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Posts tagged ‘Hand to Hand Publishing’

Favorite Literary Sex Scenes

Some of my favorite sex scenes in literature.

The Pink Blanket

I have been entranced with the novel Ebba and the Green Dresses of Olivia Gomez in a Time of Conflict and War by Joan Tewkesbury since it was released. The story is a literary wonderland of love, hate, darkness and hope and is steeped in the spices and flavors of Latin American magic realism. This is Ms. Tewkesbury’s first novel, though she is well known for her screenwriting (Nashville, etc.), directing and acting.

Among the many delectable and delicious delights that are embedded in this story, are her loving sex scenes between husband and wife Bernardo and Hortence Grace. They flow seamlessly and beautifully into the narrative and are not only believable but palpable. Here are some savory examples.

“Hortense Grace stirred in her sleep and turned over, opened in her sleep for Bernardo who slid into her darkness, her well, her reservoir and they made love in semiconscious cascades. They were one over and over so many times before they drifted into sleep, deeply asleep, a sleep so deep they had no memory of how well they had known each other in the night.”

“Finally, when they were sure Rebecca and Tobia had fallen asleep, Hortense Grace and Bernardo pulled out the pink blanket, the one that Ariel had been conceived on, and unfurled it in the garden. Then they took off all their clothes and made love under the stars and the moon, accidentally rolling off the blanket onto the ground as they pounded into each other’s flesh over and over and fell asleep in a bed of wild sweet peas. Just before dawn they woke up covered in mud and started to laugh. Then they turned on the hose and wdashed each other off, let the water flood them as they slammed into each other one last time before running into the house to make coffee which they took outside and drank as the sun crept up over the morning glory covered wall.”

The beauty of these examples are the respect and intimacy that are shared between the characters. Though I enjoy explicit descriptions of sex (when they are in context), the scenes in this novel have much more impact, because of the development of the story and protagonists. It is raw, real and relative and resonates with experiences of loving consensual and joyous sexuality. That is why I’ve chosen sex scenes from this literary mistresspiece as some of my favorite of all time and encourage readers to pick up this novel and see for themselves.

Read more of Ebba and the Green Dresses of Olivia Gomez in a Time of Conflict and War at Amazon.

Red Velvet Couch

Excerpt from fabulous debut novel by Golden Globe nominated writer Joan Tewkesbury. Ebba and the Green Dresses of Olivia Gomez in a Time of Conflict and War

The Red Velvet Couch

Olivia sat on the red velvet, Victorian couch in Li Choo’s living room wearing Li Choo’s bright yellow silk kimono. From the window she could see the garden with pool and pond and the hole in the wall blown open from the hand grenade Olivia had returned to its unknown messenger. Ever since that day, Olivia had been coming to Li Choo’s house on a regular basis. At first, she’d been a little nervous. After all, two deaths in the same garden, she could be number three. But after a while, visiting the house became a ritual, the only thing Olivia looked forward to. She was obsessed. There was so much she didn’t know.

It started with the closet. On the day of Li Choo’s death, when Olivia looked inside to find a suitable something to cover up her dead husband’s mistress’s body, she’d been confronted with such a profusion of quantity and color that it haunted her. That night, she hadn’t been able to sleep so she’d slipped out of bed and left her house and sleeping children.

Making sure she hadn’t been followed, which was an ongoing occurrence since the assassination of her husband, she’d entered the side door of Li Choo’s house and went straight for the closet. First, she’d rummaged through the dressing gowns made out of silk or satin or chiffon with trimmings of marabou or fur or embroidered with lace. Next, she’d inspected every crotchless panty, every rhinestoned G-string, every garter belt and nippleless brassiere even though Olivia had no idea what these clothes were for. Unfortunately, the sun had broken over the horizon just as she found the mail-order catalog with pictures of models in the mysterious lingerie. Knowing she wouldn’t be able to stay away because the closet and its contents had grabbed hold of her imagination and wouldn’t leave, Olivia stacked everything in stacks by category and color so things would be easier to find when she came back.

At home, Olivia fixed breakfast for her children and went about her usual routine, but the closet and its contents bore into her psyche like a drill. Then, because she was the dead mayor’s widow and had been followed, she marched straight into the office of the Chief of Investigation and ordered him to order Li Choo’s house and all of its contents, “off limits.” Nothing was to be looked at or touched. Nothing was to disturb the essence of her late husband the mayor and since the Chief knew exactly where she would be, he could stop having her followed. Her request was odd, but convincing and, frankly, the Chief of Investigation was greatly relieved. Fearing of finding something he might have to investigate filled him with panic. So, if Olivia was too distracted to make them search for assassins, so much the better. Any excuse she wanted to use was all right with him and he could stop wasting all that man power documenting her every move.

Olivia’s obsession with the closet was fierce. Night after night she went back to plow through Li Choo’s belongings. She was so infatuated with what she couldn’t figure out, she went without sleep for weeks and when she appeared a little vague and groggy everyone just assumed she was in mourning. In truth, discovery was exhausting. This was a whole new world, a world she never knew existed.

After a few visits she couldn’t restrain herself and began to try on all the lacy contraptions using the catalog as a guide. At first it made her feel very important, as if she’d tapped into some sort of secret very few women would ever be able to understand. Certainly neither Mrs. Marquez nor any of the others in Elena would be smart enough to decipher the details.

Finally, Olivia felt so confident, she decided to inspect her mastery in front of the full-length mirror surrounded by electric lights on Li Choo’s bathroom wall. It was a mirror fit for a movie star, but unfortunately Olivia’s reflection didn’t cooperate. Her voluptuous body spilled out over the garments like a pudding trussed with multicolored string and none of the paraphernalia fit, which was very confusing because all they were made of were spaces.

Olivia wept in utter frustration. Attempting to try on the crotchless underwear, she hopped around on one leg only to discover both legs were trapped in the same opening and crushing her enormous black pubic bush with a tight pink stripe. Not to mention her voluminous breasts that spilled out of and on top of and underneath the two skimpy triangles of white rabbit fur linked by a line of lime green sequins that cut off her breathing. Furious, Olivia ripped the band of lace off her leg, tore off the top and sobbed angrily at her naked reflection. After that, she picked up the pile of spider web undies and threw them into the fireplace, lit a match and watched them go up in flames. Something about the blaze seemed to calm her. Looking through the kitchen cupboards, she discovered an assortment of exotic teas. She picked something with rosebuds and violets and let the fragrance pacify her confusion. Restored, Olivia went back to the closet and found a fine ivory satin robe. Not realizing it had belonged to her husband, she slipped into its smooth coolness and let it soothe her vanity. A robe was something she could understand and just before Olivia let herself drift off for a little nap, she decided that what she didn’t know didn’t matter. From now on she would just make things up and call it the truth.

Read more of EBBA AND THE GREEN DRESSES OF OLIVIA GOMEZ IN A TIME OF CONFLICT AND WAR.

What Is It? Who Is She?

Beginning of the novel FERAL by Deena Metzger.

The moment it first occurred to the woman that she would bring the girl home was when the girl had climbed to a sturdy branch halfway up the sycamore and ensconced herself there, first removing, then dropping, her yellow leather work boots and then her socks, stretched out like lilies at their tops, fluorescent lime green no less. The girl wrapped what looked like prehensile toes around some of the finer twigs so that it appeared that she had grown into the tree or it into her. When the woman was trying to discern the nature of the being she was examining, first she thought feral, then thinking feral, she thought wolf. But wolves don’t climb trees, both the girl and the woman knew that.

Confronted by the girl’s feet, she was compelled to say simian, ape, primate, mono, monkey, but stopped there as no one would identify a species by its feet alone. Then as the woman teetered between one identification and another without knowing if the confusion or complexity was in the girl or in herself, the girl raised her mouth to the sky and opened it into a fluted goblet as if to catch rain. The sadness the child exuded was so like a perfume that one could not bear taking it in or being without it. Grief eased out into the air extending itself in mineral colors like oil on water, the thinnest of diaphanous films until it found its destination and wrapped itself about the living body, a sculpture in opal and mother of pearl. So many days, the woman admitted, she had been curious about grief while most willing to avoid the textures of its mysteries.

Climbing the tree had not been a thoughtless or impetuous action. The girl had taken a Jew’s harp, a handful of dried cranberries, a scrap of blue leather, feathers, a vial of silver and turquoise beads, a needle, some thread, other secret objects, some sacred, all carefully balanced in the lap of an oversized T-shirt that the girl turned alternately into a desk, a knapsack, a handkerchief for blowing her nose, while another T-shirt became a bandanna, a snood, and a white banner that declared most adamantly: “I will not surrender.”

Closer scrutiny indicated however that this was not a wolf or a monkey person. Nothing so close to human. Or so diminished as to say humanoid. No protoperson. Nor was she any animal the woman could identify, but she was of another species, the woman thought, of another species altogether. The way the words fell together, something else she could not yet understand was presented to her mind: An animal of other species altogether. Or, as she was only later to understand the meaning of: an animal of other species all together.

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Feral by Deena Metzger

Feral a novel by Deena Metzger. (2011, Hand to Hand Publishing). Reviewed by Gabriel Constans.

A story that takes you into and out of your self is a good story. This is such a story. One of the best I’ve read in years. “The girl postulated an entire universe by her mere existence.” Is an apt description of Feral. Within seconds of the opening, it becomes apparent that one has stepped into a familiar, yet alternate landscape. There is no preamble, pretense or long description of the journey upon which you are embarking. It has an immediacy and aliveness that take hold upon first sight.

Deena Metzger’s story about the connection between a woman, who is later called Owl Woman and a girl, who is at times known as Azul, blurs distinctions between who is saving who and looks intimately at the way we define and see our selves. In one moment of clarity, the woman realizes, “She was wrapped completely in the shimmer of her own mind.” It is these illusions and myths of what is real that Ms. Metzger explores and plays with so exquisitely that readers immediately lose themselves within the story. The woman wonders, “Was there anything in her mind that belonged to her? Or was everything in her mind something she had gathered or been given by others?” The girl can sense the woman’s mind chatter and says, “It’s such a burden, all your knowing. It makes me tired.”

The author uses words, timing and nuance like none other. An example of this brilliance is seen in the following. “Feral was the word she used to explain the girl and what the girl was doing to her. Feral. It was efficient. Feral. Again. Good.” Language is a thing. It has power, meaning and weight. It appears that there is not a word in this novel that is written without mindful intention. “She recognized that she had always sought out those who would challenge her and open the door to new ways of living.” That is what this story does for readers. It challenges us to re-consider what we tell ourselves about the life we live and what living authentically demands of our attention and time.

Everything in Feral is alive and asks us to be real. It is a beautifully told story, which blurs the lines between nonfiction and fiction. The girl tells the woman, who has been trying to counsel or “help” her that, “I don’t want to know your secrets. And I certainly don’t think I can fix anything. I just want you to be real.”

Could it be that there is no distinction between species and the differences we create within our tribes of being to describe another are illusions we have constructed to give us a sense of control and righteousness? Is it possible that we are all teachers and students in symbiotic relationships with one another, such as the characters referred to as “woman” and “girl” are in Feral?

One of the themes that runs through the story like an underground river, which can be heard, but not always seen, are questions about our shared responsibility to one another and the planet. The woman realizes that the girl has experienced and is aware of a great amount of suffering and tells her that she doesn’t have to hold on to it, but the girl says, “Someone has to carry it?” Does she? Does some “one”? Does anyone have to carry “it” or do we all carry it? Could it be that carrying suffering creates more suffering? Are there times when we’ve convinced ourselves that suffering is the only way we can stay connected with the past (people and events) and use it as a means to avoid the present and take responsibility for what exists now in front of our face? Do we have the courage and animal instincts to open our eyes and not turn away from what is real or painful?

Reading Feral wakes you up. It provides a sense of being more alive, aware and connected than you were before you embarked. With the inner strength of a well-grounded counselor, writer, naturalist and human who includes all life in her being, it is told with integrity, grit and wisdom.

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