Friday, 29 August 2014
DURING most days of the week, Rebecca, a 35-year-old mother from Melbourne, lives the life of a regular suburban mum.
She does the school drop off and kindergarten duty, goes for coffee with the other school mums and plays basketball with her two young daughters in the local park.
But for three nights a week, Rebecca slips into her black leather corset, thigh-high boots and PVC mini skirt, and transforms herself into her dominatrix alter-ego, Mistress Jane.
She teaches women — at private classes, hen’s parties and public workshops about how to spice up their sex lives by incorporating elements of BDSM.
“I’m passionate about women getting what they want from their sex lives and exploring and experimenting,” Rebecca, who prefers not to use her last name, told news.com.au.
“I go with my big bag of tricks and I teach women how to tie men up and give them a good spanking,” she said.
Her business, Tamed By Jane, is so successful that she’s able to rely solely on her income from dominatrix work.
“I love it. As soon as you put the costume on, you’re transformed. It’s like putting on a layer of confidence,” she said.
Rebecca says she feels like she lives a double life.
“I don’t talk about my second life [as a dominatrix]. I keep it quiet,” she said. “It is strange. I find it a bit difficult to relate to the other mums at school.
“When I meet new people I keep it to myself. I’ve got girlfriends who live ‘vanilla’ lives and then I’ve got my main circle of friends and they’re the non-vanilla ones I can be myself around and we can talk about anything.
“I’m not ashamed of what I do. I just keep it to myself to protect my children.”
Her daughters, aged three and six, are too young to understand what their mum does for a living.
“Everything I do is after they go to bed or when they’re not with me. It’s completely over their heads,” Rebecca said.
“They’ve seen my company logo and they love it because it’s a cartoon of a dominatrix. They don’t know what a dominatrix is.
“They’ve seen my boots and say, ‘We love your gumboots mummy, can we wear your gumboots?’”
Rebecca is separated from her husband (the father of her children) but is now in an open relationship with her partner of a year.
“It’s the best of both worlds. We don’t have many rules, to be honest. We’re both free to play away from each other.
“He’ll see other people and I’ve got other partners as well. But then we can also play together — we go to swinger’s parties and we’re able to have fun together.
“We’re quite different to some couples who start off monogamous and then decide to explore an open relationship.
“My partner and I met each other and from the first date I said, ‘I’m not looking for a monogamous relationship’ and he said, ‘That’s fantastic, that’s exactly what I’m looking for’.
“He was looking for somebody who would allow him to fulfil his desires and I was looking for someone who would let me play with other people.
“Neither of us believe you can get everything from the one person.”
The couple have one rule — “to put each other first” — and always debrief with each other after a sexual interaction with another partner.
“It’s totally up to the other person about how much detail we go into. We’ll say, ‘Do you want the blow-by-blow or just a quick summary?’ Usually it’s somewhere in the middle, for me.”
[My partner] says after being with someone he feels closer to me. He feels so grateful and lucky to have a partner that lets him do this. He says, ‘I’m so lucky to have a girlfriend that lets me do what I want to do’.
Rebecca says the couple practice the concept of “compersion” - “the idea that you can get pleasure from the thought of your partner getting pleasure.”
“If something good happens to them — it can be sexual, if your partner has an awesome night with someone else or even if they get a new job — and all you feel is joy because they’re getting something that they want.
“It doesn’t come naturally to most people. I think it’s human nature to feel jealous, but if someone you love is happy, why wouldn’t you be happy that something good is happening to them?”
And she says the main message she teaches to her clients is communication.
“There are certain ways you bring things up with your partner — you can’t just bring out the ropes — you have to talk about it. Don’t be afraid of talking about what you want.
“You have to be honest and true to yourself, accept what you want and embrace your kinks,” she said.
Jane is @tamedbyjane on Twitter and Jane Untamed at Facebook
Friday, 22 August 2014
There’s an old church built of stone; they don’t build structures like that anymore. I have an image in my mind of grey age. Yes, I am correct; the writer, Christina Harding tells me that the church has been standing for centuries. Something else they don’t do anymore is put Gargoyles on the roofs of churches; and there are gargoyles here, on this building, another testament to age. Yes, the gargoyles too have been perched here for centuries, watching and waiting. It’s spooky, for whom are the gargoyles watching and waiting? A tremor tickles up my spine…
Trisha, our protagonist, walks to the entrance of the church. The gargoyles watch her. Trisha challenges them with a stony glance; she has no fear of their menacing gaze. And this first chapter of Christina Harding’s erotic novel, “Underneath the Gargoyles,” is defined by watching, looking; voyeurism drives the narrative.
It is choir practice in the church. Trisha is asked by Father Cohen, the choir master, to sing a solo. Trisha watches her boyfriend, Kyle as she sings; she watches Kyle watching her. The novel is in the first person and the reader is privy to Trisha’s rapacious, lascivious thoughts; Kyle naked. Kyle’s swaying, proud erection; she replays the ripping thrust of Kyle’s erection penetrating her. And Kyle watches Trisha watching him. Trisha also watches Kyle’s dad; Father Cohen. She notes his strong forearms and wonders how long it has been since he has been with a woman. She also wonders about his body beneath his priest’s robes; her eyes undress him. As Trisha sings her lovely lament, she watches Father Cohen’s eyes fixing on her, watching the rise and fall of her ample breasts.
And if fetishistic voyeurism drives the narrative, fetishistic exhibitionism is hot on its tail. As Trisha sings, she knows that she is turning on the two men, father and son and that thought alone is enough to provoke an arousal which cannot be ignored.
Trisha’s friend, Olivia watches all three.
Father and son; Trisha has had one. She wants both.
Christina Harding’s protagonist is defined by her outrageous promiscuity.
Trisha’s fingers stray to her clitoris and she masturbates; she needs to have sex soon, very, very soon. Remember, this is all taking place in a church. The air is heavy, scented, saturated, not with the odour of holy incense, but with the stink of sexual tension and Trisha’s giddy pheromones. Olivia watches her friend’s erotic display. And the Gargoyles watch too. And the fetishistic ending to this story will blow you away, really it will; it blew me away.
I cannot believe that this is Christina’s first venture into erotica, but it is. She has learnt and honed her craft well. Christina knows exactly how to titillate her reader, how to seduce; she writes carefully, with her aroused reader always in mind. She knows how to keep her reader reading. Trisha’s sexual antics are raw and lusty. I’m getting a vicarious thrill from Trisha’s predatory demands for sex; she wants it now and she wants it a lot. Christina has indeed created a monster; but Trisha is a monster who delights the reader. She’s sacrilegious; relishing in the profanity of having sex in the graveyard and she has made me laugh out loud at her refreshingly, guilt free, outrageous behaviour; read this book and you will be shocked and delighted at Trisha’s healthy yearning for sex. No hang ups for this lady; she’s refreshing. A strong young woman who turns sexual gratification into an art form.
Christina has created a book of Erotica that will delight the lover of the genre. She writes with a style and panache that other writers of the genre will envy. Christina Harding is a bold, provocative, creative writer; absolutely and most definitely, more, more, more from her…please.
Here are the outlets for Christina Harding's cool book...
Universal Amazon Purchase Link: Smashwords: Barns and Noble: iTunes: Screwpulp: (First 25 downloads are free!) Goodreads: My blog: My twitter:
Friday, 15 August 2014
TOPPING FROM BELOW, by Laura Reese, is not for the fainthearted. I started reading it with trepidation; the book at arms’ length. I had a good idea where it was going -- and I didn’t know if I’d be able to handle it. I’d written a feature for my blog, on bestiality in literature. Why was it so taboo; it’s in classical art and literature, so why are editors and publishers so fearful of going anywhere near it?
So there I was, with the real thing in my hand -- and I was scared. I’d been quite brave in my essay -- at least, I thought I had. I’d had a lot of intelligent response; one in particular from Neve Black, who’d recommended TOPPING FROM BELOW to me. What was there to be afraid of?
I knew the book contained the real act: yes, bestiality. Neve had told me. So with chilly uncertainty nipping at my fingertips, I opened the book and started to read.
I’m tempted to describe this book as a ‘decline and fall,’ story. But it isn’t really that, because there is no fall. There’s no retribution, because the narrator doesn’t recognise that she’s done anything wrong. No sin has been committed. By the end of the book, she understands that something has been drawn out of her; something that should have remained hidden.
Nora knows who killed her sister, Franny. She knows without a doubt. The culprit has been questioned, but no charges have been made.
Nora is determined to prove his guilt and have him brought to justice; it is how she goes about this that elevates TOPPING FROM BELOW, from dark pornography, to a powerful, beautifully crafted story.
Nora’s suspect is a charismatic sadomasochist. Franny, her murdered sister, had fallen under his spell and Nora sets about taking Franny’s place. She learns of Franny’s degradation and humiliation and learns how Franny embraced one perversion after another, just to please the man she believed loved her. The difference between the two sisters, is that Franny’s actions filled her with self loathing. Nora accepts each perversion as a new way of life.
In her closing chapter, Nora, the narrator, tells us;
“M awakened in me passions I didn’t know existed…”
But she is reconciled within herself. Nora continues;
“A year ago I would’ve said there was a clear line separating the good from the evil. I would’ve said that evilness belonged in the netherworld and that evil men existed beyond the peripheries of decency. Now I’m not so sure. I believe that there is a dark side that belongs to us all, lying beneath the surface of our humanity, twisted extreme and savage in some of us, less severe in others, but always present and always at struggle with the civilised soul…”
There are dark places in our hearts; those secret doors that are best left closed.
I’m glad I read Laura Reese’s book and I am so glad that Neve Black recommended it to me. As I said TOPPING FROM BELOW, isn’t for the fainthearted. It’s challenging and confrontational -- but it’s also a damn good story I definitely recommend it, and I shall certainly be reading it again. When Neve first told me about Laura Reese’ book it was out of print, but I was lucky enough to get it via a private seller. Thankfully, it is now back in print.
Published in 1995, TOPPING FROM BELOW is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US in hard copy and as a Kindle e-read.
Friday, 8 August 2014
Today, most of the people working in shops are women. But 150 years ago being served by a woman would have been a phenomenon. The story of how women swept onto our shop floors is an extraordinary one. Our shop girl had to negotiate a journey from being almost invisible in the stark Victorian stores to being the beating heart of today’s vibrant shops. There is a drama behind her history; her exploitation by ruthless shop keepers and her enjoyment of selling beautiful objects. She had a defiant fight on her hands against the trashy reputation of class snobbery and her cult status. The shop girls have a voice, as do their bosses and their customers. And ultimately, through the shop girls’ stories, we can see how society changes, when 1,000 young women eventually made it into shop work.
In July, 1861, the Glasgow Daily Herald newspaper ran a bizarre story. The headline ran; “Romantic Freak of a Glasgow Girl of 16”
It was reported that a young man had answered an advertisement for a shop assistant. He was hired and all went well for the first few days – the lad giving “extra satisfaction,” according to the article. But then, the young man’s land lady visited the shop and the shopkeeper was told that his employee was not a boy, but a girl. The article went on to say that at first the shop assistant tried to deny it, but eventually confessed to being a girl of 16. Her boss fired her immediately; he only employed men. We don’t know whom she was or what was really driving her, but remarkably she did it again. Another Ad, another job once again disguised as a boy. The story sums up neatly attitudes to shop work at the time. The fact that she was labelled a romantic freak shows just how puzzling people found her. Why would a girl want to break into such a male domain? This girl was ready to do whatever it took to challenge an old order. Shop work was closed to most women in the mid-19th century.
Wisbech in the Fens. In the 18th century it was one of the most thriving market towns in Cambridgeshire. It boasted elegant Victorian and Georgian buildings, rows of shops and prosperous, independent tradesmen. It was also home to a photographer, Samuel Smith who captured street images of the time; an innocent insight into the town’s shop life. Wisbech was a typical provincial
town and all of its shops were owned and staffed by men. Mid-19th century Wisbech reflected the entrenched customs of a country where women weren’t forbidden from working in shops, they were there but were virtually invisible on the shop floor. The old shopocracy was hanging onto its traditions by passing everything; trade, business, employment down the male line. And in the great metropolis, London, the picture was barely any different.
London was buzzing. Its coffers swelled by money from the Empire and its position and status as the world’s most powerful trading nation. In the 1850s London was the biggest city in the world with a population of over two and a half million and its commercial influence spreading across the globe. London boasted a vast array of luxury shops from the Piano Forte maker, to the Corset maker. From the Turtle Soup makers to the Purveyors of Biscuits to the Royal Family. On the outside, the vast variety of goods for sale must have seemed delightfully tempting especially for the new middle classes with money to spend, but inside the shopping experience was quite daunting. An aristocratic lady of the 19th century, was recorded to have remarked that she found shopping “uniquely unpleasant.” The idea that shopping could be made pleasant was still a world away. London was bursting with shops, but women were employed in very few of them.
One prestigious shop, sold the most expensive drinks of the mid-19th century day; tea and coffee. This shop goes back to the times when people weren’t expected to go into the shop. Shop windows were thrown open and buying and selling was conducted directly onto the street. This particular shop now sells exclusive wines and they now employ women, but only since the 1980s.
Inside the mid-19th century shop, even in the city, male dominance of the shopping business looked set to continue. But outside, long held traditions were changing rapidly. More and more working men were being drawn into the factories and offices of the big industrial cities. Others went abroad to seek new lives and prosperities in the Empire. Shops no longer had their ready supply of young men and apprentices. They had to compete with the employers of big industry. As for women the problems they faced in gaining work were startling and were revealed when the 1850 census was published. It showed that out of 20 million people there were estimated to be two and a half million unmarried women in Britain who were self-supporting and as well as this, there were over half a million more women than men in the population overall.
Without the support of a kindly husband, as Victorian tradition would have it, the question was, what to do with all of these women?
In the late 1850s, a group of radically minded women met at 19 Langham Place in Upper Regent’s Street, London. They were there to address an urgent problem – how to get the huge surplus of unmarried women into work? They saw shop work as one of the key areas of employment; they formed the Society for the Employment of Women and they set up a school to train women in such areas as mental arithmetic, needed for calculating a customer’s change, or weighing foodstuffs, or measuring fabrics. In addition the women were schooled in hand writing, reading, as well as social skills such as politeness and deportment. In order to serve middle class women in shops a girl had to shed the appearance of her lower middle class or working class roots. She had to reinvent herself in deportment and speech. The aim was to show that women were capable of carrying out shop work as readily as men. The ladies were collectively known as The Ladies of Langham Place and their radical ideas were to change long held ideas that work for a woman was demeaning and unladylike.
It’s a story of aspiration; by the 1860s women were beginning to find work in shops. The consumer world was expanding and shop girls fitted the bill. Shopping had arrived on a grand scale and a new frontier was opening; the coming of the department store. The old Jenner’s shop on Prince’s Street, Edinburgh burnt down in 1892 and in 1893 the Scottish architect, William Hamilton Beattie was appointed to design the new store which subsequently opened in 1895. It is noted by the statutory listing that, at Charles Jenner's insistence, the building's caryatids were intended 'to show symbolically that women are the support of the house'. The new store included many technical innovations such as electric lighting and hydraulic lifts. In 1909, Harry Gordon Selfridge opened his Selfridge department store on Oxford Street London. Mr Selfridge had a relentless innovative marketing drive and it was expressed in his Oxford Street store. He tried to make shopping fun; an adventure instead of a chore. He put merchandise on display so customers could examine it, put the highly profitable perfume counter front-and-centre on the ground floor, and established policies that made it safe and easy for customers to shop – techniques that have been adopted by modern department stores the world over. Mr Selfridge is popularly held to have coined the phrase "the customer is always right" and Mr Selfridge used it regularly in his extensive marketing.
And the lovely, stylish young women who were employed in the Selfridge department store seduced their customers with richly coloured silks from the Orient; softly sensuous velvets from Arabia and Haute Couture designs from Paris.
The shop girl had arrived.
Monday, 4 August 2014
A real treat for you this week! The writer Christina Harding has ventured into my favourite genre! Erotica! Read about Christina's cool book here and it's a free download from Smashwords until this Friday 8th August! Right after I've finished this post I'm heading on over to Smashwords to get my freebie! Over to Christina!
I am proud to announce my debut erotic novelette - Underneath the Gargoyle!! After reading and reviewing much erotica, I decided to try my hand at writing it myself. This project has been secretly in the works for a while now, and I can't be more excited to finally share it with you!
Trisha is a Catholic choir member and believes nobody knows the extent of her promiscuity. Little does she know the gargoyles are watching her.
"Every time I walk into my church, I get the creepy feeling that the gargoyles are watching
me. The church is on top of a hill overlooking our small town. And the gargoyles have been
perched up on the roof, surveying us for centuries. This afternoon I have choir practice, and I
stare down the gargoyles as I enter the church, per my standard procedure. They don’t scare me
no matter how menacing they look, and I’m letting them know it."
"This was fun to read -- clever and sexy and laugh-out-loud funny."
Limited time offer! Download Underneath the Gargoyle for FREE from Smashwords! Use coupon code CV38M at checkout. Act soon - the coupon expires on August 8! If you download it for free and you enjoy what you read, I would like to ask that you please write a review on your favorite retailer.
Available From These Retailers:
Amazon US: Amazon UK:
It's at Smashwords: (don't forget that coupon CV38M) It's here at Screwpulp:
And it's coming very soon to more retailers!
Readers can also purchase Underneath the Gargoyle directly from me via paypal for $0.99 in these formats:EPUB: MOBI/Kindle: PDF:
Other important links: