How raw is too raw?

This is (another) post about Smut Marathon, but it doesn’t start with Smut Marathon. It starts with a project the other me – the real me – is working on. A novel.

Early in 2017, I finished the first draft of a novel I’d been writing, on and off, since late 2015. This weekend, I was on writing retreat, chomping through a few more chapters of the rewrite. It’s slow going, but writing is slow going, especially when, like me, the reasons why you’re not sure if you ever want this particular project to be out in the world threaten to outnumber the number of chapters in the book itself. Also, I’ve written first drafts before, but a second draft of something? This is new.

I’m a sucker for a creative writing course. I love the company of writers, their passion, their opinions, their willingness to talk books for borderline unhealthy periods of time. What I wanted, desperately, when I moved onto Draft 2 was a rewriting course, or an editing course – was something that would tell me what the hell it was I was supposed to be doing. How was I supposed to know where to start? But also – how would I know when it was done?

It turns out that nobody can teach you that, or, at least, it’s a lot harder to teach someone to rewrite than to teach them to write in the first place. It’s a pretty personal thing – one great editing course I did do, lots of which I’ve put into practice, suggested that, when you  get bored of editing, you should rewrite any bits you know aren’t working from scratch, to give your creative brain a look in.

It’s a nice idea, but it doesn’t work for me. I’m a very linear writer – I go back and tweak, sure, but major rewrites of sections, especially when taken out of the context and order of the whole piece, are a disaster for me. I can’t write scenes and then retrospectively impose a structure.

Another thing I’ve considered, but abandoned, for reasons that will hopefully become clear later in this post, is rewriting from scratch. In some ways, I like this approach. You read the scene/chapter/story/whole fucking draft/whatever, then you go away and rewrite it in a separate document.

The advantage? You don’t cling to anything just because it’s there on the page already.

But my fear? You lose something this way.

So, how does this link to the marathon? In a number of ways, I think.

Firstly, there’s the very sensible tip that Marie sends out with each round:

Start writing your piece as soon as possible after receiving the assignment. Let it rest for a while, then start editing, deleting, rewriting. Never leave it until the last moment to start. 

What’s great about the tip, in my opinion is that ‘editing, deleting, rewriting.’ You have to find your way – we have to find our way – and you may find it easiest to do one, two or all three of those things.

But there’s also something to be said for leaving the damn thing the hell alone.

A lot of writers in the Smut Marathon, myself included, have been picked up on our use of grammar, and I’m afraid that’s something I don’t have a lot of time for. Grammar matters. Spelling matters. But when you’re telling a story, what matters most? The story.

In the last round, I voted for pieces that had a distinct plot, because that, to me, is the real challenge of writing something in a hundred words. Do you have a beginning, middle and end? Can I feel your story in my gut? Because, unless your sentences are so long that I have to revisit them to make sense of what you’re trying to say, unless your grammar and/or spelling are noticeable enough to pull me out of the story? I’m going to let it go.

I’m not a judge of the SM, obviously, so maybe it’s not my place to say, but I worry about the number of writers who’ve taken the grammar feedback – and seemingly little else – to heart.

In real life, I’m an editor. I’m trained and I work for a company that takes itself pretty bloody seriously. I don’t edit fiction, which is why all of this comes with a proviso, but I do know how to break a piece of work down and prioritise the right stuff.

I’m not paid to look at grammar and spelling on my first pass through anything. No company wants to spend its money having someone get this stuff perfect until the structure, the body of the thing, is in place. The same goes for fiction. I’m not saying spelling and grammar don’t matter – they do, they’re what make work look polished – but the idea, the plot, the characters? They matter so much more.

On Sunday, I shared At Peace, the original micro fiction I wrote for round two of Smut Marathon and ended up not submitting. Maybe I made the wrong choice, maybe I didn’t (Little Pyromaniac, my alternative piece, did absolutely fine), but two things struck me:

  1. In general, people who follow my blog, rather than the Smut Marathon, preferred At Peace
  2. There wasn’t the huge gulf in opinion between the strengths of the piece I edited to death (LP) and the one I barely, if at all, touched (AP).

Which brings me to the key point of this post. I said, after round one, that I wanted to take more risks, and Little Pyromaniac is the riskier of the two stories, in method, if not in content. It’s a perfectly fine story but I interrogated every word to the point of exhaustion. At Peace is the story that came from my heart, so maybe it’s no wonder it’s more raw, and seems to resonate more.

That rawness has a value. It has an energy. It’s drenched in you as a writer. Don’t clean your writing up so much that you wipe all the you off it.

I wanted to end with something I’ve been sharing on Twitter a lot recently, a piece of advice given in a writing workshop by an author whose work I love, Garth Greenwell. He said, ‘No good comes from listening to the opinion of people who are unsympathetic to your project,’ and it’s the most sensible thing on feedback I’ve ever heard. People who sympathise with your project will criticise it, as they should, but they’ll have good to say about it too. You’ll know.

In the early rounds of the Smut Marathon though, I feel like it’s harder to know. The challenges are fun, but they’re short – who knows what your bigger project is? (Although shout out to the judges who pointed out where they could see the potential for one).

All any of us can hope for – in the next round or any of the remaining seven – is that out there, among the voters, there’ll be people who are sympathetic to our projects.

Listen to them. And the rest? Let it go, and keep writing.


Smut Marathon Round 2

As those of you who follow me on Twitter will have seen, I’m having issues with the Smut Marathon today – it’s causing me levels of anxiety that even I didn’t foresee and I’m having a long think about whether carrying on is the right thing to do (it probably isn’t, which means I almost certainly will – being kind to myself is something I am *not* good at.)

Anyway. I wrote two possible entries for Round 2, and I was really pleased with the one I submitted (and it got positive feedback, which backs that up, and is always nice). I’m not going to lie though, I was disappointed with how it did overall.

So, here is both it, and the other piece I wrote. Which do you prefer? Should I have submitted the other piece?

Little Pyromaniac

‘Stop it.’

The restaurant is fancy and my behaviour is inappropriate, but I can’t help myself. I poke at the candle, watch as molten lava flows down its sides.

‘Little pyromaniac,’ he growls. ‘What did I tell you?’

I like to play with fire.

I break off bits that are newly solid, let the orange heat lick at them until they are liquid once again.

Suddenly, my game backfires. The candle splutters, dies.

‘Right,’ he says, ‘come with me.’

Outside, around a corner, we find ourselves hidden in the shadows. His lips meet mine. His hand closes around my throat.

My body melts under his touch. He is the flame, I am the wax, I am fluid beneath him, I drip, drip, drip as he burns me with his desire.

At Peace

She’d taken two week’s leave from work, though the doctor had offered a note. It was easier like this: no questions, no sympathetic smiles, no loss of the person she’d once been.

With him, it had been harder. ‘Talk to me,’ he’d murmured, more than once, and she’d tried to smile through her tears.

‘It’s best if I work through this on my own.’

She booked a cabin, not far from Inverness. For five long days, she read, ate and slept alone.

By Friday, she knew it was no good. She needed help. She changed her flight.

That night, his flogger painted her cunt into a sunset, glowing between the mountain-purple shadows of her thighs.

On Corrupted

In my head, there are a handful of ideas for anthologies I’d like to edit one day. Most of them are far simpler than the premise behind Corrupted.

Erotica is already good at being a feminist genre, in my experience, so putting a call out for feminist stories didn’t feel different enough. I wanted to do something that celebrated how far women have come – how much we’ve overcome – to get where we are today.

And that’s what Corrupted is all about. It’s a super contemporary celebration of women’s liberation –  of same sex and non-binary relationships, of disability, of technology, of women’s suffrage, of women breaking the same rules that men have broken for so long now – sometimes getting away with it, and sometimes not.

When the call went out, I had an idea of how the finished collection of stories would look. In reality, it’s a very different anthology, but in a great way. In choosing the final line up, I’ve tried as far as possible to make sure it’s truly representative of womanhood and not just a white, straight, middle class, cis representation of being a woman.

There’s an extract from my story in the anthology below (which I’ll admit is cis, white and middle class, but hopefully in a tongue in cheek way). All that remains is for me to say two things

1) Thanks so much to all the authors and to Anna Sky at Sexy Little Pages for all their hard work – it wouldn’t be what it is without you.

2) I really hope you like it (please review it if you do!).


Your Vote Matters – Charlie Powell

“Susie?” he asks, thrusting the hand that’s not clutching a sheaf of leaflets in my direction. “May I call you Susie?”

Risky strategy, I think. The Labour representative who canvassed me two days earlier called me “Ms Smith” and didn’t try to be all chummy. This guy though, the Tory candidate himself, has clearly decided that keeping it casual is the way forward. Charm is oozing from him like butter from hot toast.

I like charming men. I even like charming men who happen to be Tories. No, wait, I especially like charming men who happen to be Tories. I know, I know. I hate myself sometimes, too.

“I guess,” I say, my gaze dropping from the blue rosette pinned to his jacket to the white shirt and red chinos he’s wearing underneath.

“Good, good,” he says. His voice is pure Oxbridge. “Oliver Tamworth, Conservative candidate for Green Park North.”

“I gathered,” I say, gesturing at the rosette.

“May I ask who you’re planning on voting for?” he continues, flashing me what I imagine is his most ingratiating smile. “Can we count on your support?”

I smile back. “Of course.”

I’m a really good liar.

He beams. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he hadn’t had much luck so far tonight, but this cannot possibly be the case. After all, Mr Green at number ten is convinced single mothers “take far too much from the system and don’t pay a penny back in”—even though I know for a fact that the three mums on this street raising kids on their own work every hour god sends. I once overheard Mr Johnson at number fifteen telling someone he’d voted for UKIP, only to follow that up with “Oh no, sorry, I meant the BNP”—it’s been five years since that election and I still scowl at him every day on the bus—and Mrs King who lives on the corner “thinks people have too many human rights.” I don’t even know where to start with that one.

“Great!” Oliver says, seemingly staring straight at my tits. I should slam the door in his face. “Let me give you a leaflet anyway. It’s got my email address at the bottom and the number for my team, so if there is anything you’d like to discuss before election day, don’t hesitate to get in touch. Your vote matters to us, Susie!”


Smut Marathon Round 1: On comfort zones and other stories

When I signed up for the Smut Marathon, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be sharing what I wrote on the blog after each round. As far as I’m concerned, my SBOS days are pretty much over, but hey, I’m still paying for the domain name, so I guess I’ll share stuff from the marathon as and when I’m either particularly proud of it or it makes me reflect on my writing in a way I want to explore further.

The first round challenge was to write an erotic metaphor of no more than thirty words. Quick shout out here to Violet, whose post on Round 1 I really liked and which hopefully she won’t mind me borrowing the format of here.

Anyway. The first round challenge is a great challenge, there’s no doubt. I didn’t see it coming and when it landed in my inbox, I thought …

… fuuuuuck.

Because I know what a metaphor is. I can identify them in other people’s writing. They’re just. not. the. way. I. write.

Trying to come up with something, I trawled the entire first draft of the novel I’m working on, and sure enough, not a single metaphor … or not a sex-related one, anyway. In the end, I chose a simile and committed to reworking that.

The end result?

‘Afterwards, she’s still aroused, cunt flexing at the sight of him cupping the soft mollusc of his cock with one hand as he reaches for the wine with the other.’

More than two weeks on, I’m not thrilled with all aspects of this sentence. If I was editing it now, I’d lose ‘soft’ and I’d work on the rhythm. But one of the judges wasn’t sure about something else:

‘Is the author sure about conjuring an association of fish and sex – unless it’s the aphrodisiac of oysters this is risky. Molluscs are mostly ugly… quick google image search (to see if I had the wrong thing in my head) destroys this metaphor for me. Maybe there’s another way of getting to the idea of a vulnerable soft ball sack that would work for this scene?’

When I read this, I genuinely laughed out loud. Anyone who knows me will tell you that the answer to ‘Is the author sure…?’ would be ‘Hell, no. Absolutely not. Never,’ but that doesn’t mean I’d take the mollusc back. One of my main worries, on signing up for the Smut Marathon, is that I’m not – or no longer – really an erotica writer. I write about sex, sure, but I’m not driven by the idea of getting people off, which is key to the definition of ‘erotic.’ If something I write resonates with you and makes you horny, great, if not, I don’t really mind. I just hope you think the actual writing is good.

And so, the promise I made to myself when I decided to bite the bullet on the challenge of the Smut Marathon (there’s still an email to Marie in my drafts folder explaining why I need to withdraw) was that I’d do it, but I wouldn’t read the entries or the feedback and I wouldn’t vote for anything, including my own piece. I’ve held true – and will probably continue to – to the last of those things, but after voting closed, I did read all the entries and the feedback and I’m glad I did.

It sounds arrogant, retrospectively, to say I had no intention of taking feedback on board, but I had my reasons. My mental health is hellishly shaky at the moment, and for the first time in a long time, my writing is impacted by that. I’m confident in my voice – less so in other aspects of my writing – I don’t want to lose that, and I stand by my argument that metaphor just isn’t my style. But another piece of feedback has made me think:

‘Just not the strongest of metaphors (just one word).’

I live my life, as far as I can, within my comfort zone. I hadn’t realised I do that with my writing, too, but I do. On receiving the metaphor task, I knew I was happy to do it, but I wasn’t going to take any actual risks. I wasn’t going to chance anything that could be seen as purple prose or ridiculous in any other way. I’d sooner lose points for being unerotic (which I did). The least Charlie thing about the sentence I submitted is the length of it – I’m not a thirty word sentence girl usually – everything else, although the fishiness may look like a risk – is safe, safe, safe.

Maybe, in future rounds (assuming I last a few), I’ll learn to take more chances, to push myself a bit more. I hope so.



Christmas Gift Guide (of Sorts) 2017

This year I’m not making any promises about returning to the blog, or to Twitter, in 2018, although both of these things could happen (in the meantime, come find me on Instagram – @sexblogofsorts!). The idea that the gift guide might not happen this year was out of the question though – I start making a list of ideas for it in January and it’s one of the highlights of my festive season.

As with last year, if you have other great suggestions for gifts, especially from independent sellers, please leave them in the comments or hit me up on social media – I *love* discovering new stuff! Let me know too which items on here you particularly like – it helps me to plan next year’s!

  1. Little Winter Robin, £7
    Because really – how can you resist those eyes?


2. Kamasutra Pins Set, 20€
Because cute. And sexy. And cute. Plus, racial and sexual diversity. Available as socks, if you’re not a pin person.


3. REN Atlantic Kelp And Microalgae Anti-Fatigue Bath Oil
Of course there was going to be a bath oil. REN stuff is beautifully packaged, non-greasy, but the rose one has always been a tiny bit too floral for me. This is much less divisive, and good for both girls and boys with fancy tastes.


4. Laser Cut Anatomical Heart, $49 CAD
There’s something fascinating, beautiful and also somehow repulsive about anatomy. Whatever it is though, I find it hard to look away from these beautiful paper cuts…


5. Yes Queen Stationery, $32
Strong women and luxury stationery is a fab combination, and these notecards, featuring images of Marie Antoinette, Queen Elizabeth, Cleopatra and Beyoncé would make a great gift for a friend.


6. Concrete Planter Making Kit, £15
Kit gifts can be a total, end-up-in-the-back-of-the-cupboard fail, but concrete? Concrete is *sexy*. This is one I’m really hoping someone buys for me.

7. Good vibes only embroidery, £17.24
Embroidery art always feels really good value to me, because I can’t sew at all, so I’m in awe of the work that goes into it. And there’s so much good stuff in the YesStitchYes shop…


8. Monkey Pants, £40
Is underwear and/or socks a bad gift? I say no. Along with nice hair products, I love getting stuff I’ll actually use. And I love the subtle, but unusual and fun, print on these pants.


9. ‘I Am Bat’, £8.36
Bat falls, without a doubt, into the category of #fictionalcreaturesthatgivemefeelings. I’ll be buying this for every toddler I know this Christmas.


10. Gusbourne Pinot Noir ’15, £25
There’s always wine on the gift guide, but, as a rule, I usually pick something with a fun label. This one lacks that, but it has the novelty value of being an English *red* and it tastes damn good also.


11. Caramelised Pretzels, £3.95
Chin Chin Labs ice cream creations are epic, and while you can’t get the ice-cream delivered to your home, I love the idea of pairing a load of their toppings, including these pretzels but also grilled white chocolate and marmite toast, with a DVD or two, to make an excellent ‘night in’ kit.


12. Another Night In Loose Tee, £28.94
I have this image framed on my wall, but, if I was a loungewear person, I would sure as hell wear it, too.


13. MAC Snow Ball Mini Lipstick Kit, £85
Because who *doesn’t* love mini versions of things *and lipstick?



14. Chicchi di Caffe Tin, £15.95
For your coffee and chocolate loving friend. As a baker, I’d intend these to be used for decorating coffee cake, but would no doubt eat the whole tin long before getting round to that.


15. Nine and a half weeks book, £8.59
I suspect this is out of print, given that it only really seems to be available on eBay or on secondhand book sites, but I swear it’s one of the most erotic things I’ve ever read, and so much hotter than the film. Give it to someone special on Christmas Eve and have an early night…


16. Map print, $22
Archie’s Press make beautifully minimalist map prints and best of all, they have loads and loads of different cities available. Good for friends, lovers, or anyone who’s tricky to buy for…


17. The Christmas Chronicles: Notes, Stories & 100 Essential Recipes for Midwinter, £16.61
‘We all know winter. The mysterious whiff of jasmine or narcissus caught in the cold air, the sadness of spent and blackened fireworks the morning after Bonfire Night, a row of pumpkins on a frosted allotment spied from a train window, the magical alchemy of frost and smoke. Winter is the smell of freshly cut ivy or yew and the childish excitement of finding that first, crisp layer of fine ice on a puddle. It is a freckling of snow on cobbled pavements and the golden light from a window on a dark evening that glows like a Russian icon on a museum wall.’
Oh, Nigel.
Buy this for the prose, as much as for the recipes – it’s a masterclass in good writing.


18. Sex & Jasmine Eau de Parfum, $75 CAD
‘Sex & Jasmine…..unfff. The intoxicating aroma of swollen jasmine blooms linger over silken vanilla sheets. The midnight sweat has half erased our floral masks and we collapse, panting triumphant into our animal selves.’
I accept this company could write better, subtler copy. I accept that jasmine isn’t for everyone. But I bought this perfume, which also has notes of vanilla and ambergris, from a craft fair in Brooklyn earlier this year and I promise it really does smell super sexy.


Stand with Planned Parenthood tote bag, $15
25% of the proceeds from these goes straight to Planned Parenthood and I’ve never had so many women say ‘Oh, I love that!’ about any other bag I’ve owned.


20. Essie Nail Polish Advent Calendar, £50
The purpose of advent calendars is not to give them *on Christmas Day*, I get that. I’ll make an exception for this one, though, because Essie polish is high quality, has a fabulous colour range and superb names. Plus, you could open all the windows at once and challenge your family to a festive #Polished competition.


21. Net of satsumas, £3.95
Because what kind of spoilsport would put actual fruit in a stocking?


22. For Men Who Moisturise Christmas Wash Bag 2017, £50
One of the things I love about Liberty is the way they combine classic/traditional design with cutting edge products, especially when it comes to beauty. I’d gladly buy any of these kits, but try this one if you’re buying for a woman.


23. Pull along lobster wooden toy, £14.99
Is it legit to have a baby just so you can buy them a wooden lobster on wheels?


24. Aubade Extrait De Flirt Half Cup Bra, £71
I’m a big fan of the sexiness of sheer underwear, but as sod’s law would have it, all the good stuff doesn’t come in my size. Please buy this for someone and let me live through them vicariously.


25. City Walks Deck: London, £9.95
Great for someone who loves a project, working your way though these over a year of Sundays and following up with a pub roast seems to me like an ideal way to spend time.


26. Budding monogram ornament, £10
Anthropologie has great tree decorations this year. If floral isn’t your (or their) thing, why not get them this super-festive prawn kebab.


27. 3 metre charging cable with weighted knot, £36.99
Know someone who’s sick of constantly having to pick the end of their iphone cable up off the floor? They need this.


28. Lehmann Oblique 40 wine glasses (Set of six), £86.50
Okay, nobody *needs* mouth-blown wineglasses. But lovely glassware is a properly grown-up gift, and although I’d never be able to justify buying these either for me or for anyone else, it doesn’t take away their lustworthiness.


29. Set of Two Conversation Travel Bags, £19.50
Because somewhere to put your dirty knickers when you’re travelling so they don’t get mixed up with the clean ones is the gift you never knew you wanted. Trust me.


30. Small fox cushion, £49.95
No, it’s *not* a stuffed toy, it’s a cushion. And that makes it totally okay to a) buy it for an adult and b) spend almost fifty quid on it, even though it’s just a ‘small’ cushion.


31. Write books not blogs notebook, £15.30
The SBOS gift guide is *always* thirty suggestions, but it also *always* contains a bath oIl and a notebook. When I’d done the full list this year, I realised I’d missed the notebook out, so here it is, as a bonus suggestion no. 31. Buy it for the person who you think blogs in order to put off doing the thing that really scares them.



***There’s also usually a charitable cause suggestion as part of the guide. This year, you can send toiletries and make up, even if lightly used, to Caroline Hirons’ excellent Give and Make Up.***

All pictures are taken from sellers’ websites. No copyright infringement is intended. If you’d like a picture removing or crediting, please do get in touch.


Sharing by @Kris_Gallagher

The below is an entry for #FreshlyPolished by @Kris_Gallagher.


It had long been on her list of desires, and they’d talked about it from time to time over the years but never acted on it for one reason or another. That year he decided it was definitely going on the agenda,they were getting more experimental in their sex sessions,and the time was ripe to add another woman to their bed.

Finding a suitable guest for the encounter was tricky,as was finding the right time for it to take place. Fortunately aesthetics weren’t an issue as they had always shared a similar taste in women. As varied as those tastes were,there had always been some overlap. It took a few attempts, one or two casual meetings that lacked chemistry before they found the willing guest to invite into their bedroom antics. An ad on an adult orientated site had led to them meeting, but until she saw their guest playing with her blonde hair and smiling across the table of the coffee house they had met at, R hadn’t been sure about the whole idea moving from fantasy into reality. Now she felt a grin tugging on her own lips,thinking about the fun that lay ahead. Even as she kissed her goodbye, R felt a thrill from feeling a nipple piercing pressing against her,and unexpected bonus to proceedings. Arrangements made, they two ladies parted ways for the time being.

The night of the encounter arrived,and he had glasses of imported bubbly poured for the ladies, a bourbon old fashioned for himself whilst R was in the shower. The bedroom was set but he felt the need to sit and relax before sharing the woman he adored. Open minded though he was,sometimes jealousy could kick in unexpectedly. He and R had already discussed limits with N, going over certain ground rules to try to keep everyone at ease. . He heard R finish up in the shower,and grinned as he saw her exiting the bathroom in a sheer white nightgown that he always loved seeing her in. He had just handed her a glass when the buzzer went,announcing the arrival of their guest for the evening.

R made herself comfortable whilst He buzzed N up,unlocking the door to greet her. A welcoming hug and a quick kiss on the cheek were enough to hide his sudden onset of shyness. N made her way to the sofa beside R and leaned in for a far more adventurous kiss as N undid the ties of her overcoat. Whatever was on display clearly worked for R as she grinned,pulling N closer as she did so. Finding himself somewhat surplus to current requirements, He made himself at ease on the other sofa and settled back to enjoy the view of the woman he adored worshipping another woman. The glass cradled in his hand was enough of a distraction to settle his nerves as R kissed the throat of their guest before slowly making her way downwards. A glint of colour between his lover’s thighs caught his eye in the dim candlelight. Being the tease that she was,she was wearing her jewelled plug and had painted her nails to match. K leaned forward on the sofa to get a better view as her fingers tapped against the plug and her waiting cunt. He watched eagerly as she slid her fingertip along her vulva,almost beckoning him closer before wagging her finger to tell him “No,not yet” as N ran her fingers through his lover’s hair,leaving him to watch on the sidelines,sipping on his bourbon and trying to ignore the growing stiffness in his jeans.

K sat,watching impatiently,as R pushed the thighs of N wider apart. R was clearly revelling in the task at hand because K could see her fingers slick with her juices as they worked at her vulva. Fucking hell did he love that sight. It wasn’t long before K found himself reaching for a condom to slip on and join the ladies as they moved from the sofa to the bedroom…

K’s memories of the following hours were a tangle of limbs and snapshots of the action unfolding,his clearest memory being that of fucking R in her throat as her head hung off the side of the bed whilst N was sucking on her clit. He was happy to let the ladies dictate the pace,this was R’s evening and he was more than satisfied watching it unfold to her pleasure

After their guest had left,he crawled back into bed,nestling behind her naked curves,his body fitting perfectly as it always had. His hand found hers as he kissed her neck,a grin on his lips as he slid back into her. Some things were just too good to share…


Passport to happiness by Ruby Estella

The below is an entry for #FreshlyPolished by Ruby Estella.

Passport to happiness

Yesterday was the third consecutive day I haven’t looked at my ex-lover’s Twitter account. 

The first day of fighting back against the addiction of my social media stalking was Tuesday; quite a significant Tuesday, marking three months since he ended our affair, a quarter of a year lost to emptiness.

He wanted me to be happy, he said. He couldn’t make me happy, he said. He couldn’t give me what I needed, he said.

Among the many things I didn’t say in response, because I couldn’t trust myself to speak, was to question how the realisation of my single greatest fear – that he would choose between the two women in his life and I would be the one discarded – would make me happy, exactly? When I was only truly happy in his company; when the days without him were a life lived in monochrome.

The truth is that the end of the affair was more about messiness than happiness. Of the range of choices available to him, he opted for the one that was least messy, with less far-ranging consequences, with fewer people impacted. Far easier to end a relationship that nobody knows about than to complicate a world shared by mutual friends, argue about custody of the cocker spaniel and split a shared book collection.

His emotional pendulum had yet again swung to its furthest point from the passionate intensity that characterised our happiest moments together but which was inevitability followed by the emotional distance that accompanied his guilty phases.

It wasn’t the first time we parted. Each separation results in a further erosion of my self worth as I fail at life without him and he seems equally unable, or unwilling, to live a life without me.

Sooner or later one of us picks up the phone and summons the other’s presence or lies in wait at a familiar street corner anticipating the wordless embrace that sets the cycle anew. And then we begin again the most addictive phase of all when we use sex to convey the feelings we won’t speak aloud missed you so much will never hurt you again trust me different this time I love you I love I love you

Sometimes, it is he who initiates the phone call, conceding defeat. Come to me? Please? I make him wait while I choose how to give myself: slutty underwear to be torn away or am I inclined to tease him with bows and hooks? A dress I can lift over my arms revealing my eager nakedness or skinny jeans I command him to peel off before he’s permitted to fuck me? Other times, it’s me who lures him with a breathless phone call or a filthy text message and I wait, splayed naked on my kitchen table so he sees immediately my greedy cunt glistening and engorged in anticipation.

And this morning, three days after I last spied on his social media presence, my body’s aching for him becomes more than I am willing to bear. I choose to blink first. And so, as his 08.03 train pulls into the railway station, I wait just beyond the ticket barrier. I wear a purple shirt dress and high-heeled ankle boots for what I have in mind.

I open the top button on my dress to reveal a hint of bra lace.

He sees me. He bites his lip as he walks towards me and I recognise his hesitancy in this gesture. 

As he stands before me, I notice his eyes take in the curve of my breasts where I’ve unbuttoned my dress. He raises his hand, places two fingers on my shoulder and moves them cautiously, slowly, gently along my collarbone until he arrives at the central point under my neck, all the while his eyes fixed on mine. Then his fingers change direction and move, feathertouch soft, downward to the cleave of my breasts. The touch, although light, is everything – the sudden warmth of my pussy is followed almost immediately by glorious wetness.

We have not yet spoken. I take his hand in mine and lead him, fully compliant now, past the information desk, the ticket machines, the coffee franchise, till we reach the passport photo booth. I gesture with my eyes for him to go inside. I follow him in and pull the curtain between us and the morning’s commuters.

He sits on the stool and there’s barely any room, just enough for me to place a leg on either side of him. His hands reach up eagerly to touch my face but I push them down. It pains him to be forced to wait. With deliberate slowness, relishing his frustration, I tease each button of my dress open. Beyond the curtain is the flurry of places-to-be train travellers.

Only now do I lower myself down to sit astride him. He places his hands on my butt cheeks and pulls me towards him, banishing all space between our bodies.

I can feel the stiffness of his erection as he reaches again to touch my face. This time I don’t stop him. He kisses hard with an intensity borne of our three month separation, lips clumsily mashing mine, hands quick and rough over my face and my neck. We grasp and clutch inelegantly.

Finally, the first words whispered turn around and as I turn my back to him I hear the sound of his trousers unzipping. 

His hands pushing my thighs apart

His thumb between my legs, pushing my knickers to the side 

His cock inside me

Filling the emptiness

Me gasping


His hand over my mouth

My hands flat against the screen 

His balls slapping against me

His thrusts

Urgent and fast

Until he moans

And drops his head to my shoulder 

His grip on my hips loosens

His arms envelop me

He gently guides me round me so I’m facing him again. He fixes my dress into position and closes the buttons, lingering for a moment as he reaches the top button to place his lips against my breastbone.

He sits and pulls me down onto his lap. He looks around as though this is the first time he’s registered where we are. How does this thing work anyway? He pocket-rummages and finds coins; we pose playfully for photographs. As we emerge from behind our curtain and wait with exaggerated innocence for our passport photos, I put my mouth to his ear and whisper I can feel your come trickling down my thigh.

Today will be our perfect day. We will phone our excuses to work. We’ll spend the day in my bed kissing, laughing, tickling and teasing, flicking and fingering, sucking and fucking.

The recriminations and reproaches will come later, sometimes days later, sometimes weeks. Eventually, there’ll be an event – a birthday, perhaps – that pulls him back to the emotional responsibilities of his other life.

Then he will be lost to me again.

And I will have lost myself in love again. 


Cute as a button by @IAmAnnaSky

The below is an entry for #FreshlyPolished by @IAmAnnaSky.

Cute as a Button

The touch of her hand as she brushed mine made me look, but I dismissed any ideas as soon as I glanced up. The waitress was cute and contemporary, suited to the hipster coffee shop but not my type. But the prolonged contact between us, before she pulled away, intrigued me.

I reached out to catch her wrist and felt the flutter of her pulse against my fingers. She relaxed into my grip, seemed to welcome it. When I searched her face, her eyes told me a different story from the colourful, carnival veneer of ink on her forearms.

A look of relief flashed across her face when she recognised the facade of tattoos and piercings didn’t fool me. I knew she wasn’t invinvible. Her eyes told me she was vulnerable, wanted someone to love her, protect her, but make her feel alive. In that brief moment as our eyes connected, I wanted her. It made me feel something I’d not felt for a long time. An aching hunger in me rose.

I scribbled my number on the back of the receipt, left a tip and left, thinking I should forget her. But she stayed in my head. And later on, when my phone showed an unknown number calling, my hand shook as I answered. My hands never shake but somehow, this time they did. It was her.

She came over that night and allowed me to worship her. I laid her on my bed, tied her wrists and moved my mouth over every inch of her body. She moaned and writhed beneath me. And I kissed and sucked every inch of her, from her shoulders to her soft belly, to her sensitive inner thighs. I massaged her calves and insteps, feeling her unwind beneath my hands.

I kneaded her shoulder and her breasts. Pinched her nipples and watched the bursts of hurt transform into pleasure. Raking my nails up and down, I left angry red marks and then soothed them better. Pleasure. Pain. Pleasure. Pain. Until they were one and the same in her head.

And when she couldn’t bear any more, I lowered my mouth to her cunt, pinching and massaging her labia to hold her open as I tasted her over and over. I found her sweet spot and when she shuddered with need, I slipped two fingers inside her. All the while, moving my tongue in tight little circles over her swollen clit.

When I curved my fingers upwards, stroking in that come-hither motion, she came so hard. She contracted in desperate, squeezing motions around my fingers. I kept my mouth on her, my fingers steady, the aftershocks carrying her to somewhere else. A total release. And when she was fully sated, I held onto her, whispering I would keep her safe.

I wanted to make her feel safe; I really wanted her to stay. I felt alive, invincible. Something I’d not experienced in a long, long time. She’d awoken a need in me, one that I thought was long-buried. All I could do was hope.


#FreshlyPolished: The Entries

The full list of entries to my #FreshlyPolished competition. Entries will be added as and when they’re submitted. Closing date is TBC, so there’s still time to enter. Enjoy!

  1. Coral Reef by @innocentlb
  2. Mint Candy Apple by @ella_scandal
  3. Barbados Blue by @hannahlockhardt
  4. In Stitches by @Kats_my_Name__
  5. Leading Lady by @mollysdailykiss
  6. Sexy Plunge by @His_Cub
  7. Frock ‘n Roll by @jillyboyd
  8. Cute as a Button by @IAmAnnaSky
  9. Passport to Happiness by Ruby Estella
  10. She’s Picture Perfect by @fdotleonora
  11. After School Boy Blazer by @notsosexintheci


Even before I made my New Year’s Resolutions, I wanted to read more in 2017. In 2016, I read eighteen novels, this year I’m aiming for a minimum of twenty. And, to kickstart that, I plan to read five in January.

When I tweeted about this idea, I asked if anyone wanted to join me, and people were keen, so here are the details:

  • To join in, all you have to do is read five books (physical or digital) or listen to five audiobooks before the end of January.
  • It’s not a competition as such, so there are no prizes, but I may well send out chocolate and possibly other goodies to anyone who completes the challenge.
  • I will do my best to offer periodic encouragement and reminders via Twitter, using the hashtag #CharliesNaNoReMo.
  • If you want to take part, all you have to do is comment on this post, or let me know on Twitter, with a picture or list of the five books you’re planning to read.

Please do share this with your friends – the more the merrier – and let me know if you have any questions.

Charlie x