Author Archives: rowenastarfire

Flash Fiction – “Only two fingers on his left hand”

Thanks to Annie Arcane for hosting this flash fiction thread. If you’d like to write your own, share your blog post here under Week 35.

The warehouse was along the harbor, so even at midnight the rot of gutted fish and chum lingered. That it was still abandoned after a year was no surprise to me—most fishermen had moved to the other side of the bay, where crime was low and broken street lamps actually got repaired. But if you could get past the smell, and the damp chill, and the lack of light, and the fear of getting mugged, and the good probability of getting a methamphetamine contact high, it was a fine place to do business.

So obviously Michael and I were alone. Again. And obviously that was how we needed it to be.

A couple days ago, he’d found a lantern at a Goodwill that made a sizzle pop every now and again. It kind of killed me that he held onto that hunk of metal, considering Foss would be happy to spring for a reliable light source. But Michael always went for drama over convention. It’s a fine quirk for our line of business, but man did it make the sex weird.

Not that we were still having sex. We were done, for reals, and we’d promised Foss there’d be no more ‘for old times’ sakes. But trust me. It got weird.

Anyway, he was arranging documents on an old card table by light of his lantern when I came in. I handed him a 40 I’d picked up along the way. Yes, I could afford it. But no, I did not pay for it. There were so many pockets lining the inside of my leather jacket that it would be a shame to leave them empty.

“You should get microbrews,” Michael said. He was distracted, the orange light casting shadows under his eyes and making his already striking features look almost demonic. Michael’s got those smoldering good looks. You know, the deep set eyes and the strong nose, a constant five o’clock shadow.

But aside from what he does for work, he’s a really nice guy.

“Microbrews are expensive,” I muttered, opening my own 40 and taking a swig. “So what kind of info do you have for me?”

He continued to organize the documents, but I didn’t try to look at them yet. He had a system that I knew better than to interrupt. “A man. He digs red heads, which is where you come in.”

“Mmhmm.”

“He has ten fingers.”

“Sure.”

Michael looked up, pausing with a photograph in his hand. “I mean ten total. He’s got eight fingers on his right hand and only two fingers on his left hand.”

“That’s—”

“Yeah.”

“I mean, that’s—”

“No, yeah, it’s totally weird.” He was nodding as he went back to arranging the documents.

I frowned. “This is some real Inigo Montoya shit.”

“Mmhmm,” he said, still nodding. He stood back to review his display. “Start here,” he said, tapping at a photo at the top of the table. “It’s the only one we’ve got that shows his face.”

I moved past him and ignored the little skip of my pulse that happened every goddamn time I got too close to him. There were a million reasons we had broken up, at least. A million reasons, I repeated to myself as I squinted at the photograph.

The picture was of an extraordinarily well-built man glaring into the camera, his arms crossed in front of his chest. “Russian?” I asked. That lantern hissed.

“Ukrainian.”

I nodded, then inspected the photo closer with a shiver. I’d seen that expression many times over in my days. It was definitely one only come by through an intimacy with murder.

“Wait, Michael,” I said with a laugh. “He has all his fingers on his left hand. He’s just making some sort of sign.” I handed Michael the photo, then grabbed the lantern and held it between us so we could both look. “See, they’re just curled under.”

“But what about—oh—” Michael’s voice took on a note of disgust.

The Ukrainian did not have eight fingers on his right hand. Not eight of his own, anyway. He was holding another hand, most of it obscured by his own. Another hand that was not attached to an arm. Or to anything.

“Well this changes things,” Michael mused. “I wonder whose hand that is?”

I took another pull from my bottle. “Probably some redhead’s.”

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Book Review: Choosing You

Choosing You

by Jenny Trout

PROS

  • This was a well-written romance novel. Yes, you read that correctly. A well-written romance novel. So I guess the biggest ‘pro’ is that Jenny Trout has given me hope! I love romance, I love smut, but I also love language and grammar, and for the most part they have been mutually exclusive concepts. Enter Jenny Trout, my new hero.
  • The love interests were delightful. Obviously with a title like ‘Choosing You,’ we can assume that there is a choice to be made. Right? Well, Trout made the choice tough because both dudes were actually worthy of affection and I totally would have boned both of them. These were actual fantasy men. Yes, actual fantasy. I stand by it. Trout’s heroes don’t come in and stalk the MC or control her or make her decisions for her, but instead take an interest in her life and opinions. Madison is not treated like some cliched woman cut-out by the men in this novel; rather, they read literature naked together and run away from a half-crazed donkey. You know, SEXY stuff!
  • The sex scenes were hot! Yeah! When Madison tumbled into the sheets the first time, I was right there with her. They aren’t hardcore by any means, so if you’re looking for smutsmut you’ll have to look elsewhere. But these scenes were sweet, sexy, and definitely fantasy-worthy.
  • The setting was lovely. In this novel, you get to visit a small English village and meet a few of its locals.
  • There’s a donkey, and he’s ill-tempered. (IMPORTANT: The donkey is NOT a part of any of the sex scenes.)
  • It’s fun to read! I know I already talked about the writing, but you can have good writing and still be boring. This is not the case. Jenny Trout is funny. I laughed out loud, I grinned a lot, and sometimes I even said things like ‘tee hee!’
  • I detected a line or two of snark re: a book I loathe, and it tickled me. Oh, it tickled me.

CONS

  • It moved a little too fast. We were expected to go places emotionally in a very short period of time. Feasibly it could happen, but I don’t think the characters and situations were fully-developed.
  • Madison was supposed to be a 20-year-old college student, but she was coming across more as a 28-year-old grad student… Maybe just because I was so spazzy at that age, I can’t imagine someone being so put-together.
  • Before pointing out this ‘con,’ I just want to say that when the criticism of a book gets down to nitty-gritty details, it means that the rest of it was pretty damn good. That being said, this is one of my pet peeves: Thom is a professor of English literature, yet he says “Really, the problem with Jenna and I…” Perhaps I could overlook this if it were said by someone who is NOT an English professor because it’s a common enough mistake. But that really got my goat, especially because later on in the book ‘me’ is used correctly in a similar instance. So somehow this just slipped past the editors, and I’m the kind of asshole who not only noticed it, but who let it ruin a moment for me.
  • There’s only two and a half sex scenes.

Couldn’t put it down?

I could put this down, but I was always happy to pick it back up again. It didn’t keep me up at night, but I read it consistently during my reading times.

Would recommend?

Yes! I recommend this book to anyone who wants a real romance with vanilla-but-enticing sex scenes.

Guilty pleasure?

Nope. This is a real pleasure that I don’t feel guilty at all for liking.

Will I read more from this author?

You bet I will! I’m going to form a Jenny Trout fan club and appoint myself Treasurer!

Favorite Quotations:

“The sweetness pitched on its axis and tilted us into hungrier territory.” (You know they’re about to get it on!)

“I was reality-impaired when it came to romance.”

“He touched me like he wanted to live under my skin.”

choosing-you-cover-small

Click the book cover to find it at Amazon.com

Jenny’s website is www.jennytrout.com

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Yeah, yeah, I’m years too late.

PROS

  • It kinda made me want to try Ben Wa balls. (Sidenote: I know I have played with these in regular stores as a child. And when I asked shopkeeps what they were used for, NOBODY said anything about kegels.)
  • It could obviously inspire a fantastic drinking game. I will probably create this.

CONS

  • It made me want to stab out my own eyeballs.
  • It made me totally re-evaluate my priorities, because as a woman who identifies very strongly as a feminist, I was STILL angrier about the writing than about the abuse.
  • I physically winced every time someone muttered, murmured, or said ‘hmm…’ It reminds me of a time when I sat for a tattoo for just over three hours. At the end of it, the artist was adding the scales to my dragon (Sidenote: I have, potentially, every single tattoo cliche you can think of) and my skin was already so sore and raw, that every time he touched the needle to it, I jumped. That’s how it was when fucking Christian or fucking Ana would murmur something THAT DIDN’T NEED TO BE MURMURED. I mean, if you are murmuring ALL OF YOUR CONVERSATIONS THEN THAT IS JUST THE WAY YOU TALK AND WHOEVER IS RECORDING YOU CAN JUST SAY ‘SAID.’ God. I hate this book! I hate it so much.
  • It made me truly sad for the amazing writers I know who will never reach even a fraction of the success that E.L. James has reached because they refuse to simply copy and paste the same goddamn cliches over and over again.
  • I hate this book.
  • As if the writing weren’t horrible enough (guys, it is SO SO BAD), the ‘story’ is worse? I think? I don’t know, I’m still cloudy with rage. Anyway, the story is basically a (completely unbelievable, how on earth are you AN ENGLISH MAJOR IN COLLEGE WITHOUT A COMPUTER, virgin 22-year-old who HAS NEVER EVEN WANTED TO KISS A PERSON BEFORE? I mean, Why, WHY, WHY is that even a thing that’s romantic? She’s so virginal that she hasn’t even had an impure thought? How does this resonate with any woman, ever?) woman meets this (completely unbelievable 27-YEAR-OLD business mogul who is boring as fuck but it’s okay because he’s hot. And by the way, if you are 27 and worth MILLIONS OR BILLIONS of dollars, how much time do you have to creepily stalk people? Seriously? Isn’t half the fantasy appeal of dating a billionaire the fact that they are so busy all the time you don’t have to deal with them? And you can just sit around and play video games while they are at work, then shower real fast when they text you that they are on their way home and make it look like you were being productive all day? That’s my fantasy.) man, he STALKS her–literal, actual stalking that somehow millions of women find romantic? Because he’s dreamy? You know who else was dreamy? Ted Fucking Bundy.–she hems and haws, has weirdly antagonistic feelings towards her pointless roommate, has unrealistic sex, and then–spoiler alert–decides it’s not for her and breaks up with him. WTF? I’m pretty sure I wrote that story in 7th grade, except without the stalking, sexism, or sex, and there were some dirt-bike races. That was a pretty good story.

The Inevitable Result of Dinosaur Porn

I didn’t set out to write erotica, but the universe conspired to make it so.  I was writing my first novel under the pseudonym I use to blend in with earthlings, and I noticed an interesting phenomenon: my characters wanted to have sex all the time. Yes, there were times when they were able to keep their clothes on, but many times I sat at my keyboard frowning and muttering, “What the fuck? Why do you guys keep having sex?” That book was not intended to be erotica, but nipples and erections kept flying all over the pages, only to be revised when I was sober and/or not ovulating.

And then I discovered Dinosaur Erotica, which I quickly renamed Dinosaur Porn because it’s funnier. Now, I’m not as freaky deaky as a Dinosaur Pornista might be, and I was not aroused by this new trend.

But I was obsessed.

It was all I talked about for weeks. Meeting friends at the Cantina for drinks? Be prepared to talk about raptor dicks. Boarding a spaceship to Sextans A? (That’s a real galaxy). Let’s discuss Sex Tons, eh? As in–A TRICERATOPS WEIGHS SEVEN TONS, HOW IS HE SUPPOSED TO HAVE SEX WITH A HUMAN? I forwent all grown-up discussions of politics, education, music, and feminism in favor of a laser-focused mission to spread this obsession with Dinosaur Porn. I am still surprised how so very few wanted to discuss this with me.

It is not Dinosaur Porn’s fault that it did not live up to my expectations. By the time I actually read some of it, I had built it up so much that the only direction left for it was down. I suppose if Margaret Atwood, JK Rowling, and Jean M Auel had worked together, it could have approached the magic I assumed it would be. But, as far as I know, they have not done this yet.

My friends then had to deal with the heartbreak wrought by Dinosaur Porn Disappointment, commonly known (in certain circles) as DPD. The solution, of course, was to write my own damn porn. Since I swear to you I am not turned on by dinos, I thought, Why not just create a universe where anything could happen? I didn’t want it to be magical, though, just in case the trio above were working on anything–I mean, how could you compete with that? So I settled for futuristic science fiction with bendy world rules.

Who knows? Maybe there’s still a planet out there full of horny dinos.

I don’t think this is the one I read, and it may not cause any DPD for you. Click on the image to find it at Amazon.

Popping the Post Cherry

In the distant future, humans and other sentient beings have furthered their understanding of quantum physics and mechanics, and now live in a world that would astound our under-developed 21st-century-brains. I would try to explain it, but trust me–it’s far too complicated. Plus, it’s entirely made up and would never withstand serious inquiry, so please willingly hang up your disbelief and prepare to fill your spank bank!

After being betrayed by her husband, Atarah shies away from sex and intimacy, so she is less-than-thrilled when she finds out the new Curve Surfer–aka, Curfer–she boards is fueled entirely by sexual energy. The Spacegasm series describes (in detail) Atarah’s sexperiences in a playful, tongue-in-cheek world where anyone’s erotic fantasies can be ordered at the press of a button and all puns are intended.

In all honesty, the plot-line for this series unfolded much more quickly than the ideas for sexy times. If you are a reader and would like to see Atarah, Sapphire, or anyone else in certain positions, please fill out the comments in the ‘About’ section and give me some ideas. I will credit your screen name for the scenario, but please understand any ideas are freely and willfully given and no other compensation should be expected.