Saturday, September 28, 2013

Travel Tips aka How To Travel With Sex Toys

Greetings my Pretties! 

Since some of you are getting ready to make the trip to the Gay Rom Lit Retreat this year thought I'd throw some general traveling advice your way. There are few things I'm an expert in but after over a million miles I've picked up a few things. Some of these you might know but you know I can't help but to repeat myself. (I'm actually writing most of this on an airplane)

General Suggestions:

1) How To Pack Sex Toys? 
Separate batteries from vibrating devices. This allows TSA to see what's what without searching your carry on. (Putting the batteries in your checked bag is good)…. If someone wants to fuck with you about your sex toy: Own it (you write/read gay romance… seriously, show him/her what you're made of) Bat your eyelashes and ask if s/he wants a demonstration… usually the threat embarrasses the agent enough to shut them up… if s/he's bold and says yes… simply show how the vibrator can take away migraines by massaging your sinuses.  At this point for extra credit look innocent and ask if he thought you used it to bring yourself to orgasm…. makes them sputter every time…
Lubrication can be stored into socks. If you put it in your carry-on make sure it's less than 3oz and the bottle into a plastic bag. (Remember liquids can explode even if you check it soooo bag it baby!)
Rope and handcuffs should be packed in your checked bag. Put them on top of your stuff in a plastic bag because if your bag is inspected the agents won't rip apart your bag to find it. You can also use the rope around your clothing to hold them together.
Paddles or crops can probably be taken on as carry on but even I can make it a few hours… if you really can't make it a shoe will make a good substitute (Just pointing out the obvious).
Condoms in a safe container that's not going to get poked with sharp things… (Yes, saying the condoms from poking so you can... okay there I know you needed me to say it)
2) Call the hotel and airline to confirm your booking, flight times & address of the hotel. (GET YOUR SEATS BEFORE YOU GO).
3) Find out the exact baggage restrictions so you're not surprised. If you have to pay for a checked bag… $25 is a small price to pay for the sanity of having things you need & not having to purchase them. You should check the weight of your suitcases on a bathroom scale or if you travel a lot Marshall's or TJ Maxx has a hand scale is very helpful to avoid charges for overweight bags.
4) If there are any airline frequent flyer cards sign up for them… they are free and even if you don't fly a lot that card let's the airline know you're a person whose considering their airline in the future so you might get a little better consideration.
5) Be nice to the check-in and gate agents… they don't have an easy job and they control your comfort for the next few hours… a smile and being polite goes a long way.
6) If at all possible leave early for the airport… unexpected delays can occur and you can lessen the impact by leaving early. Also running through an airport is so not fun.
7) Mentally become a cow during travel… you move with the herd… don't struggle with delays… find the zen of traveling
8) Bring food onto the plane… even if you're not hungry, those damned snack packs they sell, smell delicious.
9) Wear something comfortable but something you could dress up if it turns out to be your only outfit for a while. I usually go with black… you can't image how many times I've wore someone's else's soda, coffee, or tea.
10) Your feet may swell so rethink hobbling through the airport in heels and if your bag fits under the seat in front of you rest your feet on it.


1) Up your vitamin C intake the re-circled air is filled with germs
2) On long flights I'd recommend a nasal rinse
3) Hydrate on the flight (refrain from alcohol if you decide to indulge hydrate extra)
4) Keep any medications in your carry on (flight delays and lost luggage could cause you problems)
5) Be ready for simple aliments like headache, allergies and colds.
6) I always cover my neck and I never let the air blow on me (for me it = illness)
7) Other than the recycled air the tray tables are the biggest germ spreader… I keep wet naps with me and the first thing I do on a plane is wipe down the tray.
8) Taking an extra baby aspirin makes me feel more protected against deep vein thrombosis = blood clots as well as standing up and walking to the back of the plane and back again. (if you're doctor approves of it)
9) Feeling dry? Wet paper towels then breath in and out of them~~ you made you very own humidifier.


*Really think about what you are doing on your trip. With the GRL we have a list which makes it easy and you'll mostly be inside the hotel unless you venture forth into Atlanta. Make sure you check Atlanta's weather for October.
*Packing on hangers makes unpacking easy. Just fold them over themselves.
*Roll and bag your underwear because it's too creepy to wonder if someone has been through your silkies.
*Any liquids should be double bagged because they can & do explode in your bag on occasion.
*Shoes go along the sides and on the bottom.
*Bring some garage bags for your dirty laundry (I usually do one for dry cleaning, darks, lights… you know the drill implement it)
*Putting a scented dryer sheet or two in your bags freshens everything.
*Bringing a bigger bag that everything fits into is better than having to jungle a tangle of bags.
*Hitting your tooth brush with a hair dryer before you pack it will help cut down on bacteria.

What to pack in your carry on:

a photocopy of your identification (passport or driver's license) & one should be in your checked bag(s)
scarf that can double as a blanket (plane temperatures dip)
phone & chargers
your book/kindle & chargers
cameras & memory sticks & batteries & chargers
laptop & chargers
jewelry (always in your carryon)
one outfit (with two sets of underwear)
toiletries other than shampoo, conditioner and soap you'd not be able to do without in 3oz bottles in a quart bag
sex toys (batteries can be packed)


*Go have an oil change & what ever else you need to do to make your car road ready. Or go to a full service gas station, and tell them you are going on a long trip could they check the oil, water, etc.
*Check your emergency supplies: flares, blanket, jumper cables, water, etc.
*Plan for stops along the way. Is there anything half-way to your destination that will entertain you or get you out of the car for a couple of hours? Find something for both ways before you go. Breaking up the trip saves your sanity. Getting to where you're going in record time but arriving crazy stressed isn't a good trade off. Be good to yourself.
*Follow the speed limit & drive safe (Dead isn't pretty… and those prison sex scenes aren't really that sexy in real life).
*Plan music, podcasts, books on disc for your adventure.
*If you have a no hands way to use your phone (safely) catching up with family and friends is a good way to pass the time.

Your Hotel Room:

*Keep it straight… Nothing says chaos like a mess (especially if you have a room mate)
*Use your suitcase as a trunk… keeping your clutter contained with make your roommate not want to beat you with your shoes s/he tripped over for the 30th time.
*If you didn't pack on hangers bring some light weight ones so you don't hog all the wooden ones in the closet.
*ABC:  always be charging… sharing a room means less available sockets... organize so everyone is charged up.
*Drop your towel to the bathroom floor when you are done and soak up the excess water then kick it out of the way for the next person. When you are getting ready to leave the room and want maid service:  put all the water towels into the tub.
*Sometimes, packing a scented tea light candle is nice in the bathroom at night… less harsh than leaving on the light
*More polite bathroom suggestions:
*Find out if your room has a mini fridge &/or microwave. If so stopping at a convenient store will allow you to avoid consuming old items in a mini bar at crazy prices. (You might want to bring some popcorn from home for a light quick treat that's always fun.)

But the best tip: Have Fun. Shit is going to go wrong… accept it. Keep your perspective as long as you and your loved ones aren't killed/maimed/injured find the joy in the experience>>>as it's happening find the right words to describe it later on in the e-mail to your friends, on Facebook, on your blog, in your book or at a cocktail party. The worst travel experiences make the best stories and sometimes lead you in a direction you would have never taken.

Hugs, Z.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Ode to the Sex Scene

Ode to Sex Scenes

Sex scenes have the power to take 'ew' to 'awwww' and on to 'ahhhh'. In my humble opinion, sex is one of the things that make people confused/disturbed/uncertain/leery about homosexuality. Many heterosexuals are unable to relate to homosexuality because they focus only on the differences. This is one of the largest stumbling blocks to equality. Sex scenes allow for a visibility that can be a priceless education which is one of the reasons I get twitchy about people questioning the validity of sex scenes.

It really is a matter of 'the more you know'. LGBTQIA characters help reduce the differences between heterosexual and homosexual. Our characters experience life's struggles the same way everyone does with the added stress of societal pressure to be 'straight'.

Isn't that enough? Why do I still sing the praises of sex scenes? Even if people know someone who is of a different sexual orientation they can still maintain their prejudice (consciously or unconsciously) that the physical act of homosexual sex sets everything apart. They aren't going to be invited into John&Bob's/Katie&Michelle's bedrooms so gay sex remains shrouded in mystery. By keeping it in the shadows we force it to stay in the 'taboo' box and make it something that 'normal' people wouldn't do and couldn't relate to doing.

Reading a gay sex scene may be the only exposure many straight people are going to have to this activity. While I romanticized it, possibly even fetishize it (cause my Pretties know I worship the edges & celebrate differences) I want to demystify the sex had between two people of the same sex. I want everyone to know it's not a big fucking deal. It's much more the same than different.

By making non-heteronormative sex scenes accessible and pretty, authors of gay romance are helping people accept: Sex is sex and Love is love. Sex scenes can allows to the focus to be on the yum factor. It is my hope the heat and sweetness can melt the differences.

What do you think, my Pretties?

Big Hugs, Z. Allora