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New Comic Book Day March 4, 2020: My Pull List And Pick Of The Week

Reading comics is one of those special activities that works during any time of the year. When it’s cold out, there’s no greater feeling than curling up under some blankets, downloading some new comics via Comixology, and letting the inherent awesome warm your soul. When it’s hot out, there’s no greater feeling than sitting out in the sun, getting your new comics through Comixology, and soaking in both rays and awesome.

New comics can make any season more enjoyable, by default. There have even been Wednesday mornings when it’s pouring rain outside and I still sit on my porch, reading new books while drinking a hot cup of coffee. The experience is nothing short of Zen like. I’ve tried it in a blizzard too. It doesn’t work quite as well, but it still works.

I say that because this is usually the time of year when the weather is nice enough on a Wednesday morning to watch the sun rise while reading new comics. Whether you’re at home or on a beach, it’s a great feeling that I recommend every comic fan enjoy at some point in your lives.

This week is the first of many opportunities. I’ve got another lengthy pull list, including a few books that I’ve been closely monitoring. What follows is the list of books I have on hand this week and a pick that will make that morning sunrise that much more beautiful. Enjoy!


My Pull List

Black Cat #10

Daredevil #19

Dr. Doom #6

Excalibur #8

Iron Man 2020 #3

Justice League #42

Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13

Marauders #9

Red Sonja #14


My Pick of the Week

Teenage superheroes are often hit-and-miss. They’re often high-risk/high-reward characters who can either become beloved global icons in the mold of Spider-Man or they can just become annoying, insufferable, and not the least bit endearing. I won’t name names, but I have singled a few out in the past.

By almost every measure, Kamala “Ms. Marvel” Khan is a hit. She’s probably the biggest hit Marvel has had for a teenage superhero since X-23. She has her critics, but a character doesn’t go from a complete unknown to starring in her own TV series within a decade without being awesome on some levels. “Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13” perfectly demonstrates why she’s so awesome and why her critics are just being difficult.

This book comes out on the heels of a huge upheaval in Kamala’s life outside her superhero identity. Her father is still recovering from an illness that almost killed him and left him with permanent health issues. Her kinda sorta almost boyfriend, Bruno, is looking for clarity when Kamala isn’t ready to give any. She’s a teenager. Emotional clarity is still an emerging concept.

Through all this drama, she still finds time to go to a county fair and hang out with her friends. She also finds time to fight some magic monster hiding in a fortune-teller’s crystal ball and gain a new side-kick in Fadi “Amulet” Fadlalah. That’s a lot for one teen hero to tackle in a single comic, but writer Saladin Ahmed pulls it off beautifully.

In a single issue, “Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13” offers a simple, but dense story that has just the right amount of teen melodrama and teen heroism. Those are the key ingredients for any successful teenage hero and Ms. Marvel mixes them better than anyone not affiliated with Batman.

Kamala takes time to be a teenage girl and a dutiful daughter trying to meet her 9:00 p.m. curfew. She also tries to be a good teenage superhero who inspires others for all the right reasons. Her new side-kick, Amulet, is just the latest example that she is having a positive impact. She’s inspiring others, as good heroes do. The fact she does this while still being an emotionally insecure teenager only makes her more endearing.

If you ever need a reminder of why Ms. Marvel is such a special character, “Magnificent Ms. Marvel #13” offers all that and then some in a single comic. It’s not just my pick of the week. It’s my personal reminder of why I love this character so much and why her upcoming Disney-plus series cannot come out fast enough.

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Lesson About Love I’ve Learned From Writing Romance

When writing, talking, or criticizing a certain topic, we often do so thinking we know enough about it to make it matter. It’s not until we actually make the effort that we realize just how inadequate our knowledge is. It can be distressing and disheartening on some levels, but it can also be revealing.

I’ve been writing romance stories since I was a teenager. I don’t deny that those first stories I wrote were awful. I’ve even gone back and deleted some of them, both from my memory and my computer. They were that bad. I made the effort because I believed I could tell a good, meaningful love story. It wasn’t until I started writing that I realized how much I had to learn.

I’ve learned quite a bit since then, but I don’t doubt for a second that I’ve a lot more to explore. The fact that I’m still single, unmarried, and not dating anyone at the moment is proof enough of that. However, after reading about and writing so many love stories, both as novels and as short stories, I’ve uncovered countless insights into love.

Writing about it, discussing it, and even observing it in people who have found it has taught me a lot. Much of those lessons have found their way into my writing over the years. In the interest of sharing those revelations, I’d like to offer a few of those insights for those still struggling to make sense of this emotion that drives so many people, both in real life and in the world of fiction.

Some may seem obvious. Others may seem corny. That’s to be expected. Love is one of those strange emotions that seems so simple on paper, yet so overwhelming in practice. That’s part of what makes it special. That’s also part of what makes it worth pursuing. Hopefully, these insights help with that.

Lesson #1: Love requires effort, but can become tedious if it turns into work.

Lesson #2: Love is often more opportunity than destiny. Fate may bring people together, but it’s through choice and effort that something comes of it.

Lesson #3: The line between lust and love is often blurred, but becomes more defined when those involved are honest with themselves and each other.

Lesson #4: It’s okay for love to be shallow on some levels, but greater depth is needed in order for it to blossom.

Lesson #5: Being in love means growing and evolving with a person. That means loving someone for who they are and who they’re trying to be.

Lesson #6: Being in love is only part of a functional relationship, but it’s a critical part that can make others work.

Lesson #7: Love isn’t always logical, but genuine love is coherent and consistent.

Lesson #8: You cannot control how, when, and where you fall in love, but you can control the situation around you.

Lesson #9: Being in love, like being in a relationship, is an ongoing feeling. Treating certain parts as endpoints only undermines both.

Lesson #10: In the same way love means different things to many people, the experience of love can be just as different. Even if others don’t understand it, that doesn’t mean the love is less sincere.

Lesson #11: Love is unpredictable, but there are often patterns that become noticeable when you’re honest with yourself and your partner.

Lesson #12: There’s no one right way to love someone, but there will always be many more wrong ways.

Lesson #13: Love build on lies is always unstable in the long run.

There are probably many more I could list or haven’t thought of. If you have some lessons in love that you’d like to share, please do so in the comments.

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Daily Sexy Musings: Love and Secrets

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Being in love with someone means many things. It can also vary wildly from person to person. One couple may show love by sharing romantic dinners and expensive gifts. The other may show love by dressing up like horses and engaging in elaborate BDSM acts. Both can be loving in their own unique way.

That said, there are a few manifestations of love that are almost universal. They span time, traditions, taboos, and kinks. They are among the most powerful manifestations of the intimate bonds that love helps forge. One of those manifestations involves secrets and I’m not just talking about the sexy kind, although that can be part of it.

Being in love with someone means sharing yourself with them. It’s one thing to share resources, money, and Wi-Fi passwords. It’s quite another to share deep, personal secrets that you don’t just share with anyone. When I was with my ex-girlfriend, I told her things that I never told some of my closest friends. She did the same. It was part of what made our relationship intimate.

I don’t doubt that my own parents tell each other things that they never told me or my siblings. That’s the kind of love they have for one another. It can be scary, sharing such revealing secrets to other people. It can also be exhilarating. It can help strengthen a bond with someone in incredible ways. It’s a beautiful thing and a fitting subject of a Daily Sexy Musing. Enjoy!

I know something about you.

You know something about me.

We know something nobody else does.

We are one another’s lock and key.

In a sea of many, full of beauty, personality, and talent, we found one another. That was only the firs step. Falling in love wasn’t even the tenth. If love is a process, then we have cleared most every step, large and small. What started as intimate interest has become something more.

Even so, it’s not enough. Just being with you, feeling you, and knowing you does not quench my thirst for intimacy. Through touch, embrace, and sex, we share our bodies and our efforts. Even those features are basic, occupying the surface of our passions. To love each other, we must take a dance.

To be with you is to trust you.

To be with me is to protect my secrets.

To be together is to guard our bodies, souls, and hearts.

Whether through soft whispers or loud confessions, I expose to you the softest parts of my soul. Just acknowledging these sentiments causes great discomfort. In you, I place my trust. I hope you understand and appreciate my offer. What you have is both a privilege and a responsibility. What you do with it is in your hands.

As I hope, you return the favor. In me, you open yourself. I know your body, but now I know your mind. The thoughts, feelings, and knowledge that you dread most are now mine to hold. I feel the weight of the burden on my shoulders, but I also sense the extent of your trust.

Our secrets are now out.

Our lives are now deeply entwined.

Our love is now greater than ever.

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Daily Sexy Musing: Gentle Loving

flirting-couple

There’s a time and a place for the raw, unbridled passion. I’ve explored many of those passions in my novels and sexy short stories. I’m sure plenty of lovers out there have experienced it as well in some form or another. It definitely has a place in our collective love lives.

While that sort of passion tends to be a greater spectacle, the gentler side of passion can be just as powerful. Some of the most memorable moments I’ve had in my personal life were of the tender, gentle kind. They weren’t crazy or wild. A big part of what made them so meaningful was just how subtle they were.

Sometimes it takes the form of a light touch. Sometimes it can take the form of a sensual massage. However it manifests, it has the potential to be intensely intimate. It’s often harder to explore, if only because it requires a deeper connection with someone. That’s exactly what can make it so rewarding, as well.

I’ve mused plenty on the rougher, messier side of romance. This Daily Sexy Musing is a more thoughtful exploration of the softer, gentler side of that intimate equation. It’ll probably never be a major scene in a romance movie, but in our real-world personal lives, these moments will likely stand out more than most. That alone makes them worth embracing and worth contemplating.

The day is done. We’re both drained and restless, needing relief of any kind to balance our fragile spirits. A good meal, a light drink, and a caring gesture only go so far. To feel whole again, we need something greater. However, we cannot achieve that feeling on our own.

It must be soft, yet strong.

It must be simple, yet profound.

It must be deep, yet basic.

It must be easy, yet complex.

Such demands seem so daunting, but the solution is so obvious. We need not venture far, nor exert energy we cannot spare. Everything we need is already within our grasp. I stand before you and you stand before me. Together, we can forge this feeling and we already know how.

First, we embrace.

Second, we kiss.

Third, we touch.

Fourth, we dare to touch more.

There’s no rush, but plenty of urgency. We find a quiet place, closing the door and dimming the lights. Our clothes come off and our bodies are drawn together, like subtle gravity coupled with volatile chemistry. One instinct urges us to pounce with lust. Instead, we carefully navigate through calm waves of passion.

As we lay together, a gentle warmth emerges from soft touching. Our fingers tease and tantalize every inch of square flesh, evoking the lightest of tingles that resonate with the strongest of sensations. In every kiss, our lips barley graze, but it’s enough to taste the depths of one another’s soul. Through the lightest gestures, the strongest feeling emerges.

A simple touch becomes a fond caress.

A simple kiss becomes a powerful message.

A simple embrace becomes everything we want and need.

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Daily Sexy Musing: Long Distance Love

Smart phone love connection

If you’ve ever been in love or followed romance in any capacity, you’ve probably heard the saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder. As someone who has consumed more romantic media than any straight man will dare admit, I can attest that it’s one of the most common mantras that doesn’t involve old Beatles songs.

At its core, it makes an important point about the strength of love. It’s not always possible for two lovers to be together, if only physically. Even before the age of the Internet and Tinder, the natural chaos of life required people to part ways every now and then. When that happened, the extent of someone’s love truly reveals itself.

I know this because one of the most serious relationship I ever had was a long distance relationship. In college, I dated a girl who went to another university that was not just a quick bus ride away. Much of our romantic exchanges had to happen through a phone or a computer screen. It was tricky, but it did make those moments when we came together that much more meaningful.

Relationships over distance are tough. There’s a good reason why over half of them fail in the long run. However, those that succeed show a strength that reflects just how powerful love can be, despite the distance. Even though my long-distance relationship didn’t work out, the romantic in me can’t help but admire those that do.

For some, a long-distance relationship is untenable. There’s just no substitute for true physical intimacy. For others, however, distance really does foster a fond heart and that heart beats stronger when they finally get a chance at intimacy. This Daily Sexy Musing is a brief exploration of this old romantic saying and its deeply intimate undertones.

When I first felt your touch, there was a spark. That spark became a fire and that fire became an inferno. The memory still burns hot in my mind, from the moments that led up to it to those we created after. With one touch, the breadth of our passion was born.

Then, new obstacles emerged.

Then, new endeavors revealed themselves.

Then, new distances formed.

Between us, the gap widened and grew. Suddenly, the memories of your touch became more precious. For long periods, it is beyond my reach. I can only evoke those memories through screens and sounds from afar. They keep the memory vivid, but they make that fire burn brighter.

Through the distance, I feel your love.

Through the distance, I convey my desire.

Through the distance, I long for you.

Through the distance, I seek the right strength.

At times, it gets so cold and lonely. Memories and messages only go so far. Warm reminders keep our love going, but only adds to greater longing. Every moment we spend apart becomes a moment of escalating tension. On some nights, it’s unbearable, knowing you’re out there and I’m not with you.

Finally, you return and the tension breaks.

Finally, you touch me again and a new fire erupts.

Finally, you are with me and our love is stronger.

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Daily Sexy Musing: Flowers And Roses

couple-hugging-cuddling-flowers-boyfriend-girlfriend-man-woman-romance-love

As someone with a long and tortured history with allergies, I admit I’m not too fond of flowers and roses being symbols of romance. That said, I don’t outright resent it. I understand the appeal. I’ve even embraced it a time or two. It’s just hard to appreciate when romantic sentiment is mixed with itchy eyes and severe nasal congestion.

However, these are just some of the things we brave in the name of romance. Back in college, I remember picking up my girlfriend from the airport so we could spend our first Spring Break together. I was excited, nervous, and anxious for any number of reasons. In an effort to set the mood, I bought her some flowers and gave them to her she arrived.

Without getting too heavy into personal details, I’ll say those flowers definitely helped. To this day, that was one of my favorite Spring Breaks of all time. Flowers, roses, and all the colorful plants we associate with romance help convey a certain sentiment. There’s just something special about their beauty and their scent that puts us in the perfect romantic mood.

With spring upon us and summer fast approaching, flowers and roses of all types are in bloom. It’s still murder on my allergies, but it still sets a uniquely romantic mood that can get sexy real fast. That mood, and the romantic undertones behind it, is more than deserving of a Daily Sexy Musing. Enjoy!

There’s that smell, again.

There’s that distinct rich aroma, once more.

There’s that special feeling it evokes, so often.

For just a small fraction of a turbulent year, the changing seasons inspire natural passions. The cold, brutal nights are gone. Trees, grass, and animals awake to warmer days and fertile lands. Within that bountiful transition, fields of roses and flowers bloom. They signal to us that the time has come to emerge from our shelters and embrace a world reborn.

The sights of greener pastures and the sounds of lively fauna are joyous, but it’s that scent that hits first. We both feel the impact, as if jolted from a long slumber. In an instant, realize how much we’ve repressed and restrained ourselves. Now, it feels like nature itself is urging us to unleash our desires.

I pick up a flower.

I pick up a rose.

I inhale the sweet smell.

I present it to you.

No words need be said. The message is clear. Sweet smells, vibrant colors, and welcome warmth tell us everything we need to know. Gone are the layers of clothing that protected from the cold, but created a barrier between our flesh. With nothing to hinder us, we follow the meaning behind the scent.

It’s a fertile halo.

It’s an intimate symbol.

It’s a gift from nature.

It’s a key to greater passions.

Surrounded by warmth and scents, I take you as eagerly as you take me. Every pent-up desire comes pouring out. In a sea of flowery beauty and rosy scents, we light the spark that ignites our love. Sweet gasps mix with sweet smells. In a fertile new world, our spirits are renewed.

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Daily Sexy Musing: First Crush

21-teenageromance

Who doesn’t remember their first crush? I ask that question knowing that some people cringe at the memory of who they used to pine for. At the same time, there are some people who ended up marrying their first crush. Some of them are still together. For romantically-minded people, it can be both beautiful and sobering.

Growing up, I was a socially awkward kid with little confidence and an acne problem. However, that same awkwardness made the attraction I felt to girls seem more intense. I think some of it played a part in me becoming such a romance fan. That was especially true of my first crush.

I’ve talked about it before and while nothing came of it, I still remember it fondly on many levels. It marked the first time I sought to connect with someone on a level deeper than friendship. It also helped remind me that I wasn’t a kid anymore. These were mature, adult feelings. They were overwhelming and stressful, but they were also exciting and new.

Regardless of who our first crush was and what came of it, if anything, it’s often one of those pivotal moments that sticks out whenever we look back on our lives. We don’t always appreciate those moments, especially if they’re embarrassing. It’s still a major milestone. It’s the moment we start seeking love, sex, and everything that goes with it. I hope this Daily Sexy Musing makes those moments more memorable. Enjoy!

It starts with an idea.

It turns into a spark.

It grows into a flame.

It becomes a defining moment.

In my young, inexperienced mind, everything is so new and mysterious. The world seems so daunting, but my desires are so basic. I long to embrace, connect, and love. I just don’t know how or why. The child in me has become more silent. A new voice is emerging and it’s drawing me to you.

In a sea of many others, you somehow stand out. When I look at you, I don’t just see another figure navigating the boundless chaos. I see a beacon of light through dark, choppy waters. The mere sound of your voice draws me in with hypnotic allure. I don’t understand it, but I feel its power.

I’m scored, but excited.

I’m confused, but focused.

I’m lost, but driven.

This feels so strange, but it seems so right. I don’t call it love. I’m too young for that. The lingering child in me clings to a simpler understanding. Love is for mommies and daddies. It’s for children and their parents. I’m not ready for it. I don’t want to be ready. However, it’s too late.

I think I want to be with you.

I think I want to embrace you.

I think I want to love you.

Thoughts and feelings clash. Hormones and influences add fuel to the fire. Just being near you renders me short of breath. I cannot hope to process it. I have no idea how to act. I don’t even know if you feel the same.

The unknowns are many and the certainties are few. Within those select few, I realize one important truth.

I have a crush.

I know love.

No matter how overwhelming or mysterious it may feel, I like it and I hope to love it.

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Sex Education Vs. Love Education: Why We Need More Of The Latter

Talk to most teenagers about the awkward moments of their lives and they’ll usually agree on a couple themes. Puberty did all sorts of weird things to their bodies, talking about sex with parents is very uncomfortable, and there’s no easy way to explain certain stains in your underwear.

Even adults who survived their teenage years would agree. That jarring transition from kid to adult is fraught with all sorts of challenges, obstacles, and exceedingly embarrassing moments. I’m not just talking about awkward boners either. It’s overwhelming, so much so that we often need guidance, even though most never admit to seeking it.

This is a big reason why sex education is so difficult, which I’ve discussed before. At least parents, teachers, priests, and poorly-produced after school specials tried to teach kids about these topics. Sure, some of it was misguided and misleading, but at least it wasn’t ignored.

There was one particular topic, which happened to be closely related to sex, that rarely got mentioned. In fact, it was only ever hinted at indirectly, if not overlooked purposefully. It might very well be the greatest oversight that school, parents, and society have committed, short of informing teenagers that pictures of their genitals are never secure.

It has to do with love. No, I’m not talking about the kind we make in a bedroom or within my sexy novels. I’m talking about the real, sincere love that most of us only know from old Beatles songs. Yes, I realize that sounds cheesy as hell, but that’s exactly my point.

Growing up, talking about sex was awkward and uncomfortable. It evoked all sorts of giggles, jokes, and crude remarks, often with respect to certain aspects of human anatomy. At least we talked about it. At least we acknowledged that it’s there and it’s something adults at least try, albeit haphazardly, to teach us about.

The same can’t be said for love. In some respects, talking about love is even more taboo than talking about sex. There was never a class about love. There was never an open discussion about what it meant, how it felt, and how to approach it. We, as hormonal teenagers, were left to figure it out on our own. That already leads to all sorts of problems with sex. Why wouldn’t the same apply to love?

Unlike sex, though, the silence on love has nothing to do with the agenda of religious zealots, government bureaucrats, or parents too horrified to think about their children getting naked. It had more to do with our attitudes, as teenagers.

I don’t know how it is now, but when I was a teenager, I hid the fact that I enjoyed romance. In many ways, my love of comics provided a shield since comics have all sorts of great romance stories. If someone found out I read comics, that wasn’t too big a deal. Liking comics wasn’t too taboo, but liking romance was different.

To enjoy romance, especially for a man, was to be a sissy. It was like there was something wrong with you to actually be into that sort of thing. Just talking about love made you less manly. Never mind the fact that men have done some insanely manly things in the name of love. Just being a fan of love and wanting to explore it was akin to dressing up in bunny pajamas and going to a Metallica concert.

For women, it was somewhat easier, but not by much. Girls were more expected to be into love and melodrama, but that came at a cost too. I knew girls in high school and college who got a lot of crap for being too sentimental, so to speak. Whenever they would talk about love, I could actually see others rolling their eyes and secretly wishing they could mute their friend.

In any case, talking about love was just something that seemed uncool, lame, or insipid. Never mind the fact that everyone seeks love, on some level, and that it goes onto become a major driving force in our lives, just like sex. We just didn’t talk about it and were expected to know it when we felt it.

That, unfortunately, was the most anyone ever dared teach me about love. It was the advice I got from parents and relatives. It was the advice I got from teachers. They would tell me the same things.

“Love is just one of those things you’ll know when you feel. Trust me!”

Now, I trust my parents and teachers with a lot of things. For the most part, the advice my parents give me is pretty damn good. When it comes to love, though, their advice felt empty and unsatisfying.

To some extent, I suspect they said that because even they didn’t know. I doubt they got an education on love, even if they got an education on sex. It’s also worth remembering that our concept of love and actually marrying for it is fairly recent. However, that doesn’t make the lack of insight any less jarring.

Even as a kid, I wanted to learn more about love, but had no idea how to go about it or who to talk to. I suspect others felt the same, but didn’t want to bring it up because it was just too uncool. I ended up learning most from comic books, TV shows, and movies like “Crazy/Beautiful.”

While those offered some insights, you generally don’t want to learn too much from mass media. That’s why we have an ongoing issue about kids learning about sex through porn. It’s also why we, as a society, don’t trust movies to teach teenagers how to drive. We understand mass media is going to horribly skew reality. However, we seem okay with letting it teach us about love.

Naturally, that’s going to cause problems. There are any number of doomed or toxic romances that the media loves to convey as romantic ideals. At least with sex, given the physical elements involved, it’s a bit easier to figure out you’re doing something wrong. Usually, your partner will tell you. With love, though, its a bit harder.

How do you know your understanding of love is healthy or even feasible? How do you know that your concept of love isn’t misguided or flawed? How do you even go about pursuing love, forging intimate bonds, and working with someone to strengthen that bond?

Those are not rhetorical questions. Those are actual questions that never get asked, let alone answered. Humans are a very emotional species. Love is among the most powerful emotions any human can feel. To not talk about it is akin to ignoring that at least half your body is on fire. At some point, the burning becomes too intense.

I don’t deny that our current standards for sex education have room for improvement. However, we haven’t even contemplated standards for education about love. Like our desire for sex, love is one of those innate human feelings that we cannot and should not turn off. It shouldn’t be one of those issues that’s uncool to talk about. It sure as hell shouldn’t be one of those issues that we ignore, especially for young people.

In a sense, though, maybe this is one of those rare issue where adults and teenagers are on the same page. Neither can claim to have a firm understanding of love. That may mean we have to learn and teach it together, but as an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I can think of few things more worthy of learning.

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