Isabel Allende

Tuesday, May 1, 2012






Thursday, April 26, 2012

History Of Sex

A non-fictional contemporary of Edith Hornbrook would have been Lady Randolph Churchill, mother to future Prime Minister Winston, total cougar, and all around sassy broad.

Jennie Jerome was born in 1854 into wealthy and socially connected New York family.  Legend has it that her father named her after his favorite mistress, Swedish opera star Jenny Lind.  Jennie's mother took her daughters to Europe to husband-hunt, a very popular activity for nice American heiresses.  It was in England that Jennie met Lord Randolph Churchill, younger son of the Duke of Marlborough at a yachting party and apparently, it was love at first sight.  Randolph's parents were not thrilled about their son marrying an American and tried to forbid the couple from seeing each other.  Clearly, they were not successful as Jennie and Randolph did marry AND their son Winston was born less than 8 months after the wedding.

Lord Randolph was a mediocre politician who got ahead thanks to Jennie's tireless work, both social and in the bedroom.  She had an affair with the future Edward VII AND remained good friends with his wife, the future Queen Alexandra.  She also fooled around with Otto von Bismark's son and with heaps of other aristocrats.  Through her efforts, her husband was able to be Secretary of State for India and Leader of the House of Commons.  However, he also played fast and loose with his marriage vows and died of syphilis in 1895.

After her widowhood, Lady Randolph became even more bold.  Jennie worked hard to promote the career of her eldest son and cashed in many favors to get him started.  She went down to South Africa to nurse soldiers during the Boer War and in 1900, she married George Cornwallis-West, an officer who was only 16 days older than Jennie's son Winston.  They were married for 12 years before they divorced.  Jennie's next husband was Montagu Phippen-Porch, a civil servant who was 23 years younger than her.

They were happily married for three years before a freak accident caused Jennie's death.  She was walking down stairs in a new pair of high heels and tripped.  She broke her ankle, the wound became infected with gangrene and she died from complications from the amputation surgery.  A cautionary tale in the age of the Brian Atwood pump.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


red wine & jazz...

Photographer: anonymous

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Titillating Tuesday - A Cloud of Hawthorne

Walking into the main room of the hut, with the glowing fire and the aroma of baked bread, drying herbs, and fresh flowers, made Henley feel immediately warm and alive - like he was home. He removed his muddy boots and draped his damp oilskin jacket over one of the hooks in the entryway, alongside Wesley and Dorrington’s tattered ones. The familiar bone china teapot sat on the long, pine table. When he felt its round belly it was warm, so he filled four cups, added a bit of sugar and milk, and set them around the table. 
Rosetta was already at work making poultices out of dried comfrey leaves. Mixtures of yarrow, goldenseal, and crushed hawthorne berries simmered on the cookstove, while she encouraged the two exhausted and injured men to remove their dirty clothing down to their knickers so they could bathe and she could tend to their wounds. She knew all too well their wounds went much deeper than she could possibly begin to heal.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Music Monday

Let's start the week on a positive note...

Friday, April 20, 2012


A 50 word flash fiction story with 5 words taken from Thursday's The History of Sex: Part 14.
She had gotten used to the scrutiny, both public and behind her back. She didn’t care. With the bevy of young lovers at her beck and call people could say what they wished, but she knew they wished for what she had - the Wilde life.
If you'd like to participate in FF Friday, please send your 50 word story with 5 words taken from a Thursday post. Email your story to Don't be shy. Just do it.

Thursday, April 19, 2012


Wesley and Dorrington may have found love but they aren't out of the woods yet.  Being in a gay relationship in ye olden times England was a tricky business.

In 1553, Henry VIII signed the first law making buggery (defined as sodomy or bestiality) a crime punishable by hanging.  Before the Buggery Act was created, it was treated as a church matter and men caught were subject to a variety of gruesome punishments.  The first man punished under the act was a member of the clergy and headmaster of Eton College.  He was charged with abusing his pupils but instead of execution, he was imprisoned for a year.  Execution could be avoided by lack of evidence but people were still charged under suspicion of buggery and could face jail time and massive fines.

These were the laws but of course reality was a bit different, especially for the upper classes.  Experiments with same-sex encounters was, and still is, considered standard behavior in the English all boys public schools such as Eton, Harrow, and Rugby.  Throughout British history, there have been bi- and homosexual men in positions of power.  King James I of England and VI of Scotland, the first king of the United Kingdom, was notorious for having a bevy of pretty young men.

The law changed in the 1860s and instead of hanging, convicted men could instead be imprisoned for no less than 10 years and potentially for life.  Thirty years after this change, Oscar Wilde became the most famous buggery case.  Against the advice of nearly everyone he knew, Wilde sued the Marquess of Queensbury for criminal libel.  Wilde and the Marquess's son, Lord Alfred Douglas, had been lovers for years and the Marquess was furious about it.  Queensbury left a calling card at Wilde's social climb addressed to "Oscar Wilde, posing sodomite."  The trial backfired horribly for Wilde and his own behavior came under scrutiny.  After the charges against Queensbury were dropped, the case against Wilde began and he was convicted for buggery.  He spent a year in prison after being released for health reasons but the damage was done.  His health was ruined, he was bankrupted from court expenses, and his reputation was ruined.  Wilde fled to France and died a few years later.

It wouldn't be until the 1950s that sodomy between two consensual men was decriminalized so Wesley and Dorrington were very smart to seek out safe havens with trusted friends!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Follow me, if you dare...

Photographer: HyeJin Song
location: London photoshoot, artist currently based in Lund

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Henley raced through brambles and thickets until he reached the barn at the far end of the property. Gaspar, his ten year old gelding, was in a stall munching on a pile of fresh alfalfa. He looked up when Henley entered and gave a soft whinny. Henley grabbed the saddle pad and threw it over Gaspar’s brushed back. He placed the heavy leather saddle on top, making sure it was set comfortably below the withers before swinging the girth under his belly and synching it down.
“There’s a good boy,” Henley said soothingly, as he mounted the fine horse. “Are you ready for some exercise? Heeya,” he yelled.” The horse took off at a gallop into the warm, early afternoon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Music Monday

Happy Monday to everyone.  I'm in more of a sing-along than dance-along mood today...

Saturday, April 14, 2012


The following was submitted by an anonymous contributor. Love it. Must share.

The barn was big and cold but soon Ronald would be there for their tryst. Lisa shivered in anticipation of the orgasm she was sure to have. Ronald promised her a special night after all the bother with the barn location and the pseudonym debacle earlier.

You too can play. Just send your 50 word story using 5 words from the most recent Thursday post: The History of Sex, to It's crazy fun, and oh so easy. Thank you, Anonymous!

Friday, April 13, 2012


A 50 word flash fiction story with 5 words taken from Thursday's The History of Sex: Part 13.
After her orgasm, Daphne tiptoed into the bathroom, quickly washed the necessary body parts, dressed, and left him sleeping. She was outrageously hungry, so walked to the coffee shop and ordered breakfast, where she flirted with a Major in the armed forces, who thought she was a virgin. Oh well.
If you'd like to participate in FF Friday, please send your 50 word story with 5 words taken from a Thursday post. Email your story to Don't be shy. Just do it.

Thursday, April 12, 2012


There was a short period of time where pornography and the mainstream flirted outrageously with each other and we called it Porno Chic.

From the late 1960s to the early 1980s, pornography was out in the open more than ever before.  Large theaters were showing films that were using more and more graphic sex scenes and less and less plot.  It is very common to think this started with Deep Throat but actually, the first widely-distributed porn was the charmingly-named Mona: The Virgin Nymph.

Our heroine, Mona, is engaged but she has promised her mother that she would remain a virgin until her wedding night.  What's a girl to do?  lots and lots of fellatio, obviously!  Mona has a major oral fixation and uses it to keep not only her fiance happy but heaps and heaps of other men, too.

Two years later, Deep Throat would come along and blow the barn doors off.  It was the story of poor Linda Lovelace, unable to achieve orgasm.  A doctor finally tells her that her clitoris is located in the back of her throat and the good doctor coaches her oral sex skills until she finally gets her happy ending.  Major celebrities admitted to seeing the movie and the New York Times ran an advertisement (though they shortened the name to Throat).  The movie was such a part of the cultural zeitgeist that the Watergate informant was referred to by the pseudonym "Deep Throat."

Other gems from the Porno Chic era include Behind the Green Door, Debbie Does Dallas, Boys in the Sand, and Score.  After the election of Ronald Reagan and the emergence of the Christian Right, there was a cultural shift and porn was no longer considered a proper dinner party topic and Porno Chic came to an end.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


The darker side of Spring...

Photographer: Samantha Behm

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


As if a thick cloud had settled over the Hornbrook estate, an eerie silence encased their world. Edith shut herself in her room and would not go down even for meals, allowing only Tilly to enter. Henley III spent most of his time pacing the grounds taking in the fresh spring air while glancing earnestly toward the trees east of the pond. He’d read the morning paper not absorbing it’s news, hardly eat a thing, and would take his drink of whiskey at three, then polish off a bottle of wine with his dinner - alone. Not surprising, Rosetta had retreated to her forest hut after giving strict orders that under no circumstances was anyone to follow or call on her. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Music Monday

Happy Monday!  Enjoy this gem I found whilst poking around youtube...

Thursday, April 5, 2012


Everyone has read the latest chapter, right?  Spoilers ahead!
You know who else had a problem with sister relations?  Lord Byron.

George Gordon Byron, 6th baron Byron, was one of the bright shining stars of the Romantic movement and one of the first proper celebrities.  His exploits shocked and scandalised the upper classes across Europe and he was a legend ever before his romantically tragic death.

Byron's first major scandal was an affair with the married Lady Caroline Lamb.  The affair was publicized in the penny press and the British public was quite titillated.  Lady Caroline was herself a writer and rather mentally unstable.  When their liaison ended, she did not take it well (especially after Byron later married her cousin) and did everything in her power to make his life difficult.  She publicly accused him of sodomy and incest before her family had her committed for schizophrenia.

Another major scandal in his life was the alleged affair with his half sister, Augusta Leigh.  The two had no contact as children and only became acquainted as adults.  Apparently, the two fell in love and had an affair.  Lord Byron left England for good in 1816 and it was said he left for fear of prosecution for the relationship with Augusta.  While there is no definitive proof of an affair, it seems as though it was a well-known secret in certain social circles in London.

After leaving England, Byron joined Percy and Mary Shelley in Italy.  He wasted no time there, having affairs with at least three married Italian noblewomen (one of whom ended up throwing herself into a Venice canal in despair) and he got Mary Shelley's younger half-sister pregnant.

Finally tired of home-wrecking and knocking up unmarried girls, Lord Byron joined the Greek fight for independence against the Ottoman Empire.  After valiantly fighting for 6 months, Lord Byron succumbed to dodgy 19th century medicine.  Remember, don't medically bleed someone for a head cold.

Lady Caroline Lamb summed it up best.  Lord Byron was "mad, bad, and dangerous to know."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Steaming up the sauna...

Photographer: David Roth
location: Vancouver, BC

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Rosetta backed away, shaken. She had no idea her lover’s father knew anything about her or her family. It was disturbing. Even her Henley appeared surprised, but curious more than upset. He held her hand tightly to keep her from running off. 
“Don’t be alarmed, child,” said the ill man in his weak voice. “I just can’t help commenting.” He coughed, and Randolph rushed over to his side with a warm, moist towel to wipe the drip from his mouth. “I have wanted to see you, ever since you were born.” He paused for a very long time. “But I didn’t know how to find you...and then, distractions and daily life, you know how it goes...” His voice trailed off, and he closed his eyes. Speaking was clearly a lot of work.
“Father, we should leave you now. You need to rest.” Henley III had turned pale as even he began to feel uncomfortable about this awkward familiarity his father had with Rosetta, his lover. Maybe if he gets some rest, he’ll be able to explain this more thoroughly, Henley thought, but really he wanted more time to process things. 
“No!” protested the elderly Henley, keeping as firm a grip on Rosetta’s hand as possible for a man so ill. Rosetta leaned over and stroked his whiskered cheek with her other hand. 
“Master Hornbrook, don’t trouble yourself with too much right now. We will have many hours ahead to share stories, and all will come to pass, with time.”
Henley II stared into her clear eyes through a haze of incoherency, due in large part to the drugs given to him by Dr. Handover. He wondered if she was an angel come to take him away, her face like a cherub, her smile comforting and serene. His previous recognition of Rosetta was now gone, faded into the jumble of memories he was trying to make sense of in his fevered, stroked mind. Yet, he was still drawn into her gaze, into the purity of her soul, and although he wasn’t sure why, he felt an affinity toward her. Again, he closed his eyes, feeling at peace with the way things were, for the moment.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Music Monday

This song has been stuck in my head for a week now.  Why should I be alone?

Friday, March 30, 2012


A 50 word flash fiction story with 5 words taken from Thursday's The History of Sex: Part 11.

Debbie Downer was a traditional prude; mild mannered, mousey, and a bit dour. Normally a homebody, her bff and mentor, Catherine, convinced her to join an elite hair removal club. The result - a smooth vagina.
“We are all crusaders, aren’t we?” Catherine said.
Debbie glowed with renewed voracity. "We are."

If you'd like to participate in FF Friday, please send your 50 word story with 5 words taken from a Thursday post. Email your story to Don't be chicken. Just do it.

Thursday, March 29, 2012


As most know, A Cloud of Hawthorne takes place in ye olden days and things were different.  One of the places my mind wandered to whilst writing one of my steamier chapters was body hair.  It got me thinking about how body hair trends change through the ages and that of course lead to a History of Sex post.

Hair removal can be traced back as far as our cave-dwelling ancestors but it Ancient Egypt that first equated hairlessness with status and the upper classes spent a lot of time making sure the only hair on their body was on their head.  They used bronze razors and a variety of depilatory creams and mixtures, and a sugar and honey based wax. 

The Greeks and the Romans continued this ideal and preferred the clean-shaven look.  Women plucked or waxed their pubic and underarm hair, some daily.  It was considered ugly and barbaric to have pubic hair and upper-class girls started plucking as soon as the hair appeared.  The men, of course, were under less pressure to get rid of pubic hair.  While the lady statues are smooth as silk, the gentlemen statues are sometimes shown with manly pubes.

Islamic culture also has a love affair with hair removal.  It was said to be cleaner and less sinful to have a hairless down-there area.  Bath houses had rooms for women to shave, pluck, or wax their pubic hair and it was a tradition for a bride to have all hair except eyebrows and the head on the hair removed by her family and friends the night before her wedding.

While body hair removal was always common in Europe, the Crusaders brought back tales of completely smooth vaginas and this became the trend until Catherine de Medici became queen of France and banned her ladies from this practice.  Catherine, despite her own sexual voracity, was a bit of a prude and didn’t believe a lady should spend her time on such endeavors.  Still, hair removal happened but it was now kept on the down low.  This secrecy intensified after the biggest sexual Debbie Downer of all time, Queen Victoria, ruled supreme over public morals. 

It wasn’t until cheap razors and daring fashion came around in the early 1920s that hair removal entered the public domain again.   When the bikini became popular in the 1960s, women were encouraged to shave their “bikini lines” and Brazilian waxing became very popular a little later.

So while I’d imagine Rosetta went au natural, Proberta and Edith probably spend an inordinate amount of time plucking their pubes.  


Fabio...for the ladies...

photographer & reader, Heather ‘Blue’ Van Doorninck
location: Nicaragua
model: Jud 'Fabio' Birza, winner of Survivor Nicaragua

* * * * * 

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Henley put the crockery teacup to his mother’s lips and tipped the fragrant herbal tea into her quivering mouth. She pushed it away.
“Stop behaving like a baby, Mother. You’re being absolutely ridiculous.”
Edith turned her cheek to him and put her nose in the air.
I’m being ridiculous? Have you taken a good look at yourself, Henley?” 
Edith glared over at Rosetta who was busy kneading dough into a soft, silky ball. When the consistency was to her liking, she rolled it into an oblong pancake, rubbed soft, unpasturized butter onto the smooth surface, and sprinkled brown sugar, cinnamon, and currents over top. She turned up the edges at one end and rolled until it was a tubular shape. Slicing along the tube, she cut a dozen cinnamon filled circles, which she placed on a greased cookie sheet to bake in the wood cookstove.
“Think about what you’re doing, Henley,” Edith continued. “Getting involved with a servant girl who bakes bread, cleans and gathers herbs. Your grandfather would turn in his grave if he knew.” Henley just laughed.
“I doubt it, Mother. If memory serves me, Henley the first was a renegade, a libertine. Yes, he’d be turning in his grave alright, wanting out.”

Monday, March 26, 2012

Music Monday

Good morning, everyone!  Here's one of my old favorites to start your week.

Friday, March 23, 2012


A 50 word story with 5 words from Thursday's The History of Sex: Part 10

There was nothing logical about her plot to ensnare the man she loved. It would take weeks, perhaps months of selling him chocolate dipped strawberries from her market stall, for him to notice her, but that was fine. She had time. After all, ‘Rome was not built in a day’. 

Join in on the fun. Send your 50 word Flash Fiction story based on Thursday's The History of Sex, to There are prizes to be won, and recognition to be had.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


In my latest story, my character Rosetta comes from a long line of herbal healers/seductresses.  What foods could she have used to ensnare Henley?

The goddess Aphrodite came from the sea and so it seemed logical that seafood would get a person in the mood.  Mussels and oysters have long been considered aphrodisiacs and now we know that the chemical compound in them releases sex hormones.  If someone invites you for dinner and they're serving white wine and mussels, consider yourself warned.

Strawberries have been thought of as a natural aphrodisiac since Roman times.  The bright red hue, the heart shape, the lusciousness of the fruit have made it seem a bit sexy.  How many movies have had scenes with people sexily eating chocolate-dipped strawberries?  In France, some couples eat a cold strawberry soup to increase their libidos for their honeymoons but so far, science has not backed up this claim.

Artichokes are another one of nature's weapons against low sex drive.  Like with the strawberry, there has been no science to back this up but Catherine De Medici and Henry VIII of England were both big fans of the artichoke and those two have serious reputations.  It is thought that merely the act of eating an artichoke is sensuous enough to get a person going.

If your intended target fails to comply after oysters, strawberries, and artichokes there is still hope.  There is always the greatest aphrodisiac of all time: tequila.


Big city bliss...

Photographers: Luca Colnaghi & Cristina Villa
Location: New York City
Models: Anique Ross & Federico Stucchi

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


The following day was quiet at the Hornbrook estate, save the household staff cleaning up after the ball. There had been a large crowd in attendance, which the family was pleased about, but that meant a good day’s work clearing the room of china, fine crystal, and stemware, the mess left behind by some of the younger people who had stayed on till well past midnight, drinking champagne and smoking out on the lawn. 
Dorrington left shortly after Wesley, Proberta, and Henley had moved to the drawing room, and took his tired aunt home. Wesley had shown outward disappointment when hearing that news, much to the surprise of the rest of the group, but no one paid much attention. Wesley, on the other hand, could not keep thoughts of this fine young gentleman at bay, concocting various schemes of how they could get together again, and sooner the better. He had no idea how long Dorrington planned on staying with his aunt, but Wesley felt sure they would have the opportunity to converse, or go out for a ride, preferably alone. Perhaps Dorrington could be convinced to stay on a few weeks longer than planned. 
Henley rose early, put on his flannel shirt, corduroy trousers, and Macintosh, slipped on his green Hunter boots, and headed out of doors for a walk. The morning air was cool and damp, the grounds covered in heavy dew. He took a deep breath and picked up his pace. He enjoyed being out in the early part of the day. It was peaceful, but also held a certain level of excitement, for he never knew what forest animal he might startle as he made his way farther from the protected grounds of the estate, and deeper into the woods. Dawn and dusk were known as the times when all natural creatures roamed their land freely. Birds chirped loudly, foliage crunched underfoot as deer, elk, rabbits, and fox, came out of hiding, fearless on their home turf, before the full light of day. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Friday, March 16, 2012


A 50 word story with 5 words from Thursday's The History of Sex: Part 9

Lorelei awoke with a start from a very disturbing daydream. There had been a tussle with one of her many lovers. Although some considered them to be geeks, Lorelei found quiet, brainy types often keen for a good snog on a park bench, girl-on-girl. Surprising? Not so much.  

If you'd like to participate in Flash Fiction Friday, just send your 50 word story to, and we'll post it. You never know what you might win.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Gillian Anderson just set the loins of a million geeks on fire after she told an interviewer that she has had sexual relationships with women in the past.  For ages, men have been titillated and turned-on by the idea of two femme women having a tussle in the hay (I doubt there are many who fantasize about Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein having a snog).  Bisexual women have been around forever but the first half of the 20th century saw some very famous women having open affairs and relationships.  Here are a few from that bygone era:

Colette was one of the most famous novelists of her time and was the first woman given a state funeral in France.  Not only was she divorced three times and had a torrid affair with one of her step-sons, she was also involved Josephine Baker and other women involved in the art scene in Paris.  She was completely open about her bisexuality and nearly caused a riot when she kissed one of her lovers on stage during a performance at the Moulin Rouge.

Marlene Dietrich married only once but she had quite a few lovers, both male and female.  Her rumored lovers include Tallulah Bankhead and Edith Piaf.  Dietrich was known for her androgynous beauty and was one of the first female celebrities to wear trousers in photo spreads.  She summed up her love life with this quote: "Sex is much better with a woman but then one can't live with a woman."

Greta Garbo ran in the same circles as Dietrich, in what was euphemistically called the "Sewing Circle." They allegedly even shared a lover, Cuban-Spanish writer Mercedes de Acosta.  Garbo never married and guarded her privacy voraciously but it has been speculated that she had at least three long-term relationships with women.

Of course, now it seems like very aspiring actress or pop star uses girl-on-girl action to appeal to male fans but these European ladies seem to subscribe to Dietrich's assertion that in Europe, gender doesn't sleep with the people you find attractive.


My heart's aflame...

Photographer: Stefano Minella
location: Italy

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012



The band started playing at seven pm sharp, just as guests began to filter into the main foyer. Wesley stood at the drinks table with his cousin, Henley, both with dry martinis in hand. Henley's sister, Margaret, who stood across from Proberta at the entryway to the grand hall, seemed to take a special interest in the older generation, of which there were few, ensuring each was comfortably seated and were served their cocktail. It was a party primarily for the younger set, however, Margaret knew their elders found great pleasure in attending such events, to watch the dancing, eager to see who interacted with whom.
    Proberta hung by the doorway greeting each and every one of their guests with her flirty charm. She lingered unabashedly around the few bachelors who had been invited, annoying all the single women who had hoped for free and easy access to these fine, young prospects. Sadly, they knew that once Proberta made her self known to any man, they would have eyes only for her. Proberta, of course, relished in the attention, ignoring the glares and snide remarks from her peers. She seemed to find a particularly handsome gentleman by the name of Dorrington Bromberg, most alluring. He was new to the area, visiting his Aunt from Cornwall. After chatting briefly, Proberta took his arm and led him onto the dance floor. The two cousins looked on with amusement.
    "Well, it appears that the lady you, or I, are to be bequeathed to has engaged the attentions of someone more..."
    "More handsome than us?" Wesley said, and laughed. However, his eyes were glued to the couple twirling around the room.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Music Monday

Wow, daylight savings threw me off!  Here's your music for today...

Friday, March 9, 2012


Using 5 words from Thursday's The History of Sex: Part 8, here is your flash fiction story for Friday, March 9th, in exactly 50 words.

Lillian was at the marketplace when she happened upon a shrine of vegetables. Squash, turnip, carrots, okra, stacked like phallus atop a golden tray, surrounded by burning candles.
"It's our offering to the fertility goddess," a woman explained.
Lillian noticed the woman was a transvestite.
"Good luck," Lillian replied, smiling.

If you'd like to write and share a 50 word flash fiction piece from a Thursday post, email your story to Who knows, you might win something.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


Each spring, cultures all over the world celebrate the renewed fertility of land with festivals, religious holidays (hello, Easter!), and feasts.  One that stands out in the crowd is the Kanamara Matsuri in Kawasaki.  During the first week of each April, phalluses of all sizes and made from all sorts of materials are paraded to a local Shinto shrine dedicated to the penis.

Legend has it that a local girl has a monster residing in her vagina (so annoying!) and it castrated two penises before a blacksmith made an iron phallus that broke the teeth off the monster.  Everyone lived happily ever after, except those two poor castrated men, and the iron phallus was enshrined.  The shrine was popular with prostitutes, who would pray to the phallus for good business and protection from syphilis.  

The festival has evolved into a tourist attraction and one can see phallus made of fruits and vegetables, metal, wood, and rubber.  Every year, a group of transvestites carry a giant pink phallus to the shrine.  You can eat phallus-shaped pastries and enjoy penis-celebrating comics.  Rest assured, you'd be giggling over penis candy for a good cause: this is also a big fundraiser for H.I.V. research.


Good Morning Sunshine.

Photo: Monashee Frantz
Location: Los Angeles, California
From her boudoir collection

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


While preparations for the masquerade ball were underway downstairs in the long gallery, Matilda was upstairs in her lady’s chamber, applying another cold compress to the forehead of one Edith Hornbrook. Edith did not take the news of her son’s new love interest well, suffering fainting spells and episodes of great emotional duress. Tilly, knowing her ladyship well enough to understand that a good dose of TLC would help her recover more quickly, showered her with attention. 
“There, there, My Lady. Just lie back against this fresh linen and let me sooth your burning forehead, brush away your worries.” Tilly dipped the cotton cloth into a bowl of water, where rose petals and freshly picked herbs floated. 
“Tilly, you can’t brush away my worries. No one can.” She moaned and turned her head away, then reconsidered. “Oh, Tilly, what would I do without you?” Edith did not look at her handmaid, but the expression on her face, around her eyelids pressed together in what looked like agony, let Tilly know she was needed, even loved, by this seemingly callous, cynical woman. In return, Tilly willingly gave her usual loyal support and care. She had been with the family since Henley was three years old, having taken over from a woman whose mother and grandmother had been chambermaid and nanny on the Hornbrook estate, going back for generations. No one seemed to know the real story of why they left after so many years of loyal servitude, but after Tilly had asked once, she knew better than to bring up the subject again. Instead, she took over the duties to Mistress of the house with an eagerness that won over even Edith’s stone cold heart, which made Tilly more than content in her position.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Music Monday

Spring is here...and that made me think of Dusty Springfield

Friday, March 2, 2012

Flash Fiction Friday salutes Thursday’s HISTORY OF SEX

Five words taken from Thursday’s post to produce these 50 words of flash fiction, although this one is not fiction :-) 
revolutionary, began, modern, much, women
What began as a modern marketing idea, has developed into a revolutionary blog post created and developed by one of Madison Lake’s creative visionaries. This flash fiction piece goes out to my right and left hand women, who I depend on and appreciate very much. Thank you! ML

If you'd like to participate in Flash Fiction Friday, take 5 words from the previous Thursday post and create a 50 word piece of fiction. Send it to You never know what you might win.

Thursday, March 1, 2012


And now on to what has been called the most revolutionary invention of the 20th century....The Pill.

Unlike the condom, the Pill is a very modern invention.  The science behind it began to develop in the 1930s and in 1957, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for helping with menstruation problems.  After more research and test runs, the FDA approved the Pill for contraception.

The cultural impact of the Pill was huge.  It was the first time women had so much control over their reproduction.  Lawmakers had a feeling it would shake things up...The Pill was not available to all married women until 1965 and unmarried women until 1972!

Time Magazine put the Pill on its cover in 1967 and it opened up the issue of pre-martital sex in developed nations.  The Pill changed the nature of sex within a marriage if reproduction wasn't the main objective.  Obviously, religious figures did NOT like this one bit and railed against the Pill as a tool of the devil and the Roman Catholic Church issued a papal encyclical against it.

The Pill also allowed women, especially married women, to enjoy an active sex life and not have children, which allowed them to progress in careers, education, sports, pretty much everything.  It gave women a lot more control over family planning and increased the number of women in high-level jobs.  Traditional gender roles were good and shaken up by this tiny little pill.

Loretta Lynn, take us out...

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Take a leap...

Photographer: David Roth
location: Vancouver, BC

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Henley had not planned to head in the other direction the afternoon of the hunt. In fact, he looked forward to riding out with the rest of the group, and was happy to have his cousin, Wesley, along to ride with him. Although he and Wesley had entertained the idea of taking a slight turn off the beaten path so they could ‘accidentally’ find themselves at The Pig’s Prattle for a pint, they had finally decided against the idea, for Proberta’s sake. So Henley was quite surprise when his horse had spooked at a fallen tree beside the trail, and had taken off through the forest in a westerly direction. Henley, for his part, did not attempt to rein him in, which is how he eventually landed directly in front of Rosetta’s hut. 
When he arrived, she was nowhere to be found. Henley tethered Gaspar to a nearby fence rail beside a meadow rich with green alfalfa, where he was happy to graze to his heart’s content. Then he took off in search of Rosetta.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Music Monday

I'm going to start this week off with a disco legend...

Friday, February 24, 2012


Five words chosen randomly from Thursday's post to create this 50 word story.

cheap, soldiers, popular, option, rubber

Nothing is cheap - popular, yes, a passing trend, perhaps. She closes the real estate guide, puts on her rubber boots and ventures out into the downpour. What ever happens, moving to Tanzania is not an option. The rain is getting to her, but she soldiers on.

You can play too. Just email your 50 word story from any Thursday post to, and I'll use it for a FLASH FICTION FRIDAY. Who knows, you may receive one of many prizes kept in the Madison Lake cache. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Children are wonderful, they pass on our legacies, and bring joy into our lives. That said, we don't always want to conceive every time (or even any time) we get busy.  That is where some great inventions come in...

The condom has been around since at least the 15th century, when they were made of linen soaked in chemicals and allowed to dry.  Ouch.  Condoms were the privilege of the upper classes, due to cost and education, and were first invented to protect from syphilis.  The Catholic Church first raged against them in 1605 when men began using them as contraception.  The United States and almost every European country was against condoms for two reasons: first, contraception was seen as an evil and second, venereal disease was seen as a just punishment for sexual transgressions.  
After rubber became a cheap option, condom use skyrocketed.  Even though the first rubber condoms were as thick as a bicycle tire (!), they were hugely popular, especially with soldiers.  Governments provided condoms for soldiers and saw STD rates plummet.  Condoms were being used by over half of sexually active men in America and were the most popular method until the Pill came along (and we'll learn more about THAT in a later post).  Still, condom sales increased steadily and new technology comes out every there's the female condom, customized condoms, plastic condoms, pre-teen condoms, ribbed condoms...what could be next?  Condoms with laser light shows?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The body's song...

Photographer: HyeJin Song
location: London

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Edith Hornbrook dipped the dry biscuit in her tea and nibbled on the moistened end. A lovely assortment of smoked ham, eggs, scones with marmalade, fresh fruit, and local cheeses were spread across the linen tablecloth in front of her, but she wasn’t hungry. In fact, the sight of it made her stomach turn. On the other hand, Wesley’s appetite was heartier than ever. Taking a swallow of his milky tea, he consumed the last of his scone with marmalade and ham, then heaped another serving of everything onto his plate. Although not as gregarious an eater, Proberta, nonetheless, appeared ravenous. Edith couldn't avoid noticing how the two of them chatted breezily, stealing glances that seemed to show more than just a brother and sisterly affection. This perturbed her greatly. Meanwhile, Henley II had yet to make an appearance.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Music Monday

I'm finally ready to listen to Whitney again...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Wednesday's Photo of the Day

Eat your heart out...

Photographer: Sarah Gilbert
location: Portland, Oregon

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Cloud of Hawthorne


Proberta was furious. She paced back and forth in front of the roaring fire Beckworth had built in the drawing room fireplace. After days, even months, of putting up a stoic front regarding her Henley, she now did nothing to hide her indignation. She had been stood up.
Wesley walked over from the bar carrying a crystal glass filled with sweet sherry.
“Here you go, my dear Proberta,” Wesley said, handing her the glass. “This will warm your spirits. Drink up.”
“You’re a fool to think a mere sherry will warm my spirits,” she said sharply. Nonetheless, she tossed back the wine in one gulp, then handed the empty glass back to a stunned Wesley. He returned to the bar, uncertain whether to refill her glass. Proberta watched him go, then quickly grabbed and drank a glass of champagne from the tray that Randolph was passing around. When Wesley returned, she seemed to have softened.
“Thank you, Wes.” She quickly took the glass from him, this time taking a small, albeit significant sip. “I’m sorry I snapped at you. I really shouldn't have done that when you’ve been so kind to me.” She took another gulp of the sherry. “I’m just fed up with that cousin of yours.” She moved closer to Wesley so that her arm brushed against his hand. “Yes, I think I am feeling a tad bit warmer after all,” she giggled. “Oh Wes, you do understand women, don’t you?”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Music Monday

One of my favorites for Valentine's Day Eve...

Friday, February 10, 2012


Fifty words using five words from Thursday's The History of Sex: Part 5 

It wasn’t that being pleasured was her problem. She had long ago realized her libido was more than most people would have expected from someone so plain, but there were no borders when it came to sex. She would go down in history as a legend in her own right. 

Join in on the fun. Submit your 50 word flash fiction piece using 5 words from next Thursday's post. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Hordes of young lovers.  Porcelain dildos.  Death by horse?

There are few female historical figures with as many sexual urban legends as Russia's Catherine the Great. One of the first was that she had her lover, Gregory Orlov, kill her husband, Peter III, after she staged a coup d'├ętat.  Orlov apparently hoped that she would be so grateful that she would make him her co-ruler but alas, he was to be disappointed.

After a long term relationship with Gregory Potemkin, Catherine had a series of lovers who were usually 20 to 30 years younger than her.  Potemkin, possibly the best ex-boyfriend ever, would hand-pick young noblemen he thought would pique her interest.  When Catherine tired of a young lover, she would grant him a hefty pension and a nice chunk of land.

Legend has it that Catherine was so enamored of one lucky lover's penis, she had it cast in porcelain so that she could enjoy it any time she wanted.

The most prevalent urban legend about Catherine the Great is know by even the most history-illiterate fool...that she suffered either a heart attack or stroke whilst being pleasured by a horse.  There isn't enough room in this post to rant about the misogyny and ignorance that has perpetuated this myth but rest assured, historians are in agreement that this did NOT happen.

Catherine ruled over one of the largest empires in the world, abolished serfdom, expanded Russia's borders, and had a steady stream of pretty young things in the bedroom.  Not too shabby.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012


Shake it off...

Photographer: David Roth
location: Vancouver, BC
model: Amy

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012


Chapter Five

Edith waited on the front porch of the mansion for the group of young people to make their way to the stables in preparation for the two o'clock hunt. Neighbors had gathered around the large red barn as Rodney and Sykes, the two stablehands, brushed and tacked the horses before guiding them out to their prospective riders.
Dressed in proper fox hunting attire; beige breeches, tweed jacket, tightly buttoned pastel shirt, brown leather gloves, and bowler helmet, Henley stood proudly beside Gaspar, his ten year old gelding. His brown field boots, already crusted in mud from trying to calm the horse, spoke volumes. Henley and Gaspar loved the hunt, and had since the time they were fourteen and three respectively, when they were both taken out for the first time. Young Henley had basically helped Sykes raise and train the colt, which was foal to one of his father's best brood mares. Henley remembered the difficulty he had convincing his father that he should have the horse. The horse, his father argued, was too small to race, his stance and coloring not good enough for breeding, but Henley was determined, and his father finally relented.
Next, Rodney brought out White Socks, a deep brown quarter horse with white hooves, who stood seventeen hands high. White Socks was determined as much as frisky, and was a favorite for Wesley when he came to visit. Becky, a gentle but eager filly, was presented for Proberta to ride.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Music Monday

Happy Monday everybody!  With Valentine's Day only a week away, I thought I'd start setting the mood...

Thursday, February 2, 2012


My latest story, A Cloud of Hawthorne, is a good, old fashioned steamy bodice-ripper and it made me did lovers communicate in the age before telephones, emails, or texts?  How would a gentleman (or scoundrel) know when to make a move?  How did a lady know if the object of her desire fancied a roll in the hay?  Servants could be indiscrete, what was one to do?

There were two methods depicted in fiction, though it is not known if they were actually used in real life.  One was slipping a note to a lover in a bouquet of flowers.  It was common for women to carry bouquets at social events and it would be easy to hide a small note in there.  William Thackeray used this method in Vanity Fair when Becky Sharp and George Osbourne think about running away together.

The other fictional method was fan language.  Several books and stories have women communicating their desires via hand-held fans.  If a woman walked away with the fan in her right hand, covering her face, that meant the man should follow her.  If she fanned herself slowly, it meant she was married but if she fanned herself quickly, she was engaged.

One method of communication that has documented proof was flower arrangement.  Every flower had meaning and could be used to send messages.  The rose had a meaning for every flower, state of bloom, and quantity.  Yellow roses indicated infidelity on the part of the giver and a rosebud was a sign of love.

Sounds a lot more fun than sending an "I <3 U" text.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Passionately purple...

Photographer: Lillie Louise
location: Victoria, B.C., Canada

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012



Henley awoke with a start. A dim, early morning light bled in through the white linen drapes. He looked around, expecting to see a crackling fire, dried herbs hanging from the rafters, and a beautiful gypsy woman sitting by his side. Instead, he saw the same blue and gold wallpaper. The large Henry IV dresser still stood tall and stoic against the back wall, and the writing desk and armchair, positioned directly alongside the settee, were as they should be. The painting of great uncle James III, his riding crop not only visible, but at the ready, was hung miserably at the opposite end of the room. He stared at it for a long while. Would Henry have known Rosetta's ancestors? He wondered which of his relatives, or family for that matter, knew of the gypsy family that lived so close to the Hornbrook estate. Then he wondered if there even was a gypsy family, or whether the exotic beauty he visited in his dream wasn't just that, a figment of his imagination.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Music Monday

My favorite part of winter is definitely the boots...

Friday, January 27, 2012


Waiting for today's Flash Fiction story. Don't be afraid to play. Email your story to

Thursday, January 26, 2012


Well, well, well.  It turns out that personal massagers (let's use the most polite name) were not primarily created for a lady's pleasure.  Too many doctors were complaining about sore hands and wrists...let that sink in for a moment...

For a long time, doctors were using manual stimulation, or "pelvic massage," so women could have a "hysterical paroxysm," otherwise known as an orgasm.  This was the common treatment for female hysteria, especially in the Victorian era.  Doctors were finding this work to be too much, time and labor wise, and thus the personal massager came into being.

Vibrators were the fifth household appliance to be electrified and they were advertised in major catalogues and department stores until the 1920s, when it became difficult to obscure their actual purpose.  After the 1960s and the Sexual Revolution, vibrators made a huge comeback when Jon Tavel filed a patent for the "Cordless Electric Vibrator for Use on the Human Body."  I think there are quite a few of us who would like to thank him.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012


A moment for herself...

Photographer: Etienne Bossot
location: Hoi Ahn, Vietnam

* * * * *

If you’d like to be a contributor to our Wednesday photo day, please email your formatted shot to with all pertinent information.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


After a disastrous dinner at which Proberta barely touched a morsel of food, while his mother threw barbs at him from across the table, Henley sat in his father’s overstuffed armchair smoking a cigar and sipping a fine Hennessey. Women. He just didn’t understand them. What was Proberta thinking, behaving like a spoiled child in front of everyone? She was spoiled. Most girls of her station in life were, of no fault of their own he supposed. But he knew as well as she did, that she was not terribly interested in him as a husband. If she had been, he would have been the one she flirted with at social events, or swooned over during crocket matches. So why this display? There was some mischief afoot, he could smell it. 




Thank you, GB, King of collaboration!


click on the tab GUEST #33 at the top of the page to read the full episode.