I want to be in it has expanded. And so far it's all been good.

So, I guess in partial conclusion I'd say it's a little of both - adventure and homecoming. I'm stepping out of my safe little sphere and also coming home to my self - my erotic self that is.

And I think I'll return later to comment re: some of the comments, which have my mind busy contemplating.

Erobintica said...

oh! and I loved that excerpt!!!!

Craig Sorensen said...

Hey Sommer,

I remember those personality tests from the '80's. I took two tests like that, but with a business spin. Both used different buzz words, but what they showed was that I was kind of evenly between the four "orientations": Interaction, Task, Process, and Direction (I think. I probably have every one of the names of the categories wrong.)

My result was also supposed to be quite odd. Somehow, being odd didn't surprise me... :-)

I think the essential message behind it is that I have both introverted and extroverted tendencies as well. I think this is probably about right, but I do know that the "extrovert" side of me does not translate to a stage presence! I'm fine in conference rooms or meetings, but don't put me at a podium. I'll nosedive like the Hindenburg...

Craig Sorensen said...

To Robin's statement: I think that's one of the things we like - we writers - we want to live more than one existence - which tends to be impossible in real life.Well said.

neve black said...

opens up her cadillac style lawn chair and immediately feels sultry and spicy. Craig, would you hand me one those beers, please? Oh, baby, oh, baby, oh, baby...this is the good life, isn't? Ella Fitzgerald singing Summertime, good friends, great discussion and Donna's cooking? Holy smokes, this is a Sunday that could last forever.

First of all, Donna, I love visiting your house. You're a true hostess. Such delicious and tempting recipes, fabulous drinks and as if if that isn't enough, there's room for deserts also. Yum!

I've mentioned before, that I grew up in a rather conservative and very traditional Irish Catholic home. There was no spice what so ever found in the food - blah, blah, blah, boring. Spice wasn't spoken about either. Sex, spice? Huh? You'd get a better response talking about UFO's landing than a good, healthy discussion about anything spicy and sexy.

I think one of the biggest reasons I write erotic literature, and also have had an on-going love affair with hot, blooded and spicy places is because I had such a lack of it growing up. I think I'm still trying to balance out all the Yin with a little more Yang.

Spice in or out of the stove and bedroom is healthy and keeps you young and vibrant.

I write under the shroud of a pen name for a couple of reasons: first of all, it took me six months' before telling family members back home in SD what the black sheep in the family had been up to, or helping others get up. lol. I also feel like so much of what we do as writers is promoting what we've written. The books don't always sell themselves, right? I feel more comfortable promoting a piece of me that I've created, rather than actually selling me. Does that make sense to anyone else?

I'm going to go search for one of those wine cups to drink my beer from...I'll be back later.

Donna said...

Oh, Robin, your garden sounds wonderful! Warm berries are the best--and in fact, my excerpt is based on a real horseback riding picnic where my friend and I gorged on berries. There was no sex, but it was a memorably sensual day! And boy do the sun-ripened ones taste better than store-bought.

Sorry about those deer. We had a terrible problem and finally invested in a super high fence. It works only cause the deer have it easy enough in other yards not to bother with ours anymore. At least we have roses now!

So, on to lit-rah-chure, first of all, I agree with Craig that you nailed the appeal of writing for me--I get to lead other lives. Same with travel. I get to be just a little bit different when I travel and speak a foreign language.

It's fascinating to me to hear your experience as an established poet moving into new territory. I'm sure that is somewhat different than taking it all on at once. And, hmm, I would love to read your published story sometime...I've been known to do story swinging now and then ;-).

Do help yourself to beer, sake, anything. I hope to have bottle vases all over the place by the time this is over!

Donna said...

Ha, Craig, I'm not surprised you're "odd" too. Let's raise our glasses to the extraordinary and unusual! Because certainly that's what the spice of life is, right?

Donna said...

Welcome, Neve. The party is really getting spicy now! I so hear you about the bland childhood. In my house we had salt, lots of that, we had pepper from a tin, we had sugar, and at Christmas some stale cinnamon for cookies. Vanilla, too, but that's about it. It left me hungry for more. Btw, how did the folks back home react to news of your own brand of service to humanity, like Viagra but safer ;-)?

And I double hear you in both ears about promoting a piece of me I've created. I can't promote myself for myself. It feels weird, vulnerable, stuck-up, dangerous, etc. But my baby novel? Like a child. And I'll do anything for my kids.

Getting back to cerulean's topic about real writers, I realized first of all, I didn't really have the guts to write until I had kids. And I didn't have the guts to call myself a writer, rather than a hobbyist who happened to get a few stories published out of pure luck, until I gave birth to my own novel. For her sake I had to make that leap and say, okay, I'm legit here--at least in front of potential readers, lol. Whenever it felt too weird, I'd remind myself I'm doing it for her. Hmm, is that "sick"?

Well, I am rambling on. Look what sake can do to me!

neve black said...

I'm back. What a gorgeous day. Why yes, I think I'll try the Malbec now. Thank you so much. Everything tastes a bit spicier when sipped out of one these sexy little cups! I can't wait to get to the bottom to see the image again, and again, and again.

Donna, to answer your question, the family back home wasn't too terribly supportive of my genre choice in cliterature...did I just say that? Literature. There's good reason I live 2500 miles away. I love them, but in very small doses. :-)

I don't think I would have been able to write erotica before being in the place I am now in my life. I know you mentioned not feeling comfortable writing erotica until after your children were born. Hopefully we're forever evolving; changing and growing as people. I think it's a process though. I feel very comfortable where I am now in my life. I feel comfortable being in my own skin.

I do think erotic writers are like profits, in some ways: spreading the good word about healthy, great sex. It's okay to like sex. It's okay to want sex. It's okay. It's okay. It's okay. I think I've opened a few minds about sex since I've started penning. Well, I like to think so anyway.

Great party. Great topic. I've horded the conversation for too long. Sorry. I'm listening, but I'm going in for more soup.

Craig Sorensen said...

To Donna's quote:

And I double hear you in both ears about promoting a piece of me I've created. I can't promote myself for myself. It feels weird, vulnerable, stuck-up, dangerous, etc. But my baby novel? Like a child. And I'll do anything for my kids.Wow! That covers a lot of ground, and though I haven't had a book published, I relate to the sentiment.

And Neve:

As one black sheep to another: Baaa!

Loving them in small doses. Oh yeah, I know that feeling.

neve black said...

Hi Craig,
LOL! Barnyard animals rock! God, did we just break 100 different porn laws? haha.

Craig Sorensen said...

You bet we're breaking the erotica laws. We're rebels, even amidst rebels! Ha!

Donna said...

Okay, apologies to Sommer! I have to repost here, because my response to your comment was eaten by blogger due to my attempt to link to Myers-Briggs on Wikipedia. Technology and I do NOT seem to get along well.

Let's see, at the time I was still in a pre-coffee fog myself, but I was definitely connecting to the two types of storytelling--the ones that do come directly from my life and the others that I might write for a specific themed call that aren't exactly nature switch-flippers. Those do require more of a stretch and a flexing of the fiction muscles. But interestingly enough, I've found that I sometimes start understanding why such a thing would be a turn on when I write about it. I'm kind of converted to a new fetish! And now I'm wondering if I'm not trying to collect them all, like Pokemon, lol.

I also took the Myers-Briggs personality test, supposedly to help me decide a future career. I think I've progressed much farther toward senility, because I only remember I was an introvert, but that's pretty obvious to anyone. Then again, I do stand up in front of strangers and purr dirty words into a microphone, so I supposed I have my extroverted side as well, lol.

Please do stop by for some wine later--we've got lots of different bottles open now!

Isabel Kerr said...

I'm just going to sit in the corner of this beautiful, bountiful garden and listen to what you all are saying because I can't even begin to be as articulate as you have been. It may take me all week to come up with answers to your scintillating questions Donna.

Sometimes my writing is character driven, sometimes it's idea driven, setting plays a big role as well. It's all a mode of creative expression which I, and I think all of us, are driven to explore. I sometimes use it to distill and understand people and relationships, emotions, circumstances.

Our sexuality is so important to the understanding of ourselves and others and, as has been mentioned, it was NEVER explored in certain households and generations.

An extroverted (physically) introvert (psychically) I'll go back to lounging on one of those comfy lawn chairs Donna, if I may, and enjoy this fascinating show.

Salute and thank you so much for having us, it's so nice to see everyone here.

xx

Jeremy Edwards said...

What a great spice soiree!

I get to have Malbec and pale ale? Wow, my two favorite drinks!

Mustard seed ... mmmm.

For me, writing erotica reveals rather than conceals the landscape of my sexuality. Though the characters are fictional, the plot details mostly from my imagination, and some of the sex acts things I've never personally experienced, the bottom line is that I'm writing about things that turn me on. Sometimes an erotic passage is rooted in a fantasy, new or old; at other times, I'll be in the thick of writing a story and create a new fantasy for myself in the course of developing the situation.

But though my mind is constantly hopping with my own fantasies, there's always plenty of room for being turned on by the erotic magic of other writers ... and that's why I can't wait to get my hands on BWE '06 and read the rest of "Therapy"!

**
The pattern seems backwards—the round flowers are like roots, sprouting stems and leaves that beckon with graceful green fingers—tell me, tell me.**

Brilliant image ... and—yes!—tell me!

[Now I'm off to be extroverted ...]

Donna said...

Hello, Isabel--thanks for coming all this way! Since I'm usually the quietest girl at the party, I know you can pick up an awful lot just by listening, but do feel free to chime in later.

I definitely know what you mean about working things out through the process of writing. I do that all the time and in fact many stories do start as questions--what the hell is that (BDSM, etc) all about?

I have to ask, though, what's a "physical extrovert"? It sounds...erotic ;-).

Donna said...

Neve and Craig, aren't you both from SD? Different SD's but maybe there's a farm animal link here? Or was it all my talk of horses ;-)?

Donna said...

Hey, Jeremy, drink up! In blogland mixing beer and wine never gives you a headache!

It is so interesting to hear your take on the reveal vs. conceal question (not that it can't be both). And yes, I am definitely open to inspiration from other erotica writers. I find reading others' work very, very nourishing both in terms of theme and language.

Hmm, I hope you enjoy the whole of "Therapy"--I may have a copy to lend people who are interested ;-).

And have a GREAT time tonight!

neve black said...

Oh, God...we're onto horses now and extroverted physics? Uh, oh, I hope google doesn't shut us down. haha.

I think Craig and I not only share SoCal, but also Craig, Kirsten and I all share the Pacific NW connection too. Porn stars in the making just north of Hollywood. Who knew.

Okay, I must stop drinking beer and wine...it's these little cups...they're soooo cute.

Emerald said...

Actually, Sommer, I not only understood your answer but really related to it. I think you described the answer that seemed to be in me too that I didn't know how to put. :) (Except for the jealousy part, lol, since I don't have much published under my given name.)

The test you refer to, btw, is the Meyers-Briggs test. "N" stands for Intuitive, and "P" for Perceiving. (Their counter parts are, respectively, "S" for Sensing and "J" for Judging, but I will quit rambling about that now and spare you all an explanation about them, heh heh.)

Neve, I relate to wanting to write erotica because of understanding/experiencing sexual repression also. That has felt like a hugely significant aspect of the aspirations in me around enhancing others' sexual experience and understanding.

I love berries too! In fact they rate among my favorite foods, and oh how I love black raspberries, Robin. They grew wild around our house growing up too and still do around my parents' house now; my mom has been known to pick bunches and freeze them for me for when I come for a visit. :)

I continued to ponder the questions as I went to bed last night (this morning), Donna. I noticed something about myself that I won't ramble on about here, but I just wanted to say thanks, as exploring and examining myself is one of the highest focuses in my life (actually from a mystic perspective, it is the highest focus, in the context of examining consciousness).

Fun and lovely discussion! And indeed, cerulean and Donna, I entirely agree that "we are all beginners" in a certain way. And in another more practical way, we were certainly all beginners once (though really, Donna's comment resonates a lot — I've seen her say we really are all beginners every time we sit in front of a new page/story — ha I typed "storey" — and I appreciate that perspective).

Craig Sorensen said...

Yup, Neve, Gina (Kirsten) and I share a common Northwest U.S. bond, and I did live in San Diego for three years in the late 80's and early 90's.

verification word: suidies

Neve and Gina are a couple of suidies.

Emerald said...

Boy did I miss a lot when I was rambling out that comment, lol! I lived in the Pacific Northwest for a year when I was pursuing and MFA. I lived in Spokane, WA, though, which I have the impression is quite a contrast to a place like Portland where Kirsten/Gina lives. :)

Isabel Kerr said...

Thank you Donna. I really am serious when I say this is fascinating. I'm just loving everyone's take on this.

I have to ask, though, what's a "physical extrovert"? It sounds...erotic ;-). Haahahaha! In addition to being fairly athletic (competitive swimmer and 10K runner (once upon a time)) I think I was also what would be called an exhibitionist... and it definitely has an erotic element ; )

Thanks again Donna!

Craig Sorensen said...

Emerald, my brother was a student teacher at Gonzaga for a couple of years when he first got out of college. I was at the Spokane World's fair in 1974 when he was living there (I think that was '74.)

Donna said...

These cups are pretty enchanting, aren't they? They definitely give one ideas!

Hmm, Isabel, your answer has raised more questions for me ;-). The other question is, would your psychic introversion trump your physical exhibitionism when it comes to elaborating on what that is, lol.

And Emerald, well, inquiring minds want to know, but this may not be the time to share. Some more sake?

Funny how much of a Pacific Northwest connection there is! I'm a transplanted Maryland (and NY and PA) girl, bi-coastal and married to a Midwesterner.

And returning to Neve's comment about erotica writers as prophets, I hope we are! It's okay to talk about and have fun with sex. What a revolutionary concept!

Marina said...

Oh my, Donna, this is wonderful! Your place is beautiful - so relaxing!

Ella is my favorite! I love the soup and love that fact that it can be vegan. I adore pecan bars. And, you're so gracious to allow us to have an erotic wine cup as a party favor! Now I'll have 2 (I have one from the progressive dinner) so perhaps I could do some entertaining on my own.... ;)

Donna, your "Therapy" is great! I mean that in both ways: the excerpt is great, and your thoughtful, accepting, helpful advice is always wonderful!

About the writing, I have to echo what Robin said, "For me, writing erotica is NOT a way to hide the "real me", but more a way to allow the full "real me" to have a voice." And, "But I do know that I tend to write what arouses me - at least right now I do - but I imagine that as time passes I will explore unknown territory."

Writing erotica has been very freeing for me, but it has also come with some considerable risk and has created a good bit of tension. My spouse (who does not approve) and one other (approving) family member know about my blog and my writing. And 3-4 friends know. It's a difficult, complex issue that will, hopefully, resolve itself over time.

Neve and Donna, I also feel like I'm trying to catch up from a bland, conservative childhood. It was just in the past few years that I really gave thought to what I liked to read and what I liked to write, and how my past had influenced everything. And, I thought a lot about what I thought was "right" or "appropriate" or "acceptable."

And, you know what I concluded? Here it is: Nice people have sex. Really good sex, really hot sex. Really, they do! They enjoy it! And, they think about it, talk about it, read about it and write about it!

I know that all seems silly, but in my 20s and 30s I was so pre-occupied with other stuff, I just never got around to pondering all of this! It is actually kind of cool to be me, at this point in my life, having had quite a bit of other types of life experience, to now be able to explore this whole exciting genre! Yep, I think that's gonna be my mantra: "Nice people have sex, too!" And, I'm gonna keep exploring that thought and writing about it!

I've enjoyed the chance to hear the experiences and advice of more established writers. Notice I didn't say older, 'cause that's not necessarily been the case. I think it's actually fascinating that there are quite a number of us who have taken up erotica writing in our 40s and 50s. By middle age, we've done our schooling/job training, had our careers, had our kids, had our relationships, experienced joy and sorrow. It brings an interesting perspective to sex and sexuality.

Ok - now I'm really babbling - another cup of sake *hic* and I'll be under the table....You know, I'm usually the quiet type, too, but somehow at these parties I drink a bit more than usual and get a little too uninhibited! I'll just go sit quietly by Isabel for a while....

Thanks, Donna! You're a wonderful hostest! It's great to hang out with you, and with all of these other nice people!

Emerald said...

Such a small world — I grew up a Midwesterner, and now live in Maryland. ;)

Marina, what you said didn't seem silly at all to me.

Great party, again, Donna! :)

Donna said...

Marina-thank YOU again for really inspiring the summer party and discussion!

"Nice people have sex." You said it! That's my message--the message that needs to get out there. It's a little different, or a lot different, from Hugh Hefner's "girl next door" sex. It's about real people (even though we write fantasies, too, but you know what I mean). And it's been really interesting, as I've promoted my book, to see how shocking a message that is to some people. A soccer-mom writes sexy stories? How is this possible? Only busty women under the age of 25 can be sexual, right? I think it is amazing and wonderful that so many of us are exploring this at an age when we have more insight to offer and know ourselves so much better. And no, nothing worthwhile is ever easy, but I think we can feel when what we're doing is right for us!

So write on! And have another drink--these cups are pretty small :-).

neve black said...

Amen. Nice people have sex. Sometimes nice people have naughty sex too. Double Amen.

Thank you for a wonderful Sunday pleasure.

SusanD said...

Shit, Donna! You know how to throw a party! Exotic food, excellent drink, interesting conversation, and a lovely setting. Brava, woman.

Erobintica said...

Hmm, the geographic stuff is interesting to me - I was born in Philly, grew up in the SF Bay Area of California, then married and moved around California to Oregon and now Connecticut. Eventually we'll move to Maine and be done with this moving shit. ;-) But it does give one a lot of grist for the mill, writing-wise. Familiarity with different locales and cultures (let me tell you, the Northern California culture is way different from the one I'm in now).

I also find it interesting that most of the erotic authors I've "met" around these parts tend to be - how shall I put it? - a bit more experienced and mature. Maybe it does help to have that in order to write in a more wholistic (an overused but very apt word) view of sexuality. Very interesting.

Wonderful time Donna - thanks so much!

Donna said...

Susan--thanks for stopping by! I hope your brought some of your tiramisu to share ;-).

Robin, I know the east coast is different. I'm sure I'd be leading a very different life and would no doubt be using a pseudonym and NOT inviting my kids' teachers to my readings, lol.

Again, thank you everyone for stopping by.

cerulean said...

Sorry, Donna, it took me all day to get back to the party. I hope there are some cookies left! I could use a little dessert.

You asked earlier how writing erotica makes me feel. Any writing I do makes me feel wonderful and this genre is no exception. I do consider myself a writer--but a beginner when it comes to sharing my work. When I won an AT contest a couple of months ago, I teased Alison that it was my "coming out" party. I had submitted it on a lark and never expected to submit anything again. But several stories later...

Marina, you mentioned your husband doesn't approve of your writing erotica. Neither does mine and it's caused an uncomfortable impasse. It's why my blog is half finished and I haven't written anything recently. Is the East Coast really that different from the West? Perhaps it's been discussed among all of you before.

Anyway, back to the fun! Let's raise a glass of whatever beverage is at hand and toast our lovely hostess, Donna. Thanks for having us!

cerulean

Isabel Kerr said...

This is more scintillating by the second...

would your psychic introversion trump your physical exhibitionism when it comes to elaborating on what that is, lol. .

Excellent question Donna. It just means I channel it through characters AND a pseudonym, all of which I just consider different sides of me, my different personae. Which I think is what a lot of us are saying. Not only are we nice people who enjoy sex, we are multi dimensional, multi faceted and want to share the love, so to speak.

I think it is amazing and wonderful that so many of us are exploring this at an age when we have more insight to offer and know ourselves so much better. .

Some of us may also have been very late bloomers. ; )

Wonderful stuff all!

Erobintica said...

cerulean - yes, it is that different! When I told my sister-in-law (who lives in San Francisco) that I wasn't freely sharing that I was writing erotica (and blogging about it), she was stunned, because as she put it, "every other person in SF writes porn" and she thought it bizarre that there would be folks that would be absolutely shocked. She admitted that maybe she "lives in a bubble."

Donna said...

I'm very glad to hear that writing makes you feel good--sorry about the spouse conflict, however. That certainly complicates things and I remember reading some of your thoughts at Robin's blog. I've heard from a few other writers they have the same issue. Erotica especially can be threatening. But many writers do go on in spite of obstacles and I admire their courage!

I wouldn't say we've really discussed the difference between East and West coasts. I've been in California for 24 years, but just to speak in generalizations, the east seems more conservative socially in a subtle way, at least the northeast. One example, my kids take an online math course based in Baltimore and they have to address their teachers as Mr/Ms/Dr and here you always use first names. Another measure for me is college students. In the east they are so much more serious and grim-faced. Here in California, they are just more laid back and carefree. For the good and the bad!

Well, I've gone on and on. Maybe we can discuss this at more length at another meeting or a beginner's ball dance? And please, have another cookie!

Donna said...

Oh, Isabel, I am such a late-bloomer, lol! But I figure as long as you get there in the end, that's what matters ;-).

Robin, I think everyone here does write porn! Or wants to. Shall we hope California leads the country in this and not banning gay marriage?

Erobintica said...

Donna, it took me years to get sort of used to being addressed as Mrs. last name by my kids' friends and my friends' kids. It is a rare one that calls me Robin.

cerulean said...

Oh, good, Donna. You always have cookies. Coupled with the freedom to write porn, I may have to go out for bread some evening and find myself in California.

Thanks for discussing my dilemma. Like Marina, I'll just have to see how it all settles out.

Robin, if you think the state you and I live in now is a bit stuffy, wait until you move to Maine.

cerulean

Isabel Kerr said...

P.S. to Cerulean and Marina (although I wish I could respond to so many more of these salient ideas) re: husbands not approving. This for me is an important way of keeping our sex life fresh. Without a little fantasy a long term relationship can go a little stale, so they reap the benefit of your imagination if they can be open minded. I too have had to address this issue in all of its dimensions and facets. If you will forgive the metaphor, it's one way to keep the pump primed and sex in the mix, an extremely important element of all of our lives and intimate relationships and it must be kept in focus and alive. The creative outlet just happens to be imagining and writing about sex. There is little more fulfilling and pleasurable to share. As we'd mentioned a little earlier too, it's a way to work out our deepest questions, for me, about life and love etc. Poetry does it too, but not to the same degree, there I'm really hiding behind allusion and metaphor, here I can be more myself. Hope this make sense and helps.

cerulean said...

Thanks, Isabel. It's kind of you to comment. It's always good to hear from those who've been through it when facing a difficult issue!

cerulean

Gina Marie said...

Oh my! Donna and Marina, thank you! This is the most exciting garden party I've ever been to! Is that Martha Stewart over there sipping out of one of those delicious cups. You mean even Martha has sex? Wow! Regarding the discussion topic, my brain has a mind of its own, just like my tongue. I never know what either one of them will do. I just try to be open enough to go with it. I've always had a naughty streak and have always loved the way things feel, smell and taste. Erotica gives me an opportunity to explore the sensual world in a really fun way.

Donna, I love this: "It was very still up on the mountain. Just me, the song of the insects and the muggy heat pressing on my skin. After a while I realized I was riding past a row of huge blackberry bushes, heavy with fruit. There were so many fat berries I just had to reach out and pop one in my mouth. It was sweet. Not like we get in the markets here. You could actually taste the sun in the juices" only my silly brain translated "taste the sun in the juices" to "sin in the juices." Sheesh!

Thanks for a wonderful blog tour and an amazing and fantastic discussion!

Gina Marie/Artist formerly known as KM

Herr Dr DGS said...

I guess I can understand how some husbands out there are made uncomfortable by their wives' erotica writing (or vice versa), but I must say they are truly missing out. Nothing I like better than hearing "Can you help me out with a story?", and I just don't think it would have the same impact if Donna were writing about Vampires or Travel guides.

So, I hope all your spouses (spice?) will see the light, and appreciate the perks of having an erotic wife/husband, but in the mean time, I hope you all will keep writing about what you love.

Gina Marie said...

Out in my own garden writing naughty limericks, cooking up some ribs, and tossing back a shot of fine Kentucky bourbon in your honor, Herr Dr. DGS. Cheers to you!!!

Donna said...

Gina Maria--You're here just in time for me to light the lanterns, which is my favorite part of a soiree!

How wonderful that your writing follows your senses and your muse rather than trying to control them. The result obviously attests to the wisdom of letting them take charge! And oh, my, I love "sin in the juices." With summer coming in and so many berries and stone fruit getting ready to ripen, I will be tasting lots of sin in the juices. Thank you for that!

Hmm, now that you mention it, I do see Martha over them sipping sake from a Chinese cup. Wonder if they'll be featured in the next issue of her magazine?

Donna said...

And wow, Herr Doktor, nice of you to come out to the garden, too!

It occurred to me that while I totally agree with Isabel that erotica writing adds a wonderful new excitement to married life, you don't totally need your spouse's full cooperation. Just paying attention to one's sensual life, with the intent of capturing the truth in words for a story, is very erotic. I think any partner would benefit from the writing spouse's heightened awareness whether s/he knows it or not. And it's a good thing, a positive thing to feel more alive in this way.

Whew, I am in my cups. But thank you all for such thought-provoking comments. This has been great!

Emerald said...

What a lovely comment, Herr Dr. DGS, and thanks for sharing! Happy belated anniversary. :)

Ooh, lanterns, how delightful!

Isabel Kerr said...

spice.

I love it, Herr Dr. DGS!

And you're so right Donna, exploring our sensual selves is reason in itself to write sex. And I don't just mean our physical selves. (As she strikes a pose ; ) )

Great discussion everyone.

JM Stone said...

Oh my. . .I am sooo late?

Donna, I brought coffee and fresh bagels, might we continue the conversation over breakfast?

I apologize for missing the soiree. As I was slipping into sandals and a lovely floppy hat my husband asked if I would go fishing with him. Out the door we went at 7:30 yesterday morning, not to return until well after lunchtime. Then, in an attempt to have such a lush garden, the afternoon was dedicated to mulching in our newly planted red raspberry plants, asparagus, peach tree, and so forth. Somehow before I knew it it was time to shower and tuck in for the night!

And I missed such a wonderful day of conversing!

To add my thoughts on some of the conversation:

I'm not sure where I write from. It's hard to say, right now, to be honest. Some of it is fantasy, some is what I like, some is fond memories of the past. Some is exploring that kinky part of me that is viewed with shame sometimes.

I, too, came from a rather conservative, bland upbringing.

But, I am loving writing. And my husband is coming 'round, though there will always be pieces that I know he won't be comfortable reading.

But he is reaping the rewards! I had him read my submission for AT's last contest(the matador) and he loved it(and the aftermath) *wink*


But, back to the spices. I love them. I love finding new ones. I tried cardamom for the first time over the winter! I made some "chai cookies" that were just delicious.

I think I'll take a photo of my spice cupboard for my post ;) Though, I'm ashamed to say I am currently out of thyme!

I love the process of cooking with herbs and spices. Starting on a new recipe, sampling, trying to figure out what elusive addition will make it perfect. Pulling tins, bottles, bags, and shakers from the cabinet, closing my eyes and smelling, letting the aroma combine with the taste on my tongue to see if it will be a beneficial addition.

So many dishes have evolved is such a manner.

And I, too, am curious as to what self discovery Emerald made!

I must get myself to work, but I hope you enjoy the coffee and bagels! Hopefully next weekend I can spend some more time enjoying the party!

Donna said...

Hey JM,

You're not too late at all. We were up all night talking shop! And coffee and bagels are my favorite breakfast.

I think it's wonderful that you went fishing and gardened--all very much in the spirit of summer. I'm sure everyone will have Sundays when they're on vacation or have a special outing, so that's all cool.

I have to do mom taxi duty right now, but will be back to comment more!

Smut Girl said...

wow. you guys were busy after i left. i just came back to see if there was soup left. all gone. so i had to catch up instead ;)

xoxo
s
p.s. i read JM's recent story and conservative and bland are not to be found. so she's overcome her upbring very well. very. well

JM Stone said...

*blush* Aww, thanks Sommer...nice to know I shed the quiet, good, girl persona ;)

And I forgot to add my 2 cents to the "where we live" aspect. I grew up halfway between Rochester and Syracuse, NY. Fled my pigeon-holed personality for college, dropped out of said college. Moved to Philadelphia(for a girl), to Atlanta(for another girl, but with the previous girl), then to Southern Ohio - bible belt(for a guy). Lived there for 8 years before me and my hubby(yes, same guy) moved here(outskirts of Buffalo, NY) - for a job *wink* Yeah, I know, ya'll have dirty minds. You thought I was gonna say "for a girl" again, didncha?

I've actually never really been west of the Mississippi. I spent a week in Vegas, but that's like a whole, strange, different world, right? I mean, everything gets tossed out the window there!

Ok. So I am very unspicy today. Steamed rice with butter and salt today. Can't seem to find any pepper.

Oh - and can anyone wax poetical about "grains of paradise" spice?

Donna said...

I'm back after a whole morning of class parent duty--but I got a certificate and a key chain for my service, so, hey!

JM, I totally related to your sources of inspiration: Some of it is fantasy, some is what I like, some is fond memories of the past. Some is exploring that kinky part of me that is viewed with shame sometimes. Maybe it's that kinky part that shows up so clearly that sometimes makes me feel a pang of too much recognition, lol!

I'm glad your husband is coming around to the benefits of an erotica-writing partner. I have a feeling his appreciation will just keep growing ;-).

And I can't wait to see that pic of your spice cabinet! Thanks so much for stopping by.

Donna said...

Yep, Sommer, the soup's gone, but we still have some cookies, so feel free to pack up a few to take home!

Here's to all of us who overcame a bland, spiceless childhood. And whew, we've got plenty of spiciness to come. Hot chili pepper with Robin and cumin with Sommer (I'm a bit embarrassed to say when I take a sniff of good fresh cumin I always spring a girl boner, lol).

Thanks so much everyone!

Gina Marie said...

Grains of Paradise! I've never used them, but I had to look them up. "Grains of Paradise come from West Africa, where they grow on a leafy plant and are easily harvested. The name comes from Medieval spice traders looking for a way to inflate the price - it was claimed that these peppery seeds grew only in Eden, and had to be collected as they floated down the rivers out of paradise. Although Grains of Paradise are now rare and expensive, they used to be used as a cheaper substitute for black pepper. They have a zesty flavor reminiscent of pepper, with hints of flowers, coriander and cardamom."

Here's a lovely fish recipe: Pan-Roasted Cod with Grains of Paradise

Donna said...

"Grains of paradise"--what a lovely name for a spice with a colorful history. I might have to use this in a story and the recipe, too.

Thanks, Gina Marie, for the background. I'm learning so much already this summer!

Jeremy Edwards said...

Gina Marie said:

"... my brain has a mind of its own, just like my tongue. I never know what either one of them will do. I just try to be open enough to go with it."
**

What a witty and inspiring quotation! I can definitely see that in Bartlett's someday (the reference book, not the pears).

And I must also add my LOL of approval to HDDGS's "spice" as plural of "spouse"!

Emerald said...

Jen, your garden sounds mouth-watering — raspberries, asparagus, peaches?! Three of my favorite summer foods!

In my experience Vegas has indeed seemed unique.

Thanks again for being such a wonderful host, Donna!