What You Wear Is All About Sex?

I tend to write in bursts of about an hour or so, with five minute breaks to clear my head and sort through my thoughts. YouTube is constantly open on my browser for just this reason! Funny clips from Amy Schumer or BuzzFeed are just long enough to make me giggle, without taking up more time than I should really allow.

That’s how I found this latest video, talking about how our clothes relate to sex. I really recommend watching the video, as it’s well put together, but the parts I find most interesting are:

  • An obsession with modesty turns clothes, especially underwear, into sexualised objects. This makes clothing sexier than nudity!
  • The buttons on shirts for men and women are on different sides, because historically men dressed themselves, and women were dressed by servants.
  • Ties point your gaze toward the wearer’s crotch. (Gross, I work with men in ties, I don’t want to think about that!)
  • Red drives both men and women wild, because it makes us think of dominance, testosterone, and sex.

These things are fascinating! In the credits for the YouTube video they list all the source material, and it’s fairly extensive.

What do you think, is what we wear all about sex? Will you ever be able to look at a man in a tie the same way again? I’m not sure I will!

Review: The Hurricane

hurricane

Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.

Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.

Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the mis-fire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.

They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.

I really enjoyed this book. BUT, there were a couple of almost deal-breakers. I’ll get to that in a moment.

The connection between these two was heart-warming. It really was two people coming together, and helping each other become the best version of themselves. Em took a long time to be ready for more than friendship, and he was so patient, never pushing her to do more than she wanted. Once they finally moved past friendship, it was explosive!

There were some darker themes in this book. Without dropping in spoilers, Em has been terribly abused in the past. There’s always a danger with these types of story lines that it becomes a gimmick, and isn’t taken seriously. Not in this case. I thought it was dealt with sensitively, but still staying true to the brutality of the experience. That’s a fine line to walk, and it was done well.

HOWEVER. The first niggle is a small one. There were a few typos still in the book, sometimes a word was used when you knew they meant another one. That happens sometimes, and it wasn’t more than three or four times throughout the book. I thought it was forgivable.

The almost dealbreaker? Talking about other women in the book as sluts. There were lots of macho guys, sleeping with a different girl every night, flaunting their muscles, etc. But female characters who weren’t wearing much were bitchy, and out to get Em. They were regularly referred to as sluts.

I am NOT ok with that. Particularly because it’s a double standard. But also because we don’t need, in books that are mostly written for women, yet more describing of good girls vs sluts. Lets just not go there.

The rest of the book was so good, it didn’t quite spoil it for me. In any other book, the slut-talk would have absolutely ruined it.

End result? 3.5/5 stars.

3.5

Inspiration from the bucket list

Halemaumau Crater, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Halemaumau Crater, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park

I’ve always loved travelling, and am an absolute nerd when it comes to planning a trip. I’ll research endlessly about the top things to do, best places to stay, always on the look out for a gem that’s a bit off the beaten track.

Hawaii is not exactly off the beaten track, but it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go. So when flights came up on sale a while back, my husband and I jumped on the opportunity. Top of the list of things to do there? LAVA.

On Hawaii’s Big Island there’s an active volcano. It has a lava lake in the crate (pictured above), lava rolling down the hillsides and into the sea, and even a restaurant on the rim of the crater where you can eat beautiful food and look out on the lava glow. Seeing an active volcano was on my bucket list, so it was satisfying to finally tick it off. It was even better than I expected. Standing in the middle of a volcano, the ground warm under your feet from lava deep below, makes you realise why ancient cultures believed a god lived in the volcano. It’s awe-inspiring.

At the risk of sounding like a tourism advert, I think our trip to Hawaii was one of the best holidays I’ve ever taken. This comes from a person who’s constantly scrimping and saving for the next travel adventure. I was so inspired by it, I came home itching to write a book set there.

So, that’s where my current book is set! It’s actually a lot of fun, re-living the highlights of our trip, and putting them into a love story. It was such a romantic place to be, it’s making this book quite easy to write.

What’s on your bucket list? And what sorts of things inspire you?

Love thyself. And cats.

cats

This drifted across my twitter feed this morning, and made me laugh far louder than is decent. There’s no life lesson that can’t be improved with cats.

On a more serious note, body angst is something that so many people deal with every day. We might think of ourselves as a series of interchanging parts, where this bit should be bigger, that bit should be smaller, and then everything will be ok. Except, we’re not cars. We’re people, with bodies that are capable of so much more than fitting into somebody else’s mould.

One of the first pieces of (unsolicited) advice I received when I first started writing romance is that you should always be positive about the woman’s body. You can be as idealistic with her suitor as you want, rippling muscles, the whole bit. It is, after all, a fantasy escape for many readers. But for the woman you shouldn’t be afraid to put in “flaws”, as long as you talk about them positively.

I was slightly confused by this advice. Not because I disagreed with it, but more that the person (a respected editor who know the industry well) felt it was necessary to mention. Shouldn’t we always talk about the women in our books positively? Have a range of gorgeous people, who spark desire in others? Particularly in romance, where bodies will be talked about, sometimes in great detail?

I live a lot of my life according to the principle that the personal is political. I make choices every day knowing that it could impact someone else’s choices, and trying to leave the world slightly better than how I found it. So I suppose while this idea of body positivity wasn’t new to me, perhaps it would be to others. Perhaps while I hadn’t even considered it to be an issue, maybe others wouldn’t have considered it to be a problem.

Anyway, I love the cat advice. Make like a cat today, and love your cute behind no matter what shape it is. And maybe find someone who’ll make you purr.

Writer’s Block: The romance edition

The problem with writing a romance book is right there in the name of the genre. I find I can fake witty banter or fun plot twists, but I can’t fake the emotion. Which means if something is off in my personal life, writer’s block makes its presence felt.

writers-block

The worst that can happen for my writing is a fight with my husband. I’m very lucky with the man I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with, but we both work demanding jobs, and sometimes we can go for days passing like ships in the night. Too long in that cycle, and misunderstandings spring up, emotional needs aren’t met, and I can get a bit morose.

Once that mood sets in, writing about people falling in love feels impossible. Luckily my husband is a man of action, and it only usually lasts a couple of days before he moves mountains to make me my usual chirpy self. Then a burst of inspiration will come back!

If you write, what brings in writer’s block for you? Or even, more widely, what blocks your creativity in life?