Writing Eros in BROKEN
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Writing Eros in BROKEN

[This short article originally appeared on If These Books Could Talk Blog. ]

I’ve been married with children for my entire adult life, so, technically, I don’t know anything about sex. (Or, perhaps, birth control….) It’s true, I’ve had two different husbands, but I think it’s fair to say that I fall under the vanilla category.

As smooth, satisfying, and delicious as vanilla is, sometimes, as an author, I need something more tangerine, or more pungent. Luckily I have a good imagination, and a husband who’s willing to experiment with me. In the name of art, of course.

Broken, set in occupied Paris from 1939-1942, is the story of a fallen angel who struggles to save her friends and lovers as the Nazis exert ever more lethal control over the city. The angel Alia falls from heaven because of a personal loss which shocks her out of unity thinking. As soon as she falls, she is beset with sensual desire, with temptation, with the lust that is embedded in flesh. She throws herself into the cornucopia of carnal delights offered by Paris on the eve of the second world war. Paris in 1938-1939 was a feast of entertainment, parties, and revelry, with many intellectuals, writers, and artists openly living a licentious lifestyle.

But I imagined that Alia didn’t start out completely human. Broken is also the story of her journey into her own humanity. So the sex scenes in this novel document her incarnation. They aren’t just gratuitous titillation. Alia begins the novel with a free-wheeling, casual attitude about sex and lovers because she hasn’t yet fully identified with her body. It’s a plaything for her, it’s not herself. So I thought of these early sex scenes in the vein of sex-as-frivolous-fun.

Sex changes as she begins to care for the bullfighter Pedro and the musician-mathematician Josef. Her heart is part of her body, too—her heart goes along with what her body embraces.

Alia also has a horrifying experience of sex used against her. She is manipulated into gratifying a Gestapo agent, and it sickens her. But sex as a power play is part of the human condition, so as an author, I chose to include it.

Finally she comes to be a partner with one man, and she experiences deep intimacy with him. The eroticism they share ripens. It’s based on a heart-connection as well as sensual pleasure. It’s not just about ecstasy anymore, it’s also about love; Alia has become fully human, fully identified with her physical being. She has experienced the full range of sexuality as she has evolved into the woman who would make the ultimate sacrifice for her beloveds.

Eros in BROKEN

Guardians of the Galaxy: Great Flick
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Guardians of the Galaxy: Great Flick

So, ok, it’s true, I admit at the outset, I like movies that are set in outer space, feature extraterrestrials and laser fights, and show things blowing up. Those are qualities I seek in excellent film entertainment.

Guardians of the Galaxy delivers. It’s set in outer space and things blow up. There’s a gee-whiz spaceship fight. Chris Pratt is adorable and hot, both at the same time. The characters are cute and quippy.  The plot moves along quickly and has a few moments that are almost touching.

This flick is great fun. It is what it is, and it is enjoyable.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Delicious Girl Porn: CW’s Beauty and The Beast
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Delicious Girl Porn: CW’s Beauty and The Beast

Imagine eating a Mallomar cookie. It gives itself over to you on your tongue, surrendering utterly, melting into sublime marshmallow and chocolate mush. It’s so gooey and rich and sweet that you can’t stop with just one. You sort of hate yourself while devouring the next five, but you’re also secretly exulting in the vice.

I am, of course, talking about CW’s Beauty and the Beast, starring Kristin Kreuk and Jay Ryan, both of whom are utterly gorgeous and drool-worthy.

During the long hours of posing for Sabin at night, I’ve Netflixed a lot of TV shows. I don’t like TV much, in general, so finding shows I enjoy is a challenge. There’ve been some fun surprises. I enjoyed The 4400 and Continuum. I really grooved on White Collar. I have a running daydream about my second career as an art thief. Art thieves get to wear sleek black leather catsuits, use all the coolest gadgets, and go into great museums at night, when no one is around to disturb them. Also, do you realize, they search you when you enter the Pinacoteca Vaticano, but they don’t search you when you leave? If you can get that superb little Fra Angelico panel under your shirt, you might be able to keep it!

Last week Netflix suggested Beauty and the Beast, and I started watching. It took me a few episodes to get engrossed. Then, suddenly, without my even realizing it, I was hooked.

It’s all that gazing into each other’s eyes and talking about their relationship. The desire and the longing, the stolen kisses and murmured declarations of eternal love. The intensity of their oft-thwarted passion–and how they discuss it endlessly. Oh, lordy, my girly heart swoons at all that flowery verbiage. I just can’t help it.

No one’s picking up anyone’s dirty socks, which strikes me as highly romantic.

A few nights ago, as Catherine and Vincent dissolved into each other’s arms in a ravishing tangle of beautiful limbs, I sighed. “They’re going to do it,” I cried, clasping my hands to my chest. “They’re finally going to do it!”

“You’re such a girl,” said my husband, rolling his eyes.

“You noticed?” I responded.

He groaned.

This is the man who phoned last week, disgruntled after a long day’s work on a business trip, and declared, “I’m going to eat, poop, and go to sleep!”

“That’s so romantic,” I replied. I mean, you’d think the world’s greatest living figurative artist could muster something a little less pedestrian, right? But I guess all men have a bit of the beast in them.

“I’m not feeling very romantic,” he muttered. I understood that he was tired and that he hates to sleep apart from me and that he travels because the money is good on these gigs. In their own way, his commitment and hard work as a husband and family man bespeak grown up romance. I reminded myself of all of that.

Still, it would have been nice to hear something throaty and suggestive and oozing with ardor. But that’s what TV is for, right?

Last night, after an extended bit of dialogue during which Catherine and Vincent once again affirmed their abiding love and passion, Sabin threw down his sculpting tool. “I can’t take that show anymore!” He stalked out of the bedroom where we work. We were almost done with our third hour of work, and it was after 10 pm,  so it was a good time to finish for the night, anyway.