We’re in a Magazine!

MagazineAd

Yep, that’s Avarice up there in the top right hand corner! 🙂

In all honesty, I completely forgot that I had even submitted for this months ago, so it’s not really a surprise to me, but it’s still exciting to see the results at last!

Indie Authors Monthly is a brand new e-magazine and best of all it’s Free & chock full of Indie resources, helpful articles, author spotlights and yes… even AWESOME ads (like Avarice!) 😀

I was given this opportunity through the Goodreads support group: Navigating IndieWorld Discussing All Things Indie. This is truly an amazing and supportive group for Indies and they’re really open to collaborative blog events, self-promoting and their discussions are endlessly insightful! Plus, the atmosphere there is very friendly and welcoming. Best Selling Children’s Author, Carole Roman is one of the group mods and she is frequently offering amazing, can’t-find-anywhere-else promotional opportunities – Like stuffing your printed books into the swag bags at Hollywood Awards Shows and running ads on Podcast sites.

My books don’t qualify, even if they were in print, no S-E-X allowed in the grab bags!

If you’re not already a member, I highly recommend the NIW group and they have a new website where they advertise Indies with their own author pages, and love getting guest blog articles!

#AuthorsSupportingAuthors

♫ ♪ “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world…” ♪♫

 

Truth In the Name: BDSM

It’s nearly impossible to escape the influx of BDSM themed novels since the popularity was heavily increased by a certain trilogy that will go unnamed. I’m not here to add fuel to fires on either side of the Love/Hate line – but I have seen a lot of reviews and discussions that lead me to believe not many people actually understand what they might be getting by choosing to read a BDSM novel. You might have an inkling or preset expectation due to one of these situations:

Perhaps, you’ve read a light-hearted romance that had a little kink thrown in, a little handcuffing and mild spanking? That is not BDSM.

Maybe you read that one (or all gazillion) about the Billionaire with control issues and a loosely assembled contract he/she never actually follows and set of rules he/she fails to properly enforce, because his/her love/lust for this desired-after sub is enough to have them throwing all their previous unyielding, closed-off ways out the window to become an ordinary lover with a kinky side. This, unfortunately, is the new standard in Fictitious BDSM – it is not even remotely close to Real Life BDSM. No, seriously.

However, this is not a post designed to persuade you either way. This is simply a guideline for readers. A piece of advice, if you will, that if you’re unsure what a novel tagged as BDSM might entail, the best place to start is to take a look at the name, itself…

Bondage/DSM

Most likely a BDSM novel will have bondage scenes, whether this is with traditional equipment such as a St. Andrews Cross, Spanking Bench or the good ol’ leather shackles attached to the bedposts. Sometimes the bondage will be creative and will include items that are readily at hand, such as a woman’s stockings, a man’s tie or a pair of panties.

Bondage serves the purpose of giving a dominant control over the body, while keeping a submissive in a state of vulnerability. It is equally a fetish for both parties, as much as it can be used to build trust and break down a submissive’s self-preservation walls in order to hand more control (power) of themselves over to their dominant.

At its heart, BDSM is a Fetishist Community made up of kinksters in various levels of Power-Exchange dynamics. It is all Consensual, but still takes time to develop like any other relationship. To help expedite that, kink is used just as much for pleasure as it is for forging those bonds.

B/Discipline/SM

This is the one I see people having the most trouble with. For most readers, it’s completely okay for a submissive to get sensual spankings detailed as a kind of foreplay, but the moment their bottoms are getting whipped for stepping out of line, readers are screaming abuse.

It’s difficult to address this issue without actually diving deep into Real Life BDSM, which would bore readers to tears. Discipline is an important part of Behavior Modification and every D/s dynamic is employing some form of Behavior Modification, because it is desired by both parties. Discipline comes in as many forms as you can possibly think of from the mild end of being put in a corner, to the extreme end of being ignored by their dominant, and every spanking, humiliation or orgasm denial in between.

In novels, unfortunately, a writer is limited to what keeps the readers interested, and the story from falling flat. For BDSM novels, the ‘tension’ between lovers is often expressed when the Discipline comes into play. Spankings with hands, belts, whips, floggers and riding crops are the go-to Discipline trope in all Fictitious BDSM novels – to make it worse, when used as the source of ‘tension’ between characters, Discipline only ever seems to happen when the ‘Dominant’ is angry. Hitting anyone out of anger is absolutely abuse. Also, I’d like to note here that any Kink played while a dominant or submissive is under the influence of drugs or alcohol is also crossing into an area that can be deemed as abuse – and in my own personal opinion, that goes for straight up vanilla sex, as well. A person’s mental state should not have to be altered in order to gain consent.

Neither one of these popularly used instances in fiction would ever actually fly in Real Life BDSM. A sub would walk out and never return and possibly report the Dom/Domme to their community’s authority, if not smear their name through the Kinkster social media mud.

If you find that you can’t handle reading a BDSM novel where Discipline is used to enforce/reinforce rules, not out of anger, but possibly disappointment or simply just for discipline itself, then perhaps BDSM really isn’t a genre for you, because that is a very large part of BDSM and goes back to the whole Behavior Modification aspect.

BD/Sadism/M

Not all BDSM novels touch on the extreme end of the Sadism spectrum. For instance, Daddy/Mommy Doms/Dommes don’t tend to have many Sadistic qualities. They’re nurturers and providers, they mainly lean heavily on Behavior Modification, and their Disciplinary actions tend to favor compassionate techniques, rather than straight out lashings, though spanking does typically play a big role in these novels. This is ‘typical’ not to say that a Daddy Dom novel won’t boast an extremely sadistic Daddy, so just make sure to read a book’s blurb or use the ‘Peak Inside’ feature to make certain.

As with all things, Sadism is individual and can range from mild to extreme, and it is not always a physical need to inflict pain. Sadists get their pleasures in many forms, including Denial, Degradation and Humiliation- or any combination thereof. Inflicting extreme pain is, of course, a typical Sadist’s desire in BDSM novels, so again, just make sure you read any Trigger warnings the author has taken the time to put in place (hopefully).

BDS/Masochism

Masochism plays a really small part in most Fictitious BDSM novels, I’ve noticed. It seems to be more popular for the ‘sub’ to not be a masochist at all, but still ends up craving the sexual pleasures derived from being dominated or even (mildly) disciplined. This stems from our societies belief that Masochism is a ‘Weakness,’ when all it really is, is basic biology just like any another personality trait.

Like Sadism, Masochism levels can vary and does not always have to do with craving pain. Some masochists thoroughly enjoy being degraded, abandoned, denied and humiliated, just to name a few. In the seldom BDSM novels I’ve read where Masochism actually does come into play, though, it’s typically of the pain-craving variety.

BDSMSymbol

While the truth behind the genre can be found in the name, BDSM can also depend on the rest of the genre. Supernatural/Paranormal creatures, for example, are probably going to explore the extreme ends of all BDSM, because they’re stronger, more resilient and this gives the writer more leeway to explore areas they can’t necessarily delve into with ordinary human characters – without someone ending up in the hospital or dead.

Realistically, whether an author does their research or has actual BDSM experience, it all boils down to Word Count limits and keeping the story flowing, with plenty of tension between characters – Therefore, the more a writer tries to implement Real Life BDSM scenes, the more readers lose interest. That’s the unfortunate truth, because Real Life BDSM is time consuming and everything is discussed and agreed upon BEFORE any kinky stuff even begins to happen. Before any clothing is shed – if it’s shed during a D/s couples first scene together at all, which is unlikely. Sexual intercourse is also a rare reality in an actual BDSM scene.

Just remember to shop smart, watch out for genre tags: Any time a book is tagged “Dark” or “Taboo” that means it is going to cover areas not very many people are comfortable with or can handle. Also, watch for Trigger/Content warnings and take advantage of the “Peak Inside” feature. This might not only give you a better idea of what kind of BDSM novel it is, but also an example of the writer’s style. I love that feature, really and rely on it far more than reviews or blurbs.

Hope everyone had a great Cinco De Mayo weekend and are fully recovered from the excessive Tequila consumption! LOL 😉

Save

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#MusicMonday

Kings and Queens

by: Thirty Seconds to Mars

Into the night
Desperate and broken
The sound of a fight
Father has spoken.

We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell,
Heaven and Hell.

Into your lies
Hopeless and taken
We stole our new lives
Through blood and pain
In defense of our dreams
In defense of our dreams

We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell,
Heaven and Hell.

The age of man is over
A darkness comes at dawn
These lessons that we’ve learned here
Have only just begun

We were the kings and queens of promise
We were the victims of ourselves
Maybe the children of a lesser God
Between Heaven and Hell.

We are the kings
We are the queens
We are the kings
We are the queens

Small warning: An unexpected moment in this video might make you jump, watch with caution if you startle easily or have a heart condition.

I do not own any rights to this song, video or lyrics. All rights remain with the artists and their respective agents. No copyright infringement intended.

Before he was the Joker… a full length novel could be written about Jared Leto’s immense range of Platinum Album, Save the Planet, Oscar Winning talents and it was really hard to choose which video I wanted to share today, but I think this one showcases his powerful vocals really well.

My favorite song of theirs is actually Hurricane. Did you know the Joker once played a Dominant? – Sign me up, please! 😛

Thirty Seconds to Mars made their music video/film for “Hurricane” back in November of 2010 before the current BDSM craze, but was unfortunately banned for awhile, before the full-length Uncensored Directors Cut found its way onto YouTube at long last. It is not strictly a BDSM video, but that plays a large part. I recommend watching the Making Of Hurricane first, you’ll have a much deeper appreciation for the song, artists and video. They are very graphic, NSFW videos. Please watch responsibly…

♥♥ To learn more about the Echelon Environmental Initiative started by Thirty Seconds to Mars as ABeautifulLie.org, an attempt to bring attention to the melting sea ice shelf in the Arctic Circle, please visit their Facebook Page Here.

You Just Never Know…

NAAncestry

This meme is being used solely for the purpose of showing why “Judging By Appearance” is totally off-base. Not intended to offend anyone.

I went to the salon last night and got my hair done – FINALLY! It was so over due. Nothing feels better than walking out of the salon after spending an hour or so getting put back together again. I didn’t even do anything different or wild, just a trim and re-color (you know to cover all the damage from having teenagers), but man do I feel 100% better.

I refuse to go anywhere else than my normal beautician – I think we can all agree, when you find “The One” – you will travel miles to get to them! Yes, I’m still talking about my stylist. 😛 Which just happens to be in the same town my mom and sister live in, so I had to stop by and show off the do.

My sister and I have the same problem. We can’t just get our hair dyed on a whim. We have to make sure the dye isn’t red based. We have natural red highlights that our hair will amplify to the millionth degree and it isn’t pretty or flattering. That became the topic of our conversation when she asked exactly which color brown I had gotten (warm chocolate) which my hair still gives an appropriate amount of red tint to.

“Thank you Grandma Doris!” We both exclaimed. Grandma was a natural born redhead and even though that gene skipped our dad, we’ve been struggling with the mild side-affects for years!

I know how odd our family’s appearances are based on the dominant ethnic groups we descend from. I’m not sure what people think when they see me, or if they give any thought to it all. We’re all Heinz 57’s. But I had someone who ‘just knew’ I was of Hispanic descent, because of my dark hair/eyes and slightly tan (olive?) complexion. My sister has the same dark coloring, but she is fair skinned. I wasn’t offended, but we’re not of Hispanic or Latin descent, so I corrected them… kinda.

“It’s Native American.”

This isn’t a lie, nor the most honest explanation, it’s just the easiest without going into a long, drawn-out genealogical report. People have no qualms accepting my Native American heritage, because of my appearance. But, I didn’t get my coloring from my father, who is the one that carries the Native American bloodline.

My dad has dirty-blonde hair and blue eyes, even though he tans darker than me in the summer. His dad also had blue eyes, but before that:

 

MATTSNOW.jpg

My dad’s grandfather (L) and great uncle (R)

See, my dad’s mom was the naturally born redhead, Grandma Doris. But she’s not the Irish bloodline, she’s from a strong English descent. I know, English redheads are just as common, so that’s not really odd. Try explaining your Native American dad having blond hair and blue eyes because of his English mother, though… see how this is becoming complicated?

Then where the heck does all of this dark hair and eyes come from? My mom. Who is 90% Irish and 10% English. Her father was from a long line of ‘Black Irish’ (dark hair/eyed Irish) from Tynagh, County Galway. Though her mother was also half Irish, she had blond hair and blue eyes. My mother, on the other hand, only took after her father and his entire family with dark brown hair, pure brown eyes and fair complexion. My grandpa’s family has very strong genes!

In essence, even though people wholeheartedly accept my Native American heritage based off how I look, the only thing I really have to show for it, is my slightly tanner than normal complexion. Otherwise, my sister and I both have dark hair, and dark eyes – all thanks to our very Irish mother.

So, when you see that doe-eyed brunette out on St. Paddy’s day wearing the “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” t-shirt, don’t look at her like she’s crazy – she is: Black Irish crazy. Best to just give her a smooch than push your luck! 🍀 😉

Oh, and I guess the moral of this story is don’t judge a book by it’s fabulous, multi-heritage cover, because you just never know…

🍀 This blog post is approved as appropriate for March, if nothing else. 🍀

 

 

 

 

#ReadWithMe ♥ Finding My Genre

readwithme3In celebration of National Reading Month, Ms. Felicia is hosting this amazing blog hop for all readers to spread the love and joy of this favorite pastime with the world. If you’d like to join in the fun, please click on the banner above to add your post to the linky list!

The Novel Brick Road

Every reader develops differently, but it seems that we eventually come to a specific genre that calls to us more than any other. Even if we take brief detours, we come back to the one genre that always puts a smile on our face.

My path to Erotic Romance is paved like a game of hopscotch, jumping genres back and forth and crossing wide gaps in random patterns. I’m not counting all the books I read as a kid or had to read for school. I’m talking about when I started taking control of my own reading choices.

It started off innocent enough. The reading bug coming to nestle in my brain, demanding that I find something to entertain it. My mom had a wide variety of books to choose from. She was a fan of Stephen King, Terry Brooks, Ann Rule and V.C. Andrews – I didn’t understand these were all different genres. They were just books! I read Clive Barker’s The Thief of Always and wanted to live in his brain, but it was really V.C. Andrews I became addicted to for quite some time. Luckily, my mom had plenty of her books to feed my obsession.

I went through a phase following this that I call the researching years. I wanted to know things, so my dad and I started going to the library on a regular basis. I love ancient Egypt. I have books and then I have BOOKS, as in large Coffee Table hardcovers spanning every dynasty of Ancient Egypt. I was going to become the next Howard Carter. I was 14. I was also going to be a supermodel, fashion designer and a Marine Biologist. Not necessarily in that order.

Around the same time, I got my first taste of the paranormal from the (now famous) author L.J. Smith and her Night World series, which includes the well known Vampire Diaries and Secret Circle. This was the first author I ever purchased from a book store with my own money. It was a big accomplishment in my life as an avid reader. I had never heard of L.J. Smith before, but I suddenly had options. Lots and lots of options!

It led to more research. With the help of Francis Ford Coppola, I became extremely interested in reading everything I could get my hands on about the truth behind the myth of Dracula and the real life Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia. It eventually led to me learning about the medical condition of Porphyria, which disenchanted my research, so I returned to my fiction. I read Anno Dracula by Kim Newman. My dad never would’ve let me check it out from the library if he’d known what it entailed. A fanfiction sequel of sorts to Bram Stoker’s masterpiece with all of the dirty details a Victorian era Englishman would never dare to write.

On the hunt for new material, I found Anne Rice and never looked back. As much as I loved L.J. Smith, I couldn’t return to what I suddenly realized was very YA in comparison. More than that, Anne opened my mind up to the world at large, sating my inner traveler and historian simultaneously.

I became obsessed again, and only wanted to read Anne Rice… until I couldn’t find anymore of her books and needed another loan – mind you, this was before the wonderful invention of eBook retailers. Magic’s Pawn by Mercedes Lackey was placed in my hand with a “You have to read this,” and so I fell headlong into the mind-blowing world of epic fantasy. Now, I remembered, vaguely, The Hobbit from when I was younger and my favorite movie The Last Unicorn. It was a bit nostalgic diving back into this kind of world – only better, because it was at an adult level without losing any of the wonder of magic.

My first book idea was born on the cusp of my 18th birthday, but not yet hatched… more on this later.

Over my young adult years I read a wide variety, even some non-fiction, but mostly it was keeping up with authors I already knew, like Rice and Lackey. Then I ended up with a Nora Roberts book (honestly can’t recall how) and found myself obsessed yet again. I wasn’t alone this time, though. My friends got on the same kick and we had a grand time swapping books, buying new ones to share, putting them on our birthday and Christmas wish lists and discussing them like crazy. I think between just 3 of us we might own almost 75% of the books she’s ever written… okay, maybe 50%. Nora was my first true Romance author and not what I’d been expecting. I had never even glanced at the ‘obvious’ romance books on the shelves with the bare-chested buccaneers and Scarlett O’Hara wannabe’s.

Having children gave me the perfect excuse to return to YA with Harry Potter, Narnia and Eragon… yes, the books, not the movies (though, I love those, too). My oldest also has some of the Immortal Instruments novels, which I’m very tempted to read since watching City of Bones.

Nora Roberts writing as J.D. Robb unwittingly led me to my first erotica series, though it falls further under the Crime/Detective genre, the sex scenes are explicitly detailed, whereas Nora Roberts’ usually aren’t. I think she sneaks it in every once in awhile.

I went through a stint where I felt left out from a pop-culture standpoint, because I’d never read any of the ‘literary classics’. So, I attempted the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck and found it far too dry and boring (don’t hurt me), so I moved onto The Catcher in the Rye, which was entertaining, yet 100% pointless (again no hitting). Of Mice and Men left me emotionally damaged and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a prophetic masterpiece that’s already coming true, therefore should be reclassified as non-fiction horror.

My first BDSM novel was Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. Again, by ignorance. I thought it was just a fantasy. I was deliciously wrong. Later, I found out that Anne Rice also had other pseudonyms… and why. Exit to Eden followed by the Sleeping Beauty Chronicles added to my Erotic-BDSM shelf, Belinda borders on taboo and I haven’t finished reading it, but I think it might be along the lines of Nabokov’s Lolita – don’t quote me on that.

The ability to read an eBook helped open up the Erotic Romance genre for me even further when I became a reviewer for a friend’s reviewing site. It wasn’t long, though, before a new bug burrowed into my brain demanding to be fed – and I started writing…

But, I will save that for the next post. 😉

Are you still reading the same genre you first fell in love with, or perhaps the second? How many genres span your most cherished collection?

Book Tag: My Life In Books

mylifeinbooks

I found this on Felicia’s page, who found it on Didi’s, but it appears to be an ongoing blog tag, and too fun to pass up. Make sure to visit the other sites to see their answers!

Find a book for each of your initials. I’ve chosen these books from my ‘Read’ list on Goodreads.

CoverMOTO M – Moto by M. Never
coverenslavemesweetly E – Enslave Me Sweetly by Gena Showalter
coverlasher L – Lasher (Lives of the Mayfair Witches #2) by Anne Rice
covermicemen O – Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
coverdyingforaliving D – Dying For a Living by Kory M. Shrum

 

Y – I am now challenged to add a book beginning with Y to my ‘Read’ list!

Count your age along your bookshelf: What book is it?

The 39th book on my shelf is The Vampire Armand by Anne Rice (The Vampire Chronicles #6). It’s funny one of her books would come up in a post about my life in books, since I first discovered Anne Rice in a stack of old books when I was about 17. It was a dark green paperback with a small window showing a rundown Colonial mansion in NOLA. That was about 2 years before Interview With the Vampire hit the silver screen and by then, I was already fully invested in anything Anne Rice penned.

coverarmand

Pick a book set in your city/country.

The closest major city to me is Seattle. Home to Amazon, Boeing, Microsoft and 2 absurdly popular book series I will not be naming. Therefore, I choose Possession by Ann Rule. Referred to by many as the ‘foremost true crime writer in America’, Ann Rule is a former Seattle policewoman and based this fiction novel on a real event/crime that she later wrote about in her True Crime (non-fiction) series. I was quite young and naïve when I stole this off my mom’s bookshelf and was completely unprepared for the explicit, graphic details. If you like crime-thrillers that leave you questioning the human psyche, though, you might like this.

coverpossession

Pick a book that represents a destination you’d love to travel to.

Since Middle Earth, Narnia and Hogwarts probably don’t count, I chose The Right Path by Nora Roberts. Although, I would love to travel to many places, Greece and the Greek Isles are at the very top of my list, especially Santorini. Nora goes into beautiful scene setting with this novel, plus it’s full of suspense, action and one dangerously sexy Greek Tycoon, Nicholas Gregoras. Yum.

coverrightpath

Pick a book that’s your favorite color.

No matter how girly my mom tried to make me growing up, blue has always been my favorite color. To keep with the theme of ‘Shameless Self Promotion’ my predecessors have established, I chose my own book The Zen Lounge for this one. TZL is the first full-length, standalone (no cliffhangers) novel in the Matron City Trilogy. It’s a Futuristic Erotic Romance with heavy Crime/Detective influence. You can read the first chapter for free right here: Chapter One of The Zen Lounge

The Zen Lounge.Final.niina

Which book do you have the fondest memories of?

Dawn by V.C. Andrews. I read it when I was about 12 or 13 and it was my first real taste of a ‘grownup’ book, not to be confused with ‘adult novel’. It was my first non-YA fiction and I can still remember almost every detail – actually, of all the V.C. Andrews books I’ve ever read. She was another remarkable author that inspired me from a young age, especially in regards to character depth and development.

coverdawn

Which book did you have the most difficulty reading?

The Day of the Dolphin by Robert Merle, because it had little to no punctuation marks – anywhere. It was like one long, run-on sentence. Maybe it happened when it was translated from French? It took me forever to read because of this, but I don’t often stop reading a book once I’ve started. Curiosity vs. Cat= I don’t have many lives left.

coverdayofthedolphin

Which book in your TBR pile will give you the biggest accomplishment when you finish it?

The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, because I know it’s going to put me through the ringer on every level. Literary classics tend to do that to me, which is why there are so many still on my TBR list. I actually started studying the Russian language, because I was hoping to read the original, rather than a translation, but I’m not that ambitious anymore. Yet, 407 pages of emotional upheavals, dark satire and mind-altering perspectives will undoubtedly feel like a major accomplishment once I’m through… I just hope I survive the aftermath.

covermaster

If you enjoyed reading this consider yourself tagged 🙂