August MacGregor

Celebrating Sensuality. Intended for mature audiences, 18 and over


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LOVE When Stacked

Venus of Urbino, by Titian (image from Wikimedia Commons)

LOVE spelled in a single line, the letters stretch out
like Venus of Urbino lounging without a worry
of catching a chill from evening air
whispering through the opened window.
Also, she doesn’t look worried about you seeing her naked.
Her enticing eyes seem to show that she’s enjoying it.
If you were to visit her, you wouldn’t have to pick flowers,
since she’s clutching her own bouquet.
Although your presence would surely awaken the dog,
so be prepared to pet it before you shoo it out of the room.
Then there’s the awkward company of the two ladies
in the background, but Venus might shoo them out of the room
if you were to climb onto her bed.

LO
VE
when stacked,
the letters
do not invite you in,
because they are
quite content
by themselves.
With a person on top,
another on the bottom.
Active in the sharing of love:
embracing and kissing.
Possibly more,
as suggested by the
playfully tilted O.

LOVE sculpture (Robert Indiana), photo by Matt Harris (Flickr)

Venus of Urbino was painted by Titian (1538). LOVE sculpture is by Robert Indiana, and it was installed in Philadelphia in 1976. Photo is by Matt Harris (Flickr).


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Philly

View of Philly from Museum of Art (by mbell1975, Flickr)

I enjoy visiting some Tumblr sites, and Married Lovers (NSFW) is up there in my favorites. The site is a feast of luscious photos: sex, art, nature, food, and cool architecture.

I’m going to try a project on my blog, to post photos along the same lines as the Married Lovers site. What can I say, I’m inspired. But I’m not going to include X-rated photos. There’s already a tremendous amount of porn on the Interwebs, so I’ll choose to focus on celebrating various places and sensual things. Also, I’m going to occasionally post my poetry.

The project will start with places where events happen in my new self-published novel, The Sweet Taste of Revenge — or places which are referred to. Then I’ll move on to other places and things.

I’ll try this project for about a month and see how it goes, then decide if I’ll continue beyond that.

Today’s photo is a view of Philadelphia from Museum of Art, by mbell1975 (Flickr).


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Revenge: First Chapter

Sweet Taste of Revenge ebook cover

My self-published novel, The Sweet Taste of Revenge, is now available on Amazon in a pre-release sale: 99 cents. Less than a buck for a novel of just over 190,000 words. The price will increase to $3.99 when it’s published on June 1.

Here’s the first chapter, to hopefully whet your appetite:

*******

Chapter 1. Strand of Hair

The blonde hair on her husband’s shoulder didn’t belong to Michelle Brower.

Michelle and Joe were reading in bed, their nightly routine after dinner and their favorite TV shows. Sometimes, though, Michelle went through the routine alone, when Joe worked late on a demanding project. He put in a lot of hours at Hannold Engineering in the hopes of advancing his career into upper management. That position shone brightly above him on the corporate ladder, and he was determined to climb the rungs.

The light from the nightstand’s lamp flitted across something on the fabric of light blue pajamas on Joe’s shoulder. Enough to catch Michelle’s attention out of the corner of her eye. At first, Michelle kept reading Dead Ringer, the suspense novel she was enjoying, in which Detective Baldwin was at a bar, nursing his fourth Jack Daniels while trying to make sense of clues found at yet another crime scene from the previous night.

But something on her husband’s shoulder kept twinkling in the light, like a lure drawing fish out of a lake’s depths and up to the surface. Michelle had to stop reading and find out what the thing was, so she reached over and pinched it off.

A long strand of blonde hair. It twirled from the grip of Michelle’s thumb and forefinger as she held it up.

Exhibit A, your honor. She didn’t think it then, but would eventually view the hair that way.

“This isn’t mine,” Michelle said while looking curiously at the hair. It was a simple, flat statement. Void of the intense emotion to come later.

After glancing at the hair, Joe shrugged, saying, “It’s probably from the dry cleaners.” Trying to pass off the hair as nothing.

“But I clean your PJs. Not the dry cleaners.”

“Who knows?” he wondered. “Hair gets everywhere. It’s probably from the hotel. God knows how many people go through hotel rooms.”

Hotel room. Atlanta. Joe recently came back from a business trip. The facts clicked together for Michelle. As if she hoped to emulate the hunky and damaged Detective Baldwin, who tried to click the facts together to discover the serial killer’s identity.

Joe pressed on: “You know hotels are like carousels. Thank God I’m not worried about germs. Otherwise, I’d wear gloves or a Haz-mat suit or something. You know, they never wash the bedspreads in hotels. They just put them right back on the bed. I bet those things are breeding grounds for germs. I try not to touch them at all. I don’t want to get sick and bring some nasty bug home to you. But I guess I can touch them by accident. It happens. That’s where the hair came from. Got to be.”

“Yeah. I guess so.”

Michelle had told him that tidbit about hotel bedspreads not being washed. She heard it from a girlfriend and passed it along to Joe.

And now, her husband used it as an excuse for another woman’s hair on his PJs. But Michelle wasn’t convinced. Call it intuition. Something about Joe’s tone of voice or his frown or maybe a shadow across his face.

No, there wasn’t really a shadow on his face. That appeared later, in her mind, as Michelle remembered the scene and tried to pick out details that showed her husband’s guilt.

Michelle tried to tell herself that the thoughts of Joe cheating were all in her imagination. She was looking too hard for suspicious behavior. Her perception was biased because she read too many detective novels. Maybe she wanted to find suspicious behavior, so she turned ordinary things into clues because she figured they should be guilty.

She laughed, thinking, Don’t be so worried. There’s nothing wrong. Joe’s not the cheating type. He’s devoted to you, and he’s a hard worker. All that traveling stressed him out. So don’t go looking for things that aren’t really there.

Still, another woman’s hair had actually been on her husband’s shoulder. A blonde woman’s hair wasn’t ordinary.

Discovering the first hair led to the need to decide how it got on the shoulder of Joe’s pajamas. Maybe Joe was right. He could’ve tossed his pajamas on the bed in a Atlanta hotel, and his PJs picked up a hair from a previous occupant.

Or maybe Joe was lying. The hair could’ve meant that her husband fucked some blonde bitch in his hotel bed, and she spent the night sleeping next to him. Maybe they even fucked a second time in the morning.

Because the blonde hair wasn’t the only suspicious thing. There was something different in how Joe acted. He was more enthusiastic in general. And it wasn’t merely because his business trip to Atlanta had broken up January’s winter doldrums.

Undoubtedly, the trip to Atlanta had jolted some electric juice in him. Michelle felt a nagging sense that Joe’s great mood after his trip was due to great sex. Like how Joe used to get when he and Michelle had a weekend packed with sex. After several rounds of wonderful love-making, Joe positively glowed with happiness and relaxation. The guy sported a wide grin that took many days of returning to his job and grinding at work to wear off.

He had that glow again. Like characters in a musical, just before they broke out into singing and dancing. That was it. Joe didn’t normally look like he was about to break out in song and dance, but he did now.

And it wasn’t from a weekend of having an orgasm marathon with his wife. Who was a brunette.

As much as Michelle denied Joe’s guilt, the clues pointing otherwise kept nagging at her. His effervescent mood. The blonde hair. His business trip to Atlanta.

Michelle imagined Joe sitting at a hotel bar, sipping on a bourbon and club soda. A long-legged femme fatale sauntered in, wearing a black dress that hugged her curves. Her dress was cut low and cut high where it mattered. Showing enough skin to capture your eyes and hold them there securely. Until you realized that you were staring, and you had to turn your head. Before someone called you a creep.

As the femme fatale sat on a bar stool, she pushed blonde hair out of her face and tucked it behind her ear. Her long, straight hair flowed gently past her shoulders. Making all the men in the bar wonder how that hair would look when it was fanned out on a bed. Of course, after the bedspread was ripped off. Hotels never washed those things, and they were surely breeding grounds for germs.

Once the bedspread was ripped away, you could lay this hottie on the bed and see how her blonde hair looked all splayed about. You’d get to see how her body looked in various positions. Because her body and hair inspired lots of wicked fantasies.

All the men in the bar lusted after the blonde, as her smoky blue eyes drank them in. Her glossy red lips were parted just so, seeming to nearly say something—or kiss someone. If only a special someone would come.

Joe slid off his bar stool and went to the woman, as if drawn by a powerful magnet. He said in a scratchy voice, How about a cigarette, then a drink, then my hotel room? In that order.

A scene from an old, black-and-white noir movie, full of clichés. A blonde femme fatale and stilted dialogue. The scene was probably nowhere close to what actually happened to Joe in the hotel during his trip to Atlanta.

Michelle didn’t have a clue as to how Joe got started with the blonde. But she knew the story led to a long hair on the shoulder of her husband’s pajama top.


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Pre-Release Sale for Revenge

I’m excited to say that my new self-published novel, The Sweet Taste of Revenge, is now in a pre-release sale. I’ve never done a pre-order before, so we’ll see how it goes.

Here’s the blurb for the book:

 The blonde hair on her husband’s shoulder doesn’t belong to Michelle Brower.

Joe tries to explain that the hair got on his pajamas from a previous guest in the hotel room where he stayed during a business trip to Atlanta. But Michelle has her suspicions. Those suspicions lead her to a private investigator, one out of the mystery novels she enjoys reading.

This begins Michelle’s journey of discovery, pain, change, and the searing wish to exact revenge upon Joe. Give him a taste of his own medicine. But plans don’t always unfold smoothly and as expected. Ultimately, though, Michelle realizes that revenge doesn’t have to be an eye for an eye. It can be something quite different. And still taste very sweet.

The sale price is 99 cents, and this will jump to $3.99 after the novel is published on June 1. So you get to save a few bucks for a coffee to drink while you read. The ebook is available at Amazon.

I’ll share an excerpt from the book in another post, as I first want to say something about writing this book.

The last several months have been busy with editing the story, and I’m relieved that the doubts nagging me earlier (described here) have calmed. Doubt can be helpful in keeping me on my toes, rather than me becoming complacent. But it was nice for the doubts to simmer down in the second round of editing.

The general doubts of Is the story any good? and Will anyone want to read the book? will probably remain in the back of my mind for all my stories. Okay, let them be there. I can live with that.

However, this book carried the specific doubt of As a man who has never been divorced, can I appropriately write about a main female character who has?

After reading and editing the story a couple of times, I like how the journey unfolds. My imagination decided what Michelle Brower chose, and what happened to her. I hope I was fair to her as a character.

And I guess readers would have a variety of opinions about the events and Michelle’s choices, whether they are realistic or not. Reviews on Amazon have shown me that readers disagree widely on books. A book can have five stars with glowing reviews, then one-starred reviews where the reader said the book was a waste of their time.

Also, a few words on writing beyond sex scenes…

I developed a pattern in writing erotica where I believe I focused too much on sex scenes. Yes, that’s what makes erotica different from other genres. But erotica can expand beyond titillation and into other wonders and frustrations of relationships. How people treat each other outside the bedroom, with their clothes on. Stories can include emotional connections — and disconnections.

The Sweet Taste of Revenge is probably the most romantic story I’ve written. It has sex, yes, but it has moments of characters enjoying togetherness.

I feel that I’ve grown as a writer, and that’s a wonderful feeling. Expanding to include some of the complexities of how people treat one another. There’s a great deal in those complexities. Sources for more stories. Hopefully, many more.


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A Rare Orchid

orchid_byAl-E

I wasn’t planning on posting about Prince, but I changed my mind after hearing musical tributes to him and remembering the amazing array of songs he left us. This looking back reminded me of David Bowie’s passing, in how impressive the compiled output was. The range of styles, the depth of lyrics, the catchy melodies that slipped into your head and stayed there. Both of these musicians were role models in how they plunged into their creativity and crafted spectacular works that grabbed from various inspirations of what came before them — and then they inspired works to come afterward. Prince may not have been on the top pop music charts in recent years, but he reminded us of his prowess when he rocked the SuperBowl’s Halftime Show. Thank you, Prince, for making the soundtrack of our world sexier, groovier, and funkier.

Photo by Al E. (Flickr).


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A Reader in the House of Books

He didn’t use the library’s
self-checkout machine,
instead bringing the book
to the counter
when the pretty librarian
was behind it.

To see if she gave a reaction
when he slid
A Spy in the House of Love
across the counter
with the temptation of asking
if she’s read the book,
this specific copy of the book,
because it would be
very lovely to know her fingers
had caressed the words
and slid each page to the side
to get to the next page,
like peeling away
layers of a fantasy
getting closer to the center.

Which page corners did she fold down
to mark her spot when
she paused reading?
A break to take care of a craving
or drive to work at the library
or maybe meet her friends for wine.

But she’s a librarian, and she would find
folding page corners
to be a crime against the book,
preferring to slide an erect bookmark
between the layers,
fitting it snug and safe
until she’s ready
to slip back into the fantasy again
and hear Anaïs Nin’s
soft, French-accented whispers in her ear.

He doesn’t ask the librarian if
she’s read the book.

It’s enough to see the
slight rising of her eyebrows
and the brightening of her eyes
before she returns to
the expression she wore before.

It’s enough to plant the seed
of this book in her mind,
and cause her to imagine reading it,
maybe even with him.

He will imagine sitting
next to her on the couch,
naked under a blanket,
taking turns reading to each other,
trying out their best French accents,
laughing while aroused.

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