Friday, November 19, 2010

I'm Thankful For...

...My family, James the cat, having a warm house and food, clean water, being able to read and write and freedom of speech.

I'm also thankful for a lot of little things: Marta Acosta's Casa Dracula books, breakfast at Carol's diner, modernized movie versions of Shakespeare's plays, my new (used) set of encyclopedias of American women writers, little gigs I get from Craig's List, waffles with chocolate syrup, playing card games with my niece, Netflix movies, Shakira songs, The Simpsons (especially that Halloween parody of Twilight featuring the voice of Daniel Radcliffe), Vampire Diaries Season 2 (with werewolves!), green tea lattes at Borders, dark chocolate, French toast, chilaquiles con pollo y salsa verde, Poetic Monthly Magazine, veggie pizza, awesome stories in short e-books, draft Guinness at Main St. Grill, Wuthering Bites, that sex dream about Gerard Butler (even though I wasn't in it), Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, mulled wine, chocolate pastries from Panera, SexIs, the local pumpkin ice cream, and many more things.

I also have to say a special thanks to Robin Pope Cain. I won a $10 iTunes gift card by commenting on a blog post she wrote. Thanks, Robin! I used it to buy a movie soundtrack with an awesome Spanglish cover of "Hungry Like the Wolf," which I then used for my "Oliver's Good Night Kiss" book trailer.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

News From Selena Kitt: New Book, Newsletter and Contest!

In honor of the release of Baumgartner Generations: Henry, eXcessica publisher and author Selena Kitt is having an awesome giveaway!

She's also starting a newsletter to notify readers of new releases or contests (and there will be contests for newsletter-subscribers-only as well!) So don't worry, it won't be more weekly email in your box. Just a way to keep up on Selena and what she's up to!

So in order to enter this contest, ALL you have to do is sign up for the newsletter! Easy-peasy!


You can also earn EXTRA entries simply by Tweeting, Facebooking, or otherwise Social Networking about this contest! Just link to this blog post and you will earn an EXTRA entry for EVERY TIME you promote it on EVERY platform you can!

Fill out THIS FORM for extra entries every time you promote the contest!

This contest runs from November 15 until December 1, 2010. So you have two full weeks to enter!

Winners will be announced on December 1, 2010 on Selena's blog. YOU CAN WIN ONE OF TWO BIG PRIZES!

1. An autographed copy of every print book in the Baumgartner series so far (including Babysitting the Baumgartners, A Baumgartner Reunion, Baumgartner Generations: Janie and the latest Baumgartner Generations: Henry


2. The Sex Toy Package – a customized pink lady, black case, vortex ribbed Fleshlight (just like the one Henry used in the book!) along with plenty of lube and an autographed copy of Baumgartner Generations: Henry

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Going Down? II (Ladies' Night)

Here is where the blog takes a 180 degree turn, from two posts about children's books to one that's strictly for grown-ups.

In September I read Violet Blue's The Ultimate Guide to Fellatio:How to Go Down on a Man and Give Him Mind-Blowing Pleasure. The other day a little package arrived for me from Cleis Press. This time, it contained Blue's The Ultimate Guide to Cunnilingus: How to Go Down on a Woman and Give Her Exquisite Pleasure.

By the way, which is better--exquisite or mind-blowing?

The foreword by Margaret Cho begins with "Pussy is a wondrous mystery." Vaginas and vulvas are a mystery, but Violet Blue does her best to educate the carpet-licking public. Her introduction is as enlightening as her men's guide intro was. It's sad in a way that years after the first production of The Vagina Monologues, we're still living in a "pussyphobic" culture, but Blue is right.

As in the guide to men's pleasure, there are line drawings. They're fun, though they neglect genital piercings, unlike the male-centered guide. Neither illustrations nor text are heterosexist, so lesbian and bisexual women can enjoy it just as much as straight women. There is also a chapter for women with disabilities. Sidebars on how not to muss your lipstick and what to do with a tongue piercing are fun, and again, Alison Tyler contributes short erotic fantasies to the nonfiction.

The chapters are yummy and informative, but the best part may be the resource guide at the end, updated for the second edition. It tells you where to buy woman-positive and sex-friendly supplies in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

If you're a woman with a partner who's reluctant to go down on you, buy your boyfriend/girlfriend this little volume. It'll open up her/his eyes to the possibilities and deal with all the concerns people usually have about "going down there."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Watercolor Artist Bonnie Beckeman, and a book supporting autism research

Pagan Spirits' special guest today is Bonnie Beckeman, a watercolor artist and the illustrator of Amie and the Purple Butterfly. My interview with Bonnie Beckeman appears below.

One reader who leaves a comment will win a paperback copy of Amie and the Purple Butterfly signed by the author, Cheryl Pillsbury. To be eligible for the drawing, please leave a comment on November 6-7, 2010, and also send a blank e-mail to so I can notify you if you win. Please put "Amie and the Purple Butterfly" in the subject line.

Cheryl Pillsbury never explicitly states in her children's book that the main character, Amie, has autism. "Autism" is a grown-up word, of no interest to the youngsters who will read and listen to this book. Yet Amie is based on Pillsbury's own daughter Alicia, and Pillsbury donates profits from the book to the Autism Society of America.

The noble cause behind the book is why grown-ups will like it. It will be a favorite of children because Bonnie's pictures are spellbinding. The furry-faced butterfly looks almost like a kitty. Kids can't help but fall in love with the large, friendly insect. The love between Amie and her daddy is another sweet aspect to this heartwarming, life-affirming picture storybook.

Erin O’Riordan Interviews Illustrator Bonnie Beckeman

What was the name of the first book you illustrated? How did you get it published?

BB: The first book I illustrated was Amie and the Purple Butterfly. Cheryl Pillsbury of A.G. Press asked me to illustrate this book that she wrote, so I did.

Which do you find leads you to your best work: your triumphs or your tragedies? Do you illustrate from joy or pain?

BB: My triumphs. I illustrate from joy. I love flowers and animals and I love
communicating that through my paintings.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

BB: The biggest influence on my career was Ivan Powell who illustrated for H. G. Wells and was considered one of the top ten artists in the country. He picked me and two others out of 5,000 applications world wide to study privately with him through Syracuse University's graduate illustration program. At the end of my studies with him he said I was the most talented artist living today, but what did he know? He said, “Never give up.”

Do you read for pleasure? If so, what kind of books do you like to read?

BB: I read for pleasure. I like to read about the Impressionist movement and all of the amazing characters like Monet who got it going.

What has been the most significant book you've read in your life?

BB: Probably anything by a lesser know illustrator and writer that I also studied one on one with named Tomi DePaola. His children's books are very intense and have great morals.

What project(s) are you currently working on?

BB: I'm painting oils for a gallery on Cape Cod called Yak Arts. I’m illustrating a third Amie and the Purple Butterfly, and I just finished illustrating Disappearing Light Hides True Evil by Jennifer Tokarz.

I also paint portraits of people's dogs. I am presently working on painting a dog for a family that had their dog die recently.

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