Cover of Rachel Kramer Bussel's Begging for It Anthology

About Those “Apple Thighs”

Like many women, I’ve long harbored nagging body hang-ups. I’ve heard we all have at least one thing we wish we could change—weight, breast size, hip width, nose length, belly roll, ass curve, etc., etc. I’ve certainly had my fair share of these “one things,” things I either wished to vanquish or worked ridiculously hard to at least adjust somehow. I remember a multi-year stint as a child convinced I would get a nose job when I was 18, but it turns out, I was destined to grow into the full-sized nose I had from birth. I hated my hips for the longest time because I was born with those, too (really), and I spent a lot of my teen years with bruises on them from bumping into things since I somehow didn’t grasp how wide they were. Both these features have since balanced out, and while they’re no longer issues, certain “one things” have persisted over the years. The big one, no matter how fit I am or what I do, is the hereditary trait most of the women in my family share: the “dreaded apple thighs.”

Apple thighs, I’m sure you’re thinking. What in the hell are those?

Apple thighs, you see, are very distinct in shape. They’re not quite like their oft-dwelled upon cousin, thunder thighs, but a round, fleshy version that tapers at the knee. This taper is what resembles—in some odd way that my mother explained to me when I was a wee little girl—an apple. And we of the women in my family are doomed (yes, doomed) to have these cursed apple thighs, no matter if we are thick or thin, short or tall, curvy or straight. Those fuckers just happen, and despite this, in my family, they get a lot of negative attention and commentary. As I have learned, apple thighs are bemoaned and bad, and as beautiful as one of us may be, we’ve still missed out somehow by having these big ass curvy thighs.

Now, I’m going to be extremely straight with you today: I’ve worked with some real body image issues over the years, which ebb and flow and for which I’ve even sought a little counseling to better deal on occasion. I’m all over the #allbodiesarebeautiful movement because I believe in it through and through, and though I have my wavers in spells, deep in my heart, I know these apple thighs are part of me and something that, most of the time, I’m okay with. But when I have my doubts—about them, or any other part—I have to think about the whole picture. I have to come to terms with who I am and love me just as I am.

That’s why, of all the stories I’ve released into the world, “Apple Thighs” is one of my most cherished pieces. It’s out now in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Begging For It: Erotic Fantasies for Women. I wrote it one night after a particularly grueling day having heard another family member snigger at those “pesky apple thighs”; I’d come home and taken a peek at them in passing, and I thought the poor things needed a break, once and for all. I’d already had a few years in the circus, where I loved to dress up wearing leotards, tights, and thigh-high stockings—which I intentionally used to flash my thighs—so I’d had a good wave of embracing them. I’d even discovered how handy they were in my pole classes (because grip, hello). Still, I felt like this positive acknowledgement of their existence needed to be more drastic.Cover of Rachel Kramer Bussel's Begging for It Anthology

I needed to write a character who recognized her body for what it was and not only accepted it, but learned to love it, right there in the course of the story.

From that, Cassie and her post-counseling bus ride was born…and I went one step further, too, not dooming her with my apple thighs—but giving them to her as a gift.

Cassie is a bit down on her luck when we meet her, but on her bus ride—with the perfect co-passenger—she has that moment I think all women with that “one thing” need: the epiphany in which we realize that yes, we are who we are, and yes, we are just perfect as is.

So without further adieu, I’m delighted to share an excerpt of “Apple Thighs” with you:

Cassie pressed her palms onto her thighs. She’d been blessed with smooth, unblemished skin most of her life, so even stocky as they were, her thighs had the consistent, unmarred fair coloring that covered the rest of her body. As the bus continued its roll down the city streets, the flesh of her thighs shook. She had thin calves and narrow knees, but above them her legs curved out to a substantial width. In truth, she had a lot of muscle in those thighs from years of dancing and running, but they were definitely the outliers from the rest of her body.

She pursed her lips and ran her hands back and forth, grazing her skin. She could rest on her tiptoes to keep her legs up so that her thighs didn’t appear so wide, like two sturdy pancakes smashed out on the seat. But she kind of liked the way they looked. They carried her. They made her womanly. Plus, she was able to outrun all the women in her former running group—big, strong apple thighs and all.

Cassie fanned her fingers over her thighs and rubbed her palms along their length again, sighing. Her skirt caught on her wrists as she glided her hands up, crumpling it at the top of her thighs. She peeked at the seat across from her. Two older women sat there, the one by the window staring out and the one on the aisle reading a book. They didn’t notice her. No one in front of her would see what she was doing, either. She turned her head, checking out the seat behind her at a diagonal. No one there.

But the man behind her cleared his throat.

Cassie flattened her skirt and shoved her hands to her knees, her face burning as she whipped it forward.

Oh, fuck.

Had he seen what she was doing, mindlessly stroking her thighs?

More importantly, was she insane, rubbing her thighs like that in public?

As if in answer, the man lifted himself in his seat. Cassie held her breath. The entire bus was frozen in time, the driver watching the road, and the other occupants reading books, listening to iPods, or chattering about the news. But this man slid around the seat and sat beside her, not a word coming from his mouth as he peered forward.

She turned her head slightly, examining him from the corner of her eye and realizing she’d seen this guy before. She’d even smiled at him once, the last time she’d been stuck on this bus. He was handsome, his face peppered with the tiny hairs of one who didn’t shave everyday, and he had hazel eyes that shimmered thanks to the sun streaming through the window beside her. When she saw him a few days ago, he’d been wearing a baseball cap—but now his sandy blond hair was loose around his ears, making him look a tad older than he once had. Mid-thirty, late thirties…Cassie couldn’t tell. But she could tell that he was some sort of painter, his tee shirt and jeans always speckled with dried paint. Today he wore a spot of fuchsia on his right thumb and a streak of red along his left wrist.

She straightened her head again, her nerves on high. Had he seen what she was doing?

She felt his scrutiny on her then, and a chill fogged her body. When he spoke, his voice came out a deep bass that prickled her skin.

“Do you mind if I sit here?”

Cassie shook her head, her fingers latched around her knees. Her legs suddenly felt hugely exposed, though she did choose to wear this skirt in public, and apparently had no problem touching her thighs a minute before.

Idiot.

“It’s a better view,” he said.

Cassie bit down on her tongue.

Maybe he meant the window. Or being one seat closer to the front of the bus.

Or maybe she really was an idiot.

“Yeah,” she said, her heart racing. “Sunny outside today, isn’t it?”

The man raised an eyebrow and smiled. Cassie broke out in goose bumps. She hadn’t made an ass of herself on this bus, had she?

She willed herself to look back at him, wondering if her thighs had turned as crimson as her face—because wow, was she blushing, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. The sensation ran the entire length of her body in under a second.

“It is. But that’s not what I was talking about.” He gazed directly at her thighs, then back to her face. “Please don’t stop on my account.”

Cassie didn’t move.

The man kept grinning at her. She was surprised she didn’t find it uncomfortable, or awkward. In fact, she shifted slightly on the bench, keenly aware of how hot it was at the apex of her apple thighs.

“I…uh…”

Cassie pinched her lips together. Great, now she sounded like an idiot, too.

The man scooted forward in the seat, enough to block her from the view of any other passengers. He was tall, and with the muscles in his arms alone, it was clear he was strong beneath his jeans and tee shirt. She could do whatever she wanted right here in this seat, and no one would be the wiser.

Cassie shook herself. Was she actually thinking about this?

The man put both hands on his thighs, then tilted his head toward her legs before dragging his hands in an upward motion.

He was modeling what he wanted from her.

Her stomach knotted but her heart thumped in her ears. His smile was so sweet, so warm. So encouraging.

She slid her hands up her legs, halting them mid-thigh. Her fingers were shaking.

Now the man cupped his thighs, and Cassie did the same.

Beneath her panties, her groin swelled with heat. The flush running through her body was like a teasing caress, and she gripped her thighs again. He met her eyes and nodded.

“May I?” he asked.

***

I hope you enjoyed that teaser of “Apple Thighs,” included in Begging For It, Erotic Fantasies for Women. You can find out more about this anthology from Cleis Press on its Tumblr Page. It’s edited by the fabulous Rachel Kramer Bussel, and is available now in paperback and in a few more days on Kindle. I hope you’ll please check it out!

Happy reading, and may you love your apple thighs, too. 🙂

XX,
Jade

Sharpie on thighs "I want to feel you here"

On Skin Writing

I have loved skin writing for as long as I can remember.

When I was a young girl, I was the one constantly scolded by teachers and parents for inking up my skin. I’d spend half an hour drawing an elaborate sketch on my thigh beneath my shorts while I learned algebra, or I’d doodle all over my forearm while I gabbed on the phone. There was a combination of factors that appealed to me when I did it—from the glide of the pen over my skin to the unique words, image, or design I’d set out to put there for whomever to see. I liked the look of ink on skin, and the way people told me I wasn’t supposed to do it. It was more appealing to me than a tattoo, because I could change it to fit my mood, and scrub it all away for a new blank canvas if I didn’t want it to endure. Then, skin writing was just a thing I liked to try; but later, it would turn into a huge turn on for me.

When I was 18, I saw The Pillow Book at a small theatre in my hometown. It was the first erotic movie I ever saw, and everything about it excited me: a writer heroine, her discovery and search for sexual experiences, sexy images of flesh, calligraphy against skin, Ewan McGregor, full frontal male nudity, pure devotion, and a Romeo and Juliet style twist. I left the theatre moved by the story, but more by how exotic and erotic the look of all that calligraphy had appeared on the flesh. I’d had a tattoo in mind for a couple years by then—one I swore I’d get after the publication of my first book, which is indeed going to happen—but even that didn’t strike me as much as this story’s concept had. When Ewan McGregor ripped open his shirt and said, “Use my body like the pages of a book…of your book,” I had a whole new notion of what skin writing could do. It was the using of someone’s flesh in creation of a story to be read and understood—and I craved this, someone else using my skin like I had all those years.

The thought mostly buried itself over the next decade. I had a professional career and didn’t usually have time to doodle on my skin, but sometimes, when I was bored, I’d Sharpie a word or symbol on the bottom of my foot. Later, this transformed into a love of henna. Whenever I could, I’d henna the entirety of a foot and all the way up my calf with some new design I liked. When I went on vacation, I’d mark up my hand with something to catch the eye. It still wasn’t the same as what had roused me in that flick, though—it was done by me, for one, and the henna lacked the same appeal.

Of course, that didn’t stop me from convincing an artist I dated in my late twenties from coming over to henna the entirety of my back. We’d shared a bottle of wine before I’d stripped down to my panties and stretched myself out on the living room floor. He’d squealed over the canvas of my back—literally squealed, because he was an exuberant, lively, playful man—and I clearly remember him sitting on my ass for a long time, waiting while he looked over my naked back and breathed these heavy, deep breaths.

“Anything? I can draw anything?”

“Yes, anything,” I’d said. He’d stared over me for what felt like forever, then spent the next forty or so minutes dragging paintbrushes and fingers across my skin to create whatever henna design he had in mind. He told me how he was playing along with the lines of my back, and not only did I love that what he was drawing was a mystery I couldn’t see, but that as he shifted on my ass to work, we both grew breathless until he called it done.

“Is it weird that I really want to fuck you right now?” he’d said. I’d shaken my head so fast, confessing I felt the same—and we’d fucked right there on the carpet, me flat on my belly and him trying his hardest not to wreck his design. Sadly, it rubbed off a little on his stomach (we might have gotten a bit into it), but nonetheless, I was still tickled to flash him what was left over the next few days.

After him, the urge quieted again. Henna seemed the answer, but my life was too busy to sit down for a session. Occasionally, I’d write memos with ink on my palm, even if I had a perfectly good post-it stack, or phone to jot a note in. Years later, though, I’d have the sexiest relationship of my life, where everything was an option, and want—pure want, desperate, vocal, speak it out loud want—was the name of the game.

I miss you, I’d told this lover via text. I want you, now.

I want you too. Now. Soon. How would you have me?

This picture is what I sent him in response.

Sharpie on thighs "I want to feel you here"

Needless to say, we found a way to get together soon after… But until then? I refused to wash off the words. I loved that I could pull down my pants in the bathroom at work and find that level of want scrawled on my thighs. That my chicken-scratch handwriting revealed my desperation on my very skin, and that he was making his greatest efforts to come strip me down to find it.

I told him later I wanted him to Sharpie all over me, call me names and scribe his lust for me on my flesh. He loved the idea, but our relationship was, unfortunately, fairly short-lived after that. So, I tucked the urge away for many more years.

I nearly forgot about it.

But one night, not all that many months ago, it flared up again. It was a coincidence with a friend, but it suited exactly what I’d always wanted—someone else writing on me, using my skin as he saw fit. We’d gone out to a party and both of us were dressed to the nines, and after a few drinks, he’d wanted to make a list but had no paper. I’d offered up a pen and the entirety of my thigh, and though he thought I was kidding, I soon arranged myself as best I could in the front seat of his car, the entire event furthered, somehow, by my efforts to not flash everything up the skirt of my sassy dress. There was something blissfully erotic in him gripping my leg, writing his message on my bare skin—especially as dressed up as I was. I remember holding my breath, because the combination of his own breath over my leg and the scratch of his pen turned me on more than I could ever admit to this friend. Well, that, and not knowing what it was he was writing in his hunch over my leg.

His scrawl ended up being a childish, silly note—but from that experience, I finally knew what about skin writing made me tick, and what elements, exactly, I was after: my skin, offered up for him to write whatever he pleased; him, shifting me about to scrawl on the curves of my body; that pen, marking me up in a gritty, vulgar way that completely contrasted how glammed up I was right then. And even though what he wrote ultimately irritated me, I still felt the burn of it when I tried to wash it away in the morning, and the memory of being used for whatever he wanted to write. That’s what I loved the most.

Skin writing has so much potential to it, whether it is done in a beautiful way as in The Pillow Book, or in a purposefully crude way like that memorable note on my thigh.

Which is why one day, I hope I’ll get all the elements just right—because it is truly a turn on for me.

Click the lips for more Kink of the Week…

Picture of feet sticking out of car window, parked to watch sunset; Ammentorp ©123RF.com

We [Were] On a Break!

I am the worst at taking a break. I’ve been this way my whole life—relaxation is a thing I enjoy, but most of the time, there has to be something else going on simultaneously. Hell, it wasn’t until recently that I took up watching some TV before bed while needing to talk myself into lying still on the couch (because, sadly, reading revs me up and makes it impossible to pass out). I have a friend who describes me as being incapable of slowing down, but I often correct him to say that I can, I just prefer to have my wheels spinning at all times, if not in person, then at least in the back of my head.

The slowing of the wheels is something I’m actively working on this year. I’ve been going through a lot that I’ve mentioned on the blog, but there’s been other off-site stuff, too, which has made my series-writing ride quite the adventure. Add to this that moderation is a concept lost on me (just give me a pile of candy and I’ll blow your mind, swear), and the fact that I’m still pretty good at pushing past pain…well, put all this together, and you’ve got a flashy sports car that eventually has a major break down and stops working.

Obviously, that, in the middle of a 3-book series, simply will not do.

Picture of feet sticking out of car window, parked to watch sunset

Chillin’. Ammentorp ©123RF.com

Which is why I’ve set up various rewards to honor the need to slow my roll in this already unique process. Since I just typed “The End” and closed off the draft for The Discipline, book 2 in the Lessons in Control series, the one I greet you with today is a deal I made with myself long ago: two full weeks off! This is a time for me to not only not think about the book while it simmers, but to essentially take a mini-writing-pseudo-vacation. Yes, writing is my passion, my sustenance, my love—but revisit that moderation in all things clause, and eventually, one can overdose in love, too.

Plus, a “vacation” always brightens the landscape of pretty much anything, so here I am, taking one!

What does this mean? Save for the potential of my copy edits showing up during this rest time, I’m not doing a lick of writing beyond a blog post or two, and maybe even a little revise of a poem and a piece of flash I wrote a while back, since it’s high time I get some fiction up in this joint. But beyond that? I’m practicing chilling out interspersed with moments of handling a short To Do list I avoided while staying focused on the series. This last weekend, for example, I swapped between bills, taxes, and major social time with friends. I even kicked off Saturday morning with pancakes, bacon, and a coconut milk latte in front of a TV show while still in my robe. Guys, this sort of thing hasn’t happened in years. And you know what? It felt pretty good.

There are other cool things happening in this two-week break, too. One, I’ve got a slew of awesome social encounters I’ve delayed: karaoke, luncheons, dinners, happy hours, and, hell, I might even take myself dancing and then sleep in this weekend! Whoa! Also, I’m finally reading a book. I know this sounds like a no brainer—but between being all up in this series and not being able to read before bed lest it keep me awake, I’ve pretty much been catching only blog posts here and there, and thus haven’t touched a book since, oh, late August (shameful, I know, but it’s the truth). Oh and extra chill-worthy: I’m rewatching Fringe from start to finish. This is my favorite series of all time, right before the wicked tie for second between The Tudors, Dexter, Friends (bonus points if you caught the show reference in the title of this post), Grey’s Anatomy, and the first six seasons of The Vampire Diaries (don’t even talk to me about the current season). I have tons of other good things planned for this time, too, but let it be said: there will be some real relaxation for me. I’m excited!

On top of that, I’m not going to feel guilty. Not at all. I know my lovely little characters can wait for me, and everything—life, series, etc.—will return to normal when I’m back.

We are, after all, on a break. 🙂

XX,
Jade

B/W still vintage image of typewriter

THE Process

Okay, here’s the deal: I kept fooling myself into believing I have a systemized process, and it’s become abundantly clear I’m full of shit.

As some of you may have noticed, I’ve been fairly quiet on both this site and my poetry site. For the most part, I’ve had my head down working on the Lessons in Control series. I’m getting more and more excited to talk about it as we get closer to launch in December, but for now, I’m tied up (heh) in edits for The Assignment (book one), the drafting of The Discipline (book two)—and later down the line, the drafting of The Reward (book three).

The process has been thrilling, shocking, and terrifying, all at the same time. My editor, Rhonda Stapleton, has been a dream through the work we’re doing on book one—but alongside that, I’ve had a hell of a journey on book two. Whatever “process” I swore I had for writing books has been, well, doctored.

B/W still vintage image of typewriter

Dmitriy Cherevko ©123RF.com

Let me give you a little background. The first real book I wrote (because I’m excluding the fictional biography I wrote at 11 as well the YA horror I wrote at 13) was a romantic fantasy that took me 17 years to complete, and at the end of it, I learned one very important thing: I’m neither a fantasy writer OR a strictly spec fic writer. I love sexual content, and I love dripping that all over the pages of whatever the hell I’m writing. So for my next book, I opted to write a comedic memoir about the year and a half I semi-intentionally stopped having sex. (True story!) Turned out, for a book about not having sex, it actually had a lot of sexual content—but it was also about healing from heartbreak, finding oneself, and a bit of ridiculousness that happened in that period, among other things. Honestly, I haven’t talked a ton about this thing since it’s shelved in lieu of what I currently love writing (that would be erotica in its various forms), but, the point is that it took me about three years to write, the end confirming that (1) I needed to write more because it was my life blood and (2) I was capable of finishing things faster than I thought.

Next came a bunch of short stories. I had a spec fic writing mentor at the time who suggested what I needed was to start and stop over and over again, so I could feel more confident in the process before I took on another book. Whoa nelly, did that turn out to be a boon: I wrote something like two dozen short stories in a few months. Plus, I wrote them fast. 4-6k in a couple hours? No problem! I had become a binge writer who also learned the skill of drafting without backtracking, because one can always chop and revise later. I was pretty sure that nifty trick would carry with me for life.

Flash forward to the recent past, and there came The Assignment. I’d been plotting and stewing about how I might be able to write an erotica series for a couple months, and, meanwhile, had an extremely transformative relationship that sparked all sorts of ideas in my head. Then…we broke up. Okay, in actuality, I had to pry myself away because the entire thing was about to ruin me, but a well-timed vacation and a keen interest in the “do not disturb” function on my phone created utter magic. Even through my devastation, the plot of my story became clear and I proceeded to channel all that breakup energy into writing The Assignment. That book—which I am seriously excited for you to read when it comes out in December—took me a whopping week and a half to outline, and right around one month to draft.

For realsies.

And suddenly—I knew my process: outline, speed draft without editing, let it breathe, go in and proceed to smoothe. Check! Oh yeah. It was that simple, and it would be, forever. Right? So while the final version was off wandering the world for a home, I proceeded to start another book—but the entire time, I couldn’t figure out what had happened to my process because I seemed to be going in circles…for almost eight months.

I’d just upped my speed and written a book in a month. How on earth did this thing take so long?

Then came some real life chaos that fucked with me. It took a while for me to get a clue on how to handle it, but when I did, I opted for a book break. I spent a couple months writing shorts and reworking my confidence, so that when The Assignment found a home at Carina Press and they wanted the entire series, I was both giddy and ready to write book two. Except, not so much. I was still contending with the residual chaos that culminated in the attack of the chronic migraines while also struggling to realize this was in no uncertain terms affecting my process. I drafted about 30k. I got migraine sick. I drafted 10k. I was still migraine sick. I tore up 20k. Edits for book one came. I finished them and then drafted 20k. But again, I was really sick and had to straight up stop. When I was migraine-free and ready to go again, I not only cut out about 15k, but completely replotted the rest of the book.

Ha. Take that, process!

Oh, and my binge writing tendency in that entire time period? M.I.A. 1-2k became a good day! But I plodded along, accepting that I would produce, delete, rewrite, break, etc., until somewhere around December when—while setting my 2016 goals—I took a step back and thought, hmm, maybe I should just write the damn book however it comes out, and stop being an asshole to myself because the process happens to have changed from what it was before.

Amazing concept, right?

I have to say—since then, things have continued to be pretty good over here. I turned in another round of edits on book one, and when I sat down to begin the final chunk of the book two draft this last weekend, I didn’t even bat an eyelash at the fact that the first thing I did was replot the last 20k again.

Go figure.

So, ladies and gentlemen, it’s safe it say: I have discovered the real process! It’s good, and I’m going to share it with you. You should grab a pen. Go ahead, I will wait. *Taps foot.* I know you want the Secret to the Writing Universe I discovered over the last few months, and now, I’m going to give it to you!

Okay, you ready?

Here it is.

The official process is…

Whatever fucking works.

Yep. That’s it. (Did you write that down?) 🙂

I have no idea if my process is “no process” because of life things, or just because that’s the truth of the matter, but I’m pleased to have established this riveting…process. Also, I’m curious about everyone else—what’s your process? I’d love to hear in the comments.

For now, though, time for me to get back to work.

It’s a process. 😉

XX,
Jade

 

Man and woman in sensual embrace about to kiss.;Sean Nel ©123RF.com

The Kiss

When I saw the Kink of the Week theme this time around, I knew I had to join in—both because the kiss is one of my favorite acts, and because I’ve been so lucky to have had many wonderful kisses. What I love most about the kiss is its variation; in one moment, it can be soft, sensual, and sweet, a tender caress between lovers. But in the next, it can be rough, wild, and hard, a battle of tongues that signals deep desire, given as easily as it can be taken away. The kiss is as intimate as it is a tease, and as passionate as it can be purposely cold. “It’s all in the kiss” is a phrase that often holds true—if for no other reason than it might, potentially, provide a glimpse of what lay ahead. Sloppy but given with gusto? Rough and taken with a trained gaze? Soft and peppered with whispers of yes, more, yes…? There is certainly much to be drawn from a kiss.

Man and woman in sensual embrace about to kiss.

Yes. This moment. Sean Nel ©123RF.com

Kisses are also as memorable in their fails as they are in their successes—those bad ones have the tendency to stand out all on their own. My first kiss was a silly thing, a peck on the lips I gave a fellow 7-year-old on a dare in the middle of an elementary school field. It was an all eye-open, quick lips, what-the-fuck-is-this-thing-we’re-doing kind of kiss. (Okay, maybe more for surprised him than me.) My first mutual kiss came six years later with my first boyfriend, and it was another awkward, mouth-closed, eye-open (him) disaster that left me pining. Even some of the ones I shared with my high school sweetheart later on live in this funny Bad Kiss Memory Land for his apparent desire to swallow my face whole—which admittedly, was as endearing as it was absurd.

Fortunately, beyond those experiences, I discovered many beautiful kisses. A heavy, sensual kiss that happened in the middle of a rainy afternoon remains the one I consider my real first; it was slow initially, hands slipped into hair, breaths whishes of sound between us as if to signal how closely we were about to connect. Much later, I experienced kisses so heavy and intense they felt stolen in the dark, but so delicious I would have given anything to have them stolen all over again. Later still was an insanely memorable dance floor kiss—a slow-build thing that seemed like it would happen the second we met, and yet didn’t all through the two solid hours we swung ourselves around, lips near and smiles wide…until the kiss itself made it feel like time stopped. There was another kiss with someone else that merged sweet with seductive while we swayed half-clothed in a living room, where curious pecks and nibbles of each other’s lips soon blurred into a meshing of tongues so combustible it was hard to believe we’d done anything more than kiss. And far later, I’d swear I found my kissing soul mate, with whom kisses were desperate, deep, and in sync, sparking almost as much electricity in the tension before our lips met as when they actually did. (Of course, it didn’t hurt that he would turn out to be alarmingly good with his mouth in every other way, too…) 😉 To this day, that lips nearing, eyes locking, breaths speeding come-together is as much one of my favorite moments in fiction as it is in real life—because goddamn, that build has the potential to make an actual kiss so much hotter.

One of the other joys of the kiss is that it is built to travel. It can graze the swoop of a shoulder just as easily as it can tease an inner thigh, and it can also transform into anything: the suck of a nipple, the nibble of a finger, the taste of cunt or cock. But after this transformation, it can always come right back up to where it started—sealing the moment as a quiet end to a beautiful, luscious storm.

So in case it was at all unclear—I’m a big fan of the kiss.

What about you?

XX,
Jade

Want more kisses? Click on the lips… 

My personal optimist motto pencils, a gift from Alison Tyler

Looking Up

Up until about a month ago, things over here were—oh, how to put this?—really fucking cray-cray in the brain department. There was a lot of good going on (and more I’ll get to shortly), and I tried to center my online attention to that—but offline, I was a wreck. This has all passed now, thank god, but things were pretty dark for a bit there.

I talked in a previous post about the sensory migraines that took over my life—but what I stayed pretty quiet on was the adjustment to the medication my doctor prescribed. Once it kicked in, it helped tremendously—but the month-long adjustment period was torture. My brain was definitely not my own for that wild ride, and, honestly, if you and I had a conversation anywhere in that month, I probably have no solid recollection of what we talked about. On top of that, other than one flash piece inspired by my migraines and a couple poems I scribbled in brief moments of clarity, I wrote little (coherently, anyway). It wasn’t until after I signed off of Skype from my interview with the wonderful Rose Caraway about my story in Libidinous Zombie that I realized how wildly out of my head I felt. Yikes!

Fortunately, my doctor turned out to be a genius. After that month of adjustment—and practically overnight—everything turned…well, normal. My migraines damn near disappeared, and all the side effects I was experiencing completely vanished. I keeMy personal optimist motto pencils, a gift from Alison Tylerp describing it as the way the sky looks after a storm, when the clouds pull back to reveal a clear blue world—but I kid you not, it’s what my head felt like after that period passed. My spirits soared, and my usual optimist Fuck half full, I have a glass! self was ready to go screaming from the rooftops about how damn amazing I felt.

And that’s where I’ve been cruising for almost a month now—appreciating all the awesome things going on, and enjoying having my brain back to participate in them! Woo hoo!

So, let’s move along to the good department, shall we? First, some book news—I’ve been cruising away on edits for The Assignment, book one in my forthcoming Lessons in Control series. We had to do a few schedule adjustments, but I’m pleased to announce that it will be released in December 2016—and hey, you can already pre-order it on Amazon! 🙂 There’s no cover or blurb up yet, and I believe it might still say it’s coming out in June, but that’s soon to be fixed. I have much more to tell you about this book and the entire series as we get closer to publication, but let’s just say that as I’m working on edits, I’m getting really excited. It doesn’t hurt that I landed Rhonda Helms on this project, who is possibly the most enthusiastic editor on the planet and making me squeal. A lot. (Okay, and I admit—I’m one of those weird authors who loves editing almost as much as I love writing, so I’m having fun in this process either way.) A picture of Jade's manuscript

Meanwhile, I’ve still been keeping up on my poetry, and even wrote a piece loosely inspired by a scene in The Assignment. In the short story world, I got confirmation there will be a San Francisco reading for Best Women’s Erotica, Volume 1 on January 19th at 6:30pm at the Good Vibrations Polk Street location (mark your calendars!). My BWE story “Ophelia the Second” is one I’m rather fond of, and I can’t wait to tell you more about the it and to hopefully meet you at the reading!Cover of Best Women's Erotica of the Year

Speaking of reading…back in July, Rose asked me in my first KMQ’s interview what I’d be doing if I wasn’t a writer—and I told her I was looking into voice over as a future day job. Since then, I’ve taken a couple weekend workshops and learned all sorts of intriguing things, and decided this little dream will need to become a reality over the coming years. I even set up a recording space, which I officially used for the first time to record “Longing” in honor of the release of Coming Together: In Verse (a smokin’ erotic poetry anthology)! This voice over adventure is on hold while I work on books 2 and 3 in the Lessons in Control series…but it’s on my radar!

Finally, since it’s nearly Christmas, I couldn’t possibly skip mentioning my always free holiday short story, “Office Santa.” It’s about an office superstar named Kristi who has a major thing for the Santa suit—especially when it’s worn by one of her very favorite colleagues. Kristi was a character I had way too much fun writing, so I hope you’ll please check out her adventures. Also free for the holidays is a new flash piece called “Missing You,” hosted over at Tamsin’s Superotica as part of her hot annual advent calendar—please be sure to check out both my story and the others on this holiday countdown!

So, all in all, I’m thrilled to say things are looking up. WAY up.

Just in time for the start of a brand new (and super exciting) year, don’t you think?

XX,
Jade

Image of woman straddling man, shadowed; Katarzyna Białasiewicz ©123RF.com

Erotic Fiction…With Aura

In the last three weeks, I’ve been through two doctor phone appointments, five live doctor appointments, one MRI, several blood tests, and even one full-fledged panic attack. To say it’s been a little bit of a roller coaster is an understatement—but the good news is, there’s nothing major wrong. Yay!

So what is going on? Well, according to the fabulous neurologist I saw last week, my migraines have morphed into something really goddamn special. I am fortunate in that I don’t generally get the nausea and hammer-pounding headaches of most traditional migraine sufferers; unfortunately, I get all sorts of weird sensory problems instead: depth perception issues, tingling and/or numbness in my arms, mental disconnect, vertigo, occasional vision problems, and sometimes, the headache. This time, however, I developed a bizarre numbness in my cheek—and later, the entire side of my face—paired with completely blurred vision in one eye, which led some doctors to believe I might be having a stroke. (That would be the day the panic attack struck, by the way.) I am thrilled to say that isn’t the case, but it does appear a chronic basilar/sensory migraine took residence in my head for over three weeks—complete with all these fun new symptoms!

I’m getting to a point here, I swear (migraine brain fog is real, people). When I mentioned to the neurologist that I’ve been okay writing in short spurts in the morning, but everything else is sending my head into a spin, he suggested I stop the cycle of migraine with a heavier duty NSAID and a few days off (and yes, I totally followed doctor’s orders there). However, when I asked him how migraines could literally change overnight and cling, desperately, in ways they never had before, his response was the most poetic and frustrating thing I could possibly have heard:

“The life of a migraine is a mysterious and beautiful thing.”

I totally laughed that off. But Saturday morning, as I lay tossing and turning under my covers in a groggy, migraine-clouded and dreamlike state, I was thinking about the bizarre tingles raining over my brain that didn’t hurt at all, but that were making things really fuzzy and weird.

And suddenly, I had this spark of an idea:

What if a person could embody the essence of a migraine? What would she be like, as a lover?

It took me a while to drag myself out of bed to type this one up, but the story below is what happened as I sat down to imagine the mysterious and beautiful life of a migraine.

I hope you enjoy it.

XX,
Jade

AURA

Image of woman straddling man, shadowed

Katarzyna Białasiewicz ©123RF.com

She comes into his life like a comet—a fiery bolt arcing across the skies, haloed and crashing down into the open meadow of his existence. She seems a quiet blip, at first, awakening beneath the sun on a lush bed of grass. She stretches herself out against it, her long, pale body blinding in its innocent beauty. Her fingers clutch the earth as she shimmers in the light, and she sighs at the caress of this world, this new place that surrounds her in warmth.

Instantly, he is drawn to her, knows her otherness and craves it. He takes her in as she begins to bloom, as she shows him that she is, in fact, no innocent at all. She is all curves and smiles, arms that encircle and hold, words of sweetness that tend to him just as he tends to her—but behind her glistening, loving eyes, there is something else. It is furious like the comet she rode in on, unbounded and wild, and it lures him forward in the heated swarm of his mind. It shushes away his fears when she kisses his cheeks, his forehead, his mouth, and when she tugs at his clothes and limbs, she draws him further into her sphere.

In the dark of night he invites her to his bed, for though she is unsurpassed in her beauty, it’s her mystery that has him tangled in her. He finds himself beneath her in the light of the moon, his breath stolen as she rocks above. Her hips grind in swirls of chaos, her hands possessing his skin, her kisses speeding his heart. The way she moves sinks into the chasm of his soul. She seeks all of him—not just his length buried within her, but the depths of every crevice of his being, every utterance of his heart, every glimmer of his mind as she writhes against him and his sheets. Her movements become glorious and pained, ripples on the surface of a once-placid lake when the cries spill out from her lips. He sees her then as what she is—nails sharp over him, and teeth cutting his skin in jagged lines. But her whimpers are all he hears, and they seize him in their rock together, taking him beyond every sensation he knew before.

When she collapses over his chest, they lie in silence.

His days are fraught with tension in his efforts to please her. He bathes her, feeds her, loves her through the pinch of her lips and the furrow of her brow. She will not speak, and she moves like a streak of lightning—stubborn and sharp, illuminating their path and yet setting him on edge, pasting goose bumps on his skin like stars against the deep black sky. He thinks, perhaps, the end approaches, that she is sparing them both the hurt to come, soothing the quiet that will fill his life until she falls to the surface of his earth once more.

They dance, this time, before bed. She swings him out in vibrant bursts, then yanks him close. She grasps him so tight his breath slips from inside and out into the vortex of the room. Her heat builds, scorching, suffocating. Blinding. He thinks as they spin, around and around, how much he loves and hates her. How he craves her, needs her. In her laugh he finds the answer to existence, a blurry question that leads to more questions but that, somehow, lets him settle beneath her in the way she commands.

He imagines curving his fingers around her throat, squeezing her away to nothingness—but she has coiled herself around him so tightly, he no longer knows where she ends and he begins.

When she fucks him again, her moans shatter mirrors and rattle pictures off the walls. Her gasps vibrate the room, the bed, the air trapped inside him, stifling in its icy slide against the innermost parts of his lungs. But he is enraptured with the thrust of her hips, with the sweat breaking over his chest when she sucks the tips of his fingers, with the shift of her body over him in the moonlight, even as he feels himself slipping away with her. He is losing his grasp on what is real, what is good, and when she comes, her cries and shudders render him frozen. She keeps arching until he erupts in her, and every last drop of him becomes hers.

He is still when she curls behind him, tucking herself close to his back. Her hands trace over his side, fingertips painting electric currents that circulate in his limbs, up into his face. She kisses his shoulder, then his neck. And though he cannot move, he feels her words when she breathes them into his ear, a shock of sound bursting inside his soul.

“I love you,” she whispers, “and I’ll see you again soon.”

In the morning, he wakes on damp, rumpled sheets. The evidence of their love has scented his skin, and the pillowcase beneath his cheek. He breathes in clean air, his air, and slowly lifts himself from the bed.

She is gone.

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Image of two women and a man, focusing on only legs

The Couple and the Coquette

Fall is fast approaching, and it’s about this time each year that I remember my eight-year run at the seven-weekend experience that is Northern Renaissance Faire. This adventure was one I didn’t care for much initially—I’d been dragged out at 19 by a boyfriend who claimed he needed my presence to avoid cheating, if that explains anything at all—but eventually, I found the place to be a festival of fun, filled with colors, costumes, music, and joy. At night, after all the patrons went home, I started to understand it could become a veritable haven of sexual and emotional adventures I’d ultimately have, and have mentioned here on one occasion before. Still, I didn’t feel truly in place there until my fifth year, when I came out to Faire single for the first time. By then I was freer, ready to play and laugh, and to embrace the delights that came into my world.

One of these was a beautiful young woman I’ll call Emma. She was bawdy, silly, and flirtatious, like me—but bolder in a raunchier way, louder in a nurturing way, and sexy in a different way, sporting the biggest brown eyes over a bed of freckles I’d ever seen. These eyes seduced you with the suggestion that she would be the most playful person you’d ever met, which would turn out to be true. This was evident in our meeting, too—where she wore pink velvet hot pants and halter she’d been parading around after hours, and I’d been dancing in my own black velvet mini dress—when we had a near collision on the way to a dinner table because we were distracted by our efforts to whistle at one another. In a matter of hours, Emma and I became smitten with each other—never quite enough to take it anywhere, but to enjoy holding hands, kissing lips, and slipping fingers up one another’s skirts to fondle each other’s thighs as we set out to hunt what we loved best: someone to flirt with, in tandem and shamelessly, while we stirred up as much trouble along the way as we could.

One night, though, the energy shifted; it turned out Emma had met a man, and so our mission this evening was for her to introduce him to me. We found him waiting behind a booth—where I soon discovered I was to embark on one of the most memorable relationships of my life.

This man, John, brought out a serious adoration from Emma I hadn’t yet seen. Even then it was clear that these two could well end up together for life, because John was, in many ways, her male counterpart—bawdy, flirty, and smiling like he lived with a laugh on his lips at all times. But despite the connection fast growing between them, Emma surprised me after layering his face with kisses. She curled her hands around him from behind and looked right at me while whispering loudly in his ear.

“This is Jade. She’s my friend,” she said. “But I think you two should play.

Now, Emma and I had been flirting with so many people for so long with no intent behind a thing we said that this struck me hard and fast. And though John wasn’t my usual type (for I definitely had one at the time), when he kissed her palms and untangled himself from her arms, then started to circle me—right there in front of her—I sucked in a breath. This feeling wasn’t at all subdued when Emma pressed her palms against her cheeks as though she realized she’d done something particularly clever, aCouple and Coquettend while John kept circling me, round and round, I caught his eye, and he smiled before catching hers.

“I think you’re right, Emma,” he’d said.

And the nod that had come from me was quick and effortless.

Most of my life, I’ve frowned upon labels because I like to try so many different things on—but if I had to tag myself, I’d go with straight, monogamous, open-minded and playful, and above all, flirt. This is part of why I think so fondly of the love affair the three of us formed in that moment; I still have trouble describing it in any sort of specific way, because there isn’t a label that truly fits and it’s not anything I’ve felt since. I guess, in a fashion, what we became was the couple and the coquette—them firmly together, and me acting as the flirt who moved between and with them in varying ways.

In the early nights, the three of us would drink and dine together before cuddling on an air mattress by a dim lamp, where we affectionately established our entanglement as the two of them kissed and John rubbed my shoulders. Emma and I knew we didn’t want to share a bed, but we liked to kiss and flirt, or trace the contours of each other’s bodies when either of us donned a sexy dress. John and I liked to grope and tease one another, and sometimes, Emma liked to watch. All of us agreed we would never work in a threesome, because none of us wanted to share to that degree. So it was determined that, until they grew serious, we would all continue and encourage our separate bonds, however they may happen.

There were many moments between us, but one of the most memorable was the night the three of us had been running around for well over an hour, Emma holding my hand and John cupping my ass, until Emma gave a firm nod in the dark. She took us both into her arms in a great big hug, then whispered, “I really need to visit that other booth across the way. Hmm, I wonder what might happen if you two ran off together?” She pecked me on the lips, then kissed John long and hard, and nearly sang as she danced away, “I’ll be back here in about 15…”

And off John and I slipped, into the nooks and crannies of Faire. There was an excitement in him taking my hand by Emma’s suggestion, leading me into a darkened booth, and backing me against a wall to slam his lips on mine like we’d stolen this tryst—though it was freely given for us to share. In this moment, it was just the two of us, John running his hands along my fishnets, biting my earlobe, whispering how he’d fuck me, rough and hard, over and over, everywhere he could find to take me out there. We’d never actually do that, but it was the fantasy that filled our heads as he dragged his fingernails up my thighs. I still remember the sound of my fishnets tearing in the still of the night, and the feel of his fingers sneaking under my panties before he growled against my mouth. And for what couldn’t have been more than ten minutes, we stood there, clinging to one another, groping, kissing madly, until the melodic sound of Emma’s voice summoned us back, and we tripped innocently out to meet the wink she gave us. Then she wrapped her arms around me, lifted my skirt, and trailed her own hands along my fishnets, giggling to find them ripped. She flashed me the wickedest smile before jumping into John’s arms and giving him the deepest, sexiest kiss…and then we continued on as though we were just three friends, frolicking about for the evening.

Of course, as Emma and John grew more serious, those incidents grew farther between—but the dynamic became sexy in a new way. Sometimes, the two of them liked to claim me as their own, purposely making a scene of their antics with me. Emma would stand on one side, John on the other, and while she affectionately groped my breast and weaved her arm around my waist, John would cross an arm over hers at my back, and use his other one to reach up my skirt. We delighted in the wide-eyed stares we got from this, with John seeing how high he could lift the fabric for whoever watched before I’d turn pink and Emma would burst into laughter. But the second we were out of sight we’d roll together into a huddle, kissing and grabbing through our costumes until we broke away with excited gasps.

As crazy as it may sound, that’s where we liked it to stop. It satisfied all of us in different ways—me running off to find my own lover for the night, them heading back to their tent to be together. They often called me their “little aphrodisiac,” which suited our bond—and though our friends shook their heads and inquired often, trying to understand what it was we shared, we laughed at the need for an explanation of what we got so well. I think that’s the simple truth of many great relationships—they may not make sense to anyone else, but to the parties involved, they really are pure magic.

Over the coming years, our love affair didn’t end so much as it morphed once more. We all grew away from Faire; Emma and John moved in together and she started a business, and I found a new hobby that took up my once Faire-filled weekend time. I was delighted to attend their wedding a couple years later, where at an open mic for reception speeches I playfully—yet respectfully—honored the “most beautiful, fun, and wonderful couple ever known on this planet.” Which, in truth, I still think they are.

These days, Emma and John are settled and happy, with one gorgeous daughter and another little one on the way. I see them every few years, and when I do, they both cast me those smiles of theirs, full of so much life and joy. We talk mostly of now—careers, children, hobbies, and such. But occasionally, we let one another know with the coy winks of our eyes and the tame but reminiscent squeezes we share that, despite the changes that life brings in the ever-shifting seasons, none of us have forgotten the very special love affair between the couple and the coquette.

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Cover of The Sexy Librarian's Dirty 30 Cover

Interviewed on Inside the Erotica Author’s Studio!

The most exciting thing happened earlier this week—the lovely Rose Caraway of The Kiss Me Quick’s Erotica Podcast had me up to her studio to record an interview! Wow!Cover of Rose Caraway's Dirty 30 Audiobook

Rose Caraway is the editor of The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30, a collection in which I am lucky enough to have two stories, “The Bells” and “The Doll.” To celebrate the release of this book, Rose has been interviewing the contributors on her “Inside the Erotica Author’s Studio” series. The whole idea is to introduce you to each of us while finding out more about us and our stories. I could not be more thrilled to be a part of this book, and now to have had the privilege of talking with Rose in her actual studio—well, let’s just say the whole experience has completely boggled my mind.

We had such a great conversation about all sorts of things—you’ll find out about my tendency to try just about anything, how I write, thoughts on my stories, my experience with having an agent, and even an interesting date accident I almost had. Rose is positively one of the sweetest people on the planet, as is the amazing Big Daddy, so this interview made me feel right at home in their studio!

If you’d like to check it out, you can do so right here with the player below. Or, if you’d like to read Rose’s show notes alongside the interview, you can click on over to The KMQ’s. Either way, I hope you enjoy listening to us as much as I enjoyed my time hanging at The KMQ’s!

Also, don’t forget to check out The Sexy Librarian’s Dirty 30 in audiobook or ebook format. And if you’d like to hear some of my previous work narrated on The Kiss Me Quick’s, check out my story “Soundscapes,” or a poem, “Owned.” It’s been a privilege working with The KMQ’s, and now to be interviewed by them!

Thanks so much for joining us!

XX,
Jade

N.B. You can now listen to “The Doll” narrated by the fabulous Rose Caraway right here!

Picture of panties around red shoes

Mojo Lost, Mojo Found

It has been an insane seven months. I’ve had more stress happening in my life than is reasonable, most it fueled by big drama that I don’t care to get into and that I’d say is only half resolved, but that—I will finally admit—did, in no uncertain terms, zap the shit out of my writing mojo.

Now, for those of you following along, you may have picked up I’m a bit hard on myself. I am part masochist, part perfectionist, part over analyst, part wannabe superhero, and part head-in-the-sand ostrich, so when you mash all this together, sometimes it takes a bad turn. I’m freakishly good at putting on a big smile to cover whatever the hell is going on, ignoring when things are bad, and pushing through insane amounts of pain. On top of that, I am so optimistic (I’m of the “fuck half-full, I have a glass!” ilk), I can convince myself things aren’t as bad as they seem, all while crying about it at the same time.

Gif of muppet freaking out from Gifs for the Masses

Take a chill pill already!

Awesome!

Not.

So here’s the deal…I was working on this book for the last, oh, ten or so months. I was excited about it and the vision I had for it—except I kept ignoring how stressed out I was. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true. I was admitting how stressed out I was, but ignoring how much it was affecting me. Insomnia? Whatever. Excessive oversleeping when given the chance? No biggie. Hours spent watching TV to try and soothe my head, chiding myself the entire time because I should be writing? Whatever. Dragging myself into my desk chair and trying to figure out why the hell I couldn’t focus on the words in front of me, not because I needed a muse, but because day after day I had a bizarrely “fuzzy head” that was, honestly, starting to make me feel physically ill? P-shaw. I mean, the list of symptoms went on and on—but despite all these warning signs, good friends telling me to give myself a break, and me telling me to give myself a break (ha ha), I just kept going. And perhaps as no surprise, the book suffered massively because of this.

There’s good news, though, I promise! First, I had a huge meltdown (no, I swear, this is good). Malin James and I often talk about how some people run like sports cars—we run really hot, crazy fast, and super flashy…and then one part flies off on the track and shit hits the fan and our machine needs major repair. This is complicated and expensive, but damn, does that baby run better once it’s fixed. That said, I am certain I was a BMW in a past life, because, holy shit, did this little car have a break down. In the middle of it, my amazing beta babes kindly (and firmly) took the book out of my hands and suggested a break.

Break? Me?

I circled the track a few more times. Was I really going to break? Would I come back on the track speedier and flashier than ever if I did?

I won’t lie—this part was scary and fucking hard. I have an ingrained fear of doing what I did long ago, something I talked about in my interview with Molly Moore about my adventures between writing as a teen and not coming back to it seriously until about five years ago (and only because I was grounded after a major injury): wandering away from my passion for way too long of a time. I consider myself a Jill of all trades—not amazing at anything but pretty good at a lot of things—and sometimes these side things consume me. (Did I mention earlier I’m also part obsessive? Yeah, that too.) Working Renaissance Faire, becoming a seamstress, becoming an aerial acrobat—these things were passions of mine that I dove into with everything I had, forgetting all the while how deep my true passion, writing, ran in me. When I found that drive again a few years ago, it was so hot, so amazing, so why-the-fuck-have-I-been-away-from-you-for-so-long?, I guess whenever I do cut myself some slack, there’s this tick of worry that I’ll be seduced away in some schmaltzy love affair that might distract me, again, from the real deal.

But that’s not what happened. I’m older, and I understand now how much I love writing…so I went ahead and did it.

I gave myself permission to break.

For a few weeks after the breakdown, I tinkered—and then I just threw up my hands and walked away. Other than a few poems and some blog posts, I barely wrote. Then I took it a step further and took an entire week off to do absolutely no writing or editing or thinking about writing at all. I picked up my niece for a couple days and took her Great America (so fun!), I read some books, I cooked, I slept, I watched a lot of movies, and then I woke up one day and…

BOOM.

There it was, cuddling up beside me—this great big urge to sit in front of the computer and write again.

I took it real easy at first, deciding there was no need to work on a large project, but rather, to write a bunch of small things. I needed to practice starting and stopping again, rather than [over]futzing with something too big to chew on just yet. I needed to simply have a good time writing whatever I felt like, no matter if it was good or bad or for any purpose other than to make me smile again. This was the deal I made with myself for the first two weeks I’ve come back—and, holy fuck, I’m a bit shocked at how much has poured out of me! In the first week I wrote six flash pieces, five shorts, a couple blog posts, and opened up documents or scribbled down notes for upwards of a dozen starter ideas or first lines for new things. I even revisited a character I wrote about prior to switching to erotica, and decided she may one day make it into an erotic series, who knows…but I wrote a flash piece about her to enter a contest.

Then came the best part: my amazing beta babes, Malin and Tamsin, sent me feedback for that book I mangled. The evidence that it was in need of work was clear, but guess what? It turned out there was hope in the thing. And instead of worrying about it, I read their feedback and smiled. Yes, there’s work to be done—but it no longer feels so foreboding and terrifying. It actually feels like it’s going to be pretty fun!

So, here I am in my second week of “play time,” and I’m starting to toy with ideas on what I’d like to do next. Fix the book? Likely. Work on other big things? For sure. But either way, I think it’s finally safe to say it.

I may have lost my mojo for a bit there, but, hot damn—that baby is found!

XX,
Jade

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