Saturday, January 30, 2021

Charity Sunday: For the next generation of Afghani women -- #CharitySunday #FemaleEducation #BirthdayPresents @solaafghanistan

Charity Sunday Banner

Welcome to the first Charity Sunday in 2021!

My charity today is one that I only recently encountered: The School of Leadership Afghanistan. In a country where a young woman can be murdered for trying to go to school, SOLA has a special mission: to educate a new generation of young women who will be equipped with the skills – and the courage – to help solve Afghanistan’s problems and guide it to a brighter future. 

SOLA was founded by a dynamic young woman who came of age during the Taliban period. She masqueraded as a boy in order to attend school. Later she attended Middlebury College, which is how I happened to learn about SOLA. A close friend of mine who lives in Vermont met Shabana Basij-Rasikh at a talk at that university; my friend is now a volunteer tutor for SOLA.

I am truly inspired by SOLA’s story. Check out their website and I believe you will be, too.

As usual for Charity Sunday, I will donate two dollars to SOLA for each comment I receive on this post.

However, there’s more. Today is also my birthday. So I am giving every person who leaves a comment a free book, your choice of three short story collections.


Burn, Baby: A Sapphic Six Pack (lesbian erotica/romance)


 Fourth World: Erotic Tales of Monsters, Myths and Magic (dark paranormal erotica/romance)


 Hearts & Handcuffs: Romantic Kink

Just tell me which book you want, and PLEASE be sure to include an email address (obfuscated is fine) so I can find you. I’ll send you a PDF unless you indicate you want epub or mobi.

Meanwhile for my excerpt, I’ve got the starting bit from “The First Stone”, one of the stories in Burn, Baby. This tale, originally published in Cheyenne Blue’s anthology Forbidden Fruit: Tales of Unwise Lesbian Desire, is about the relationship between a nun in a women’s shelter and an ex-junkie hooker.



You're kinda pretty, for a nun.”

The voice was low and throaty, laced with echoes of the ghetto. It dragged me away from the columns of figures marching down the screen in front of me, out of the well-ordered realm of accounting and into the messiness of our inmates' lives. Our guests, I corrected myself. Nobody was forced to stay at Serenity House.

Um — excuse me? Can I help you?”

My interlocutor grinned at me. Her plump, mauve-painted lips framed teeth that were a shocking white in her ebony face. She shook her head. Cheap, brassy earrings dangled from her fleshy lobes, swinging back and forth over her bare shoulders.

Just wanted to say hi. Oh, an' to ask if I can stay out past curfew tonight. Heard you were in charge.” She extended a hand tipped with hot pink fingernails. “I'm Magnolia. Me and Moonbeam just got here yesterday.”

November in Boston, two weeks before Thanksgiving, but Magnolia's skin felt August-hot. The woman's breasts almost overflowed the sequined tube top that constrained them. Below, she wore baggy sweatpants with a Celtics logo that didn't hide her more than ample curves. Her feet were crammed into open-toed high heels of scuffed gold-toned plastic. She towered over me. I felt pretty sure that would be true even if I were standing.

Moonbeam?” Confronted by this apparition, I couldn't seem to manage more than a couple of words.

My kid.” Magnolia indicated a diminutive toddler with kinky pigtails, sprawled on the floor of the common room, surrounded by alphabet blocks. Hard to believe that delicate child was the offspring of this Amazon.

Ah — um — well, you're very welcome here, Magnolia. We're glad to have you with us.” I struggled for the warm yet professional manner I'd learned to adopt with our guests. Rising from my chair, I gave her hand a firm squeeze before relinquishing it. My skin tingled in the aftermath. I'd been right; she stood half a head taller than my five feet six inches, and probably weighed nearly twice what I did. “Have a seat, please. I'm Sister Kathleen Patrick, the assistant director. But I guess you know that.”

She settled her bottom into the chair I'd indicated. “Yeah, the other gals told me. Pleased to meet you, Sister.” Her plucked eyebrows knotted into a frown. “That what I should call you? I ain't had much experience with nuns.”

Her obvious concern made me chuckle. “'Sister' would be fine. Or you can just call me Kathleen. We don't stand on ceremony here at Serenity House.”

Not like at Baystate Rehab. You forget to call one of the nurses 'Miz' or 'Mister', you lose privs for twenty-four hours.” She swiped the back of her hand across her brown forehead, which was beaded with sweat. The woman must have a furnace inside.

There was something lush and tropical about Magnolia. Her name fit her. She seemed totally out of place in this shabby office lit by the unrelenting gray of the late autumn sky. I could imagine her wrapped in a rainbow-hued sarong, dancing barefoot on a beach beneath swaying palms. Or swimming naked through the waves under a golden moon...

I hauled my thoughts back to the present. “Is that where you've just come from?” Not all our guests had substance abuse problems, but it was pretty common.

Escaped is more like it.” She giggled. “This place's like heaven after Bayhab. Six fucking weeks — oh, sorry, Sister — I mean, six long weeks in that hellhole! Away from my baby, too. 'Course, I deserved it. All the junk I pumped into my veins, not thinkin' about who'd care for her if something happened to me. Then the OD — I really fucked up. Oh, I'm sorry, Sister!”

Never mind. So you've made yourself comfortable, then? You're happy with your room?” Yesterday had been my day off. Rachel must have done the intake. I reminded myself to check Magnolia's file after she'd left the office.

It's great. I'm sharing with Lou-Ellen and her little boy. He's only a couple months older than Moonbeam. Food's good, too.” She flashed me another grin and glanced down at her generous body. “Not that I need it!”

Her laughter kindled mine. Our eyes met. Hers were espresso-brown, practically black, fringed with mascara-augmented lashes. They snagged me like magnets.

Something jolted through me — a lightning strike, a sudden storm, some personal earthquake. The floor dropped out from under my chair and I found myself suspended in space. My breath caught in my throat and perspiration soaked the armpits of my gray wool sweater. I'd been chilly before — we tried to stretch our donor's generosity as far as possible — but now I burned. I couldn't tear myself away from her gaze, though I knew I'd been staring far too long.

Are you okay, Sister?” Her husky voice, barely louder than a whisper, wound its way into my stunned consciousness. Her hand hovered above mine, threatening a gesture of comfort.

Don't touch me, I pleaded silently. Don't. I pulled back, abruptly enough that I probably seemed impolite, and folded my hands in my lap, a safe distance from the smooth, dark glow of her skin. An almost forgotten ache woke in my belly. The tips of my breasts tingled under my shapeless garments.

Ah — oh, um — sorry. I — um — just felt a bit faint. Most likely it's low blood sugar. I have problems with that sometimes.” I fumbled in my desk drawer and found a couple of lemon drops. “These help. Do you want one?”

I shouldn't,” Magnolia replied. But she popped it into her mouth anyway, her lips pursed into a tight O around the candy.

Don’t forget to leave a comment with your choice of book, and your email! And I hope you’ll visit the other authors participating in today’s event.


Anonymous said...

You do good work for the world, Lisabet!

Debby said...

This is wonderful. I don't know book I would want.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Kris Bock said...

Great cause, Lisabet!

bn100 said...

Happy birthday! Not sure what book
bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Dee S Knight and Anne Krist said...

Happy birthday, woman! This sounds like a really good cause--let's hope it will keep going!

You know I love your work. May I have a copy of Fourth World in mobi format, please?

Colleen C. said...

Happy birthday Lisabet! ������

Bob Tinsley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bob Tinsley said...

Happy birthday! I love your work. I'd like a copy of 'Burn, Baby' in mobi format, please.
Thank you.

Annette said...

Happy birthday! I'd like Fourth World in mobi. Thank you unluckythimble at gmail dot com

Karinski said...

Happy Birthday!!! Sounds like a wonderful cause
Either hearts & handcuffs or fourth world mobi
Surprise me. Love all you do

Sacchi Green said...

Happy birthday, a day late. Thanks for introducing me to a charity I wouldn't have known about any other way.

Lucy Felthouse said...

Great cause, as always! And happy birthday!

Tina Donahue said...

Another great charity - thanks for doing this!

LOVE the cover for Burn Baby :)

M. Millswan said...

Happy Birthday! It takes a kind person like you to help change the world for the better one donation at a time!

Fiona McGier said...

This is a wonderful charity! And happy, happy birthday to you, my friend! Hope you got spoiled all day, and made to feel as special as you are! Hearts and Handcuffs, please--Mobi?

My birthday just passed. What a great idea, to give books to celebrate!

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday, and thank you so much! Fourth World in mobi would be great...

Trix, vitajex at aol dot com

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks to everyone who commented. I am about to go donate $40 to SOLA!

This Sunday, 28 February, is the next Charity Sunday. Please join us!

Post a Comment

Let me know your thoughts! (And if you're having trouble commenting, try enabling third-party cookies in your browser...)