The Battle to Get “Fit Enough”

 

For those of you who have been following my pole posts as I prepare for a photo shoot, I’m very chuffed to announce that I just got bounced up to the big girls’ class … well the intermediate class actually, but it’s the big girls’ class to me. I’ve looked forward to this major milestone since my first session. I can now do my basic spins, I can climb, do basic stands and sits, manage some really cool looking poses and as of today … wait for it … I can do my invert! It’s not elegant yet, and it’s not without a lot of effort, but still, getting upside down is a major accomplishment. Happy dancing all around!

 

What being booted up to the intermediate class means is that the learning curve, which is already steep, just went off the chart again, and the hard work is just beginning. Like any other challenge, there are obstacles to overcome. With pole, once I was hooked — and that took me all of ten minutes of the free trial class, I began to realize that the real obstacle, as much as learning the techniques, is getting fit enough to perform them. Essentially that means getting strong enough. I started out fairly fit, but as my instructor,  Lauren McCormick, reminds me, everyone starts pole at the beginning, and being fit doesn’t necessarily make you fit for pole. I wasn’t … I’m still not … BUT I’m getting there.

 

I have two pole workouts a week – one with the group and one that’s a private lesson. I can’t afford to miss either if I’m going to get where I want to be. In addition to that, I have one brutal workout at the gym a week with Klaudia Cel. We train strength, stamina and endurance as well as coordination and balance. That workout is entirely geared toward pole. Right now with an occasional kettle bells class, that’s about all I can handle. I do my regular pole conditioning and stretching exercises at home as well as kettle bells and walking everywhere I possibly can. Am I a bit obsessive? Of course I am! But any of you who know me already knew that. Even so, I only have to be with the pole ten minutes before I realize just how unfit I still am. And no matter how impatient I am – which I am – it takes as long as it takes.

 

 

The lovely instructors at Polerocks have a fantastic way of helping us gage our improvements. It’s called The Board of Pain, which I experienced for the first time Tuesday. There a dozen and a half basic pole conditioning exercises written on said B of P with a space under each for our names and our times or rep counts. We record those as we complete each exercise. To complete the exercises on the board takes an entire class. We’re competing against only ourselves, but in three months time, we’ll do it all over again and see how much we’ve improved. The B of P is a way to chart our progress. Like any other discipline, the basics are the building blocks for everything else, and conditioning is a seriously basic build block essential for pole.

 

The other battle with conditioning for pole is the bruises. I’m getting fewer as I progress, but every time I learn something new, there’s a good chance I’ll do it wrong multiple times before I do it right. And, as I mentioned before, the pole is not the most forgiving dance partner. That being the case, there are only so many times I can practice a move with repeated bruising until I have to give it a rest and practice something else.

 

 

I know it all sounds a bit mad, but I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t love it, if I didn’t love the challenge of it. I push myself hard because I’m impatient, and I want to do really well. The truth is I adore the creative aspect of fitness. I completely understand why people get bored with the typical gym workout. It’s a bit like writing the same novel over and over and over again. My body craves creativity just as much as my mind does, and thinking through spins, combos, ways I can train core, ways I can gain conditioning and flexibility, is like thinking through the plot of a story.

 

This week’s challenge was the superman move at the top of the post,  which Lauren had me approach from an invert. Strangely enough though it was my first invert on my own, I was so focused on the superman, that the invert seemed secondary.

Slowly but surely. I’m learning the techniques, I’m getting stronger and more sure of what I’m doing. Progress, any progress makes me feel powerful, and I have to admit I like that feeling, bruises and all.

I’ll be back with another update in a week or two. If you’ve missed the first two installments, and want to read them, follow the links below.

A Pole, a Photographer and … Me?

Getting Upside Down

 

Lisabet Sarai Launches Citadel of Women: Asian Adventures Book 2 with a Giveaway

 

 

 

Passion flares among the ruins of an ancient empire

 

 

 

 

 

Win a free copy of Citadel of Women:

To celebrate the launch of Citadel of Women, Lisabet is giving away two copies over at her blog to randomly selected commenters. Giveaway ends next Saturday. just follow the link below:

http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com/2017/12/sizzling-sunday-new-release-and.html

 

 

*****

 

Contemporary multicultural erotic romance (X rated)

8,700 words

#Cambodia #AngkorWat #multicultural #bisexual #romance #travel #FF #MF

 

 

*****

 

 

Citadel of Women Blurb: 

When her lover severs their relationship just before a long-planned trip to Angkor Wat, Doa stubbornly decides to travel alone. The marvelous sights of the ancient Khmer empire do little to heal the rift in her heart. Che, the mercurial young tour guide, senses her loneliness and offers her comfort and passion. Their connection is far more than physical – but how can two people from such different worlds share a future?

 

 

Buy Citadel of Women Here:

 

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Citadel-Women-Asian-Adventures-Book-ebook/dp/B077TVWGVV/

 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Citadel-Women-Asian-Adventures-Book-ebook/dp/B077TVWGVV/

 

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/761487

 

Barnes and Noble – https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/citadel-of-women-lisabet-sarai/1127544089?ean=2940154632604

 

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/th/en/ebook/citadel-of-women-asian-adventures-book-2

 

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36672227-citadel-of-women

 

 

Citadel of Women Excerpt:

Dinner was served on the hotel terrace overlooking a small garden. The moist air was a soft, heavy blanket, laced with the scents of jasmine and mosquito coils. Two dim bulbs lit the scene with a golden glow. Our group sat together at a long table, consuming spicy fish, garlicky vegetables, and mounds of rice. I sat at the far end, nearest the garden, listening to the multi-lingual chatter, the clink of silverware, the droning of the insects in the trees. I had never felt so alone.

 

All at once, he was there, settling his loose-limbed frame into the chair across from me. He plunked an amber bottle misted with condensation down in front of me. “You look like you could use this.”

 

He took a swig from his own beer. Not knowing what to say, I did the same. The icy liquid slid down my throat.

 

“Good?”

 

I nodded and drank again before turning the bottle to examine the label. “Angkor Beer?” I laughed.

 

“Why not? One of our leading exports.” He tilted the bottle back. I watched his brown throat move as he swallowed. “Possibly the only thing most people know about my country.”

 

“Really?” It was difficult to talk to him, difficult not to stare at his mobile, expressive face.

 

Fortunately, the beer offered a convenient alternative to conversation.

 

We drank for a while in silence. I wondered how I could politely excuse myself.

 

He replaced his bottle on the table. “You really miss her, don’t you?”

 

My eyes filled with tears. Somehow, though, it was a relief to admit it to someone, even to him.

“Yes. Yes, I do.”

 

“Is she your lover?” I’d read Cambodia was a conservative country, but Che didn’t seem shocked by the idea at all.

 

“Was. She broke it off just before we were supposed to leave on this trip.”

 

“Why?” The question was completely inappropriate, but I could see he wanted to know.

 

I buried my face in my hands. What could I say? How could he ever understand?

 

I heard the scrape of his chair as he rose. His hand rested briefly on my bare shoulder. “Whatever the reason,” he murmured, “I think she was crazy.”

 

 

 

About Lisabet:

 

Lisabet Sarai has been addicted to words all her life. She began reading when she was four. She wrote her first story at five years old and her first poem at seven. Since then, she has written plays, tutorials, scholarly articles, marketing brochures, software specifications, self-help books, press releases, a five-hundred page dissertation, and lots of erotica and erotic romance – nearly one hundred titles, and counting, in nearly every sub-genre—paranormal, scifi, ménage, BDSM, GLBT, and more. Regardless of the genre, every one of her stories illustrates her motto: Imagination is the ultimate aphrodisiac.

 

You’ll find information and excerpts from all Lisabet’s books on her website (http://www.lisabetsarai.com/books.html), along with more than fifty free stories and lots more. At her blog Beyond Romance (http://lisabetsarai.blogspot.com), she shares her philosophy and her news and hosts lots of other great authors. She’s also on Goodreads and finally, on Twitter. Sign up for her VIP email list here: https://btn.ymlp.com/xgjjhmhugmgh

 

Is Sex the Journey or the Destination? – A Guest Post by JL Peridot (@jlperidot) #giveaway

In stories and in life, sex can be an exciting driver for change. Desire stokes your energy and pushes you forward, waking you up, forcing you to appreciate what’s around you instead of sticking to the status quo.

When a friend of mine left her first husband, we were all shocked. To us, she was the heroine of a beautiful college romance that turned into the perfect life.

I tell her story with permission: one day, she met someone. She wanted him. She’d never felt this way before. Suddenly, she found she couldn’t settle for the first answer that came up when she wondered if Happily Ever After existed.

Whether or not this new guy was her hero, her desire for him thrust her marriage under a microscope. For the first time, she saw the stark incompatibilities, the lack of respect, the micro-aggressions and passive-aggressions that over the years told her to shut up and just be a good wife. She realised her husband had been antagonist material this whole time, and she was just too blind to see it.

Months after her marriage ended, I asked why she never hooked up with the new guy. She said even though her desire for him was “the beginning of the end”, she realised it was never really about getting together with him. She’d been deeply unhappy in her relationship for so long that it had become normal. She was sleepwalking through it, and figured that’s just what happiness must be like.

Yet somehow, her body knew that her head and her heart were out of synch. Every fibre of her being was determined to put it right. It tried letting her know through anxiety, through depression, through chronic illness, but nothing worked. Finally, it tried sexual desire — the beast that grows stronger, the more you try to ignore it.

A year later, she was a divorcee and the happiest I’d ever seen her, starting a new relationship with guy who later proved that heroes aren’t just found in storybooks.

In my novel, Chasing Sisyphus, my heroine and hero are undoubtedly attracted to each other. It’s no traditional romance novel attraction. They’re two good-looking adults who’ve been around the block enough to know there’s something there. The problem is there’s no way a wanted criminal and a cop can hook up. Not even in a corrupt city like Basilica.

So, what can they do? They can’t stop at the first answer that comes to mind: turning on each other and getting on with their lives. That’s what you’d settle for if it were with any old Joe. But when you want someone — really want someone — you look for a different answer. You can’t help it. Every fibre of your being pushes you towards it.

It doesn’t have to be about the sex, really. Sex, the act or just the mere idea of it, is there to wake you up. And with your eyes open, you can finally see the chapters of your life for what they are, and get back to creating your story.

Thank you, KD, for having me on your blog.

*****

Chasing Sisyphus excerpt:

Adria took a deep breath. Then another. The air was too thick in here. Shadows and sparks crept over her vision. Why was the floor moving?

She fumbled for the doorknob. No dice. Dried her hand on the towel and tried again. Cool air flooded in. Sweat prickled her skin. She blinked hard and rubbed water from her eyes. The dull carpet beneath her seemed to stretch on forever, a giant tilting landscape meeting a worn wallpaper horizon.

Detective Carver stepped toward her. He held out a cup and motioned for her to take it. She tucked a finger in the handle and clutched it in both hands. A dark crack streaked the rim like a wrinkle in a knuckle. Meanwhile, her own knuckles were pale.

“I guess I should thank you”—he smiled—“you know, for saving my life.”

“Don’t mention it,” she whispered, vision clearing as she sucked in a breath of fresh motel air.

The detective’s shirt hung, still wet, on the back of a chair. The contours of his chest and abdomen showed through his dark undershirt, accentuated by the sheen of composite fabric under lamplight. A shallow dimple creased the edge of his smile.

Details.

Anchors.

They’d come so close to not making it. But he’d cuffed her round the front. He was the sort of cop who’d do a thing like that. And the few seconds it bought made all the difference.

That’s why she went back.

He stood in front of her and knocked back his shot, the muscles in his wrist and arm flexing and twisting with the motion.

“Hey”—he looked at her—“something the matter?”

Heart racing, she downed her drink without a word and reached for him. She pulled his face to hers. His skin was warm. His breath was warm. Beneath the smell of liquor and earthy river water lurked the aroma of another person. A breathing person who caught her as she fell into him, as she kissed him, fumbling for something to hold onto.

The detective let go of his cup. It landed next to hers on the carpet. She kicked them both away. Her lips recognised him, recognised the sensation of life breathing between them both. Only this time, he was alive, too, hot and moving. His arms gripped her, holding her as she pushed her body toward him, against the growing need under his clothes. She was a buoy, slammed into him by waves in a storm. He clung to her, seizing fistfuls of her hair.

“What are we doing?” he gasped.

“We almost died tonight.”

She kissed him again, seeking his tongue where their lips met. Her nimble fingers worked the clasp of his belt. When it was undone, she peeled his undershirt from his muscular torso. His skin was cold beneath her touch, or were her hands hot from the shower? She looked at him. Right in the eye. She guided his hands up her waist and watched him intently.

“Fuck that, right?”

“Yeah”—he nodded—“fuck that.”

*****

Chasing Sisyphus blurb:

Bounty hunter Adria Yuan is hot on the trail of her final hit: a notorious hacker wanted by the city’s elite. With the reward, she can pay for her brother’s surgery and finally get out of Basilica City. Trouble is, her line of work’s not exactly legal, and she’s barely staying ahead of the cops who want her target, too.

Detective Rhys Carver may be a little unorthodox, but he’s a good cop. Born and bred in Basilica, he does his part to keep his city clean. As clean as it gets, at least. And with Adria suddenly in his sights, it’s going to take more than falling in love for him to let her go.

As the pair close in on their mark, they are unwittingly drawn into a high profile conspiracy that could thrust the whole of Basilica into chaos. Can Adria and Rhys set aside their differences, and their desires, to save the only home they know?

*****

About JL Peridot

JL Peridot never expected to write romance. She likes her stories with a little danger and only realised in her 30s that falling in love is one of the most dangerous things we do. From her home in Western Australia, she writes erotic romance, erotica, shopping lists and long-winded walls of text to her very patient friends.

*****

GIVEAWAY!

Make sure to follow the whole tour—the more posts you visit throughout, the more chances you’ll get to enter the giveaway. The tour dates are here: http://writermarketing.co.uk/prpromotion/blog-tours/currently-on-tour/jl-peridot/

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Jackie and the Bling Stock: A Free Fairy Tale

 

 

Tis the season for fairy tales and happy endings, the season for giving and good cheer. I tend to be a grinch where all
the commercialism this time of year is concerned, but I came across a story I’d written long before there was a K D Grace and found myself smiling to think that the power of fairy tales and the power of a good dead done and a kind gentle heart truly is timeless magic.

I wrote the story for fun. It’s not erotic or sexy. In fact it was written in my pre-erotic romance days. It’s light, it’s definitely airy fairy, and it’s just the kind of thing that seemed right for a season of love and good cheer. Enjoy!  And remember, it’s an oldie, written while I was still learning my craft, so consider me kindly as you read it.

 

Jackie and the Bling Stock: A Fairy Tale Revisited

            Once upon a time, a woman called Jackie got tired of having her boss feel her bum, so she slapped him, magically transforming him into her ex-boss.

As Jackie left Prince Charming Jewelry for the last time, an old woman beckoned her to a nearby cart. “You want bling? My bling’s blingier. Cheaper too. Best bling you ever seen.”

The woman was right. Her jewelry was exquisite, unique. Jackie held up a pair of earrings similar to expensive ones in Prince Charming’s, but prettier, and only a few pounds – one last splurge before destitution, she thought, holding out a fiver.

“You work there? The woman pointed to the Jewelry store.

“Not any more. Mr. Prince fired me.”

“Disgusting man,” the old woman spat. “You work hard, he gets the dosh. You were the brains in that shop.”

“How do you know that?” Jackie asked.

“I got eyes. You got money?”

“Two hundred pounds. Why?” It was the money from her final paycheck.

“For that I’ll sell you my cart, complete with its magic bling stock. You could use some magic, no?”

It made no sense. Jackie didn’t believe in magic, and still she bought the cart.

The old woman said, “You treat people good, the cart treats you good. Them’s the rules of the bling stock.” Then she was gone.

Jackie shivered. Had the woman cast a spell on her?

Next morning, dawned cold and rainy. Jackie gave her umbrella and a bracelet to a girl in a tattered jumper. She gave a child some purple beads and an old man some earrings for his ailing wife. All day people came to Jackie’s cart, strangely avoiding Prince Charming’s. Unfortunately her generosity meant her cash box wasn’t overflowing. But when she inventoried her bling in the evening she found it mysteriously replenished. She went to sleep with no dinner and dreamed of ruby slippers and fairy godmothers.

All the following day people queued at Jackie’s cart. If they had no money, she gave them bling anyway. She couldn’t help herself. The harder she tried to be entrepreneurial, the more she gave away. Some magic cart!

“I’m in trouble.” A handsome man in an expensive suit leaned over the cart smiling sheepishly.

“Today’s Mum’s birthday party. I had my eye on a necklace at Prince Charming’s, but traffic was bad. Shop’s closed.”

Jackie showed him a silver locket set with amethysts.

“Exquisite! I’ll take it, with matching earrings.” As he paid, he lifted her hand to his lips. “Rescued by the fair maiden.”

The next day almost every woman in queue wanted a locket and earrings like the man had bought. A lady thrust the newspaper at Jackie. “It’s what Lady Valentine wears. It’s all the rage. A gift from her son Thomas.” the woman swooned. “Most eligible bachelor in London.”

Jackie stared down at the photo of her handsome customer with his smiling mother, resplendent in bling from her cart.

A week later the newspapers announced the engagement of Vanessa Valentine, Thomas’s sister. Everyone speculated on who would design the wedding gown and where the honeymoon would be, but the bride’s jewelry, no doubt, would come from Prince Charming’s.

Jackie was taking a tea break, when the Valentines arrived unexpectedly — mother, sister, and Thomas all smiling at her.

Thomas took her hand. “Mum wanted to see what lovely bling you have.” Jackie blushed. It wasn’t her bling Thomas was looking at.

She offered them tea from her flask and the last of her Jaffa Cakes. As the Valentines oohed and ahhed over Jackie’s jewelry, Mr. Prince trotted across the street in a jealous panic. “I’ve been waiting for you,” he simpered. “Surely you wouldn’t buy cheap trinkets for the wedding.”

“Don’t judge a rock by its price tag.” Thomas said.

“Indeed,” Lady Valentine spoke around a Jaffa Cake.

The man bristled. “Surely, Madam, you wouldn’t buy jewelry from this… chav.”

“It’s your fault, Mr. Prince. If your store kept decent hours for shopping, we’d have never discovered Jackie.”

“I’ll make you a wager, Mr. Prince,” Thomas said. “Choose your best wedding jewelry, and let Jackie choose hers. If Vanessa picks your jewelry, we’ll finance that second shop you want. But if she chooses Jackie’s, then you sign over Prince Charming’s to me.

“Done!” Prince glowered. “Have your lawyers draw up the documents.”

Soon everyone was talking about the big bling-down. And Alvin Prince was determined to win. He already had plans for that second shop. So the night before, very late, when only thieves and cockroaches prowl, he sneaked to Jackie’s cart with matches and the lighter fluid from his bar-B-Q. He’d lose no more customers to this cheeky mare.

Next morning, Jackie found only ashes where her magical cart had been. She fell to her knees and wept. All her work had been for nothing. But where her tears fell something glistened through the soot. With trembling fingers, she uncovered the loveliest necklace she’d ever seen, then earrings, bracelets, brooches. She scooped them up and hurried off to Valentine Hall.

Vanessa was trying on Prince’s extravagant diamonds when Jackie burst into the salon.

Thomas hurried to her side. “Where were you? I was worried.” He escorted her past a nervous Mr. Prince.

Dusting aside the last bits of ash, Jackie offered Vanessa simple pearls and garnets.

She put them on, studying her reflection in the mirror.

No one dared breathe.

Then Vanessa laughed. “Delightful!” she exclaimed.

Her ladies tried them on too.

“I feel as beautiful as a bride myself and as happy,” the maid of honor said.

All the ladies agreed.

A grumbling Alvin Prince signed over his shop to Thomas, who handed the deed to Jackie. “Prince Charming belongs to you now. You’ve earned it.”

All the Valentine’s applauded.

“You’re coming to the wedding, of course,” Vanessa said.

“She has to.” Thomas folded her arm over his. “She’s far too kind to leave the bride’s brother unescorted.”

As for Mr. Prince, well CCTV had captured his whole pyromaniac act for posterity. It gave several of his other female employees the courage to come forward to the police about his abusive behavior, and he was given a nice rent-free room in the local prison.

As for Jackie and Thomas Valentine, well I’m not a gossip columnist, but I will say that Jackie did catch the bouquet.

 

Voyeur, Body Thief, or Something Else

This is my second post about reading as a writer and writing as a reader. Today I’m looking at how one experiences a good book and what that means to me as a writer.

 

One of the most intriguing parts of story for me has always been the way in which the reader interacts with it, more specifically the way in which the reader interacts with the characters in a story. I find that interaction especially intriguing in erotica and erotic romance.

 

To me, the power of story is that it’s many faceted and it’s never static. And, no matter how old the story is, it’s never finished as long as there’s someone new to read it and to bring their experience into it. Like most writers of fiction, I’m forever trying to analyse how a powerful story is internalised, and why what moves one reader deeply, what can be a life-changing experience for one may be nothing more exciting than window shopping for another.

 

In my own experience as a reader, there are two extremes. I can approach a story as a voyeur, on the outside looking in from a safe distance, or I can be a body thief at the other end of the spectrum and replace the main character in the story with myself.

 

One extreme allows the reader to watch without engaging and the other allows the reader to create sort of a sing-along-Sound of Music- ish experience for themselves. As a reader, I’ve done both and had decent experiences of novels doing both. As a writer, however, I don’t wish to create a story that allows my reader to be a voyeur or a body thief.

 

As a writer I want to create a story that’s a full-on, in-the-body, stay-present experience from beginning to end. I want characters that readers can identify with and are drawn to but don’t necessarily want to be. I want a plot that feels more like abseiling with a questionable rope than watching the world go by from the window of a car. My goal is to create that tight-rope walk in the middle, to create that place in story where the imagination of the reader is fully engaged with the story the writer created. That place is the place where the story is a different experience for each reader. That’s the place where the story is a living thing that matters more than the words of which it’s made up. It matters more because the reader has connected with it, engaged with it, been changed by it. In that place, the story and the reader are in relationship. Neither can embody the other, neither can watch from a distance. The end result may be an HEA, the end result may be disturbing and unsettling, but at the end of a really good read, the journey to get there is at least as important as the end result.

 

Erotica and erotic romance are by their nature a visceral experience. Though I believe that’s true of any good story. I don’t think good erotica can be watched from a distance any more than it can be the tale of the body thief. While either will get you there, there’s no guarantee that the journey will be a quality one. And I want a quality journey. I want to come to the end wishing I hadn’t gotten there so quickly, wishing I’d had the will power to slow down and savour the experience just a little longer. I want to come to the end wondering just what layers, what subtleties, what nuances I missed because I got caught up in the runaway train ride and couldn’t quite take it all in.

 

A good read is the gift that keeps on giving. Long after I’ve finished the story, the experience lingers, and little tidbits that I raced through during the read bubble up from my unconscious to surprise me, intrigue me, make me think about the story on still other levels, from still other angles. When I can’t get it out of my head, when I find myself, long after I’ve come to the end, thinking about the journey, thinking about the characters, thinking about the plot twists and turns, then I know the story has gotten inside me and burrowed deep. There was no pane of glass in between; there was no body for me to inhabit because all bodies were fully occupied by characters with their own minds and their own agendas. The experience extends itself to something that stays with me long after the read is finished and makes me try all the harder to create that multi-layered experience in my own writing.

 

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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