Friday, February 16, 2018

Suddenly, kinky is cool…and that may not be a good thing

Once a topic discussed in hushed tones behind closed doors, it seems kinky sex is no longer banished to the closet. In fact, kinky is cool.

Admit it. The topic may make you giggle, it may even make you blush, but when someone brings up blindfolds and handcuffs, you nod knowingly, with a certain tone of acceptance. After all, you have read those books and seen those movies. You’ve had your kink education and you’re all in. The sting of a whip seems like a small price to pay to snag a billionaire’s heart…

Here’s the thing. Those books and those movies are fiction. That’s right, F.I.C.T.I.O.N. There is little chance you’ll garner the attention of a rich dude simply by claiming to be submissive, and permitting a stranger to tie you to a bed and have his or her way with you is just stupid. And there is little in those books that accurately portrays the kink world, or the elements of a true Dominant/submissive relationship. Because believe it or not, not all Dominants have been abused or are psychologically damaged. And not all submissives are innocents who surrender control to a stranger just because they foolishly got drunk.

Yet, some consider those books the bible on a very complex lifestyle. And the damage that has resulted is tragic. There’s the case of the two women who decided to hook up with an alleged Dominant they met online. Both wound up chopped into pieces, stuffed into suitcases and left on a roadside to rot. And there’s the case of the recently divorced middle-aged women who decided to flit into a kink club, proclaiming to everyone who would listen that she wanted to serve a Dominant. Four men cornered her and convinced her that as a submissive, group sex was the key to proving her value. So, she allowed them to gang rape her—without protection—and wound up with an incurable sexually transmitted disease.

Then there are the online discussion groups that cater to those in the kink or BDSM lifestyle. They are filled with ads from lost men and women who offer to do “anything” in exchange for the protection and/or support of their Christian Grey. And those groups are also filled with post after post from naïve men and women who were taken advantage of by alleged Dominants and scammers. They tell stories of rape, abuse and more.

Obviously, the people in these examples were unable to make informed decisions about a lifestyle they knew little or nothing about. They relied on a fictional book or a movie to override what little common sense they possessed. They leapt right into harmful situations because they thought kink was trendy, cool, sexy. They gave no consideration to the consequences, only the mythical possibilities.
And in so doing, they missed a vital step, one not often portrayed in books or movies, but one those in the lifestyle will tell you is essential—building trust.

As in entrusting a person with your well-being when that bedroom door closes. As in being confident that you have taken rational steps to ensure your safety before surrendering control to another. As in trusting that the other person understands what you have consented to and will stay within those boundaries.

And that’s what’s missing in so many novels about kinky relationships. The steps between the meet and the handcuffs. If you don’t truly know and trust someone, why in hell would you permit them to blindfold you, tie you up, and stripe you with a whip? Because they might be a billionaire who will take care of your every need? Really?

You know what? I am pleased that the flurry of books on kinky romance have made it more mainstream. That just creates a bigger market for my books. However, while tolerance is good and more book sales are good, ignorance is not. 

Ignorance can harm you, maybe even kill you.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The art of the kiss

In my many years on this Earth, I have discovered one very disconcerting fact: Many men just do not know how to kiss me.  

I am not talking about a kiss on the cheek or the kiss you give an old aunt. I am talking about the romantic kiss, the kind of kiss that curls one’s toes, heats the loins, and sends a mind catapulting off of a cliff. The kind of kiss that so overwhelms that the recipient becomes putty in another’s hands. The kind of kiss that leaves someone utterly shaken, a mere shell of themselves, a quivering puddle of need. The kind of kiss that leaves you desperately wanting more. Yes, that kind of kiss.

I believe kissing is a lost art. Sadly, some seem to be unaware that there are many different types of kisses, among them gentle kisses, deep kisses, passionate kisses, breathless kisses, quick kisses, long kisses, wet kisses, dry kisses, gentle kisses, and stunningly erotic kisses. It is best, of course, to be skilled at a variety of kisses. A broad repertoire keeps things interesting. But more importantly, kissing does not have to lead to anything else, such as the bedroom. Sometimes, I just want to be kissed for pleasure, sometimes I want to be kissed until I destress, other times, I just want to be kissed. Two sets of lips engaged in an erotic dance, tongues exploring, tasting, sharing, can serve a whole lot of purposes!

In high school, they called it “making out.” In college, it was called “PDA” and in adulthood, some call it “foreplay.”  

I have written several stories and poems about kisses. I happen to believe they are the essence of passion, seduction, and romance. In the romance anthology, Pieces of Us, by the NuRomantics, for example, I write about the “forever kiss.” The kiss so filled with love and emotion, that you know that even if you never see your partner again, that kiss will be burned into both of your memories.

Yet, very few of the men I have dated understood the importance of the kiss. Many saw it as a means to an end. There were some, for example, who after engaging in a few kisses, believed it was time to head to the bedroom. And others who believed the sharing of lips and tongues was an invitation to paw at my clothing. And still others who believed kissing was a nuisance—unnecessary when in pursuit of an explosive climax. I will admit to breaking up with men who did not know how to kiss me, and I will also admit to marrying one of the few who did. 

And while I have relegated this discussion to the sharing of lips, I should point out that there are certainly many other types of kisses that can be planted on other body parts that also provide pleasure. Though I suspect a lack of appreciation for a kiss on the lips is reflective of an inability to bring pleasure with the lips elsewhere.

Obviously, I am very picky about how I am kissed. I am not, for example, thrilled when a man bathes my face with his tongue, forcing me to reach for a tissue to remove the residue. Nor do I appreciate it when a man bites down on my tongue or lips, drawing blood. Nips are fine, leaving teeth marks is just gauche. And I have never been a fan of a man who attempts to kiss me while his mouth is filled with foul-smelling food. That’s just gross. However, I have no doubt that what turns me off probably turns others on. Kissing is clearly an individual preference. 

I have dated a number of prominent men in my lifetime, and while my friends and relatives may have seen them as "prime catches," I had to walk away. I could not avoid the truth--no matter how much I liked and respected them, they simply did not know how to kiss me. Maybe that's a bit irrational on my part, but the way I see it, if you're going to be kissing someone for a lifetime, they had better have the skill to keep you interested.

In my opinion, kisses matter. Forget the six-pack, the full head of hair, the fat bank account, the sterling reputation.  A man needs to know how to kiss me!

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Want to get crap books off the shelves? Start leaving reviews for good authors!

 I need to say this loud and clear: Book reviews matter.

They not only drive sales, they can pull great authors out of obscurity and effectively launch their careers. Not every author has a big bucks promotional machine behind them, in fact, most do not. That’s why so many mediocre books become bestsellers: It’s the marketing blitz that is driving sales, not the quality of the book itself.

Unfortunately, the only way to counter some of the crap that is out there is through book reviews. On a basic level, reviews alert other readers to good reads and emerging authors. Word-of-mouth can be an effective driver in book sales. Good reviews encourage others to take a peek at books. In addition, the number of reviews received determines whether booksellers choose to feature a new book or author in its promotions. Multiple reviews on can transform a languishing book into a trending one, while requires that books receive at least 50 reviews to be included in its promotions.

To readers, that may seem to be a small number. To many authors, it is almost unattainable. Here’s the thing:  Even when readers profess love for a book, they are not always moved to leave a review. For example, I get emails from people telling me they like my short stories. I always thank them and ask them to leave a review. About one in 20 actually does.

After a frustrating year of encouraging people to leave reviews, I have finally concluded that the problem lies in overall communication preferences. As an author, it makes sense for me to express my appreciation for good books in writing. After all, that’s what I do. I write. But to others, written expression is not a normal pursuit. People prefer a quick and easy method of communicating—a one-word text, an emoji, a short response to an email, a five-second verbal exchange.

That makes the process of leaving a written review a technical annoyance. First, a reader must seek out a bookseller that sells the tome in question, then they must wade through multiple steps to actually leave a review. Sometimes, there are restrictions on the number of words or actual words used. Some require that the reader craft a headline or meta tags before leaving a review. Others, such as, require that a customer purchase $50 in merchandise before a review can be posted. And after all that effort is expended, some booksellers put readers through a verification process, which can be not only annoying, but also insulting.

That means a reader has to do more than like a book, they have to absolutely love it! Why else would they put forth so much effort?  Your mother or Aunt Minnie or your best friend may be driven by familial love to wade through the steps required to leave a review, but let’s face it, that’s not a motivation most readers share.

What’s the answer? Some authors pay for reviews, a practice I find questionable. Others, like me, try to educate readers about the value of reviews to authors and other readers. However, until publishers and booksellers simplify the review process or find a better way to encourage readers to wade through the bureaucratic  B.S. they have implemented, the good old marketing machine will win and crap books will continue to appear on the New York Times Bestseller List

We have become used to “the big easy” and avoid most things that require an expenditure of more time and energy. (That’s one of the reasons products like microwaveable dinners are so popular.) So unless someone creates a device that can be affixed to each book, allowing the reader to instantly record and transmit a review, many great books and wonderful authors will effectively remain on the shelf.

The quality of the writing will matter not at all. And that’s just sad.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Coming February 9 from eXtasy Books!

Kinky Briefs, Quatro!

Take another kinky romp through lawyerland!

Indulge in a walk on the wild side with these sizzling short stories about lawyers in love, with a dash of kink. Whether painting well-hung nudes at a networking event or thwarting terrorists intent on harm, to finding love despite a chronic illness or exploring kink on a train, these lawyers pursue love with a vengeance. And while affairs of the heart may come in all shapes and sizes—a law school ménage a trois, a middle-aged A.G. and a law firm associate, and a new marriage suddenly threatened by a spouse long believed dead, these relationships thrive despite the odds. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and yes, the resultant loin heating might even make you blush, but in the end, you’ll run out and buy a set of handcuffs. Because that’s the only way to defuse the sizzle created by these hot, sexy stories.

Available for preorder January 26!

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Check out my thoughts on writing my stocking stuffer!

Finding a suitable topic for my publisher's Stocking Stuffer series wasn't easy. In my guest post on author Delilah Devlin's blog, I share my journey toward crafting a suitable story. Take a peek!