Specifically, vacation jealousy. I do not covet your home, your husband, your handbag wardrobe–just your vacation. I do vacation, but certainly not as often as I like and typically not in the summer (I do have a vacation booked for November). Summer in my household is car racing season, and my husband (club racer) spends every weekend that he can trailering up and down rt. 95 to a variety of tracks–which, in my estimation, does not resemble a vacation in any way. And that’s okay–I will gladly skip the hot and crowed highway, not to mention the steaming, screaming race track, for the beauty and peace of a solitary staycation.

But then the facebook pictures start pouring in. England, Italy, Norway, the desert Southwest, and I am ripe with green and insidious envy. So many beautiful, interesting places, so many happy, smiling, faces, so many people in Maine. What is up with Maine? If I’ve seen one shot of a Maine harbor, I’ve seen them all. I was there once, lovely, crunchy, lobstery–a long way from Maryland and for what? You can’t even go in the water!  But all the facebook faces are there, or in Paris, Vancouver, wherever, and I am not.

If I had an income I would certainly travel a lot more, with or without a husband or girlfriend. I’ve got lots of spots picked out and lots I want to see. But until you all buy my book, I’m vacationing vicariously on my computer, no sun screen necessary.


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the biggest tease ever




Well, perhaps not the biggest tease ever, but the biggest teaser to date that I’ve put out there for Claire. And it just came to my attention that my posting moved from A Child’s Garden of Verses to an erotic snake story–quite the range, don’t you think? From The near Transformation of Claire:


There was as orphan maiden who lived alone in the woods. She had no particular craft or talent but was an exquisite beauty who gave herself to passing farmers or tradesmen for food or a little money. She delighted in a man’s head between her legs, her strong thighs holding him to her as she softly moaned, delighting in their rough hands moving across her breasts, their cocks moving in and out of her body. But there was a snake who lived under her bed, a large, perfectly smooth, black satin snake who loved her more than anything or anyone, who felt the pain of wanting her with every man she took to her bed. One evening, the snake could not be still any longer and when her lover had left and the maiden lay sleeping, the snake climbed over her, coiling himself around her hips, placing his head at her join, his tongue dipping in and out of her source. “And now you are mine,” hissed the snake, injecting his poison into her, “for any man who puts himself inside of you will die from my venom.”

She did not hate her snake lover. He did love her, after all, in his own slightly, slimy way. His tongue was amazing, reaching far deeper than any man could ever reach while his tail moved effortlessly in and out of her rear entrance. He brought her food, he was company in her lonely, wooded world. But she missed hands moving over her body, holding her, fingers exploring her insides, lips on her lips, lips on her nipples. She missed the touch and the kiss of a man.

One day, a handsome traveler came to her door for water and was so taken with her beauty that he asked if he could have her, and in a whisper, so as not to wake the serpent below her bed, she explained the curse put upon her by the snake. The traveler slowly and carefully untied the laces that held her bosom, he undressed her till she stood before him in her gossamer gown. He told her to lie on the bed and he lifted the fabric, inhaling her heat, touching her, kissing her. His hands and lips slowly moved from her ankles, up her strong legs and thighs to brush the fur at her mound. Every hair on her body stood straight, every touch was electric, every kiss an arrow to her center. He held his warm and silky hands at her belly, his long fingers rolling over the hills of her hips. He massaged her full breasts and fit his lips on her erect nipples, his tongue circling their pointed presence in his mouth. He kissed her collarbone, her jaw, her lips, his tongue impossibly deep and thick in her throat. She began to tremble, she felt the waves begin in her feet, and the traveler pulled at the lips of her pussy till she was opened wide and he could see the tremors inside her. She flooded the bed with her come as never before, an endless flow of liquid, her sex spilling over the mattress and onto the floor, drowning the snake beneath them in his own venom.

Free from her curse, unleashed from the bonds of possession, the maiden and the handsome traveler made love for days in her humble cottage. He left her and never returned, but the maiden would never forget how he saved her—how she was set free by the touch of a man.


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My Bed is A Boat




I am not at all sure how my morning thoughts led me to this poem by Robert Louis Stevenson, but they did. It’s probably one of three poems I remember from childhood and for me, this poem was magic, the imagery endless. I suppose it came to me this morning when I was debating whether or not to work in bed, which I often do. My bed is still my boat, allowing for endless imagination while it holds me safe and fast, navigating swells and calm and an infinite landscape of unfamiliar waters.



My bed is like a little boat;
Nurse helps me in when I embark;
She girds me in my sailor’s coat
And starts me in the dark.

At night I go on board and say
Good-night to all my friends on shore;
I shut my eyes and sail away
And see and hear no more.

And sometimes things to bed I take,
As prudent sailors have to do;
Perhaps a slice of wedding-cake,
Perhaps a toy or two.

All night across the dark we steer;
But when the day returns at last,
Safe in my room beside the pier,
I find my vessel fast.  – Robert Louis Stevenson, A Child’s Garden of Verses


art by Eulalie Banks / note: I was sure that I still had my childhood edition of A Child’s Garden of Verses but I don’t, damnit–I studied this illustration for years.






I was asked by my e publisher what inspired me to write Claire, and what would I say to women about the book. Here is my long-winded version:

Five months after my 60th birthday, I was fired from my job of 10 years, escorted off the property. I ran out of expletives to apply to the experience. Fuck. Fuck me, is what it boiled down to. I’m not going to delve into the firing at this time (read the book), but rather what happened almost immediately after. I was dumbstruck, in a state of shock, really, but somehow I was cognizant enough to know that I needed to talk to someone, and 4 or 5 days after the firing I met with a learning specialist/counselor, a woman who still worked at the institution I had just been fired from.

“Elizabeth (not her real name), I don’t know what to do,” I lamented.

“Green light thinking, what do you want to do?”

“I want to write a book.” Spilled right out of my mouth, no hesitation whatsoever.

“Good. Let’s figure out how to do that.”

I knew immediately there was a story there. I knew there was a cast of characters ripe with flaws and obsessions and addictions, wounds, wants, needs, egos, everything a writer could ever want for his characters. And within this cast of characters was a stranger sending me dirty letters, and erotic fiction became my blend of artistic and sexual expression.

This story is for any woman who is married, divorced, sad, lonely, personally or professionally frustrated and/or discontent. It’s for every woman who longs for something different, identifiable or not. It’s the story that allows women to not only fantasize, but to empathize as well. All while reminding us that transformation is not always complete, nor is it always what we imagine.


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why I changed the title of this post


Former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis displays his Super Bowl XLVII championship ring after receiving it at a ceremony at the team's NFL football practice facility in Owings Mills, Md., Friday, June 7, 2013. The Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers 34-31 to win their second franchise Super Bowl. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)


Note: This post was first titled “how do you measure success?” but I am changing it an an attempt to see what happens to my spam folder. I have received thousands of bots on this posting and suspect the word “success” has generated most of them. Will let you know what happens – 8.31.15 – pn


My husband and I were having a conversation about lesser things, when he told me that what’s missing in his achieving satisfaction in life is success. Of course, my top ten list of things this man is missing came to mind (success not being one of them), but I let him continue. Grand success is what he was talking about. Not your success as parents or providers, but success won–a lucrative, prosperous, high profile business; racing trophies; a trophy wife, perhaps. Wow. Grand success is not even on my radar. I told him that he misses so much of living with an eye solely on the prize and went on to say that his window of opportunity regarding grand success may have passed. He listened but could not fully accept this, and needless to say, my thought did nothing to elevate his pensive, borderline brooding, mood.

I thought about this more and came to the conclusion that it might be a guy thing, this success brass ring. And I don’t typically think in such generalities, but my husband’s concern reminded me of the class reunions I attended while working 10 years at an independent high school and the ex-lacrosse player mentality. These former jocks loved, loved, loved to talk about the glory days, their life and times on the playing field, their statues and grand successes. I likened my husband feelings to these reunions and his comment was, “well, I don’t want to live in the past,” but reminiscing was only a part of the alumni experience. When these alums gathered with their peers, they felt that success surge one more time, two more times, three times, as many times as alumni weekend would allow. They came together to shoot success back into their veins.

I do have a vision of success, and certainly a career in writing is part of that vision. But I also find that the small victories–completing a first draft, keeping the mold off the hydrangeas, making the right nail color choice–are tremendously satisfying, and the most that many of us will ever enjoy. And to put the complicated topic of success into the most simplest of terms, perhaps it is the accumulation of small victories, our recognition of them and our regard for them that make for a satisfying life. So enjoy. The super bowl ring comes off at the end of the day, your lacrosse buddies go home, the trophy wife takes off her makeup.

There is a book on meditation that I can only partly recommend because I only partly read it, but it has the best book title of all time: After the Ecstasy, the Laundry, by Jack Kornfield. Something to think about.



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contributors’ notes



I’ve spent the morning tending to the business of writing, mostly emails to two different publishers with questions, requests and replies. And I also bit the bullet and wrote my biography and my “contributors’ note”–an incredibly humbling exercise. The biography and contributors’ note are in essence the same–2, 3, 4 sentences on yourself and your writing/publishing prowess, inserted on a book jacket or the back pages of an anthology. But I have nothing to say, rather nothing to put down. I have no body of work and I have no interest in trying to be clever about that unfortunate fact nor do I want to list “hobbies.” I’m looking at samples on line and there is nothing other than bios on those with several publications under their belt, not to mention a list of deceased writers awards. What an amateur!

There is, however, a brilliant piece of prose poetry by Stacey Harwood, found in the book Short, edited by Alan Ziegler. Her piece is called Contributors’ Notes and I can safely say that it was not written to appease the likes of me, but I will interpret it as I see it, for that is the beauty of art, yes? Enjoy the excerpt from her prose poem below:


STACEY HARWOOD lives in Paris, where she teaches at La Verenne. She is credited with reviving the artisanal bread movement when she open a tiny boulangerie, Pain Fermier on Rue Christine in the 6th Arrondissement. Her essays and recipes have appeared in Journal of Gastronomy, Gourmet, L’Art Culinairre, and numberous magazine both here and abroad. Her book, Stalking the Wild Yeast, based on her Food Network program of the same name, is forthcoming from Workingman Press.

STACEY HARWOOOD is a third-year student at University of Michigan Law School. She appears as Bryanna on the HBO series G-String Divas. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in Herotica, Yellow Silk, Switch/bitch and

RABBI SHAYNA RACHEL HOROWITZ lives in Philadelphia where she and her husband are assistant rabbis at Congregation Beth-Shalom. This is her first publication.

Ever since foiling a hijacking attempt during a transatlantic flight, STACEY HARWOOD has been a motivational speaker.


My fantasy contributors’ note:

PAMELA NARUTA shares her time between San Juan, Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.  She has authored 2 critically acclaimed poetry anthologies, and 3 novellas. In 2015, Ms. Naruta won an emmy for her tv adaptation of her first novella, The near Transformation of Claire, for the HBO mini-series of the same name. In 2014, she won the coveted Ernest Hemingwad award for erotic fiction. Ms. Naruta is currently a contributing writer for Esquire and Elle Decor magazines. Damn.


r u awake?




I think all of the women I know have trouble sleeping, myself included. If not all, close. I have one friend who employs a soft stretching with a healthy, bedtime tea ritual for sleep, while I wash down an ambien with iced coffee–and neither of us sleep well. I have one friend who sleeps what most would consider half a night. I’ve read plenty on what you’re supposed to do to get a good night’s sleep, and there’s a lot of sound, medical advice available, stuff I could and should be doing, but ‘ya know what–you just can’t stop Niagara Falls–that’s according to my meditation instructor. But you can step away, she continues. Whatever.

My mother was an insomniac and it bothered her terribly when she couldn’t sleep. I am certainly sub-standard without a decent night’s sleep, but it seemed my mother was more upset that she was awake when she should be sleeping, rather than what she would feel like in the morning. I was visiting her at her senior complex with my dog one time, and night owl that I am, took him for an early a.m. walk. I saw lots of lights on, lots, and movement within the apartments, not just lights on for safety. People are awake and I told my mother, you could be playing bridge with someone right now, but it did little to help–changing her clock was not an option.

I can’t help the sleepless–go online–there are 10 million suggested remedies. Here’s what works best for me: get up, take a pill, play cards, eat something. And petition that the world open for business at 10 a.m. rather than 8.


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my pornographic research




Got your attention, didn’t I? Yes, I researched porn for my book and have lots of thoughts on the subject, even though my research was not extensive. My pornographic reading was focused primarily on 3 or 4 books and 3 or 4 websites. I did not, and still have not, read 50 Shades of Gray. Shocking, I know. Gray was circulating right around the time I started my story and I choose not to pick it up. I wanted my voice to be authentic, to not be effected or infected by what was currently popular. My pornographic viewing was a bit more extensive than my reading but I don’t like the videos very much—the sex act is so cheapened, so exploited, so ugly. An impassioned penis is far more attractive in the dim light of a bedroom than in the white light of a laptop and I would rather imagine the face of desire than watch the lip biting of an indignant, so-called actress. I can’t watch the home-made varieties.

But I did, and still do, enjoy looking at photos, black and white images of men and women engaged in something sexual. The split second shot that shows the perfect “o” of the mouth, the anxious eyes, the tight muscle just under a man’s shoulder, the amazing curvature of the spine as it gives or receives. I was researching such sites one evening when my husband was out of town, which was when I preferred to explore, and landed on what I presumed to be an adult site with adult models. And my computer froze. And the FBI logo and a very official looking document appeared that told me I got caught watching kiddie porn and would have to pay a hefty fine to get my computer back. What the fuck? And ew, ew, no, I would never look at kiddie porn. And then the FBI logo starts flashing on the screen—the FBI would never do that, right? Flash, flash, loser, loser, flash, flash, pay, you pervert. This had to be a scam. I started reading the fine print and it said I can buy a money order at my local gas station and mail it to them. Okay, well it’s definitely a scam, but flash, flash, I can’t get out of this screen, my computer is still frozen. I shut it down, restart, flash, flash, shut down, a half dozen times of this and nothing. I went to bed—it was late, I had to work the next day, maybe it would be gone in the morning—what else could I do?

But it was still there the next morning. Still frozen, still flashing. Good God, I didn’t want to tell my husband. At the time, he had no idea that I was writing porn and I was not at all prepared to open that can of worms. So I called my neighbor. The husband of my yoga teacher, a charming man, a computer geek 10 years younger than me. My neighbor. I cannot think of a time when I was more embarrassed, seriously, and I am embarrassed on a fairly regular basis. I told him exactly what happened, he laughed and spoke with no judgment. “Sit tight,” he said, and went straight to youtube and quickly came back with the 3 stroke solution: command/option/escape—done. Freedom. Holy moly.

There are good porn sites and bad ones. There are some beautiful images and beautiful people out there. I looked at a Swedish porn page with women so beautiful there was no question as to how they should make a living, and yet I won’t recommend any of these sites—I don’t know your tastes and don’t want to offend. But in our sex-centric universe with so many questions and misconceptions regarding sex, isn’t it liberating to just look and learn? To understand that what you considered a sub-culture is much closer to main stream than you thought? 50 Shades should have taught you that. Just one more thing—pornography is best used to arouse, not to replace. And one more—don’t believe everything you see online.


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