Tag Archives: Simone Martel

Eliza in the Garden


“Cat” by laziale93, via Wikimedia Commons


Almost two years ago I interviewed Simone Martel on Flora’s Forum after she came out with her first collection of short stories, Exile’s Garden. Before that, I’d featured her work in Greenwoman #3, (a very memorable story about how her rampant garden resembled her chaotic, seemingly untamed-at-times life), and also in an anthology of garden erotica, Fifty Shades of GreenWe had much in common; we loved to write both fiction and nonfiction and played in many genres, we both lived in Craftsman style bungalows, we were both mad about the garden.

Simone recently came out with a new book. I haven’t read it yet, but I am intrigued. It’s about a college student named Eliza who embarks on an extraordinary journey of self-discovery following a near-death experience. The twist? She’s trapped inside the body of a cat. The story follows Eliza as she adapts to her new reality, holding onto humanity through holding on to the love of the one man who knows she’s still herself. Of course problems abound and Eliza eventually has to confront the truth about what her love is costing both her and the man she loves.

The cover description: “A Cat Came Back is a moving parable about what it means to be a human being and how sometimes letting go can be the price of holding on to who you are.”

Here is an excerpt of Simone’s sensual prose describing Eliza in a sensual settingthe garden, of course!


Simone with roses

The author Simone Martel in her garden.

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Excerpted from A Cat Came Back, by Simone Martel (Harvard Square Editions):

It’s the garden that inspires me to continue this story. I knew I’d feel better outside, though after so many months indoors it feels foreign to me. When I look around, I see very little of Eliza left in the landscape. Wild morning-glory vines smother entire shrubs in heart-shaped foliage, while blackberry canes shoot out of dead plants and waggle in the breeze. However by the pepper tree five silky tulips glisten against the tree’s rough bark. Their colors look murkier to me than I know they ought to be, but my cat eyes can appreciate the tulips’ chunky shapes; solid, even monumental, standing up on thick stems above the sprawling weeds.

Shortly before the accident last autumn, I planted those bulbs. I used my hands, performing a dance of thumb and fingers, wrist and palm, a sort of a hand-ballet, first digging in the earth with a trowel, forming a smooth-sided hole, then sprinkling a trickle of bone meal into the hole, mixing in some coarse sand, nestling the bulb onto the little cushion at the bottom of the hole, tumbling in the rest of the dirt and patting it down hard.

The shade is chilly here beneath the pepper tree. I want to find some sun. As I cross the ruined lawn, my paws disappear in grass so long and thick it perpetually shades the earth below it. The cool, sticky mud and furry moss disturb my feet. I flinch away from the wet and chill, but then I relax and accept the sensations. They remind me of when I used to garden out here. I didn’t mind getting muddy then.

The stone path is warm, so I lie here and enjoy the heat seeping into my body. When the sun moves from the path, I follow it. Eventually I climb into the lemon tree and drape myself along a limb.

The sunlight hits me in the face. I wake and scale higher up the trunk, all the way to the top of the tree. From the uppermost branch, I leap onto the neighbor’s roof, tilting my head before I jump, to help me judge the distance. The gritty roof tiles keep me from slipping back. As soon as I’ve caught my balance I creep up the peaked roof.

From the gable I see across town, clear to the bay and beyond it, to the enclosing arms of San Francisco and Marin, with a smudge of ocean between them, beneath the Golden Gate Bridge. Through this gap, the waters of the bay flow out toward Japan.

Sometimes I think about leaving this place. Maybe I will. For now, I’m content to stay in my garden. I can’t pretend the disorder is attractive, but it’s compelling. As the days pass, I explore deeper into it, creeping through the flower borders and finding tunnels in the tangle of plants. The overgrown borders are dark, secret places packed with life. Pill bugs trundle over fallen leaves, while strange bees drag scraps of shredded foliage into pencil eraser-sized holes in the dirt. Around the roots of the lemon tree, snails mate among the moldy powder-white lemons. I lie here in this patch of acanthus with the huge, jagged green-black leaves arching over me. Now and then, more lemons crash through the foliage and thud to the ground.

Below me I feel the roots of the weeds and trees traveling down through the dark soil, overlapping and winding together. I hear the wordless communication between plants and bugs and birds and even the fungus rotting the fallen branches, even the worms tunneling through the soil.

Rain is coming. I climb the lemon tree again and jump to the house next door. From the peaked rooftop, I watch the cloudy sky. I’m up so high that the rain, when it falls, hits me first. The drops etch runnels down my dusty sides as the wet fur shrinks back. Soon I’m clean and cold.

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You can read more about Simone in this interview, and you can buy her book on Amazon by clicking on the cover below.

 Simone_Martel_ACCB cover proof (2)

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Fifty Shades of Green Blog Tour

We start the tour with a post by Janine Ashbless on her hauntingly sexy tale "Love Lies Bleeding."

We start the tour with a post by the incomparable Janine Ashbless.

Our 20-blog tour starts today! Five days a week, Monday through Friday, for four weeks. Most of the host sites for this one are in Britain so it’ll be fun to see the response from our friends there.

Will they like our collection of naughty gardening stories? Will we make the connections we’re hoping for? We certainly hope so!

All of our Fifty Shades of Green authors are participating. Each has written a fascinating post on what inspired their sexy Fifty Shades of Green story.

I loved reading these posts on the story-behind-the-story. What fun to peek behind the narrative at the history, the spark that began the creative process, the personal experience that launched an erotic garden tale. Oh, I am a sucker for it all.

If you are, too, check it out. You’ll see:

—how Jean Ashbless  (“Love Lies Bleeding”) originally wanted to write about a ghost in a garden.

—how Slave Nano’s Edwardian BDSM story (“Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester and the Walled Garden”) is really all about class warfare.

—how America’s Spanish Colonial history inspired the setting for the tender eroticism of Evey Brett’s “The Pulse of the Earth.”

—how (like me!) T. C. Mill, inspired by her negative reaction to Fifty Shades of Grey was actually beginning the process of putting together her own anthology of feminist erotica, emphasizing mutual consent and communication in sexual relationships, called, at that time, 50 Shades of Negotiation* when she came across the call for submissions for Fifty Shades of Green. Although Mill’s not a gardener it inspired her to write the enchanting “Rosewitch.” (*Her collection’s name changed to Between The Shores and is coming out this fall.)

There are also some slightly silly (but I hope humorous) posts by me on plant sex, insect sex, all kinds of sex in the garden. Because, you know, the garden is a sexy place. And it certainly was a big inspiration for me in creating the book’s concept.

Below is the tour schedule. I hope you’ll follow us on the tour and tell your friends.

Best to you all this Monday morning.


P. S. For this tour Fifty Shades of Green has been discounted on Amazon. It’s at the lowest price it will ever be—and just in time for early holiday shopping!

We're having a great "Tour Sale" right now on Amazon.

We’re having a “Tour Sale” right now on Amazon.

Our Tour Dates

20th Oct.         http://elizabethcoldwell.wordpress.com/

Post: Janine Ashbless, “The Gardener and the Vampire” & excerpt from “Love Lies Bleeding”

21st Oct.          http://ReneaMason.com

Post: T. C. Mill, “Now Underway: Fifty Shades of Revolution” & excerpt from “Rosewitch”

22nd Oct.        http://sallyannerogers0112.wordpress.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf, “How Fifty Shades of Grey Inspired Fifty Shades of Green” & excerpt from “The Pulse of the Earth” by Evey Brett

23rd Oct.         http://jacquelinebrocker.net/

Post: Rebekah, “A Horned God in Her Garden—‘Phallus Impudicus’” & excerpt from “Phallus Impudicus”

24th Oct.         http://InThePagesofaGoodBook.com

Spotlight (no post). Excerpt from “Sunlight and Water” by Colleen Chen

27th Oct.         http://alliwantandmorebooks.wordpress.com/

Post: Gloria Holden, “Hot for (Native Plant) Teacher” & excerpt from “Exploding Alfalfa”

28th Oct.         http://houstonhavens.wordpress.com/

Post: Simone Martel, “Teaching a Techie Gardening . . . and More” & excerpt from “First, Take Off the Hoodie”

29th Oct.         http://lucyfelthouse.co.uk

Post: Evey Brett, “Padre Kino and ‘The Pulse of the Earth'” & excerpt from “The Pulse of the Earth”

30th Oct.         http://eroticaforall.co.uk

Post: Sandra Knauf, “Dirty Hands, Dirty Minds/Naughty Things to Say in the Garden’”& excerpt from “Seed” by Michael Bracken

31st Oct.          http://hawt-reads.com/

Post: Becky Trachsel, “Love’s First Bloom” & excerpt from “The Education of a French Gardener”

3rd Nov.          http://kdgrace.co.uk

Post: Slave Nano “Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester: A Story of Power in Class in the Edwardian Country Home” & excerpt from “Lady Sally Rudston-Chichester and the Walled Garden”

4th Nov.           http://www.myeroticnotions.blogspot.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf, “Ten Places to Have Sex in the Garden” & excerpt from “Seed” by Michael Bracken

5th Nov.           http://locglin.blogspot.com/

Sandra Knauf Interview & excerpt from “Love Lies Bleeding” by Janine Ashbless

6th Nov.          http://galestanley.blogspot.com/

Post: Andrew Peters, “The Gods Screw Around” & excerpt from “The Judgment of Eric”

7th Nov.           http://lcwilkinson.com/

Post: R. R. S. “Sex Among the Rationalists” & excerpt from “Lavished”

10th Nov.        http://belindasbookshelf.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf, “Other Kinds of Kinky Sex in the Garden” & excerpt from “First, Take Off the Hoodie” by Simone Martel

11th Nov.         http://erzabetsenchantments.blogspot.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf “Plant Sex 101” & excerpt from “Exploding Alfalfa” by Gloria Holden

12th Nov.         https://choward2614.wordpress.com/

Post: Michael Bracken, “The Seeds of ‘Seed'” & excerpt from “Seed”

13th Nov.         http://www.kaceyhammell.com/

Post: Colleen Chen, “The Cultivation of Love” & excerpt from “Sunlight and Water”

14th Nov.         http://afterdark-online.com/

Post: Sandra Knauf, “Flowers That Look Like . . .” & excerpt from “Rosewitch” by T. C. Mill
We end the tour with the sexy sorcery of "Rosewitch."

Ending the tour with the sexy feminist sorcery of “Rosewitch.”

Don’t forget: the book is on sale now on Amazon. You can read one free story on the Garden Shorts website and sign up for a second free story.

See what the writers are talking about!





Filed under Art & the Garden, Garden Writers We Love, Green Poetry