Reality Strikes Again


This picture is causing me a problem. Let’s start from the beginning so I can say why.

Those of you who are reading my current series will know, when I set the book in Hawaii I decided to make full use of the beautiful scenery. It would be a crime not to. For a romance novel this means many things, including… apply your morning sunscreen everywhere.

I admit, thinking over all the beautiful spots in Hawaii wasn’t hard. Talk about spoiled for choice. Having a ridiculous amount of options meant that it also wasn’t hard to think up realistic places where a newly in love couple might sneak away for “privacy” and “alone time”.

But in Hawaiian Homecoming (first draft has passed the halfway mark by the way, woohoo!) we’re back in New Zealand. What is it, when it comes to writing about your own country, that you have to fight yourself to see it through rosy glasses? To see all the gorgeous tourist traps, rather than “ugh, Auckland, your traffic is just the worst“.

But I’ve had a think and remembered my many beautiful holidays around New Zealand, and of course I’ve already talked about Waiheke being one of those. Vineyards! Beaches! Fewer people, giving us options for “privacy”!

And really, why wouldn’t you get a bit carried away in a vineyard. They’re so pretty.

But now we go back a square. I spent a weekend in Martinborough, where there is also many vineyards,  and you can have a lot of fun cycling from one to the other for wine tastings. And this picture shows the moment where I realised there was a small problem with my plan. Can you spot it?


Those vines do not give much cover! There’s a difference between a little exhibitionism, and risking arrest for public indecency.

I do like the idea of love among the vines, though, so I’m sure I can come up with a fix. And if you have a solution, do tell me!

Instant Orgasm Thanks To A… Mushroom??

For anyone who’s ever had difficulty hitting the Big O, maybe you should head to Hawaii. No, not because it’s super romantic (although, it is). But they’ve just discovered a mushroom there that makes women instantly orgasm just by smelling it.

Hello, new friend.

There are a couple of caveats: you’ve got to find a lava flow that’s 600-1000 years old as that’s where it grows, and it was only about half the women who orgasmed instantly, the others were just “significantly more aroused”. Keep it away from your man-friend as well, apparently they just think it smells disgusting.

I only have one complaint about this discovery. Could they not have found it before I started writing Hawaiian Heartbreak, please?? This would have made Kayla and Jay’s jaunt up a volcano even more interesting!

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!

What makes a great kiss?


Happy International Kissing Day! Yes, you read that right, and no, I’m not making this up. It really is a thing, apparently designed to make us remember the joys of kissing for kissing’s sake. Personally I’m well aware of how awesome that is, but I suppose it never hurts to get the reminder in there.

It got me thinking about what makes a really good make out session. I think partly it’s chemistry: you either want to jump someone’s bones, or you don’t. No matter how technically attractive a person might be, if you don’t have chemistry, it’s just not going to be a great kiss.

I’m not entirely sure what chemistry really boils down to, but part of it has to be a connection with a person. I like to joke that I’m sapiosexual, which means you’re aroused by someone who’s intelligent. But in all seriousness, if we can’t have a good conversation, I’m not interested!

There’s another criteria that I do think needs to be put out there: hygiene. Funky breath is gross at the best of times, but if you want to swap spit with me, you’re going to need at least average maintenance. It’s basic manners.

Beyond that, kissing is pure fun. It’s apparently linked to stress relief, which I can believe, because after a stressful day I love to pull my husband aside and make out with him in the kitchen! It also works out your facial muscles which makes you look younger. Bonuses all round.

What do you think makes a great kiss? Did you realise we had a day dedicated to this?

Sex as a gift, or sex as violence?

A thought that’s always uppermost in my mind when I’m writing is the genre. Romance. I’m writing a love story, and part of love (hopefully!) is steamy sex, where sparks fly, and all you can think about for days afterwards is that person.

Recently I’ve come across some things that have made me wonder if I’m alone in this view. Revenge porn. Porn in general. Some people seem to see sex as a weapon to use against other people.

A friend of mine recently had pictures of her published on a web site. They weren’t as bad as they could have been, but her job gives her a high profile, and word quickly got around about the pictures. She’s stood down from her job for a while, until it all blows over. These were snaps she took willingly, for a person she was with and trusted at that time. More fool her, huh?

I also made the mistake recently of viewing Hot Girls Wanted. This is a documentary about the amateur porn industry, and it’s unflinching in looking at how the women are treated. It includes abuse videos, which I was possibly naive in thinking wouldn’t be that common. They are.

How could someone possibly find these things sexually enjoyable? Viewing pictures without a person’s consent, knowing they were never meant for you? Viewing video of a pretty young girl being screamed at, beaten, and then made to perform sexually?

It’s always uppermost in my mind when I write, that I want the characters having sex to enjoy themselves. There may be all sorts of internal conflicts about whether they should want it, but they do. Those are always the scenes that are hottest to me. Where people want each other, get each other off, and then bask in the glow together afterwards.

Romance books are often called lady porn (my preferred term) or mummy porn. I don’t mind people seeing it as porn, despite the stigma attached to it. Although I’d like to think there’s a lot stronger story than your average porn video! I’d probably enjoy watching porn as well as reading it, if sex was shown as something beautiful and consensual. Sex is probably one of the easiest ways to flood our brains with happy chemicals and bond with another person. What a wonderful gift to be able to share.

There’s probably little we can do to stop certain people from treating sex as a weapon. All I think we can do is celebrate it in our own lives. Never give in to those who would want us to be ashamed of it, and our bodies. And always be as sure as we can be that those we share it with are trustworthy.