#ThrowbackThursday

 

 

Woe, Be the Spider

Woe, be the spider
Who sits down beside her
This warning I must give
Whispered words, a last lament
From the one who didn’t live:

“Little Miss, what a twist
Weaving lies to pass the day
Flaunt innocent virtue
To hide the real you;
Pander for your prey.

“Little Miss, ’twas one kiss
What a wicked trick to play!
Under deceiving label
The truth proved fatal;
Venom in thy whey.”

~ A.C.M.

originally published April 21, 2014.

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Alphas & The Ways We Confuse Them

AlphaMale

Image source: theartofcharm.com

I’ve been seeing a LOT of posts regarding Alphas vs. Alphaholes lately.  Maybe, because it’s approaching April, which is (among many other things) Sexual Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month.

I just read this amazing post over on Naughty Quills that I agree with 99%!

There is so much more to it than just Alpha vs. A-hole, though.  The role of Alpha Male has become so misconstrued it’s practically a stigma.  I think much of this has to do with crossing genres – or rather, readers who read a variety of genres and sub-genres – to the point where Alpha has now become a “Stereotype.”  [stares blandly].  So, let’s see if we can clear up some of the confusion.

  • All Alpha Males are bossy, chauvinistic, unyielding forces of nature that are most likely dangerous and rich.  A true Alpha doesn’t gloat, has manners, has the respect of almost everyone around him because he’s not an a-hole.  True Alphas are more like wolves, who take care of their pack, respect their elders, cherish their young and mate for life or at least make a good effort at it.  Alphas don’t announce they’re alphas.  It just comes naturally.
  • All Alpha Males are BDSM Doms.  Um, no.  No, they are not.
  • All BDSM Doms are Sadists.  Uh, no.  Domination is more about control than inflicting pain. Doms come in just as much of a variety as Alphas do.
  • All submissives are masochists.  No.  No.  Just stop labeling!

Okay, got that little rant out of the way.  Now, let’s look at Genre basics:

Contemporary Romance: It’s romance, possibly chock full of sexual tension, but there aren’t really any graphic details about the act itself.  Sex is a byproduct and not the main theme. If the male protagonist is of the Alpha variety, he’s among the most valiant of Alphas, even if he has scars, but most likely he’s just your average male with a balanced personality type that might have some Alpha qualities. Must have a HEA (Happily Ever After).

Erotic Romance: It’s a romance novel with explicit, graphic, detailed sex scenes and a HEA. It covers all of the sub-genres, to include SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) BDSM.  Even if it skirts into the darker areas of Kink, it is Consensual.  These Alpha Males are the widest variety of personality types ranging from Valiant Alpha to starting off as an A-hole, but once you get past his armor of self-preservation, you find a lot of redeeming qualities.

Dark Erotica: It’s not necessarily a romance novel.  It’s not even required to have a HEA.  If there’s BDSM, it’s more than likely RACK (Risk Awareness Consensual Kink) which covers the heavier areas of BDSM (Bondage and Discipline, Sadism and Masochism) like extreme sexual torture and blood play, or sexual slavery / abduction. It might also have non-consensual and other taboo scenes in it.  It’s DARK for a reason. It doesn’t have to play nice and neither does its characters, especially the ALPHA A-HOLE protagonist who may or may not ever show a single redeemable quality. Ever.

Genres serve a purpose.  Most readers are well aware of which they like and which they don’t, but with the astounding influx of Indie authors that fall under the “Erotic” category, it can get confusing on what’s what.  So keep a close eye on those genre listings.  If you don’t like A-hole Alphas, I would seriously avoid Dark Erotica.  If you’re unsure of a genre’s definition, look it up before you purchase the book.

I agree that as writers we should know the layered variety of Alpha Males.  I fully believe that it’s our job to RESEARCH more than repeat, copy or ‘wing-it,’ especially, if we’re diving into an area we’re not really familiar with.  Writing is our passion, so we should always be learning and evolving and digging deeper- but, I also think that readers should take some responsibility for their choices.  If you didn’t like the way an author portrayed their Alpha Male, then don’t read that author or that series, or that particular genre by that author.

That doesn’t mean that every author writes their Alphas the same.  And if you didn’t realize it was a “Dark Erotica” even though it was listed as such, that’s an oops on you, not the writer. Trust me, I’ve been there. I’ve done this.  It was my mistake, though, not the author’s. I just wasn’t paying attention to anything other than the fact that the blurb sounded interesting and the cover was all kinds of HAWT.  Those can be so distracting!

Now, here’s where it gets even more complicated.  Not all authors stick with just one genre or sub-genre.  I happen to be one.  This is my crazy ass list:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Erotic Futuristic Romance
  • Erotic SciFi Romance
  • Erotic BDSM Fantasy Romance
  • Erotic Paranormal Romance
  • Dark Erotic BDSM Paranormal Romance

ALL of my male leads are Alpha Males.  NONE of them are the same.  They cover just as much a variety of personality types as you would meet in real life.  They are just as varied as my female leads. Let’s not even get into the massive, downright horrible female protags I’ve read over the past couple of years. I’m probably a rare breed who finds more fault in female characters these days than any of the males.  It seems like the focus of personality is a little one-sided, lately.  Both in writing and reviewing.

Another confusion I see is readers/reviewers trying to measure a paranormal ‘hero’ to a human ‘hero.’  Hello, they’re not human!  That yardstick shouldn’t be anywhere near them.  Why in the world would a [insert supernatural creature/alien here] have the same personality traits as your real life idea of Mr. Right?  Come on, now.

Here’s the bare bones truth:  A bad book is a bad book.  A good book is a good book.  That hasn’t changed, no matter how many new authors there are, or which genre is more popular.

Here’s the 1% I don’t agree with from any of the Alpha vs. A-hole articles I’ve read: Telling writers how to write their characters. That should never be our agenda, just as we should never tell a painter how to paint or a musician how to make music. Writing is an ART and art is a form of expression that should NEVER have restrictions put on it of any kind.  Creative freedom should not be meddled with. You maintain your freedom to write a scathing review, if you feel the need. No one is making you read anything you don’t want to.

New Year Makeover!

Hi! Welcome to the new blog, what do you think?

January is right around the corner and I thought “What a good time to totally jazz up the old blog!” I’m really liking it, myself. Been here since October of 2013 with the same theme, which I still have, but never really poked around too much to see what personal touches I could put in place.

Of course, for all of us still using WordPress for free, we’re already aware of the limitations on our ability to really spruce up a blog without forking out the yearly subscription cost. I’m an author not a day trader, but I was also really, really bored with the white walls, if you know what I mean! So I got nerdy and checked into it and Wallah! Turns out WP does have certain free themes that allow just enough wiggle room to put up some new wallpaper and curtains. 😉

I lucked out already having one of those themes. I really like the layout and cringed at the idea of having to shop for a new one. With the New Year looming ahead, I’ve also decided it was time to get a little more organized. I’ve updated all of those nifty pages there on the menu bar. Added quick links to my poems, since… you know, I’m not a poet.

Unfortunately, I’ve also been going through and deleting old posts regarding my unpublished works – for future publication purposes – so there’s a little bit of construction still going on. Or maybe it’s just remodeling? Redecorating! Yeah, I like that better.

Just out of curiosity, what would you change about your blog if you had complete design control? Let me know if you do make any, and I’ll be sure to come check it out!

Happy Tuesday

Lost Signal

writers-block-motivational-poster1

Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt feels like a recurring theme for me lately, so I’ve decided to break the questions apart in order to inspect them each as personally and honestly as I can:

Have you ever had extended writers’ block?

What writer hasn’t?  Okay, I know that’s not making it personal.  So, the answer is yes.  Painfully, uncontrollably, frustratingly, yes.  Unfortunately, my creativity seems to be on vacation far more frequently than it’s at work and the length of the former always outlasts the length of the latter.  In fact, I’ve been experiencing a bout of writer’s block for the last week or so. Which leads us to the next part of the question…

How long did it last?

Months.  Literally months upon months.  Those are the worst times.  When I’m lucky, it will only last a few weeks or less.  Sadly, I’m typically not that lucky, but I have been attempting to correct that issue by applying those ‘tools’ others advise to use or claim to work for them.  I’ve even gone so far as having my kids choose words for me to use in some way on my blog, whether it be in a poem or short story, anything to try and kick-start that inspiration back into working order again.  So, now we’re left with the last part of this question…

What did you do to break out of it, and do you have tips for other bloggers?

The best way to explain my version of hell writer’s block is that it’s like the cell tower to my creativity goes down, causing the signal to my brain to completely drop.  Not only do I lose my ability to connect words together into a decent sentence, I lose my drive to.  My desire to.  I will sit and stare at my computer screen like a brainless zombie, absolutely no activity going on upstairs.  No sparks firing through the old lobes to assist in my dilemma.

I’m still trying to figure out how to ‘break’ out of it, as it were.  In all honesty, I generally just have to wait it out.  Wait for that invisible crew to get the cell tower back up and running again.  Inspiration will come slowly or in one, powerful burst.  I guess it just depends on that blasted signal.  As such, I don’t really have any tips for other bloggers, only a few things I do to try and put a rush on the process:

♠ Read.  I will use my writing downtime as an excuse to get caught up on my reading, because I’m always behind on it. Sometimes, I get lucky, and reading will cause inspiring ideas about my own books to start forming in my mind.  When I can’t wait to finish a book in order to start applying those ideas to my own, I know I’m in a good place.

Blog Daily.  Even when I’m not participating in NaBloPoMo, I still try to blog every single day.  Even if it’s just to complain about having writer’s block, at least I’m writing something!

♣ Take Advantage.  Rather than stressing about not being able to write, I use the time off to get caught up on other things I enjoy (or that desperately need my attention, like housework!) I hang out with friends, get my holiday lists together, read that mail that’s been piling up in the ‘it can wait’ bin…   If you have other hobbies, like painting, drawing, needlework, etc., then try to relax into one of those.  Who knows, maybe those other things will help inspire you faster than staring at the cursor blinking on your story’s document like a ticking time bomb mocking your every attempt to think coherently.

Or if you’re a gamer, like me, you might even enjoy turning the old PS3 on and blowing stuff up to work some of those frustrations out in a non-destructive manner.  Plus, it’s just plain fun and writing is work.  Life can’t be all work and no play, even creatively.

Jet Skipping

Where is the one place you would never want to go on vacation that other people seem to love?

New-york

I’m really not adverse to traveling anywhere, but for the sake of today’s prompt, I’ll admit that the first place that came to mind was New York.

No offense to New Yorkers or people who absolutely love the Big Apple, I have just never ever, not even remotely in the tinniest bit of ways ever wanted to visit this metropolis.  I know that it’s significant in so many ways; history, art, literature, fashion… and that’s great, it can be all of those things without me ever stepping foot inside of it.  I think a lot of that has to do with my introvertedness.  The idea of being in such an overcrowded city just makes me cringe with anxiety, especially when the buildings tower over you and make you feel even more claustrophobic.

Huge factions of my family settled in and around the Chicago area for decades, and I, likewise to New York, have no desire whatsoever to visit the Windy City.  But, perhaps the surrounding areas.  If I could magically transport myself to the inside of all of the amazing museums in both cities, then I would definitely do that!

My interests, culturally, have always lied in the ancient Mediterranean lands of Egypt, Italy, Greece, etc.  I could spend months doing family research in Ireland… and, of course, checking out the pubs. 😉  If I were to spend the money, I would much rather travel to one of those places, instead.  I would probably spend the whole time nervous as hell because they’re equally as crowded as New York, but I think the much older history, art, architecture, etc. would make up for the large groups of tourists.   Not to mention, the ability to still see the sky.  Stateside, I have always wanted to visit places like New Orleans, and many of the New England towns, but that’s about it.

Sorry, New York.  It’s not you, it’s me.

Leaving a Legacy

So, I’ve been absent a lot lately from the wonderful world of blogging.  I’ve been in with the chiropractors dealing with a pinched nerve that has been causing severe pain in both of my hands, rendering them practically useless.  A writer’s worst nightmare.  During which time, I was battling against the deadline for The Zen Lounge’s final edit – and if it hadn’t been for my amazing and patient mom, I never would have made it.  She dealt with me being right beside her, supervising her editing my book, using software she’d never seen before let alone knew how to navigate.  She poured my coffee, did all of the driving and opened doors I couldn’t manage so I just want to give a big shout out to her for a moment:

♥THANKS A MILLION MOM!♥

 

Unfortunately, it’s an ongoing battle.  I still need to go back to the chiropractor and get the rest of my adjustments, which means I’m limited on how much I can write in between.  So my answer to today’s Daily Prompt will be rather short.

Q: In 300 years, if you were to be named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be? Places, activities, objects — all are fair game.

I already have a t-shirt proclaiming my Coffee Goddess status, and I’m not sure sainthood is recognized by how much of one thing you can consume, but perhaps.  I’m not the only writer of erotica and far from the best.  I’m not the only single mom and again, haven’t received any nominations for ‘Mother of the Year’ awards.  I doubt any of my job skills would land me as the Idol of any given group or location.  I can’t sing, play a musical instrument or harbor any kind of unique talent.  Even my art is… eh.  Mediocre.

So, if I were to be the Patron Saint of anything I’m actually known for and good at, it would probably be something like procrastination, multiple hobbies or unfinished projects… Or, I know…

I’m the Patron Saint of Unsaintliness

🙂  There, that about covers it.

He Was

Picture 001

© 2014 A.C. Melody

He was rickety jazz
Blue smoke haze
Disjointed hips
Bohemian brimmed Fedora
Finger slide phantasm
The bilateral conjecture
Dissipates

My memory knew him
Passion burnt night
Paradoxical lingo
Bracketed bourbon smile
Sultry spotlight specter
The billowing curtain
Lingers…

…He was rickety jazz

~A.C.M.