Coldest Welcome ( Part One: Arcane Warrior)

In the depths of the old wood, where the trees dripped tears over the toppled stones from the mountain,  Mal sat beneath the willows, clutching the totem in her hand. It’s word ivory etchings still held the shape of a Field Spring dog. Her father said it held the power of the old ancestors, but she sensed no faint hum through her skin nor the pull upon her spirit.  All that reached out to her was the winter frost through the long arms of the trees. When did everything turn so cold? It seemed as though she’d been walking along the southern shore the day before. Asan, with his rugged good looks, swept her up and into the water as though they were children and not soldiers. The war seemed so long ago, but it’d been merely a year. If everything felt like it’d just happened did that mean Mal was getting old? She sighed and hoped not. Grey did not go with her sun blessed complexion. Grandma might have gone silver, which flattered her ebony skin, but Mal took after her father’s people. “Least of my worries.”she muttered, as a large wet drop splashed across her head, making her cringe.

A short time ago she’d been the source of much strife in the life of her lover, Asan. He defended her like a noble knight defending a fair maiden, though Mal had never been fair and Asan had helped her cease being a maiden long ago. Yet what plagued her was his defenses of her character and person. They were flattering and yet they seemed to inflame parts of her just as much as her attackers, her detractors. Asan’s spirit had been right until they revealed the truth. It ached and cut in such a silent way. In bandaging he just cut deeper, and how could she say why? Would it even be clear?

“I thought I’d find you here.” Asan’s voice, deep like the ocean and just as soothing, came from behind her, and she sighed.

“I needed to think.” She turned her head to see him trudging up the hill wrapped in thick a thick wolf pelt and carrying a dense green blanket. She must have been gone longer than she realized. She looked upward and the sun had just moved past the mountain peek. It’d been hours. Asan came and sat beside her on the stone and wrapped the blanket around her shoulders. A slow smile crossed her face and she remembered all the reasons she loved him. For his parent’s and sibling’s sakes she wished she did not. “How are things at the house?”

Asan’s shoulders tensed ever so slightly before falling, and then with all the irritation and disappointment a son could have when his parents disapproved he sighed.

“My mother calmed father and Bretlynn down. Rynhold is…civil, but displeased.”

“I got that from the yelling.” She managed a small smile, but it felt more painful than humorous. Judging by how he rubbed his knees and he hung his head in shame it looked as painful too.

“I’m sorry you had to deal with their horrid behavior. I had told them of you, but…I didn’t expect-”

“They assumed it’d be less part of me, but my magic is as part of me as my hair, my eyes, or my voice. But I think…I think they expected to talk you out of…of us.” The words hurt as she spoke them, and part of her felt foolish for it. She’d been a mage her whole life. Sequestered, belittled, threatened with things that no person should have to suffer. The rejection by Asan’s family wasn’t even the worst of her life’s horrors. Ha. They should have taken lessons, but their scornful eyes spoke of beliefs more seated than prejudice. Those eyes ,so like Asan’s in their almost golden beauty, told her their beliefs were faith. They’d never see it for what it was. They’d never admit their irrational consternation for her daring to exist. People like them never did.

“And I love every part of you!” He misunderstood. She never doubted that for a second though she had plenty of reason to. He was vigilante of those who could move energies beyond their world, but he’d long outgrown their fear. However, did that truly make enough of a difference? Did he truly ever understand? They’d come here to announce their engagement and he had never expect his family’s ire.

“I believe you…but could they?” she said. He looked taken aback, as though he didn’t expect her to be so blunt. She felt so tired, but what else could she do but make him see things as they truly were. “You were raised by those who fear magic and who see me as cursed-”

“I don’t care that you’re a mage.”

“And that’s the problem!” She jumped to her feet, nearly slipping on the rocks. He started forward, grabbing her arm so she would not bash her head in on a rock. She stepped down to the ground and turned to him. “You love me, but do you see me?”

“Of course, how can you doubt that?” Asan sounded so hurt and it stung her to hear it, but she had to be honest.

“I ask because they can’t and perhaps you couldn’t, or wouldn’t, see them.” Mal began rubbing the back of her hand nervously. Her heart thudded against a cage of anxiety that began to creep up her throat, and squeeze in on her vocal cords. “How could you not know they’d act this way?”

“I-I…thought they’d be better.”

“Better how?”

“That they’d see you, as I do once they got to know you.” His fingers slid down to her hand, squeezing gently. Mal almost pitied him for his naivety, but that feeling only heralded a wave of slow burning irritation.  She rubbed the bridge of her nose and took a slow breath to steady her nerves.

“I am a mage. A witch. An arcane warrior.” Her eyes fell upon his face, and all part of her yearned to do was study his olive skin and run her fingers and lips across his stubble. Not for lust or love, but to pretend the world didn’t matter and none of this mattered. But it did. It made all the difference to their future. “Do you not see that?”

“Of course I do,” he said.

“A-and you love me in spite of it?” she asked.

“Yes,” he said. Asan looked so confused and Mal could tell he knew she had a point.

“But here is the trouble I need you to love me , not in spite of, but in part because my magic is what makes me…me.” Mal slipped her hand from his grasp, and with it she felt herself slip further away from him. They were boats out at see and the ropes that bound them together were slipping, the knots couldn’t hold, and soon? If they were not careful they’d vanish in the fog and hold nothing but parts of a rope of old bittersweet memories. She didn’t want that. She didn’t want to lose him, but she’d be damned if she did her and him and his family a disservice by ignoring it. Perhaps selfishly, she’d rather break his heart than pretend that this didn’t bother her or did not matter. “You must love me fully or not at all in this case. You need not love magic, but you must love the magic that is in me, what I can do with it, and appreciate the joy I take in it. There are things couples can look past, but somethings must be loved to and not in spite of. If I loved you in-spite of your faith in the All-Father and could not find any respect or beauty for it, what would you say?”

“I..I do not know. I would have to think on everything.” Asan spoke softly and slowly. In his eyes wheels turned, as the thoughts and words connected to find meaning. He wasn’t a slow man by any means. She’d seen him put fools in their place with perfect words, so sharp they might as well have been a sword. But he had this habit of ignoring that which hurt to acknowledge, or bounding around the issues to avoid confronting what life demanded. If only she could be the same. But then again she would not be herself.

“and for you to understand what my magic means and to see what my magic means you must see me as a person, a woman, and a mage. You can’t section off the parts of me you like all the time. Everyone does it. We ignore our lover’s favorite books, or distaste for foods we love. But there are parts of us so important to our lives and who we are we must take a stand.”

“But what does it matter? How do you know the difference?”

“The difference is your family greeting me as your temporary lay versus your future wife.” Cold. Curt. and made them sound so unfavorable. She didn’t like to be that way usually, but it felt somewhat good.

“That’s unfair!” he said.

“But is it wrong?” To that she received only a heavy silence, pregnant with fears he didn’t want her to speak and words she feared she’d have to say.

“No.” His eyes fell to her feet. “Shit.”

 

“I say all this because for you to bring me here, to be hurt, by them…for you to be so ignorant of their prejudice-” he voice began tremble, and her throat grew tighter, hotter. She felt the threat of tears as images of the evenings arguments blurred in her head. They wished them the worst. They called her everything but a monster. Oh they thought her nice, but her magic damned her more than rudeness ever could. “How could you not think about that, or at least warn me of it, unless you were pretending not to see?”

And to that Asan had no answer. To that his mouth hung open as he tried to bring forth excuses, justifications, and rationales. Yet Asan could not lie through logic, through truths presented by someone he so dearly loved, and his spirit crumpled. Many would call her over sensitive, would say it shouldn’t matter, would say she made a mountain out of a mole hill. Asan had always acted better than that. He did not disappoint. If he did maybe it would have been easier.

“But what does your magic matter? What does that have to do with you as a person, as a woman, as my wife?”

Mal let out a dry chuckle, and folded her arms in front of her chest with  a roll of her eyes. He still did not want to get it.

“Magic informs who I am. I am a woman mage. I like being able to cast spells, I research magical artifacts, I grew up cloistered in a mage sanctuary. Magic is and always will be a part of my life and a part of my life that defines part of my core identity. If we have children they could be mages. Their mother will be a mage.”

“I know that! Don’t think I’m a fool,” Asan said.

Mal sighed, letting her arms fall to her side. She wanted to just run off to some warm quiet corner, and sleep.

“No child should be told in ways big or small that “Your mother is very lovely except…” “Your father is wonderful but only….” I will not have it be so. I’d sooner raise children on my own than have that be so. ” Now, the tears began to fall down her cheeks. A sob racked her chest and the suddenness of it shocked her. She turned away, wiping her tears so he could not see. Crying in front of people wasn’t something she did. From the corner of her eye she saw his shadow move and he stepped behind her. He let her cry as he wrapped his arms around her, and maybe he had begun to understand. Maybe he had begun to see her pain. “It was minor to you. My magic was to be ignored, but I don’t want it ignored or even loved. I want it accepted.”

“I would never tell our children that,” he said, and she believed him.

“You don’t have to say “I hate something” to make it clear. Most people never use the words love or hate, but their words and actions otherwise do enough.” She sniffled, and swallowed, trying to collect herself once more.  Another beleaguered silence weighed in, only broken by her sniffling. After what felt like an eternity of melancholy he pulled her tighter.

“I failed you because I didn’t want to believe they’d not understand. I wanted to believe they’d come to the same conclusions I did, but maybe even my own conclusions were short sighted.”

“You’ve never been with someone like me. It is to be expected, but… can it change?”

“I can’t change my family, but… I can try to talk to them and I can try to better accept you. Mal, you deserve everything in the world I can give. It isn’t much, but I’d rather be and do better than live a lesser life without you.”

A warmth slowly ran through her, causing the cage around her chest and throat to retreat. It’d take time until she felt free again, but the release brought relief enough for now. She trusted him, but now he knew her line in the sand. He had to see if he could change and she’d watch carefully.

“I’m going to talk to my father, and he shall either accept us or he shall be a lesser part of our lives…I’ll be sorry for it, but they need to know I won’t let it stand.”

“Don’t destroy your relationship with them, but…don’t expect me to let them walk over me again and discuss me like I’m five seconds from burning down the whole village.”

“Five seconds? I thought it was less than that.”

She let out a little laugh, watching the river flow on as a stray leaf landed on its surface. It bobbed along, twisting and turning with every flow and ebb.

“Oh yes, three seconds from massive destruction is more accurate. Especially on a day like today.”

It’d have to do for now when better people took a lot of work. No one changed in a day. Asan didn’t and she couldn’t expect that of others. Still she couldn’t be expected to let their lesser natures belittle her own. She was a good woman and an even better mage. They could either learn that or they could not. But for now she had Asan and for now she’d try to be happy and push through the bad for some good.

***So definitely inspired by the video game Dragon Age: Inquisition, and the relationship between Commander Cullen and a mage Inquisitor.***

Advice to Romance Writers from Readers

Since Kelsey and I started the blog, we have read over 100 books. Our favorites are always the romance stories, but we’ve seen several things that almost instantly turn us off. We’ve di…

Source: Advice to Romance Writers from Readers

This post has truly excellent advice for all writers! We often get so into marketing and trying to build an audience that we toss these things aside, but spending time on our craft is important. While many like myself struggle to find willing readers and editors there are steps we can take to enhance our work, and ourselves as writers.

To me the romance writer has one strong struggle that is hard to work around…writing a good story and balancing the story with the conventions romance readers love. So much of romance is great…but boring and redundant as a writer. As a reader you don’t mind so much so long as it is different enough, but writing is such a different animal. People think its easy, but it is an emotionally and mentally demanding task. Any advice and perspective a writer can get is helpful.

FIRST RELEASE!!!Suffer Too Good: A BDSM Fantasy

A party. A conversation. A couple with an insatiable lust and desire for each other.

Monica isn’t the simple woman she seems; she craves silky smooth rope pulled so tight against her skin it creates friction, the feel of hands exploring her vulnerable body, and most of all for Mike to tell her what she is…a very naughty princess. After a late night party that sparks both their libidos, Monica thinks she’s ready for a deeper kind of submission…but as Mike pushes her further and further will Monica have the strength to take what she wants?

***Starting: Saturday 11.19.2016 I’ll be giving away five free ARC copies of Suffer too Good in exchange for honest reviews on amazon! If you’d be interested in reviewing a copy, doing an honest author review exchange, or would like to buy a copy from me directly then please leave a comment or contact me via my contact form!***

Buy your copy of Suffer too Good on Amazon today. I promise you…you’ll enjoy it.

Throughout the night, talk kept going back to our hottest reading lists, and because we were all loose from the alcohol every once in a while a particularly hot scene from a book would be described in incredible detail…and someone ,usually one of the guys, would mention a porno or dirty comic they’d seen in the same detail. The whole thing left my panties sopping wet and my body hot with need.

By the time I plopped down on our love seat with my laptop I knew I needed some sort of relief, but Mike had settled down with his tablet for a little while. So I tried to get my mind off the idea of soft silky rope against my skin, of Mike holding my head as he fucked my throat, or of being made to crawl on my knees just because he liked the look of it. I tried to just check my email, my facebook, my instagram, and twitter…but eventually I found myself on porno sites.“I have to say…I’m being honest. There’s this porn series The Upstairs Club. It’s all sorts of Bondage, naughtiness, and occasional degradation. Let’s say it does the charm every time. ” Pham’s words echoed in my head, and I found myself typing in the name on the porno site search bar.

Hundreds of videos popped up. I might have preferred erotica for my bondage, but the screen caps looked absolutely delicious. “It looks like I’ve found my new porn go to,” I thought with a laugh. The series looked like the Baskin Robins of BDSM porn; they promised something for everyone and all tastes. Totally overwhelmed, I just clicked a video at random. With the sound on mute, I watched the videos filled with bodies of all delicious shapes and sizes grinding, sucking, and screaming silently across the screen. The point break came as I watched a petite redheaded dominatrix tie purple rope across the body of plump buxom Latina woman who couldn’t stop smiling. The sight made a flush come to my face and I could already tell my panties were wet.

Earlier in the evening, my friends hadn’t known that Mike and I had our own games, and with all the business of the evening done I wanted to play with Master Mike so damn badly. I glanced over at Mike’s nearly naked body sprawled out on the couch, and noticed his half erect cock sticking up out of his boxers, as the soft glow of the tablet illuminated his face. I couldn’t help but study his fine muscles, and the way that his good looks weren’t lessened by the shitty tablet lighting. It seemed our roles had reversed for once. He must have been reading erotica, while I watched a healthy dose of porn. I turned off my laptop and set it on the coffee table before rising to my feet.”

Get your downloadable copy of Suffer too Good today at Amazon.

 

 

Reblog: Should I Be Shamed For Reading Smut? | Rants & Rambles

Hey Bloggers! Welcome back to: Rants & Rambles is a weekly feature where I share my own personal thoughts and opinions about both bookish and blogging related topics. As stated, …

Source: Should I Be Shamed For Reading Smut? | Rants & Rambles

This post is wicked and I think it does a good job of defending the genre and attacking the book snobbery that often goes unaddressed. I will fully admit I have ALWAYS been fascinated by sex even as a a nine year old it intrigued me even though I didn’t understand it. Now as an adult I understand it and am still intrigued. It is human. For many it is a powerful compulsion and need in a relationship. Yet this very human experience is derided not just for bullshit “moral” reasons, but for being “low brow”. While there are plenty of problems with the genre, as this blogger points out, the main initiative to dismiss these books is there appeal to women because “female” books have always been considered frivolous because they deal with relationships and emotions. Because of how they deal with them and a tendency towards Happy Endings there is this snobbery from many people as though not reading smut makes them superior or better readers. Well being obsessed with the make out scene in Girl With the Pearl Earring didn’t stop me from loving the rest of the book in 6th Grade. Being interested in smut didn’t stop me from falling in love with Jane Eyre either. So this whole notion that this one hobby, this one interest, this one thing damns my or anyone’s entire intellect is quite frankly a pile of massive bullshit topped with flaming bullshit. At the end of the day those sexisms filtered into the general school of literature and how book genre’s are viewed. So regardless now people shun the notion of erotica and smut being enjoyable. Not for for those moral reasons or for the genre’s lack of diversity, or for its cliches…but because it isn’t *turns up nose* Literature. It isn’t proper. It isn’t well written though there are poorly written books in every genre. The bottomline is it is snobbery and elitism that affect a lot of how erotica and smut is viewed.

The great irony? In my forums, in my discussion groups, in my friend groups, and yes in my writers groups a large section of women writers are self identified nerds with incredibly intellectually demanding jobs. But I guess we’re all just…trashy people reading trashy things.

Nah.
I didn’t think so.

20 Minute Erotica Challenge

An old challenge I used to do every month that I think I’m bringing back.

Driving me insane

2/19/14

She misses him more than words can say.

So when they reunite she kisses him with a grin then captures him in her arms. In response he squeezes far too tight. Her back cracks, eliciting a half groaned out laugh.

~~

They are alone

He takes her by the waist, and kisses her hard in a way she didn’t know she missed. Her heart is beating against her chest, as fire pumps through her veins. There is him, and his bed, and her panties damp from heavy petting and frequent kisses. When he breaks away it is only to kiss along her jaw to her neck. He sucks her flesh, and bites hard until she digs her fingers in his back. It takes her a moment to realize he’s unhooked her bra and tossed it aside. He pushes her down to his bed and gets on top of her. Their eyes meet, and she whispers “I love you.” and he smiles and says the same. Their lips are crashing against each other, as he slides his hand under her shirt, pinching both nipples at once, so she moans into his mouth. He’s hard, and she grinds against him. The sheerness of her leggings only makes her more eager.

Pants come off, and legs are spread. He’s hard, and his eyes are glazed over in a mixture of lust and love. She licks her lips, half mad in her desire, shivering as his cock brushes her wet womanhood. With a grunt he thrusts deep. Her walls clench and massage his cock, pulsing as if celebrating his welcome familiarity. She looks into his eyes, and he looks into hers. Nothing is more real than that. He pulls back, and thrusts in again, causing a mild slick noise. She blushes and he chuckles at her reaction. He begins to thrust in earnest. His lips meet hers furiously, and their tongues dance in each others mouths and across their lips. Her tongue traces down to his neck. She adorns his delectable flesh in sweet kisses that descend in nibbles and hard needy sucks. This time she wants to leave a mark. He belongs to her just as much as she to him. His chest is brazing against her soft sensitive nipples. Her legs are locked around him tight, and she knows it’s only driving him further into their sweat ridden madness. The tenderness fades in his motions, but not his eyes. She gasps and groans, signaling that he found her spot. He beats upon it with his throbbing cock until he’s groaning with her. With a hard thrust, she spasms, orgasms, like heaven fell into her body. He keeps going and she’s louder now. She tries to quiet herself, and he groans, driving deep sending them both into orgasm. Hers sends her whirling. She forgets her own name as the shivers ravage her body. But she remembers his and sings it to the high heavens, again and again she sings. The warmth of his cum inside her and his cocks throbbing makes her bite her bottom lip. It’s a feeling she loves. Their time apart has built up, and she knows when he pulls out, and she puts on her panties she’ll be swimming in a sea of his seed. She doesn’t care. She never has. It’s perfect as it is

 

Written in 20 minutes.

 

Erotica: Response to Condoms: fictional contraceptive of choice

I’ve written several times (here, for example, and here), about why, in real life, I’d always rather be on the pill. I like semen. I like spontaneity. I like intimacy. To a certain exte…

Source: Condoms: fictional contraceptive of choice

I agree with what a lot of the author here says, but to me contraceptives come down to one thing…anything can be sexy if you set it up to be sexy. I don’t mean describing putting on a condom like taking off lingerie. I mean if you make it fit then it will fit. I love writing bdsm and toying with the mental aspects of it, and I know many people love integrating contraceptives into the “game”. The billionaire gets his secretary on the pill because its his choice not hers anymore. Hot. Sexy. Dominance that she actually agrees with. Great. It certainly surpasses doing nothing because you can’t help but wonder in many stories what is going on. The secretary and the billionaire are going at it like a couple of animals and she only gets pregnant at the happily ever after? That is ok, but it is a bit laughable. For longer more full stories at some point you’re gonna have to tap into that and make choices about how.

How you do it is what makes it sexy. When you get into how you have to get into the scenario…and ask if they’re even going to pause to ask or do anything to prevent anything negative or unwanted from happening. Beyond the billionaire example there are different ways to talk about this without it being shoveled in. The worst and most unerotic thing to do is to randomly drop “The secretary knew it’d be fine if he finished inside her…after all she was on the pill.”. That line isn’t in her head. That line takes us away from her perspective like we’re being tackled by security guards.Sometimes you have characters who don’t think about it. In my Lita Loves Tales she’s on the pill but the momentum of the story in White Hot Room is so forward that contraceptives are the farthest thing from her mind. In book two she mentions being on the pill. It’s a small scene, but she reflects on the fact that she loves sexual fluids and is glad she’s on it. In another hot scene she handpicks male partners with her dominant to choose who will ejaculate inside her. It’s a simple conversation that becomes a game. In other stories the goal is to make it just as organic. Some characters do just randomly worry about that sort of thing and others will ask a partner to wear a condom while making out. The duty of the author is to make the reader believe it and not lose their arousal.

Condoms are an oft vilified thing, but if you can sort of explore it and not make it awkward than you get something. In The Black Hat Society K.K is penetrated by a male dominant and as he puts on the condom she becomes entranced by the sight of his erection. She thinks about how watching her, beating her, treating her like a toy made him that excited. She thinks about how appealing a penis can be, and the anticipation to know what he feels like is driving her crazy. The condom becomes a symbol of his care for her, of her being topped by him, of her penetration and consented violation  in front of an eager crowd who can do the same whenever they wish. For K.K this is better than the game…it is the best feeling she could imagine and it is intoxicating. Just because there is symbology doesn’t mean it is some great mythic thing. No it is her, a woman, being aroused and naturally her mind signalling “This is what is happening and this is how I feel”. It isn’t complicated to convey (though all feelings are complex). It heightens the sex. It heightens the joy of it.

Contraceptives can be sexy…so long as you make it sexy.

Gimme that Old Time Lovin’

Everything is relative. When we look back at “romance” we look back with rose tinted glasses. No mention of women as property, no mention of all the people who never had a chance to find love, but only to find like, no chance to figure out their sexual interests or if they matched. For many black people in America, until recent history showing public affection was seen as inappropriate, our love and affection constantly equaled sex. Recently I spoke to a gay male friend of mine and we agreed that so many people see him kiss his boyfriend or hold his hand and immediately think of intercourse. Years ago the same acts were associated with people who looked like me because we were inherently sexual and sexualized in the common narrative. Kissing was indecent and making yourself a target. Let’s not forget the many who had no choice in who they loved or whether they could leave or go. Many things have changed and to say the old way or the new way was better across the board is a bit myopic. Today people have a lot of choice and perhaps we abuse or misuse it to a certain degree, depending how you measure. Maybe we focus too much on “happiness” and not on “contentment” like eastern cultures and how every culture used to.

daring_love_01_00fc
But hasn’t sex always been a gimmick?

Sex has become a gimmick to things. Commercials, movies, and yes Undressed or Sex Sent Me to the E.R on TLC all treat sex like some novelty and not a point of fabulous exploration and raw human experience, if not connection. Meanwhile romance is something defined by whoever feels they have the best definition at a given time. For generations now people have been bemoaning the death of romance as technology, free love, and sexual freedom have become more normalized in western society. It can’t be denied that some things have been sacrificed in the face of technological ease and connection. I can’t be denied that plenty avoid romance by swiping to sex and seducing…even lying for it in ways that’d be unimaginable decades ago. Still we cannot say what has changed the fundamental concept of romance except people’s attitudes:

1099575.jpgWomen have options now that women 40, 50, 60 years ago did not.
More people travel constantly and often, moving from place to place, making it harder to find connections at all let alone love.
Because of people exploring more and experiencing more they require more attention to those who can understand or be willing to understand that fact.
Divorce isn’t as frowned upon, and perhaps this is not so beneficial in some ways. Why? So many people pine for the ideal romance, partner, and relationship without realizing in the old days you had to make do. So many ignore or destroy good things in search of a perfection that will never and can never exist. We say “Don’t ever settle”, but then never want to admit that if you want certain things you have to settle. You have to accept another human being for all their good points and bad whether you love them or hate those points if you want to be with them. You have every single right to say “No”, but we have this real problem now of saying “Never settle” and in the same breath saying “You you need to have a “real” reason to reject someone”. If you can’t deal with someone’s issues or if you don’t want what they do a lot of times you become the bad guy even as you’re told to not settle for what you can’t stand. What we need is contentment in our romance. Happiness is fleeting. Happiness is a moment of time, but contentment occurs even in unrest, it is the willingness to say “I am fine with this relationship and situation, and enjoy the continuance of it” instead of “I want to just constantly stay happy and the moment I’m not everything is wrong”. Very technical I know, but I’m being technical so you can see the difference.

marvel-comics-retro-my-love-comic-book-cover-no-18-kissing-love-on-the-rebound-agedYears ago if you got divorced some people wouldn’t give you the time of day….and at the same time plenty of people engage in aimless sex and wake up wondering why they feel used. How we talk about sex and romance is so limited, so driven by structures and intentions we can’t even see because they’re “normal” to each generation. Romance evolves and changes, and we need to evolve and change with it. Does that mean romance is dead? Did it in the 1960s? 1920? 1990s? I think not…but it does change in ways big and small…but everyone’s relationship and romantic views differ.

I kissed on the first date. I had my first kiss when I almost had my first…everything else. I am a libidinous woman, but I love holding hands on long walks. My lover brings me flowers sometimes. Other times he greets me with a hug so fierce my back pops and all I can do is laugh. We met on OKCupid which still shocks people and even disgusts some. The internet isn’t real to them. It is this technological thing separate from life when it is really interwoven in a lot that we do. I’ve met some of my most important connections that way. Some I’ve known almost a decade if not more, and that is more than most “friends” I’ve spent time with in the same room. My view of technology is human centered. It isn’t simply a tool, but a process dependent on quality human interaction, use, connection. The internet would be nothing if we couldn’t send pictures or messages about our kids, pets, and family that could make people feel something! Anything. I spent way too much time online as a teenager…but I had more friends over private messanger and on video game servers than in real life. I had more romantic overtures there by shy peopl who liked my spark and my ability to listen than in the small pool of bullies, anti-black people(which includes other black people btw), and small mindednes I was surrounded with in my school and county. Was that good? For personal growth yes, and I know I am not some unique case. People find ways to connect however they can.

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This is my relationship. People say we’re childish right as they fight because they don’t communicate at all…we try to makes things work. We play. Love. And most importantly Listen. I call it the P.L.L System

As humanity has grown and changed we have adapted new ways of connecting. Perhaps we’ve lost others that were uniquely valuable. We should continue to praise and teach that value. A love letter can mean more than one ever realizes. I gave my lover a homemade birthday card a few months after we started dating and he told me he takes it out every now and again when he feels alone or depressed. We can also text, and do, every morning and night when we’re too tired to talk with words. Monday we spent the evening making a delicious fondue with a recipe we found highly rated online, and it came out great because people shared their tips and tricks. We had an awesome date because of that.. Technology, sex, romance, and humanity…we’re still figuring those things out. Heck we’re just now acknowledging all the people in the world who don’t have sexual urges, who don’t see someone and go “I wish I could kiss them”. We figure these things out as we go. It is the only thing we can do, but to bemoan the death of romance is to ignore all the new ways it manifests for different people and all the ways people still hold tight to old ways.

Romance is in the hands of those who want it.
It is not a series of specific acts or actions.
It is a series of acts or actions specific in the intent and meaning of those engaged in them.
Playing video games with a lover seems horrid to some and like paradise to others.
Going out to some stuffy restaurant is uncomfortable to some and a dream to others.
Walking along the lake seems like pointlessness to others and heaven to some.
We cannot guess the realms of love, or limit them for others with measures that cannot possibly capture the ranges of expression.

Inspired by this nice little post Is Romance Dead? Though I obviously disagree with some points I think it is an important viewpoint and read and consider.

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Until next time!

Also if you’re interested in random comics stuff and why I posted so many old Romance Comics…I’m an avid collector.

I highly recommend checking out Sequential Crush an online archive and analysis of girls romance comics that explores any and all facts and details of these protoypical romance stories in away that is entertaining, personal, and quite frankly fascinating. I’ve been a long time fan of the site and think they do a lot for preserving an often over looked part of the romance genre. The runner of the site is the granddaughter of Green Lantern creator Martin Nodell, and she does more than live up to the family legacy by offering unique takes that really have helped me understand romance better from a perspective I didn’t know about until reading more.

If you’re interested in comics in general check out this fascinating read too:

I Used To Sell You Comics: Kids Love Comics (And how that makes comics better for everybody)

Why Self-Publishing Marketing hits a snag (Part One)

Riddle me this, dear reader, how many articles on publishing e-books have you read that actually give specific advice? I have read roughly 50 articles and one and a half books. My rough estimate is about five or six of them actually break down the advice they give. Don’t get me wrong I get why that happens. As a writer you want to give advice that can be applied to numerous situations and ,let’s be real, you want to keep some tricks in your pocket despite wanting others to succeed. However after reading these articles I just have been left with an overwhelming feeling of their own inadequacy. Once again I’m not saying these articles lack all redeeming value. I have found them incredibly helpful in my self-publishing journey. However they say to “market” and that “marketing” includes email lists, blogging, facebooking, and joining forums. Now that last one I think is the easiest for me, as a techie, who joined her first forum as a young teen to understand. However I just gave you the sum total of what 90% of those articles I’ve read advocate. The rest of those articles are usually all persuasive speeches convincing writers, who notoriously hate marketing as a group, why they should market. When you take out the having to convince people that those things matter. Yeah, it sums it up.

So I’m left with a question, perhaps you’ve thought the same…”How should I and do I do any of those things?” Now, this post is going to focus on blogging from this point on, but I can and will get into those other things in the future. Oh I’m excited for it dear reader.

“Well, What the Hell Do I Blog?”

I often believe that these article authors tell you to blog without specifics in an effort to keep their ideas from influencing you and from becoming too common if their article should become popular. However by not explaining why blogging works beyond “you develop an audience who likes what you do.” you do a disservice to a certain extent. How do you blog as a writer? I do not claim to be an expert, but I can claim to be an avid blog reader and a writer who has been paid for guest blogs and essays.  There is a method to blogging that begins with being Organically You even if you are presenting a particular brand of you.

As a writer you do have to present a brand that has a theme and/or message. That theme can be “Let me take you into my life, so you can understand my books better,” or “Here is a blog about salsa and OH YEAH I wrote a book about it…here it is,” or “I have ideas and thoughts about nerd culture that you may like.”

Startup Stock PhotosSo here you begin. You figure out what blog would best serve you as an author and what you’ll start writing about to begin with. I know that must be confused because I asked what you write about. So I’m going to explain with an example. I write short stories and novels that tend to be very romance centered if they are not romantic or erotic books. So from there I began researching blogs and how blogging works as marketing.

On Marketing.

The trick is you can’t so much marketing. You are producing. Don’t blog forty posts about your book in one week, but do blog about the process of writing, about exciting scenes or character, and about overall joy you find in writing. The key isn’t to market, but to 1) convince people your content has value 2) Producing content that has value 3) Producing content that has value, which then invites people to your priced content by demonstrating value thus convincing those people your priced content is worth it. Your goal is to enjoy yourself personally, but the goal in regards to your career comes down to this formula:

Production= Demonstration +/- quality = Content Value which is <, >, or equal to your persuasion

Or another method of breaking this down:

(Demonstration +/-Quality)= Convincing*Word of mouth = Sales

That gets you to the bottom line. When you understand those things you aren’t “selling out” you are understanding how money, audience, and your writing work together. Sales in that formula can be equal to reads or downloads. It doesn’t matter.

Now what is that content going to be? Well it does vary, but for writers quality content relevant to your subject matter is paramount. I detailed this earlier but here are examples of what writers can blog about:

  • How to write
  • Their writing process
  • How to get through writers block
  • How their personal life impacts writing
  • Reviews of other stories/books
  • Short stories
  • Serials not suited for publishing (which can eventually be gathered into a book)
  • Writing with family and other obligations
  • Prompts, writing challenges, etc.
  • Story boarding
  • Politics can even work if you’re willing to go there and tread carefully

That list is my reference, but I will tell you it is no where near all I will and can blog (or have blogged on not defunct blogging sites.). Within every single one of these categories I can list three to five specific articles I plan to produce here. You are a clever person, and you will no doubt be able to build on this list and go beyond it.

 

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Idols like Maya are also RL Goals.

 

**I carry a little notebook with me and I often jot down blog ideas, titles, or prompts that would add to this blog. Sometimes I’ll give some of them away to interested friends or people I feel would be better suited to write**

On Blogging Personal Life Details.

Plenty of articles say blogging or making statuses about your life is unprofessional, but that depends on what you write and your relationship with your audience. I know very successful writers who blog politically all the time. I know others who blogged politically and half their audience dropped. Same thing happened with blogging about their kids. It really varies. My belief is that you have to set limits in regards to how much you blog about your life, when you blog about your life, what events will make you blog about your life, and if blogging about your life is helping to build your persona and/or demonstrate to the world who you are. Blog honestly, in moderation unless you are consistently putting out twenty articles of content or five photo albums of content (read VALUABLE content) a day. I’m not an overtly open writer. I am very private. I live quietly. But I will tell you sexual interests OR what is outside of my sexual and how I use them to inform my story because that is part of my writing process and I want to give you an inside peek. You do have to draw a line about how much of your life is open to the public and how much the public wants to know. You will only know that by taking yourself seriously as a blogger and putting yourself in the shoes of your readers.

All this being said you can and should vary your content a bit, but make sure your readers know what to expect. I had a tumblr for a bit, and the problem with tumblr is that it is too much, too entertaining, and it becomes very easy for even diligent tumblrites to begin sharing things beyond the scope of what their blog originally focused on. One artist I used to follow got into an argument with a good friend of mine over child rearing. That artist, whom my friend still vaguely respects but not vice versa, lost 40% of her followers. Not because some of those followers didn’t agree with her, but because they didn’t follower her for her feelings on raising kids and quite frankly they didn’t like how she responded to my friend. My friend, as a result, got a ton of “pity follows” that turned into 100 or so real follows because she began reblogging other artists in place of the one who bad mouthed her. One stuck to a theme and the other stuck to a theme…but less so. That friend ultimately began reblogging a bit too much and lost 60 followers. You should never be afraid to be forward and honest.

You should be aware of how people can react to what you say, do, and reveal about yourself. That isn’t political correctness or paranoia. That is being smart.

The internet is fickle as hell, but the reason is because people are inundate with constant information. We all have to pick and choose what does and doesn’t irritate you. Your best bet is to be consistent, however don’t be afraid of changing things up, inform your readers if your expanding your subject matter, REACH OUT to those readers for input, and then listen to what is happening in response to new content.

As bloggers we have to give interesting content from perspectives that feel honest, content that hooks a reader, content that offers insight, content that presents the person we want people to know, and we as writers can’t just tell each other to go blog. Blogging is hard. Coming up with regular content is hard.

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Always brainstorm. Ideas are just a word away.

That is why I’m offering this…if you want help figuring out how to blog then message me, leave a comment, or shoot me an email. I will be your brain storming buddy. I will be your extra set of eyes. Every single writer needs that, and though I’m doing this journey alone I want to help others feel a bit less so. This is just one article, unproofed, unedited, because I want you to see me for who and how I am in regards to this subject because I am not perfect. I am not the best blogger. I am not the most articulate person. However, I am a friend if you will let me be one. This article isn’t the last on this subject, and it isn’t the last response to other articles on how to market. This article is merely one in a series. It may not be every day, but there will be more.