#Lippie: The Results

It’s taken me two full weeks to get round to judging #Lippie. I’m kind of sorry, not sorry, because I wanted to wait until I had the time to read all the entries in one sitting and to really figure out what I loved about each one. Because god, there was a lot of great writing submitted.

I should say, before I start with what I loved, that the comments on the entries are in no particular order (they’re linked by theme), with the exception of the final five. Although there’s only one prize this time round, there were loads of entries that deserved to be commended and I couldn’t get it down to three, so, yeah, one winner and four runners up.

Two themes that I found particularly interesting came through in a lot of the entries. Lots of the stories dealt with reinventing yourself, which is, after all, the huge joy of lipstick. Brave by @TomWatched was one such example, with the added benefit of great dialogue. @RiaRestrepo also did a fab job of it in Kinda Sexy, where she wrote a great, modern version of Girl Power (yes, I did like the Spice Girls), which also has room for a very hot man. Finally, there was Fanfare by @IAmAnnaSky, which did a beautiful job of combining the will to recreate yourself after a relationship ends with the sometimes huge appeal of being lost in the crowd. Plus, it had the wonderful line ‘She tastes sweet and sour.’

When characters weren’t reinventing themselves, they were generally superbly strong nonetheless. @cherrytartblog’s Flamingos and wolves (yes, she drew a particularly short straw in the lipstick name game) has a heroine with serious attitude. I adored her! @Mollysdailykiss gave us a similarly sassy FMC in On Hold, as well as a lovely bit of alleyway action, which is one of my favourite things. And talking of my favourite things, @Mandapen used remarkably few words to tap into all my kinks and left me lusting for some bruises. Dancing cropped up twice, in @Innocentlb’s Impassioned and Flat Out Fabulous by @Katya_Harris – the first of these saw a narrator who gets lost in the music only to leave me wistful for the girl he misses out on in doing so, and the latter an epic female character who’s so into her dancing she doesn’t need anyone else to make this a really hot story. There was also a lovely bit of character detail in @CollaredMom’s Politely Pink, where the female character says ‘he knew I hated pink’ and the themes of both pinkness and politeness carry the whole way through the story, too. In Dubonnet, by Robert S, the female character wasn’t typical of erotic fiction, which always pleases me, and the male character liked her imperfections, such as her selfies. The sense of place was really well portrayed in this one, too.

Costa Chic by @GoodnightAngela genuinely had me wondering where the story was going. The same was true at the start of @BilliousOne’s Runway Hit, which I expected to be about fashion but actually turned out to be set at an airport. I liked how the arrivals and departures of the planes gave the whole thing a sense of fleetingness, which was the other theme that came up multiple times. I loved too, how the heroine left the hotel after the scene. The sense of fleetingness was also my favourite thing about Peter Stone’s Real Redhead.

Several of the stories had wonderful multi-sensory details, like Lipstick Color by @cammiesonfloor, whose heroine is left with a ‘grotesque, clownish smile (I also loved the line ‘more like the “O” she wanted than a plea’) , Peach Blossom by @Juniper3Glasgow (‘She can still smell the outside on her’), which also had a beautifully balanced and healthy relationship between the characters, and Creme in your Coffee by @fdotleonora (‘[she] could not help but notice that the lipstick was the exact color as her nipples’), which takes an everyday scenario and makes it hot as, well, coffee.

Although @VidaBailey2’s non-fiction piece Cosmo was sad in places (‘…no one knew how to make me come’), it’s ultimately very uplifting, not least due to the description of ‘happy, heavy cock.’ @VenaRamphal’s No Persistence here was equally a bittersweet combination of fun and sadness, with the added twist of being told from the perspective of the actual lipstick! Sexy, too…

Syrup by @AbsolutelyRuby is not sad, but it is bloody dark, and was so powerfully written, I found myself holding my breath for the first few paragraphs. It also had a very cool male character, this time because he didn’t always know what he was doing, which, while terrifying, also strikes me as very true to life. BDSM is also handled well in @StellaKiink’s See Sheer, which reminded me just how wonderfully calm it can make you feel.

In Lady Danger by @Mansplanation, it’s the dialogue – ‘Am I your King,’ I ask her, pinning her down by the throat,’ contrasting wonderfully with ‘Tilt your head my queen.’ Somehow, it’s so powerful it also makes the ending even more of a surprise. Rebel by @loucheasfuck had the beautiful line ‘she’s hit a rich seam’ as well as very powerful repetition – ‘And her. And her.’

This brings us to the top five. The runners up, again in no particular orderwere @Girlonthenetwith Sin, @19Syllables, with Cockney, @JillyBoyd, with Hot Tahiti and @Octogirlscares with Saigon Summer. I went to a writing talk recently where the speaker talked about the writer needing to take full responsibility for the imagery they create, and not leave the reader to have to fill in the gaps, and Girlonthenet certainly does this. ‘Each detail pulses with raw, bright colour’ she says, in the story, and then she totally follows through, writing in a way that allows us to experience all of this raw, bright colour for ourselves.

Cockney is similarly vivid, while less graphic, and does a masterful job of mixing the everyday with the seriously hot. In the comments on this story, Girlonthenet said ‘I think I have a proper kink for anticipation, and unrequited lust, and this captured that *ache* so beautifully,’ and I can’t really express it better myself…

The other two runners up both deal with trauma, although in very different ways. In Hot Tahiti, Jilly deftly pulls off writing about death while keeping an immense sense of life in her piece, which is bloody tricky to do, and she has a wonderfully strong male narrator whose self-assurance allows him to say things like ‘She was never too much,’ which utterly delighted me. @Octogirlscares went braver still, using Saigon Summer to write about the horrors of the Vietnam war. The main character in this appeared so vividly to me I felt I’d met or seen her somewhere, and I was just astounded by the author’s courage is using something as frivolous as a lipstick name to inspire something so powerfully bleak.

And so, all that’s left is to announce the winner: Myth, by @DarkJezebelle. With both this and Girlonthenet’s piece making the top five, it would seem that cheating is quietly one of my kinks, but what I really loved about this piece was that it wove lipstick in, but did it in a way that made it utterly crucial to the story, and the strong, short but confident voice that @DarkJezebelle maintains throughout. I was a also a sucker for the way the paranoia builds over the course of the piece, and the fantastic imagery, such as ‘Or was it left there, around the base, where I’d struggled to breathe, eager to impress a new lover.’

So, that’s it. Thanks to you all for joining in and helping me raise cash for Refuge, and huge congratulations to @DarkJezebelle – drop me an email or DM with your mailing address and I’ll get your prize sent out asap!

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Giving It Up Competition: The Results

I’m late with these – I’d have extended the deadline for another week or so, but I figured that after the whole of Lent, it was time for you to stop writing and get back to morel important things like chocolate, booze and wanking (oh, wait, that’s just me…)

Anyway, as ever when I run competitions, the calibre of the entries was pretty damn high, which makes making a decision about the winner difficult, to say the least.

Let’s start with Innocent Loverboy’s entry, seeing as he was quick off the mark to send it in. I really like the way he’s added extra elements of challenge to the prompt, and that he’s been inspired by music (he wrote it in 05.42 minutes, which is the length of the James track that inspired him. I love the short sentences at the start as well, which do indeed give a real sense of build up.

Jane at Jane’s Little Secrets is also a recent discovery, and one who shares the same problem as me: struggling to give up control. It’s totally worth it in this case, though, because the description of being fingered by someone who’s driving feels risky in more ways than one. And who isn’t turned on by an element of risk?

Absolutely Ruby’s gorgeous post imagines the day that she’ll have to give up a lover who’s both bad and good for her all at the same time. The remembered details in this – her first champagne cocktail, a much needed hug – enrich the piece and create a situation we’re almost all certain to relate to. My heart aches for her reading this, but at the same time, when she says ‘I will look back on our time and boy will I smile because it really has been fantastic’ it makes me smile too. A proper emotional rollercoaster of an entry, this one.

Lent by Strained Voices is a piece where the characters end up breaking the rules of Lent, and isn’t that always the most fun? It was the line ‘I can do whatever the fuck I want,” he said, holding her hips and plunging himself inside her,’ that really got me. Hot stuff.

TheShingleBeach is the third entrant to include a song lyric – it’s as if when we’re forced to give up the good stuff in life we turn to music to see us through. Loss appears as a theme here too, and heartbreakingly sadly, once again, especially because, fuck me, this couple have chemistry. We know they’ve been intimate for a while, because of the way she is pulled into the bedroom in ‘a practised tango,’ and it makes the end, with its lonely walk home and suitcase to be packed, even more poignant than it might otherwise be.

Collared Mom’s Lent is Rough was definitely the piece that made me smile the most – i could totally see myself wondering if tiramisu was fair game if I’d given up coffee – and here the main character still can’t stop her mind wandering to tiramisu even once she has a hot man on the scene! The descriptions, such as ‘I was grinning like a school girl that had just been given a pony for her birthday.’ are great too.

@Mandapen‘s Take It All is sadly not available for reading online, as she emailed it to me. It’s a great tale of a woman domming her partner for the first time. There’s no fear here of painting flawed characters – we learn that he is ‘an unreliable servant’ who often goes AWOL for ‘weeks, sometimes months’ or of viscerality: ‘great salty mouthfuls of her juice,’ both of which are things that i massively appreciate in fiction.

In the end though, I was torn between two pieces: An Older Man’s Breaking Conditioning and Euclidean Point‘s Giving Up Kink (which again, was sent to me via email.) The draw of the former is how fearlessly it eroticises something that I still think of as a relatively niche kink – water sports. Innate shame duels with the desire to please, and I love the way that the subtle tension of the piece dwindles to deep affection as it draws to a close.

Maybe Euclidean Point’s entry taps strongly into my kinks (and by ‘maybe’ I mean ‘definitely), but it also covers such ground so concisely. For example, ‘On our first date he opened doors for me and I lowered my eyes for him. The first time we were alone, in a hotel room, he spanked me and I sucked his cock while he pulled my hair,’ tells us everything we need to know about the characters in two perfectly composed sentences. And then, the final paragraph which captures both the strength and peacefulness in submission, and well as the sense it can give you of coming home. All these things combined to leave me with little choice but to declare this piece the winner, which means you can read it in full below. Congratulations, Euclidean Point – I’ll be in touch about your prize.

Charlie xx

Here is what happens when you give up your kink. 

It was his idea, to live as a vanilla couple for a month. Since meeting online we had each been entrenched in our defined roles – he was a dominant and I was a submissive. On our first date he opened doors for me and I lowered my eyes for him. The first time we were alone, in a hotel room, he spanked me and I sucked his cock while he pulled my hair.

We’ve been living together for two years now, and I want to be with him forever. His issue with this is my experience. I’ve had flings and half-hearted love affairs, but never a relationship like this. How can I know that it’s the submission I love, not just the fact that I can cuddle up to someone after a hard day at work?

He removed my collar on a Sunday morning. The sun was shining into our bedroom as I knelt at his feet. He carefully laid the collar in his bedside drawer, and then returned to me and helped me to stand up. The rest of the day was mine.

We cooked breakfast together, as we had done a hundred times before. I decided I wanted to go shopping, and I remembered to inform rather than ask him before I left the house. I managed a few hours of pleasant but directionless wandering before returning home. He’d brought me flowers. That night he gently took me into his arms and caressed my body. We fucked slowly and kissed passionately. I moaned in all the right places, and smiled at him afterwards. It felt empty and soulless, but perhaps it was just unfamiliar.

For the next few weeks he hugged me, kissed me, and asked about my day. Gone were the affectionate slaps on my arse. For the first time in years my pale skin was entirely without a mark or a bruise. All of our toys were sealed in a box in the corner of our bedroom, a box that I couldn’t stop glancing at out of the corner of my eye.

One day when he was out, I opened the box. Three weeks after sealing it all away, it was strange to see the neatly packed rope, a selection of clamps, canes, floggers and my favourite riding crop. I took out two lengths of rope and re-sealed the box. When he came home, I led him to the bed and almost had one of his wrists tied to the headboard before he even realised what I was doing.

He allowed himself to be tied, for his nipples to be pinched. I brought him to the brink of orgasm with my mouth and then stopped. He laughed when I asked him to beg. I teased him some more. He pulled experimentally on his bonds but having been tied to that headboard so much myself I knew exactly how to ensure there would be no escape. Eventually he persuaded me to give him his release. He never told me that I was in trouble, or that I would pay for this once the month came to an end. The next morning I packed the rope back into the box and it has been there ever since.

The last week of the month was difficult. I was really busy at work, and came home stressed and tense every evening. He cooked dinner, and rubbed my shoulders. Some nights he massaged my feet as I sat drinking wine in front of the TV.

Today is the last day of my freedom from submission. As I enter the bedroom he’s standing waiting for me.

‘You’re happy.’ He sounds resigned.

‘I am.’ I respond, smiling at him.

He steels himself before responding. ’You know I can’t give up for good, don’t you? But maybe we could just do it on weekends or…’

My grin stops him in his tracks and he searches my face for meaning. ‘I’m happy because the month is over.’

It’s only when the tension visibly leaves his body that I can see how much he has suffered. How careful he has been, how studiously he has denied himself to give me this choice. That he loves me so much he would be prepared to let me go rather than risk pressuring me into a submissive lifestyle that I didn’t want.

But I need it as much as he does. As I lean in to kiss him, he takes my wrists and pushes them behind my back. Then using one hand to keep my wrists pinned, his free hand roughly grabs my breast and pinches my nipple hard. We’re both smiling as we press our foreheads together in a moment of shared relief.

Tonight we will open the box in the corner of our bedroom and resume our familiar roles. The blank canvas of my flesh will once again carry the evidence of our shared passion, the lines and bruises that mark me as his. This is my freedom. This is my home. And I will never give it up again.