Sex Toy Review 1: The Leaf Vibrator

At some point after I got my try-out toys from Vibrators.com, I turned to Miss Rat and said, “Oh, wait, I’m gonna have to write these reviews, aren’t I?”

“Yes… yes you are.”

I’ve talked extensively about sex and how I do it in person* but I don’t think I’ve ever written about it before, so I’m gonna take a deep breath and do my best to tread the fine line between “responsible product review” and “overshare.”

So getting started this Monday morning, the Leaf!

First, this is a fancy toy. It looks abstract enough that I could probably get it through airport security by pretending it was a specialty juicer of some sort,** and when I balanced it on my hand, it looked like some kind of green living ad. The green color is very citrus-y for those of you who are in to that, and it’s rechargeable, which is a lot of what I look for these days when it comes to vibes of any sort. There’s a very subtle button right above the plug in that lights up when you press it, and that’s how you turn it on. Handily enough, three quick clicks of the button locks and unlocks the toy, so that you cannot turn it on by accident.

The shape was what drew me to it originally, and when I saw it, I immediately thought “ergonomic.” This probably varies from person to person, but on me, the curve fits very well, running from clitoris to anus.*** Once it was fitted to my body, my particular anatomy does require me to hold in place with a little pressure, but overall, comfy.

I spent some time figuring out the controls. Basically, you press the button down until you reach a vibration level that you like, and for those of us who like strong sensation, it goes from gentle to tooth-chattering. It’s pretty quiet, so I don’t think I gave my neighbors a “what the hell is she doing now?!” moment.

First, what I liked about the Leaf Vibrator. It’s rechargeable, the shape fits me really well, and the vibration is intense. I was left oddly cold by it, though, and I think this is definitely meant for someone who loves vibrations spread over the entire area affected, not necessarily for someone who likes concentrated vibration in one place. That said, it can be held in place loosely with a pair of panties, or, if you are into rope bondage, it could get tied into place very easily. To me, it feels very much like a teasing toy, which is great if that’s what you want.

My only issue with the Leaf is that it’s a little difficult to vary level of vibration when it’s actually on you. I’ve been spoiled by my Lelo and my Hitachi, I think. One sustained click of the button turns the Leaf on and sets the volume of vibration, while another click turns it off. Another sustained click will keep it going and increases the vibration. It takes a bit of pressure to make the button depress, however, and that gave me a little pinch while it was on my clitoris. There’s no way to back the vibration off without turning the vibe off and starting over. This may lead to a lot of stopping and starting if you have stiffness or joint damage in your hands. However, if you like a lot of fine control over how much vibration you get, this might be a good toy for you.

Overall, I liked it. I don’t know if it will become one of my favorite toys, but it’s definitely a good supplementary device when I’m using other things as well.

Coming Soon:
I Swear I Am Writing Things
My Favorite Erotic Stories 2013
Longer and Harder: Why I Suck at Writing Novels

*To the 3rd shift waitress at the Perkins in Champaign, I truly hope you found my half-awake chatter about phone sex to be interesting, or at least that my tips cushioned my social awkwardness.
**I am not saying they would believe me, just that we all agree to continue as we were.
***My inner erotica writer says I could have phrased that better. Meh. It’s Monday.

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Make Them Talk

One thing I’ve noticed over the last few years of writing is that I have some characters that talk and others that don’t. Oh sure, they’re all capable, they can all form the words with their mouth, but some of them are way less forthcoming than others.

Verity from Lord of Misrule is incredibly chatty, but Iskander from the same story? Not so much. As in, I was playing around writing a story from his point of view, and it was sort of… resentful and stiff? Not pleasant to write, and god only knows how it would be to read.

Maksim, who I’m writing about currently (20k and it might end up being twice that) is talkative about some things, less about others. Of course, that story is all about the “others.”

I’ve run into lots of problems because I want to write characters who don’t talk. Miss Rat and the Long Suffering Girlfriend have heard me muttering about it, and when it gets to the point where you kind of have to brutalize them to get them to talk, there is something wrong.* Just about everything I have gotten published has been characters who talk, or who don’t mind talking. Even Padraic, from Under the Skin, talks, though it’s a lot more of an apologetic question than a statement, if that makes any sense.

Solution? Write more characters that talk.

I’ve still not figured out yet what makes a character talk. I do know that most of the characters that don’t have too much in their minds to want to talk much. Most of their minds are taken up with clutter, junk, and damage. Most of the ones that do talk have the space to talk, and in the case of Verity and Maksim, are characters that will talk even if they’re alone. **

If anyone has any tips on getting characters to talk, or even how to make characters that talk, I’m all ears.

At the moment, writing a lot, thinking about how to prepare for winter in Milwaukee***, writing some more, and watching lots of anime.
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Coming Soon:
Maksim and Seraphim, or Another Romance That Isn’t
My Love Affair With the Oxford Comma
Onion Soup and Milk Bread
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*I have no problems brutalizing my characters, it’s just when brutality gets no results that I start having issues.
**Neither of them are entirely well characters, but still.
***Frozen vegetables, closing the windows, hiding in a hole.

Dropping In, Running Out, Screaming Arrrrrrrrghh

Okay, let’s see what we’ve got going on.

Now Available!

Under the Skin over at Torquere Books
Cyberpunk caper involving a shy engineer and a far-too-ambitious businessman. It’s set in Nagoya, Japan somewhere in the not-terribly likely future, and if you like my story from Queerpunk, chances are good that you’ll like this one. My favorite bit is that the least likely character gets to save the day. Go buy it, and get other people to buy it. I will give you kisses.*

Have a review of Under the Skin over at Tam’s Reads.

Coming Soon!

A Long Time Dreaming over at Circlet Press
Piece of short fiction revolving around the Sleeping Beauty story. It’s short, but I really like it. I wrote it when I was utterly mad, and I believe I muttered something to Miss Rat about making other people pay to read my crazy. I think it worked out a lot better than that kind of muttering usually does.**

Lucky Boy, in the anthology Kept Against His Will: Taken By Force II
I have no memory of writing this. When I got the acceptance, I was completely confused. Happy, but confused. Upon reading it, I can tell you that a nameless narrator gets close and personal with the man he’s holding hostage. It’s me, so you can expect a fair amount of nastiness and fucked-up people. I spoil you all, really.

In Other News!

Got mugged by a novel idea the other day. It took my free time and my lunch money. I was hungry.

Writing away like a happy clam on Maksim, who’s turning into one of the sweetest, chattiest characters I have written about ever. I’m waiting to show this story to Miss Rat only to discover that he’s actually pure megalomaniac evil, but so far, 18,000 words in and I still think he’s sweet at least.

I need to go grocery shopping. Who knew that eating food would mean that I have to go buy new food?
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Coming Soon:
Characters Who Talk and Those Who Don’t
Driving the Creative Process With a Carrot and a Stick
Kannan Feng Posts Regularly, Damn It
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*Quantities limited!
**I’m pretty sure that kind of muttering was what got me the bed I have now. I bought it, and then failed entirely to recognize it when it was delivered. ***
***Me to Delivery Guy: “Whoa, so that’s what I’m going to be sleeping on now.”

Chatting About Under the Skin

Under the Skin, which is coming out next week from Torquere Press, is a story that has been around for at least three years. The first mention of it I can find by pawing through Gmail’s copious archives* is me mentioning Padraic, the main character, to Miss Rat back in 2008.

Over the past three years, the story has undergone some fairly impressive changes. It used to have a significantly more fantasy feel, given the fact that there used to be a sword spirit in it, and it used to be a lot more straightforward in terms of who was a good person and who was a bad one.

These days, Under the Skin is about a very shy engineer figuring out that he’s worth a lot more than just the tech implanted in his body while also learning his way around both industrial espionage and his own sexuality. Padraic’s definitely one of my characters who’s been knocked around, and instead of getting through it by turning mean, he ended up surprisingly sweet instead.

Minoru, who brings Padraic to Japan, has plenty of ideas regarding what Padraic is good for, and some of them are even good for Padraic. Minoru is intent, driven, and sharp, and when push comes to shove, he’s willing to go above and beyond for someone in trouble. Of course, he’s the one who put Padraic in that trouble in the first place, and they’re going to have Words about that too.**

Under the Skin in some ways the test run for my short story Virgin, which appears in Queerpunk, so if you liked that one, you’ll probably like this one, too.
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Coming Soon:
Five Facts About Padraic Dahl and Inoue Minoru
Novella Day Extras
How to Edit a Manuscript Without Driving Your Loved Ones Crazy
Buy My Novella, Oh God, Buy My Novella
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*Seriously. It is my supplemental brain.
**By which I mean pointy four-letter words.

Long Time No See!

Let’s see, in the time since I’ve last written, I’ve learned to make fried green tomatoes*, made myself some 1600’s Turkish clothing,** and started watching new anime.***

Oh yeah, and I’ve been doing a ton of writing.

Some of it is sexy and holy Squid, but some of it is getting published!

So!

Forthcoming from Torquere Press, I have the cyberpunk novella Under the Skin, which features Padraic, a very awkward young engineer and Minoru, the overly-ambitions heir to the Inoue Corporation. Under the Skin is for you if you like:

Cybernetic implant naughtiness.

A slightly dented, very shy protagonist

Action, industrial espionage, and faulty language translation programs

M/M sex

From Circlet Press, I have a short story in the Lovecraftian anthology Whispers in Darkness. The short story’s called “A Reflection of Kindness,” and I did my best to replicate the dry, slightly distant tone of Lovecraft’s protagonists. I’m honestly a bigger Robert Chambers fan****, but I think I created some of my creepiest monsters yet for this story. I find myself wholly surprised that they wear human faces very well. “A Reflection of Kindness” is for you if you like:

Creepy shenanigans

Virginal heroines growing wise

Ancient beings who once fled Kemit

Beautiful mirrors

M/F sex

You know, I just suddenly realized that I had the opportunity to write for a Lovecraft anthology and I did NOT write a tentacle sex scene. I suddenly feel as if I have not only wronged the world, I have wronged myself to my deepest core. I want to have a card that I can turn in.

Ahem.

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on, and I am going to do my best to start posting here again.
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Coming Soon:
Kannan Feng Updates Her Information, Because Damn
It’s Way Too Big and Other Reasons I’ve Not Written a Novel Yet
Possibly Some Mango Licorice
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*Delicious, and the best way to eat it is to stuff it between two slices of sourdough bread, liberally spread with Kewpie mayo and Sriracha sauce.
**It gives me hips like I’ve never had hips before.
***I think Haruhi Suzumiya is God. I don’t mean the show is that good, I think that she’s literally God. It’s that kind of show.
****I think Miss Rat remembers the day I actually found a copy of The King in Yellow in a dusty bookstore. There was much squealing.

Five Things and Go!

I’ve been testing out a lot of projects lately, writing out outlines and first chapters and whatnot, and I’ve been having a recurring problem of figuring out whether they are erotica or not. Things that I was planning for one way go another, and suddenly there’s plot, limbs and clothes flying everywhere. Miss Rat suggests just writing them as they come and adding/removing the sex later, which is probably the best advice to be had for this.

The Long-Suffering Girlfriend is playing Dragon Age: Origins. Despite the fangirl squee, I am just Not That In To Alistair. Zevran and Morrigan, Team Evil for the win.

Editing. Editing never changes.* I’ve got a novella coming back for edits soon, and it’s sort of like an angry rabid raccoon dangled above my head. But…but I don’t WANT to fix my glaring plot holes and improperly placed bodies!

Writing more, cooking more, working more, playing more, giggling more. I love bright days.

I need to finish something. I need to finish something badly. I have no less than 12 unfinished project on my desktop, and its a little stultifying. I used to do 100-word stories on a daily basis and that was nice just because I got to finish something, damnit.
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Coming Soon:
More Writing
Researching Your Historical Smut
And Then We Put Wings on It
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*And if you know what game that’s a riff on, I love you.

Who Needs a Plot?

As a matter of fact, I do.

It’s interesting, but despite writing something like fifty-mumble stories for publication, I’m still pretty bad at plots. Short stories, I get away with it a little more easily. A short story, especially if its leading up to an erotic encounter, means that I just wind up two characters with vaguely compatible desires and let them crash into each other.

The longer a story gets, the less likely the wind ‘em up, let ‘em go method is to work. Eventually, people need to get dressed and go find something else to make people keep reading. I have problems with this.

I’m reasonably good at faking a plot at this point, I think. There’s a problem (homicidal ghost possession, data theft, oops-I’m-running-a-dictatorship) and eventually, there’s a solution (sexual bribery, cyberpunk shenanigans, bugger-this-for-a-game-of-soldiers, I’ll-let-myself-out-the-back).

I have honestly lost track of the amount of time I’ve wasted on writing something that is going no where. Fun characters, fun world and then they go on to do…. absolutely nothing.*

So for my notes as much as anything, here’s how I make a plot.

Make Their Lives Suck.
No one wants to read about happy people, and happy people don’t do much. Happy people sit at home, knit, have meaningful conversations with their families, pay their mortgage on time and volunteer at the animal shelter. Unhappy people sink into despair, fight their way out of despair, tame dragons, fight evil empires and engage in forbidden magic.

Invent a Villain
Every story’s got to start somewhere, and a lot of them start with someone doing something Very, Very Bad. I’m one of those contrary people who tends to prefer villains to heroes, so I think I’m just going to run with that.

Work Backwards
This thing happens where I get an image, a line, a scene or something like that, and I then I have to figure out what happened before that and after that. This is what I do a lot, and some days it works, and some days I have 3000 words worth of what-the-fuck. The days when it works are pretty cool thought. That’s kind of how I wrote Beautiful Monsters.
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Coming Soon:
More Writing! Writing Forever!
Watching the Long-Suffering Girlfriend Play Dragon Age
Four Cool Plots I Am Releasing Into the Wild
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*I don’t get it. How can going off to overthrow an evil empire be absolutely nothing? **
**When I have once again created characters who are too broken/selfish/distracted/smart to go take on an evil empire, that’s how.

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