Party Panties and Jesus Juice #RHOD

Let’s get white girl wasted and discuss these unreal housewives of Dallas.

Spoiler alert – not a lot really happened. If you aren’t watching and want to get caught up click here for Episode 1 and here for Episode 2.

Three of the girls went to a male strip club where apparently white girl wasted means getting so hammered that  one of them saved a horse and rode a cowboy. It looked like they had a good time but unfortunately, one of the husbands wasn’t thrilled about his wife’s western style. Maybe he should get a cowboy hat. And some abs.

Tiffany’s husband, on the other hand, practiced the guitar in the garage, like a true teenager. He voiced his concern about not booking anything big yet in Dallas and then asked his mom where babies come from. I have a friend whose ten year old son has a standing gig in Deep Ellum. Maybe he should contact this kid’s manager and see if they can work something out.

Two housewives filmed a fashion vlog where one husband showed his vogue side. Side note:  I find metro guys incredibly sexy. A man who can tell his girl what shoes look hot with what dress…something about that is hot to me. A guy who appreciates a well-dressed woman is a keeper. It’s even better when he is dressed as well if not better than she is. Men, (because tons of men love to read about the housewives of Dallas) it’s okay to care about clothes and shoes and style.

Brandi (now infamous for her shithat) showed a more vulnerable side, one that for me and probably too many people is far too familiar. Relationships are hard. Marriage is hard, and it’s even worse when one person does not feel satisfied. To me, Brandi is going through what so many women experience and which I will call Invisibility Syndrome ™ .  There was a time when I’m sure Brandi’s husband showered her with love and attention. Then came life, then came marriage, then came two babies in a baby carriage, then came careers and sick parents and everything else, and if there isn’t an effort put toward each other, then what was once a blazing  fire becomes a flickering flame until nothing is left but a plume of smoke. And at that point, is it even worth it to find a match to reignite it?  My friend and I were talking today, and she said, “Relationships are like flowers. If you don’t water them, they’ll die.” And this is why divorce happens.

Let’s talk about LeeAnne Locken, former Carnie, current Socialite(ish). My favorite part of the entire episode was when she was discussing how classless it was for Brandi to wear her shit hat to the Mad Hatter charity event. She gave some long diatribe about how awful Brandi is and how she felt so sorry for her daughters, and then she said in what is nail- on-a-chalkboard  twang, “I just don’t know how they’re gonna grow up. It won’t be with class,” as she sipped red wine on the rocks. Yep, all the classy girls put ice in their wine when they are gettin’ white (pronounces waaat) wasted.

Later in the show (because it seems the entire season will center around the Shituation of last week), LeeAnn discussed the incident over lunch with Cary and Stephanie. While speaking about class and having several of her very classy words bleeped out, she said, “Bow at me. See what happens. I don’t give a f*ck.” What the heck does that even mean? Bow at me? I googled it. Nothing. All I could find was bow to me, like in reverence. This, my friends, is one of the major problems with the casting of this show. Where I do not think Bravo was necessarily going for classy, it seems they went for trashy.

After speaking with several other Dallas women, I learned I am not alone in my distaste for how my wonderful city is being portrayed. I promise we don’t all act like these women. We don’t all talk like that, and as a whole, we are all a little disturbed by the overall behavior that we are seeing.

Jesus Juice

Jesus Juice

So tell me, are you wearing your party panties? When is the last time you got “white girl wasted?”

Stars in the Southern Sky



PicMonkey Collage (2)

“Amanda, light of my life …” I can hear his deep bass voice sing.  I close my eyes and drift back to childhood when he would pick up his guitar and start singing this song to me. I know the rest of the words aren’t very appropriate for a brother to sing to his sister, but it doesn’t matter where I am, I hear those five words, “Amanda, light of my life,” and I feel special. Loved. Continue reading

A Close Encounter with Magic Mike (and I’m not talking about the movie)

I went to an all nude male review once when I was eighteen. I used a fake ID and walked in holding my best friend’s hand in one hand and a Zima in the other. I felt out of place. Very out of place. Someone was getting married or turning twenty – one or something note worthy, so I tagged along.

It wasn’t fun. There were no Channing Tatums or Matt Bomers. They were too skinny or too chubby or too hairy or just all together too . . . wrong. When what I can only assume was a grandfather came out in a tuxedo thong, I bolted for the door, tossed my Zima into the trash and waited in the car for my friends. There was absolutely no way I needed to see Peepaw’s pee pee. My eyes still burn from the pee pee’s I did see. I swore I would never ever darken the door of a stripping establishment again. Ever.

A few years later, my friend Ronnie got engaged. We planned her wedding with painstaking detail, which was way far out of my norm. I don’t really do details. Her sister/maid of honor was taking care of the bachelorette party. It would take place at their parents’ house, and there would be tequila and food and lots of fun games, and then after, we would hop in a limo and head to a night club to dance . . . which anyone who knows me knows I love dancing. A lot.

I arrived right on time to the party. I gave Ronnie a big hug. We toasted a tequila shot and danced around in her mother’s living room which had been transformed into a cute little dance floor with Spanish tile lit up by a retro disco ball.

As the night grew later, I wondered when we might leave for the dance club. Did I mention I love dancing? My friend’s sister strutted into the room and shushed all of the ladies, saying, “I have a huge surprise for you and for you, mija.” She looked at Ronnie who’s red stained lips spread into a wide toothy smile. The lights dimmed, and the first few beats of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On,” blasted through the surround sound speakers. When the lights came on, center stage (or living room) stood a six foot five beautifully cut man in blue jeans and no shirt. His head was down, looking at the floor. My eyes traveled from his bare feet to the v in his waist line that shone just above where his jeans hung perfectly loose against his light brown skin. I took in the definition of his abs, his chest, his shoulders. Then our eyes met. He didn’t react, kept his eyes set on me and started moving his hips. Dancing to the slow beat.

My heart thudded hard in my chest. I gasped. Audibly. Out loud.

This beautifully crafted specimen of the male species, this man who was trailing his long fingers down his chest to the buttons on his faded wonderfully fitted jeans, this man who was now in a cobalt blue silk thong,  this man who was watching me, eyes gazing into mine, biting his lip. Sexy as hell. This man. This very almost naked man. Was my.

My high school boyfriend.

My very first love. The first boy to do . . . everything first boys do to girls. And he was dancing in a thong thrusting his self into the air, grinding a make believe something in my good friend’s mom’s living room. And staring at me while he did it.

I’m pretty sure I died. But nope, that wasn’t the end. He started moving around the room. I sat on the end of the couch, and he sauntered right over to me, walk dancing to the beat of the music. He stopped in front of where I sat. I shook my head silently telling him, “No, don’t do it. Please don’t do it.”

But then he did it. He put one leg on the arm of the chair and started bucking the air between his . . . self . . . and my face. I slumped down on the couch, and slipped right under his legs, making a bee line for the door. I sat outside in the scorching sun and waited for someone to come and get me, to tell me this incredibly weird dream was over.

A few minutes or hours or days passed, and then he finally came outside.

“What’s the matter? Why did you leave?”

I couldn’t even speak.

“Don’t be embarrassed. You’ve seen me before.”

Still nothing from me.

We broke up on excellent terms. He and I were still friends. We talked at least a couple times a month, but this little detail of his life remained a mystery to me.

Finally my brain connected to my voice, and I said, “When did you start . . . ” cough ” . . . um . . . ”

“Stripping for bachelorette parties?”

“Yep. That.”

This was apparently a fairly new gig for him. He was working to earn some extra cash to buy a new car. We laughed about how awkward the entire situation was and then went inside and had a drink together. He ended up joining us at the night club for dancing (since he’s a professional), where we promised to keep each other informed of any new career moves.

We still keep in touch and not just because he posts shirtless photos on Facebook all the time, but that helps.

Male Review

He looks . . . smart.

Pages of Paige

“Write the best story that you can, and write it as straight as you can.” Ernest Hemingway

I kind of like Ernest Hemingway, so I take his advice as often as possible. That’s what I tried to do when I created Paige and the rest of her story in Dear Stephanie. I tried to write it as straight as I could. And I think I did.

If you’re in the mood for a read that will take you on a shockwave ride of emotions, get your copy today. It’s live, and I’m very proud, but don’t take my word for it.

Here’s what people are saying about my newly released debut novel:

LizziDear Stephanie is a tale of a woman’s battle against mental illness and her own efforts to self-sabotage her entire existence. In spite of her privileges and mind-games, Paige’s story is one of connection and relationship and self. It’s a tale of maybe true love and definitely true love, and loss, and hope, and wonder, and deep, indescribable pain.

It made me laugh.

It made me cry.

It made me angry.

BethDear Stephanie breaks molds.

The realities of the main character – Paige Preston- and her struggles with mental illness and drug abuse are not prettied up, and no bush is beat around. You start out not really liking her, until you do, mostly because she starts to resemble you, with vulnerabilities and fragility. She is human. She is broken.

Castle handles this subject matter with realism and care, never glorifying or exaggerating, which I find admirable. I was genuinely swept away in the story. I laughed out loud, I teared up, I worried, and I felt. You really can’t ask for more than that.

HelenaI was moved to both laughter and tears by this book, which I read all at one sitting, never tiring of the wonderful prose — Castle’s character, Paige Preston, was a delightful narrator, speaking to her audience in a voice that was real and believable.
I’d recommend it to anyone who likes character driven stories and appreciates good writing.

DanaFrom the first chapter, I was hit by the hot mess that is Paige. I often decide immediately whether I like a character, but Paige reveals herself over the course of the novel, and my investment in her grew as I read. She is real, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, and her story stayed with me for days after finishing the book. Even now, over a week after I read it, I am still thinking about it. For me, that is the sign of a good book. It seeps into your pores and settles in.

Chrissy: In my head, I was Stephanie. Paige was writing to me.

She’s confident. Demanding. Beautiful. Flawless. But NOT without flaw. Because no one is. Depression is real, and this character exudes everything and nothing all at once. 

So much happens in so few pages, that I can’t even begin to spoil this for you. I didn’t devour this novel, so much as I was consumed by this novel. I couldn’t put it down (even at work, I kept sneaking a page here and there – sorry boss!).

ReneePaige Preston is ALL THAT – just ask her.

She is every man’s wet dream.

She is also completely hollow and bitterly cold inside, or so it seems.

But sometimes you have to give people a chance to show you who they are.

LisaCastle creates a character who is so substantive, so engaging, that you can’t help but be drawn to her, despite her many flaws and violent demons. You will find yourself breathless several times throughout the tale, right up to the very last unbelievable word.

AndraDear Stephanie is a departure from my usual reading routine, an example of trying something new to shake up a reading rut. At first, I disliked Paige Preston so much I wanted to stop reading. I’m weary of books constructed around unlikeable, unreliable narrators. But Paige wove her spell. She is a well-crafted, deep and disturbed character, manipulative enough to charm even me. 🙂 You won’t be sorry you gave Paige a try.

Dear Stephanie Final eBook cover Laura

Paige Preston wants to end her life. After an unsuccessful attempt, she lands herself in mandatory therapy with a sexy psychiatrist. When he and an even more alluring friend begin to help her break down the walls she’s spent a lifetime building, Paige begins to see something bigger than herself. Is it enough to pull her out of her dark world and help her finally feel like a human? Or will letting someone in be the final step toward her demise?

Dear Stephanie is a sinfully addictive walk through a world of beauty, affluence, and incidental love that effortlessly moves the reader between laughter, tears, heartache, and hope with the turn of every “Paige.”

So, what are you waiting for? Read the book (click here for kindle or paper back), and then let’s have a book club discussion. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Oh, and if you want to win a signed paperback, comment here. If you want a double chance, share something on Social Media with the hashtag #DearStephanie. Thanks for playing!

Thank you to all of the people who have read my book and left reviews. I am forever in your debt, and I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am for all of you.

One Night in Bangkok, or, Quite Possibly My Last First Date

It’s not very often that I invite guests over to my place. It’s pretty sacred to me, so I only open the door for the very special ones, and today (darlings) I’m sharing a very talented, very intriguing writer with you. You may have heard of her. Drum roll, please.

Helena Hann-Basquiat

This is the fourth part of her story, so you’ll want to run over to the adorkable Lizzi’s first, then to the beautiful Gretchen’s, and then to the sexy/sultry/vixen Samara’s. (Looks like my guest chooses good company, too.)

While you all read the other posts, I’m going to get my place set up for my guest. The other girls got out the good wine for her, but I tend to follow the road less taken, so I’m going with a hunch here and pouring my friend, Helena,  a Mandi made Greyhound, and I’m not afraid to say that I make a fantabulous, drinkgasm worthy Greyhound. Here’s how: I fill a glass to the rim (never less because liquor melts the ice) with square ice cubes, and then add a generous pour of Grey Goose Vodka (The rule is to count to five. I count to 7.) Now come close and lean in as I whisper my secret to the best Greyhound you’ve ever had…I only use fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruits. It only takes a minute to squeeze the juice. Don’t be lazy and buy the processed shite. Fill the glass to the rim with the grapefruit juice, and enjoy.

And remember (darlings), don’t drink and drive.

Now sip your drinks while you relish the next part of this swoon-worthy story.

Helena, the world’s your oyster.


After that night at the club — after that dance — we began talking to each other every night on the phone, like a couple of teenagers. Just chatting, talking music, talking movies, so that by the time our coffee date rolled around a week or so later, all the chit-chat was over.

I still wasn’t sure what he was thinking — I’m nearly ten years older than he is, and have, therefore, nearly ten more years of train wrecks and car crashes and heart break and hang ups. Nearly ten more years of lost jobs and one night stands and dabbling with self-destruction. Nearly ten more years of disenfranchisement, of disillusionment, nearly ten more years of the seeds of misanthropy growing inside me and threatening to rot me from the inside out. I don’t have baggage, darlings, I have luggage — a steamer trunk full of ex-boyfriends and alienated friends, of abusive parents, dead siblings and failed suicide attempts.

All of this paints a picture of a Helena that is completely broken — damaged goods, as the kids say — and therefore undesirable. Everything I said to him, though not always so blunt and direct, was basically a variation on the theme. You don’t want me. You can’t possibly want me. What’s wrong with you, if you are so stupid as to want me?

And yet he still called me, said he was on the road from Toronto, and would I like to meet for coffee?

I’d grown comfortable talking to him. I enjoyed it, even, the same way I might enjoy speaking with any of the many faces on the Internet. Even so, I hesitated in saying that I would meet him. I was excited to see him again and yet terrified of ruining what had already become something warm and comfortable. Like an expensive pair of shoes that look great around the house, but that you don’t want to get all scuffed up by taking them out on the street.

Penny practically pushed me out the door, and I was glad she did.

Spenser called and said he’d pick me up, and asked if I’d eaten yet. I’d only just gotten home from work, and was arguing with Penny the whole time about whether I should go or not, so no, I hadn’t eaten, darlings. I was starving, but I wasn’t about to disclose that.

“I could eat, I suppose,” I conceded.

“Oh, good,” he replied. “I’m starving! I wanted to beat rush hour traffic, but I guess I missed my window. I’ve been sitting in traffic for an hour and a half, and my fingers started looking appetizing.”

It was supposed to be coffee, I reminded myself, and told Penny I’d be home early. She made some lewd gestures at me while Spencer wasn’t looking, and said she wouldn’t wait up. Of course, when I strolled in at four o’clock in the morning, she was eating Cookies and Cream ice cream and sipping Bailey’s Irish Cream, and waiting to hear all about my night.

“That was the longest fucking coffee I’ve ever heard of!” she cried excitedly when I crept in the door, hoping to enter undetected. I nearly jumped out of my skin, not expecting to be verbally assaulted so soon after my return.

“Jeeebus, Penny!” I screeched, and then I couldn’t help myself, darlings — I broke out laughing, and the sound of my own laughter brightened my heart.

I jumped over the back of the couch and plopped down beside my favourite niece (Penny insists that at this point I remind you all that she’s my only niece, and I counter by insisting that she’s my favourite only niece) and gave her the biggest squishy hug I could manage, until she was crying for mercy.

“So,” she said when she recovered. “It went well, then?”

I composed myself and feigned boredom.

“It was okay, I suppose.”

“Do I need to go to the drug store for a pregnancy test?” she asked cheekily.

I smacked the back of her head and asked her exactly what kind of slut she thought I was.

“I never really thought about it, Helena,” she answered, courting death with fearless abandon. “I suppose more research needs to be done as to how exactly to quantify and qualify sluttiness.”

“And just for that, I’m not telling you anything,” I said, standing to go to bed. Of course, I was just teasing, and I suspect the Countess knew it, because she called my bluff.

“Okay then,” she yawned. “Nighty night. Sleep tight.”

“I was completely unprepared,” I sighed, sitting back down beside Penny and putting my head on her shoulder.

All week long we’d discussed music — it’s not often I get to talk music with someone who knows it as well as I do — and discovered that, among other things, we shared a love of Tom Waits. It made sense, of course, him studying Jazz — all that early Tom Waits is neck deep in barroom jazz, mixed with American folk and blues, run through the electric conduit that is Tom himself. His storytelling, his characters, his many voices, plucked right out of Tin Pan Alley and set on a gin-soaked stage, have held me captive for years. When Spenser told me that he had a few Tom Waits songs in his set list, I was tempted to just ask him to find a piano and play for me all night — but that would have to wait for another night. This was just supposed to be coffee.

We got in his car — nothing special, just four wheels and an engine, as he described it — and he popped in a CD of all his favourite Tom Waits songs.

“Where are we going?” I asked, and he kind of tilted his head, like that dog from the old RCA ads.

“You know, I’m not sure yet,” he said, and I didn’t believe him. Later, he’d try to convince me that he really didn’t have a plan that night, that everything really was spontaneous, but I remain unconvinced. But only because I don’t like being wrong, darlings. You understand.

We drove for an hour, down toward Niagara. It was only supposed to be coffee, but at some point, Spenser got in his head that he wanted to take me somewhere specific.

“Do you like Thai food?” he asked, and I may or may not have jumped up and down in my seat, screaming like a five-year-old that Helena loves Thai food! Yummy yummy!

Okay, I probably didn’t. I may have grinned, which gave away my position, and so any attempt at downplaying my enthusiasm was futile.

This wasn’t supposed to be a date. It was just supposed to be coffee. And yet somehow, we ended up at the greatest restaurant ever — though you wouldn’t know it from the outside.

“This is kind of a dodgy neighbourhood,” I remarked, as we parked in the lot of a convenience store, which was right across from a Bingo Palace on one side and a hospital on the other. It was not even dark out yet, but there were already ladies standing by phone booths and stopping cars as they came out of the Bingo Palace’s parking lot. They might fool other people, but I’ve seen too much not to recognize prostitutes when I see them.

Spenser laughed. “Yeah, it kind of is. But I promise you won’t regret this.”

I thought that was pretty confident, considering the restaurant looked like it should be condemned from the outside.

But then we stepped inside, and my jaw hit the floor.

I’ve never been to Thailand — never even been anywhere close to Southeast Asia, but it was everything I imagined Thailand would be. Two effeminate twelve-year-old boys were selling sexual favours to American tourists as we came in, and in the corner, you could get cheap plastic surgery, no questions asked. In a back room, Leonardo DiCaprio was drinking snake blood and Yul Brynner took the stage singing “One Night in Bangkok.”

“Hang on a minute!” Penny interrupted. “I think you’re getting carried away here. Yul Brynner? Isn’t he dead?”

I stared at her, thinking back to all the stories that Penny has told me over the years, and smirked.

“Really?” I asked. “That’s where you draw the line? With Yul Brynner? What about the rest?”

“I’m willing to concede the possibility of the rest of your story,” the Countess said through a mouthful of cookies and cream. “But dead is dead.”

“You know what?” I said, ignoring her. “This is my story, and I will muddle the details as I see fit. Now, where was I?”

“Zombie Yul Brynner was telling Moses something about The Magnificent Seven.”

“Oh, so you do know who Yul Brynner is,” I said.

“Was,” she corrected. “Still dead. And of course I know who Yul Brynner was. He was the King of Siam. Geez, Helena, what kind of uncultured swine do you think I am?”

I considered echoing her response about sluttiness from before, but instead, launched into a chorus of Getting to Know You from the Rogers and Hammerstein musical The King and I.

I may not have been completely accurate in my description of the Thai restaurant in my previous statement, darlings, and so I hope you can find it your sweet little hearts to indulge and forgive me. The restaurant was, in fact, lovely — beautiful wooden tables carved out of sections of large trees, dim lights and candles. This was not coffee. This was a date. This was romance.

We were brought to a booth, and it looked unusual to me at first, until I understood. These booths were on elevated platform, so that you sat on the floor, with your feet dangling beneath, with the table low to the ground. They were very private, with curtains around them, and satin pillows in the corners.

Our waitress came, and placed one of the satin pillows down to kneel on. She was dressed in whatever the Thai equivalent of a kimono is, and poured tea for us, and took our order. I felt like royalty. Spenser must have seen the shock and delight in my face, and though I hadn’t said anything, he smiled at me, eyes wide, and nodded.

“I know, right?” he laughed. “Isn’t this place amazing? Wait until you try the food — make sure you get some lemongrass soup — I’ve never had anything like it anywhere but here.”

It was ridiculously amazing food, and we joked and made fools of ourselves, sharing dishes back and forth, daring each other to try spicier and spicier dishes. I couldn’t believe I’d ever been nervous or afraid of this. I’d never felt so at home with anyone so quickly in my life. He accidentally dropped a tiger shrimp in his lap, and I laughed at him — I mean, I laughed at him the way I would laugh at Penny if she’d done it. Completely bad etiquette for a first date — and I’d completely forgotten that that’s what this was — but I laughed at him, and he laughed back, and stole a shrimp off of my plate to replace the one that had fallen on his lap and on to the floor.

And I let him.

We ate so much food that we were both slightly comatose, and after the waitress came around to re-fill our tea for the third time, we kind of got the idea that they wanted the table.

He paid the bill — I tried to pay for it, but he insisted that he’d invited me, and that I’d only been expecting coffee. Then we walked out of the magical restaurant full of brass and silk and darkly stained wood and candles and strange exotic paintings, back out into the street, where Bingo night was in full swing and the sound of traffic threatened to spoil the magic.

The sun was going down, but the night hadn’t yet arrived. I didn’t want the day to end, and I told him so. He looked at his watch.

“It’s not even nine o’clock yet,” he said. “What do you want to do?”

I thought about where we were, and suggested maybe going for a walk by Niagara Falls.

You may think that sounds perfectly boring, but personally, I liked the idea of just going for a walk with him, darlings, so you think what you like.

Spenser agreed that would be nice, and so we got back in his car and started driving again, taking back roads and listening to more Tom Waits, until we came to a crossroads, and at that crossroads was something I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager.

We could turn left and head toward Niagara Falls, or we could turn right and go to the Drive In movie theatre, which was just starting up.

“So you went to the Make Out Movie Theatre,” Penny said with a grin.

“Well of course we went to the theatre,” I said. “But there was no making out.”

“What?” Penny said, spitting ice cream out of her mouth in most ladylike fashion.

We decided on that Planet of the Apes movie and whatever else was playing with it, I can’t remember. We parked the car, got some popcorn, leaned our seats back, and watched the movie. We chatted some, without feeling the need to fill the silence with words, and other than incidental touches, he didn’t try anything. We finished the movies, and I confess I was beginning to worry that maybe I’d disappointed him somehow, or that maybe he wasn’t attracted to me, or that he was gay, but when we pulled out of the lot, he asked me if I minded if he took the long way home.

“Because I’m having a really good time, and I just don’t want to take you home any time soon.”

I laughed, and secretly melted inside. “You’re totally going to kill me and drop my body in a ditch, aren’t you?”

“Never,” he deadpanned sincerely. “I always eat my kills.”

“Well, okay, then,” I agreed, settling in for the drive.

“We ended up getting lost along the way,” I told Penny. “We got turned around somewhere where the highway changes direction or something, but we didn’t mind, we just kept driving until we figured out where we were, and then he dropped me off here.”

Penny looked at me in confusion.

“Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute,” she said, waving her hands at me like a crazy person. “You mean to tell me that you were out all night with this man, and he didn’t try anything with you?”

“Okay, well, I lied — he did hold my hand for about ten minutes during the second movie. It was sweet.”

“Oh, that is sweet,” Penny said, uncharacteristically doe-eyed. “So are you gonna see him again?”

“Oh, you better believe it,” I told her. “And next time, he’s going to try something, by god, or I will!”




The enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.
She’s written cookbooks, ten volumes of horrible poetry that she then bound herself in leather she tanned poorly from cows she raised herself and then slaughtered because she was bored with farming.
She has an entire portfolio of macaroni art that she’s never shown anyone, because she doesn’t think that the general populous or, “the great unwashed masses” as she calls them, would understand the statement she was trying to make with them.
Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

Earlier this year, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, and has finished Volume Two and is in the editing process.

Volume One is available HERE in e-book for Kindle or HERE in paperback.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell Find more of her writing at or connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat

The Penis Monologues Have Not Forgotten You

It’s been a while, but I had to bring back the Penis Monologues because basically, I still have questions, and they’re not even mine. Remember back when you all submitted your questions and I said, “Hey, we’ll do this every week until we answer them all?” Yeah, well, then summer happened, and I got sucked into the sunshine and water and jumping up every time I open my lap top to get a snack or break up a fight. But I haven’t forgotten you, my loyal readers, and when I make a promise, I keep it…even if it gets a little postponed. Forgive me? Good because I have a treat for you. Continue reading

Leapin’ Lizards

“Mo-om!” My three year old daughter called from the bathroom. I slowly shuffled to where she was brewing with excitement with what awaited me. I helped her get herself in order. Then I washed my hands, dried them, and started heading out into the small hallway by my bedroom. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed movement in my bedroom. I quickly completed a status check in my head. It took me about half a second to realize son and dog upstairs, husband in his office, daughter and I in the doorway of the downstairs bathroom, but something moved in my bedroom.

I turned my head quickly and held my hand flat against my daughter’s chest to keep her in the bathroom. Just then, I saw a tail. Continue reading

The Penis Monologues (Pillow Talk 101)

Last week, we met my Fab Three who were all so very gracious to answer questions about appearance, both ours and theirs. If you missed it, click here to get enlightened.

To remind you, Dave is our single guy (totally on the market, and after reading his answers, if you’re single and not trying to pick up on this guy, you’re crazy) . Phil loves his girlfriend and is committed to just her (lucky girl), and Don is a happily married father of three (who makes me laugh…a lot).

Today we’re taking our Q & A to the bedroom and digging into their sexy thoughts, so, without further ado, put on your naughty clothes, pull out the cuffs and whips (or rose petals if that’s more your style), and let’s talk about S-E-X, baby.
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The Penis Monologues

I wanted to get inside their heads, to find out what they were thinking, and by “they,” I mean men, so I asked three of my favorite online guys, and being the great sports that they are,  all three graciously agreed to answer our questions.  Apparently, I’m not the only one who wants to know because ladies and gentlemen, you brought some fabulous questions, so many that I am going to do a weekly installment of “The Penis Monologues” until we have them all figured out…and by “them,” I mean men.  

Today we tackle what men really think about appearance, but first let me introduce you to my guys.

I crossed the demographics and found us a single guy,  a guy with a girlfriend, and a married guy.

Representing the single guys is my California boy, Dave, aka Hellabuzzed. Did you hear that, ladies? This one is on the market.  One (and it’s hard to pick just one) of my absolute favorite things about Dave is his candor. He tells it like it is, and even if I don’t want to hear it, he’s usually right.  He’s adorable, charming,  smart, and he always makes me laugh. What’s not to love? If you’re interested, leave your bio in the comments, and we’ll see what we can do. Kidding…kind of.

Commonly referred across the interweb as “Hotberg,” is Phil. Phil likes to tease me with his hot (keep reading) spots around NYC over at his blog: The Regular Guy NYC. If you ask me, he’s anything but regular.  But ladies, we have to back off of this one.  He’s fully committed to his girlfriend.  He does, however, like to blog naked.  You’re quite welcome for the visual as you read his answers to our questions.  Is anyone else smiling?  I know I am. *winks at Phil*

And then to even out the playing field, I give you the married guy, Don. Don has a huge heart, is a great father, and a loving husband. He loves to swear and can be bribed with Bud Light Lime, but he can also tug on my heart strings when he tells stories of his kids.  He’s quick with his wit and with his pistol because when he isn’t writing over at Don of All Trades, he puts on a uniform, carries a gun, and keeps the bad guys where they belong.

Now that we know who we’re talking to, let’s pop open a beer, put our feet up, and get comfy in the man cave as we try to figure out what’s going on in those thick enigmatic XY heads.

Beth (who gets full credit for the title of this series) from Writer B is Me would like to know:

Do you even notice cellulite, or is it just women who obsess about it?

Dave:  Yes. Guys notice cellulite, and it is not attractive. It doesn’t matter if it is white, brown, black or any color; however, I have a lot of respect for women I see out at the gym or walking around town in little short shorts wearing cellulite proudly. It’s the people who decide to cover it up and not be proud of who they are that I personally don’t like. Wear skirts. Wear shorts. Wear what makes you comfortable. If you have it and don’t like it, change it. Exercise.  It’s not permanent. If you have cellulite or not, it doesn’t change who you are inside. Sometimes women just need to say “Fuck it. This is me….like it or don’t like it. Either way, kiss my ass.” Do women like men with big ole pot bellies? It’s the same insecurity.

Phil:  Of course we do, we’re not blind you know. We notice it just as much as we notice our own beer guts, receding hairline, and aging. Men are vain too, but we just hide it a bit better. I think women obsess about it more when it comes to body issue things. Most guys won’t mind if they really care about the lady they are with.

Don:  Is cellulite that stuff that looks like cottage cheese on the back of a woman’s thighs or ass that is totally gross and makes me shiver and want to both laugh and vomit when I see it? No, I don’t notice it. I guess if it were an extreme case, I’d notice, but I’m a pig and generally just stare at a woman’s boobs, so no worries about cellulite there. You women are all beautiful and shouldn’t worry about such silliness. You didn’t ask, but I’d say that it does look better tan though, as all things do. I feel like I’ve lost 20 pounds when I get some color on my skin.

Lizzi from Considerings asks:

Does it matter to you to look good for your woman, or is it a “done deal..why does it matter?” kind of gig?

Dave:  Yes it matters to me. First off, let me say that I am single currently, but I have been in every sort of relationship, so I can speak from experience. I take a lot of pride in making sure I am at my best most of the time, especially when I am in a relationship. I am fairly metro. I like to make sure my hair is always trimmed and my clothes are current and up to par. I like to work out but not because my girl wants me to but because it makes me feel better on the inside, which shows on the outside. I am not the best looking person in America, but I don’t take that as I shouldn’t be presentable. I expect certain things from my girl that I would assume she would expect back from me. I want my girl to take pride in doing her hair and makeup and making sure she looks good…But mostly because I want her to want to look good. You have to be secure in your relationship too. If she is the center of attention and everyone is gawking at her when she walks into a room,  that could be hard for a lot of people. I’m insecure just like the next person, but you have to have confidence. Confident in how you look, how you feel, and how you present yourself to others. Confidence, not arrogance.  For example, when you get married there is no reason to let yourself go. That just means you don’t care enough about yourself to try. I understand marriage and kids is a huge responsibility, but everyone needs time to work on themselves. Guys are very visual creatures. Give them something to look at…….

Phil:  It matters a lot to me to look good for my gal. It’s a total turn on for my woman to see me in shape, and the perks that come from working out and staying fit delivers even more in the bedroom. Plus, I’m the kind of guy that takes care of myself when it comes to grooming and clothes, whether it be times when I dress up or just go casual. Plus, gotta smell good and be clean, as good hygiene is a must. Life is too short to look like shit. Don’t be that guy who smells bad and looks like a shlub. Take care of yourself and look your best, as I know you ladies do appreciate it. Heck, we all know how long you ladies usually take to get ready and look good for us, it’s the least we can do.

Don:  There’s very little argument that I married up and my wife down in the looks department, but the funny thing is that I think I’m more confident in how I look than she is about how she does. Maybe that’s a woman thing? I guess my wife and I have been together long enough that I don’t really concern myself with how I look THAT much. Aside from my stunning handsomeness, I think she also loves me because I’m her friend and an okay dad to our kids, etc. so I don’t worry about her leaving me for dressing like a homeless man or rarely bathing like a single guy might have to worry about. I do still think about her sometimes, like before I get a haircut, or when I’m buying clothes or cologne. If I remember she mentioned she liked a certain style or whatever, then I’ll do that for her, yes.

Dana from Kiss My List would like to know:

Do you worry about aging the way women do? Lines, wrinkles, hair loss, weight gain – does any of that phase you?  How would you fight it, or is fighting it too girly?

Dave:  I worry about aging just as much as everyone else. I don’t obsess about it. I understand how life works, and I don’t fight it. Am I as handsome as I was at 20? No. Not even close, but I try to make myself feel young. I know I can’t go to Vegas and party all night anymore, but that’s okay. I am older, and I don’t need to anymore. The older you get the wiser you get. Unfortunately we are all in a fight against time, and time always wins. I worry about lines and wrinkles and getting fat, but I don’t let it run my life or control who I want to be. I can’t eat what I want now and not expect  the consequences…and I know that going into it. You have to know what you do will catch up on you….Yes, sitting at the beach or the pool is fun and relaxing but remember in 20 years, it’s going to ruin your skin. I actually support people who are into improving their image with surgery or treatments as long as you don’t look like a duck or Joan Rivers at the end….at that point, just face the facts. You are old. Accept that. Everyone gets old. Your boyfriend, spouse and family love you regardless.

Phil:  Sure, we notice it, but most guys don’t obsess about it as much as women do. I’ve been lucky that I still have my hair, and many women like the gray in it now. A few wrinkles add character. There’s the old adage that as men get older we get hotter and women not so much. I think that’s a case by case basis, and depends on how that person has kept themselves over the years, how they dress, genetics, etc. Living in NYC, I see a ton of hot sexy women 40, 50, and older. I also see a ton of guys in their 20’s and 30’s who look like crap and will age very badly. Personally, I’ll admit I have a healthy concern about how I look to others, and do my best to stay fit and youthful. Aging gracefully is bullshit. I’m going to fight it kicking and screaming until the end. So yes, we do worry about aging, but as human beings I think we all do. It’s up to that person to make the best of it. Everyone handles it differently.

Don:  Worry about what?? My appearance? I’m a generally average looking 40 year old man, so I don’t worry about the way I look so much. I have had periods where I’ve not liked the way I felt about myself and I do want to be healthy enough to see my kids grow up, so I guess I’m phased a bit by aging, yes. It certainly doesn’t consume me, but there are times when I see a wayward hair protruding from my ear or eyebrow and think to myself, “what the fuck?”

My 4 year old called me fat a couple of years ago, because I was getting fat, so I did sort of start working out/running to get myself back into semi-decent shape. For me, it’s how I feel more than how I look, but I can’t let myself go too badly because little ones are brutally honest and nobody wants to hear, “daddy your belly is really big” or “daddy you smell funny” all the time.

While I certainly don’t think it’s too girly to work out and try to look good, metrosexual or whatever is beyond my interest level for sure.

Joy from ComfyTown Chronicles asked:

How long do you have to be with someone before you no longer care what they’re wearing, or how long they spend on their appearance when you go out together?  Do pajamas ever really matter past the initial stage, I guess. Why or why not?

Dave:  You should always feel presentable. Don’t ever lose that feeling, everyone. If you feel like a slob, then people will look at you like a slob. When did you stop trying? When you are wearing sweats at the mall, your man is looking at the hot young thing wearing the skirt and low cut shirt. You want your guys to feel that way about you, not her. When you first start dating I understand you are always at your best and gradually it tapers off once you get more comfortable. Don’t ever get to the point where you don’t care….Then don’t cry about what happens after his attention goes elsewhere.

Phil:  Hey, nothing wrong with throwing on the sweats and a t-shirt on a lazy Sunday while watching tv and having bagels. Or just chilling out on the couch after a long day at work and getting comfortable. Yet, I don’t agree with letting it all go as the relationship progresses. Neither me or my gal own pajamas. Never have and never will. Pajamas are the kiss of death when it comes to sex and intimacy. Once you go there it kind of kills the spirit of sexy-time. Maybe me and my gal might be a bit vain but we try to look good for each other whether at home or going out. Believe me ladies, men do notice and we appreciate it.

Don:  Hahaha, as I answer this, my wife is to my right on the couch in her flannel green pajamas. 18 years of her in pajamas and still going strong. I sleep nude and have never ever been able to understand how a person can wear anything to bed, let alone pajamas. That’s what the covers are for!

My wife and I are both really low maintenance, but I guess if my wife suddenly started to leave the house without brushing her hair or teeth or putting on any makeup, I’d wonder what was wrong with her. I’d not say anything and it wouldn’t matter to me outside of wanting to know if she was losing her mind or something.  She’s never been one to make us late because she changes her clothes 52 times or anything like that. We have three kids and they are the reason we’re always late wherever we’re going. They are also the reason we rarely go any place where appearance matters.


So there you have it, ladies. Did you learn anything? Were you enlightened? Are you checking your cellulite in the mirror, too?  We asked for it.

Make sure and tune in next Tuesday when they tackle some of your questions that may or may not have made my guys blush.

If you have any questions you would like to add to the monologues, please feel free to leave them in the comment section or tweet them to me.

Thanks again to my guys. I loved your honesty. We need to know these things.