August 30th, 2020

Charity Sunday: World Wildlife Fund

I’m sneaking in under the (deadline) wire to participate in this month’s Charity Sunday, hosted by author Lisabet Sarai. Charity Sunday, which takes place on the last Sunday of each month, is a blog meme that invites authors to choose a charity to support and donate a set amount to said charity for each comment received on their respective post. I appreciate the generous nature of this meme and am grateful to Lisabet for conceiving of and hosting it, and I am glad to participate this month! Please see the link list at the bottom of this post to visit the other participants of today’s Charity Sunday.

Usually, I would be likely to choose a more local charity (and there is one I need to research a little more that I likely will next month), but it happens that the well-being of wildlife is resonating deeply with me right now. I appreciate the World Wildlife Fund‘s (WWF) mission and work on its behalf, and I am happy to donate $3.00 per comment left on this post to their worldwide work.

To indulge a bit of digression, during my last day job (numerous years ago!), the nonprofit I worked for in Washington, DC, was housed in the building owned by WWF. They occupied the main floor and rented space on the upper floors to other organizations. I always appreciated being under the same roof as they were while I was working.

Anyway, in addition to caring very much about the non-human animal and plant species of the world, I also align with the general understanding of the interconnectedness of all beings and the philosophy of living with respect for and appreciation of the Earth. On one of its pages, WWF mentions that we must “rebalance our relationship with nature,” and I agree.

One of the stories I wrote for Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness, my short story collection released back in May, is titled “Winter.” To me, it offers a microcosmic example of both the necessity and the enrichment of such reconnection with nature. Sherry, the main character, has embarked on a short trip to Alaska in the middle of winter for reasons even she is not exactly sure of. She feels a mysterious calling, and as she spends time in the stillness and depth of Alaska’s winter, she learns more about what it might be. (Note: While this is indeed in a book of erotica, this particular excerpt happens not to be focused on that aspect of the story.)

Excerpt from “Winter”:

Much closer, the mammoth glacier stood like a frozen goddess of nature at the edge of the hard blue water. Since it was covered in snow, the breathtaking appearance of chiseled turquoise glass she’d seen in summer pictures was missing, but that did nothing to diminish the simple massiveness of the millennia-old structure that moved with exquisite slowness but carved the very earth in its wake. Its power was unmistakable.

In the water in front of her, icebergs of innumerable shapes and inconceivable proportions floated easily, as though they had put themselves on display just for the gratification of enthralled gazes like hers. Reminiscent of frozen clouds, they glowed with mysterious hues of deep blue, offering answers to questions long since lost to the icy waters beneath them. A bald eagle soared over the lake and landed on a misshapen block of ice not fifty yards away. The bird’s talons dug sharply into the ice as it settled in profile view and stared straight ahead. Its white head, precisely the same shade as the top of the iceberg, gleamed against the mountainous background.

Though she didn’t move, Sherry had the distinct sensation of something inside her beginning to fissure, cracking open like the colossal sheets of ice that made up the land she stood upon. As the layer of distractions that dictated her day-to-day awareness started to dissolve, Sherry felt warily unaware whether that was desirable or not. She hoisted her backpack and started to hike, each step further illuminating the mystery of this land that was beyond anything a life of pressure and noise could hope to touch.



With encounters between strangers, hotly developing romances, forays into domination, and sometimes all of the above, Initiative delivers sizzling stories of sexual grit and satisfaction.

From audacious proposals to first-time exploits to newfound inner confidence, taking initiative delves into the risqué in these thirteen smoldering tales. An accidental catalyst invokes a bold move in “Fulfillment,” while the brassiness in “Shift Change” belongs entirely to narrator Stacey. “Who’s on Top?” sees a meeting between fans of rival baseball teams turn into a game of chance and wits, and “The Beast Within” offers a present-day “Beauty and the Beast” rendition that puts a twist on ugliness, beauty, pain, and pleasure—and the surprising ways they can intertwine.

Sometimes brazen, sometimes subtle, the initiatives between these pages always showcase the erotic and how it can both inspire and evoke our most emboldened selves.

Buy Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness at:


Please do follow the links below to check out the other participants’ blog posts for Charity Sunday this month. Remember, for every comment left, the respective author will be donating a certain amount to the charity they’re honoring! Thank you so much for visiting, and be well.

Love,
Emerald


June 3rd, 2020

On Aspiring to Awareness and Having Much to Learn

Many people who haven’t known me for more than twenty years likely aren’t aware that I used to want to be a cop. So much so that for four and half years, from age sixteen to twenty-one, I was a Police Explorer in my hometown. The Police Explorer program is a branch of the Boy Scouts that allows youth to serve as limited-involvement “cadets” with police departments. I wore a uniform and helped with things like directing traffic at college football games and foot-patrolling neighborhoods on Halloween to help ensure the safety of trick-or-treaters. Explorers also attended bi-montly meetings that discussed and taught about different areas of police work and accompanied officers twice a month on ride-alongs during their shifts.

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May 24th, 2020

Charity Sunday: Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA) #AnimalRescue #CharitySunday

Welcome to Charity Sunday, a monthly blog hop hosted by author Lisabet Sarai at Beyond Romance.

I started volunteering at Friends of Homeless Animals (FOHA), a no-kill shelter for cats and dogs that is local to me, in March of 2014. Since then, barring three few-week hiatuses, I have been there almost every Sunday to walk dogs, and usually been there at least one additional day per week to do things like snuggle cats, oversee multi-dog play groups, and work with potential adopters. I’ve also done things off-site like help with fundraising and write the “Dog of the Week” and “Cat of the Week” columns for the weekly volunteer newsletter.

The onset of awareness and caution around COVID-19 threw a wrench in that, and I haven’t been to FOHA now since mid-March, which is the longest period I’ve gone without being at the shelter since I started volunteering there. It has been hard to stay away, but I have taken seriously the request from public health professionals to stay at home, and it has felt appropriate to me to do so and to let the staff at FOHA (which, as an animal shelter, is certainly an essential business) do their jobs without the extra risk of my coming on-site and into their physical workspace as a volunteer.

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May 16th, 2020

The Erotic Literary Salon 12th Anniversary Party (Online)!

Longtime readers of this blog may remember several previous appearances I have made at the remarkable Philadelphia Erotic Literary Salon founded and curated by Susana Mayer. It is indeed a venue I have truly appreciated, both on my own behalf as a place Susana has graciously offered me to promote my own work, and also as a space to offer attendees to write, read, and/or take in erotic words spoken out loud. Susana had a beautiful—and obviously accurate—notion that such a space seemed to be largely missing in our culture, as well as desired, whether overtly or on an underlying level.

And here we are twelve years later…with the Erotic Literary Salon still meeting the third Tuesday of each month and going stronger than ever! Under the current circumstances, the Salon has moved online and, as it was in April, will be held via Zoom this month. Tuesday, May 19, will mark—as well as celebrate—the twelfth anniversary of the Salon’s existence!

In addition to this celebration, I am honored that Susana has offered me the opportunity to read from my brand new short story collection, Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness. I don’t know which story I will read from yet, but I am so appreciative, as usual, to have the opportunity to do so for her audience. While the reasons for the move online are obviously sobering, the Zoom setting also offers the opportunity for attendance from those for whom travel to Philadelphia has been untenable.

Given this new online setting, Susana is only charging $5 (half the usual price of admission) to attend the Salon while the event and its audience adjust to its new virtual environment. Ticket sales will stop Monday, May 18, so this weekend is the time to procure yours!

For more information about the Salon or how to sign up to read at it, as well as a link to a basic Zoom tutorial, please visit the Salon website. Thank you, and we would love for you to virtually join us on Tuesday!

Love,
Emerald

“We light it up, we won’t come down, and the walls can’t stop us now…”The Greatest Showman Original Motion Picture Soundtrack “The Greatest Show”

May 13th, 2020

A Little Bit of Sunshine #MFRWhooks #MFRWauthor

I’m participating in Marketing for Romance Writers (MFRW) Book Hooks today—a weekly meme that gives authors the opportunity to showcase their work and readers an opportunity to find their next read!

This is an excerpt from my brand new short story collection, Initiative: Tales of Erotic Boldness, which just released on May 1. It’s from the story “Sunshine”:

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