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Posts Tagged ‘inspiration’

Artist Fuschia Ayling talks Sexuality and Creativity

Fuschia and me at the BTR launch

I’m sure you’ve already seen the pictures of the paintings and heard me rave about the fabulous artists who each volunteered to illustrate a different excerpt of my novel, Body Temperature and Rising, for my launch party a couple of weeks ago. As I’ve gotten to know these very talented young artists and seen a bit more of their work, I knew I had to have them on my site and give my readers the chance to get to know them a little better and have a look at a few images of their wonderful work.

Fuschia’s stunning scene depicting voyeuristic bliss on the fells from BTR

The very talented Fuschia Ayling is my guest today. Fuscia chose the opening scene of Body Temperature and Rising to paint, and on her blog, teased us all with sneak peeks of the work in progress. I’ve been following her blog ever since just to see what she gets up to. Welcome Fuschia! It’s a pleasure to have you on A Hopeful Romantic.

KD: Fuschia, have you always known you’ve wanted to be artists? What inspired the choice?

Fuschia:I have always been driven creatively, ever since I was a very small child – I suppose I was always happiest when I was up to my elbows in paint, mud or playdough. When I was small my father owned a gallery and studio in St. Ives, and his success and talent as an artist – along with my immersion in the Cornish art scene – meant that I was given all the encouragement I needed to continue exploring my interest. As I grew up I continued to enjoy expressing myself visually, but I

‘My Not So Secret Garden’

viewed it more as therapy – there were always things which I couldn’t explain to others, things that I could only really exorcise in my journals. I studied Art and Design at college and then took an extra couple of years to really develop my work and distance myself still further from what seems to be a very Cornish expectation – that as an artist one should paint landscapes and seascapes to order. I am thankful that being an artist is a viable career option – I can basically devote my life to healing what is, unfortunately, a slightly damaged brain.

KD: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

“Bang Bang” is to do with sexual experience and confusion, the way all the things that we experience leave traces, tangled and in some ways unable to be separated. It is also to do with my feelings for my own body, my femininity, my role as a woman – as explored through the use of embroidery.

Fuschia: I am 20 years old, currently studying at Kingston University for a BA in Fine Art. My work is always confessional, often sexual and sometimes a little shocking. My work deals with my own personal experiences and opinions, and in that way it is like an ever growing and expanding diary of my life. I often deal with issues that, although still current, are perhaps best described as scars from childhood. I have been called a feminist artist, although this isn’t a label I particularly identify with, I think my work deals with what could be deemed “Feminine Issues” merely because I am by gender a woman. I enjoy writing, drawing, sewing and painting – I like to mix and match materials and processes.

KD: Why did you choose to make sexuality the central theme in your artwork?

Fuschia:I suppose sexuality is a central theme in my work because it is a central theme in life – sex

‘Open Wide’

is, after all, the reason why we are all here. I am very interested by human nature, especially when it comes to sex, and I think that this interest fuels part of my obsession. Like many people I have issues with my own sexuality, I find that exploring these unspoken things in my work comes naturally to me. I have produced a lot of work in the past about being a rape victim, and I probably will continue to do so in the future, it is something which I kept secret and shamefully hidden for so long that having the freedom to express it, to work through it and to, hopefully, help other people in similar positions to myself is hugely healing to me. I think also that in my work I wanted to make a distinction between sex and rape, because rape is not sex but it is violence and sex is something beautiful – no matter how hard you’re fucking it is always consensual. Sex is wonderful – I want to celebrate that.

KD: Where to you get your inspiration?

Fuschia:I am inspired predominantly by my own history, but also materially – by patterns, colours, chance events. I am really interested in

surface decoration, the little details which make up the skin of an object. I also have a fascination with craft – embroidery, needlework, knitting, upholstery, beading – things which were traditionally a woman’s work, I enjoy bringing a new vitality to them when they are placed in an altogether different context – For me, a cross stitch of a pretty house is impressive, but a cross stitch of a vagina is sheer brilliance.

‘My Cunt is a Crime Scene’

KD: What’s the hardest thing about being an artist?

Fuschia: I think that, for me, the hardest thing about being an artist is also one of the best things – Being self led. On the one hand the freedom is wonderful, the ability to just get up one day and say “Today I shall make a wall-hanging entirely out of cotton wool…” – that is a fabulous feeling when you have total monopoly over your practice. On the other hand, however, is awful days of total creative block, despondency, failure… It is about having the ability to be your own critic, but also to know when to stop beating yourself up over your short-comings.

KD: Who inspires you, as an artist?

Fuschia: In the art world my greatest influence has to be Tracey Emin, I discovered her work aged 14 and have been in love ever since. I admire her ability to let the viewer in but still keep hold of the reigns. For me she is somebody who is very real, very human and also very good at what she does. I also admire Sarah Lucas, Elke Krystufek, Nan Goldin, Annette Messager, Ana Mendieta and Francesco Clemente among others. I have also been inspired greatly by the work of author Mervyn Peake. I would also like to take this oportunity to say a big thank you to Sarah Berry for her ongoing support!

KD: What are you working on now?

Fuschia: I am currently working on a project which is far more feminine in appearance, I have become really interested in floral prints and patterns. I have just completed part of this – a large square painting titled “My Not So Secret Garden”, which was inspired by my unease with the common pornographic pose which involves spreading ones pussy lips with ones fingers, I was interested in the dual meaning of the gesture – whether it was an invitation, a sign of vulnerability in exposing our softness – or whether it could be an aggressive gesture, a blatant display of sexuality as something threatening. By combining the image with soft floral shapes and pastel colours I am trying to play with the connotations the familiar pose has…It is work in progress!

KD: What are you working on now?

Fuschia: I am very excited at the moment about our (The Vagina Atelier) nomination for the Erotic Award’s Erotic Artist of the Year, and the possibilities for making new contacts. I am looking forward to seeing what the future brings…

Fuschia’s blog: http:/www.fuschiaayling.blogspot.com

Thank you, Fuschia for giving us a chance to get to know you a little better and to sample a little bit of you stunning art. It’s been a real pleasure you to have you! I wish you all the best in your creative pursuits.

 

A Very Long Walk for a Very Good Cause

Nick and Lucy stopping for lunch in East Texas

When Raymond was in the States in January, he sent me a link from the Monroe Louisiana paper about a couple who were walking across the US for charity. Being a walker, I was outrageously impressed, and knowing the lack of public footpaths and right aways for walkers, I knew that Nick and Lucy Russell were going to be facing some serious challenges. This lovely couple is sort of dear to my heart because not only are they taking on an amazing challenge for a great cause, but they’re from the UK! Well, I just had to email them. To my surprise and delight, they agreed to let their feet rest a bit while I interviewed them. And they even sent lots of cool piccies! Please welcome Nick and Lucy Russell, from somewhere in the deserts of West Texas.

Our starting point on the beach at Tybee Island

KD: Of all the things you might have done to raise money for charity, what inspired you to walk across the USA? Why this walk? Why this charity?

N&L: We disagree as to whose idea it was in the first place to walk across America. One of us originally suggested trying to walk across Russia (we only ever seem to take our holidays in Russia, for some odd reason), this was quickly dismissed as being far too difficult! So, America seemed a much shorter option in the end (ah for the benefit of hindsight).

KD:Could you give us a basic description of your route, from where to where? Why this

Pecan trees in the morning in Georgia

particular route? How long do you think it will take you?

N&L: We started out at Tybee Island (just east of Savannah, Georgia) and will (hopefully!) finish in San Diego, California. We chose a Southern route mainly because it allows us to avoid the colder weather further north and mountain ranges (it’s also a slightly shorter route, which is always welcome). It also takes us through parts of the country which we wouldn’t have otherwise visited. It should take us 6 months to complete…injuries and bad weather permitting!

KD: Tell us a bit about Nick and Lucy. Who are they now and who were they in their previous life (Before the walk began)?

Road sign for Hiway 80, which we followed the first 1000 miles

N&L: Neither of us were particularly keen walkers at all! We might go for a short walk round London on the weekend or whilst on holiday, but nothing more than that – so this represents a big change from our regular routine. We grew up in rural Lincolnshire, but both lived and worked in London for a few years before starting the walk (and are planning to return to do so again once done walking); Lucy for a charity and Nick as a civil servant. It was perhaps a case of finding something as different as possible from sitting behind a desk all day that prompted us to start walking.

KD: After months of walking, you must have your routine down by now. Could you tell us a bit about a day in the walking life of Lucy and Nick?

N&L:We generally start walking between 7.30 and 8.00am, when it starts to get light. An average day is usually 20 to 25 miles in all, although these distances are getting longer now the further west we head. We try and walk for about three to four hours in the morning before having our first rest; we find that if we stop beforehand, we’ll then need to stop every hour or so throughout the day. Talking to

A quieter road away from the main highway

each other really helps pass the time, as does listening to music; quieter days definitely drag much more than the ones which we can talk. We try and stock up on as many calories as we can whilst walking, so we survive on a pretty unhealthy diet of trail mix, protein bars and chocolate whilst walking. We then walk either to the nearest motel or, as has been the case more recently, until sunset and pitch our tent – then it’s time to collapse! Our routine has changed slightly over the past few days, we recently got a trailer to push our food, water and bags. This has taken a lot of weight off of our backs, which we’ve definitely enjoyed.

KD: What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve had to face in your walk so far?

N&L: Probably the boredom. When all you do each and every day is just walk, it can be difficult to get enthusiastic about doing it all over again the next day. That’s why we try and keep our minds a little occupied and not solely focused on walking.

KD: What has surprised you the most in your walk?

Our bridge across the mississippi and into louisiana

N&L: I think it’s how little parts of America are set up to facilitate walking. In many of the towns or cities we’ve been through, pavements are either missing, lead to nowhere, or in a state of disrepair. It’s a much more car focused country than we’re used to. This leads to us looking a little out of place at times when we try walking along roads which clearly weren’t designed for pedestrians!

KD: What have you enjoyed the most so far?

N&L: Probably the little things…like when it’s really hot and a car pulls over and hands you a cold drink, or a comfy bed and nice meal at the end of a long day (especially pecan pie, something we’ve really enjoyed). We’ve also had some really spectacular sunrises and sunsets along the way, which are always nice ways to begin or end the day.

KD: Do you feel this walk has significantly changed you as people? If so, in what way?

N&L: I think we’re still the same people as we were when we began; we’ve perhaps grown a little crazier, and have a greater appreciation of chairs and remaining sedentary, but we haven’t had any epiphanies as of yet! Given all the hospitality we’ve received along the way, it does make us think that we too should become nicer to strangers once we return – as people have been to us.

KD: How did you train for walking all the way across the US?

N&L:We both started walking into work, instead of taking the tube or bus. Lucy walked there and

Dallas, the biggest city on our route

back each day (around 8 miles), Nick’s walk in was around 5 miles. We also started doing some weekend walks around London, generally up to 20 miles in length (these were pretty tough going, too!). Finally, we went to the Peak District for a week, partially for a bit of a summer holiday, but also to get some more practice in. We definitely didn’t enjoy the hills!

KD: What have been your outstanding impressions of the America you are seeing as walkers and its people? What has been their response to a couple of Brits walking across the US?

N&L: We’ve been more taken aback by people’s support than anything else. We’ve been stopped on a near daily basis for people to offer us lifts (which we politely turn down, of course), food, water, kind words and even a place to stay for the evening. We’ve found that people are much more open here than in England, and much more willing to stop and offer help. When we get into what we’re doing, people think we’re a little crazy (and they wouldn’t be wrong), but always offer support. Our accents also make us stand out, especially compared to the Southern and Texan accents around us.

KD: Tell us a bit about the charity you are raising funds for and are there any ways we who aren’t walking can support you and keep track of your progress.

Setting up camp in the desert of West Texas

N&L: The charity we’re raising money for is close to our own hearts…as we set it up! It’s called The Pamir Trust and works in the remote Pamir region of Tajikistan (just north of Afghanistan), to support small scale community led development projects. We’re working with individual villages to identify what small projects we can support that will make a big difference to the village. We will then fund the project and let the village take it from there – after all, they know best! We wanted to set up the charity after visiting Tajikistan a couple of years ago and being humbled by the generosity of the people there, despite it being a very poor and remote corner of the world. There are more details on both the charity and the walk on our website, including where we are at the moment, www.walkamerica.co.uk. People can also follow us on Facebook
www.facebook.com/walkusa, Twitter @walkusa or donate through our fundraising page https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/walkamerica.

KD: Thanks for being my guests, Lucy and Nick. Wishing you a safe and interesting onward journey and much success with your fundraising efforts. You two are truly amazing!

 

Eroticon Rocks Bristol

Apoligies from the photo staff: for the lack of pictures of the event. Without my trusty hubby there to egg on and facilitate picture taking, I sometimes get caught up in the event and forget. Sadly, or happily, depending on how you look at it, this was one of those times. So you get mostly WORD pictures. Those I’m better at.

I love writing conferences! I’ve never been to one in which I’ve not had a wonderful time and walked away enriched by the experience. The very first ever, long awaited Eroticon, which took place Saturday in Bristol, was no exception. It was the first, but I’m sure all of us who attended are hoping it won’t be the last.

I met Ruby Kiddell in Las Vegas at the EAA Conference last September. Little did I know what that event would set in motion, for the lovely, creative Ruby. Six months later, the woman had somehow, almost as if by magic, put together an amazing event in an amazing city, with amazing guest speakers attended by amazing folks who like to write sexy amazing stuff – online or in story.

For me, the event really started on Friday when I hopped the train to Bristol, my head still spinning with the final details of Riding the Ether. I arrived in Bristol early afternoon and took a taxi to the hotel room. The day was sunny and bright and the air was filled with the promise of spring, which was enough to drive me into the streets, as soon as I was settled in the hotel room, to take in the city. I suppose it’s the walking genes, but I’m a firm believer that in order to really know the soul of a place, it has to be explored with soles – one foot at a time.

I walked in the sunshine along the waterfront. A busker played an accordion and gulls called overhead. My first priority was to find Armada House, where Eroticon was to take place the next day. It was an easy ten minute walk, even playing the shutter-snapping tourist. Once I was sure of the route to the venue, I explored College Green with its fountains and Cathedral, and then walked down past Queens Square, where the first blackbird I’d heard for the season seriously sang from a nearby tree. Back at the waterfront, I settled in for a pint and a salad for dinner while I worked on the read-thru for Ether.

The next day, I arrived early in typical KD fashion, never wanting to miss anything. I’d barely gotten in the door before I met the lovely Jilly Boyd, whom I only knew online. Just then Janine Ashbless arrived. What a delight to see her two weekends in a row. She was followed shortly by Kay Jaybee, Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse. When Rebecca Bond showed up, it felt a bit like a reunion from last week. And there was a whole room full of new people to meet and old friends to get reacquainted with.

After Danish and coffee and a chance to network, the day began with panels, classes, and discussions enough to spoil us for choice (link to courses) The only real problem was that it was impossible to be in two places at once.

The first panel was Identity Ethics and Sex Blogging, which was full of thought provoking insights. Though my blog is not a sex blog, most of what was said and discussed on the panel resonated with anyone who writes sex, whether it’s self-help, personal experience, poetry or fiction.

One of the most eye-opening statements came from Zoe Margolis, AKA Girl with a One Track Mind, who said. ‘It’s a sad state of affairs that we can’t be open about sex. Outside this room, people would think what we’re doing is saucy, perverted.’

I was stunned. I write erotica and surround myself with others who also write erotica and people who are comfortable with their own sexuality and allowing others the space to explore theirs. But Zoe’s statement was a powerful reminder of what we’re up against, as bloggers and authors, and what needs to change before sexuality can be embraced and celebrated for the important part of the human experience that it is.

Armada House, home of Eroticon 2012

Scarlett French, who later led a course of her own called, ‘Taking your writing beyond the page,’ asked the thought-provoking question: Do we perpetuate the segmenting and separating of sex from the rest of life by blogging under a pseudonym?

The answer was a resounding yes, but sadly there didn’t seem to be a real solution for the problem.

Zoe then commented about a blogger’s tea party in New York, which was by roughly an equal number of men and women. When asked. The women blogged under a pseudonym because they feared being judged. The men, however, blogged under a pseudonym only because they wanted to keep their private life separate.

I don’t have the time nor space to talk about all the panels and workshops, however, I felt that the first panel set the tone for the rest of the day and was so full of food for thought that it alone would have made the day worth it. Please check the link for more details on the events and for some wonderful posts from the participants. And there were so many fabulous people there. I could name-drop all day.

Another fabulous encounter, for me, happened when my lovely, publisher, Hazel Cushion, from Xcite Books, who was there for the panel of publishers, quietly directed me to the Lovehoney Sex Toys booth to meet the wonderful, Alice Little in her sassy cherry-print frock. Lovehoney sells and promotes my novels, and Alice is a fan of The Initiation of Ms Holly. Lovehoney have been fabulous supporters and seriously good sales rep for my work. It was a pleasure to meet the people behind the lovely toys and equally lovely book sales. Joined by my dear friend and fab author, Kay Jaybee, we talked writing and books and sex toys. Lovehoney were one of the sponsors of the event, and Alice was very happy to talk us through the range that Lovehoney had brought to display. I’ll be placing an order …

We spent a happy few minutes thumbing through the amazing prints of fabulous photographer, John Tisbury, chatting with Jade Whisk about stories the prints sparked for us and the pitfalls of getting published. After that, I split the next session between the Northern Birds, Lucy Felthouse and Victoria Blisse, who were running a workshop on promoting, marketing and blog tours, which was, in typical Felthouse /Blisse fashion, informative, sassy and fun. Then I rushed downstairs to catch the second half of the panel on blogging and the press.

The evening was topped off by a stunning demonstration of spanking by London Faerie and Lori Smith of Bitch Buzz, and a gorgeous burlesque performance. Sadly, for all of us authors, who came prepared to read, there was not enough time for the readings. Too many wonderful events, not enough time.

The day ended with dinner with Maxim Jakubowski, Jacqui Brocker, Josephine Myles, Lily Harlem, Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse. After

Hazel Cushion presents the 2012 Xcite Award to Alice Litte representing Lovehoney, who won the Best Sex Toys Shop award.

burgers and chips and much conversation about – you guessed it – writing and sex, we all headed to our respective hotels. As it turned out Lily Harlem, Victoria Blisse and Lucy Felthouse were staying in the same hotel as I was, and Josephine Miles had an hour to kill before catching her taxi to the train station. AND our hotel had a quiet bar.

Five smutters, a good supply of drinks, alcoholic and otherwise, and as you can imagine, it was filth time! By the end of the evening we had schemed future anthologies, nasty stories, and had filthy discussions of the ones that got away and how glad we were they did. Oh, and did I mention, we talked writing? As fabulous as the event was, what these events do that’s the very best part for me, is give writers, who are by nature, solitary creatures, who seldom come out of their caves unless they HAVE to, a chance to celebrate their craft with other writers. I know, I know, it’s called networking, but that word is so business-like and cold. I’m kind of toying with the word smutworking. When sex writers get together, it’s not so much about what we can do for each other. It’s more about a common experience shared and made somehow deeper and more celebratory for the being shared by a bunch of introverts.

The view across the square to our hotel, where much creative smuttery happened

I had quality time with fabulous people – some who were my heroes before I spent time with them, and many who certainly were AFTER. Gathering for a weekend with other sex writers, whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, or blogging, makes me realize just how important what we do is. Sex writers are at the forefront of the boundary pushing that needs to happen for sexuality to stop being the nasty that’s hush-hush and separate from the rest of the human experience and become the vibrant, integrated celebration and perpetuator of life that it truly is. We’ve got our work cut out for us, but wow, are we in good company!

 

Molly’s Daily Kiss: A Celebration of All the Good Bits

KD: It’s my pleasure to welcome top sex blogger, Molly Moore, to A Hopeful Romantic today. Welcome Molly! Your fabulous blog, Molly’s Daily Kiss, was awarded the sexiest blog of 2011, and after spending some time wandering around your site, I can certainly see why. How did it all begin? Why did it all begin?

MM: I have always enjoyed writing but never really felt like I had found a genre that I felt comfortable writing in until I discovered erotica. I had always read erotic novels but it wasn’t until I started to discover its existence online that I realised I didn’t have to write a novel to get read and so I started writing short stories and publishing them on a couple of different sites. They were fairly well received but the whole process of publishing them on other sites felt fairly disjointed to me. I wanted to own my work a bit more, have a say in where and how it was published and identify it, without any doubts, as being my own. On top of this I also felt that I just didn’t write enough. I was a great one for starting pieces and never finishing them and so the idea of a blog that would demand regular input from me seemed an obvious one.

When I started it, just over 2 years ago I had absolutely no idea that it would grow to what it has become today in both the number of visitors and in its content but my style of a mixture of images and words that complement each other and a strong auto-biographical content to my work seems to be a style that works for me and that appeals to a lot of people. I currently have, on average, 1100 hits on my blog per day, a pretty impressive figure I am told considering the age of my site.

KD: Why do you think your blog attracts so many visitors?

MM: As I just said I think it is the combination of my words and pictures that work together to create an honest and raw story. For a long time I thought that the main readers to my blog were men coming to perve but looking at my analytics I have learnt that that is not the case and that most of my readers are in fact woman.

KD: I was particularly fascinated by the part of your blog known as The Pussy Pride Project. Could you tell us how it came to be and why you think it’s such a popular part of your blog?

MM: The Pussy Pride Project came about after I discovered The Great Wall of Vagina by Jamie McCarthy. I spent a long time reading about what had inspired his work and found I really identified with his sadness at discovering that so many woman viewed their fannies in such a negative light and found the thought that an increasing number of woman, especially young woman, were resorting to surgery to change the external appearance of their genitalia deeply disturbing. I realised that within the sex blogging community many woman were maybe more open about these issues and thoughts than in society as a whole and so if I provided them with an outlet to share their intimate experiences about their fannies with not only their readers but my readers and everyone else’s readers who linked into the project it would build a blogging version of The Great Wall of Vagina.

When I started the project I had absolutely no idea if anyone would join in or not but before I knew it links started to appear on the page and then the thank you’s from women whom I had never met but who read my blog started to appear in my inbox; often heart wrenching tales of women’s experiences with their pussies and how reading my work or seeing my pictures and looking through the Pussy Pride Project had made them realise that they were as ‘normal’ or as beautifully individual as the next girl made me realise that the Pussy Pride Project was a massive success. It is of course an ongoing project and over the last few months I have been so busy that it has not received the attention it should but I hope that will change soon. I have a few promises of some guest posts that look to be pretty special and also some plans of my own to hopefully extent the project beyond what it is now and maybe one day even try to publish it as a book in its own right.

KD: Why do you think women have such a struggle accepting their bodies, but most especially their fannies?

MM: This is something I have pondered a great deal, why woman and not men too? I have come to the conclusion that it is not exclusive to woman by a long chalk just that woman seem to be more open about admitting it, whereas men tend to cover it up with bravado and humour. Also society as a whole seems to be much more accepting of the naked female body than the naked male body and so woman are exposed to images of the ‘perfect’ female body much more that men are. Everywhere you turn you can see her; in newspapers, magazines, billboards, TV, films that woman who we are all meant to resemble. She is a myth, beauty is not that woman, beauty is about the people we are and the connection we make with one another. Yes there is physical beauty but it is when we focus on this alone that we create whole generations of woman who are overly self-conscious about their bodies.

As for fannies, well to be honest the opposite is the case because unlike the female body as a whole which we are served a daily diet of the only fannies most woman get to see are those that they encounter when looking at porn which often portrays fannies as neat, tidy, shaved, tight, almost childlike in appearance. What woman need, hence the Pussy Pride Project on my blog, is to see lots more fannies of all different, shapes, sizes, colours, patterns, hair styles, ages etc to help them to learn that there really is no such thing as the perfect fanny apart from the one between YOUR thighs. That is perfect, perfect for you.

KD: One thing writers are always having to do is write a short biography for ourselves. What would be the most important things you would want the world to know about Molly?

MM: I really hate writing those things. How can you explain a person in a ‘short biography’ and even begin to do them justice. There are so many parts to me; female, wife, lover, mother, submissive, slut, photographer, writer, friend, owned…. the list is endless. I really am at a loss to choose just one but I guess if really pushed I think I would have to go with… Woman.

KD: How has having a blog where so many women, and men, feel safe to share some of the most intimate parts of their lives affected you?

MM: To be honest it has been humbling and eye opening and most of all I have made some amazing friends and contacts that I treasure dearly. Having complete strangers trusting you with their inner most thoughts, feeling and experiences has made me realise just how cruel humans can be to one another but also that we have an amazing power to heal, forgive and grow from the experiences in our lives.

KD: Do you have any plans for Molly’s Daily Kiss for 2012?

MM: Oh my, so very many of them. I have just launched 2 sub domains on my site; Sinful Sunday, a weekly erotic photography meme and The 365 Project, which is a place for me to explore my non erotic photography.

At the moment I am also building a 3rd sub-domain that will house a project called Anonymous. I have increasingly been asked by other friends, writers and sex bloggers to post anonymous pieces that they wish to share with the world but don’t want to post on their own blogs and so have decided to create a space dedicated just to this.

On top of all this I want to make sure that I keep on writing regularly myself, finish the 30 Days of Kink Project and maybe write my own version based on the topic of submission.

KD: What about Molly’s goals for 2012?

MM: My biggest goal for 2012 is to write a novel or a novella, depending on length, with the aim to self publish. I have had so many calls from people to do that it is starting to seem rude not too give them what they are asking for. So if anyone out there has the power to make more hours in the day, so I can fit all this in, then please do get in touch immediately.

KD: Thank you, Molly! It’s been a complete pleasure to have you on my site!

 

The Crowded Room

I feel really privileged to put the cherry on the top of the First Annual RomFan Reviews Holiday Blog Hop, especially when the last few days of the year have a very special place in my heart. It’s been great to share this fabulous time of year with so many wonderful writers and bloggers, and to make some new friends in the process. You all rock! Annette Stone, a special thanks to you for making it all happen. And now, I’d like to tell everyone just why the last few days of the year, the last week, to be exact.

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to wax slightly nostalgic and do a little navel gazing and reflecting. The last week of the year has always fascinated me. It’s not like the rest of the year. It’s almost like there are really only fifty-one weeks in the year, then there’s the crowded room of a space tacked on to the end, a place not unlike my grandmother’s living room was, all crowded full of the bits and pieces and memorabilia of eighty-three years of living.

The last week of the year is a mini version of that living room that happens anew every year, a mental version, a room that everyone has in their head. It doesn’t matter how expansive or how crazy the previous fifty-one weeks have been, this final week is the tiny space into which we crowd everything that has happened, and for those last seven days of the year, we reflect and remember.

At the front of that crowded room is a big picture window looking back onto all of the past years of experiences. During this last week of 2011, we’ll go inside that room, shut the door behind us, knowing we’ll never go back through that door again. There we’ll settle in to the one comfy chair, the only space that isn’t avalanching with memories and emotions and experiences, and we’ll reflect. Occasionally we’ll stop for a long stare out the window into the years past to try and make out how it all fits together. I often write a massive journal entry at the year’s end. I settle in with wine and chocolate and good coffee and all my favourite things and write. The entry is always full of reflections and memories and plans for the future, all done during the time spent in that crowded room that’s the last week of the year. I wager I’m in good company in that endeavor.

I used to ask my grandmother who was in this old photo or that, or where she got this porcelain doll or that china figurine. Every item in her living room had a story. It was a gift from someone, or a souvenir from some marked event in her life, or something someone had made for her or she had made for herself. My grandmother’s living room was a book full of stories I only ever experienced through her eyes, stories that were lost in the mist to anyone but her and the few of her older friends who still remained, all with story book living rooms of their own.

This time of year, in this last week, we all sit in our mental story book living rooms and tell ourselves one last time the stories that have been our life for the past fifty-one weeks. We laugh at our joys, we mourn our losses, thankful that they’re now passed and we nod our heads in satisfaction at our successes, promising they’ll be even bigger next year.

My grandmother lived to be eighty-three. There was a finality about her over-crowded living room. That last-week-of-the-year room we all occupy right now has its own finality. After midnight tomorrow, we can crowd no more into that room. We leave it as it is, papers strewn, boxes open, bed unmade, cup of tea half finished. Mind you, some of us spend our last hours in that room frantically trying to crowd just a little more into it. That’s me, sitting in the recliner madly tapping away at the laptop trying to get another chapter written, another short story out before I have to leave this room and lock the door behind me.

And it’s been a good year, a wild rambunctious year crowded with laughter and tears and the celebration of two new novels, a challenging Coast to Coast walk across England, conferences, readings, vegetables planted and eaten. I have lots of pictures in my year’s mental photo album, I have lots of triumphs and losses, and lots of time spent with wonderful friends and loved ones. Hold it! I’ll stop right now because once I get going, I’ll give you the whole inventory, and you, no doubt have your own crowded room to inventory.

It doesn’t matter though, if we’re sitting reflecting on all that fills this room, or if we’re frantically trying to fill it fuller before the clock strikes. At midnight tomorrow night, we’ll all take a deep breath, open the door and walk out into the empty room waiting for us, the empty room that’s 2012. All we’ll take with us is our memories of the room we left and our hopes and plans for how we’ll fill this bright new room that stretches promisingly before us. Some of us make New Years resolutions, some of us just plow in without a plan of action, but one thing is for certain, this time next year, if we live that long, we’ll be sitting in the full room again reflecting on how the experiences of 2012 have shaped us, anticipating how we’ll take the experiences into the next empty room. And that’s all we’ll be allowed to take with us, our experiences, our memories,

My wish for you all is that your reflections in your crowded room will be good ones, satisfying ones. And at the stroke of midnight, that you’ll enter that bright new empty room of 2012 with hope and joy and anticipation of how wonderfully you’ll fill it up.

I’d like to help you heat up your empty room by offering a choice of either of a PDF version of either of my novels, The Initiation of Ms Holly or The Pet Shop. Winner’s choice. Leave a comment to be included in the drawing for the giveaway. All the best in the New Year!

 

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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