STORY: Helpless Forest

CONTENT NOTE: Mind control, bondage, “horror” theme

This is another “tag combination” writing prompt. The tags formed the phrase “Helpless Cop Forest” and I couldn’t resist coming up with a way to make that into a single thing, not just three themes to interlink.

Helpless Cop Forest SFW header

“Helpless Cop Forest”

Helpless Forest

Police Sergeant Pauline Perk put out her hand.

“Stop the car! I heard something.”

PC Connor Arnold slammed on the brakes. The tyres squealed on the deserted road. It was a mile or so through the forest back to town, and home base.

“You sure, Sarge?”

“I thought I heard a scream for help.”

“Foxes, most likely, Sarge. You’ll get used to them around here.”

“No, I heard the word, ‘Help’, I’m sure of it. Listen, you don’t mind staying here a few minutes while I check it out?”

“It’s your call, Sarge. I wouldn’t bother if I were you, but go ahead. Not like there’s any emergency back at the station.”

“If I do find something, I’ll radio, ‘kay?”

“You’re the boss, Sarge.” He was putting his feet up and reaching for the trashy thriller he always kept in the glove compartment for when patrol got boring, as it often did round here. Perk had admonished him about it a couple of times early on but she had to agree, there wasn’t much crime in this quiet backwater of rural England.

As she ducked into the undergrowth, she heard the cry for help again – more of a call, really. There wasn’t the sense of panic she’d initially sensed. Something seemed familiar about the voice, but she couldn’t place it. Instead, she turned to get her bearings on the direction it came from, and strode confidently over the ferns and fallen twigs.

The voice again. Clearly now, “Can anyone hear me?” Again, it sounded so familiar. Perk racked her brain for why. Who could it be? She plunged on, deeper into the forest, towards the sound. The surroundings seemed darker, the undergrowth thicker and more tangled, the trees more twisted and gnarled. And something was missing. It occurred to her that she’d been walking long enough now that she ought to have come to another road. There was no distant sound of traffic at all. Yes, the road she’d been on had been quiet, but the main road through town went fairly near here and that had regular traffic at all times of day.

She clicked her transmitter. “Connor, mate. How you doing?” She listened, but there was nothing. Not even static. She turned slowly on the spot, trying to work out which way to go. She aimed in what she thought was the direction she’d come from and set out again. The forest felt more dense, heavier, dulling even the sound of her footsteps. Doubt filled her mind. Maybe someone else was lost here. Somehow, she seemed to be lost, too.

“Can anyone hear me?”

A strange chill crept over her. The familiar voice. It was her own. The call she’d heard had been exactly the inflection, the rhythm, the sound, she’d just made. How was that possible? She spun on the spot. She started to run. It didn’t matter which direction – she just needed to find a road, and then she would know where she was, everything would be normal again.

Her foot caught on something – or rather, something caught her ankle. She sprawled on her face, arms flung out to catch the fall, sinking into soft dirt and mulch on the forest floor. She rolled onto her back and sat up to find what had caught her, but only more incredulity and confusion followed.

Ivy vines were actively coiling themselves around her legs, binding them together and dragging her deeper into the undergrowth towards a thicket of trees. Instinctively, she put her hands to the ground behind her to keep her balance, only to find more vines wrapped themselves around her wrists and bound them together.

The vines stopped so that Perk’s back was against a tree, the vines on her wrists pulling her close to it. She struggled, but couldn’t do anything.

“I need help! Can someone help, please?” Again, the exact words and tones of the second call for help she’d heard. It was impossible. She couldn’t have been answering her own cries for help. That had been in the past, and this was now. More struggling produced no useful outcome. Perk was helpless, tied in the forest by what seemed to be animated woodland plants with a sense of purpose.

She tried again, screaming at the top of her lungs: “HELP!” The feeling that this, too, was the cry that had first caught her attention in the car was an uncomfortable nagging suspicion in the back of her mind, while her rational brain tried to dismiss the possibility.

The sound of rustling undergrowth and footsteps growing nearer. Perk didn’t dare call out again, just in case it was somehow herself yet again. She told herself she was mad for even considering the idea, but still, her voice died in her throat when she opened her mouth.

It wasn’t Pauline Perk approaching. At first, she thought it was a woman but it moved swiftly between the trees until to her horror she could make out feline facial features on the bipedal figure. It was mottled, brown and green and black, almost like the forest itself had taken a form. And it sported a penis as well as prominent breasts. Before she could speak, the figure reached Pauline’s side and crouched down. She could smell its breath, earthy and floral at once. It seemed to fog Pauline’s mind.

Woodland scene, a feline hermaphrodite wood nymph kneels on one knee next to a seated police officer ensnared by ivy vines

“You should not have come here, warden of Order”

“You ssshould not have come herrre, warrrden of Orrrder,” the creature purred.

“Who are you?” Pauline somehow kept herself from stammering.

“I am the faerie spirit of these woods, of Chaos and Wildness. And you left the path and stumbled from your world to mine. Because you followed your desires.”

“I heard a call for help. It’s my duty to assist.”

“You wanted a call for help. And now you are helpless, by your own call.”

Pauline shook her head. “It’s impossible.”

The wood nymph nodded. “That is what makes it my realm. Only the mind of Order rejects what is true because it cannot be true. Chaos makes the impossible into truth.” Sie reached out and brushed Pauline’s cheek with hir paw.

Pauline squirmed. The heady scent of the creature, its brazen nakedness, the atmosphere itself in this forest, seemed to be dissolving her ability to think, leading her away from her mind and into a more primal state. The creature breathed and strange lichen spores seemed to start eating away Pauline’s uniform.

“No, no. That can’t happen, it can’t,” Pauline’s voice shook, seeing more and more of her bare skin exposed by the rank, verdant magic. But it happened anyway, every scrap of clothing falling away to be consumed by the forest floor, only smears of mulchy dirt streaking her body.

Pauline knew she should feel shame, but when she inhaled, she couldn’t remember how. The nymph straddled her hips and she knew she should resist, but she didn’t want to. The part of her that would always be a police officer told her this was wrong, but a deeper, unrestrained urgency refused to listen. She was helpless not only in the vines, but in her own mind, intoxicated and ensorcelled by the pheromones of a primeval spirit. Now when she squirmed, she knew it was not to escape but to lift her hips to that woody, juicy, lush cock between the nymph’s legs.

But she was as helpless to receive it as she had been to escape it. The nymph kissed her lips, feline tongue flicking over them as their faces met. Sie fondled Pauline’s breasts and Pauline wished for it to stop – but the stronger wish was so sie would do more, not that sie should free her.

“Please…” Pauline whimpered.

“Give up your doubts. Give up your love of Order. Become part of my forest, warrrden.”

She formed the thought. She clung to it. Helpless, she made it real. The thought, “I want this.” And as soon as she did so, she felt the nymph’s cock push into her. Less a thrust than a sway, like trees blowing in the wind might do, rocking back and forth with the same force, the same speed, but the heat of a bestial, lusty, wild fuck that left no room for the rational, for the ordered, for doubts. A fuck that made Pauline helpless with desire and need.

She felt her orgasm build like the low heat of a compost heap and deep throbbing of her own heart, something deep in the pit of her core. It swelled, bloomed, blossomed. She groaned like the sound of a tree toppling as she tumbled into ecstasy, her fingers clawing into the earth. So deep, so ecstatic, her fingers rooted to the earth, binding with it. The nymph seemed not to notice, riding Pauline on and on. The vines on Pauline’s legs fell away and she spread her knees wide, feet planted to the floor. Planted, literally, her toes forming roots just like her hands. And in that moment, the nymph cried out, like the bark of a vixen. Pauline felt its seed implanted in her.

She could hear new voices, now. Voices like her own but in other languages. The voices of the trees. Trees who had once been officers of the Law, across all centuries and lands, led into Faerie by a cry for help…

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STORY: Parking Lot Hierarchy

CONTENT NOTE: Dubcon, blackmail theme

One of the sites where I write for amusement has a tags system. It’s possible to generate tag clouds that often led to curious and intriguing juxtapositions. If I’m stuck for ideas, I load the cloud page and see if any combinations catch my eye, then make a note of them for later use. This story is inspired by a combination produced by that method: “Parking Lot” “Hierarchy”

Parking Lot Hierarchy

The deadline for my latest project was first thing Monday morning, and the presentation was barely half finished by 9pm on Friday night. There was nothing for it, I would have to work Saturday. I jacked it in and walked through the lonely parking lot out the back of the office building. It was such a trek each day, but there was a strict hierarchy in parking here, with seniority in the company bringing your assigned spot closer to the office. People were very protective of their status in the hierarchy, too. The easiest way to make enemies here was to park in someone else’s spot.

Saturday would be different, though. For most people, this was a quiet time of the year and I would have the office to myself, to organise everything I needed into a nice, neat, organised presentation that would show exactly what we’d done, how we’d done it, and what the benefits to the company were now it was done.

I didn’t quite dare to park in any of the senior management or board of directors spots, but I was still a lot closer than usual to the office. I dashed inside to get down to work. The sooner I got in, the sooner I could get finished and the sooner I would could go home and enjoy the weekend.

Nothing seemed to go my way. The computer took an hour to do some kind of software update, the spreadsheets wouldn’t output the charts in the correct format, the word processor crashed twice and wiped half an hour’s work each time (I started saving more frequently than that after the second time). In the end I had to go out to get lunch because I knew I would need most of the afternoon to get the job done.

When I got back, my heart skipped a beat. There was a car parked right next to mine, and the owner stood, arms folded and glowering, by my rear bumper. By sheer dumb luck, it was David, my line manager, too. The one person who had the most control over my fate at the company.

“This your car, Jonny?”

I swallowed hard, and nodded.

“You’re in my spot.”

“Sorry.”

“I’ll have to put it in your performance review…”

“Come on, David. You could park anywhere – we’re literally the only two here, and I didn’t know you’d be here, it’s not like I picked on you personally.”

“…Unless you can somehow convince me you understand your place in the hierarchy and make amends.”

I looked from side to side, not willing to meet his stern gaze. “What do you want?”

He smirked. “Like I said, you need to know your place in the hierarchy. Get on your knees, slut.”

My blood boiled, both at what he was suggesting, and what he called me. I’d never been part of the “locker room culture”, and would never dream of calling a woman that.

“Unless you want to be marked as not being a team player, a maverick and a bad influence in the department?” Three things that could easily lead to being suddenly found surplus to the company’s requirements. Slowly, reluctantly, I got down on my knees between the two cars. My eyes flicked to the CCTV cameras. David saw my glances.

“Don’t worry about them. Anyone who sees will agree you deserve this. And will make sure those who disagree never see it.” He unzipped his flies and pulled out his cock. It looked so much bigger than my own, but I really didn’t have any way to compare it generally. I’d always been a pretty straight guy, apart from some fumbling experimentatin at college, just mutual masturbation, that sort of thing.

“Suck it, Jonny. Be a good team player.”

What choice did I have? I couldn’t afford a black mark at this stage of my career, having to start over at a new business. I gave a soft whimper and opened my mouth, leaning towards his limp cock as he stepped closer to offer it to my lips. I closed my eyes, smelling the aroma of his crotch, tasting the slight sheen of sweat on his member. I caressed the head with my lips, teasing the tip of my tongue under his foreskin. I tried to remember what I liked when my girlfriend did it to me, how she would bob her head to provide more movement against my cock, and did the same. David seemed to like it, I could feel how much thicker and more rigid his penis felt in my mouth. His hands rested hot on the back of my head, my hair feeling stiff and crinkly against his fingers. He started to rock his hips and the loss of control made me panic, shuffling on my knees but suppressing the urge to pull away. I couldn’t afford to resist him or give him an excuse to write me up for parking in his spot.

I used my tongue more, for friction and trying to make it feel tighter for him, my lips farther down his shaft and I could feel his cockhead almost nudging the back of my throat each time he thrust forwards. It made me more nervous still, my gag reflex not quite triggered but it was as if I could feel it threatening. What hurt most was, I could feel tears rolling down my cheeks. That, more than anything else, filled me with shame and my cheeks burned from it. I wanted to be stronger, to show that I wasn’t that bothered at being made to suck off my boss in a car park, but the physical challenge was just too much.

David moved faster, making it harder for me to catch breaths in between. I felt his thumbs brush my tears away even as he fucked my face.

“Good boy, Jonny. That feels so good! I think I’m ready to come. Ready?”

Not in the slightest, but I knew I couldn’t say that. I nodded. He thrust a few more times while I choked and gasped. I thought he ws going to make me swallow, but it was worse: he pulled out just as I felt his cock start to twitch and pulse. I just had time to close my eyes before I felt his hot, sticky semen splat across my lips and chin. A second pulse landed under my nose, and I felt a third dribble and land under my chin and slowly slide down my shirt. It felt so unmanly but I let out a distressed sob.

David wiped his cock off on my tie. “Well done, Jonny. Polish up your presentation and I’m sure you’ll have a glowing performance review.” He offered his hand and helped me to my feet.

“Thank you, David,” I mumbled.

As I passed him on my way back to the office, he whispered in my ear, “You don’t want to know what I had to do to get this spot in the first place…”

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Trying To Ban Voices Of Pain

CONTENT NOTE: Suicide, suicidal ideation, self-harm mentions and brief discussion.

photo of woman wearing denim jacket

Photo by NastyaSensei Sens on Pexels.com

The news that the Tory Government wants to crack down on social media in all its forms and create a watchdog body to restrict “harmful” content is deeply worrying to me for many reasons.

The freedom of expression angle is, of course, a huge problem, but there’s a deep concern for me that grows out of the ostensive reasons for this plan. The “Won’t somebody think of the children?” angle.

The argument is that somehow, looking at websites about suicide is making young teens suicidal, and that looking at websites about self-harm is making them self harm. That the internet is making young people do these things OUT OF NOWHERE and they definitely wouldn’t even be thinking about them if it wasn’t for the Internet and Social Media being EVIL.

What I’m getting at is that the arguments being put forward have three unstated assumptions underlying them:

  1. Children and teenagers are completely blank canvasses that have no identity of their own until something is imposed upon them, and have no critical means to assess anything they see
  2. The internet is a thing that exists in itself, rather than being composed of the people communicating using it
  3. Everything is equally presented to everyone, rather than being a product of searches

The “moral panic” over teens looking at sites expressing suicidal ideation or self-harming strikes me as being the equivalent of the scene in the Doctor Who episode World Enough and Time in which the nurse simply turns down the voice of the suffering patients:

Teenagers aren’t finding these sites and communities by accident. They go looking for them. They feel deep pain and anxiety and suffering, and they go looking for others feeling the same thing, so that they know they aren’t alone. That is one of the great things about the internet: it allows us to find people and know we aren’t alone. I suffered horribly during my teen years and yes, I had suicidal ideation. Fuck knows how I pulled through but there’s a reason why I proudly state “Not Dead Yet” and view that as a serious accomplishment and a motivational slogan right up there with the best of them. I didn’t have the internet – I was 16 when the World Wide Web was even invented.

By shutting off the means to express their feelings, no one is ”protecting” teenagers: the suffering and anguish and anxiety will still be there, it will just be conveniently quietened so adults don’t have to hear it.

That is what scares me most about the moral panic over social media “harmful content”. The people who actually have a duty of care towards these children are using the internet as a convenient scapegoat yet again, and not for one second stopping to consider their own involvement.

The questions that the government, and the parents, and yes, the charities as well, should all be asking, are:

  • “How have we fucked up so badly that our young people are so desperate and depressed and in pain?”
  • ”What are we doing, saying and otherwise communicating that means our kids can’t express their truths to us and ask us for help?”
  • I’m going to flag up that a 14 year old today was 5 when the ConDem coalition took power and enacted austerity. That their entire school life and learning has been shaped by the actions and decisions made by the David Cameron coalition government and Theresa May’s government. This generation has seen the chaos of Brexit, the devastation of cuts to services, and the demonisation of minorities.

    On the other hand, teen suicides are nothing new and yet again, this is a long-term problem being used as an excuse to limit civil liberties and test-run totalitarian systems of control.

    I will certainly be expressing these concerns, and the freedom of expression issues, and any others that occur to me, when I respond to the White Paper consultation

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My Day Out At EGX Rezzed Video Games Fair

On Friday, I decided to bunk off work and go to London for a day out in the big city, at a video games fair.

(Actually, I’d booked my ticket to EGX Rezzed a couple of months ago, and in the interim, I got a temp job. I cleared it with my boss that I had the Friday as a booked holiday already. But it turned out I didn’t have enough hours clocked to earn a day of paid holiday, so it felt like I was bunking off – which made it an even sweeter day out!)

With a 1 day ticket, and a 3.5hr trek from home to get to the venue, there was never going to be enough time to do everything I wanted and try all the games that looked interesting. And because I still haven’t managed to quantum superposition myself and be in two places at once, there were plenty of things I couldn’t see that I wanted to, because they were on at the same time as each other.

There was an absolutely beautiful demo (and so far, the demo is all that exists of it) for a game called Meridian Line by Archway Interactive, set in a fictionalised version of the London Underground – which I’m guessing they aren’t allowed to call it since the linked page only describes what that is, it doesn’t use the official name… but the design is so clearly based on the r/l barriers, tunnels, etc. It looks like a fantastic game but the demo was labelled something like version 0.0.0.2, meaning it must be a long way from release. I really want to play the finished thing when it finally comes out though.

The concept of “We Were Here Together” – duo co-op play by voice chat to solve puzzles – struck me as bot very intriguing and also (as I said to the developer demo guy) “I play video games to NOT have to talk to people!” – only partly joking, but it could be fun with a good friend who’s as into games as me.

Several of the stands in the Indie areas were run by educational establishments displaying games created by their students studying game design, programming, and other aspects of creating games. Some of these games were amazingly creative or beautiful to look at! I was intrigued to discover that a college fairly local to me was there and had some very nice-looking games on display, making me wonder if it might be worth doing some kind of adult ed thing to study with them – but I feel like I should have a go at making sense of the software I already have (RPG Maker MV and AppGameKit 2) and see what I can do already before I worry about spending MORE money on chasing that creative dream.

On which topic, one of the fascinating things I went to was a talk by Chris Gardiner (Narrative Director at Failbetter Games) called “Making Games With Stories At Their Heart”. So much of my desire to make games comes out of my general need/urge/passion to tell or create stories, and express things in those terms. I write stories, have a self-published novel, create music and digital art, all with that same basic drive. It’s natural (to me) that I should also want to be able to turn that onto interactive media too. Gardiner covered some points I hadn’t considered and, as ever, I left feeling more inspired than ever, and with a better appreciation of how to harness that.

The main event, and really, the only reason I was willing to shell out the money for a ticket (and the travel, and forgo a day’s wages…) was the Outside Xbox “Oxventure” session that closed the day.

Outside Xbox and sister youtube channel Outside Xtra are video game vlog/magazine channels – in the classic mix of “news/listicles/Let’s Play” vids – but they happen to be one of the funniest and most engaging teams for me. A while back, as an anniversary special, they got a D&D player from friendly-rivalry other video game youtube channel Eurogamer, to play GM for a session of tabletop Dungeons & Dragons. After the first couple of tries were incredibly successful, they started doing these as live performances (still purely tabletop gaming – no LARPing! Although as things have gone on, they have added a bit of cosplay to their stage presence).

The Outside Xbox team on stage for Oxventure at EGX Rezzed. 6 people in costume.

From the left: Dob, Merilwen, GM “Everyone Else In The World”, Prudence, Corazon and Egbert

It may not be strictly speaking “proper” Dungeons & Dragons, as it was designed. But it is definitely D&D as it should be! At least, when you have an audience.

They have created a strange form of improv comedy/theatre out of the game, and it is a wild experience to be in the audience when it happens. Having tried to GM for the playtest of my own RPG system, I feel a certain pang of sympathy for the guy they roped in to try to cat-herd his way through an adventure for them. At least my players are trying to be helpful – the Oxbox/Oxtra crew are incredibly adept at leaping on some detail and spiralling off into all manner of chaos. Which, of course, makes for great hilarity and entertainment for us. My sympathy does not go too far, though. They’ve done a lot of these now and he knows what he’s getting into – he must like the pain.

* * *

The final thing to mention is that I checked out the tabletop games hall as well, and got to try a fascinating game called Magic Maze, in which each player has specific moves or actions they can perform, and no others – so players have to co-operate to guide the pieces around the board in real-time (i.e. not turn-based) to beat the sand timer and complete the task. But players are not allowed to speak or communicate, except in terms of taking the action that they are allowed to do, or using a sort of “gavel” to prompt a fellow player to “Do Something!”

It’s frenetic and frustrating, but the achievement of making it to the end is awesome, and spotting all the details is a challenge.

* * *

I’ve never really done an event like that before, and to be honest, I probably wouldn’t again, unless I was actually there with something of my own to display (in which case, it wouldn’t be the same kind of event from my perspective). But it was fantastic. The thing that I came away with most was just the sense of the sheer joy and love for their products that the developers have: the excitement they felt was palpable, and so much more genuine than a salesperson’s patter (although of course, they were there to sell, and they did all have some patter because hundreds of similar interactions in a day will do that to you).

That excitement is what I feel about my ideas, too – my stories, my music, and yes, my ideas for video games, too. And I’ve come away energised again from seeing others with that excitement and talking to them.

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Steampunk, adventure, young adult fiction and more!

For the past year or so, I have been afflicted with sporadic episodes of Day Job. While this does have positive side effects in terms of money, it severely depletes the resource known as “time”, which I need for the writing projects I care about and want to see completed.

So instead, I have taken to using a notebook and pen in my lunch breaks to do longhand writing the old-fashioned way, and amusing myself with a young adult adventure story that I describe as about 75% Doctor Who, 15% Poirot and 10% Tomb Raider/Indiana Jones. It’s inspired by a family member and particularly, by a very dashing and debonair look she had in a photo I took. My incredible adventuress has many stories planned out for her in the future, but for now I am teaming her up with a 16 year old trans boy called Jate, who stumbled across a mysteriously dead person in a “haunted” manor house, after which things kind of escalate, he meets Elly Cope, who starts to investigate, and, well, I’m making it up as I go along, mostly.

I have over 13k words done, about 100 words a day on average while I’ve had Day Job. So I feel like it’s time now to start doing something with the material. I am not ready to type it up and edit things, but the first draft pages in photo form will now be uploaded 3 instalments a week on my Patreon. The first page is free!

I know photos are not an accessible media form for the visually impaired: I am very sorry, but it will take time to type up the story and I will do that when I can, when the hand-written draft is compete, so I can treat it as an editing process as well. My Patreon posts also make text comments about my “process” with this story, which is all about amusing myself and maintaining some level of writerliness even when I haven’t time for the main projects.

If you like what I do here on my blog, or the very occasional music stuff that I post, the best way to get me to do more is to give me money: sign up as a patron, or buy my book. If I ever end up pulling enough from this that I can be picky about Day Jobs, I’d have more time to make lovely stuff for you guys!

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Con Report: #Eroticon 2019

A business card idea borrowed from GotN


I’ve already written a couple of posts in the aftermath of Eroticon 2019 (a review of the Ruby Glow toy and my adaptation of it for male pleasure, and a new/old short story about discovering meaning in BDSM as an entry in Cara Thereon’s Draft Folder Challenge).

Those tasks/inspirations out the way, though, it’s time for me to sit down and write about the event itself, what happened, how it felt, and all those wonderful things.

The first thing I want to do is give a huge thank you to Girl On The Net who provided a very welcome and much-needed familiar face (even though we hadn’t met offline before, we’ve conversed on twitter and on each other’s blogs, so I felt like I had a friend). I hope I wasn’t a nuisance!

Also, as with any con report, the organisers need a huge vote of thanks: that would be Molly and Michael, who handled the whole thing – and I have tried organising an event, believe me, it is a LOT of work to do. To run something so smooth and enjoyable as this as basically a two-hander team is incredible and much gratitude must be expressed for it all. THANK YOU!

Lots of wonderful swag in the various goodie bags being handed out. I haven’t fully processed everything from the bags yet – I didn’t have time at the conference and I’ve been busy since getting home with doing all the writing I can before day job starts tomorrow. I added more with some books and the wonderful Anxious Writers’ Club t-shirt designed by Cara Thereon, and the small hand-crafted flogger I made at the KinkCraft workshop on Saturday morning (such a relaxing way to start the conference, almost purpose-built for easing an aspie, anxious newbie into the environment! I love a simple, repetitive motion to ease my mind).

What Did You Learn There?

The programme was jam-packed with amazing features, presentations, activities and panels. The biggest problem was that too often I wanted to be in two rooms at once!

I’ve already mentioned the KinkCraft to start things on Saturday; after that I joined the Dicewriting workshop run by Zak Jane Keir, in which some very interesting combinations of ideas came out (as you might expect). My favourite was when someone suggested “the Terminator” as an unexpected new character in 50 Shades Of Grey – and I rolled that option for my version! My knowledge of the film (and bad Arnie impersonation) probably were both painfully apparent when the time came to read out our efforts…

Kayla Lords ran a session talking about how to find time to write and some of it was stuff I’d heard before about writing (making your muse come to you, instead of waiting for “inspiration” is a key one of those), and some I’d worked out myself to cope with when I have day job to deal with. (Day job is never my “real” job in my mind; that space belongs squarely to my creative pursuits of music and writing.) But hearing how to do it deliberately (the stuff about sorting your goals into “Big Hairy-Ass”, “Medium” and “Small”, for example) was still an eyeopener in many ways and, who knows, maybe I will be better able to get my projects under way this time around. Her presentation also dovetailed neatly with a lot of the issues raised in the Anxious Writers session on Sunday.

I didn’t make many notes during the afternoon sessions. The discussion of representation in erotic writing given by On Queer Street was engaging, and we talked about how it’s so much hotter when you can show the full plurality of people in the world in your sex story, not just the semi-self-portrait or the “assumed norm” (of White, cis, het, abled, etc). My stay in London was itself a chance to see plurality and diversity out in the streets and shop signs and everything. On Sunday afternoon, I also went to Cara Thereon’s talk “You Don’t See Me Because I Am Black”, where she talked about how racism (and other exclusions) manifest in various ways in society, and any other community, and gave us all some serious challenges to our perspectives to sit with.

One of my objectives in going to Eroticon was to learn how to do better at building awareness of what I have to offer, so I attended a couple of sessions on that theme. To close out Saturday, it was the “Using Memes” panel, with three people who run blogging meme events talking about how to get the best from them. Time ran out before I got to ask the question bugging me most: “How do you find the right memes for you?” but as sources of writing prompts, I am sure I can get some use from them – not to mention, the panellists discussed how you can use older themes as prompts in the same way. I finished Sunday in similar fashion by listening to Girl On The Net talk about how to build your blog traffic, particularly using analytics to work out what works, and how to make sure people stay on your blog once they’ve arrived. “Tell your readers what to do next. They like being told what to do!” – advice that I am slowly trying to work into how I construct these things called blog posts.

Another talk I went to was Exposing40’s talk on “Nude photography and its role in personal power and self-esteem”. After a rundown of some of her influences, most of whom I am going to look up when I have time (I have erotic photo collections that feature Robert Mapplethorpe’s work already, the others weren’t as familiar to me) there were a few practical tips about composition and making yourself feel good about what you see when you see yourself in pictures. I was inspired to go back and look at the few nude or semi-nude photos I’ve taken of myself and see the ways in which I either have or haven’t followed those guidelines – and how I could make them better, or do more, with what I have got. It also gave me the confidence to sport my boobs in the closing event “Big Boobs Photo” at the end (the photo was big – the boobs were of all different sizes).

Jetset Jasmine and King Noire are two US porn producer-performers who work together, and they gave a talk on the realities of porn sex versus what you see, and discussed how they include some of the things you don’t normally. (I thought also of how Dreams of Spanking work with their production and ethical values.)

What Else Did You Do There?

I met some people! I also did something called “socialising” and “networking”, which is apparently what humans do when they get together in large groups. At the pre-conference meet-and-greet on Friday I decided to record some video-game style Achievements, like on Steam or Xbox and awarded Points for them – thinks like saying hello to someone new, having a conversation, and so on. I followed up at the Saturday night party by doing more of the same, and even managed to foist my “I suck at networking” cards on a few people.

The demos on Saturday evening were amazing: Cara Thereon got rope suspension, there was a vacbed demo in another room, and GotN was enthralled by the ElectraStim Axis – particularly the function where you can plug a sound source in and the electro stimulation is driven by the music. Of course, i wanted to know if that worked if I plugged my guitar into it, and the person demoing the product said, “Yes, I have done that!” So, you know, if you wanted to give me a great and expensive present any time soon… I’ve always been fascinated by electricity play of all kinds, and any way I can use my music with my kink is a bonus.

I must have been super loved-up or something afterwards, because I went to McDonalds for a bite to eat and ended up in a random conversation with two strangers sat at the table, bonding over punk music, social anxiety, and suchlike.

I know I spoke with a rep from Temptation Holidays about their sexy vacations, and LoveGivr, which looks like a great resource for all kinds of kink-related business ideas, once it’s up and running.

Would You Do It Again?

If I have the funds to do it, then YES!

I even found myself thinking about what things I do and seem to do well, I could give my own presentation on. No idea if my imposter syndrome will let me be bold enough to pitch one to anyone, but just in case, I’d love some feedback on the ideas currently running round my brain:

One: I could talk about songs and/or music. Maybe lyric-writing about kink, or using music to set the mood/find inspiration/set the scene within the story. Or even making music together (although that could be tricky to provide instruments).

Two: I could talk about how I do the digital art I do (I used an example to illustrate my recent short story). Although that can be expensive, I do know there’s a lot you can do with freebies and cheaply available items.

If any of these ideas sound awesome, please let me know in a comment, because that will definitely make it more likely I would feel brave enough! Once you’ve done that, check out everyone else’s reports, responses and other Eroticon-inspired posts too!

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SHORT STORY: Senses Of Submission

At Eroticon 2019, there was a panel called Anxious Writers’ Club – and woah boy, does that resonate with me, so I went along. Cara Thereon mentioned how lots of us start things, save them in the draft folder, and then let them moulder there for ages, while complaining we have “nothing to write about”. She has now made the Draft Folder Challenge to motivate all us anxious writers to get off our arses and finish some of those drafts…

I found the first half of this story in my drafts folder from 6 years ago. After rereading it, I liked the concept and, while I’m sure this is not how I planned the ending 6 years ago, I edited the old bit, wrote the second half, and “hit publish” (in the words of the panellists).

An incorporeal figure reaches out to embrace a woman, against an eerie dark background

“Senses Of Submission”

Senses Of Submission

Mariena waited in the darkness. Silence pressed around her. Such was the stillness, she could not even say for sure that there was air to breathe or a floor to stand on. Maybe there wasn’t.

Mariena tried to feel her pulse, but it seemed she had no heartbeat. Her chest expanded and contracted, but she could feel no wind through her nostrils or on her throat.

She remembered her last act. A spell. An incantation. A drawing and some leaves. A simple request, “Show me what it all means.” Was this it? Did all of life really mean – nothing? Was there a way back to something? All she knew was that she was standing. This place had an “up” and a “down”, if nothing else. She crouched, and it felt like she had jumped. She bent over, reached for the ground, but seemed to lose her balance, so she straightened up. She tried to take a step, but it felt like she stumbled instead. So she waited.

A point of light in front of her – centimetres or lightyears, it’s impossible to tell. A prick of pain on her middle fingers. She looks and sees one finger with another point of light, the other with a point of darkness that seems like a bottomless hole in her finger. She looks from left to right. A choice? A test?

If sound had a meaning, she would have said to herself, “I came this far, I mean to go on.” Her lips move, her vocal cords contract, but if no wind flows through her windpipe, she has no voice. She extends the hand with the light towards the light in front of her. She screams as her flesh is stripped away and she is pulled through the point of light.

She arrives in darkness, but not empty like before. Figures surround her. Some seem to be statues, others are moving. Human shapes, shadows with coronae, except these shadows have contours, muscles. At least, they move and ripple as though they do.

She fancies that a voice murmurs in her ear, “What is your direction?” She tries to turn and see who is there, but nothing happens.

“Who are you? Where am I?”

“I am a form. You are unformed. What brought you here?”

“There was a light…”

“No. What – idea, brought you here?”

“Idea?”

“Thought.”

She thinks of the spell, of her request. She expresses the memory. With no flesh, she cannot speak, but still, there is a distinction between thought and communicating thought, or so it seems.

“Come with me.”

“How?”

“Come with me.”

She chooses to follow, and she is following. The other forms fade away. Space becomes a room, it makes no sense, there is still nothing to see, but now she knows she is enclosed. It does not trouble her.

“Choose something to see.”

She thinks of the beautiful sands of the beach by her home town, the blue and orange sky with the setting sun, the gulls beating wings above the light surf. She wants to see it more than anything.

“No. Choose something to see. One visual sense of all.”

Without thought, her memory draws in on just the fiery disc of the setting sun, its burning red. She has eyes again. She sees warnings (but it is too late to heed them), she sees heat (and wants to approach), she sees a tall, slender body before her, muscles defined, long fingers, soft lips. Naked, but no clue as to gender, save a flat chest.

“An interesting choice,” zie says. “Choose something to hear.”

Mariena calls to mind favourite songs, favourite sounds, but she knows what she needs, what she has craved since arriving from her living room sorcery. It is her own voice. The form has proved she can communicate without it, but its absence frightens her more than anything else has.

The form nods.

“Choose something to touch.”

She wants to think it through rationally, trying to decide what is wisest to choose. She thinks she would have made the same choice eventually, but her heart is faster than her mind. In a flash, her muscles ache, her toe throbs, and the sharp stabs to her fingers return.

“Pain. Interesting. Choose something to taste.”

Emotion is faster than thought, again. She wanted to choose the soft, sugary sweetness of her favourite ice cream or victoria sponge cake, but instead there is a more bitter tang mingled with the sweetness – chocolate, she thinks. She remembers savoury flavours, too, and expects to be chided by the voice for her indecision. Instead, the voice seems to understand. Has, perhaps, understood more clearly than she herself has, what taste she has remembered, and has chosen to taste again.

“You have done well. Now, choose something to smell.”

Mariena knows instantly the scents she desires. The comforting, warm smells of her lover. Not a specific person, it seems. She recognises Jack, and Helen, and Fran, and Ian. And she smells their sexes, their arousal, too. And that, she realises, is also what she tasted – each and every one of them mingled on her tongue, in her nostrils.

She doesn’t want it to be true. She always imagined she was a sweet, “good girl”, not a “slut”. But the voice in her ear is clear.

“Now you know what the meaning of it all is, for you. It is a meaning you have chosen for yourself, and not how others would choose theirs, to be true. But it is yours.”

“No! No, that’s not what I’m about! I’m all about helping others, not – not just sex!”

The being reached out and grasped her nipples. Pain like hot, sharp daggers running along the nerves from her tits, forcing her knees to bend. Only once she knelt was she granted reprieve.

“You chose to taste and smell lust and intimacy, remembered those who had given it to you. But they could not fill your life with the meaning you desired. You saw their heat, but they didn’t lead you to the edge of your warnings, or make you feel danger. They would not bind you or make you helpless and scared, as you needed.

“They never gave you anything to express, no song, no cries, no gasps or yells; neither you nor they talked, believing that gentle touch would say all that was needed when you lay together.

“And they never made you feel, the way you needed to. Never the sharpness, the stinging, the thudding or the aching, that you craved to connect you to the world and give it meaning. So you never felt the lovemaking that they could offer either.

“You say you are not about sex, but you have shown that you are. You did not know it, because you did not understand what sex should be, for you. You yearn to be bound, to be warned, to feel scared when you are safe. You yearn to feel everything, not just the sweetness. You yearn to be allowed to scream and shout, to release your voice and your heart. You are happiest making your partners come with your mouth, and when they held you close afterwards so you could smell their lust. That is why I, deity of dark lusts, chose to guide you.”

Mariena felt the heat in her own cunt, the desperate scintillating need. Her thighs had spread without her being truly aware she was doing it. She could smell her own arousal, see herself in her mind’s eye as her right hand drifted between her thighs, then lifted to her mouth so she could taste her cuntsap, hear her own needy moan when ætherial fingers brushed her clit, squeezed and teased.

“Please…!” she gasped. “Please let me go!”

“You know how to return to your own plane, sorceress. Don’t you?” The being was merciless, combining agony and ecstasy with hir fingers.

Half-blinded by tears of pleasure and need, Mariena nodded.

“Please, Deity – please may I come?”

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Ruby Glow-ooooh! (Review)

I’m back from the Eroticon 2019 sexbloggers conference, where there were some fabulous sponsors and even though I don’t currently have a vag or clit, the rather wonderful Tabitha Rayne gave me (half-price, not totally free) one of her Ruby Glow sex toys to try out and review, and I have just given it a quick test ride.

It’s a small sit-on, hands-free vibrator with two vibrator motors that are independently controlled. There’s a bulb end for the perineum, and a ridged curve upwards to the other end, which is intended for the clit. Tabitha and I discussed how it might work with my anatomy, and she suggested it might work as a rimming toy if I turned it backwards; I also thought about using it to stimulate the base of my cock (the part where I imagine my cunt is) and I tried it both ways around.

What I loved was the way the two vibrators on different settings set up very interesting patterns of interference with different levels of peaks and troughs in the intensity. When the box says “10 settings” it means per vibrator, which means actually 100 combinations to try (I have not tried them all!)

When I tried it as a cock-base stimulator, I very much preferred the constant vibration settings – setting a slower speed on the “bulb” and the next speed up on the “clit” vibrator. I tried making a video of it like a proper youtube influencer kind of thing but I am not good at delivering to camera, but there is a very audible “OOH!” on the recording at the moment when i found the combination that worked…

Full disclosure – I don’t generally get physiological arousal from vibrators of any sort (not even ones specifically designed for prostates/cocks/etc), and that was true in this case as well. But for me this sort of toy is fun because they produce [i]sensations[/i] that feel good regardless of whether I get a hard-on or not.

So the next thing I did was turn it around to try it the way Tabitha suggested – using the clit stimulator as a “rimming toy” (because, in her words, “there aren’t enough rimming toys in the world”) to buzz against the back door.

That felt REALLY good, and I liked it best when I had it on the fastest “alternating” setting on the vibrator, while the perineum stimulator was on a slower cycle of on-off. Again, on the video recording, there’s a very audible “OOH!” when I found the combination that got me going. I found I got the best results in terms of it feeling supersexy and hot and whatnot, if I rocked back and forth against the stimulator on my anus and bore down on the one against my perineum. With the higher rate of alternating on and off against my arsehole, I could sort of imagine I was being fucked there by it, even without penetration, and that definitely turned me on emotionally (still no erection – but like I said, vibrators don’t seem to have that effect on my body). And the lower speed on and off meant there were subtle changes in how it felt each time the faster one turned on or off, which to me felt a lot more “organic” or “natural” than a single motor does.

I’m not sure what more to say about the toy itself. Obviously, I like how it feels and the sensations it produces. I think the dual motor thing is just amazing (incidentally, Hot Octopuss had a dual motor toy for cocks at Eroticon, that felt pretty good against my fingers when they set them at different speeds). I definitely like how it’s shaped to fit the body – it felt really comfortable under my butt, which not many toys I’ve tried can claim to!

I wonder how I’d go about modifying the concept to make something a bit more purpose-built as a rimming toy. I have a sort of vague concept of something to lift and cup or cradle the cock at the front and maybe a bit more pressure at the back, or maybe (thinking about how I got most from rocking) maybe a back-and-forth motion of some sort to rub/caress/stroke the hole? I don’t know, these are exceptionally vague ideas and my knowledge of the intricacies of physiological arousal mechanisms and responses, while sufficient for much of my fiction writing, is not on the level of some of the sex toy designers I met at the conference. I wouldn’t know how to turn the ideas in my brain into workable, effective, toys.

I will leave you with Tabitha Rayne explaining her innovation:

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/cSd_xgCpyBg

Posted in Body, Kink, Reviews, Sex | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

2019 Eroticon Virtual Meet And Greet post

NAME (and Twitter if you have one)

My “nom de plume/guerre” is Valery North, @ValeryNorth (link in the righthand sidebar)

Tell us 3 things you are most looking forward to at Eroticon 2019

1. Meeting people I’ve only known as internet names before
2. Learning ALL the things
3. Introducing myself to some people (not a huge number though because introvert!)

We are creating a play list of songs for the Friday Night Meet and Greet. Nominate one song that you would like us to add to the play list and tell us why you picked that song.

I thought about being extremely cheeky and putting one of my own songs* here… but instead, I’m going with:

Break Down The Walls by Asking Alexandria.

It’s a kickass rebellion song, and right now I’m feeling a need for some fightback. I also like the metaphor in terms of what I’m doing by even signing up for, let alone actually attending, a big event with loads of people at it, in London (a VERY big place with VERY LOADS of people in it!) – I am breaking down my own walls and I want it all!

What is your favorite item or book you’ve purchased so far this year?

A Corona Chorus guitar pedal – luscious tri-chorus tones I could only dream of before! Seriously love the flexibility of this piece of kit for my music-making.

You can have an unlimited supply of one thing for the rest of your life, what is it? Sushi? Scotch Tape?

Time! I try to do too many things, although if I had unlimited time to do them in maybe I’d never even get started.

If you want something a bit less abstract, I’d probably choose cheesy pasta.

What is your favourite quote from a movie?

“How many cows do you need for a stampede? Is it, like, 3 or more? Is there a minimum speed?” – Val, “Tremors”

What is your word suggestion to next years Eroticon anthology?

Chance

Complete the sentence:

I feel…

Apprehensive.

* * *

That’s all from me. Now check out the other Virtual Meet and Greet posts!

*Maybe this one: https://soundcloud.com/valerynorth/no-universals/s-krJoj

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Sun, sea, sex and dice rolls

For the past year or so, I have been working on a new project.

(Along with 3 different novel ideas in various stages and states of being written, plus various short stories for fun, and recording and writing songs. And for a large chunk of that time also having a full time day job. I’m an idiot, and I still act surprised when i realise I haven’t found time for blogging in amongst it all…)

The project is a tabletop RPG (i.e. dice-rolling games of which Dungeons & Dragons is the most famous) built around sex and BDSM instead of combat. And I am finally willing to share this information with the wider world because it has entered playtesting (via online chat currently) and I am having a huge amount of fun (and of immense headaches of the “cat-herding” and “writer’s block” variety relating to the campaign) being the GM. I am also immediately running into all sorts of scenarios and problems that I had not fully appreciated when I started pulling together ideas for how to put this thing together.

I started with a familiar and well-known system (the one used for D&D, Pathfinder and similar games) adapted to suit the concept in my mind, and tried to build something like an add-on system for sexuality, kink and so on that could conceivably be ported onto anything else using the same dice-rolling rules.

I quickly got to the point where I had to ask myself, “Am I trying to build a simulation encapsulating the entirety of human sexuality, or am I trying to build a game that will be exciting, easy and fun to play?” and balance the two priorities of making it varied and reflective of the diverse world of kink and sex, and not making the mechanisms and dynamic so complicated as to be a drag for the players, or too difficult to get their heads around the rules.

I also had to decide what sort of sexy stories might be involved in this. My original conception revolved around the substitution of sex instead of combat, so there would be an adversarial component to it and my mind was drawn to the hot, steamy, erotic thrillers and film noir, and the darker side of humanity in that regard. As things have evolved, it’s drifted a little but that primary does remain at the heart of what I’ve done so far – however, I do feel like what I’m creating has much wider application for RPGing and far more “wholesome” or “romantic” BDSM storylines could easily be played.

Another big question that occupies my mind is that there is bound to be a great deal of idiosyncrasy in the ways I’ve weighted various sex acts with both the possible intensities (the “hit dice” used to make the effects) and how these are weighted across physical pleasure, the amount of pain the acts could cause, and what level of marking you might expect afterwards. Not to mention, how difficult they are to achieve. I could, of course, try to create another layer of options so players could select for themselves, because so many of these things are “it depends how you do it” or “it depends on the person receiving or the person doing” and so on. But this is another place where something has to be simplified, in the interests of making a playable game where actions don’t take too long to resolve.

* * *

The playtesting has already thrown up some issues: single catastrophic fail rolls turned out to be a lot more frustrating and annoying than I’d anticipated, for example. Sex is not, it turns out, a direct substitute for combat, regardless of how adversarial your campaign storyline is set up to be, and players generally want both sides to be into the sexytimes. While it is still the basic assumption that sex will be used as a way to achieve an objective and complete a “mission”, it’s also assumed that characters (both player and non-player) will actually want sex as a thing in and of itself, too. So making the “target” roll a “saving throw” against the person taking action to create a variable difficulty turned out to be a foolish mistake in the first draft rules. It also meant that the difficulty should be generally low – one fail might be okay, but two starts to be a problem and 3 in a row is just “dammit, dice! we want to fuck already!” – which is a thing to try to avoid, as a general rule.

The tweaks I made based on this have become known in the little group of players I’ve corralled into helping me on this project, as “version 0.9.2”. And in the week between our first and second session I may or may not have actually worked 8 hour days writing an entire Core Rulebook of nearly 50 pages in LibreOffice…

The outcome is that I finally feel like I have built something worth developing further.

I started with a basic D&D style dice mechanism because it was something very familiar to me (and to lots of other people) with a clear structure that is easy enough to manipulate for probabilities and such. It gave me the confidence that I could in fact develop a set of rules that would make enough sense to create hot, sexy adventures for players. If I’d had to devise or learn other systems straight off, I’d never have got this far.

But there are weaknesses to the “d20” (D&D) system, as our playtesting has already revealed in some issues. Now that I have a fairly well-developed set of materials and structures around the game, I can look again at how I introduce chance and risk and variability of outcome into them, and maybe design or adapt something else that will fit better. I am drawing on ideas from amongst other sources, the “Storyteller”/“Storytelling” system used by Vampire the Masquerade and its sequels/stablemates. I am redesigning the ways in which players can design and determine their character’s sexual desires and interests – and how they can make those interests evolve over time (through levelling up or others). “Version 0.9.2” felt like a major piece of work, but already it’s being torn apart and rearranged into newer, even better, shapes.

I intend to bring some of the 0.9.2 materials with me when I go to Eroticon 2019, plus some stuff about the new ideas I’ve been developing. Maybe some of the nerdly sex types will talk to me!

Posted in Kink, Sex, Stories, Tabletop Games, Writing about writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment