I saw a lover of mine last night. It was a brief meeting, Too brief. This one is for him.
Until we meet again in another strange city...
This week I submitted my smut marathon entry for the third round. Of course, that means that I made it to the third round, and since I haven't really dealt with the second round, or even talked much about writing in this marathon, I thought I'd do that today.
The assignment for the second round was a repeat of one of my favorites from last year's challenge, to take someone else's entry from the first round and expand on the story. I really liked my entry last year, though very few other people did, and perhaps I'll post it next week. I feel it needs a particular kind of picture to accompany it. That might be a fun photo challenge.
Weirdly, this year I had a similar experience. Although I didn't like my entry as much as last year, it made about as much of an impression on the readers and judges. Which is to say: not much. It wasn't mentioned in the comments, it got enough votes to get through the second round - or maybe I coasted on my votes from the first round - and overall the reaction wasn't much of one.
Here's the entry I used:
7) The Letter
Tanned skin, lean muscle, a mouth that curves with the hint of a smile: the new mailman delivers in more ways than one. He raises a hand and I picture it around my throat, pinning me down as we fuck. I smile and walk inside, leaving the front door open.
I liked this entry a lot because it felt very open ended. There were a lot of places it could go from here - and other writers felt this way as well since this entry was used several times. It also reminded me of a good set up for a traditional porno. I've always loved pornos where it's the mailman or the pizza guy or someone coming to the office to repair fax machines and then suddenly everyone is having sex. So I took that idea and wrote this:
That escalated quickly
“Your door is open,” the mailman said. He froze with his hand on the doorknob, watching my shorts hit the floor. I held his gaze, pinching my nipples until they’re taut and aching. My desperate cunt dripped, he smirked, I waited. Then, leaving the door open, he grabbed my hand and spun me around. I rubbed my ass against his rigid cock, moaning as he slid thick fingers between my slippery folds. ‘Yes, fuck yes,” I begged as he forced me against the wall, hot breath on my neck, slipping his thumb over my tight bud. His other hand came around to cup my chin and abruptly yank my head back as he growled, “This feels like a party. Shall we invite someone else?”
The story idea is embedded in the title, obviously, which could also be the title for every traditional porno ever made. I won't bother to critique this piece because I'm not that attached to it and the readers weren't either. It got me through to the next round so it did its job... and perhaps that's it?
This marathon experience is a curious one, though. On the one hand, I write for an audience a fair amount in my regular life so I have a good sense of my own story-telling abilities and my own voice and I'm continuing to learn what resonates with other people. This trust in myself makes it easier for me to put material out there for strangers and not to get too fussed about criticism but also to pay attention when a few people are saying the same things.
If I could give a couple pieces of advice to anyone in this marathon or considering this marathon it would be to trust your stories, read all the entries, take note of the ones you admire as much as the ones you really really don't like and then read all the criticism. A lot of times the criticism is all saying the same thing and some of it may apply to you even if the comments don't mention you directly. However, maybe it doesn't. And that's where the trust of yourself comes in. I've had people criticize my work and sometimes they're right and sometimes they aren't. It's ok. This is all a learning exercise and should be treated as such. I do this so I can learn to be a better writer, in general.
I don't do this, however, to only write better erotica. I feel that's a really narrow goal for this marathon. It's a writing challenge first and an erotica challenge second. Good story telling is incredibly important and it's even harder with constraints of word count and prompts. But that's what makes this marathon a challenge.
I will also say this about my process, which may or may not help anyone else: I don't spend a tremendous amount of time on my entries. And I do that because I have learned to trust my instincts and I know that if I spend too much time on the entry, I often overthink it. I want to craft something, check it for typos and word count and make sure it abides by the rules and then let it go. I find that working quickly in this challenge also means I can be a bit more objective about the end result. So perhaps if you're feeling really emotional about your place in the marathon or really vulnerable about the criticism, I might recommend that you set a quick time limit and then send the piece on its way.
Here's what I do: I wait to the last minute. I get my first warning from the Lovely Rebel when I have a week left, I clock that time frame in my mind and with these short pieces I wait until 24 hours or less before the deadline. Literally the day before. That's the first time I open the email, read the prompt and start writing. I do not read the email until I'm ready to write.
Sometimes I have one idea right off. Sometimes I write a few different things down and then choose one. Often it's pretty clear which way I want to go and then it's all story and word count. But sometimes I really struggle and the initial write up takes a while and I don't love it. But either way, I always write something and finish it. Then I let it sit for a hour or a couple hours or over night before I read it again. Sometimes it all comes together, sometimes I've gotten too attached to a particular piece and I have to ditch it and write something else. And there were a few rare occasions last year where I wished I had more time and had started earlier. But for the most part, the pressure of the deadline and trusting my instincts works for me.
This year's round three assignment was one of my least favorites prompts. It's something incredibly tough for me to do but for that reason it's really important for my writing skills. But I liked my entry so we'll see how it does. You'll get to read all those entries tomorrow and make your own judgement.
I hope this is helpful to some of you out there. I'd be very interested to know how everyone else treats this marathon and what your own processes are.
Happy St. Paddy's Day :)
Like several other people this week, this was my other double exposure idea for the March prompt. And this is the second version. In the first version I tried layering three different pictures together and I couldn't get the scale right so it looked quite odd. This one also looks odd, but I liked the surreal dreamy quality of the black and white background and the bottle practically exploding with light.
When I first conceived of this picture I started with my pose.
The sunburst was really important to me. I figured I would like the way that looked if I could capture it inside the bottle.
Then, of course, I didn't have a bottle. In the first version I tried downloading a random picture of a bottle, putting myself in it and then putting the whole thing into another picture and it was simply too many elements to manage and I really struggled with the scale of the whole project. So, I went out and spent $6 on a bottle and then staged this shot.
After that it was a relatively simple matter of filters and layering the pictures together. Snapseed has a good tutorial about double exposures but it's kind of complex and I had to watch it a couple of times to figure out how the brush worked. It's still not a very fine tool but the results were far better than my first go round.
Conceptually, I knew I wanted the background to be black and white and the bottle to be in color. Anyone who thinks their life would improve if only someone would grant their wishes sees their world this way, I think. A dark landscape with golden things locked away and out of their reach.
I'm a little obsessed with double images now. There are so many story possibilities with two pictures layered together. I have another idea I'm playing with, I'll see what I can get out of it.
And meanwhile, the results of the second Smut Marathon are upon us so my next task is to read feedback and see who the judges picked to win the round. I'll post more about that as well as my second round entry this week.
Happy sunday everyone!
It's boob day and international women's day so go to Hy's page and celebrate all the women who are choosing to make a little trouble and not be ladies about it!
I'm not much for cutting loose and partying down in my regular life but I'll always make an exception for Mardi Gras. I love the spirit of Fat Tuesday when everyone parties and eats and screws and drinks, tits are flashed, beads are thrown and the spirit of Bacchus comes alive for a week of celebration culminating tonight. And then everything winds down tomorrow for Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent, 40 days of sacrifice and sobriety.
There are many markers of my year that give me structure to remind me of who I am and Fat Tuesday followed by Ash Wednesday is one of my favorites. Excess followed by austerity, feasting followed by fasting, drunkenness followed by sobriety, throwing caution to the wind and then reeling it back in. I love that balance.
So happy Fat Tuesday everyone! Go eat some pancakes, catch some beads, kiss a stranger and laissez les bon temps rouler!
Sex toys reviews are a little out of my wheelhouse but I got this Satisfier Pro Penguin toy from Jack and Jill in return for an unbiased review.
This little guy is marketed as a clit sucker/oral suction toy, which, as any woman knows, is going to be a dicey proposition since all women like different kinds of suction on their clitorises. And some don't like any at all, but those women won't be trying this toy out. I do like suction but my clit is also really sensitive to the wrong kinds of attention so I wasn't sure how I would feel about a mechanical toy sucking away. Or even how that would feel.
That said, let's start with the pros:
It's hella cute.
Here he is with some flowers and left over Valentine's day candy and come on! He's adorable with that little bow tie! His "mouth" is also a reasonable size and quite deep with the mechanical bit all the way in the back. I can put my little finger all the way in to the second knuckle, which gives quite a bit of flexibility as to how deeply you want him to play with you. His ergonomic shape and size is perfect for my hand and the on/off buttons are clearly located on his tummy.
However, I couldn't figure the buttons out. After playing around I could turn him on but I couldn't figure out how to increase the speed. I actually had to read the instructions, which I've never had to do with any other vibrator and that's the first in my con list because I need the basic functions of my toys to be intuitive. Plus it helps if they're designed like other toys I've had. Based on other toys I've had, I instinctively wanted to turn this toy on by pressing the top part of the button and then increase the speed the same way, Like press the button and then hold it down until it was at the right speed and then reduce the speed and turn him off by pressing the bottom part of the button. But this toy is somewhat reversed.
I finally turned this little guy on by pressing and then holding the bottom section of the button down for a couple seconds. And then unlike any other toy I've ever had, I read that I increase the speed by tapping on the bottom/lower section of the button. But I had to learn to TAP the bottom button to increase the speed because if I held the bottom button down (like I kept doing), the toy turned off. The top part of the button only serves to decrease the speed I believe.
I found the button design odd and I admit to getting quite frustrated when I couldn't just use it out of the box because I kept turning it off. That didn't get me off on the right foot in our relationship.
Once I finally got the toy to work, I used it once and left it alone for a couple weeks and then used it again today. I had to recharge it in between so the charge doesn't last very long but the charger is a magnetic attachment on the bottom that's easy to use. You can see it featured on the box in the top picture.
The good part is that the motor has a chunky rumble that I like, unlike the high pitched buzzy ones that desensitize me, but the down side is that it's quite loud compared to other toys I have. Especially at high speeds. And as anyone with toys knows, there's no mistaking the sound of a vibrator for anything but what it is. Fortunately, I live most of my life in hotel rooms so no one cares but it might factor in if you have a regular life.
And the other down side for me is that it's not intense enough at low speeds and it's too intense at high speeds. I think it's all about having my clit inside that tube that is too much for me. This toy will make me cum but it's borderline painful when used as it's designed and I had to do a fair amount of experimenting to find a position that didn't hurt. I can safely say that it's just not a design that works for me but it certainly might for other people.
As to logistics, the toy is made of silicone and it's easy to clean and it's waterproof. The manufacturer recommends using it with lube, which I didn't do, so maybe with lube and in the bathtub might be a fun time? i'll leave it other people to figure that out.
I want to thank Jack and Jill for giving me an opportunity to review this toy and apologize for how long it took me to do it! Febphotofest kinda took over my blog last month.
All images are my own and no affiliate links have been used in this post.
It's "Double Exposure" prompt week over at Sinful Sunday, which is very convenient since I've been wanting to play around with this photo edit for awhile.
I had a very specific idea at first that resulted in a picture that was way more work and didn't turn out as well, But I'll probably post it sometime this week. This particular picture was inspired by a quote from Lady Gaga "The truth is that I can always bring my past with me, but I can never go back. You gotta leave yourself behind." When I heard her say that, I immediately saw the above image in my head. Or rather, I saw the possibility and hoped I could get what was in my head.
So I set up my camera and took two shots from the exact same spot. This one:
I lined up where my extended foot was in that shot - you can see a pen under my foot because I didn't have anything more practical, like a piece of tape... - and then took several variations on a standing picture. I ended up using this one because of my upraised hand against the glass instead of the window frame.
When I merged them, I liked the translucency of my prone figure but wasn't sure I liked the translucency of my standing body.
But Snapseed's double exposure tool has limits and I fussed for awhile and couldn't get one picture to be completely solid while the other was translucent. So I left it. I came to like it better once I cropped in the top version and it looks like I'm escaping through the window.
It was a fun experiment. I'd like to do more double exposures and see if I can find some editing tools that have more delicacy to them so I can get a more nuanced result.
happy sunday everyone!