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Celebrating Summer Solstice with Garden Porn

 

Last December, I wrote a post about celebrating the darkness of Winter Solstice and of partaking in that extra dream time those long winter nights bring with them. It seems appropriate that today I write a post celebrating the light. Happy Summer Solstice, my Lovelies! In the UK, the days are extravagantly long, and everything is blooming itself silly just before setting fruit. OMG! There are not enough words for delicious to describe British asparagus and strawberries!

 

 

And the birds!  The birds start up their raucous Dawn Chorus at 03:45! I know because I heard them start this morning. I think that’s rather auspicious, being awake in the early hours of Summer Solstice to hear the Dawn Chorus begin. And this bad boy black bird is the first to start the song. Even at that insane hour the sky was rimmed with that thin line of silver that happens just before night gives way to the charcoal grey and dusty blue of the first intimations of morning.

 

 

Oh! And if you look out the window at Grace Manor, you will see how we  celebrate summer on our grand estate. That’s right, it’s garden porn time. The light brings with it heat and the heat means the ground is ready to plant. Germination is happening! Beans are thigmotroping, corn is photosynthesising. And we’re ready. We’ve been planning since January.

 

 

This year’s a little different though. This year, we’ve decided to share the fun. It’s a lot of work putting in a veg patch the size of ours — especially when underneath our efforts to build up the soil, it’s still a clay pit that demands lots of physical labour to make it ready. With that in mind, we invited the neighbours, two doors down, to share the veggie fun — a very smart thing to have done. We have not only halved our efforts, but we’ve doubled the laughter and and the excitement and the wonder at seeds growing exponentially into huge plants that produce such succulent delicious treats. Add to the fact that this young couple has no space for a veg patch of their own, and both have a green thumb, and seeing their excitement is almost as much fun as feeling our own.

 

 

And then there’s the celebrating the day’s efforts. That almost always involves beer or cider. Following Sunday afternoon’s efforts, Mr. Grace, in the mood for a party, cranked up the bar-b-q and the four of us sat outside over our burgers and wine and fresh British strawberries. We lingered long into the approaching evening watching the bats fly over and listening to the birds sing their good-nights, while we planned and schemed our veggie kingdom. In the midst of it all, there was a wonderful sense of camaraderie that comes from time spent with kindred spirits.

 

 

Planting things, seeing things grow, tending them, and then harvesting them and feasting always feels like the perfect way to honour the Earth in all of her splendour and change. It’s a wonderful way of being a little closer to those cycles we’re all so connected to and yet have sadly lost touch with. Veg gardening is reconnecting in a visceral way. It’s a very real reminder of what sustains us, what gives us life, and why we celebrate the light.

 

 

Happy Solstice, however you celebrate. Me, I’m going to fondle the plants in my veg patch, then I’m going for a walk in the English countryside. The sun is full on us. Let’s bask in the light, as we dreamed in the darkness, and see what grows from that wonderful, seasonal blending of the two.

 

 

 

 

Solstice Heat

 

Happy Solstice, my Lovelies! Here in England it’s a hot one. With no AC in the house and this kind of heat so unusual
here, we tend to get up close and personal with our Heat Waves and everyone finds relief in different ways. Personally I prefer a cold drink in the shade, when there’s shade to be had. Somehow being out in it makes me feel like a willing participant rather than a wilted victim.

 

 

And really, why not celebrate? This is the fecund time of year. Seeds become plants that bud and make fruit, and lordy, lordy, don’t we eat like kings on that delicious succulent summer fruit? Plants grow like mad. I swear I can almost see my sweet corn growing. I half expect to hear it whisper urgently, ‘feed me, KD’ as the neighbors and their dogs slowly begin to disappear. The old saying ‘Knee high by the 4th of July?’ Well mine is already that and more! Anticipation! An-ti-ci-pa-a-a-tion!

 

 

 

 

Lots of things grow and come to fruition in the heat. I suppose as a writer I love the idea of the whole growth cycle – a seed is planted, it sprouts, then grows into a plant, which sets blossoms, then produces fruit. For those of us who write, that fruit is often the source of new seed as well.

 

 

 

 

Being caught up in the world of Medusa’s Consortium with Blind-Sided and Buried Pleasures at the moment, the excitement of ripe fruit is more than just me checking out my crops in the veg patch every day and eating enough British strawberries to sink a battleship. But this time of year always reminds me that I live and move and grow and change within the cycle. The heat, that intense push to growth and maturity is a part of all our lives, and I do wonder at times if we are actually the metaphor for the wonderful turning of the year, for the ebb and flow that grounds us, even when it roasts us.

 

 

 

 

British Summer is notoriously fickle. Everyone who lives here will tell you that. But it’s also in-your-face brilliant, filled with birdsong, long hours of daylight, and more shades of green than the eye can take in. And if you don’t take full advantage, it’ll turn it’s back and howl in a storm. Mind you it will anyway, but that’s just a part of the adventure. “It was a dark and stormy night” is just the flip side of the “summer lovin’” coin. I get a good bit of both writing paranormal, and I appreciate both, even as I grumble about them.

 

Happy Solstice everyone! Smell the roses, dance in the water sprinkler, have a cold drink and read a good book in the shade. Can’t you just feel the growth?

 

Don’t forget Landscapes, my Medusa’s Consortium M/M novella, is a FREE Download!download at the moment. Landscaper, Reese Chambers, is just the kind of bloke who would appreciate the fecund British Summer. So be sure to download if you haven’t already. Then grab a cold drink, a spot of shade and enjoy the heat.

 

 

 

 

Landscapes Blurb:

Alonso Darlington has a disturbing method of keeping landscaper, Reese Chambers, both safe from and oblivious to his dangerous lust for the man. But Reese isn’t easy to keep secrets from, and Alonso wants way more than to admire the man from afar. Can he risk a real relationship without risking Reese’s life?

Note: Landscapes has been previously released as part of the Brit Boys: On Boys boxed set.

 

Landscapes Excerpt:

The moonlight was bright and Reese’s night vision was good, but the path was rocky and steep. He stumbled and went down on his arse, catching himself on one elbow and cursing as the sensation of pins and needles shot up his arm. He forced his way to his feet slipping and sliding the last hundred meters on the dew-drenched stones. He was just about to call out, just about to shout Alonso’s name when the man moaned softly and Reese stopped in his tracks. Not only was Alonso no longer curled on his side, but the man was naked. He lay flat on his back, his knees bent, bare feet resting on the bench, one arm flung over his face, the other curved down low across his belly, his fisted hand moving up and down the length of his cock.

Reese froze, unable to move, unable to breathe. Alonso Darlington was beautiful, like no one he’d ever seen. His body was sculpted, not like polished marble, but with the ruggedness of the rocks of the fells, like he labored to be free from himself, like one of Michelangelo’s prisoners. The muscles of his belly tensed and relaxed and convulsed and relaxed again in response to his stroking. The movement of muscle beneath skin on his biceps and his forearms, on the rise and fall of his chest, on the tensing of the chorded muscles in his neck and throat as he swallowed was like a hypnotic dance. The muscles in his thighs twitched and bulged as he rocked and arched upward until Reese could see the clenched half-domes of his buttocks. He could smell the nutmeg and yeast scent of his heat, charged through with the crackle of ozone. He stood frozen on the spot, his own cock responding to the sensory overload, even as his brain demanded he give the man his privacy, demanded with a sense of half-frightened urgency that he leave as quietly as he could, but it was too late.

Alonso’s arm fell away from his face and Reese could feel the nearly physical press of his gaze.

I’m sorry,’ he managed around a tongue that felt too big for his mouth. ‘I saw you, and I thought that … I’ll go now,’ but even as he said it, Reese stepped forward, feeling reeled into the man like a fish on a line. Alonso eased himself up on one elbow, not taking his hand off his cock, not taking his eyes off Reese. ‘I should leave,’ Reese croaked, but instead he stepped nearer.

In a move that was not quite human in its grace, Alonso sat up and nodded to the bench next to him.

Cautiously Reese sat down struggling to keep his eyes off the man’s cock. He could still feel Alonso’s gaze on him as though he were the one who was naked. ‘I thought … When I saw you out here, lying on the bench at this hour … I was worried.’

 

‘That’s very kind of you, Reese, but there’s nothing wrong with me. My … afflictions, don’t trouble me much. I’m not ill. In truth, I’m the epitome of health. I’m just … different.’

‘I’m sorry. Of course you would be out after dark. I didn’t mean to offend you. I’ll go now.’ But before he could stand, Alonso’s hand shot behind his head with lightning speed, fingers curling in Reese’s sleep-mussed hair, and in that instant of reaction, the second Reese gasped for his breath, the man’s mouth was on his, warm and hard and terrifying in its command, a command Reese could do little but respond to. Even as fear battled lust low in his belly, he parted his lips, opened his mouth, welcomed the search and conquest of Alonso’s tongue, his own the white flag that instinctively yielded all else beyond the breach, all territories beyond the invasion.

 

 

 

Shameless Selfie in the Veggie Patch with Surrogates

 

 

It’s the time of year when a woman’s thoughts turn to gardening — veg gardening, in my case. Ooh! I do love my garden porn, and Surrogates is one of my very best examples. Today’s shameless selfie is getting down and dirty in true garden porn fashion.

 

Surrogates Blurb:

DANIEL ALEXANDER III takes his marriage vows seriously. Until he gets the balls to ask his wife, BEL, for a divorce, watching each other masturbate is all he can offer his beautiful gardener, FRANCIE CARTER. But when Dan’s friend, SIMON PARIS, agrees to be his surrogate, affairs of the heart get complicated.

 

 

 

 

 

Crying over spilled seedlings — Surrogates Excerpt:

‘What am I, out of my fucking mind?’ Cassie shoved the basket of vegetables that would grace Dan and Bel’s table tonight onto the worktop in the greenhouse, and wiped frantically at her eyes with the backs of her hands. She wasn’t about to cry. She wouldn’t give the bastard the satisfaction.

They were going to feast on her vegetables to give them the strength and stamina to make their own entertainment. Wasn’t that what Bel said to Dan? Make their own fucking entertainment, and why not? The woman was his wife. And Cassie was nothing more than the hired help. The stupid hired help who didn’t have enough brains to stay away from her gorgeous boss! Make that her arsehole boss, she mentally corrected herself. She bit back a sob and grabbed a tray of basil seedlings from the incubator. Cook wanted a couple of new basil plants, since Bel now had it in her head that basil was the herb of eternal youth and had practically been grazing off the stuff.

‘Excuse me have you seen Dan?’

Cassie spun around and nearly jumped out of her skin at the sight of the unexpected man standing so close behind her. She dropped the tray of basil seedlings she’d just pulled from the incubator. Seedlings and compost exploded onto the floor.

And that was it. That was the straw that broke the gardener’s back. She’d babied those seedlings along for weeks now, keeping them safe and warm and trauma-free and now this. She burst into tears.

‘Oh god! Oh god! I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you. Please don’t cry. Here, I’ll help you.’

But it was suddenly like the dam had burst, all these weeks of wanting Dan so badly, of knowing that no matter what he said, no matter how hot their wank sessions were, at the end of the day it wasn’t her bed he shared, all these weeks of feeling guilty because while he stayed faithful to Bel, she didn’t care, she would have fucked him in a New York minute if he just said the word. And she liked Bel, that was a part of the problem. Bel was okay. But still, she would have fucked him if he’d asked. But he didn’t. And it all bubbled up in the upside down tray of seedlings.

‘Here, sit down, please don’t cry. I’ll take care of it,’ the man was saying, guiding her away from the mess on the floor. ‘There, there. It’ll be okay. Basil seedlings are tough. They’ll be okay, just please stop crying. Can I get you some water? Aspirin?’ He didn’t wait for her to answer. Instead he guided her to the stool near the work bench and pushed her gently onto it, then he scooped the spilled compost back into the tray and began to pick up the seedlings one by one and putting them back in. ‘There, there. It’ll be okay. You see, no damage, just a little spill. See? Not even one broken stem, don’t worry. These will be just fine.’

Even through the tears she recognized the untidy nails of a fellow gardener. It wouldn’t have mattered if his hands had been meticulously scrubbed and manicured, she would have known by the careful way he rescued the little basil plants, taking them gently by their stems and placing them carefully in the tray.

‘There, you see. Good as new,’ he said placing the tray onto the table next to the basket of veg. ‘Lovely veg, by the way,’ he added. ‘The courgettes are exquisite. ‘Did you grow them?’ He picked up the one that had been shoved up her cunt only minutes before and she burst into tears again. A courgette! She had actually been reduced to fucking a courgette.

‘Oh dear, Oh god, I’m so sorry.’

She scrabbled off the stool to make a run for it, anywhere but here, someplace where she could hide her humiliation. ‘Wait! Don’t run off like that.’ He slipped his arms around her and caught her before she could flee. ‘I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry. Please at least give me a chance to apologize.’

‘No, no. It’s not you,’ she sobbed against his shoulder. ‘You have nothing to apologize for. You’re doing great, wonderful, actually. It’s me. I’m so stupid. So absolutely stupid.’

‘Don’t be ridiculous. I know stupid when I see it, and you’re not it.’ He tightened his arms around her and she felt good, solid muscle in the embrace. God, how long had it been since she felt good solid male muscle? She slipped her arms around his neck. He was tall, and as he tightened his embrace, he practically lifted off her feet. Tall and strong, she thought, as the muscles low in her belly gave a little quiver.

One large hand began to stroke her mussed hair. She hadn’t worn it back today because Dan liked it lose, but Dan never touched it, this bloke was touching it, gently, tenderly the same way he’d touched her seedlings, and her nipples beaded to a tight, nearly painful, press against the rise and fall of his chest. She could feel the heat of his breath against the top of her ear, which seemed to have accelerated a bit. ‘In fact, if that veg garden I walked past is your doing, then I’d say you’re anything but stupid. You’re an artist. I’m in awe.’

Then she did the unthinkable. She curled her fingers in his thick brown hair and pulled his face down to hers. A little sigh of surprise escaped his throat, but he didn’t resist as she brushed her lips across his, still standing on tiptoe. Instead, he returned the favour, cupping her cheek in his large hand and lifting her off her feet with the arm that now encircled her waist. And the brush of lips became a full-fledge assault, tongues sparring, lips crushing, breath coming it harsh little gasps. And it wasn’t just the mouth. It was the over-all effect of a real body, a real live male body barely able to contain the erection she could now clearly feel in his jeans. And just from the rub up, it made the courgette seem rather inadequate.

‘I don’t know you nearly well enough for this,’ he gasped when he finally came up for air. But before she could apologize for her unthinkable behavior, his mouth was up for round two, but this time, he lifted her bodily onto the work table, her legs falling open on either side of him, her dress scrunching until rough denim raked the moist satin gusset of her knickers. ‘You’ve rescued my seedlings and fondled my courgette. That’s good enough for me,’ she breathed against his mouth.

She was just getting ready to open his fly and free Simba when Cook called from the garden path.

‘Cassie? Cassie are you there?’

 Buy Surrogates Here:

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Amazon AU
Amazon CA
Barnes & Noble
iBooks UK
iBooks US
Kobo

Reviews:

 

“Full of quirky characters, kinky sex, unusual settings and clever writing, Surrogates is definitely an erotic romance novella I’d recommend if you’re looking for something a little different.” Erotica For All

*****

“This was an exciting and sexy read at the turn of every page, with a storyline that was so original it was brilliant. If you want a fun, fast read with great character flow and connection and hot sex on almost every page this is for you.” Midnight Boudoir

*****

“Surrogates is the perfect novel for any erotica reader out there… hot, sexy, sensual… it definitely defines erotica it in it’s own right. K.D Grace is one amazing author whose novels simply should be devoured!” A Redheads Guilty Reads

*****
“There are plenty of hot hot sex scenes and a case of mistaken identity and misunderstandings. It is a fun and quick read. Overall, very well written. The characters come alive on the pages and they feel real. I recommend it to anyone who likes short, erotic tales and who aren’t put off by some f/f action and threesomes.” Hearts on Fire Reviews

*****

“Surrogates is full of tongue in cheek comedy, and has just the right amount of erotica to fill readers minds with accounts of how both Daniel and Bel get their orgasms. This is a voyeur’s version of heaven.” 5 out of 5, Love Romance Passion

 

In Anticipation of Seedlings

 

In a few days it’ll officially be spring. I’ve been anxiously waiting for it since February’s dreary beginning. It feels like I’ve waited forever for winter to end, for the sun to shine again and the daffodils to bloom. Spring, we NEED you! I can feel it coming on everywhere now, and that means it’s time to think gardening.

 

Raymond and I got our corn and tomato seeds planted last Sunday. We managed it in a drizzle of rain, but we weren’t about to wait any longer. I check them every day, even though I know it’s still to soon for anything to germinate. At the moment they’re all settled nicely on a pine table in the kitchen looking very much like little pots of dirt. But I know there’s something wonderful happening down inside those little pots. This is veg gardener’s Christmas. This is anxiously checking the packages every day waiting for the gift, waiting for the surprise. And no matter how many times I’ve watched that germination process, it always is a wonderful surprise.

 

Here in the Soft South, with spring teasing and titillating us with delicious glimpses, it’s easy to catch the gardening bug. The beds have been weeded and this weekend they’ll be ready to dig. I’m truly excited for the first time since we exhausted ourselves in an allotment too big for us and, after two years of hard labour, had to give it up because it was just too much.

 

While the allotment experience was a disappointment, it was really no surprise. I’m greedy and biting off more than I can chew is my signature move. But this year the little pots on the pine table and the familiar comfy plot in our back garden seem less of a chore and more of a labour of love. This year I feel the waxing of the seasons and the need to touch the earth in a way that I haven’t for awhile. Creativity is played out in so many different ways, and there isn’t a more powerful metaphor for the creative process than growing vegetables. Being a part of the process, seeing it, touching it, and taking it into ourselves makes me feel connected to something greater than myself, something as old as time and as much of a mystery. Even though we understand the science of it, that doesn’t diminish the magic of planting a seed and getting a feast.

 

Every day now it’s light earlier, and the Dawn Chorus has begun in earnest. Every day now I wake up to the black bird’s song, and I find myself wondering, anticipating, what will grow, what will be born in the lengthening of days and the warming of the earth. Growing veg has a way of reminding me of my own creative efforts and how tied they are to my own waxings and wanings. As the season advances I’ll probably share way more pics of corn and beans and tomatoes than you could ever hope to see. And somehow amidst the compost and pots and plants and veg, hopefully some of that creativity will find its way into me and into the stories I tell.

 

Writing Compost

 

7July growth
Spring is in the air at long last! The birds are getting amorous. It won’t be long till the bees will be out pollinating their little socks off. It’s that time of year. Yup, that very fecund, fertile time of year when a woman’s thoughts turn to … compost!

 

Yup! You heard me right. It’s time, once again, to give some serious thought to compost. Most of you know by now that I’m an avid veg gardener. I’ve flooded social media with images of ripe, succulent strawberries, flirtatiously phallic courgettes and full-bodied, mouthwatering sweet corn. I’ve told tales of the allotment – some of them dirtier than others, and I’ve even written a fair few sexy encounters that take
cucumber 17 aug 1mail.google.complace in veg gardens. Gardening is one of the topics I’m almost as enthusiastic about as I am writing. That’s not terribly surprising since the two are so philosophically compatible. So today, in honor of the beginning of Spring, I’m talking compost.

 

My husband and I inherited our first composter from the people who owned our house before us. We were suspicious of it at first and more than a little intimidated by it. It looked like a Rubbermaid Dalek casting a long menacing shadow across our back lawn. We’d heard that if we put egg shells and fruit and veg peels, cardboard and tea and coffee grounds in the top that in a few months, we could open the little door at the bottom and the myriad resident worms would have magically transformed all that garbage into rich luscious soil. Then all we’d have to do was
shovel all that organic loveliness out into our garden.

Harvest 25 AugIMG00569-20130825-1722

I’ll admit, we were skeptical at first – I mean seriously – egg shells and veg peels in and rich, luscious compost out? I mean that’s just crazy talk, surely! Still, we did as instructed, every day adding coffee grounds and tea bags and other goodies worms and invertebrates love to chow down on. Then one day we took the plunge, slid open the door and there it was, all dark and rich and soft and warm, and smelling vaguely of citrus. We filled a couple of planters. We were planning to put in geraniums, but never got around to it. Several weeks later I noticed there were tomato plants coming up in the compost we had excavated. My mother used to call plants that came up where they weren’t planted volunteer and, sure enough, we had eight volunteer tomato plants, the result of seed not broken down in our strange compost-making Dalek.

 
We never did get our geraniums, but it didn’t really matter. Our eight tomato plants
yielded up their yummy fruit at the end of the summer, an unexpected, unintended First ripe toms 10 Aug 2013IMG00572-20130910-0951gift from our predecessors. The next year we actually dug a bed and planted corn and beans and squash. After that there was no looking back. Our one lone composter has been joined by three others, and twice a year we open the doors at the bottom and marvel at what an army of invertebrates can make from our kitchen waste.

 

The next year, as my sister and I shoveled bucket after bucketful of rich, loamy soil from our original battered, smudged composter and spread it in anticipation of the veg I’d be planting in May, I thought about how much writing is like composting. There are times when my efforts truly seem inspired. Those are the fabulously heady
times all writers live for and hope for, when every word shines the moment we write it down.

 

I would love it if everything I wrote would come forth fully formed and beautiful like Venus on the Half Shell, but more often than not my words are more like used teabags on an egg shell. More often than not, what I write is kitchen rubbish, the remnants of experiences already spent, the detritus of half-formed ideas that aren’t quite what I fantasized when they appeared so perfectly shaped in my imagination. Somehow they’ve turned to apple cores and coffee grounds by the time I manage to get them into words.

2015-06-27 11.36.59

My husband takes his lunch to the office, and he brings home his fruit peels and apple cores because he knows what they will become. He convinced the lady who
works at the office canteen to save the coffee grounds for him because he knows what the worms will magic them into in a few months’ time. It’s true, what we dig out of our composters is technically just worm poop. Oh, but it’s so rich, so fertile, so completely loaded with potential. My husband knows, as I know, what wonderfully succulent corn and tomatoes and green beans we’ll grow in that rich compost in a few months’ time.

 

Writing is no different. On the written page, the coffee grounds and apple cores of my everyday existence, the remnants of half formed thoughts, the grandiose ideas that didn’t quite have the magic on paper that they did in my minds’ eye will become compost, no matter how much they may seem like rubbish. Nothing can happen until I write those words down — no fermentation, no agitation, no digestion, no chemistry.

 

Writing imageBut once the ideas are words on the written page, the real process begins. I turn them and twist them and break them down and reform them until they become the rich luscious medium of story, until they are just the right consistency to grow organically
what my imagination couldn’t quite birth into the world in one shining Eureka
moment. It takes longer than Venus on the Half Shell, and it involves some hard work and some getting my hands dirty, and a whole lot of patience. But the end result is succulent and full bodied, organic and living. And my finger prints, my dirty mucky finger prints are all over it. It’s intimately and deeply my own, seeded in the compost of what I put down in a hurry, raised up in the richness of what I then cultivate with sustained, deliberate, sometimes desperate, effort. The result is achingly slow magic that lives and breathes in ways I could have never brought about, ways I could have never experienced in a less messy, less composty sort of way.

2015-06-27 11.40.19

 Happy Spring, everyone! May your compost be rich and your yields be fabulous.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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