Fan Girl Moment – My Gilmore Girls’ Trip!

This is not my typical blog post but I thought it would be fun to share anyway. In the interest of full disclosure for those die-hard lovers…I’m a Netflix fan. While I loved catching the occasional episode when it was on T.V., it wasn’t until Netflix ran the whole series that I was able to sit down and watch all the episodes in a row.

Quirky. Cozy. Fun. Charming. Sweet. Romantic.

There are hundreds of reasons why people love Gilmore Girls. For me, like many others, the initial appeal was the town, Stars Hollow. Living in a big, impersonal city, I just loved the warm, friendly atmosphere it embodied. The off-beat festivals. The informal town hall meetings…although Taylor would object to the word “informal”! The quirky residents. It is all so engaging.

Next it was the idea of creating your own family. So many programs focus on family as the all-important unit. Blood is thicker than water. Family is everything. Not all of us are close to our families. The idea that a family can be a group of unrelated people who genuinely care for one another really spoke to me.

So when Blushing hosted a very fun writer’s retreat in New Hampshire recently, I jumped at the chance to pop on down to Washington Depot, CT. The town that inspired Stars Hollow and Gilmore Girls.

Here is my trip!

Tip #1 – By all accounts, this sleepy little town is not enamored of its claim to fame. With the interest generated by the upcoming new episodes, that is only going to get worse. Your best bet is to keep your true purpose for visiting on the down low.

Okay – Let’s get this part over with it. There is no gazebo in the town center. I know. I know. Disappointing but almost every other cute, little town you pass on your way to Washington Depot will have a gazebo so you will still get your fill of that charming town staple.

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Here is their Town Hall. A great deal more impressive than Ms. Patty’s School of Ballet but personally I prefer her cozy wood-paneled studio! Check out the awesome sports car which was parked right outside. Lorelai is that you?!😉

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Speaking of Ms. Patty. Here is the closest counter-part to her studio.

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This adorable grocery store is I believe a very good substitute for Doose’s Market.

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I also swung by the Post Office right next store to mail a quick letter. I got a true Stars Hollow experience. The guy behind the counter was so friendly! During the time I was in there three separate residents came by and were all greeted by name. I know this is a small thing but when you live in a city where the Post Office is cold and impersonal, it made an impression.

I spent over an hour wandering the aisles of this adorable bookshop. Don’t you just love the name! While they do have souvenir t-shirts and hats, etc. that say Washington Depot…sadly none with the Gilmore Girls. Ah well…maybe one day!

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Tip #2 – Washington Depot doesn’t really have many boutique shops so don’t plan on spending half the afternoon wandering from store to store. Personally, the bookshop was the only one which appealed to me.

No visit would be complete without a visit to “Luke’s Diner”! From what I could tell, this is the closest you will get. Be warned. This is a very nice place with a stellar culinary reputation of their own. In other words, don’t go in there calling it “Luke’s”, they won’t appreciate it!

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This place is beyond adorable! It has a fairyland, rustic vibe. The food is fantastic. They have an amazing menu filled with fresh, local products. Everything from a basic sandwich to high-end creative dishes.

I decided to go with what I thought would be a Lorelai inspired meal. Pineapple soda and a big, juicy cheeseburger!

Tip #3 – Hidden Valley Eatery is actually a few miles outside of town. Basically when you get off the highway and see a sign that says Washington Depot to the left…you take a right. It’s totally worth it because there is nothing to compare restaurant-wise in town.

And now for the main event…the Inn that inspired it all. The Mayflower Hotel.

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The grounds are stunning! The hotel is beautiful! And by the way, surrounded by what looked like laurel trees…laurel…Lorelai…laurel. Hmmm…

Tip #4 – The Mayflower Hotel is in the next town over, Washington, CT. They are both right next to one another and most maps just list Washington but it can lead to confusion for us fan girls. Also, it is up on an isolated hill on basically private grounds which means you will stick out like a sore thumb! I tried to stroll around and look like I belonged but to be honest, I didn’t linger!

Here are some photos of around the town. I even captured what I think is the town Christmas tree!

Final Tip – While it was great fun wandering around and experiencing this town, it really only took up about two and half hours and that included my lunch and close to an hour in the bookshop. Basically, I would plan an afternoon of it. I think if you set aside an entire “Gilmore Girls” weekend you will get bored. The good news is there are so many lovely country roads and other towns to explore in the area! The Mayflower Hotel is a bit pricey for most of us but I did notice a spa on the property so if you wanted to linger I can’t think of anything more Lorelai than a fun mani-pedi!

Cheers!

ZB

 

 

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The Pen Name Dilemma

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A pen name is a very personal thing. For some, it is a name they have always liked. For others, it is a cool sounding name. For others still, it has symbolism. And for some, it sounded good for marketing reasons.

My name? Is a combination of those things. I’ve always loved the name Zoe. It calls to mind a French femme fatale with black hair, fishnet stockings and red lipstick. Blake is the name of one of my favorite poets, William Blake.

I love my pen name and fortunately it has brought me luck. I have eight #1 best selling books and a USA Today best seller with that name.

Now I am at a crossroads. I am currently writing a book I like very much. It is a Victorian Erotic Murder Mystery. A Classic WhoDunIt with a BDSM twist if you will. It is shaping up to be a great book with wonderful character detail.

So what is the problem? I’m not sure if it is a “Zoe Blake” book. **sigh**

For starters, it is not an historical age play. That is not a huge problem, neither was my homage to a pirate bodice-ripper “Captive of Chance”  or my contemporary military novella “Worth Fighting For” and my readers seemed to like them alright.

But this book is different. The emphasis is more on a sensual build up, on character development and on the story. Of course there will be my signature, extremely descriptive erotic scenes but they won’t be as prolific as in my other books.

Basically sex will be part of the story not the story. Hence my dilemma.

Do I publish this under Zoe Blake or create a new pen name?

Zoe Blake has the name recognition and fan base but I run the risk of annoying and possibly disappointing my readers by not giving them what they’ve come to expect, which is why lots of authors routinely publish under different pen names when they “shake things up”.

But to be honest, I’ve always questioned that practice, shouldn’t the readers be given the choice? I mean, they are perfectly capable of deciding if a particular book from a particular author is not going to be their cup of tea!

As reader myself, I’ve always felt a bit cheated when I’ve found out a favorite author writes under a different pen name I wasn’t aware of; always wishing they just stayed with the same name and let me decide if I liked their writing style enough to try the different genre or topic they were exploring.

My dilemma is…am I alone in that feeling? I mean obviously allot of authors have different pen names for different genres so there must be something to the practice. I’m just loath to publish under anything other than Zoe! I’ve grown very fond of her!😉

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“Worth Fighting For” excerpt

Here is an excerpt from my first contemporary short story, “Worth Fighting For” found in the “Hero to Obey” anthology.

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“What do you want?” Sage asked, exasperated. Conner raised his eyebrow suggestively as he swiveled his hips forward, brushing her stomach with his painfully aroused shaft. “Not that!” she blushed.

“How about a kiss?”

“A kiss?”

“I believe that is the customary tribute for a knight in shining armor when they rescue a damsel in distress.”

“I was not in distress, you…” Her argument was cut off by his finger across her lips.

“Do you want me to release you or not?”

Sage sighed. “Fine.” She tilted her head back and screwed her lips tightly in a rather uninviting purse.

Conner laughed. She really was an adorably, feisty little thing…

Without warning, he reached into the low neckline of the t-shirt that had been teasing him all afternoon. Grasping a warm handful of soft breast, feeling the graze of her nipple along the center of his roughened palm, he squeezed…hard.

Shocked, Sage opened her mouth in a gasp.

Conner attacked.

His other hand, which had been securing her waist, swept up Sage’s back to cradle her head, gripping her hair. Pulling down, her head fell back, giving him access to her vulnerable mouth. His full lips descended on her small pink ones, overwhelming her. His tongue swept in, taking possession of her mouth. Playfully swirling his tongue around her own, he tasted like mint with a hint of whiskey. Taking her lower lip between his teeth he gently bit before moving to lick down her neck, wanting to see if she tasted like sweet oranges. Pressing his lips to her skin, he murmured, “Kiss me back, Spitfire.”

“I…I can’t,” she whimpered. Christ! It was too much. Digging her nails into his strong chest muscles, Sage barely clung to her sanity. His hand guiding her head. His mouth on hers. His other hand gripping her breast. It was all too much. He didn’t just take control of her. He took complete possession of her every sense. Suddenly frightened of her response, Sage tried to push away, he only tightened his grip.

Hero to Obey on Amazon

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Papa’s Little Pain Princess” Excerpt

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“You owe me a punishment,” his voice pitched dark and low.

“A…punishment?” she squeaked.

“Yes, you were a very naughty girl. You need to be punished. By me.” He smiled.

Winnie occupied herself by straightening a display of ribbons. “Come here, Winnie.”

She thought about pretending not to hear him. “I wouldn’t,” he stated flatly.

Winnie started. It was like he read her mind. With slow determined steps, she approached him but stopped a few feet away. “Closer,” Archer ordered as he uncrossed his legs and opened his knees wide.

Winnie took another step so the hem of her flimsy dress brushed the tops of his polished boots.

Archer steepled his fingers in front of his chest. “Closer.”

“There’s no room,” Winnie said hesitantly, blushing as she glimpsed the unmistakable ridge outlined along his thigh. The light buff trousers concealing nothing.

Ignoring her objection, Archer merely raised an eyebrow as his gaze remained fixed on her face. Chewing her bottom lip in indecision, Winnie finally slid her slippered right foot along the carpeted floor before slowly joining it with her left. She was now standing between his outstretched legs.

Winnie closed her arms tight about her as if she could make her body smaller, lowering her head, refusing to meet his intense gaze. Amused, Archer pressed his legs together till his inner thighs brushed against her skirts. Winnie’s mouth fell open in shock. Her dress was so thin, she could feel the heat from his skin through her dress and petticoats. She tried to back away but his legs tightened, trapping her.

“Please, my lord. Madame could return at any moment,” she pleaded.

“Then you had better do as I say without prevarication,” he warned darkly. “Did you touch that sweet, little cunny of yours dreaming of me forcing my cock on you?”

Winnie felt lightheaded with shame and guilt. Should she even try to deny it? It seemed pointless since this enigmatic man seemed to have the power to read her innermost, wicked thoughts!

Winnie covered her face in mortification. “Please don’t, my lord,” she muttered.

Archer rubbed his thigh against her own. Winnie could feel the press of his arousal. “Answer me, Winnie.”

All she could muster was a small shake of her head…yes.

Archer smiled. She was the perfect combination of seductive innocence. Her existence in the East End ensured she was not completely sheltered as to the ways between a man and a woman. Yet, her blushes confirmed she was undoubtedly still untouched.

“Unbutton your dress.”

All Winnie could do was stare at him over the tips of her fingers.

“Unbutton. Your. Dress.”

Her mind spun. He couldn’t possibly mean to…to…not…here…in the salon…during the day…with her…um…ah…

“My dear, there will be time for that later, after your punishment. For now, I want you to unbutton the front of your dress.”

Once again, he knew her thoughts before she had even fully formed them. Not feeling as if she had a choice and trusting in the safety of the daylight and open setting, Winnie forced her numb fingers to unhook the tiny buttons that ran down the front of her dress. Slowly the threadbare, white chemise and top of her whalebone corset were revealed as the flaps of her dress fell open.

She was so tiny, her beautiful breasts were at his eye level. Archer leaned forward. Placing his index finger between her generous cleavage, he pressed on the top of the corset till it shifted down a few inches, just enough for her breasts to peek out over the top. He could see the cute, pink nipples through the practically sheer chemise.

Tearing his gaze from the stunning vision before him, Archer glanced up to see Winnie’s eyes tightly close, her mouth slightly open, her cheeks flushed, her breaths coming in short gasps. He smiled. He breathed deeply, taking in the warm, fresh scent of her skin. No perfume. Just the clean scent of lemon verbena soap and her. Knowing his time was short. Knowing if he gave into the impulse to taste her flesh he would not be able to stop there, Archer decided to test Winnie’s pleasure impulses.

He gently flicked her right nipple, watching as it became even more erect. She started but kept her eyes closed. Archer then lightly rolled both nipples between his index finger and thumb. Winnie shifted on her feet, a soft moan escaping her open lips. Instinctively, her body leaned in closer to his.

Without warning, he clamped down hard on her nipples. Pinching and twisting the delicate bunch of nerves. Archer tightened his thighs around Winnie as she bucked, trying to escape the pain. Locking her against him. Pressing her harder against his erection. “Keep quiet, my dove. You don’t want Madame to hear and come running,” he whispered harshly as he kept up the pressure on her nipples, oblivious to her distress.

Winnie bit down on her lower lip till she tasted blood. Quelling her own cries.

The moment he released her tortured flesh, there was this euphoric rush. As if the pain turned the absence of pain into pleasure. Her whole body felt warm and sensitive, especially the secret place between her legs. Without thought, she collapsed onto his lap. Archer kissed her forehead, as he gingerly re-buttoned her dress.

“Was that my punishment, my lord?” she asked, still in a daze.

Her gray eyes still dark and stormy with confused desire. “No, my dear. That was just a test. Your punishment is still to come.”

“Papa’s Little Pain Princess” on Amazon

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Cover Reveal!!!

Here is the cover for my new book “Papa’s Little Pain Princess” a deliciously harsh age play. Out June 18th. 😉💕💋

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Glorious Nether Globes

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I have a new book coming out in mid-June. Somewhere buried about three-fourths of the way in, there is the phrase “glorious nether globes”. I adore it. In fact, at the risk of annoying my editor, I may try to work that phrase into all my future books.

There is a fun game we historical erotica authors play. Rename that Body Part!

The rules are simple. You take a body part…say the penis…and you come up with a hundred different names for it other than using the word penis. Rod, Member, Cock, Staff, Sword, Shaft.

The euphemisms become much more tortured for the vagina and clit. Flower, Petals, Cunny, Nub, Bud, Cleft.

An ass is an ass is an ass. Unless it is a bottom, cheeks, buttocks, behind or in my recent case…glorious nether globes.

During sex, things get swollen, engorged, thick, slick, creamy…but never moist…no one likes the word moist. (Seriously, there have been scientific studies on it.) There is a lot of thrusting, plunging and spearing.

Why? As I have mentioned before, when you write historical erotica, you have to make an effort with the language. It cannot sound modern. Saying his dick fucked her pussy would not work for Victorian London. However, saying he parted her petals and thrust his shaft deep into her cunny…does.

That being said, sometimes it gets exhausting coming up with new and creative ways to describe an act as old as time…so in a weak moment…you unabashedly get….glorious nether globes! Huzzah!🙂

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“Penelope’s Punishment” Excerpt

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“One punishment at a time, little one,” he said, gripping the folded leather strap harder.

“I will correct that impertinent mouth of yours later.” Alex leaned down on his haunches so he was eye level with her. “Right now, we need to correct your dangerous decision to run from me.”

Penelope wisely kept quiet, struck numb from his intense words and stare. Alex rose and stepped behind her. A shiver of awareness coursed through Penelope, knowing that behind her, he was staring at her bare bottom. After several tense moments, she jumped when cool, smooth leather softly touched the heated skin between her shoulder blades. He traced the length of her back with the strap, running it over the curve of one globe.

Penelope felt of rush of moisture between her thighs. She was lightheaded with fear, and something else she feared to name. “My lord…”

“Tsk…tsk…tsk, naughty girl,” crooned Alex, lightly tapping her bottom with the strap on each word. “That is not what you’re supposed to call me.”

Penelope wet her lips and tried again, “Papa…I’ve…I’ve changed my mind. I don’t want to do this.”

Alex leaned close to her ear and whispered, “You have no choice.”

She shrieked and pulled wildly at her wrist binds. “Let me go, you bugger…you…you…wanker!”

Alex placed a restraining hand on her lower back. “Cease!” he ordered. Penelope instantly stilled. “It is this wild, rash behavior we need to correct. You act with no thought to your safety. You open your mouth with no care to the consequences. You need this punishment more than you know.”

Penelope shook her head as tears coursed down her cheek, still denying what she knew deep down to be true.

“Ask for your punishment, Penelope.”

She shook her head, stubbornly pressing her lips into a tight line.

“Ask for your punishment or face a much harsher one,” he said with more menace.

Still she remained mute. She would be damned if she asked him to punish her!

“Very well,” said a resigned Alex. “Your punishment was to be ten straps to your bare bottom. You will now receive those in addition to a more exacting punishment.”

Penelope opened her mouth to release another stream of colorful, guttural language. Alex closed his open hand over her mouth and once again leaned in close to her ear. “You have already opened yourself up to a more painful discipline than I had intended this eve. I suggest you hold your tongue before you truly anger me and make your situation even worse.”

Her eyes widened in horror but she remained silent.

“Let us begin.” Alex slowly wrapped one end of the well-oiled strap around his right hand, leaving two feet excess. Anchoring one foot behind him, he leaned over and placed his left hand on her lower back. Arching his arm, the strap swung through the air with a hiss before landing with a loud crack in the center of her pale, vulnerable buttocks.

Penelope’s surprised shriek was cut short as she ruthlessly clenched her jaw, determined to show no reaction or pain. Alex smiled…that would change. He aimed the second swat lower, over her sit spot. She was so tiny that the three inch wide strap easily covered large areas of her delicate skin with every contact. By the third smack, Penelope could no longer contain her pain.

She howled in agony as the fourth hit her sit spot again. Her bottom, already warmed by the heat from the flames, now felt as if it were truly on fire. The pricking, stinging sensation was almost too much to bear. She went up on her toes and braced for another hit. She did not have to wait long. Alex continued the assault on her unprotected bottom till it glowed a harsh angry red. By the time it was over, Penelope was choking on her own sobs.

“What am I looking at Kitten?” he demanded as he caressed her heated bottom.

Penelope did not even think to ignore his question. “My…my punished bottom.”

http://www.amazon.com/Zoe-Blake/e/B00N6GVCZM/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1463683010&sr=1-2-ent

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