Maven's new dream job--fairy godmother--presents more problems than she expects when she learns that Faery is on the verge of collapse, and the person who is training her isn't giving her the facts--and may be out to kill her. Will she be able to make all the fractured fairy tales fit together into a happy ending, or will she be eaten by a troll. Available as paperback and ebook.
An excerpt and review of Maven Fairy Godmother: Through the Veil is found here on Evolvedworld
. Which stories spoke to you as a child? From what I have read I see you are a child of the 60s, which suggests you were privy to the real Grimms, not the sanitized ones now offered.
I always noticed that all the girls were very passive except for Gretel and for the princess with the seven brothers that had been turned into swans. In both cases, they took decisive and risky actions to save their brothers. Another story I liked was Rose White and Rose Red, who had some spunk (cutting off the dwarf's beard) and who found out later that their bear playmate turned out to be a prince with a friend. Alice in Wonderland was one of the first books I read for myself, after Dr. Seuss.
Years later I read the story of the "Handless Maiden," but she too seemed passive, except for leaving home after being maimed and "depending on the kindness of strangers." The "Master Maid" is a good story about a girl who does not play the princess game, and the "Goose Girl" goes to a lot of trouble to let the prince know who she really is, as does the girl in "Catskin." An early version of Red Riding Hood has the girl escaping from the wolf by playing a trick on him, but I didn't read that until I was much older.
Our familiar fairy tales were written by a man, Charles Perrault in the 1600s, probably from Italian sources, Basile and Straparola.
The Brothers Grimm collected tales that had been published in France and Italy more than 100 years earlier, and while they collected them as oral narratives, research by Ruth Bottigheimer suggests that the stories had been used cheap content for popular, inexpensive books produced for quick sale by the many early printing presses.
The Grimms were not out to find fairy tales, but to show that Germany (not unified in 1812) was one national group connected by language. They cleaned up the sex, but left in or increased the violent content. Our versions, of course, were Disnified. I think that "Beauty and the Beast," and "Cinderella" should be excised from little girls' reading lists--he won't change no matter how much you love him, and if he does ride in on a white horse, he will want you to clean up after it. I think our fairy tales do a fair amount of damage to girls. What a treat to read a middle-aged protagonist (entre nous, I'm pushing fifty) and in general to have all the age groups covered. On whom do you draw for your characters? Archetypes with some live inspiration? Do tell.
I get tired of always reading young women or men, never anyone who remembers the last time this (plague, style, war, song) came around. I do remember the 50s as well as , and just today on the radio I heard Buffalo Springfield's "For what it's Worth" and thought how appropriate it was for the election year and other political hype.
I'm my own archetype, of course, and my single female friends, my mom and her friends, my adult students, and various people on TV and in the movies. Maven combines several women of my acquaintance but is very close to my own heart. I have been divorced, widowed, bankrupt, hospitalized for depression and a few other adventures, never quite as far down as she is, but pretty close a few times.
Fiona was originally based on my supervisor at the technical college where I taught, with bits and pieces of other women who were my mentors. Belle pretty much just appeared--red hair, green sarong and attitude, and when I was discussing with a brainstorming partner who would play her in a move, I thought Queen Latifa would do a wonderful job--a big, beautiful woman who would take no guff from anyone, least of all Fiona.
I've used archetypal studies to develop their weaknesses and conflicts. I never intended this to be YA or children's reading, but reading for women of a certain age--the ones I see at the SF&F cons and other left-of-center gatherings. What do you read? Who do you recommend? I sense a bit of sci fi and philosophy going on here. Did you say the word “deconstruction”? Jacques Derrida. Discuss. (Kidding on the Jacques, I had enough of him in grad school).
With a BS in English (how appropriate), and an MA in Humanities/mythology, I guess my middle name is "deconstruction." I discovered Grand Master Robert Heinlein in third grade (~1960), reading Starship Troopers and every other SF book I could get my hands on--Asimov, Pohl, Silverberg, LeGuin, Herbert. I also read all of Lousia Alcott, Lucy Maude Montgomery and Laura Ingalls Wilder--had to find some books about girls somewhere. Jane Austen, of course, but the Bronte sisters didn't turn my crank.
I think Stranger in a Strange Land (the expurgated version--the re-release just includes a number of rants) should be required reading instead of the Scarlet Letter--it has much more to say about morals in America. I love Terry Pratchett, especially THUD!, all the Wee Free Men books, and Discworld in general, though the books are somewhat uneven. Dodger is okay, and Nation very good. The Long Earth, not so much. I like Esther Friesner, Robert Aspirin (mayherestinpeace), and recently Gail Carriger and Shelly Adima's steampunk adventures. Sherry Tepper is also a favorite if you like the feminist, and you can't go wrong with Anne McCaffrey. I've also been reading John Hartness's Bubba the Monster Slayer short stories--lots of fun and mayhem.
I've been watching Hell on Wheels, Bramwell, Sherlock, and other 19th century TV series and movies (gotta love Netflix) for visual research. I'm sure Maven's great-grandmother (or maybe herself) will show up in corset and airship gear at some point. I agree that the stories of older women are lost, and yet, in theory, it’s a Baby Boomer world still. Is there a metaphor in there for the shifting of a Grand Narrative?
I'm doing my best to make this a shift in the Grand Narrative.
I am seeing more of us women of a certain age--Judy Dench, Glenn Close, Susan Saradon, Betty White, Kathy Bates--in the movies and on TV, and sometimes not the villain! What a concept. Of course, as long as Hollywood favors the 18-35-year-old-male as the target market, any female over 30 is threatening. These older women have the same needs as they did as young women, but they have experience, knowledge and cunning to back them up.
While some individuals lived into the third age of life, that was not the way to bet. Think of Juliet's mother, who was about 26 when she planned to marry 13-year-old Juliet to 20-year-old Paris. She told Juliet that she had birthed Juliet when she was Juliet's age. The old women who told the tales of the spinning room were probably in their 40s, and lucky to be alive, considering the hardships of their lives, the food they ate, sanitation and such.
There has never been as many old people (I'm 61, I can say that word) as there are now--some 75,000 people over 100 years old in the US, and more than that many in Japan. Of course, the average person in the world is a 25-year-old Chinese man named Han, but he has a lot more elders than we did. When I was 15, half the people in America were under 25. Now the number of elders is catching up to the under-14 crowd. This is a shift that nobody seems to be thinking about or planning for, except the makers of denture cream and adult diapers. I'm not their target market, as much as they seem to think so.
It's hard to imagine that life expectancy was only 45 years when my grandmother was born in 1903. She barely lived into her 40s, though three of her sisters lived into their 90s, and one is still alive at 97. My mom is 80, and still going out dancing every Friday night.
But some folks out there are seeing the tremendous buying power and influence of the invisible Boomer and Silent Generation women. Granny's not some weak, frail and helpless creature deep in the woods depending on someone else to keep the wolf from the door. She has her own money, her investments, her lifestyle and time to do what she wants. She's picky and won't settle for something she doesn't like. I hope she will like Maven. Tulip and Jones are wonderfully rich secondary (or tertiary? hmm) characters. How did they come about?
Brewster "Silicon" Jones is lifted body, soul and toothy grin from a man that I had a crush on for about 15 years--with a few added dashes of Han Solo and Indiana Jones. The original story was to be when Maven met Jones, now probably book 4, but I let someone talk me into starting at the beginning of the beginning. I should have listened to George Lucas instead of my friend.
My friend and I are now good buddies. He loves the character, has made suggestions about what Jones might do, and demands 10% of my first $10 million in royalties. He wants to wait until he can get his million all in one piece. He declined the $2.11 share of my first royalty check.
Tulip was designed to be a foil for Maven--her younger self--and to provide a story line to include Jones as the anti-hero. She was intended to be a pretty duckling among baby swans, a human raised as a fairy, a different version of not fitting in. She resembles my daughter a little bit, and my daughter pretty much lives on the Other Side all the time, only logging in to Mundane when her job requires it. Many young women, even pretty, thin, and talented ones, feel alienated in our culture--not all of them are about shoes, hair and nail polish, ore getting married, or any one other thing. Where are their stories? I thought the idea of needing a persona for entering the Twilight Lounge was inspired (clearly it was). Can you expand a bit on the personae?
It was inspired in the mid-80s by an local computer BBS (pre-InterWebz) where the three or four of us who used it had three logins, each pretending to be other characters. The BBS was used for a shared story universe, and each time someone showed up, it was as a new character or persona. Maybe "avatar" would be a good word, but that carries so much other baggage that is irrelevant (and too reverent) to this case. Maven actually started out life as Belle, but then the story shifted, and Belle came into herself. Much magic was done in that nameless tavern which was a sort of nexxus for D&D type characters and whatever anyone wanted to post.
I thought it was a good metaphor for how we present ourselves in social situations where we are likely to meet new people, like in a bar, where we really don't want them to know who we really are--the world of fake email addresses and personas online, where nobody knows you are a dog. Everyone knows its a game, and there are points for who plays it well. The trouble starts at midnight when it's time to go home and the players forget that it's a game. What’s next for Maven? Surely there’s more to the narrative, if not from her perspective, then another’s?
Fiona has put a spell on Maven, giving her R&R (Restraint and Re-Education) as a cat, one who can't talk aloud, walk on her hind legs, or do magic, at least initially. To get her human form back, Maven must grant three wishes before the moon completes a cycle, but the available clients--a Bear, the Handless Maiden, and the son of Jack who climbed the Beanstalk--aren't making any wishes, thanks to a couple of rogue fairy godmothers.
I have a lot of notes and one short story about Fiona's life before becoming Fairy Godmother Superior, and some backstory on Belle. Jones has a story cycle--two and possibly three more books centering on Maven: so many tales and so little time.
Thanks for asking. You give really good questions.
About the Author
Charlotte Henley Babb is a web designer and college writing instructor in Spartanburg, SC.
Charlotte began writing when she could hold a piece of chalk and scribble her name–although she sometimes mistook “Chocolate” for “Charlotte” on the sign at the drug store ice cream counter.
When her third-grade teacher allowed her access to the fiction room at the school library, Charlotte discovered Louisa Alcott and Robert Heinlein, an odd marriage of the minds. These two authors have had the most influence on her desire to share her point of view with the world and to explore how the world might be made better.
In the meantime, Charlotte has fallen prey to steampunk and the gears are turning…corset, bustle and magic, oh my! She brings to any project a number of experiences, including work as a technical writer, gasket inspector, cloth store associate, girl Friday, and telephone psychic.
She has studied the folk stories of many cultures and wonders what happened to ours. Where are the stories are for people over 20 who have survived marriage, divorce, child-rearing, education, bankruptcy, and widowhood?
Charlotte loves Fractured Fairy Tales and writes them for your enjoyment.Site
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A review and excerpt of Sparkle
is available here.
A guest post: Starting the New Year Right!
is here. What do you think Sparkle’s opposite would be? How would the negative of Sparkle read? What would it be called? Bonus, if you can think of an antithesis of your lovely book (no worries if you don’t want to point a direct finger, generalizations work too).
Hmm, that's a tough one! I tend to stay away from anything negative, so I don't really know what else is out there, but I'd say anything that reflects a jaded, hopeless, uninspired attitude would be the total opposite of Sparkle
. It would probably be written by someone who didn't believe in the magic that is possible when we just open ourselves up to it.
What would the top five nuggets be from Sparkle?
1. Celebrate yourself: flaws and all
2. Truly believe that anything is possible
3. Rise above the drama and negativity - it takes away from all the good stuff
4. When in doubt, be glamorous
5. Never deprive yourself - there is always room for champagne! You. Marilyn. Discuss.
I adore her. She is just the epitome of a sexy, confident, attractive woman. There's something so effortlessly glam about her that I am so fascinated by. Yet at the core, she seems so soft and vulnerable. She's just pure beauty. You rewrite Sparkle in twenty years. How would it differ? Any letters or notes you may be preparing for your retired self?
Well hopefully I'll be rewriting it from my flat in London or Paris with an extremely successful business under my belt! The general tone wouldn't differ, I'd just be more rich with experience and insight :) Sparkle for Men. What would that look like?
It's funny, a lot of guys have read Sparkle
and love it! A friend told me, "Real men read pink books" and I died. It's true though, all of these things are takeaways for everyone - even if pink isn't your color!
About Sparkle As women, we have become professional self-critics. We've become so convinced by society that we need to attain a level of perfection that just isn't real. Whether it's trying to get skinnier, look younger, get that promotion, please our parents, get fuller lips or rid ourselves of cellulite -- we're on a never ending mission to change and it always makes us feel like crap.
Instead, why not focus on all the fabulous qualities we already possess? There is so much to celebrate when we look at all of our accomplishments. In this straight-up girlfriend's guide, lifestylist and wellness coach Cara Alwill Leyba encourages women to discover what makes them sparkle so that they can design the lives they desire and deserve. So raise your glass and toast yourself. You're about to start shimmering, shining, and dazzling every day. Because isn't everything better when it sparkles?
About the Author: Cara Alwill Leyba
Cara Alwill Leyba is a best selling author, and certified life and wellness coach from New York City who empowers women to live their most effervescent lives and celebrate themselves. She encourages women to indulge in the things that make them happy, and swears that every woman can live a "champagne life," no matter how busy she is or how tight her budget.
Her blog, The Champagne Diet
, boasts a following of thousands of loyal readers and has been featured in Glamour, Shape, Cafe Mom, Daily Mail UK, MSN Australia, AOL UK Lifestyle, and a host of other publications worldwide. Cara's writing has been featured in The Huffington Post, xJane, Mind Body Green, MTV News, and many other sites.
Cara regularly appears on the “Ask Dr. Fritz” radio show on WWRL New York, where she helps host Dr. Fritz answer questions from callers about love, career, family, relationships and more. She also hosts her own lifestyle and wellness show, "Uncork Your Best Self" on Blog Talk Radio.
Cara's first book, SPARKLE, became an immediate #1 bestseller on Amazon in both the Happiness and Self-Esteem categories upon hours of its release. She celebrated the release of her book with a book signing in New York City this past fall.
When she’s not popping bubbly, blogging, or working with her coaching clients, Cara spends her days leading a digital advertising team at MTV Networks. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and dog-child. For more on Cara visit www.LiveCreateSparkle.com
. Her blog can be found at www.TheChampagneDiet.com
Part of a Chick Lit Plus
Whispers in Autumn is the first in The Last Year series.
In 2015, a race of alien Others conquered Earth. They enslaved humanity not by force, but through an aggressive mind control that turned people into contented, unquestioning robots. Except sixteen-year-old Althea isn’t content at all, and she doesn’t need the mysterious note inside her locket to tell her she’s Something Else. It also warns her to trust no one, so she hides the pieces that make her different, even though it means being alone. The autumn she meets Lucas, everything changes. Althea and Lucas are immune to the alien mind control, and together they search for the reason why. What they uncover is a stunning truth the Others never anticipated, one with the potential to free the brainwashed human race. It’s not who they are that makes them special, but what. And what they are is a threat. One the Others are determined to eliminate for good.
1. How did you arrive at the seasons concept? Was it from Ecclesiastes or perhaps were you also drawing from your ex-farmer/almost rock star parents?
Haha, definitely not my parents, although living in the Midwest certainly brings the seasons to life. It started with Althea, and once I knew she’d never seen a summer, the rest of it kind of fell into place. The first book was set firmly in the fall from its very first draft, and from there it seemed natural, given the peculiar inclinations of my main characters, to use the seasons to relate the story.
2. What inspired you to write the series?
The original idea came from a tweet about a child who had woken from a nightmare terrified she didn’t exist. I wrote it down, because something about it interested me, and over the next several weeks Althea showed up and started to tell me why she was afraid of not-existing. It was late fall of 2009, and I’d also just read The Hunger Games for the first time, so I’m sure that had some influence on my decision to write a twisted future.
3. Hindsight is (mostly) 20/20. Now that the book (and most of the series) is written, what do you wish was different about Whispers, if anything?
I was just talking to my critique partner about this the other day, and now that the final book is drafted, there’s really only one thing I’d go back and change if I could. In Whispers in Autumn, Lucas and Althea are doing an experiment in their chemistry class – if I could go back now, I would make the experiment harder, since as the books progress they are clearly advanced science students. But that’s it! Could certainly be a lot worse.
4. Like you, I studied film so perhaps read all books filmicly. For me this is indeed a cinematographic work. Are you thinking “film” for Whispers (indeed, the series)? If so, who do you see in it? Director? Writer? Do you have film aspirations?
Well, I think any author who says they’d hate it if their book was optioned for film is probably lying, and since movies are my first love, of course I’d like to see Althea and the rest on the big screen! If I had my choice, I’d love to adapt the screenplay myself or with a co-writer, since authoring screenplays was how I initially began writing fiction. If I could hand pick a director, it would be Ben Affleck, and would cast Nicola Peltz as Althea and Jonny Weston as Lucas. But honestly, I’d just love the adaptation even if I didn’t get much say in it at all.
5. You mention a love of “first moments.” Do you see the characters, outside the tetralogy, aging to continue to other first moments, and it, what would these “firsts” be?
Hmm, well I don’t want to be too spoilery, as far as admitting who does or doesn’t survive all four books, but I’ll say this: I hope that Althea, Lucas, and the rest would experience whatever first moments they’d want to as they age – getting engaged, their weddings, holding their children, seeing the world, etc. They’re like my children, in a strange way, and I hope that after I finish torturing them during The Last Year that they can be happy. J
6. This book, being set just slightly ahead in time, reminds me to some extent of Infinite Jest, sci-fi to some extent but not quite sci-fi. Aliens notwithstanding, the book comes across, at times, more real than not (personally, I do see school as a “cell” which may be why I homeschool). How do you think this resonates with your readers?
Hmm. I definitely hope it encourages readers to look at the world through alien eyes – how certain aspects of our society might appear to strangers completely ignorant of our traditions and purpose – and whether or not we would be proud of the way we’re accomplishing things like education on earth. Throughout the books, the kids continually question whether or not humanity was better off before or after the Others, or whether they’re worthy of being saved at all. If I hope my readers take away any one thing specifically, it would be to simply question everything about life instead of swallowing it whole.
7. If you could have dinner with one person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
One person is really hard. I’m sitting here waffling between Queen Berenice (of Judea), Jean Lafitte (the pirate), and Jimmy Stewart (my favorite actor). Ooh, or Zac Efron (for obvious reasons). I can’t pick.
8. Film and literary loves and influences?
So many. Frank Capra, Alfred Hitchcock, Baz L Luhrmann, Nora Ephron, Rob Reiner, Madeleine L’Engle, JK Rowling, Dennis Lehane, Carrie Ryan, etc. etc. etc.
9. What’s next?
I’m going to be querying a YA Historical novel set in 1810 New Orleans, and working on another YA science fiction (time travel!) series to self-publish this summer.
About Trisha Leigh
Raised by a family of ex-farmers and/or almost rock stars from Northeastern Iowa, I’ve always loved to tell stories. After graduating from Texas Christian University with a degree in Film, I began to search for a way to release the voices in my head. IWhen I attempted my first YA novel, which would become Whispers in Autumn, I was hooked. I knew then my heart lay with telling stories about and for young adults, and for anyone who loves to read and recapture those fleeting “first” moments.
My spare time is spent reviewing television and movies, spending time with my large, loud, loving family, reading any book that falls into my hands, and being dragged into the fresh air by my dogs Yoda and Jilly. Site
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Click here for a review and excerpt of Forbidden Forest. 1. What did you use to draw on for your world of Regia?
Tons of things. I have a very vivid imagination. Ever since I was a child, I've imagined other worlds and I've always loved fantasy and science fiction. Movies like: The Never Ending Story, Legend, Labyrinth, The Last Unicorn, and The Hobbit (animated version) really expanded my imagination in my formative years. 2. Where did this story come from? Could it ever have been a straightforward contemporary urban tale?
I'm not sure where the story came from. Inspiration strikes at odd times and in odd forms without any say so from me. Honestly, I was bemused when I first came up with the plot. FORBIDDEN FOREST is steeped in fantasy and if it were to be changed into a contemporary, it would loose too many key elements of the story in order to work. It would be a different story entirely. 3. I love your touch of the Earth Collectibles. What inspired that? S'mores for a Vampire made me laugh.
My good buddy, Amanda, helped me with that. I wanted Forest to have a shady side business where she could cultivate useful contacts and make a little extra cash on the side. Smuggling was a perfect fit. When I had the S'mores idea I ran with it. It was like a gateway drug for Syrus into the world of American junk food. :) 4. We have so many vampire stories these days. I enjoyed how you played with their history and truths a bit. Why did you go this route?
I never wanted to write a vampire novel, but when Syrus fell into my head, he refused to be anything else. I have a love/hate for vampire stories and movies. Forest and Syrus gave me the perfect set up to sing praises to vampires and poke fun at the same time.
5. What's next? A glimpse into the next volume(s) please! You left us quite a cliff-hanger.
Forest had to run the gauntlet of her own heart in the first book. Now she faces exile, assassination attempts, learning the hard truth of her origins, and figuring out how to free herself from Leith so she and Syrus can finally be together. I'll give you a blip from the back of the book. The portals will break, the kingdom will fall, will Forest become queen of them all?
About Tenaya Jayne
Hello. My name’s Tenaya and I’m an addict. I mean author. When I was growing up, writing was just something I played at from time to time. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I was one of those people who could never finish anything. When my eldest son was diagnosed with Autism, I began to write seriously. Writing became a necessity for me in the midst of my heartbreak. It was either that or take up drinking. I ‘m thankful I chose writing as my escape because I discovered it truly is my thing. I want to be swept away when I read. That’s what I want my books to do for you. The main goal of my writing is to entertain you. I want to help you escape everyday life for a little while. I hope you enjoy my stories as much as I enjoy sharing them with you!
I have a wonderful husband and two beautiful sons. I’m an advocate for Autism awareness, and women trapped in abusive relationships. I try to always look on the bright side and help others do so too. I’ve lived many places but I currently reside in Missouri. I love reading, indie and foreign films, gardening, and moody music. Site
About Pass the Hot StuffBlythe Townsend is a belle who is in desperate need of having her chimes rung. But the man she is dating would have to get his head out of his briefs - his legal briefs - long enough to notice. She is a frustrated romantic obsessed with Turner Classic Movies. She lives in the French Quarter with her dog, Lady Marmalade, and is determined not to go sour on love even though she has dated every nutcase along the Mississippi Delta. Now, she is trying her best to make it work with her deadly dull boyfriend. Blythe accepts him - boring business dinners and all. There's always steak, but never any sizzle. There's only so much a libido can take; and when she repeatedly spots a man around town she christens Tall, Dark and Eye Candy, she starts to feel what she's been missing. So, what's stopping her from tasting something a little... sweeter? She refuses to be hurt again, and this sexy New Orleans guy has all of the trappings to do just that. Blythe will have to find her inner big-shouldered broad to deal with the craziness in her life; and she has a group of hilarious, mouthy women helping her sort through the crazy. Their story is a sultry dance to Delta blues and soulful jazz that drifts the reader into the romance of New Orleans. So, sit down at the kitchen table and pour yourself a drink - we're gonna pass the hot stuff.
Click here for an excerpt and review
Click here for Dana's guest blog on Evolvedworld
.1. Music in your book. It's clearly not only important but VITAL. Choose the music then write the scene? Write the scene, choose the music? Are we reading what you're listening to as you write? I want a soundtrack to your novel.
Music is huge to me in the creative process. I grew up in Memphis, so the blues and all of the Stax recordings influenced me a lot. I had family in New Orleans, too, so I was heavily influenced by spending a lot of time there. A jazz musician in New Orleans once told me that books inspire him to write music. Right back at him, because music always inspires me to create a story. I can’t go to a concert or even a bar with good, live music on Bourbon or Beale without drifting into a story. My imagination bone is connected to the music bone. You said the music is vital here, and that’s true especially since New Orleans and Memphis are where Pass the Hot Stuff is set; I wanted the reader to feel like they were walking down the street with these characters and could hear the horns heating up on Bourbon.
Typically, I write the scene and let the music flow into it. Once I do that, I often start listening to the music in my car or when I’m working out, and it really puts me in touch with my characters. A Pass the Hot Stuff soundtrack would be fantastic! I’ll get to work on that, and tell the artists to dedicate it to you...if only Trombone Shorty would return my calls. 2. Food is fantastic. It's nice to read about heroines with appetites. Why is food so prominent? And clearly no accident about Robert and his stomach issues. Clearly the title (can be) is food oriented. PS Blake is definitely hot stuff! Can you talk about this a bit please?
These are two huge culinary cities, particularly New Orleans. Good food is a way of life. Also, southerners can treat food like it earned its own holiday.
Food represents a lot of things for these characters. First, it’s the warmth of home and family, cooking for celebrations and girl talk over ice cream. It brings a comfort level. I always want to know what characters are eating. It tells me a lot about them. Do they have a very restrictive personality? Do they like to have fun?
The Pass the Hot Stuff girls eat, they drink, they like to have fun. These are funny, full-blown women who like to take a bite out of life...pun intended.
Food is also sexy. And, yes, the title is food oriented. Blake is most definitely the spice that Blythe needs to sprinkle over her life. We don’t know if he’ll be good for her, but a little hot sauce never hurt anyone, right? Anyway, where Blake is concerned, it would be nice to find out... 3. Colours. The earrings. The clothes. Can you elaborate a tad, pretty please with pink sugar on top?
Well, since you asked so nicely... I associate colors with various characters. With Blythe, there’s a prominence of yellow. It’s her favorite color. Ironically, it’s sunny and happy, her true nature, which has been buried by a few crummy men in her life. Throughout this book, she’s trying to please other people who don’t want her to spread her colorful peacock feathers. She’s struggling to hang on to that.
From the book: Blythe loved that her mother was not a beige person; her soul was not beige. It was hot pink, purple, red – anything bright and happy. Blythe wanted to make sure that she was like her mother and that nothing was ever beige in her life.
Also, these are big characters in a vibrant city. I wanted it to leap off of the page in every way. It was meant to be a treat for the senses. Blythe loves classic movies, and there’s even a reference made to her apartment and the surroundings looking like it was decorated in glorious Technicolor by MGM. I wanted the book to have that feel, too. In the end, the book is a real celebration of life and good times. I hope the reader feels like they ate the food, danced to the music, could see the vibrancy and fell in love. 4. Names. I love the names. Do you know someone with the name Sunny Gay? How were you inspired?
No, I’ve never known a Sunny-Gay. I just thought it really suited her. I wanted something that sounded a bit dippy and light. That’s funny, though. If I had known a Sunny-Gay, I’m guessing she would sue me. “She couldn’t find lucidity with both hands and a flashlight” would probably go over like a lead balloon.
I do keep a book of names. Sometimes it’s something that just pops into my quirky brain. Other times, it’s a funny name I might hear. I actually picture my characters first and then come up with their names. If all else fails, I can turn to any number of strangely named relatives of my own or of friends’ relatives. I had a Great-Aunt Essiebelle. I know; it sounds like a good name for a cow. A friend of mine had an Aunt Earmaude. Go figure. 5. New Orleans. This clearly is a New Orleans books. How would this book have fared with another city (and cuisine)?
What a great question! New Orleans is really a character in and of itself. Certainly, there are a lot of other wonderful and colorful cities. But there is a vibe in New Orleans that allows for a bigger-than-life attitude and a kind of craziness that would be off the mark if I had placed these characters in other cities. The cuisine is an excellent point, because these people are eating foods that are indicative of their lifestyles and personalities. I think a lot of the insanity, celebration and humor would have been lost. This book thrives off of southern charm with a dash of crazy. Settings are so important, because they often dictate who these people are and what they love. 6. Do you have Blake's phone number? Surely he's given up on Blythe and is ready to move on to the Book Section Editor at Evolved? If not, Jonah will do. Are these men based on fellows you know? I know Robert is based on my ex from university.
Good grief! I’m sorry to hear that you had a Robert in your life. Although, based on a couple of my exes, I can probably match you weird story for weird story. As for Blake’s phone number, you’ll have to fight me for it. Sadly, he is pure imagination. Based on no one at all. Like most writers, it’s really hard to get my characters out of my head while in the middle of writing them. I have to be honest; I didn’t want Blake to get out of there. Visions of Blake St. Germaine dancing in my head always put me in a happy mood. I’m with you, though, Jonah certainly has his own crazy appeal. I did base a few of Jonah’s characteristics on a couple of guys I’ve known. One was a former employer, who was often a pleasure to know and sometimes like watching a whirling dervish. The other was my grandfather, who had a touch of the entertainer in him and felt the need to perform at the drop of a hat. 7. The different voices in the book are a rare treat. Had you always intended these different points of view? It's nice to hear men talk, for a change.
Thank you. I’m really glad you liked that, because it’s one of my favorite things. Actually, no, I didn’t start out with the intent of the different points of view. I thought it was mainly going to be from Blythe’s perspective. When Tricia and Jonah came on the scene...well, they both have very big mouths, and they took over. What can I say? I couldn’t stop them. I actually loved hearing their voices, as well as Blake’s. It was really stepping out of my comfort zone to write the men in this way. I have to say some of my favorite chapters are when Blake and Jonah are taking over. It took me by surprise. But I really like these men, and getting into their heads was a lovely and funny place to be. 8. What's next?
First, I want to thank you for such a fun interview. I really enjoyed your questions. Next up? Several people have asked if I would continue with these characters. Honestly, I never considered that. I felt like I told their story, but some have inquired about Tricia and Jonah. It’s not in my immediate plans, but I’m always listening to what everyone likes. For now, I have several stories fighting with each other in my head, but I have finally started focusing on the next one. When I’m in the beginning stages, it’s hard for me to give details because I truly don’t know how things will come out. I will say, there’s a touch of mystery involved. But if anyone likes my writing, they can always count on some humor and a guy who likes to stir things up and create some hot stuff.
About Dana Page
Dana Page was raised in Memphis, Tennessee. Born just down the road from Memphis in Helena, Arkansas, she considers the Mississippi River Delta her own personal inspiration. Having earned a degree in journalism from Texas A&M University, she has utilized her writing skills in varied areas - small-town politics, human interest stories and writing an entertainment column, to name a few. To support her writing habit, she has worked an odd job or two. Don't ask her about delivering singing telegrams; some things are best forgotten. Pass the Hot Stuff is Dana’s debut novel. Goodreads
Buy links: CreateSpace (paperback)
/ Amazon (Kindle and paperback)
Mystery Author Terri L Austin is on tour this week and stopped by to answer a few Q & As with me about her book Diners, Dives & Dead Ends, the first in her Rose Strickland Mystery series. The second installment of which, Last Diner Standing, will be published December 3, 2012 by Henery Press. Stay tuned for my podcast with Terri L Austin in December about her new release. In the meantime.....About Diners, Dives, & Dead Ends
A Rose Strickland Mystery
By Terri L. Austin
As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out.
With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn. I noticed that many of your characters are morally ambiguous, which is only to the novel's benefit in my opinion. I guess, to some extent, there is a potential criminal in all us. Or at least one who is not yet been caught. All of this is to say, do you have any secrets you'd like to share?
I’d love to unburden myself and tell you all my dark, dirty deeds. But then they wouldn’t be secrets I can carry to the grave. And that, of course, is the best kind of secret. Gives my great-grandchildren something to unearth and be shocked over when they take up genealogy! Who buries your bodies? Have a Sullivan? What's his number?
My hubs, Jeff, does all the shoveling and heavy lifting. Plus, he’s got a great sense of humor. He’s an eleven in my book. Speaking of Sullivan, I liked how you left Sullivan's character to be more sympathetic than one would expect from someone who is essentially a crime boss. Is there any future for Rose and Sullivan in your next novel?
Rose and Sullivan aren’t through with each other. Rose feels a certain sense of loyalty to Sullivan. And Sullivan is determined to get into Rose’s pants. Theirs is a tangled and complicated relationship. Which is terribly fun to write. Rather than ask you what your inspiration is for this novel, I think I will ask you how you did research for all the exciting criminal activity.
My brother-in-law works for a state Attorney General. He goes after tax dodgers. Illegal gambling in out-of-the-way areas is very real. As are shady dummy corporations set up to hide tax cheats and unlawful activity. Who knew, right? Who is your favorite character? And why?
I love them all, but I’d have to pick Rose. She’s a “twenty-four-year-old former rich girl who didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. But for sure, it wasn’t a nun.” I love that she’s struggling financially, emotionally, and pretty much every other way you can think of. But Rose never gives up. She’s determined and sassy. She’d make a great best friend. Rose's mother seems unnaturally harsh, not unlike my own. I believe any reader can identify with the disapproving parent. What is her story?
Yes, Barbara is quite the bitch. I think most people have a difficult relationship with at least one parent. Maybe not as difficult as Rose’s relationship with her mother, but the tension and strain are definitely real.
I plan to tell Barbara’s story in a later book. She says to Rose: “As far as I can see, you’ve had a pretty good life. We gave you the best of everything so you could make something of yourself, but you’re throwing it away with both hands.” Barbara thinks she had all the bases covered, at least materially, as a parent. But she’s a cold perfectionist who is emotionally stunted. I can’t wait to delve deeper into her past.
Where oh where did you find inspiration for so many great secondary or even tertiary characters? Who can resist a jilted boyfriend who has renamed himself Spaz. And who doesn't know a stoner Joe? Your characters are so rich considering the length of the novel. Surely these must be based on people you know, or at least amalgams. Expand as much as you can without burning bridges.
My brain is like a filter. My family becomes very disgruntled when I can’t remember the mundane details of life, but the people I meet, conversations I overhear, they all swirl around in my head, ready for use.
For instance, Roxy is a Loli. Her fashion sense is a mashup of different Lolita styles. My daughter went to Japan a couple of years ago. The pics she brought home of the sweet Lolis and their little girl outfits stuck with me.
Same with Stoner Joe. Who hasn’t known a guy in college who tokes up too much and plays hacky sack in the quad instead of going to class? You’re not really sure whether he’s even enrolled in school or just squatting in dorm room with a pal. What is next for Rose? I see you have a release, Last Diner Standing, coming out December 3rd. Is there any crossover (see my question about Sullivan above)?
Last Diner Standing takes place a few weeks after the end of Diners, Dives and Dead Ends
and the tables have turned. This time, Sullivan needs Rose’s help:
Rose Strickland is having a blue Christmas. Her friend is arrested for attempted murder, her sexy bad guy crush is marked by a hit man, and her boss is locked in an epic smackdown with a rival diner. Determined to save those she loves, Rose embarks on an investigation more tangled than a box of last year's tree lights. With her eclectic gang at the ready, Rose stumbles across dead bodies, ex-cons, jilted lovers, and a gaggle of strippers as she searches for the truth. What she finds will leave her entrenched in a battle for freedom she might not survive.
About Terri L Austin
When I'm not writing, I enjoy eating breakfast at my local diner, watching really bad movies, and hanging out with my kids when they’re home from college. I live in Missouri with my funny, handsome husband and my high-maintenance peekapoo. Follow me on one of the Social Media sites (check out the bottom of the page) and send me a message. I love to hear from readers. Amazon
Let's talk about music and the book. I understand you write to music, can you tell us about it? Your tracks for this book and how they come together.
I've always been the sort to listen to music, whether it was doing science homework as a kid or now, writing books. Music helps me drown out the Internal Editor voice that tells me everything is dreck! While I'm drafting a novel, I listen to light classical - great for drowning out those doubts! - and then as I'm editing my playlists come into play. I choose songs that have a certain feel, whether for the overall book or hero or heroine or a specific moment. For The Saint's Devilish Deal, the music was really eclectic! Santiago's 'song' was Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. Santiago isn't lazy by any stretch of the imagination, but at the beginning of the book he's quite content to float for a little while, while he gets his bearings. Esmerelda, of course, messes up that floating thing! Esmerelda's song was It Only Hurts When I'm Breathing by Shania Twain. There were several other songs - including Love You Til The End by The Pogues and Perfect by Sara Evans. Inspiration for the story: there are some very exciting activities which Santiago brings to Esme's world. I didn't see these activities posted on your site as your hobbies (unless you power quilt while parachuting!). Tell us a bit about the extreme adventures and how they affect the characters in your book. It's pretty clear that these adventures serve a profound existential purpose.
Ha! Power-quilting while parachuting would be an interesting hobby!! Santiago is quite the adrenaline junkie. He likes to be daring and a lot of that goes back to his childhood when he wasn't allowed to do much - unless the activity was sanctioned by his overbearing father. Esme, on the other hand, is quite simply scared of feeling too much. Her background includes mental illness (her mother) and abandonment issues (both her parents and Santiago and now her aunt) so she's quite content not to try much. So I had to get her out of her shell. Santiago's extreme sports made sense to me. From personal experience, I've tried a few crazy things - I've parasailed, I've done a canopy tour on a zipline. I haven't tried sky-diving (yet)...but I'm very interested in it. There is a rush that comes with these sports that is completely addicting. I understand you were a TV reporter, how did this work to your advantage in The Saint's Devilish Deal? I've heard your podcasts so can see how being a reporter can be useful for promoting your book. But for writing, what helped from your reporter days?
The deadlines! As a TV reporter you work with some hard-and-fast deadlines. If your story isn't ready by 5pm there is a total shut-down. So those early experience really help me stay focused (usually, I do have my squirrel-brain moments!!) on the story.
Any reporter stories coming up for you? You mentioned that some inspiration for your first book came from a story you were covering.
I actually do have an idea for a journalist heroine...but it's just an idea at this point! Who's your model(s) for delicious Santiago? Is he based on a flesh and blood human? If so, where can we find him? :)
He is and he isn't. How's that for a non-answer? I make collages for my books - pictures that remind me of my hero or heroine or a place or a moment. You can find some of my collages on my Pinterest boards
. For Santiago, I actually drew on some real-live surfers - Laird Hamilton, who can ride a board like no one else, and Kelly Slater, who is just yummy both played a part in Saint's creation. Do you ever revisit your books and wish you'd written something differently? Something left on the editing block? Or are you a move-forward and use it in the next book kind of gal? Any out takes to share from this wonderful book?
All the time!! My editor is probably cringing as I say that. But I think this is true of all writers - there can always be something we 'see' after a book is turned in that we wish we could have or would have done differently. Because of that, I'm definitely a move-forward girl. I try to look back on each book and just remember the fun parts of writing and editing (yes, I do enjoy the editing parts!) and make the next book even better. Your secondary characters are very complex. Tell us a bit about them and how they affect the story.
Thank you! I love my secondary characters, I do. There are four who really impact the book, although most are seen only in a scene or two. The first is Saint's brother Tobias - he chose the road that Santiago avoided but turning to surfing. So, in him we see who Santiago could have been and who he is in little ways. Santiago's mother, Magdalena is another impactful character. She and her illness really change how Esme sees Santiago and his family dynamics. And there is Constance, Esme's aunt, who is the reason these two are back in the same city in the first place. She's left them in charge of her villa. Finally, Saint's father, Eduardo makes an appearance late in the book and from him we see why Santiago ran so many years ago - and why he couldn't stay away any longer. What's next for you?
My next book is the second in my Texas series, What a Texas Girl Needs
. This is Vanessa's story, the middle of the Witte sisters. Vanessa Witte is ready to finally claim her life. The middle of three daughters born into the Witte family – a powerful, Texas name – she's been content to float through life. Being dumped by her shady ex? A blessing in disguise. Having a one-night-stand with Matias Barnes? Not one of her more stellar moments. But she's back in Lockhardt with a secret and a reason to start fresh: A baby.
Matias Barnes knows all about society women – it's part of the reason he left his wealthy family behind and took a job on a ranch. He doesn't like the endless string of parties, the inane conversation or the gold-digging tricks those women have perfected. But that doesn't stop him from wanting Vanessa Witte. Mat knows she's so not right for him, but with her back in Lockhardt, can he resist her charms long enough to really let her go?
The book releases December 17th from Crimson Romance.
About the Author: Kristina Knight Once upon a time, Kristina Knight spent her days running from car crash to fire to meetings with local police – no, she wasn’t a trouble-maker she was a journalist. When the opportunity to write what she wanted – business and family/parenting articles – and to focus more energy on the stories in her head, she jumped at it.
And she’s never looked back. Now she writes articles for magazines and such by day and writes romance novels with spice by night. And any toddler-free, five minute break she has. She lives on Lake Erie with her husband and 4 year old daughter. Happily ever after. Website
/ B & N
Sue Lyndon`s Dark Without You: Total Love. Domestic Discipline. He takes her world firmly in hand...
Alice Grove owes her brother a lot. After all, he adopted her after their parents died and worked several jobs just to keep food on the table. When he asks for her help keeping a musician from the band he manages happy until the end of their tour, Alice is more than willing. She'll do just about anything to please the enigmatic drummer she's had a crush on since they were kids.
Andy Steel detests life in the limelight. Touring for weeks on end with no company besides his fellow band members, trashy girls, and an endless supply of booze doesn't suit his old-fashioned ideals. He aches to have a long-lasting relationship with just one woman--but not just any relationship. He expects obedience inside and outside of the bedroom, and he won't hesitate to enforce his rules by giving his woman a good spanking. When he meets up with his childhood friend Alice in Chicago, all grown up and aiming to please, Andy knows the heat they generate is something special. Until he hears about Alice's real reasons for joining the tour, and until she skips town without so much as a good-bye. Andy has no qualms about chasing after her, but he may not like what he discovers along the way.
Let's talk to Andy Steele, the hero of Sue Lyndon's novella Dark Without You
. Andy Steele, drummer for the band Soul Smashers, is a commanding presence standing 6'7" tall, blessed with blond good looks and a quick mind which does not suffer fools easily. Masterful yet tender, Andy Steele exudes a powerful sensuality which few women can resist. He demands obedience in and out of the bedroom, something Alice Grove finds she cannot do without.It appears that spanking is something more than an erotic adventure for you. Can you talk about the significance of discipline in your relationship with Alice?Andy
: I’ve known Alice since we were kids, and I think it’s safe to say I know her quite well. I’ve always had an inexplicable urge to look after her, as well as an urge to punish her and make her see the errors of her ways when she’s been naughty. Her rebellious streak intensified when her parents died when she was a teenager. Her brother adopted her, but he never paid much attention to her. I kept a close eye on her and often threatened her with a spanking when I caught her up to no good. I never followed through with my threats until she was an adult and willingly in my bed. Because of our history together, the element of discipline in our relationship came naturally.What is it about anal penetration you find so attractive?Andy
: The extra dimension of submission it requires, especially for a woman as headstrong as Alice, appeals to me greatly. It can be erotic only, or work as part of a punishment.You describe yourself as old-fashioned and clearly will be the master in the house. Have you always felt this way?Andy
: Yes, I suppose I’ve always felt this way, but Alice brings out the ‘master of the house’ inside of me more than any other woman. Before Alice, this aspect of my relationships sometimes felt a little too much like play, and I suspect it was because my past girlfriends were simply indulging me as far as they could. With Alice, it’s 100% real.What was the turning point for you in your relationship with Alice? What made your relationship shift from friend to lover?Andy
: She got locked out of her hotel room in Chicago when she came to visit the band. She knocked on my door, and the rest is history.I have a few questions for Alice Grove, the plucky heroine of Dark Without You. Alice has survived several tragedies and trials by fire in her young life and clearly is a strong-willed and intelligent woman. Vitally attractive to Andy, Alice is a heroine with whom so many readers would want to identify.Alice, it is clear that you are new to spanking and discipline in a relationship. What made you agree to bring your relationship with Andy to this level of intimacy? How did Andy win your trust?Alice
: Andy won my trust over the years we were friends. I knew I could count on him for anything. At first I thought he was way out of my league and that his interest in me was purely friendship, but once I realized he reciprocated my feelings, I trusted him on an intimate level and was open to his desire to include spanking and discipline in our relationship.What do you find sexiest about Andy? What makes you love him?Alice
: Hmm…I do admire his expressive, dark blue eyes. It’s hard to pinpoint what makes me love Andy or when it first started – I just can’t imagine life without him. I’d say I love everything about him, but that sounds silly, right? A part of me loved him when we were kids. I had a major crush on him back then, and that crush grew into love when we were older and we spent more time together.Can you tell us a bit about what it is like to submit to your lover so completely? What is so satisfying about submission?Alice
: I can’t imagine submitting to anyone but Andy. I love and trust him with my whole heart, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of pleasing him. This probably sounds cliché, but I worship the ground he walks on. Submitting to him gives me a feeling of fulfillment I’ve never experienced before. I have a history of pushing people away and not allowing anyone to get close to my heart, but Andy won’t let me behave this way toward him, and I love him for it.And now a question or two for Sue Lyndon, author of Dark Without You.
Can you tell us to what the title refers?Sue
: The title is taken from a line in the book when Andy is contemplating what his life would be like without Alice, but I also think the title works both ways to describe their intense feelings for one another.What was the inspiration for the story?Sue
: I remember Alice’s character popping into my head first. The rest of the story followed after that, but nothing in particular inspired the story that I can recall. Usually my characters pop into my head first and I imagine them in different plots until I come up with something I like.What's next on your plate? Any tidbits to share?Sue
: I’m working on a BDSM erotic romance series called Alien Warriors. The first book in this series, Surrender, was accepted by Etopia Press and will be out in a few months. I’m currently working on the second two books in this series.
I also have another spanking romance novella set to release in a few months with Blushing Books. It’s called Shana’s Guardian and I’m very excited about it!
Last but not least – the sequel to my erotic romance novella, Valentine Submission
, releases this week. It’s called Tessa’s Submission
and it will be available on Amazon
.Dark Without You
is available on Amazon US
, Amazon UK
, Barnes and Noble
, and All Romance
Sue Lyndon`s site and blog can be found here
. This site is for an 18+ audience.
Could you explain to our readers just what is "domestic discipline"?
Domestic discipline is a lifestyle in which spanking occurs for punishment, rather than erotic sexual play. Typically, a husband and wife assume traditional sex roles: the man serves as the leader of the household and the woman supports. What’s most important for readers to know is that domestic discipline is a consensual practice – both persons agree the husband has the authority to spank.
For some, it’s an extension of their natural Dominant/submissive personalities. Some couples even practice DD as part of their religious faith, citing biblical context for the practice, but for most, it’s simply the way they’ve chosen to define their relationship. People may spank only for discipline, only for erotic enjoyment or both. DD is a private practice (except when couples blog about it!) and many couples go to great pains to hide it from their vanilla friends. Even the children don’t know that daddy spanks mommy.
I actually found the secret lifestyle aspect of domestic discipline intriguing. The “what if” that authors play kicked into action. What if spanking wasn’t private? What if, within a closed society, everyone knew about it and could talk about it openly? Thus I created the fictitious Rod and Cane Society. It’s a secret organization, but within its mansion walls, the members are free to discuss the “fact” that the men spank their wives to maintain discipline.
In Unexpected Consequences
, the first Rod and Cane Society novel, a naïve, somewhat spoiled bride marries a member of the organization. He’s told her he will spank her if she disobeys, but she doesn’t really consider what that means. When she gets her first spanking, it throws her world into turmoil.
Here’s the aftermath: “I wish I hadn’t had to spank you,” Jared’s voice rumbled in her ear. “I expected more from you than to sneak behind my back. If you had a problem with my request, you should have discussed it with me.”
“I’m sorry,” she whispered, her head still bowed. “I’m sorry for going against your…wishes and buying the shoes.” She could see how spoiled and immature she’d acted, but how did a spanking solve anything?
He raised his hand as if to touch her, but let it drop. Relief and disappointment warred within her. She wanted to crawl away, to be alone with her thoughts, but perversely, she wanted Jared to hug her, show her with his touch their marriage would endure.
“It’s over now, Melania,” he said gently. “It won’t be an issue again.”
She knew he meant her disobedience and dishonesty. Those “issues” might be settled for him, but for her, the “issue” had just begun. The spanking upended everything she thought she believed, thought she wanted in her marriage. She’d vowed to love, honor, and obey for better or for worse, but she’d never considered the worse part. She needed space and time to figure out her next steps. She had to get away to think.
“You’d better fix your face and finish getting ready. Our guests will arrive soon.”
In False Pretenses
, the second book in the series and my new release, Emma Dupree (introduced as a minor character in the first book) has gone undercover at Rod and Cane to expose the organization as a kinky group of pervs and make a name for herself as journalist. But she meets Dan, a member of the organization. Though their spanking starts out as erotic, he begins to see that she could use some discipline. What do you say to detractors of spanking and domestic discipline?
What seems to give some people heartburn isn’t erotic spanking, but domestic discipline. I’m not going to try to convince anyone to accept it or try it if they’re opposed to it. However, I’d like to make two points. First, it’s consensual. Even when the spanking is done to punish, the person who is disciplined agrees to it. Second, excuse the pun – different strokes for different folks. You don’t have to like it or participate in it, but that doesn’t mean that someone who wants it shouldn’t engage in it.
In False Pretenses
, Dan Tanner, the hero, has a strong spanking fetish and has begun dating Emma Dupree. He raises the subject of spanking over dinner.
Excerpt: Dan tilted his head to the side. “So what about adults spanking adults?”
“What about it?” Emma squirmed and pressed her thighs together. Just talking about spanking caught her in a strange emotional tug-of-war, jerked her between discomfort and excitement. She wanted to both slam a lid on the discussion and rip it wide open. Oh, the stories she could tell! The urge rose again to confide in him about the Rod and Cane Society and her friend Melania, who was spanked regularly by her husband and who not only consented to it, but relished it.
“Do you approve, disapprove?”
“I don’t get it.” She pursed her lips. Even after interviewing dozens of Auxiliary wives, she didn’t have a clue why a woman would allow a man to rule their home, let alone permit him to apply a hand to her backside. She had flaws, but she’d dedicated herself to improving them. They didn’t give a man the right to order her around, to enforce his will by inflicting physical pain. “Spankings hurt, don’t they?” Her imagination flashed a scene of Dan smacking her ass as he fucked her from behind, and her heart went crazy in her chest.
Can you discuss the various spanking tools of the trade? There are wooden paddles, leather-covered paddles, floggers, many different implements made specifically for spanking. There are various kinds of spanking benches used to position the spankee. However, many other non-spanking items can be used: hairbrushes, wooden spoons, old fashioned rug beaters, rulers. Many spankos see implements in common items that vanilla people would never think of.
In False Pretenses
, Dan notices the potential of Emma’s hairbrush right off. When he spanks her for the first time, that’s what he uses (but he warms her up with his hand first). In this scene, Emma has agreed to be spanked, but is getting cold feet:
Excerpt: She heard a drawer close in the bathroom, and moments later, Dan reappeared.
“Dan, I think—” Her words fell away at the sight of the brush in his hand. Of all of them, he’d chosen the acrylic one with the wide, flat head and short rubber bristles used for detangling. Nervousness broke through the dam of bottled emotions and erupted in a burst of laughter. She clapped a hand to her mouth as her shoulders shook.
“What’s so funny?”
Tears welled in her eyes. “Th-that’s called…that’s called…a paddle brush!”
“I guess I picked the right one, then.” He smacked it against his thigh.
Her laughter died. The words to tell him there would be no spanking clogged in her throat when he set the hairbrush on her coffee table. She gaped at the object she used every single day as if she’d never seen it before.
Here’s a playful, erotic spanking scene in Unexpected Consequences involving a wooden spoon: Before she could blink, Jared lunged and grabbed the spoon out of the rack with one hand and her wrist in the other. As he dragged her toward a counter barstool, she dug in her heels, but her sandaled feet had little traction, and she slid across the tiled floor. He sat down and hauled her over his lap, then flipped her skirt over her waist.
She heard him suck in his breath, imagined his hands shaking as he smoothed his palms over her bottom, caressing each rounded cheek slowly, almost reverently. He sighed heavily, mockingly. “It’s a shame that such a gorgeous ass is wasted on such a naughty girl.”
“I am not naughty. It was your fault the cookies burned,” she protested. “And my ass is not wasted on me.” Spanking 101: Could you give us a bit of insight into spanking as a sexual activity? Why do people enjoy it so much?
For some it is a guilty pleasure which they never seek out, while for others it is integral to their sexual relationship. I think there is a range from those who just want to fantasize about it to those who engage in the practice. I’m sure motivation varies from individual to individual, but for many people, it’s the act of surrendering or handing the control over another that is a turn-on as opposed to the actual spanking itself. The degree of trust that it takes to surrender creates intimacy. For women, emotional intimacy stirs physical intimacy. Many people who get involved with spanking were drawn to it very early in their lives.
In False Pretenses
, Emma is in denial. She assumes she’s vanilla. But when she decides to allow Dan to spank her as “research” for her story, the circumstances prove otherwise.
Excerpt: She wiggled on Dan’s lap, but he clamped his arm across her back and yanked down her panties. Her breath hitched in her throat. She’d never felt so vulnerable, so…connected?
How was that possible? Her pussy throbbed along with her ass.
Cool air grazed her naked skin, but then Dan slapped her cheek, and the temperature soared. She had no protection from his stinging hand, no defense against her rioting emotions. She wanted to hate it, to loathe every painful second, but…she didn’t.
Each spank seared the point of contact before morphing into ripples of confusing yearning. Pain…pleasure. Pain…pleasure. Twin sensations danced within her in a baffling tango.
She dreaded every punitive kiss, kicking and writhing to escape.
She craved each one, lifting her hips to meet every smack. Tell us a bit about other discipline scenarios.
I’m not exactly sure what you mean, so I’ll toss a few darts at the question. Some couples employ corner time with a spanking or might use “anal discipline,” i.e. plugs or ginger figging to make the other person uncomfortable. One common practice is “maintenance” spankings in which a person is spanked on a regular schedule. The purpose is to reinforce and remind them of the Dominant/submissive roles.
I address maintenance spankings in Unexpected Consequences
. To her shock, Melania finds out that her dinner guests are all spanked wives.
Excerpt: She looked at Candi. Perky, smiling, seemingly happy Candi with the husband who liked to clown around. “How…how often do you get spanked?”
“Well, I’m on maintenance, so we agreed on at least once a month,” she answered.
“Maintenance?” Melania frowned.
Candi bobbed her head. “I get regularly scheduled spankings.”
Melania blinked. “You’re kidding. He spanks you for no reason?” Being punished was bad enough. Getting a spanking when you did nothing to deserve it was crazy. No—it was all crazy.
“There is a reason,” Candi insisted. “It’s good discipline. It reminds me to watch my mouth, show respect, and it reinforces that Tucker is in charge. It’s akin to exercising every day instead of only when you want to lose weight.” She grinned. “Or like eating fiber. It keeps me regular.”
Is there a difference between male versus female spanking? For example, do men spank differently or for different reasons than women in a typical--if one can use such a term--male-female relationship? Is it different for male-male or female-female? I haven’t really explored male-male or female-female spanking; I write about men spanking women (although I may soon write a woman spanking a man story). My personal opinion? The motivations are the same.
What is the safe way to spank? I’m not an authority on this, so I advise anyone looking to spank to do their research. But: you need to avoid hitting the lower back. Stick with the buttocks and the “sit spot” at the top of thighs. Begin with a hand spanking. Go light at first. If you do use a paddle, “warm up” with a hand spanking. Stop the action when you need to. Remember spanking is consensual: although the “top” may appear to be in control, it’s the “bottom” who really is. Be sure you can trust your partner.
What do you think of calling spanking a taboo sexual act or relationship? A taboo is whatever society says it is. That doesn’t make it wrong. I personally think that American culture has a rather Puritanical view toward sex in general. Remember the uproar over Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction? Good grief! So she flashed a little boob. It floors me that people would even care! However, making something taboo only entices people to want to try it. People want what they can’t have or are told they’re not supposed to have. So maybe I should tell them my books are taboo! LOL Thank you so much Sophie for having me today! I enjoyed your thought-provoking questions.
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