Thursday, August 31, 2023

Smoke and battle, discord and divided loyalties – #HistoricalFiction #CivilWar #Georgia

Moccasin Trace Banner


It is July of 1859, a month of sweltering dog days and feverish emotional bombast. Life is good for widower Rundell Ingram and his hazel-eyed, roan-haired son, Hamilton. Between the two of them, they take care of Moccasin Hollow, their rustic dogtrot ancestral home, a sprawling non-slave plantation in the rolling farming country outside Queensborough Towne in east Georgia. Adjoining Ingram lands is Wisteria Bend, the vast slave-holding plantation of Andrew and Corinthia Greer, their daughter Sarah and son Benjamin.

Both families share generations of long-accepted traditions, and childhood playmates are no longer children. Against this rustic idyll of hard work and gracious living comes inflexible discord and divided loyalties that mutilate ties of blood and bond, tearing at their lives as smoke and battle no longer so faraway crashes and maims ever closer. Ahead of the on-coming ranks of Blue, foragers and bumlers burn, loot, scavenge and kill. Hamilton faces agonizing sacrifices with dreadful consequences. With little else than his wits, he tries anything to protect Sarah, their unborn child, his sickly father, and Sarah's family.


Back at his post behind the oaks, it wasn't long before the Trace crowded up with a hodgepodge mishmash of wagons and carts headed as far from Augusta as they could get. As he silently watched, it seemed the whole of the Parish was on the move. His thoughts jarred by the hurried plunge of a rider coming toward him through the canebrake. He dropped to one knee, his rifle to the ready, just as Nat and one of Ben's mules busted into the clearing.

Nat hauled up, slid off the mule, "Mister Ben said to git the word to you -- Yankie patrols spotted this side of Sandersville. They burnin' ever'thing, barns, houses, killin' what they don't take. Tearin' Jericho out'a ever'thing they git their hands to."

Hamilton grabbed his mare's reins, pulled into the saddle, "Get back to the Bends. Tell Ben you found me, and Nat -- keep a sharp eye out. Advance lookouts could be anywhere."

Hamilton, off in a mad tear, nudged the mare faster. Wind whistled in his ears, low hanging limbs slashed his sweaty face, horses' hooves flinging clods high behind him. Yankies moving that fast wouldn't ask questions; they'd burn, move on, Sarah and their child be refugees like the pitiful wagons he'd seen. He reined up next to the porch, his horse skidding as he swung out of the saddle.

Bessie was on the front porch, "See you comin' fast." Pistol in her hand, she threw quick glance out across the fields. "Nat find you?"

"Yeh...he's on his way to let Ben know...they might be making a wide sweep into Augusta from this side."

"Missy's cramps reg'lar, an' you be the only help. Yankie or no Yankie, Missy an' that chil' in her belly need both of us."

"If it's their main bunch they'll have bummers way ahead of their army."

"Lordy mercy -- nobody gonna stop that ceptin' the Lord." Bessie shoved her pistol deep in her pocket. "Don't matter how many trompin' 'bout, ain't nobody gittin' twixt me'n Missy an' her chil'. When the Lord say that baby come, fightin' gonna wait, but Jehovah sure gonna have a handful."

"I'll keep watch out by the barns."

Bessie started inside and stopped, "Maybe watchin' from the barn ain't the best next thing. Mistress Corinth'a be upset we don't let her know her grandchil' comin' so she can come help. When she do, young Benjamin alone in that big house settin' there all big an' white. You knows what I means -- Yankies cain't miss it. Bein' hot-headed he won't budge, an' now ain't the time for bein' spiteful 'bout which soldiers got the most bullets -- git shot dead. You'n me both know how that cut down Mistress Corinth'a."

"Might be best to get Mother Greer here while we can," said Hamilton fighting his own fear.

"If Mistress Corinth'a come she best while it daylight. Missy's cramps likely won't be reg'lar for a spell. 'Fore things git busy, time is now to hotfoot over there, an' git back here quick-like."

"Tell Papa where I'm headed."

"Don't need tellin' Mister Rundell, he been up 'fore daybreak, his gun primed and ready. We make double-sure your butt git back here in one piece." Shook her head, "Sweet Lord…what a mixed-up world you bringin' this chil' into."

Hamilton was into the saddle. Gave the mare her head, didn't bother with gates, jumped the fences, pushed her to a full-out gallop. He stayed clear of the Trace, cleared hedgerows and fences, splashed through slough bogs. Before he realized it, he burst through a squatter's camp, scattering pots, pans, campfires, ramshackle shelters, and stampeded several horses. Startled poachers reached for rifles. He spurred the mare and disappeared into the brush, leaving them with nothing to aim at. Racing faster, he finally caught glimpses of the white unperturbed columns of the Bends. As he came out onto the wide buggy approach to the house, he glanced behind, making sure no one was on his tail.

About the Author

In addition to professional articles and texts on chordate neuroembryology, Hawk MacKinney has authored several works of fiction—historical love stories, science fiction and mystery-thrillers. Moccasin Trace, a historical novel nominated for the prestigious Michael Shaara Award for Excellence in Civil War Fiction and the Writers Notes Book Award, details the family bloodlines of his protagonist in the Moccasin Hollow Mystery Series: Hidden Chamber of Death, Westobou Gold, Dead Gold, Curse of the Ancients, and Blood of the Dragonfly.

Hawk’s science fiction novels include The Bleikovat Event, Vol I in The Cairns of Sainctuarie Science Fiction Series, followed by Vol II, The Missing Planets, and Vol III, Inanna Phantom.

Hawk MacKinney served in the US Navy for over 20 years. While serving as a Navy Commander, he also had a career as a full-time faculty member at several major state medical facilities. He earned two postgraduate degrees with studies in languages and history. He has taught postgraduate courses in both the United States and Jerusalem, Israel. He now makes his home in Augusta, Georgia, where he writes full-time.



Buy Links

Hawk MacKinney will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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Wednesday, August 30, 2023

Coming this weekend – Queer Your Bookshelf! #LGBTQ+ #Paranormal #99Cents # #MFRWHooks

Queer Your Bookshelf banner

Greetings, Readers! For today’s MFRW Book Hooks blog hop, I’m sharing a bit from my lesbian fantasy erotic romance The Witches of Gloucester. This is just one of the more than 260 LGBTQ books on sale this weekend as part of the Queer Your Bookshelf promotion. If you like queer fiction – however you define that term – this is your chance to fill up your e-reader for hours of future happy reading.

I actually have two books as part of the festival, The Witches of Gloucester and my new historical short By Moonlight. Both will be 99 cents all weekend long. (The promos say September 4 only... but why should I be stingy?)

It’s not about power. It’s about love.

The historic port of Gloucester, Massachusetts has a special charm, due in part to its resident witches. For decades, raven-maned Marguerite and red-headed Beryl have lived among its hard-working inhabitants, making magic and mischief. To reach their full potential, they need a third witch to complete their circle. Platinum-haired newcomer Emmeline might be the woman they’ve been waiting for.

Excerpt (FFF, rated R)

What are you doing?” Emmeline had not questioned the witches when they’d slipped through the locked gate of Stage Fort Park. She’d followed meekly as they led her through the resin-scented darkness along the trail that climbed to the bluff. Only now, as they stood upon the headland above the sea, with Beryl unbuttoning her blouse for her and Marguerite unzipping her jeans, did she voice her concerns.

We must be naked for the ritual. You know that. You saw it.”

But here, out in the open?” It was a bit late for Em to protest, as the night air kissed her bare skin. The high clearing was deserted. The lights of the city twinkled from across the bay, at least half a mile away. Still, she felt exposed.

No one will see us, little one.” Beryl had shed her clothing with near-magical swiftness and was now combing the bushes that clung to the edge of the precipice, gathering sticks and brush which she piled within a circle of rocks near the center of the clearing. Watching the redhead’s practical yet somehow seductive movements, Em’s concern about her own nakedness receded.

Beryl gestured over the stone circle, murmuring something inaudible. The little pile of fuel burst into merry red-gold flames, at least three feet high.

They’ll definitely see us now!” Em cried. “We must be visible to every boat for ten miles!”

Hush, sweet.” Marguerite encircled Emmeline’s waist, pressed lush breasts against her back and nuzzled her ear. “Don’t you trust us? The inhabitants are blind to our fires. We cloak their vision so we can hide among them.”

Beryl joined the embrace, winding her arms around Em’s neck and pulling her into a fiery kiss. Writhing like a snake, she rubbed her mound against Em’s. Sparks sizzled across Emmeline’s skin, kin to the bright cinders spit out by the crackling blaze. “We kindle the Midsummer’s fire upon this point every year, Emmy. We drink and dance till dawn. No one ever notices.”

Speaking of which, I should fetch the wine.” The dark-skinned enchantress relinquished her hold on Em, leaving her momentarily bereft. Then Beryl claimed her full attention, licking from the hollow of her throat down along her breastbone and finally claiming a nipple. Emmeline slid her hands along Beryl’s hips down to the witch’s ass, and pulled the lithe body tighter against her own. Heat and moisture gathered at the spot where their pussies mashed together. Em burrowed against Beryl’s shoulder, lapping the salt from the milky skin as the redheaded witch continued to suckle her throbbing tit.

Marguerite interrupted them, brushing a hand across her hair. “Drink, darlings.” Em raised her head to find the caramel-skinned beauty holding out a cut-crystal goblet brimming with ruby fluid.

Beryl looked up as well, leaving Em’s nipple wet and wanting. “You first, little one.”

Obedient but terrified she’d drop it, Emmeline reached for the delicate glass. “Wouldn’t a plastic cup have been more practical?” she asked as she raised the wine to her lips.

Perhaps, darling. But magic thrives on beauty.”

Sweetness exploded on Em’s tongue. The wine tasted like summer, like ripe fruit and sunshine, honeysuckle and new-mown grass. “Oh...oh, my! That’s delicious!” She took another, larger swallow. Smooth and potent, the wine flowed down her throat. Heat raced along her limbs, making her sweat and turning up the volume on the arousal humming through her.

Summer wine is one of Beryl’s specialties.” Marguerite’s provocative smile made Em ache with need. “Cherries, rose hips, apple blossom honey, water from Dogtown spring...”

Plus a few secret ingredients.” Beryl wrapped her fingers around Em’s, sending electric currents buzzing down to Em’s sex. She raised their clasped hands to her mouth to drink deeply from the goblet. “But it is particularly good this year, isn’t it? Must be because of you, Emmy.”

My turn.” The black-maned beauty handled the fragile glass casually, draining the remaining liquid. “Oh yes! You’ve outdone yourself, love. Shall we have more?”

Beryl glanced up at the moon’s crescent, riding high above the sea. “Later, I think. It’s time to dance now.”

Buy Links (Ebook)

Amazon US:

Amazon UK:


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Buy Links (Audio) – Note that the audio book will not be discounted during the event.



Be sure to visit the other authors participating in today’s MFRW Book Hooks!

Monday, August 28, 2023

In Mistress Nemesis’s dungeon – #NewRelease #BDSM #Fantasy

Adventures in Fetishland V2 Cover

By S. Nano (Guest Blogger)

Welcome to my release blitz!

I’m excited to introduce you to Adventures in Fetishland Book 2 – The White Queen, recently published by the House of Erotica. This book has never been published before. Book 1, now re-published by the House of Erotica, has been featured in another recent release blitz. Book 2 develops the role of the character, Kim. The excerpt of the book reproduced here illustrates the theme of it.


Kim: “You thought Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland were strange. Well, let me tell you, my adventures are way weirder!... I’m the ninth daughter of a ninth daughter. The only survivor of my family from needless slaughter. Now, it’s been impressed on me this is a big deal, this makes me somebody special… even powerful. The number nine has a great mystical significance. It symbolizes spiritual awakening, universal love, karma… and the energy of the Goddess. These magical qualities run right back through my lineage because it turns out I’m the direct descendent of a 16th century Slavic woodland spirit called Goddess Samovila”

Kim has been brought to Mistress Nemesis’s dungeon and premises in Leeds where her relationship with the dominatrix has developed, and the Mistress (or The Red Queen) explains something about Kim’s background to her. In addition to this, the Church, overseen by Pope Innocent XIV and Cardinal Spinola, has been monitoring Kim’s past with concern because it is conscious of the power she might possess. Kim is also becoming aware of her importance.

The Cardinal seeks the support of Sister Domexia, a female supporter of The Cardinal who is based in a Tuscan convent, from which she will leave to go to Leeds to organise the capture of Kim. The Red Queen has given Kim information about her past, as she has an unusual personal history and is the descendent of a powerful elite Goddess.

Kim and Sister Domexia attend a fetish club with Mistress Nemesis and a group of characters who attend The Red Queen’s domain. Kim is kidnapped and taken to a church in an underground cave in the Dordogne in southern France where the Cardinal has told Sister Domexia to take Kim where he intends to meet her and then incarcerate her. These plans do not work out as planned though because Kim has been able to escape from where she’s been incarcerated and establishes her own role in the forests of Dordogne.

A conflict involving Kim, Sister Domexia, The Cardinal and The Red Queen takes place in Leeds as all the characters are left to work out how they should behave to settle the difficult positions they find themselves in. Can Kim find a way to resolve how she needs to behave in response to the difficult place she finds herself in? How will Kim plan her future now that she finds herself in a conflicted situation?

Available from:


Sister Domexia’s day was not going as planned. She had been looking forward to inflicting her inimitable style of physical and psychological torment on the girl before the Cardinal arrived in the Dordogne to decide what to do with her. That had not gone as expected. The girl had escaped. She was not in the church so Sister Domexia assumed she had fled into the surrounding, heavily wooded, landscape.

She went back to her cell to fetch her gun. The events of the day had convinced Sister Domexia that Kim was a dangerous adversary even though she couldn’t yet explain how.

She mulled over the events of the day in her head, coming to reflect on the account brought back by the monk leading a search party. Aurochs, ibex, bison, cave lions! What nonsense. These beasts belong to the stone age. But, what if? Surely that was impossible

She took a deep breath… and plunged into the forest.

She came to a large clearing of the woods. She took a few steps into the circle surrounded by trees and waited. She felt the energy around this place; it was palpable like you could reach out and touch it. Stood there, alone, awaiting the arrival of the figure who had come to represent a nemesis for her, she had a sense of impending doom and unease. Who was this girl? What inexplicable powers did she possess that made the Cardinal and His Holiness so concerned about her?

She saw pinpoints of yellow within the shadowy outlines of the trees. Eyes. The eyes of woodland beasts glowering menacingly at her through the surrounding trees. Kim was nearby. She felt it.

She heard a rustle. Before she knew it a huge beast had leapt out of the trees, its massive paws outstretched as it pounced at her. She jumped backwards in terror, stumbling to the ground on her backside. It was a lion. But this was no ordinary lion, it was a cave lion, a beast from pre-history, maybe half as large again as an ordinary lion and twice as fearsome. She recognised it from photographs she’d seen of cave paintings. Sister Domexia gasped. So it was true. The monks who’d come back from the forest with tales of animals long extinct in this area were right. Sister Domexia scrambled back up to her feet. The lion confronted her, snarling and growling as it padded back and forth before her. This was no illusion. She could see every bristle of fur, ripple of muscle and razor edge of tooth, and smell the beast’s animal odour.

More creatures emerged from the trees and dispersed to encircle Sister Domexia by taking up positions around the edge of the clearing. A group of antlered reindeer led the way, followed by a few curved-horned ibex, some aurochs, and, lastly, a herd of woolly-haired bison crashed through the trees; animals either extinct or unknown in these parts for centuries. What manner of sorcery could summon up the beasts in cave paintings and bring them to life?

The beasts parted to create an opening out of which a figure emerged from the shadows. It was Kim but like Sister Domexia had never seen her before. She was naked, her body caked in wet mud, her legs covered in scratches from running through the forest’s undergrowth. Her wavy blonde hair, dripping with rain, hung around her shoulders. Her face was daubed with lines in red ochre like war-paint; one across her forehead another from her forehead down her nose and a series of zig-zag strokes along her cheeks, and there were concentric circles painted around her nipples in red. Kim looked wild and dishevelled whilst also conveying an aura of shamanic power. She possessed an other-worldly puissance and looked incredibly sexy.

Sister Domexia could have pulled out her gun. She could have shot the cave lion and then killed Kim but she was mesmerised and riveted to the spot. And what would a gun avail her with the kind of wild magic she faced here. Besides, she wanted this encounter; it was why she’d entered the forest in the first place, to pit herself against this adversary. Seeing how Kim had revealed herself and the wild magic she was capable of commanding, it now appeared a mismatch to Sister Domexia. But she would not surrender easily, she would fight the girl to the bitter end if necessary.

Kim’s look was inscrutable; if she was angry with hatred, as she would be justified in being, it did not show in her eyes.

It was Kim who broke the silence between the two women.

You underestimated me, didn’t you? I saw the look of contempt in your eyes for the ‘little submissive girl’. You thought you could get the better of me; that when you finally got me in your grasp away from the protection of Nemesisland you’d be able to punish and humiliate me. Didn’t work out like that, did it? And yes, I underestimated myself too. Look now. The souls from 20,000 year old animals painted on cave walls spirited from the rocks and brought to life. Pretty impressive, heh.”

Sister Domexia couldn’t deny it. She glared wide-eyed at the menagerie of prehistoric beasts encircling her.

Do you want to see my latest party piece?”

Kim spread her arms out, the palms of her hands facing upwards. She screwed up her eyes in a gesture of intense concentration. A spark leapt up from her palm and shot upwards as a bolt of lightning into the heavens. It reached the skies and exploded into forks of dazzling white which illuminated the arena of trees like a spotlight. The thunder roared like the cave lion which circled Sister Domexia with an angry growl. It rumbled all around the forest causing the canopy of trees to sway in its awesome breath. Then the heavens opened. A deluge of rain descended on them so hard it hit like a slashing whip.

JEEZUS CHRIST! WHAT THE FUCK!” Sister Domexia screamed.

It was the only way to be heard above the tumult in the skies. The rain poured over them in a deluge, the water streaming over Kim’s face and running like a torrent down her naked body. She took a few steps forward.

Invoking the Lord Christ was a curse Sister Domexia rarely used and reserved it only for the utmost extremity, but it was merited right now. She was trying to process what was happening. This was like confronting the Old Testament God who could raise plagues, pestilences and floods.

She shouted, “Very impressive. Go on. Bring the heavens down on me. Get your beasts to tear my body apart if you want. Don’t think I’m afraid of you. I’ve suffered for the Holy Church, I’ve been made strong for it, there’s nothing you can do to break my will. So have your vengeance. Set the wild animals on me. See if I care. You’ll not break my spirit.”

It was an inspired speech of defiance and threat which masked Sister Domexia’s sheer terror. Seeing Kim now, revealed with her aura of wild magic, she was locked in a grip of fear. So this is what the Cardinal had hidden from her, what the Holy Church feared? She began to understand.

They both looked down and noted the hidden gun now openly visible. Sister Domexia knew it was there. Knew she could have reached for it. But she couldn’t or maybe daren’t. When it came to it she didn’t have the willpower, didn’t even want to shoot Kim. She sensed this confrontation needed to be played out to its end.

Go on strike me down with lightening, savage me. Do whatever the fuck you want with me,” the rain so intense water sprayed from Sister Domexia’s lips as she spoke.

Kim’s hands strayed down to the nun’s hips and ran along the curve of her buttocks, pulling them together.

Why would I do that? In my moment of victory I can afford to be generous. I don’t want to hurt you or kill you. What purpose would that serve. No, I want you.”

Kim lifted her hands to place one on each of Sister Domexia’s cheeks. Her touch was tender, loving. Then she leant in for a kiss. Their lips touched. The rain poured down their faces and into their mouths mingling with the moisture on their lips. They kissed passionately. Kim brought her hands behind Sister Domexia’s head and buried them into her bedraggled, sopping, auburn hair. Pulling them tighter together Kim drove her tongue into Sister Domexia’s mouth. Their kiss was long, deep, and lusty. When their lips parted Sister Domexia was left panting. I didn’t expect that. I really did not expect that.

I don’t understand. Why don’t you want revenge? From the moment we met we’ve never got on, let alone been attracted. I’m a sadist, I would have really hurt you if I’d been allowed. It was only the instruction not to harm you that held me back.

Kim shrugged. “I know you would have. But still, what purpose does it serve me now to hurt you. Besides, you’re not my foe, not really. It’s the forces behind you who are my real adversary. Who controls you? Why do they want me?”

I work for the Holy Church. I do whatever is necessary, whatever I’m told, to protect it. I get my instructions from a powerful person in the church establishment. I’m an agent to protect the faith. I do what is necessary that the church dare not admit.”

The Pope!?”

No. Not directly. I work for a Cardinal. The Pope’s fixer if you like, Cardinal Spinola.”

Why does he want me? What does he know about me?”

The lightening cracked, the thunder rumbled, and the torrent of rain still poured down. The beasts hovered threateningly around them.

Look. Fuck. Look at the this shit,” she bellowed. “He’s scared. I don’t know what he knows. He never shared that. I just know the church is afraid of you. And with good reason.”

Bring him to me.”

What, the Cardinal?”

Yes, bring him to me, Sister.”

About the Author

S. Nano is an erotic writer who writes stories with dark and exotic content drawing on the themes of female supremacy, goddess worship, bondage, domination and submission, sado-masochism and fetish, frequently in fantasy, paranormal or historical settings.

His work usually has dominant female characters and submissive males. His stories explore the tensions between dominant and submissive and the boundaries between pain and pleasure, physical and mental bondage and retribution and reward.

Three of his novels have recently been published by House of Erotica. They are all featured here because they have been re-released. Some of his short stories and novellas have also been published by House of Erotica whilst other works of his have been published by Xcite Books, Excessica, Forbidden Fiction, Greenwoman Publishing, Coming Together and Sinful Press.

S. Nano lives in Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.

Release blitz organised by Writer Marketing Services.

Sunday, August 27, 2023

Charity Sunday: Literacy for Lao Children – #Literacy #Laos #CharitySunday

Charity Sunday Banner

What do you know about Laos? Probably not much, unless, like me, you live in Southeast Asia.

Laos is a mountainous, landlocked country bordered by Myanmar, China, Vietnam and Thailand. Sparsely populated, it’s one of the poorest countries in the region, though it has made a great deal of progress since it was brutally bombed by the U.S. during the Vietnam war. As it happens, it’s also one of my favorite places in the world. The rich culture, dramatic scenery, laid-back atmosphere and, most importantly, the warmth and generosity of its people have drawn me there half a dozen times over the last decade.

One of the many problems Laos faces is poor education infrastructure. Until quite recently, there were no books published in the Lao language. Outside of the cities, transportation is difficult, not just because of rugged terrain and bad roads but also continued problems with unexploded bombs and mines. Children struggle to get the education they need to pull themselves and their families out of poverty.

For today’s Charity Sunday, I’m supporting a home-grown Lao organization called Big Brother Mouse, dedicated to publishing books in Lao and getting them into the hands of kids eager to learn. For each comment I receive on this post, I will donate two dollars to Big Brother Mouse. And let me emphasize – two dollars goes a long way in Laos. 

Meanwhile, I’m sharing a snippet from my story Vows, which is set in Luang Prabang, the ancient Laotian capital in the mountains. My characters are tourists, but I hope I’ve capture a bit of the magic of the place. By the way, Vows is available as a standalone title or as part of my Asian Adventures boxed set.

Also, I want to highly recommend the entertaining and illuminating Dr. Siri series of mysteries by Colin Cotterill (, set in Laos in the nineteen seventies, just after the end of the war and the victory by the Communist Pathet Lao. Despite difference in time period, I find these books capture a lot of truth about Laos, even fifty years later.


The more you try to release desire, the more attached you become.

We strolled northeast toward the far end of the peninsula, where Wat Xieng Thong was situated. The jewel of Luang Prabang, according to our guidebook. We had visited several of the other famous temples in the city. I had been saving this one for last.

Dani took my hand as we made our way through the quiet streets, in the lengthening shadow of Phu Si hill. “Relax,” she said. “Don’t worry. I’ll handle things. Just leave everything to me.”

That was exactly what I was worried about.

The vegetation thickened around us as we left the city center behind. We passed rough wooden houses on stilts, chickens scrabbling in the shade underneath, laundry swaying in the gentle breeze. Occasionally, we heard the muted babble of a television or radio, but we saw no one. It felt as though the whole of the city-village was dozing in the afternoon. I took a deep breath, and then another, trying to release the awful tension that gripped me, but it was no use. I was consumed by desire and dread.

Finally we reached the arched gateway to Wat Xieng Thong. Souvannaphone’s home. Gilded nagas, the serpent-dragons that sheltered the Buddha while he meditated, guarded the entry, their scales a riot of multi-colored mirrors. As we stepped over the sill and into the sacred compound, I felt something shift inside me. The choice was made, the effects would follow. Let karma do its worst.

At first, the place seemed deserted. Directly in front of us was the magnificent sim, or ordination chapel, with its five-layered, flame-tipped roof swept into dramatic earthward curves. Smaller but equally ornate buildings were scattered around it. Blue tile and gold leaf were everywhere.

An enormous, fantastically-twisted tree shaded the entire courtyard. At the same moment —I could tell from the way her hand tightened in mine—Dani and I noticed the figure seated, full lotus, on the turf at the foot of its main trunk.

It was, of course, Souvannaphone. His eyes were closed; his chest was bare. The golden, hairless flesh fascinated me. His nipples, more bronze than gold, drew my eyes and made my balls contract and ache.

It was his expression, though, that once again brought up my tears. It gave me a glimpse of total peace. Bliss. Perfect stillness and unearthly beauty. My craving to know his exquisite body faded and transformed into exquisite longing to know what he knew, to experience this state of completion.


Don’t forget to leave me a comment. Help Lao kids experience the joy of learning! And I hope you’ll visit the other blogs participating in today’s event. Every comment, at any of them, is a good deed!

Friday, August 25, 2023

Piecing together the queer world – #LGBTQIA+ #Poetry #Humor

Non-binary, Trans, Pan and Lovesick cover


Sex is awkward! Gender is confusing!

Discovering his gender and sexual identities in the lonely dungeon of the pandemic, Echo Corby found an outlet through poetry. Graduating high school as everyone was thrust into isolation, friends were hard to find and love was even harder. Loneliness made him crave connection even more, but what did he like and who would love him?

Piecing together the queer world, Corby uses comedy and anecdote to express the uncomfortable ins and awkward outs of gender, sex, love and all outrage that comes with categorization. This collection of autobiographical poetry is a form of release and expression of the vibrant emotions that so many of the LGBTQIA+ community struggle with.

Corby prides himself as an open-book. The vulnerability enclosed within these pages proves as much.


I Think My Dog is Transgender

I think my dog might be transgender.

But how am I supposed to tell?

She lifts her leg when she pees and mounts other dogs as a display of dominance,


Maybe that means little to nothing. I know another dog and though arthritis-ridden and old, she still tries to hump me when I sit on their couch.


How to tell?


How do we know?


They are animals,

Incapable of speech,

Incapable of grasping our humanly concept of gender.

What do I mean?

*You remind me of breeding pairs*

Yes, yes. Sexuality. Sexual relationships. The concept of conception.

Sexuality is not gender,

Gender is human made.

Gender is being a man or a woman or something in between, neither or both.

It is not the same as having testicles or ovaries—As we all know.

Transgender, nonbinary, androgynous, genderqueer, gender nonconforming.

Forgive me, I’m not in mourning,


When you say sexuality used to be the same as gender.

It’s not anymore.

It’s strange and it’s complex,

It causes confusion in oneself,

And every word in every text,

That you send to your grandma, explaining what you are.

It means decision and revision

Until you’re tired.


But if animals could understand and vouch for such a thing,

And weren’t scared of it like the furry thing is when there’s a chair in the wrong spot,

Maybe my dog would want to be transgender.

We have no way of knowing, therefore animals can’t choose.

Nor can babies when they exit the womb.

Mama,” “Dada”—they label us at their first words,

But we label them long before that.

It’s a boy!” the father cries with a burst of blue confetti,

It’s a girl!” to a ring of applause.

I once heard someone say, “It’s not a gender reveal, it’s a genitalia reveal.”

Before the umbilical cord is severed,

When baby is still part of surrogate,

They are labeled and they are bound.

They haven’t detached, become their own person,

Their own human,

Yet they are represented as a binary singular.


When will the detainment and constrainment of pink not pertain to a girl?

When will baby blue not bespeak to a boy?

Have a baby,

Call them “they.”

I wouldn’t have it another way,

When gender is as acidic and corrosive as it is.


We choose for our creatures and our spawn,

Because they are subhuman, sub-decision before they can talk.

The decision comes from their privates,

Just like in animals,

And they must exist as thus.

Therefore, choosing a gender besides what your reproductive organs are will always be the minority.

About the Author

Having started writing “seriously” as an ignorant fourteen-year-old, Echo has progressed in his writing and editing skills since finding the inspiration in middle school. His whole life, his imagination has always driven him in the creative writing and arts fields. The imagination of childhood has never left him but has evolved into something malleable to his career and tolerable in his vocabulary and sentence structure. Echo’s writing and other creative endeavors have deep relevance to his personal life, as his characters, world and themes always reflect aspects of his personality and identity in ways that may go beyond the average reader’s comprehension. 

Often writers add elements of themselves to their characters, as it is easier to write what we know, but Echo goes beyond that in exploring deeply sentimental to traumatic elements in his life as a form of therapy for himself and others tackling similar internal conflicts. As a trans masc, nonbinary, pansexual man discovering his identity in the middle of a pandemic, his writing also acts as a way of exploring himself deeper as well as dealing with mental health issues he has been struggling with his whole life. Writing is both deeply personal for him and also something he has always wanted to share with the world. He feels emotions are better told then hidden and that building a community is extremely important to recovery and rejuvenation.

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