Isabel Allende

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

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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

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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

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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

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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...




Thank you, GB, King of collaboration!


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