Monday, February 27, 2023

Passport to The Unknown – #Memoir #Honduras #Epiphanies

I've Worn Many Hats cover

By Anne Hamilton Fowler (Guest Blogger)

I had it all, didn’t I? A thriving successful company, happy adult children, a beautiful home in Toronto, an exciting active, social life. So why at age 60 did I apparently throw in the proverbial towel and upend my life to pursue a new passion by relocating to another country? A country that the BBC had once dubbed “The Murder Capital of the Western World.” Is it possible that appearances were deceiving and life was not everything it seemed? What was missing?

The gauntlet was first thrown down in 1993 when my family doctor, director of an upcoming medical brigade to Honduras, said “Why don’t you come with us Annie? It’s like a poor summer camp; you loved camp, you’ll love it! Dr. Jim had led several teams and I knew this was not his first rodeo so I said yes, not realizing it was a decision that would change the course of my life.

Finally, the day for our much anticipated adventure came. Loaded down with bug spray, Imodium and “roughing it” clothing, I arrived at the airport that October morning very excited, more than a little apprehensive and having no clue what to expect. Off we jetted to Honduras for a two -week medical brigade, accomplished our good works and returned to Toronto. Right? Not quite!! As I relate the following experience, please keep in mind that it occurred before airports resembled lockdown areas, when passenger agents engaged in friendly conversation with travellers and regulations were at a minimum. A busy but more relaxed atmosphere definitely prevailed. You came, gave your ticket to the agent, checked your bags, went for a coffee/drink and proceeded to the departure lounge. What’s not to like? 

I didn’t see Dr. Jim in the crowd so I checked in at the Delta counter and headed for my gate. You should be aware that before a flight it was common practice for me to sit unseen, hidden in the gate’s alcove, with my head buried in a just purchased mystery novel. I am a voracious reader and when into a good book I’m totally oblivious to all external sounds. Today was not an exception. 

As the Delta passenger service agent gently shook my arm, interrupting my reading to bring me back to the real world, she inquired, “Who are you waiting for?” I replied, “For the rest of my medical team travelling on your flight to Miami and on to Honduras.” Looking slightly horrified she announced, “But they left ten minutes ago.” Tucked away in a corner, unaware of any activity around me, I had been invisible to everyone and been overlooked! This was of course a situation that could NEVER happen today. 

“What should I do now?” I asked. Never before encountering a situation like this, the clearly flustered agent replied, “I have no idea, let me check.” Subsequently, I was deposited on their next Miami flight, apologized to profusely and ASSURED that Dr. Rodgerson would be alerted to my dilemma. Didn’t happen and he remained in the dark. Arriving in Miami, I had just missed the last flight of the day to San Pedro Sula. Delta handed me a food voucher, put me up in an airport hotel and I left the following morning on their first flight out to Honduras.

Fast forward three hours to my arrival at San Pedro Sula’s old non-air-conditioned terminal that felt like a sauna inside. The crowded room was filled with voices speaking at warp speed all at once in very loud Spanish. As I would soon learn, Hondurans in groups are incapable of holding a conversation at anything below the eighty-five decibel level. To further complicate things, my luggage containing all contact information was of course on the earlier plane with the other team members. No problem I thought, I’m going to see them shortly. Wrong!

Turned out they had left for the mountains that morning. After all, I WAS a day late. Although I was understandably stressed, I did not panic, did not suffer a memory lapse and managed to remember the name of Honduras MMI director Ruth Castro. Airport staff, who knew her well, telephoned Ruth and then handed me the phone. Hearing my voice, she said, “Where on earth have you been? Dr. Jim was frantic. Don’t move, I’ll be there in forty minutes.” 

Later, I came to appreciate that Ruth was a rare example in Honduras of someone who if they say they will be there at a certain time, it actually happens! The following day, a ride was arranged that would enable me to finally reach my destination. Did the car have air conditioning? Of course not! After surviving a terrifying twelve hour ride on narrow, twisty, pot holed mountain roads, I arrived at the remote village of Erandique and joined my team. Dr. Jim was VERY relieved. It would now be unnecessary for him to explain to my children how he had lost their mother somewhere between Toronto and Honduras!

Let me now describe our working/living conditions. We slept in sleeping bags spread out on a dirt floor, took cold showers (when they worked), fought off various pests such as scorpions, mosquitoes and a mouse that had inexplicably descended from the ceiling onto the face of a sleeping female volunteer. Eek!!! Routinely we awoke to the sounds of musical roosters serenading us at 4 am and local street dogs fighting over garbage. 

When our work day started at 7 am lines were already in place with hundreds of tired, ragged Hondurans; some had walked all night to reach the medical team. We set up shop in a local school using classrooms as examining rooms, a pharmacy and dental. Following registration people were directed to a doctor or dentist, diagnosed, treated and if required, a prescription was written to be filled in our makeshift pharmacy. Lunch was eaten on the fly, there were just SO many people to see and not enough daylight hours to do it. 

The days’ work ended around 7pm when tired brigade members chowed down at dinner, compared stories, calculated stats (number of patients seen, number of extractions, etc.), chatted for a while and then collapsed in their sleeping bags too exhausted to care about the hard dirt floor, stifling heat and humidity or that there was no electricity for fans.

I didn’t care, I had fallen in love with the Honduran people! One night after falling into a deep sleep, I experienced an event that changed the direction of my life. I suddenly woke up at 3 am clearly aware that the way I was living my life had to change. As I lay there awake, mulling over this new thought, I assessed the steps that would be necessary. It was obvious that in the past I had made some very, very, bad choices! Semblance of a plan slowly formed in my mind and by the time I returned to Toronto I’d come to a decision. I announced that I would retire in 2001, close down my company, sell the house, spend six months of the year in Honduras and six months at the cottage. The supportive response I received? “Sure you will Anne!”

The next seven years were spent driving my staff, friends and family crazy with this new obsession to become a “do gooder!” I continued participating in annual two week medical brigades right up until it was time to pack in my “old life.” The only exception to usual brigade participation occurred in October1998 when Hurricane Mitch, the second deadliest Atlantic hurricane on record, hit Central America, devastating Honduras. For the second year in a row, two weeks prior to the brigade’s start, I had travelled to Guatemala to study Spanish in Antigua, a town in Central America well-known for its many language schools. Even now 25 years later I can still visualize the devastation caused by Mitch and my heart aches for the people who were affected. November 7, I was transported by military helicopter from Guatemala to their Honduran base. As we flew over Honduras nothing could have prepared me for the devastation that I viewed from the air.

Our team members from North America were unable to come. The airport was closed with mud and water reaching to the second story of the terminal building. I joined volunteers and local medical personnel at a crisis centre set up at the Lions Hall in the centre of one of the hardest hit cities, El Progreso. And the people came, thousands of them. Most had lost everything and they all echoed the same complaints of vomiting, diarrhea, fungal infections and headaches. Psychologically they were completely traumatized. Each day we all worked long hours until I could barely stand. The lines never seemed to get shorter and when we returned the next morning, there were still thousands waiting. After a few weeks some of us ventured outside the city in an attempt to provide medical aid, blankets, clothing and food to surrounding devastated communities. The conditions we encountered were akin to looking at photos of Hiroshima.

My scheduled two-week brigade turned into a two month Honduran stay. Just before Christmas I was able to get a flight out; I was deathly ill. Flight schedules from a heavily damaged San Pedro Sula airport were still disrupted and travel back to Toronto required taking a convoluted route through Puerto Rico plus a few other stops to change planes along the way. My memory of that trip is extremely vague but after enduring nine weeks of sloshing through the Honduran mud, breathing in Heaven only knows what infections, I finally returned home in bad shape but safe.

Was I exhausted? Absolutely. Did the experience change my mind about moving to Honduras?

No one was surprised to hear it had only solidified my determination.

I've Worn Many Hats


Laughter, sadness, empathy, outrage. Canadian Anne Hamilton Fowler appeared to have it all. However, life is not always as idyllic as it seems and at age twenty a series of events almost destroyed her. Emerging from the wreckage she reinvented herself, started over, and proceeded to live on the edge with a risk-taking lifestyle. Then in 1993, an event experienced during a trip to Central America changed everything.

I’ve Worn Many Hats is an inspirational read that demonstrates our human frailties, one’s ability to survive personal adversity, and how we can learn to forgive both ourselves and others. It is a story of redemption.

Anne Fowler is a retired Canadian who divides the year between her Haliburton summer cottage and Central America. This memoir is her first book and all proceeds will go to support Anne’s ongoing humanitarian work in Honduras.


One of the perks of being a single older woman is that you have opportunities to meet successful older men. Ones who often have money to spend on expensive items like jewellery, vacations and mink coats. Mink coats? Yes, MAL managed to snag a full-length blackglama mink from a paramour. Looking very stylish she ignored animal rights defenders and confidently wore it to, among other places, client functions. Imagine her chagrin when the tax man seated in her office auditing Hamilton Enterprises’ company books informed her in a sarcastic voice, almost choking on his coffee as he said it, “Really, Mrs. Fowler, you cannot write off your mink coat as a business expense for entertaining clients.” I wonder what he would have said to the other entertainment it was used for?

You already know MAL is somewhat of a risk taker so it shouldn’t come as a surprise when I describe the following escapade. It was a very cold evening and to celebrate a major business success, the donor of the coat was wining and dining Mrs. F at a well-known Toronto restaurant. MAL greeted him at the door of their downtown hotel room, ready to go, wearing a new pair of stiletto heels, beautiful earrings and of course, the coat. They arrived at the restaurant and were shown to a banquette table. “Can I take your coat Madam?” the waiter inquired. “No, I am still quite chilly so will keep it on,” she said. The shrimp cocktail was delicious and as they waited for their steaks to be served her date said, “Aren’t you hot with that coat on?” 

“You have no idea,” MAL said with a sly smile. Somehow, she managed to eat her dinner without dipping a coat sleeve in the meat or veggies. By the time the Creme Brulee was served, her date was becoming suspicious and discreetly slipped his hand under the coat. “Oh,oh,” she said, guess I forgot something!” Then being such a nasty person, she delayed their exit from the restaurant by ordering a second Spanish coffee. It is fortunate that during their cab ride back to the hotel the driver avoided having an accident and managed to keep his eyes on the road, not on the rear-view mirror. Explanations to the police would have been very awkward!

Buy Links

For Canadian readers:  

Paperback –

eBook –

For US readers:  

Paperback –

eBook –

UK – 

Germany –

France – 

Spain –

Italy – 

Australia –

About the Author

Born and raised in Toronto, I grew up an only child in a traditional middle class Canadian family of the 40’s and 50’s. But my life has been anything but traditional! After finishing school my career included flight attendant with American Airlines, model, travel agent, world traveller, sales and marketing and almost 30 years in Human Resources as an entrepreneur/ business owner. I closed my company and retired in 2001 to take up another role, that of humanitarian. As someone once said when they described my various life pursuits during their introduction of me as that night’s speaker, “And she’s only 108 years old”!

To reach me:


Face Book messenger: Anne Hamilton Fowler

Web Page:


I’ll give you a copy of my memoir I’ve Worn Many Hats if you will agree to email me with your comments after reading the book! To pique your interest in reading it, here is what one reader said!

Her candid account spanning decades of a long bumpy life evokes many emotions; laughter, empathy, shock, admiration. As I read the first half, I kept going back, re-reading and thinking, she did what?! In the second half of the book, I discovered what inspired her to make such a drastic change in her life and accomplish “all this.”  The memoir is hard to put down, in fact I read it twice! Bravo!”


Sunday, February 26, 2023

Charity Sunday: For Survival – #Turkey #Syria #EmergencyResponse #BellyDance #CharitySunday

Charity Sunday Banner

Over the past few weeks, devastating earthquakes have killed tens of thousands of people in southern Turkey and northern Syria, and left hundreds of thousands homeless and at risk from hunger, disease and the ravages of winter weather. I love Turkey; my travels there are among my most treasured memories. These quakes, though, occurred far from the tourist attractions of Istanbul or the sunny havens along the Mediterranean coast. The people affected by this series of disasters were already suffering from the ravages of Syria’s civil war. Many are refugees. Others belong to communities struggling to house and feed people fleeing from conflict.

In the face of such an enormous challenge, it’s hard to know where to turn in order to help. Dozens of charitable organizations are providing aid to the earthquake victims.

After a bit of research, I’ve decided to dedicate this month’s Charity Sunday to supporting Direct Relief (, which has a 100% rating from Charity Navigator. They are non-governmental and non-sectarian. Direct Relief's assistance programs focus on emergency preparedness and disaster response and the prevention and treatment of disease. They are tailored to the particular circumstances and needs of the world's most at-risk populations, and provided without regard to politics, religion, ethnic identities, or ability to pay. 

For this month’s Charity Sunday, I will donate two dollars to Direct Relief for every comment I receive on this post.

For my excerpt, I’m sharing some unpublished work – something I do rarely. My first novel, Raw Silk, was set in Thailand. Some time after publishing that book, I started working on an erotic romance set in Turkey, centering around a school for belly dancing. I should explain that I was a belly dancer, and that I’d always been intrigued by the history behind the art. Indeed, I danced to the band in a restaurant in Istanbul, many decades ago. 

Minaret and ruined haman - Istanbul


Early Christian cave church - Cappadocia

I never followed up on my plan for Unveiled, though it’s always possible I might decide to work on it some time in the future. Meanwhile, here is the beginning of the first chapter.


Chapter One: Childhood’s End

On my ninth birthday, my parents took me to see the great Nehir perform, and my destiny was sealed.

I sat bolt upright in my velvet seat, there in Symphony Hall, hardly daring to breathe, as the lights dimmed and the musicians strolled onto the stage. They settled themselves in a row of chairs toward the back. The drummer and the clarinetist whispered together for a moment, then nodded to the man with the oud. Then, an intricate sequence of notes dripped from his strings, rising up in the hall and falling again like plaintive rain.

The house went black. The oud solo still shimmered in the darkness, shivered down my spine, a lament centuries old. A bolt of light shot from the back of the theater, defining a perfect circle of brightness on the stage. There, motionless in the spotlight as though frozen by a flashbulb, stood a diminutive figure swathed in layers of turquoise and gold gauze.

The oud faded to silence. My chest hurt from anticipation. The dumbeq player coaxed two musical beats from his goatskin drum. Nehir raised her arm simultaneously, as though her movement had precipitated the drumbeats rather than the other way around. Two more beats, another gesture. She shifted her hips, making her jeweled belt sparkle, as the drummer matched her rhythm. She pivoted and bent backward, her veils brushing the floor behind her, to the next beats.

The clarinet joined the drum. Nehir’s bare arms snaked through the air. Her hips made slow circles, rising as the melody rose, dipping down when it sank to a lower register. The musicians were in taksim mode, improvising to a free form rhythm, and Nehir perfectly matched their every musical gesture, remaining immobile between notes.

The oud player picked up the melody, and abruptly, the drummer swung into a fast, regular beat. All at once, the dancer was all motion. Her shoulders shimmied, her hips shook, her fingers feathered the air. I could see her rise on her toes as she twirled, translucent fabric trailing behind her.

My heart beat in time with the drum as I drank in Nehir’s fluid, voluptuous movements. Her bare feet were light and sure as she traced the intricate steps of the age-old, ageless dance. She removed her outer veil, swirling it in sinuous patterns around her, so that for a moment it seemed that she had a partner. My chest ached with nameless longing.

Nehir did not listen to and interpret the music. The music filled her, bore her up, swept her away in frenzy of glorious energy. She surrendered to the music. She allowed the rhythm to have its way with her. Let the melody enter her, take her, bend her into impossibly graceful forms, travel up her spine until her whole body rippled like water.

Her name meant “the river”, my mother had told me. As I watched her the floodgates opened inside me. I wanted to dance as she danced, wanted that more than anything in the world. I wanted the music to take me and use me as it did her. I craved the knowledge of motion and stillness that, even as a child, I read in her perfect gestures. And I knew, even then, that this was not a mere childish whim.

The tempo slowed. Nehir’s movements became the melting of snow, the opening of blossoms, gradual and exquisite. Breathless, with tears in my eyes, I traced each tiny gesture as she unwound the inner veil of gold-broidered chiffon that hid her bosom and abdomen. She draped the veil over her head, paradoxically concealing her eyes and her waist-length black hair while revealing the creamy hemisphere of her belly. Waves flowed across that white expanse of flesh, waves of music, waves of desire. The jewel embedded in her navel sparkled across the dark heads of the audience, a third eye gazing straight at me.

Heat exploded in my body as I gazed back. I felt heavy and tingling, damp and confused. The little buds that were my nascent breasts stiffened and ached. I wanted—something. Something mysterious and dangerous and infinitely alluring.

Forget what you think you know about belly dancing: the teasing and the sexual innuendo, the dollar bills stuffed in a jewelled girdle, the scantily-clad girl in a veil who delivered your birthday telegram at the office. The true dance, the ancient danse du ventre, passed down through the generations, has nothing in common with the pseudo-striptease that most Americans know about.

Nehir’s dance was, in a sense, agonizingly chaste. She made no effort to arouse the audience. There were no cheap shimmies, no bumps and grinds, no obvious titillation. Although her eyes were open, her vision seemed to be turned inward. It was as though she was unaware of the hundreds of eyes riveted upon her. Only the rhythm and the melody were real to her.

Yet her every movement was so sensuous that I’m sure that many men in the audience had uncomfortable lumps in their laps. Women left the theater that night with nipples screaming to be touched and dampness on their thighs, embarrassed to find themselves so aroused by what was obviously supposed to be art.

I understand this now. The dancer surrenders herself to the dance, becomes the dance, and the dance ravishes her. The audience watch like voyeurs as ecstasy claims her.

The true dance flows from the earth. It mirrors the earth in our flesh. The beat of the earth becomes the beat of the heart, the throbbing of blood in the cock, the hungry swelling of the vulva.

But I am getting ahead of myself. That night, I understood nothing except that I wanted to be Nehir. I wanted to share her experience. My heart, my mind, my body all wanted this, with an intensity that would have frightened me if I had not felt so sure that this was my true path.

I do not know how long Nehir danced. For me, time stopped. The musicians switched from one rhythm to another, slow, fast, slow again, and Nehir matched her dance perfectly to each one. Finally, though, they took up a furious, driving beat that I now know was a çifftetellisi. Nehir seemed taken by a madness. She stamped and swirled, arched her back, swung her voluminous skirts in time with the frenzied drumbeats.

Her energy overwhelmed me. I thought my heart would burst from my chest. I sat there transfixed, one hand gripping the other, while others in the audience stood and cheered and clapped in time. The music surged to a climax. The dancer turned on her toes, turned and turned until I was dizzy from watching.

The music, suddenly, artfully, ceased. Nehir sank to her knees on the stage, her head bowed, her arms stretched open, offering herself, her body, her art, to us. Something inside me shattered. Tears ran down my cheeks.

Applause thundered around me. I was still as a statue, acutely aware of the odd feelings racing through me. Nehir rose gracefully. She touch her fingers to her brow, her heart, her belly, then extended her hand, palm up. It was more a gesture of obeisance than a bow. Then she stood, quiet and humble, while the audience roared and yelled and clapped its huge approval. And though I knew I must be mistaken, I would have sworn that her dark eyes were fastened on mine.

That night is as vivid in my mind as yesterday. I remember waiting for the bus home, after midnight, standing beside my parents as snowflakes drifted like feathers down around us and our breath hung in white clouds in the January air. “Did you enjoy the show?” my father asked. All I could do was nod. No words could capture the tumult within me. The rhythm of the drums still surged in my veins. When I closed my eyes, I saw swirling clouds of turquoise and gold.

The drums kept me awake. My body shook with their beat. I tossed and squirmed in my narrow bed, trying not to wake my older sister. Finally, I shoved my pillow between my legs and rocked until a little explosion distracted me from the drums. I fell asleep in the grayness of dawn, still sensing Nehir’s eyes upon me.

The next day, I spoke with my mother. I want to be a dancer, I told her, like Nehir. I want to study and become perfect. 

 Lisabet, circa 1978


Don’t forget to leave a comment. Every one will help the victims in Turkey and Syria.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Monsters deserve love, too -- #ParanormalRomance #Anthology #MMRomance #Shifters @ReadersRoost

Beastly Tales cover

Now available!

Blurb for the Anthology

Monsters deserve love too…

From werewolves, vampires, and even Bigfoot, these beasts manage to find love. Whether they are able to sink their claws into that love and keep it is another story. When it comes down to it, don’t judge a book by its cover. This anthology brings a mixture of what ifs and happily ever afters.

Featuring stories from T.C. Mill, A.K. Moss, Toni Mobley, Barend Nieuwstraten III, Ashley L. Hunt, Charles Kyffhausen, Lil Deville, Kelly Piner, Jess Monica, and Karen Bayly.

Graphic sexual content is included within this anthology.

The Beasts of Hank's Wood by Lil DeVille

Joe Schola III is the eighteen-year-old son of Joseph Schola Junior, a fire-and-brimstone preaching Fundamentalist televangelist. While young Joe is far less homophobic than his father, he is struggling to come to terms with his own sexual orientation. Will Joe dare accept the invitation to become part of a clan of shapeshifters, and will he accept the love being offered to him by the handsome fox shifter Lovell Azarola?

Buy Link:

Excerpt from The Beasts of Hank’s Wood

I followed the lithe fox through the woods to a barn. Upon entering, he shifted back to human form and waved his hands. A glittering force field surrounded the barn.

We’ll be safe here,” he said.

I stood for a moment admiring Lovell’s glorious body. I wanted to touch him everywhere, to make his gorgeous cock stiffen under my fingertips. I willed myself to shift from wolf to human form, suddenly conscious of my nudity. Lovell approached me and wordlessly pressed his lips to mine. His tongue probed between my lips and his hands ran down my body, fondling my buttocks appreciatively.

Oh, fuck,” I gasped as the kiss ended. My knees were weak, and my cock was erect, throbbing against his hip. Lovell smiled, knowing he had me in his power.

Lie down for me,” he ordered.

I lay on a blanket-covered hay bale. He knelt before me and wrapped his luscious lips around my cock. It was all I could do to keep from shooting my load as my most taboo fantasy came true at the hands of this incredible man.

About the Author

Lil puts the Naughty in Naughty Netherworld Press. With her cheeky sense of humor, big imagination, and quirky characters, she spins one-of-a-kind tales guaranteed never to skimp on love and lust. She enjoys writing in the fantasy, science fiction, and paranormal or supernatural genres, but sometimes she returns to modern-day Earth for a spell. Lil enjoys a good adventure, whether the tale is set in the past, the present, or the future; here on Earth or in some distant, fanciful location in time and space.

Lil lives in a remote rural town in the Colorado-Wyoming-Nebraska triad with her adult son and three cats. She would be happy to write full-time, but since she is not yet a bestselling author, she has to dedicate part of her time to promoting her work.

Lil doesn’t particularly enjoy the promotion aspect of being an indie author because she has severe social anxiety. She enjoys virtually “meeting” her readers and fellow authors but hates selling herself. She prefers to let her stories do the talking.

Lil is a disabled former nurse who no longer works outside the home. When she isn’t cooking up hot stories, she enjoys baking, reading, crafts, and playing mobile games.

Lil’s Links


Thursday, February 23, 2023

Join us for Charity Saturday, 26 February 2023! #CharitySundaySignup #Altruism #Marketing

Love is all you need

Image by Ylanite Koppens from Pixabay

It seems as though we just did Charity Sunday, but February is a short month! The next Charity Sunday blog hop will take place this coming Sunday, February 26th.

Charity Sunday is a meme designed to give authors and bloggers a chance to give back to the world—as well as, hopefully, to attract new readers.

How does it work? Each participant selects a favorite charity. Before
the date, you should prepare a blog post that: 1) talks about the charity and why you support it; 2) provides a link to the charity; 3) includes an excerpt from one of your books; 4) includes the code to show links to other participating blogs.

It’s fun if you can make the excerpt relate somehow to your chosen charity, but this isn’t required.

For every comment left on your post, you commit to giving some amount to the relevant charity. The specific charity and the amount to donate are up to you. You can set an upper limit to your donation if you want.

If you’d like to participate in the next Charity Sunday
on January 29th, just sign up using the Linky List below. Please be sure that the link you enter will lead directly to your Charity Sunday post, not just to the home page of your blog.

I’ve created a new banner image for 2023. You can download it from here:

For more detailed instructions, go here:

For an example
post, check out this link from my last Charity Sunday:

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

One of Queen Victoria’s most notorious agents … #EroticRomance #Steampunk #Giveaway #MFRWHooks

Rajasthani Moon cover

Welcome to this week’s MFRW Book Hooks blog hop!

I’ve been busy promoting my steam punk series The Toymakers Guild, but today I’m going back to my first novel-length venture into steam punk, Rajasthani Moon. If you enjoy romance featuring a sassy, smart and sensual heroine, in love with a dark and tortured hero, this book might be right up your alley. Be warned, though, that Rajasthani Moon has elements of many genres: steam punk, paranormal, ménage, BDSM, romcom, BBW, and Bollywood, just to name a few. You’ll have to put up with a few tortured tropes! But I guarantee it’s worth it.

Just to make things interesting – I’ll give away a copy of this full-length erotic romance novel to one person who leaves a comment.


A bandit prince cursed into beast form under the full moon.

A brilliant but sadistic Rajah whose robotic sex toys mingle torture and delight.

A voluptuous spy on a mission from Her Majesty, tasked with discovering Rajasthan’s secrets.

She has never faced such a challenge.

When Rajasthan refuses to remit its taxes, the Queen calls on her most lethal and seductive secret agent, Cecily Harrowsmith. Cecily expects to have little difficulty persuading the rebellious Rajah to submit once more to the Empire. Instead, she is the one forced to submit – to endure unprecedented extremes of pleasure and pain.

Kidnapped by the ruler's half-brother Pratan and delivered into the hands of the handsome but depraved Rajah Amir, she soon finds herself fighting against her own lascivious nature as much as the schemes of her captors. Her sympathy for the moon-cursed wolf-man Pratan only complicates her situation. Cecily has never failed to complete an assignment, but now she risks betrayal by both her body and her heart.

The Hook

Tossing the switch onto the mattress, he turned his back to her and strode over to the communications console. The apparatus glowed as he flipped it into active mode. Cecily wondered where he’d got the viridium to power the device. Unless of course the rebels had managed to smuggle the precious mineral into the country from elsewhere… But where? All the neighbouring kingdoms had been brought under Her Majesty’s sway.

Amir—are you there?” Pratan lowered the volume of his voice as he spoke into the mouthpiece, and switched to Hindi, but Cecily had excellent hearing and a natural linguistic facility.

Brother! How are you? I’d hoped to see you here at the palace tomorrow for the new moon festival.”

I’ll be there. With a guest.”

A guest. And who would that be?”

I’m still trying to figure that out. It’s a woman—a damned seductive woman—whose carriage I ambushed this evening. She looks Indian—dark skin, black hair, plenty of flesh on her bones—but I think she’s English. She’s got these amazing blue eyes… Her given name is Cecily. That’s all I’ve managed to get out of her.”

With your skills of persuasion? I’m most surprised, brother.” The Rajah’s amusement came through clearly. “And you’ve given up?”

I figured I’d let you take a crack at her.”

Amir chuckled. “I could enjoy that, though Sarita might object.” There was a pause. Pratan scratched his head. Cecily found herself distracted by the way the muscles in his back shifted. “Bring her along then. Should I send the aerocopter to pick you up?”

Cecily shuddered. Faced with the threat of a trip by air, could she maintain her silence?

No, no—I think I’ll commandeer her vehicle—quite a fine self-propelled amphibious coach, a good deal more sophisticated than any of ours. I imagine it should have more than enough fuel to make it to Jaipur, since I suspect that’s where our mystery woman was heading.”

Sounds as though it will be an excellent addition to our fleet. I’ll alert the engineers. So I’ll expect you tomorrow, then. Travel safe, brother.”

As long as I keep my—ah—guest securely bound, I doubt that I need to worry.”

Accha! I look forward to meeting her. Ram ram.”

Ram ram, Amir. Till tomorrow, then…”

Wait a minute. ‘Cecily’, you said? Something’s tickling the back of my brain… Let me examine the Universal Electropaedia…” In the ensuing pause, Pratan glanced over his shoulder towards the bed. She assumed a demeanour of indifference. “Ah, yes…Dark complexion, you say, and blue eyes?”


Between twenty-five and thirty years of age? About eleven stone?”

Ten stone four pounds!” Cecily interjected before she could help herself.

Yes, and tall too, for a woman. And from the way she’s straining against the ropes, I’d say she understands every word we’re saying!”

Her spirits sank. Did the Electropaedia actually include an entry for her? Why hadn’t the Empire’s censors excised it? This unforgivable breach of security might well have sealed her fate, though she wasn’t about to give up yet.

Brother, I believe that you’ve succeeded in capturing one of Queen Victoria’s most notorious agents—Miss Cecily Harrowsmith. According to reports, she is brave, brilliant, beautiful, and as dangerous as a king cobra.”

Pratan rubbed his bruised shin where she’d kicked him and grinned at her with genuine menace. “That sounds like her.”


Kinky Literature -

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I hope you’ll drop by to visit the other MFRW authors participating in today’s Book Hooks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Manufactured Reality -- #Technology #Capitalism #Sex

Virtual Reality

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Whatever happened to direct experience?

Increasingly in our society, it seems people choose to watch rather than participate. When everything is happening on your screen, why bother to look elsewhere? Why incur the expense and effort of traveling, for instance, when you can explore the world via video, online maps, even virtual tours? These days, experts curate information about every topic and disseminate it via the Internet in convenient, bite-sized chunks, supposedly to save you time, effort and trouble. But if you can see all top sights and cover all the highlights online, why bother to do anything else? Life is short and you have lots more TikTok and YouTube clips to watch.

E-Sports is a prime example of this trend. Instead of actually playing games themselves, e-sports enthusiasts watch other people – celebrity gamers – compete. Computer games are already a step away from the physical realities of life. Players deliberately lose themselves in the virtual universe of their games. E-sports is virtualization squared, a manufactured reality almost completely disconnected from “real life” – except for the fact that e-sports is a lucrative, rapidly growing industry that is making some people quite wealthy.

I mention this because the trend toward the virtual and away from what I’d consider real is not spontaneous or inevitable. It did not arise organically when the Internet became ubiquitous and everyone started to carry it in their pockets. Businesses have encouraged and facilitated the shift from direct to mediated experience, for one simple reason: it’s much easier to sell products when you have a captive customer, glued to his or her screen.

As you can probably guess from my tone, this social phenomenon concerns me, for a variety of reasons. First of all, it contributes to polarization and conflict. Too many people live their lives in an echo chamber that reinforces their prejudices and encourages them to take simplistic views of complex issues. If you don’t actually know any LGBTQ people, for instance, it’s easier to be convinced that they’re all pedophiles working to corrupt innocent kids. If you don’t have personal experience with members of the police, the premise that every policeman is a brutal racist, one breath away from murdering innocent Black and Brown people, can seem chillingly plausible.

The real world is far more complicated and nuanced that the scenarios playing out on your screen. You’ll only discover this, however, if you look away from the realities manufactured by the companies who profit from your watching.

This is not pure conspiracy theory. There’s plenty of research documenting both the polarizing effect of social media and the deliberate efforts of corporate content providers to foster divisive stereotypes in order to improve their bottom lines.

My other concern is more subjective. Based on personal observation, I’d say that the increasing reliance on and consumption of predigested, precisely targeted digital content has negatively impacted people’s happiness and satisfaction.

Consider travel as an example. I’ve done a lot of traveling in my life, though I still have a long bucket list of places I haven’t been. Although the “must-see” attractions like Machu Pichu, Sainte- Chapelle and Angkor Wat are justifiably renowned, my most cherished memories tend not to center on these sites. The stone-paved streets of Cusco at dawn; the little sidewalk café around the corner from Nôtre-Dame where I had the most delicious croissant I’ve ever tasted; the stories about the Khmer Rouge years shared by our Cambodian guide; experiences like these are what makes traveling so life-transforming. You cannot fully appreciate a foreign locale unless you go there in the flesh, soak up the atmosphere, talk to the people, eat the food, even experience the inevitable discomforts. No virtual exploration can capture this richness.

Or we might consider sex. (You knew I’d get to that eventually, right?) In my seventh decade, I look back upon a life in which sex and love have been central. Sex has been responsible for incredible joy, amazing fun and important insights – not to mention the inspiration for my career as a writer.

Sex used to be a marvelous mystery. Desire was an inexplicable but irresistible force. Today, sex has become just another product marketed on the Internet. The amount of porn available online has exploded, and more people are consuming it. The convenience of our personal, private screens obviously facilitates this. It requires nearly zero effort to locate amateur porn videos covering every possible kink.

Yet even though society is drowning in sexual entertainment, study after study has shown that across a wide age range and around the world, people report less frequent and less enjoyable sex.

I have nothing against porn; my partner and I used to watch it occasionally to give some extra spice to our live play. But honestly, can anyone claim that porn is as satisfying as the real thing?

Alas, I fear the situation will only get worse. One of the authors in my erotica critique group has been posting chapters from a story about sex and augmented reality (AR). The technology she describes, which can dynamically replace the image of a porn performer with another person of one’s choosing, is both plausible and feasible. It’s a minor extension of the capabilities for generating so called “deep fakes” that are already causing consternation (and making money). I’d be surprised if there were not companies already working on commercial sex AR. Very soon you’ll be able to watch your wife being spanked by a stern Dom, right on your phone.

But wouldn’t it be more enjoyable and satisfying to spank her yourself?

Interacting with our world is how we learn and grow. I may be mistaken, but I seriously doubt any virtual world or Metaverse will ever come close to capturing the sensual or conceptual complexity that surrounds you – if you’ll only put aside your screen and step into a reality not created by corporations who want your cash.

I’m generally an optimist, but I worry about the generation growing up now, rich in information but impoverished in direct experience. I’m concerned they’ll end up having less empathy and more prejudice, less joy and more frustration, than their parents or grandparents. I hope that I’m wrong.