Monday, June 18, 2018

Being Like Bourdain (#travel #food #Anthony Bourdain)

The apparent suicide of Anthony Bourdain brought mixed emotions from me. On the one hand, I deny the existence of death. I believe in modern quantum physics, which teaches us that everything us energy, including ourselves. Energy is neither created nor is it destroyed--energy is eternal. Thus we are eternal. Therefore: no death. There is transformation, and Bourdain chose to undergo that transformation earlier rather than later. While I honor his choice, I don't understand it, but it's not given to me to understand someone I never met. Despite his fame, Bourdain's persona is what we know, not the real man. 

On the other hand, we'll miss this funny, clever, seemingly fearless man who lived a life most of us can only dream of: visiting faraway place and exploring their cultures, especially their food cultures.

I've been lucky enough to emulate Bourdain in some respects. I've visited over a dozen countries and eaten in all of them. I've eaten Indian food in Rome (very good); Chinese in Venice (also excellent). The main international airport in Bangkok has really good spag bol--whodda thunk it?

 Here are a few pix of memorable foods from overseas:

A typical Cuban meal--beans and rice, plus a protein. Here, it's a fried egg. 



Surprisingly, Cuban food is quite bland. One thinks of the spiciness of Jamaican and Mexican food, and figure that due to proximity, Cuban food must also be spicy. Not. I had to use a lot of salt to make this interesting.


Eaten more than once in the Angkor complex, Cambodia. 
Chicken curry served in a coconut. SUBLIME.



This place serves the best fish and chips in Oxford.




Some places were not so welcoming... 

I spent a miserable year in  Luoyang, China.

I  plan not to mourn Anthony Bourdain's life not by weeping, but to do what I love best: traveling someplace new and eating the tastiest food I can find.

Friday, June 8, 2018

Sex in the Water



Huge numbers of erotic romance books have a sex scene in the shower. Likely all that steamy heat, scented with yummy shower jells and even yummier naked men, is why such scenes are very popular. Besides vertical sex is just plain hotter than horizontal sex.

Hot tub sex is quite common. Again, near naked or totally naked bodies, plus steamy heat is just crying out for a sex scene.

But what about sex in the ocean or river? Likely if people are swimming it’s a hot day, and there is once again the whole nearly naked aspect bound to crank up the sexual tension. But now we have a logistical problem. Even if it is a private beach with no people around, how do the characters know there isn’t someone out on a boat, or back on the shore, with binoculars—or worse still a camera with a telephoto lens—watching them? Or does the thrill of discovery just make it naughtier and more exciting?

And then there is the problem of friction. Successful orgasms generally require friction, especially for the man, and water prevents friction. Which means pretty much anything below the waterline isn’t going to happen. So we need knee-deep water and the couple standing up. Which brings us back to the onlooker and his camera.
Or we could forget all about physics, sit our characters down in the water, and let our imaginations run wild!


My “The Beach Boys” series is set at Two Waters beach, a real place. It’s a narrow isthmus of land with a lake on one side and an ocean on the other. Families tend to stay on the placid, lake-side. The characters in my male/male romances prefer the wilder ocean side with its huge rock wall, and a sandbar just far enough away from shore to offer a little privacy.


There are four stories in this series: Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring. In each season a different couple of men discover the pleasures of the beach and each other. Each story is complete about that couple, but some characters return in cameo roles in later books.


https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=The+Beach+Boys%3A+Berengaria+Brown&rh=n%3A133140011%2Ck%3AThe+Beach+Boys%3A+Berengaria+Brown

Berengaria Brown


Blog: http://berengariasblog.blogspot.com/
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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Friday, May 18, 2018

Yoga in the Cube: Simple Exercises for Writers, Office Workers and Anyone Else Who Wants to Feel Good by Suz deMello (#yoga #CubicleLife)

Last month, I blogged in general about yoga, a five thousand year old approach to life that originated in India and has steadily gained adherents since. The broader view now narrows to yoga practices specifically targeted to office workers as well as those who simply spend a lot of time in front of a computer, including my fellow writers.

First word of advice: get up once in a while, preferably at least hourly. Bust out a few poses to heighten your physical and mental health. 

Inversions will push more blood to the brain and improve its functioning. Of course you could do a headstand or a shoulder stand, but that might draw unwanted attention to your corner of CubicleVille. So I suggest you try a simple wide-legged straddle stretch, known in YogaLand as Prasarita Padottanasana (we yogis love to bring out the Sanskrit--makes us feel as though we're in possession of some arcane knowledge).

Here's what it looks like:



A side view: 


This pic is okay, but don't put your hands on your knees!
Floor, shins or thighs for support.


If you need a little more support, try this with a chair or desk:



The point is: get your head below the level of your heart, which promotes blood flow to the brain.

To perform the posture, always remember that every yoga pose is built from the ground up. Make sure that your shoes will keep you steady--don't wear high heels or slippery-soled shoes. Take them off if you are, and make sure that your stockings or socks or whatever won't slip. Ideally, you're barefooted.

Feet should be planted firmly on the ground about three feet apart, or more. Whatever is comfortable for your body that day.

Breathe deeply and evenly. First spread your arms out into a T, then, on an exhale, bend from the hips, not the waist, keeping your spine straight. If you need support, you can place your hands on the floor, on your thighs or shins. Not the knee--joints are sensitive.

Keep breathing long, deep, complete breaths. Take at least ten full, complete breath cycles.

If you want to twist (highly recommended!) place one hand on the floor in front of your face, then raise the other into the air. Exhale, and twist in its direction for five complete breath cycles. Focus on how these breaths feel compared to the untwisted variation. Then do the other side.


To come out of the posture, untwist, put your hands on your hips, bend your knees slightly, tighten your core. Inhale, and pull your torso upright.

Broaden the chest, open the heart, free the breath.

I probably say this at least ten times in every class I teach. The breath is so, so important! Not just in yoga, but in life. We can survive a week or two without food. A few days at least without water. But without breath? Not very long at all.

Breathing deeply will help you in every area of your life. Take a deep, slow breath with a slow release before and after any task. Shove oxygenated blood though your body and feel the energy, the prana, flow and strengthen you.

We spend so much time hunched over at our desks, curving our chests, constricting the breath and squeezing our hearts, when we are so much happier with our hearts open--literally as well as figuratively.

So, employing the same posture, try clasping your hands behind your low back and lifting them, which will open your chest. Breathe deeply--again, at least five to ten complete breath cycles.



Chair exercises

If you are so unfortunate as to have such a small cube that you can't even do prasarita, much of the above can be done in a chair.





Dharana: Mental focus

Dharana is one of the eight petals, or limbs of yoga. (As I discussed in the previous blog, these are techniques which we employ on our yoga journey--that's the path we tread to attain integration and happiness). Certainly mental focus will help us on our journey, as well as in our everyday lives.

So how can we easily practice dharana? The inversion and its variations will help sharpen the mind, but there are other techniques, including something so simple that few think of it.

Try something new.

Research has shown many times that learning a new language improves mental functioning, but that's not because there's any intrinsic virtue in learning Mandarin, Swahili, or French. Any new undertaking grows our neural net, creating new nerve paths and synapses in our brains.

There are hundreds of yoga poses, and a smart yogi will vary her practice, learning new asanas (postures) and breathing exercises (pranayama).

However, many other options exist. Something as simple as skipping instead of walking, taking a different route to work, traveling to another country, or learning a new computer game will increase your brain power.

Quit multitasking. Instead focus on one thing--the moment.

This is a tough one. Our modern, complex society demands much of us, and those demands create what many of us all the "monkey mind," the headspace that is scattered, unfocused, and constantly shifting instead of concentrating.

Be in the moment, focusing on what's happening instead of what could be happening. If you're working, focus on work, not on where you're going to eat lunch or any task that might be facing you. When you're with a friend, a family member or anyone else, be fully present for that person. Don't check your phone... Whatever else night be going, in most instances, it will keep. (Besides, checking your phone when you're with someone is really rude).

Be present and focused on the moment. As the old Latin proverb says: Age Quod Agis--do what you're doing.

Good luck! 

As always: ask your doctor if it's okay for you to perform easy exercises.

And remember to breathe!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Sassy Faerie Princess by Nicole Austin - Available Now!

SASSY FAERIE PRINCESS 

by Nicole Austin

Available Now!

Part of the Sassy Ever After Kindle World

Read for free with Kindle Unlimited


MMF Menage, Paranormal

Blurb:

Princess Serena has been labeled as trouble because of her unconventional ideas. She isn’t content with the frivolous activities and promiscuity rampant in Fae. No, Serena craves adventure, longs to explore parallel dimensions and discover all the magnificent wonders of the universe. But what she aches for more than anything else is to be swept away by a pair of alpha males, fall in love, and form a monogamous bond.

Only two things hold her back—the queen’s rules prohibiting faeries from traveling through the portals, and the dark elven guards who ensure compliance.

News of the faerie court’s plans to seal the portals for eternity means she has to act fast or be trapped in Fae forever. And there would be no chance of others ever seeing or believing in the faefolk. Without belief…

The brave faerie knows the legend well and is not about to let her kind cease to exist.

Trevor Richardson and Brady Prophet have everything they could possibly want. Careers they love, a great house, each other, and a golden retriever named Flirt. Yet Brady feels something is missing. He wants a woman to share with Trevor. The crazy chick who breaks into their house and charms their dog wasn’t quite what he had in mind. She’s even better.

Now if the unlikely trio can find a way to survive the jealous queen’s wrath, they just might have a shot at a fairy-tale ending.


 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Why write ménage?





Readers often ask me why I write ménages, specifically male/male/female ménages.

I’ll answer that question in a minute. But actually I also write lesbian erotica and male/male stories and even one man/one woman stories. In fact, “Naughty Spice” produced by the Naughty Literati, has one of my lesbian stories in it, as well as my menage stories.


Now, why MMF?

Just think about it for a moment, ladies. If one pair of hands teasing up your ribcage feels good, how much better would two pairs of hands feel?
If one set of lips, kissing and sucking the tender skin inside your elbow feels good, how would another mouth feel on the other elbow?
If you enjoy running your hands down a muscular back and over a taut ass, how much better would it be with two taut asses to touch?
Romantic fiction is a step outside everyday life into what if. A woman’s most important sex organ is her brain. She can think, plan, imagine. Imagine what if not one, but two delicious hunks wanted you? Imagine how intense the passion could be in bed with two men. Four strong arms, two hard chests, two even harder…

Well, I’m sure you can see where my mind is going here!


“Jewel’s Menage Christmas”: Blurb: Jewel, Donovan, and Oscar live together but the excitement has gone out of their relationship. She makes holiday plans to spice things up. Jewel's thought of everything, but will Donovan and Oscar rise to the challenge?

“One Kinky Weekend”: Blurb: Logan and Zara have been married twenty years. Their sex life is boring. Dead boring. They love each other but they want more excitement in bed. The answer? Ask another couple to join them for a very dirty, smutty weekend of darkly naughty sex. Wicked fantasies and forbidden desires are shared. Girl on girl action? Double penetration? Every dark craving comes vividly to life for an orgasmic weekend.

Naughty Spice Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078XCP2HB
Naughty Spice in Print: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1983472433
Amazon: http://a.co/1BfGSBz
B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble. com/w/naughty-spice-francesca- hawley/1127757320?ean=2940155437048
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ ebook/naughty-spice-2

Berengaria Brown

http://naughtyliterati.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Naughty Spice.mp4

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

What is yoga, and why does Suz deMello care about it so much? (#yoga)

A five-thousand year-old practice, yoga has steadily been gaining practitioners in the West since the Beatles made a now-forgotten but then much-publicized trip to India in 1968. That visit, which was to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, kindled interest in transcendental meditation as well as all things Eastern, including yoga.


But what is yoga? Most people think that body-bending postures, called asana, are the be-all and end-all of yoga. They look at pics of people standing on their heads in the lotus position, and figure, I'll never be able to do that, and why would I want to? and don't look further into the practice. 


But as stated, yoga has been around for five thousand years, and anything that's been around so long probably has value. So why has yoga lingered? Simple answer: yoga works.

That begs the question: works at what? Why do people do yoga? What do they get out of it? What is the purpose of yoga?

Quite simply: People do yoga because it makes them happy. The result of the practice is a calm mind integrated with a healthy body...a great prescription for happiness. The word yoga means union, which refers to union of the disparate parts of ourselves--mind, body and spirit. It also refers to union with the universal all.

Yoga sees each of us as an energetic being in a universe likewise composed of energy. This view is in keeping with modern physics, which posits that everything is energy, but that which we perceive as solid and liquid isn't moving fast enough to appear as energy. Einstein told us in E=mc(squared) that anything with mass becomes energy when accelerated to the speed of light.

Thus, everything is energy. The only difference is due to a temporary condition, i.e., speed.

The sage Patanjali, who wrote the yoga sutras two thousand or so years ago, stated in the first sutra: "The purpose of yoga is to calm the disturbances of the mind."

We calm ourselves and integrate the disparate parts of ourselves--mind, body and spirit--by utilizing techniques embodied in the Eight Limbs, or Petals, of Yoga. These are not to be confused with the Eight-fold Path of Buddhism, which is also useful; these two great streams of thought complement each other and are not in conflict.

Asana, the postures, are one of the Eight Limbs. The others can be seen in the
drawing to the right, which I created for a workshop I recently gave to a writer's group on using yoga to improve creativity.

Two of the petals are prescriptions for living: the yamas and the niyamas. These embody the usual ethical precepts that most of the world's great religions and plilosophies espouse. If a person lives ethically, s/he lacks disturbances of the mind. Our consciences don't bother us if we live rightly.

Asana and pranayama embody the physical practice. Asana are the postures, and pranayama refers to breathing to push energy through our bodies.

The four petals high on the flower are the more difficult and subtle parts of yoga. Pratyahara--going inward, which enables dharana, mental focus, and diyana, meditation.  

And all of the above lead us to samadhi, oneness, a state of OM which unites us with ourselves and all else.

Remember: yoga sees everything as energy. Samadhi refers to that oneness with all.

Practicing all eight limbs of yoga with consistency, focus and determination will engender samadhi. 

I am a believer in the lifelong practice of yoga, so much so that I have spent thousands of dollars and a considerable amount of time not only to practice consistently, but to complete yoga teacher training. I look forward to spreading the word about this wonderful practice in any way I can.  Others I know who are more casual practitioners report weight loss and a generalized feeling of serenity and happiness. Many report that stretching has resulted in another inch of two of height. One man I know swears that his improvement in vision is due to yoga.

Please contact me if you want to know more. Can't hurt to try, right? 

And by the way--you don't need to stand on your head in the lotus or any other position. We do plenty of sitting and lying around, just...being.

Next month I'll blog about yoga to enhance creativity and mental function,
So stay tuned!