Nothing Compares To You...

How can you grieve for someone you've never met? When it comes to musicians, we've grown accustomed to the trope of "gone too soon." But never could I expect such a thing to be applied to HIs Royal Badness-Prince. I came of age with him. Through him, I celebrated my unconventional interests and curiosities. With his music as the soundtrack, I explored sexuality with a freedom often not allowed someone with my background.

I danced and grooved to his funky tracks, and was equally moved by his sensual ballads.  I grew up with Prince...every messy step. His passing has been devastating. But his music is eternal. We still leap to our feet when "1999" plays, or sway to "Purple Rain." For those of us who continued the ride, we got funky with "The Pope" and found a new, more mature eroticism with "U Know."

If you've been following my blog, you know I shared my playlists for Her Love and Regrets and His Pleasures and Pain about a month ago. Both lists had Prince songs included to capture the mood and sentiments of those books. I hope you enjoy them...

A Rose By Any Other Name

One of the challenges in writing these books was trying to figure out how best to describe sexual acts. I could've take the path most often chosen and simply found some creative way to describe a penis or labia and various forms of sexual intercourse. You know something like, "he inserted himself into her wanting folds" kind of thing. But it didn't feel right and it didn't raise the level of eroticism I wanted. Instead, I wrote things like "easing his dick into her, he imagined the soft, pulsating walls of her pussy engulfing him."

I know there are those who prefer more gentile phrasing in their romance books. In fact, some may not be able to get past the more graphic content of my books...and that's okay. As the saying goes, everything isn't for everyone. Even though I wouldn't use such words in daily speech, there's something about hearing those particular words in your head when you read. There's an immediacy..and familiarity. We all have a way of saying words that can  build a heat and allow us to feel the characters' desires on a visceral level. That's what I wanted to create for my readers.

 

"You Like Me! You really like me!"

Okay, some may be too young for that cultural reference, but the majority of you will get it! LOL

The past few weeks have been a blur...but something pretty special is happening. More readers are spreading the word about my books, reviewers are adding their perspectives on blogs and websites, and new readers are discovering Her Love and Regrets (Book I). I'm humbled by the response so far! His Pleasures and Pain (Book 2) is now available and the final book of the trilogy Their Now and Forever (Book 3) will be released by the end of the month-so enjoy!

Book sales are strong with Kindle readers from the US and UK. I'm delighted by those of you who keep returning to this website and blog to peep what I've been up to.  Bottom line? A BIG, SLOPPY KISS AND THANK YOU! for being on this journey with me.

Where Did You Get That?

I've been asked why I selected the items shown on the book covers. 

As you can imagine, each image reflects an important idea from the book. When Janine chooses to go further with Michael into BDSM play, the flogger is the device used. It is a standard device that can be purchased at a number of chain or specialty 'lovers' shops. But the photographer did something amazing. After reading the book, she was drawn to the idea of placing flowers within the tails to reflect that this is a love story-FIRST. The result is stunning.

Cufflinks clearly represent a man. When I started thinking about Michael's journey and the duality he must combat, I wanted a symbol that reflected all that he is. After considerable research, I discovered that among some BDSM practitioners, this 'triskele' subtly identifies them to one another. Necklaces, ornaments, charms, etc. are available on line or in specialty shops. But this particular item was purchased from an amazing vendor in Germany whose products are extremely well made compared to most US vendors. When I held them in my hand, I knew this was exactly what I needed.

Given the success with the cufflinks imagery, I reached out to the German vendor again and asked about distinctive submissive collars. Once again, he did not fail me. His selection of hand-crafted goodies was extraordinary! The "O" Collar was more beautiful than I could have imagined and it is custom-measured for the wearer. In the book I described what Janine wears, but left the specific details for a later draft until I was certain what it would look like...and how it would feel. 

As you read the books, I hope you think the choices made where as perfect as I did.

 

You Know You Want It...

So, I'm giving it to you. Excerpts from His Pleasures and Pain (Book II) and Their Now and Forever (Book III) have been uploaded for your pleasure!

And just in case you're wondering-each book is a complete story that simply begs for more...which I've given you. Michael's backstory unfolds in greater detail in Book II giving you a glimpse into his kink and professional world.

And yes, our freaky little love birds finally get together...but it's far from easy. Book III takes them both further and beyond.

So enjoy and I hope to hear from you on the Blog Tours scheduled for April and June 2016 to coincide with the release of the final books in the trilogy!

Keep those questions coming in this website Contact Me page or on FaceBook!

 

The Point of it All...

Falling in love, losing love and trying to find that thing that makes us truly happy is what my books are really about. I love exploring the human condition and the contradictions within each of us. Her Love and Regrets deals with one woman's struggle with this on the most intimate level. The fact that that intimacy involves less than conventional sexuality is a part of and beside the point. Each book is ultimately a love story. His Pleasures and Pain, recognizes that men struggle with these issues as well. Because...well...we all want love in one form or another. But finding it doesn't always mean that things work out smoothly. Forming meaningful, loving relationships are about people navigating their individuality to form a lasting bond with another...and that's the premise of Our Now and Forever. 

I hope you'll join me on this journey. I promise, you'll love the ride!

Don't Get it Twisted...

One of the joys of writing these books was having the opportunity to research a subject I only had a passing familiarity with. To close the gap, I started reading several psychological and human sexuality studies which revealed that people who engage in BDSM are far more emotionally healthy-particularly when it comes to sexuality- than the general population. But that was just one element of my work. I also reached out to the community and was put into contact with a number of BDSM practitioners (Doms, Subs and Switches) who begged me to "get it right." 

They repeatedly shared how much they disdained pop culture and most porn depictions of their world. More often than not, they argued BDSM is often shown as violence and rarely takes into account the three spheres of sexual play and its negotiation and aftercare. Yes, there certainly are extremes to anything-but that isn't the norm. Worse, they found that the popularity of "that other book" created a dangerous environment because of its depiction of what they called emotional and sexual abuse. In the simplest terms, they pleaded, the Sub has the power and the Dom has the rules. More important, all of it is negotiated among willing-not coerced-partners who talk about the experience and build a trust and intimacy that ensures neither partner is emotionally or physically damaged because they know exactly when, where and how to strike and engage.

Here's the thing, if you fantasize about trying it, then take the time to learn about it. There are groups out there (be very careful with one major Fetish website, it's trying to purge itself of abusers who have come onto it lately) who conduct workshops, conferences and other training and support for newbies/'cherries.' They can teach you how to be Safe, Sane and above all Consensual in everything you want to try.

Race, Sex and "Play"

I had an interesting exchange with someone who asked if black people really engaged in BDSM. Of course they do! They just tend to be more stealth about it. As the query continued, at the heart of the question was how could African Americans be drawn to BDSM when historically sexual exploitation and violence was inflicted on their bodies. It was a complex question with an equally complex answer.

The majority of black practitioners I interviewed made clear they don’t engage in “Race Play.” “Race Play” is when partners role play outside their ethnic group as the white “slave master” dominates black “slave,” or it can reverse, the black slave “masters or dominates” the white “owner.” I am told that there are some folks who do it-but again, not many because of the complex history and unresolved racial dynamics. 

Ultimately, the answer to the fuller question can be found in the BDSM core credo of “safe, sane and consensual.” BDSM practitioners feel they have much more control in their play and sexual interactions because consent is so prominent throughout. Nothing happens that they have not explicitly shared or discussed with their partner. It is an empowering exchange between willing adults who choose to share their bodies. And therein lies the difference.

Embrace Your Kink!

If you're like most of us, you may have grown up in a faith community that was highly restrictive in the way it viewed sexuality. In addition to expectations of abstinence, it was likely that any expression beyond 'the missionary' position within defined relationships was frowned upon. But here's the thing, human sexuality is more than procreation-otherwise we wouldn't have been blessed with intense pleasure when it's done well. 

Finding that thing that really turns you on can be an adventure like no other. But know your self first. Know those things that get you hot just thinking about them. Then try it with a willing and trusted partner. Be prepared to laugh, wince and then explode with ecstasy!

The Music In My Head--Part 2

You know the drill, right? I love music. Certain songs inspire. So here's my primary song list for Book 2 that takes you on Michael Josey's Journey. It's a bumpy, sexy, freaky ride!! (and you know Prince takes the lead spot!) LOL 

His Pleasures and Pain Playlist:

  1. Sexy M.F....Prince

  2. Pusher Love Girl...Justin Timberlake

  3. Chocolate Legs...Maxwell

  4. Shameless...The Weeknd

  5. U Know...Prince

  6. Demons...Fat Boy Slim (feat. Macy Gray)

  7. Kisser...Usher

  8. How Does It Feel...D'Angelo

  9. Let's Pretend We're Married...Prince

  10. There Goes My Baby...Usher

The Music In My Head

The Music In My Head...(part 1)

January 23, 2016

I love music! The right song can set, change or create a mood. When I got stuck with certain sequences in the stories, I'd think about the emotional space I was trying to capture. I'd scour my playlists or iTunes to find just the right song to fill and guide me. This could take days of just listening to music until I was ready to write again. Below is a short list of the songs that stood out the most for me in the first book:

Her Love and Regrets Primary Playlist:

  1. Breathless...Corrine Bailey Rae

  2. Mercy...Duffy

  3. Fallin...Alicia Keys

  4. Nothing Compares to You...Prince or Sinead O'Connor

  5. You Put A Move On My Heart...Quincy Jones (feat. Tamia)

  6. Would You Mind...Janet Jackson

  7. I Love Me Some Him...Toni Braxton

  8. My Immortal...Evanessence (Amy Lee)

  9. Un-Thinkable...Alicia Keys

  10. No Sleep...Janet Jackson

"So, ummm..."

It always tickles me when people ask "Are you into that?" The simple answer is a good writer takes time to research their subject...and I did. Once I shared my general concept, I was introduced to people who are BDSM practitioners. I listened to their stories and experiences. What I wanted more than anything else was to understand their emotional truths. What I found was a community of people (some 'out' some not) who were funny, brilliant, and confident working in a variety of professions. They were open and honest about their fetishes and kinks. While none of their specific stories have been used, I drew upon them to create the world of Janine and Michael. I also spent time talking to attorneys and others to make sure technical elements of the stories were also correct. It's just what you do...when you write.

I have written about many subjects over the years, from historic and period dramas to children's programming--I didn't have to "be into that" to do my job with passion, vigor and honesty.

Why I went Indy for my books...

Several of my friends have asked why in the world I chose to do independent publishing rather than broker a deal with any number of national publishers. The truth is--this is a 'love' project. There were no forced deadlines, I could take my time. There were no meetings to discuss which direction I should take my characters. No one to question why I spent time on one element versus another. Each of these books and every character in them have become a part of me...each and every one of them.

Admittedly, maintaining control is also a factor. The fact is you can never fully visualize how a work may be interpreted regardless of intent.  Like any writer, amateur or professional--we all just want to create...and share. I'm no different.