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…

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 ©

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. 😉



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

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 ©

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?


Want more kisses? Click on the lips… 

Picture of panties around red shoes

Elust #74 – All the Sexy News Fit to Print!

Ginger nic1
Photo courtesy of Switch Studies

Welcome to Elust #74

The only place where the smartest and hottest sex bloggers are featured under one roof every month. Whether you’re looking for sex journalism, erotic writing, relationship advice or kinky discussions it’ll be here at Elust. Want to be included in Elust #75? Start with the rules, come back October 1st to submit something and subscribe to the RSS feed for updates!


~ This Month’s Top Three Posts ~

She wanted to let the light in…
Reflections on the Male Nude


~ Featured Post (Molly’s Picks) ~

Is it play acting?

~ Readers Choice from Sexbytes ~

*You really should consider adding your popular posts here too*

Can a Woman be a Good Mother and Write a Sex Blog

All blogs that have a submission in this edition must re-post this digest from tip-to-toe on their blogs within 7

days.Re-posting the photo is optional and the use of the “read more…” tag is allowable after this point. Thank you, and enjoy!


Thoughts & Advice on Sex & Relationships

Leaden Heart
Summer awakening
Our Kind Of Monogamy
If You’re Gonna Be A Thot Do It With Grace
Playing at Poly
I’m a-Lousy-Monogamist
Sharing the bed
The Couple and the Coquette
Four Love

Erotic Fiction

All Girls Night
Unresponsive Satisfaction
i don’t want realism, i want magic
A Stranger’s Tale
Motion Capture
Checking Southward
His Slave Heart.

Erotic Non-Fiction

Sexy Riding
I noticed without paying attention
Humiliating an ex-Nazi submissive: sex slave
The End of a Rut
Rayne is a Fucktoy Cunt
Mindful Orgasm


5 Reasons Woodhull Was an Amazing Experience

Sex News, Opinion, Interviews, Politics & Humor

Sex: Vegans, Carnivores, and Apex Predators

Thoughts & Advice on Kink & Fetish

Location, Location, Location
Seven Dimensions of Dominance
Light That Fire: Motivational Tools

When A BDSM Scene Ends Abruptly

Writing About Writing

You Down With OPT?
Cover Me
ELust Site Badge

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.

Wicked Wednesday Badge

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!


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

Dark toned image of woman sitting with one leg crossed over another

You Got Turned Out

Well over a year ago, a close friend used a term that struck me as profound—so much so it’s been simmering in the back of my head ever since. The truth is that it was said in reference to a relationship I’d experienced, but eventually, I realized how wide the scope of it was, and how very much I needed to write about it.

See, at the time of our conversation, I was wrapping up one of the most painful breakups of my life. I’ve had many relationships in two decades—some of them waking me in one way or another, others serious enough we nearly ended up engaged, and still others breaking me in ways that required many years of lightness to heal—but this was different. It was heavier somehow, more real, more intense. If I were to describe my past relationships as watercolor paintings, this one was made of oil—dense with color, small details, and texture, and labored over not just with brushes, but with rags and carving tools that molded the canvas of us. It started as a casual fling that should have meant practically nothing, but in the mere nine months we lasted—including four breakups, three standoffs, and two attempted months of silence—the impact still coursed through my blood and transformed me.

So on the night we chatted, this friend of mine listened while I cried to him for probably the third or fourth time, dragging myself in circles over this new kind of hurt, and this strange feeling of having had my heart and soul wrenched open in ways I couldn’t understand. And in the midst of it, he said, very sweetly, “Honey, don’t you see? You got turned out.”Dark toned image of woman sitting with one leg crossed over another

This friend has long been special to me for a variety of reasons, but his frankness—paired with his somewhat uncanny understanding of women—has always captivated me. Having never heard the term, I sniffled a few times and asked what the hell he was talking about. I’ll take the liberty of paraphrasing his response, but the basic concept is this: getting “turned out” means someone has fully broken through to you—turned you upside down, cracked you open, and unraveled you completely. Sure, you may have had sex and love before—hell, you could have had endless sex and love, and believed you’d felt the magic—but this experience is not common, and when it happens, you know. It’s more powerful than any love or good fuck or orgasm you’ve had before; it’s like you’ve found that person who can sink right into your soul, delve into your pores, and bring you out into the world as an entirely altered, more phenomenal version of you.

When he said this, it clicked. I’d known love, lust, empathy, closeness, hurt, passion, and all of the feelings that connect us with one another—but this thing, even as short as it was, had me lost in an emotional and sexual haze all the way through and well after it ended. Truth be told, it’s one of the most complicated things I’ve ever experienced, so uplifting and murky and amazing and excruciatingly painful, charging me even beyond the time it took to heal. This is why I strongly believe the last part of what my friend said in that phone call, too—that this type of experience will inevitably end in one of two ways: ideally, you and the person seize the magic and end up together for life, exploring this brilliance discovered together; or, you and the person call it quits, she who got turned out is hurt for a long, long time, and then—once all the pain dissipates and she can see straight again—she’s essentially reborn with so much more sense, emotional power, and feeling than she’d ever dreamed of before.

A phoenix rising from the ash, if you will.

That’s a big concept to pin on a relationship, I know, but I’d venture to guess a few of you know exactly what I’m talking about. Maybe while you’re reading this, your hearts are thumping in your chests, your heads lifting and falling as you whistle to yourselves because you remember what this felt like. It’s that feeling of putting your heart, your love, your soul, your very essence in someone else’s grasp like you could never have fathomed before—and still being unbelievably okay with it.

Sometimes, it works out. Sometimes, it doesn’t. But no matter what, you will never be who you were before.

So, that’s what’s been churning in my head for a while now, seeping into my work, my stories. I don’t mean to do it, and then suddenly I do. The first time I saw it was in the last book I wrote—I’d drafted it early last year and then came back a month later to edit, following my character through her adventure in love and sex while I made my scribbles on the page…and then WHAM. I actually saw it in her character arc, and said it out loud:

“Oh, look at you. You got turned out, baby girl.”

I thought it was just a one-time thing. Then the feelings kept resurfacing in other stories I wrote, essays I penned, and poems I posted, without me ever intending it. It was like in finding myself, my characters had to, as well. Even in the book I’m editing now, I saw it happening all over again—the protagonist shedding her old skin, embracing this new life and awareness she finds with the one who broke through to who she honestly was. It wasn’t that she wasn’t whole or happy before—only that, in a way, she had to set fire to who she was to leap into this vivid new self. In doing so, she’s become richer, more powerful, and eager for every sensation and experience yet to be had.

She’s been turned out.

Sometimes, I wonder if the intersection of my own experience happening shortly after I sent my first erotica story into the world was a coincidence, or if it was the Universe trying to give me a message. That in embracing my writing, I’d opened up a personal door. Or that in releasing the erotica I’d kept quiet for years, I was finally able to bare my heart and soul, even if it was going to hurt like hell. Or that, since I was going to explore so many things in real life, I would need to feed it all into my stories over time.

Honestly, I don’t know the answer to the how or why—and like the phoenix, I don’t think the past matters anymore.

When you get turned out, the only thing you need to do is soar on.


Legs of couple kissing on beach


I ran into an old boyfriend last week, one that stands out from the others in his own right. The encounter itself was mellow and calm—much like our very short relationship—but it got me thinking about our time together and nostalgia, in general: that special place we hold in our hearts for the memories really worth keeping.

I’d known of C. a couple years before we dated, but I didn’t actually meet him until a strange time in my life. I’d finally ended a five-year bruise of a relationship, and though I’d ventured away from my hometown after high school with big dreams that carried me all the way through college, something about what I’d just been through made me feel like I had to go back. In a sense, I needed to be close to my roots so I could graduate again. I wanted to break out into the world all over, but this time as me, just me, with no noose, agony, or pain weighing me down.

Legs of couple kissing on beach

Miramiska ©

So there I was one night, a couple months home and at a bar with a friend, and this handsome bartender I recognized came to take our order. “Whoa! Hey, C.! I didn’t know you worked here!” I’d said, and we’d been excited to formally meet one another. He was all smiles and charm and nice, exactly like I’d assumed he was after our occasional run-ins over the years, and not one week later we were on our first date at an absurdly fancy restaurant. He said a bevy of sweet things that made me blush so pink he claimed it was his favorite thing about me, and after hours of laughter, wine, and incredible conversation, I confessed that with all I’d been through—a story he, like many others, had heard mentioned around our hometown—I couldn’t handle anything other than light, fun and calm.

And for a while, C. was all those things. He was tall and twinkly eyed, a big carefree bear of a man who loved to make love and cuddle and laugh so loud heads turned. And when we were together, it was impossible not to laugh with him, not to spend hours rolling around in bed and having Sex and the City marathons, or singing at the top of our lungs to silly songs while we drove just to drive, fast and free, enjoying the moment and not really caring where it led.

Fun and free was what our entire relationship was for me—and though we ultimately ended because C. started wanting more and I still wasn’t ready or healed, I think deep down we both knew there was more difference than that between us. In many ways, I was still the small town girl aching to run somewhere bigger, somewhere I could stretch out my little wings, while he was more about sticking to roots, home, and comfort. It was the exact pairing I’d needed then, and yet, not something that could have worked for either of us beyond the length of time it did.

After C., I had more convoluted, tangled relationships. Some were long, some short, but many were not the kind worth remembering. This is why when I ran into C. last week, I had the strongest rush of all we shared in our brief time—not in any sort of pining way, but with that lovely flash of details that had been so good between us. I remembered bowling competitions with strikes and spares earning kisses, swing dancing in our underwear, enthusiastic discussions on the merits of men’s watches and women’s shoes, gentle kisses under a veranda before he told me I had “the most spectacular blush,” attempting to out-sing each other to Cake’s “Love You Madly” over leftovers and wine, and him surprising me with flowers on Valentine’s Day even though we were over, because, as he told me, I deserved them.

As short-lived as my time with C. was, seeing him years later—still bartending, smiling, and belly laughing, proudly showing me pictures of his beautiful wife and daughter while asking after me and rooting me on in that big-hearted way he used to—made me profoundly happy. Our relationship was a couple-month snapshot on a wide panorama of formative events, and the likelihood I’d see him again was fairly small—but when I left the bar giggling, blushing as pink as he made me do over a decade ago, I had the sweetest warmth of memory and the biggest smile on my face.

So I think that’s the true beauty of nostalgia—it doesn’t matter how small the memory is; when it’s that worth keeping, it will always be pure gold.


Part of Toby's Poem

Today I’m Going to Share a Sad Story

Twenty-one years ago today, I lost my virginity.

That experience itself is not a sad one, but it’s important; I was 14-years-old, and having already had my first sexual awakening a few months before, I’d known when I started dating Toby that he would be the one. He was three years older, an incredibly tall and thin brunet with long hair, graceful fingers, and the most prominent, lovely nose. We’d started phoning one another after he stopped me on the sidewalk outside my Taekwondo studio, where he’d told me he loved my smile and eyes.

What he didn’t know then was that I already had a crush on him. We’d both auditioned for Tevye and His Daughters a couple months before, and while I’d had to drop out of my miniscule role because I had too much homework that I took very seriously, he’d gone on to perform as Tevye in a manner that didn’t fit his 17-year-old frame. It was on that stage Toby struck me as different from all the other boys, as if hosting wisdom beyond his years, but also a presence that couldn’t be explained in any terms I understood then. It wasn’t that he was confident, or dominant, or anything we might imagine when we think of onstage presence; instead it was an aura of listlessness, of discomfort. He was a young man who struck like the gentle beat of the carotid through translucent skin—rich with life blood, and yet so faint you might miss the ghostly tick of who he was.

I discovered I was right about this feeling when Toby and I started dating. There was something about the way he gazed wistfully out the window, and the unusual things he chose to discuss and dwell on. Then there was poetry; long before we’d ever kissed, I’d read him one of my early poems when we sat together in the park. I’d stopped mid-line, suddenly embarrassed and thinking there was no way anyone would really want to hear this blubber I was writing in which I poured out my soul, my ache, and all my love—but Toby did. After, he begged me to write more, to read to him over the phone so he could savor the words and ask me all about what I was thinking when I wrote them. Occasionally—after much encouragement from me—he shared one of his own, and in time, this became our habit. Poems and letters formed our connection, the secret we’d found to express ourselves beyond the physical moments we spent cuddled in the dark, talking of dreams and the futures we imagined for ourselves. Mine were tangible and real, fantasies I could make happen if I set my mind to them. But in Toby’s written words I learned something with which I’d never been familiar: the idea that someone could truly find himself not fitting in this world, that his very existence, for him, was in question at every moment of every day.

By the time we decided to have sex, Toby had shown me more of him. There was a youthful playfulness that distorted his face when he tried to fit in, as if underneath something lingered, a quiet unease that only spilled out on paper when he spoke serious fantasies of living in different eras and places. He made it sound romantic, this obsession with running away from here and now—and this was part of the reason I asked him to be my first. It happened in the middle of the night after he snuck his long, lanky body through my window, kissed me while he slowly peeled off my clothes, and then laid me down on the carpet of my bedroom floor as the moonlight streamed in through the open window and over our skin. Toby kept his lips on mine the entire time, as we both tried, desperately, to stay silent lest we get caught.

In truth, the experience was not what I’d expected. I wondered why people made such a big deal out of this thing. All the other physical acts we’d shared had struck me as more pleasurable, more intimate—and what I wanted in that moment was something more meaningful, to light a candle by which we could whisper our poetry aloud, like we did all the other times we’d been together. I’d been trying to make sense of Toby for so long, and now, this close, this forcibly connected, I needed to understand him, to peer into his soul and see why—despite all his love, his caresses, and the way he claimed he felt happier with me—he still struck me as so lost inside his head.

Part of a poem once written for Toby

Toby’s Poem

Our lovemaking continued for only a month after that, each time better and attempting to draw us closer. It was a physical act to meet my ache for understanding, and perhaps one that represented his need for a world he couldn’t find in his family, friends, or the comings and goings of high school life. And when we broke up, it wasn’t because he was acting as the lost young man I’d come to know and treasure, but instead the laughing, joking boy he thought he was supposed to be.


It was almost four years later we ran into one another, and everything, while different, had stayed the same. Toby complimented my eyes; I told him I still loved his nose. He was thinner, lankier, and his eyes had grown darker somehow, like he’d taken on more of the world’s weight and it had sunk the skin around them as a mark of all he had to carry. But when he asked if I still wrote poetry and I flashed a reminiscent grin, he brightened up. He told me he missed my smile and that we should catch up over poetry and wine.

I honestly can’t remember much of the dinner we shared when we met a week later. The trials that had happened in our lives—rumors that had spread around town about me, and the rumblings I’d heard about him through friends of friends—were all irrelevant as we sat across from each other. We both pulled out the notebooks we’d written in over the years, eager to share everything we’d thought and felt about life, other lovers, and what the future would bring. After our meal, Toby bought a bottle of red while I stood outside the liquor store in the cold night air, wondering if the love we’d make would feel the same to an experienced 18-year-old as it did to the virgin he’d soothed and welcomed into his mystery all those years before.

When we arrived at my house, we uncorked the wine and sat facing each other, poetry in hand as we read, back and forth, for the next couple hours. There were many toasts, many utterances of encouragement, many awed shakes of heads at what each of us had expressed over these few years that felt like a lifetime of change. He stopped me, at one point, telling me he was so glad I’d never stopped writing. I’d dropped my notebook to my lap, beaming and blushing—no one but Toby had read so many of my words, and certainly no one but him had encouraged me to keep writing them. In the same way, I loved what he’d done with his own, and I told him so.

It was somewhere after our second glass we started to kiss.

The memory is ancient and tainted with the fuzzy haze of wine, but what I do recall is this: two naked bodies curling under the sheets, fingertips grazing each other’s sides, tracing memories and yet learning something new, something changed. There was more wine, then more poetry. We whispered it as we made love again, this time a little older, more sure, knowing it was the magic of the lines we read that fueled our fire, that maybe seemed to others strange—two people reading as they arched and bowed, breaths wavering between the words—but that for us remained the secret to our true selves, and what we sought to understand in one another. Our rapture was in poetry, and when we woke in the morning and he kissed me goodbye, I remember thinking it was the real way we were supposed to end: the writers who’d loved, not just the lovers who’d written.

I lost Toby after that night. I heard he moved away, somewhere strange, some other country he’d always wanted to visit. As close as we’d been that night, I’d read in him that comfort in his skin remained a diaphanous, tenuous thing—that despite his beautiful words and loving touch, he still wasn’t all that sure of the world or his place in it.

Wherever he was, I hoped he’d soon find the solace he’d been looking for.


It was over four years later I got the news.

My life was a vastly different one then. I was nearing the end of a five-year relationship that lasted five years too long, one that, without saying too much, broke me in ways women should never be broken. And it was while this boyfriend visited my apartment that my best friend called to tell me what she’d heard about Toby through some mutual friends. She’d dated him too, for a short while before I’d ever met her—but through the years, she knew who and what he was to me.

She spilled it all in a moment, her low tone signaling the gravity of what she had to say: Toby had been living in Europe with a pregnant girlfriend. No one had seen him in a while, but everyone thought he might finally be happy.

And then he killed himself.

My reaction had been stifled by the look I got from my boyfriend. I didn’t know how to act, how to feel. I’d never lost anyone before, but I found myself remembering Toby in that instant as I’d first known him—a lost young man, living in the wrong world, the wrong time, searching for something that fit and never quite finding it, writing letters and poetry that forever tried to make sense of it all.

“So he killed himself and he was your first. Big fucking deal,” was what my boyfriend said to me. “You dated that guy? He was your first? What a loser.”

And because my reaction would determine what came next between us, I didn’t say anything more.


They say you always remember your first, and I believe, for many, this is true. There is something to be learned in your first time—awakening, desire, love, pain, change. And yet, when I think back to my “first,” I hardly remember that moment with Toby on my bedroom floor. What I remember instead are those moments sharing ourselves in the poetic way only we understood, and, deeper than that, the lost man I tried so hard to understand but never fully could. With it all usually comes a sense of grief and loss, a feeling that rose and fell so fast then, never expressed in a way that suited the connection we shared every time we read our words.

Most of all, there comes the acceptance that sometimes, you can never truly understand what’s going on inside a person’s soul. You can encourage them, and you can empathize, but there’s always so much more beyond what they will let you see.

And the only thing you can do is treasure them anyway.


For Toby.

Interviewed on Molly’s KissCast!

When I was nine years old, my mother took me to a modern art show. I don’t remember much about it other than a giant piece in the center of the room with bicycle wheels perched haphazardly all over what looked like a mound of clutter, but somewhere during my bewildered eyeing of the thing, a newscaster came over with a camera and mic and asked if I’d like to be interviewed about my thoughts on the display.

“You want to hear what I have to say?” I whispered.

I’d looked at my mom with huge eyes and a gaping mouth as she encouraged me to turn back and answer the gentleman’s questions, and while that interview was a short-lived, silly little thing, the honor of being asked what I thought about anything struck me as really damn special.

So, cut to many, many years later, when I was on Skype with the lovely Molly Moore of Molly’s Daily Kiss. I’ve been delighted to get to call Molly a friend for a little while now, because she’s as fantastic in her conversational charm as she is thoughtful and talented while writing or photographing for her many websites. Somewhere in our friendly conversation she asked if I might like to be on her new podcast, Molly’s KissCast.


As we were on Skype, I got to see my own face in the corner of the monitor as I dropped my jaw in the very same way 9-year-old me did at that distant art show. Because Molly—sweet darling dear I adore—wanted to hear not only what I thought about certain aspects of the business, but also just about me, my history, and what and why I like to write.

Needless to say, I was completely honored—and I still am. I was quite nervous at first, but in her easy, sweet manner, Molly ended up getting me giggling so hard through most of the conversation I should probably listen one more time to make sure I didn’t snort or something in public. 🙂 Heck, she even got me talking about my recent book, my circus past and how much of my real life makes its way into my fiction (dun dun dun), plus a few other reveals I hope you’ll join us to hear. Molly previously interviewed Jane Gilbert of Behind the Chintz Curtain, and I suspect she will have many more fabulous guests—she is such a charismatic, intelligent, and warm woman, being on the interviewee end of any of her podcasts is a treat no one will want to miss!

For now, I am so grateful to have been a part of Molly’s KissCast. Please click here to give the episode a listen.