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Cobalt Blue: A Novel

A novel for courageous readers and seekers, COBALT BLUE is a turbulent, gorgeous ride into sacred sex..

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Starting Now : Conversation on The Intertwined Nature of Sexuality and Spirituality

Having a personality change here. I’ve decided to use some boldness rather than simply writing about it as I have for these last several years. With this change, I mean to follow more faithfully my calling, which I wrote about here this past February in my last post (below) before taking a break.

At this site we’ll now be exploring the subject I persistently write novels about. Whatever intention I begin with, this one topic keeps finding me.

What is it? The intertwined nature of sexuality and spirituality.

How the sensory/sensual experience can trigger religious experience and is part of such seemingly transcendent or otherworldly moments. How the physical and the spiritual inhabit and enhance each other.

Taking on this topic here requires a wee tad of nerve on my part. Despite the extreme raciness of my most recent novel Cobalt Blue, I’m not someone crusading for or (heavens, no!) publicly demonstrating sexual liberation: I’m no Madonna or Miley, no Lady Gaga or even Dr. Ruth, though I’m old enough to play Dr. Ruth’s successor.

I never meant to write about spiritual experience or about sex. But anyone who has written any fiction knows that stories take their own course. My stories inevitably wind their way to this somewhat touchy controversial subject.

Revelation: Troubled minister hears the voice of God, an experience quite different than expected. Minister, without intending to, experiences further grace through his sexual relationship with his wife.

Sister India: After getting into some sex-provoked trouble, an American girl flees to a Hindu holy city, tries to hide her dangerous sexuality in fat and seclusion and the religious mantle of this city on the Ganges.

Cobalt Blue: A single woman in a small conservative town has a spiritual experience that initially tips her into erotic obsession.

Now I mean to explore here in nonfiction what this is all about, which is to say: with the lights on. Speaking directly rather than through an imagined life that holds me in its spell.

I expect that some posts will be more spiritual than sexy, and vice versa. I expect the subject to take me into related topics such as:

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Church-sex scandals
  • Temptation and addiction
  • Visions
  • Mystics
  • Dreams
  • Desire
  • Celibacy
  • Ecstatic religion
  • Altered states. (My husband, Bob Dick, is a psychologist who often uses clinical hypnosis.)
  • Et cetera

I’m hoping that you’ll take part in this discussion, agreeing or disagreeing, approving or disapproving. I’d love for you to contribute fact, opinion, experience, resources, suggestions, emotional reactions.

Plus, I wouldn’t mind a little company in this enterprise.

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  • September 24, 2014 at 3:54 pm Reply

    This blog is a great idea, Peggy, and I admire your courage in launching it. I’ll look forward to reading your posts.

    • Peggy Payne
      September 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm Reply

      Thanks, Sally! I hope you’ll visit often. Did you see the link to your Late Last Night Books interview with me on the right side of my News page?

      Also, I’ve decided to send anyone who comments on a post a free digital copy of my mini-book, “At Sea with My Writing.” So that’ll be along in a little bit.

  • September 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm Reply

    Peggy, water is also a theme in your writings and it seems to me you are letting the process carry you to yet another experience of who Peggy Payne is and inviting us to get in the boat. You haven’t had a personality change. If we are willing to let go of our own comfortable notions of how things “should” be sexually or spiritually we have no idea what could happen next. Scary, curious, pleasure, learning, leaning. Your husband Dr. Bob often says and I’m paraphrasing, “as long as we learn something every day, it’s a day well spent.” I for one am interested in learning more.

    • Peggy Payne
      September 24, 2014 at 5:15 pm Reply

      What a lovely encouraging comment, Rebecca Greene Dnistran. (Husband Dr. Bob Dick is also quite encouraging in this endeavor.)

      I just remembered how much help you were to me with Cobalt Blue. (To other readers, Rebecca is a psychologist who does sex therapy and I had a session with her as the main character, Andie, in Cobalt Blue.) Have you had many other novelists come to see you in character, Rebecca?

  • September 24, 2014 at 5:20 pm Reply

    Peggy, Yes our writing carries us to places we hadn’t either intended or imagined. My current foray is into the otherworldly realm of high Faery races. I applaud you for stepping into your true voice and seeing where it carries you. Courageous and creative. Brava!

    • Peggy Payne
      September 24, 2014 at 5:51 pm Reply

      Thanks, Jodine Cognato Turner. And you are doing such wonderful work as well at the Visionary Fiction Alliance.

  • Bob Braxton
    September 24, 2014 at 7:47 pm Reply

    (I hate to say it but) God became flesh – and dwelt among us – fully human fully divine.

    • Peggy Payne
      September 24, 2014 at 7:50 pm Reply

      Excellent point, Bob!

  • September 24, 2014 at 8:02 pm Reply

    Happy trails, Peggy! I think it’s great that you are foraging in this field further… 🙂 I enjoy your writing always, and going where the muses guide is always something to trumpet in some way or another. Without our senses, what are we? Certainly not cobalt! How about addressing Sensuality and Memory for a post? I look forward to reading.

  • James
    September 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm Reply

    Should be fun. Just in time for my retirement!

    • Peggy Payne
      September 24, 2014 at 9:55 pm Reply

      Congratulations on your retirement, Jim. And I’ll bet you’re going to be online a lot. I’m happy to have timed this so well.

  • Jane Andrews
    September 25, 2014 at 5:37 am Reply

    This is going to be good.

    Congratulations, Peggy.

    • Peggy Payne
      September 25, 2014 at 1:18 pm Reply

      Thanks, Jane!

  • September 25, 2014 at 2:12 pm Reply

    Peggy…my thought is that you are dealing with the two subjects a great deal of folks feel the most insecure about, we want the teachings of religion to be true but there is always that bit of doubt in our dark recesses…the same can be said of our sexuality, most are always questioning or maybe feeling inadequate compared to what we read or hear about and it causes doubt as well…I do think the two are inter-related, and both are subjects we are reluctant to address openly…congrats on the courage…

    • Peggy Payne
      September 26, 2014 at 12:33 am Reply

      Very thoughtful, Danny. And thanks. (Money is also one of those touchy topics, but that one’s too touchy for me._

  • September 25, 2014 at 2:59 pm Reply

    Hi Peggy,
    YOu are a writer after my own heart! I discovered long ago that passion for the Divine and passion for the flesh are two sides of the same coin—while others are often shocked by sex scandals in the church, to me it makes perfect sense. A passionate nature for God is a passionate nature….Can’t wait to read what you do next!

    • Peggy Payne
      September 26, 2014 at 12:19 am Reply

      Many thanks, Anne. And I do agree about passion — it can aim in many a direction!

  • Lucy McCauley
    September 26, 2014 at 7:34 pm Reply

    Kudos to you and your courage and strength! I don’t normally follow many blogs, but this is a topic that resonates for me and I look forward to your posts.

    • Peggy Payne
      September 26, 2014 at 8:27 pm Reply

      Thanks, Lucy. Very nice to hear from you. I hope all’s well with you.

  • September 27, 2014 at 10:29 am Reply

    I think you’re very brave. It’s so much easier to hide behind our characters and approach these subjects from a distance. Boldness indeed!

    • Peggy Payne
      September 27, 2014 at 7:41 pm Reply

      Thank you, Joe. You’re doing the same thing in your nonfiction.

  • Linda Wendling
    September 29, 2014 at 6:20 pm Reply

    At last! At last! Bravo, Peggy! There was a reason I wanted you for my mentor when I got the Milton Fellowship. It was your ability to blend these two passions, which you did so beautifully in “Sister India”, the book I was currently obsessed with at that time. I have always felt keenly the link between these two arenas of human (and otherworldly) passion, and I am delighted to see you starting this blog! And you are the perfect one to do it! This IS your calling, babe! I’ll be here in this blog catching up with you and, I hope, joining the conversation! At last! At last!

    • Peggy Payne
      September 29, 2014 at 7:02 pm Reply

      Linda, thanks so much for this and for your post on Facebook! I’m glad you’ll be here in the conversation!

  • September 29, 2014 at 7:37 pm Reply

    Best wishes with your new – yes brave – venture. You’re following where your intuition is leading. Good for you. I’ll be back!

    • Peggy Payne
      September 29, 2014 at 7:48 pm Reply

      Thank you, Margaret!

  • Jane Albright
    October 3, 2014 at 6:09 pm Reply

    This should be fun. And so Old Testament. When the Israelites arrived in Canaan, they discovered the Hittites and others using sex in their temples, and hence that “abomination” scripture in Leviticus. The monotheistic religions have been anti-sex ever since. My energy is low in both regards, so I look forward to following this and — maybe — creating a spark. Good luck!

    • Peggy Payne
      October 3, 2014 at 11:59 pm Reply

      I must read up on those Hittites, Jane Albright. And I just got an email about a new book coming out from Gregg Levoy (who is terrific — I read his Callings.) The new one, due out in December, is about re-igniting, or igniting, passion. Should be pretty interesting.

  • October 10, 2014 at 1:36 pm Reply

    I am looking forward to this series!

  • February 20, 2015 at 12:57 pm Reply

    I have always felt keenly the link between these two arenas of human (and otherworldly) passion, and I am delighted to see you starting this blog! And you are the perfect one to do it! – See more at:

    • Peggy Payne
      March 3, 2015 at 12:03 am Reply

      Thanks, mispoojamittal!

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