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Sex and Ritual

from the archives

Those of you who follow my blog and read my books know that I’m fascinated by the
connection between sex and spirituality. I’m not a mystic. I’m a bit of a skeptic these days, but I’d be the first to say that there’s definitely something spiritual, something magical about sex, and not the least of it is the ritual involved.

 

I’ve always loved ritual. I made rituals up when I was a child. Later, I was involved in everything from conservative Christianity to practicing in a Wiccan coven — drawn in by the ritual. I spent three years training to be a spiritual director. I did it for the ritual. Contemplative prayer, meditating upon passages of scripture, the use of movement, dance, chant, are all tools of ritual. During my time spent in the Wiccan coven, the year itself was lived out in ritual — full moon, new moon, the changing of the seasons, the celebration of spring and harvest. During that time my husband and I even underwent the ritual of hand fasting in the stone circle at Avebury.

 

Ritual is a set of actions performed mainly for their symbolic value. But that’s only the beginning. The real power of ritual is that it’s the gateway to something beyond itself, it’s the gateway to a deeper understanding of what it represents.

 

That ritual infuses my erotica is not surprising. Sex is steeped in ritual, and often the rituals we practice before sex are strikingly similar to religious rituals. We often wear special clothing for the occasion, just as priests and acolytes do. We may share a romantic dinner together before hand, with special foods, just as the priest serves the Eucharist. Flowers and gifts may be offered. And all this we do in hopes of experiencing and celebrating le petit mort, the sexual version of death and resurrection.

 

When life was a lot more tenuous than it is now, fucking the world into existence was an act of high magic, sympathetic magic. One hoped that by having sex in a field or a cave or possibly a stone circle, the birds and the bees would see what was happening, and take a hint. Pollination would take place in the plant kingdom, plants would grow. Procreation would take place in the animal kingdom, animals would give birth. There would be food to eat, and the next generation would be guaranteed. Our ancestors got it — that there was something in the act, something in the lust driving the mating rituals of all living creatures that brought about new life. New life was in itself magic.

 

Today sex is more about recreation than procreation. The urgency is no longer there, nor is the belief that our efforts will encourage the cattle in farmer Jones’s field to breed. The urgency may be gone, but the ritual is still there. Strangely and wonderfully, so is the magic, albeit a different kind of magic.

 

 

The beauty of sex as ritual is that we don’t have to be members of a religious group; we don’t have to undergo years of training to practice the rituals of sex. Whether it’s BDSM, kink, vanilla or masturbation, sex contains the built-in default rituals of all humanity, just like it does for our animal cousins. Yes, I get that it’s biology. But when cranes dance and grebes do synchronised swimming and apes groom each other, it certainly seems like more is happening than just the old in and out.

 

Giving and receiving pleasure is the ultimate ritual of human connection, even if it’s
just some much-needed connecting with ourselves. There are as many versions of the ritual as there are people to practice it. No organized religion can offer a ritual that is more personal nor more universally compelling. Perhaps that’s why so much effort  has been made through the centuries to regulate it, to control it, to limit it.

 

Back in the dawn of humanity when sex was both ritual and religion, our ancestors got it right. Though the science wasn’t yet available to back up that intuitive connection, that visceral urgency of fucking the world into existence, even back then, our ancestors already knew that the ultimate ritual, the ultimate magic takes place in the arms another.

 

 

 

 

The Redemption of the Shrew Launches with a Tour and Giveaway

The Redemption of the Shrew

Scandalous Kisses Book 4

By Barbara Monajem

 

Barbara has some wonderful prizes to giveaway during the tour. Please be sure to enter with the Rafflecopter below. There is an opportunity every day to enter for your chance to win one of the fabulous prizes. So join us for a fun blog tour journey and be sure to enter every day for your chance to win. You may find all the blog tour locations here.

 

 

 

 

About The Redemption of the Shrew:

Nothing is more painful than rejection—particularly when completely naked!

 

Gloriana Warren doesn’t want to wait for marriage. Beneath her shrewish exterior is a kindhearted woman who uses her fortune for good. It doesn’t matter that the man she’s set her sights on claims impoverishment. She’s in love and determined to marry him. But her attempt at a moonlight seduction ends in disaster.

 

French marquis Philippe de Bellechasse has had it up to his gorgeous dark eyes with being pursued by lusty ladies. His escape to England from the violence of the French Revolution took a toll on his finances as well. Gloriana may be gloriously naked, but he’s just not ready to submit to her seduction.

 

But when a precious family artifact is stolen, Philippe must convince Gloriana he’s not the guilty party. He’ll steal it back for her, but on his terms. Gloriana, believing he despises her, has plans of her own. Working at odds is dangerous, but working together can be more so. Is Philippe willing to risk his heart again for a deliciously tempting shrew?

 

Amazon Buy Link

 

 

 

The Redemption of the Shrew Excerpt:

 

A clandestine meeting, particularly where nakedness is involved, is best arranged for a moonless night.

Or so Gloriana Warren told herself, for her mother would never have uttered such a scandalous dictum. Unfortunately, it was tonight or never. Tomorrow, the man she had sworn to love forever would leave Lancashire and return to London—without her. They wouldn’t be able to marry for years because of his stupid scruples about money.

Men and their tedious pride! She and the Marquis de Bellechasse loved one another. They shared the same lofty ideals. She had a substantial dowry. Marrying now made sense. Not only that, her mother would die happy.

So Gloriana was taking matters into her own hands. She had planned the upcoming encounter in glorious detail—every word, every gesture. As she emerged from the summerhouse to greet him, he would stand and stare at her, transfixed by her beauty.

“Darling Philippe,” she would say, reaching for him, offering herself without reserve. “Love is eternal. It cannot, must not be denied!”

“Ah, ma belle,” he would respond, his hand on his heart, his voice throbbing with desire. “I adore you. What a fool I was to think we could wait for years. Even another minute is too long. Tonight, I shall make you mine!”

She would fling herself into his waiting arms, swept away on the tide of his passion.

She wasn’t sure exactly how it would go after that, apart from plenty of kissing, but judging by her previous experience of Philippe’s kisses, it would be the most thrilling experience of her life.

She sneaked out the French doors, arms full of blankets, and glanced back up at Garrison House. Not a glimmer of candlelight showed in the windows. She hurried through the rose garden and skirted the lawn, keeping to the bushes and out of the moonlight. In the secret room under the summerhouse, she and her darling Philippe would be safe. Tomorrow they would announce their engagement to Mama. They would send for a special license and be married within a week.

Ten minutes later, she had set up a makeshift bed under the summerhouse and removed all her clothes. Shivering more from excitement than from the chilly night air, she waited for Philippe to arrive.

Tonight would be the most perfect night of her life.

~~~

The Marquis de Bellechasse left his horse in a convenient copse and made his careful way forward, pausing at the edge of the trees. Garrison House was reassuringly dark, but moonlight reflected off the ripples on the lake. The summerhouse gleamed white on its little knoll, exposed on all sides. He paused, listening. No sound disturbed the darkness except a nightjar complaining from a nearby oak. He hoped and prayed no one else was up and about tonight. He couldn’t afford to get caught with Gloriana Warren, but nor could he bring himself to ignore her passionate plea to see him once more before they parted.

He loved her—to the point of folly, judging by his current behavior. He had already said farewell, and yet here he was, trespassing on her brother’s estate at midnight to say it again. He dreaded her inevitable tears.

The door to the summerhouse stood wide open, which meant Gloriana was here already. Fine. Best to get it over with now. He took a deep breath and set out across the lawn.

He had almost reached the doorway when she came into view, rising from out of nowhere, her face pale, her hair loose around her bare shoulders. He halted, staring, his heart thundering. She continued to rise, her breasts round and luscious in the light of the moon. His eyes slid helplessly down the curve of her hips to the darker patch at the apex of her thighs . . .

Mordieu. He shook his head and began to back away. “No, chérie. We must not do this.”

She set her feet on the floor—she must have emerged from a trapdoor—and beckoned with those sweet arms, smiled with those lush lips. “Philippe, my darling, please come to me. I love you so much.”

“No, ma belle, I cannot.”

“But love—” She faltered, then continued toward him, arms wide. “Love is eternal. It must not be denied.”

Sacrebleu, she was declaiming like a shoddy actress on the stage. The thought revolted him. Surely his idealistic Gloriana could not cheapen herself so. Anguished, he put up his hands to fend her off. “It is not possible, Gloriana. Not yet. It would not be right.”

She hurried forward, her breasts jiggling enticingly. “Truly, we mustn’t delay. My mother may not have long to live, and seeing me married well is her dearest wish.”

He didn’t care in the least about old Lady Garrison, who was the worst sort of snob. He shook his head. “No. To wait is best.”

“Philippe, I cannot wait. I need you now.” She reached for him, her nakedness inches away.

He gritted his teeth and took another step backwards. His imbecile cock was reacting to her, but he had long ago gained control over its demands. “I am sorry, but I must go.” He turned away.

She wailed, a sharp, keening sound, and immediately a shout came from nearby. Her brother? No, he was in London. A gamekeeper?

Whoever the man might be, he was lurking here on purpose. So much for love, Philippe thought. Gloriana was just another lust-crazed woman trying to trap him into marriage. He turned and ran. Pursued by shouts and then shots, he reached his horse and galloped away.

 

 

 

 

About Barbara:

Winner of the Holt Medallion, Maggie, Daphne du Maurier, Reviewer’s Choice and Epic awards, Barbara Monajem wrote her first story at eight years old about apple tree gnomes. She published a middle-grade fantasy when her children were young, then moved on to paranormal mysteries and Regency romances with intrepid heroines and long-suffering heroes (or vice versa).

 

Barbara loves to cook, especially soups. She used to have two items on her bucket list: to make asparagus pudding and succeed at knitting socks. Asparagus pudding proved to be pretty horrible, and she is too fumble-fingered to make socks. Now she just sticks with writing books. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with an ever-shifting population of relatives, friends, and feline strays.

 

 

 

Social Links:

 

 

 

 

 

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Find Me: Instalment 10 of Concerto

 

Sometimes things are just too good to be true, and with the storm raging outside and the heat of sex, music and passion raging in, it’s not easy to know where reality begins and dream ends. Crossing that boundary is always a shocker and never what you expected.

(You’ll find links to the rest of Concerto at the end of this instalment)

Concerto: Chapter 10 Find Me

I woke in the dimly lit room watching rain drops slowly drip down a curved tube. For a long time I just watched, fascinated by how clear the droplets were and how slowly, how evenly they drip, drip, dripped. “Still raining.” My throat felt like I’d been swallowing gravel. “Maybe Mrs. McLaren won’t be able to come get me. Maybe I’ll be stranded here with you for a while longer.” my tongue felt too big for my mouth, as I slurred over the words. My body ached all over – no doubt from all the lovemaking. It was only when my pianist made no reply that I tried to roll over in the bed and realized I was attached to the drip, drip, drip. There was an IV bag connected to the long tube that led to the vein in the top of my hand. My pianist wasn’t there. I wasn’t there, at least not in the cottage on Skye where I should have been. A nurse rose up from a chair next to the railing on the side of my bed.

 

Startled into an unpleasant wakefulness, I forced my way up onto one elbow. The needle in my hand pinched, and my joints ached with a vengeance. “Where am I? What’s going on?” The effort was a mistake. The tympani pounding in my head was outdone only by the toxic burst of colors in front of my eyes. I all but fell back into the bed with a groan.

 

“Easy now, just lie back and breathe deeply. That’s it. You’ve had a nasty knock to your head,” the nurse said reaching for my arm to take my pulse and my blood pressure, where the cuff had been left on my bicep.

 

“Where am I?” I asked again, trying to take in my surroundings without moving too much. I was still too muzzy in the head to decide if I should panic, or if maybe I was dreaming. Surely that was it. I had to be dreaming. “Where is he,” I ventured, holding my breath for a second listening for the piano.

 

“Who?” The nurse said without looking up from her efforts.

 

“There was a man with me.” I didn’t know what else to say. I still didn’t know his name, and I regretted it more than ever at that moment. “Is this a … hospital?”

 

The nurse, Claire, her nametag said, “Gartnavel,” she replied with a nod. I must have moaned or maybe gasped, because she looked up at me. “Glasgow?” Then she slid her glasses off and tucked them in her pocket, studying me through dark, liquid eyes until I would have squirmed if moving hadn’t been so unpleasant. “How much do remember,” she asked at last.

 

“What do you mean by that, how much do I remember? I was in bed with my … lover in his cottage. I fell asleep there last night. The landlady was supposed to pick me up later today and take me back to Portree.”

 

“Mrs. McLaren?”

 

“That’s right. I was staying at one of her cottages for the long weekend.”

 

Just then a woman in tailored navy trousers and jacket stepped into the room carefully shutting the door. Her short gray hair and no nonsense attitude made me think of Judi Dench in a James Bond movie. She offered me a smile that made me think it didn’t come easily, and then glanced at my chart. “Welcome back. I’m Ms. Jackson, your consultant.”

 

“My consultant?” It was suddenly a struggle to breathe. A knot tightened in my stomach as I tried once again to sit up. “Why the hell do I need a consultant? Where’s the pianist? Where is he? He was with me, and …” The world spun sickeningly around me and I eased myself back on the pillow, fearing I would throw up. I clenched my eyes shut, fighting back nausea with quick shallow breaths through my
nose. From somewhere far off someone was speaking to me, telling me to relax and breathe deeply. But I was no longer listening. I was lost in the music watching my pianist playing through the rain-pocked glass of the French doors on his cottage. Around me the storm raged and the rain came in sheets. I felt neither. I only watched and listened, but as I reached for the door to let myself in, the world went black.

 

When I woke it was dark outside and a different nurse sat by my bed. I felt like my head was full of cotton wool and everything seemed far away. I swear I could hear the drip drip of the IV and feel each drop going into my vein. I pretend I was still asleep. Maybe I was asleep. I couldn’t be sure I wasn’t dreaming, not when everything was so strange and out of focus. I only wanted to be back in the cottage curled up with my pianist. I wanted him kiss me awake and nibble my earlobe and then take me again in that lazy early-morning way that lovers do, who are new, who are still discovering each other, still unable to get enough of each other. And then I was once again standing outside the French doors listening to my pianist. This time I didn’t try to go in. I was too afraid if I did, I’d find myself back in the sterile room in Glasgow with the nurse hovering over me. Surely I must still be lying in the big bed next to my pianist, sated from so much lovemaking. No doubt, I was dreaming horrible dreams about leaving him, when I would have much rather stayed. I made myself a promise that as soon as he woke me up in some delicious way, I wouldn’t rest until he gave me his name. I needed to know his name. But, he didn’t know mine either, did he? How could two strangers have become so intimate?

 

I don’t know how long I listened. I didn’t get wet, I didn’t get cold, I barely heard the storm rattling the windows and howling around the cottage as he played on and on. I let his music wash over me in waves, carrying me to a safe place where nothing could touch me but the melody. It was the same melody he’d been playing the first time I heard him, and it held me in thrall just as it had then. With the edge of my nightshirt, I wiped the steam from my breath off the glass, and the music stopped. He turned to me and came to the door. My relief was short lived though, when he only placed a hand on the glass and said softly. “Find me.”

 

If you’ve missed an episode of Concerto, here are the links.

 

Concerto Part 1: A little Night Music

Concerto Part 2: Distractions

Concerto Part 3: Too Much to Bear Alone

Concerto Part 4: Writing and Waiting

Concerto Part 5: A Duet in a Storm

Concerto Part 6: Remember How it Feels

Concerto Part 7: Unsettled

Concerto Part 8: Into the Storm

Concerto Part 9: Me, But Somebody Else

 

Lakeland Inspiration and Free Reads

Surely there is no other place in this whole wonderful world quite like Lakeland … no other so exquisitely lovely, no other so charming, no other that calls so insistently across a gulf of distance. All who truly love Lakeland are exiles when away from it.

— Alfred Wainwright

 

 

 

I’m just back from a lovely few days in the English Lake District. As always, I had a glorious time and would have loved nothing more than to stay a little longer. Few places inspire me quite like the Lakes. Proof of that is in the fact that all three of my giveaways for the month of July are set in the English Lake district. More about those later.

 

 

I’ve never seen it this hot or this dry in Cumbria. Many of our favourite walks involve being up high enough that there are no trees. While that is not a problem under an overcast sky, with the July sun beating down and not a bit of shade in sight, it can be brutal. As you can see, I was in shorts. I’ve never before walked in shorts on the fells.

 

 

That being the case, we spent some of our walking time down lower on more shaded walks. This is Ashness Bridge, iconic Lakeland, and a part of our walk that involved an ascent up the back side of Walla Crag and then down to walk around Derwent Water.  One of the best parts of that glorious walk was the wild bleaberries. For those of you that don’t know what those are, think mini blueberries that bite back. They’re tiny and sweet and deliciously tart, and I didn’t get any photos because I was too busy stuffing my face. We all had blue fingers and teeth by the time we were at the top of the fell.

 

 

We had a nostalgic walk retracing the steps of the walk that inspired Anderson’s slate quarry shelter in Body Temperature and Rising, the first of the Lakeland Witches novels. In fact the whole walk from Grange, up to High Spy and down Rigghead Quarries figures into the series over and over again. This walk is a part of the Newlands Horseshoe Ridge, which one of my very favourite walks in the Lakes.

 

 

My best British memories come from the Lake District, and it’s the place I write about most often just because I get to be there vicariously when I write, and I get the remember and dwell on all those places I love so much.

 

 

 

Follow these links to FREE READS all set in Lakeland.

 

 

 

 

The Hotter the Better Steamy Romance Giveaway

https://books.bookfunnel.com/thehotterthebetter/7o1156uuyo

 

 

You’ll find my sizzling novella, In Training in this fabulous library of steamy romance. Read blurb and excerpt here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Kick-Ass Women of Urban Fantasy

https://books.bookfunnel.com/womenurbanfantasy/r09cfeffoq

 

 

 

 

You’ll find my novel, In The Flesh, here. It’s the first novel of the Medusa’s Consortium series. Read blurb and excerpt here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Short but not Sweet

https://books.bookfunnel.com/shortromance/mkz0o5zg9l

 

 

 

 

You’ll find my M/M novella, Landscapes, here. Read blurb and excerpt here

 

 

Seelie Kay Launches The President’s Wife with a Tour & Giveaway

The President’s Wife

by Seelie Kay

 

Seelie will be giving away  an ebook of The Garage Dweller to three lucky winners drawn via Rafflecopter. Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter. Remember there is a chance every day to enter to win. You may find all the tour locations here.

 

 

 

About The President’s Wife:

What happens when one of your best friends, the First Lady of the newly democratic Republic of Lodatia, appears to be an imposter? If you’re criminal defense attorney Julianna Constant, you pursue the truth like a rabid dog, then wage a battle to save your friend’s life.

 

When criminal defense attorney Julianna Constant travels to Washington, D.C. to join her former college roommate, Marella de la Aerelli, in celebrating her husband’s election as the first president of the newly democratic Republic of Lodatia, she is met with an unpleasant surprise. Her friend of almost 30 years not only looks unwell, she is cold and distant. After Julianna becomes convinced the woman is really an imposter, she attempts to expose the faux Marella by using a secret only she, Marella, and the sitting U.S. President share. In the process, Julianna helps to uncover an international conspiracy to seize control of the new country, using the president’s wife as a pawn in a dangerous and potentially deadly game. Will Marella be rescued before a coup takes place? Or will she become collateral damage in one tiny nation’s fight to be free?

 

 

 

BUY LINKS:

Publisher

Amazon: coming soon

Barnes & Noble: coming soon

 

 

 

The President’s Wife Excerpt: 

The state dinner at the White House was in full swing. Waiters were busy delivering food and pouring wine, as guests ate and chatted with others seated at their tables.

 

Julianna picked at her dinner, some sort of beef dish with quirky vegetables, and continued to study Lodatian President Georges and Mrs. Marella de la Aerelli, as they chatted quietly with the U.S. president and his wife. Marella barely looked up from her plate, and conversation with her hosts appeared to be minimal. God, that is so not the Marella I know. She hasn’t even acknowledged me and I sent her an email informing her that I would be here.

 

Julianna set her fork down on her plate and nudged her husband, Little River, Wisconsin Police Chief David Manders. “Something’s wrong.” Julianna whispered. “Marella looks wrong. Maybe she’s just tired after the campaign, but she looks sick. Too thin and too pale. And she isn’t smiling. Marella is always smiling, even when she feels like shit. And she hasn’t even looked at me. Why is she ignoring me? Something is not right. I can feel it.”

 

David looked at his wife and tried to hide his smile. “Jules, you find a conspiracy behind every door these days,” he said quietly. He looked around to ensure that the other four couples seated at their table were otherwise engaged. “I vote for tired, no, make that exhausted. My God, five months ago, she was a farm wife in Lodatia, now she’s been thrust into the international spotlight as the wife of the President. That would exhaust anyone. I know if you ran for president, it would have a negative impact on me.”

 

Julianna smirked. “If I became President, sir, it would have a negative impact on both of us.”

 

David sighed and ran a hand through his short, silver hair. His piercing blue eyes gazed at his wife, his fondness apparent. “Well, instead of jumping to conclusions, let’s wait until the reception at the Lodatian Embassy. There are a lot of rules and protocols for visiting dignitaries. Maybe it just isn’t appropriate to buddy up to an old friend at a state dinner. Once you get up close and personal with Marella, you can get a better fix on things. That woman has been through the wringer, what with that opposition group trying to assassinate her husband not once, but twice. I imagine the stress of clinging to Lodatia’s newly formed democratic government is a kind of like hanging on to a cliff, knowing that if you fall, there will be no net to catch you. Cut her some slack and do not tell her she looks awful.”

 

 

About Seelie Kay:

 

Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, with a dash of kink.

 

Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nine works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, and The President’s Wife, as well as the romance anthology, Pieces of Us.

 

When not spinning her kinky tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

 

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

 

Seelie can be reached at www.seeliekay.com, www.seeliekay.blogspot.com, Twitter or Facebook.

 

 

Author links:

www.seeliekay.com

www.seeliekay.blogspot.com

Twitter: @SeelieKay https://twitter.com/SeelieKay

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/seelie.kay.77

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Seelie-Kay/e/B074RDRWNZ/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1517848564&sr=1-2-ent

 

 

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The Romance Reviews

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