Sunday, July 27, 2014

Edit My Edits

Now that I'm done writing my story....

It has begun

I'm done with the first round of revisions and editing. I'm starting the second round today. I began the process last week, and started strong. By the time I reached the final chapters I was scrubbing toilets to avoid doing any more editing. I don't mind revisions, but editing... Editing is painful. While I cleaned my toilets I thought of other things I would rather do than edit. Vacationing at Guantanamo Bay and visiting the dentist were on the list.

Yeah, sometime between editing and scrubbing the john, I turned into Scarlette O'Hara. Editing makes me feel a tad dramatic.

And I will never edit again!

If you've ever read my blog, you've probably recognized editing is not my strong suit. In fact, if editing were an actual suit, mine would be from the clearance rack of JCPenny's. Cute, if not the highest quality. My clearance rack suit will get the job done, but no one will be surprised if it's missing a button.

I think it's safe to say editors were put on this earth for people like me. People that kind of suck at things like; adhering to grammar laws. And for people that don't know if they are supposed to use the semicolon or colon. No matter how many times they've read the Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips.  

I've also been buying books every time I step away from my story, even though I've hardly been reading at all. 
I have an addiction

I've been collecting books on Inigo Montoya (my kindle) for weeks. I look forward to reading each and everyone of them. I'm up to twenty new books now. I still have three I haven't finished from last month. I need to cancel my credit card on all my e-book sites to at least slow me down. 

I'm running through my manuscript one last time this week. Then I'm going to send her out into the world with my fingers and toes crossed.

While I'm busy trying to make my manuscript publisher worthy, I thought I'd share a fun little blurb I whipped up for my story, The Loved One:
With the delivery of one Dear John letter and a set of divorce papers, Delia Myers is on a her way to self discovery. First stop: Embracing she's a terrible judge of character. Especially when it comes to men.

Jake Forrester is beyond charming, and sexy enough to have every female in a hundred mile radius panting after him. Basically everything she is trying to avoid. Too bad he's been determined to chase after her from the second he's laid eyes on her over sized floral granny panties.

She may run, but can she hide from love?

Warning; Contains one no-good cheating ex-husband, a heroine with a propensity to make a run for it, and a hero who has a new found love for spanking a certain sassy woman who runs from him.  

Happy Reading and Happy Editing!!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Subway Map Of Life

Stretch Marks. Many have them, including me. I'm kind of obsessed with stretch marks. Recently, photographer Jade Beall published A Beautiful Body Project; The Body Of Mothers. 

This is a wonderful piece of work filled with pictures of real women, not air brushed, and their stories. I read about this project on Huffington Post. You can learn more about it on Renee Rose's blog site. Click her name for the link. She is a spanking romance/erotica author, who just so happens to also be featured    under her real name.

This isn't her -- at least I don't think it is

Some people are predisposed to get stretch marks, some people aren't. I don't think that is widely understood. Those who don't have them often claim it was a cream that they diligently put on. Here's the thing; there is no such thing as a topical cream that can prevent stretch marks. Stretch marks come from the middle layer of skin called the dermis.

The glucocorticoid hormones responsible for the development of stretch marks affect the dermis by preventing the fibroblasts from forming collagen and elastin fibers, nessessary to keep rapidly growing skin taut. This creates a lack of supportive material, as skin is stretched and leads to dermal and epidermal tearing.     -Wiki

 In other words, lotion only improves the appearance and texture of the outer layer of your skin.

I got my first stretch marks the summer I was twelve years old. I grew five inches and developed hips. The little lines on my thighs and hips felt like a betrayal. It was the most awful thing my body had ever done to me, beside getting my period.

Ever since that fateful summer I've been obsessed with stretch marks. I still remember the first body builder I saw with stretch marks, and the first woman with full post-pregnancy stretch marks wearing a bikini. Subsequently, every time I see a woman at the beach, rocking a bikini and stretch marks across her belly    no matter her size    I want to hug her.

I used to dog ear pages in romance novels that featured a heroine that had stretch marks. Many of those book have been donated to the library. I can't remember titles or authors, but I remember the stories. I remember the scenes where the heroine's body is first exposed to the hero. I could feel the heroine's nervous shame in her body being seen by a man she desires. Waiting to be rejected. Waiting to be found undesirable. Those heroines helped me love my body in a way nothing else ever could.

Interestingly enough I went through a chubby phase from my late teens to early twenties, that I fell in love with my body. I was almost forty pounds more than I am now, and I. Loved. My. Body. I look back at pictures and it's shocking. A part of me can't remember ever being that big, but I also can admit    not so humbly    I was cute chubby. I wore my low jeans and midriff shirts that showed my little pooch. I had a wardrobe of bikinis that I regularly wore. I felt good in my own skin.

Now, I'm not tiny, but I'm a much smaller woman than I used to be. You'd think I'd love my body even more after weight loss, yet, I'm just now getting comfortable with my body again. After I had my son is when I lost all my weight. That's when I really started noticing the extra wrinkle of skin on my upper arms and belly, and all the new stretch marks. I felt like I was covered in a subway map. Tiny barely noticeable ones on the back of my breasts, arms, calves, and thighs. Then the greatly noticeable ones on my stomach, hips, and bottom. I was in the best shape of my life, and I couldn't enjoy it. I was too damned worried about exposing any of my skin.

I was angry at myself for my insecurities also. I went swimsuit shopping and I bought one full piece suit, and one bikini. My husband and I had a weekday 'date day', and we decided to spend it at the beach. My husband talked me into wearing the bikini. It was a Tuesday, early May. All the kids were still in school, and tourist season hadn't started. We were two of the only people on a very long stretch of beach, yet my nerves were so bad my stomach had been in a knot the entire time we were out there. I was a wreck inside.

I'm pretty sure no one noticed me, and if they did, I doubt they cared. But I still wasn't comfortable in my own skin. It annoyed my husband who adored my body just as it was/is, and it frustrated me. I knew I needed to get over some mental hurdles or I was going to give myself a complex.

I'm happy to report that the years have passed and I'm loving my body again. I'm still going to stick to my tankini and one pieces, but if my sundress or shorts flash a little stretch mark I'm not concerned. I again feel liberated by naked time, and enjoy walking around my house naked. I live in a tropical climate. Skin exposure is key to survival.

You only get one body. Some things you do to your body, some things your body does to itself. No matter how you maintain it, or how it wears over the years, it's your body. The only body you'll have in this lifetime. You might as well love it. If not, at least get comfortable with it.

Love The Skin You're In!!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What's My Genre

So, I haven't been reading that much. That's because I started writing again.

Yes, again.

I'm the person that writes seventy five percent of a story, and then stops. I've been doing this since high school. Yeah, I have commitment issues. Finishing a story means choosing an ending.

Luckily I've reached a place in my life where I'm ready to choose an ending. I recently decided to finish a story that has been haunting me. I've started a few others, but I'm determined to see this one finished. It's a romance, with spanking. My heroine's husband has left her, and my hero is a single father who has made some bad choices when it comes to women. My characters are actually pretty vanilla. They're into spanking     that fits their personalities perfectly     but when I asked them to do other stuff they weren't about it.

Honestly, adding the extra dirt would have felt forced, so I didn't. I went with my gut and stayed true to my characters.

Now I'm over 61k into this contemporary romance. The end is near, and I'm wondering what's my genre? What is this puppy going to be marketed as? If it's deemed worthy, that is. It would suck monkey balls, if, well, it sucked monkey balls.

*Side note; Other ppl have read what I've got so far and enjoyed it, but you never know till you know. You know?

Anyways, I have a few steamy love scenes, but the only thing that stand them apart from being plain romance is the fact that spankings happen. And not a ton of spankings. It's a spanking light book. But they're real spankings just the same.

Will it rank as a romance or an erotica? I asked Google, cause you know, Google knows shit. This is what I found;

There's romance, from smutty to tame. And then there's erotica. Distinguishing between the two can be tricky, but there's a sure fire way to tell.

First let's go over the definitions of both;

The focal point of the book is on the romantic love aspect of a relationship between two people and must have a happy ending. 

Love emphasizing emotion over libido. -Wikipedia 
Okay. That sounds like my book. It's a romance. 

Erotic Literature or Erotica

This is the fictional or factual stories of human sexual relationships which have the power to or are intended to arouse the reader sexually. And that's almost verbatim from wiki. These stories don't have to have a happy ending, and can involve a love story or not, between any number of people in any number of sexual situations.

And if written well make you hot and bothered. 

A common feature of this genre is sexual fantasies, on such themes as prostitution, orgies, homosexuality, sadomasochism, and many other taboo subjects and fetishes, which may or may not be expressed in explicit language. -Wikipedia 

In other words, your erotica can have a romantic theme, but that doesn't make it a romance. I personally like the word romantica coined by the creator of Ellora Cave. This is erotic fiction designed around a love story and can involve more than two people. This is the erotica that most erotic writers of today write. Romance with explicit sex.

Although my sex isn't crazy they have me with taboo subjects and fetishes. Spanking is at least a fetish and while not taboo to me, would probably be deemed taboo to the general public. Those bastards.

Now the sure fire way to tell the two apart;


*You can remove the sex completely and still have a full bodied, solid vanilla love story.

Erotica or Erotic Romance;

*The sex and the couple's (or poly grouping's) sexuality is a pivotal part of the story.

Now this is a bit of a conundrum for me. If I removed the sex, would I remove the spanking? There is a spanking that's not followed by a sex scene, but I don't think that spanking would happen if I didn't have the previous love scene spankings. The spanking is ambiguously DD, but I don't want it to become overtly DD.

Am I over thinking it enough yet?

But Aubrey, you say, it's still a romance.

Yes, it is, and Twilight is also a love story, but that doesn't distract from the fact that it's a vampire book. A young adult vampire book. The vampirism is a pivotal part of that story. Without it the story would have to be completely rewritten.

I think I could take out the spanking, and the sex, and it would still be a solid romance. But I like the spanking. It adds a certain something.

Here's the thing; If I beta read this story for someone else, I'd say the general public is going to be annoyed there's spanking in it, and the spanking crowd may be annoyed there isn't enough spanking in it.

I of course will seek outside opinions the second I type The End.

Then the fun begins.

I'm thankful I'm at least somewhat familiar with the process. This is my first draft. There are scenes that will probably get cut. Scenes may get added. I hope I have the serenity to accept the scenes I cannot change, the courage to change the scenes I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Here's my question; Can a Hallmark Channel type contemporary romance     that wouldn't be classified as a DD     have spanking in it?

What's your opinion? Let me know. 

As always, 
Happy Reading!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Outlander Hangover

With the Outlander hangover, comes the big decision. Be happy with the ending, or keep reading? There are eight books in the series, including Outlander. I didn't realize this when my quest to read Outlander first began.

Outlander itself came out in 1991. It's been the inspiration for many historical romance writers and a book reverently spoken of over the years. By it's self it could sit happily as a historical romance with sci-fi/paranormal elements. It's been on my bucket-reading-list for quite some time. Some how, some way, the fact that this is a gigantic saga of penny dreadful proportions escaped my notice.

During the regency era, penny dreadfuls were serials that were like the soap operas of their time. The lead characters were in constant turmoil. The unimaginable always happened to them and they would often be put through decades of strife before their happy ending.

A hard won happy ending it was, after suffering every trial and tribulation known to man, over a long series of stories.

That's what Outlander is. A super big penny dreadful. Things get pretty soap opera complex by book two. And you think Claire and Jamie are put through everything in book one. Oh, no, not even close. I read the synopsis for the next books in the series. They make some decisions that make my stomach feel queer just thinking about. I'm not sure if I can bare the emotional upheaval of seven more of these.

Diana Gabaldon insists in interviews that her books are historical fiction, not romances. Reading book one I thought she was delusional. Like I said before, book one is a romance. Just reading the synopsis to the rest of the series I now understand the whole of it. It's a lurid sensational series, with a romance that spans decades of strife, along with romantic relationships with other people.

Oh the heartburn. I can feel it rising just thinking about it.

I adore book one. It was fantastic. But good heavens, clear your schedule and be prepared to be pissed of at Diana Gabaldon and her plot choices. She is a self admitted sadistic author. She likes to put her characters through the most horrible shit imaginable to see how they react. She goes on books tours with George R.R. Martin for a reason. They have the same masochistic fan base.

Her books should absolutely come with a warning label.

For right now I'm taking a break before plunging into Dragonfly in Amber, book two in the series. I'm not being overly dramatic when I say my soul cannot take that kind of torturous roller coaster of heartache at this time.

You get to a point of no return, and it becomes all consuming.

Aside from inspiring tears and ulcer, reading Outlander made me reminisce some great old historical romances. And when I say old, I mean from the 90's.

The first is Catherine Coulter's Devil's Embrace. Does anyone remember this one? There is a punishment scene in this one, that I was greatly reminded of when reading Outlander. This one was also first published in the late 80's early 90's, it was met with much controversy then, and again when republished in 2000.

Honestly, it's a tough read for a historical romance. The heroine of this book has an almost love scene with her fiance, whom she is greatly in lust with. She then undergoes kidnapping, very forced seduction by our anti-hero, whom also beats her with the cat-o-nine after she does something on his ship that warrants severe punishment.

Later she goes back to the fiance, has full sex scenes with him, where she realizes she should be with the other guy. Full sex scenes in hist/rom with the 'other guy' were never done then and almost never now. On top of all that Devil's Embrace features one of the most horrifically disturbingly graphic rape scenes I have ever read in any genre of book. (not by the hero)

Seriously, I still get chills thinking about it. It's rather shocking. Every book I had ever read, up until that time, would have the heroine rescued before she was that heavily violated. Other books skim over the gruesome details. For whatever reason, Catherine Coulter dove in, and refused to apologize. At the time I was very upset with Catherine Coulter for needlessly traumatizing me, but I now applaud her for being true to her book and characters.

She took on subjects and the truth of human spirit in a way romance authors avoid. It's a book that, for good or bad, will stick with anyone who reads it till the end of their days. Not many historical romance authors can say that.

The second book that came to mind when reading Outlander is Jude Deveraux's Legend. This book is different from anything Jude Deveraux has written before or since. It's a time travel novel and the heroine has three love interests in the space of one book.

I loved this book, but many people's feathers were ruffled when the heroine leaves who you think will be her HEA hero and comes back to the present to meet who she's actually supposed to be with. It's very light hearted and a book I've read three or four times over the years.

Karen Marie Moning's Highlander Series. If you've never read it, I highly recommend it. I read these years ago, when they first came out. Aside from To Tame A Highland Warrior (which, ironically is my favorite) all of these books are time travel novels, predictably set in Scotland. 

KMM actually has said that Outlander was part of the inspiration for these books, so it's no wonder they came to mind when reading it. The heroines are all very strong, intelligent women that through one thing or another fall back in time. The heroes are all the king of men type, heart-throb throwback highlanders. They're lusty fellows that fight, fuck and fall in love with all their being. 

The romance is strong and the sex scenes are steamy. KMM has a way with raw passion. Just thinking about these books gives me the warm fuzzies. I've read many of them multiple times. Knowing KMM has sworn never to write historical romance again only makes me treasure these books all the more. 

Shana Galen's Sons of the Revolution series. Making A Duchess, Making of a Gentlemen, and Rogue Pirate Takes a Bride. Okay, what I'm about to say is going to sound weird, but Outlander made me think of this series because I was pissed off the hero of Making of a Gentlemen was not raped. 

MofaG is hands down my favorite book in this series. It's a great series, but IMO that was the best. The hero has been imprisoned since a child. He's tortured for years and eventually forgotten. When his brother finds and rescues him, he's messed up. He can't talk, he's lived forgotten inside a cell for almost two decades. 

In all the atrocities that happen to him, while tortured, and imprisoned in France since he was a child, he's not raped. Not once. Not by the sadistic guards or anyone else. Huh. This detail seemed more far fetched to me than the fact that the guy survived. 

Still, he's simple, barbaric, and kind of abducts his sister-in-law's piano teacher in order to have his Tarzan-esk way with her. It's super hot and hearts will melt while reading. 

There are other books I thought of. Books by Lisa Kleypas, Catherine Anderson, and other authors I can't recall the names of. Authors that may have featured time travel or tortured heroes. Heroes that were raped and maimed are a favorite of mine. Maybe I'm as twisted as Diana Gabaldon, because I really love those severely tortured heroes. The more tortured the better. 

I'm still taking a break before book two. I'm thinking something light and fluffy, like something by Kitty Thomas. ;)

Happy Book Hangover Everyone!

Have you read Outlander or any of the books mentioned? Now's the time to share your thoughts and feelings.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

On The Way Home

On The Way Home by Skye Warren

168 pgs

Warning: Contains graphic sex, girl-on-top sex, and some delightful pegging. 

Clint is an under cover special ops military guy on his way home for some leave time. Della is a flight attendant with a dark as fuck past. She's being blackmailed and has to make some nasty choices.

This book wasn't Skye Warren's usual NA Dark Erotica. (NA standing for New fucking Adult) The story itself is awesome although much different than anything I've read by Skye Warren before. Besides our girl Della having a very VERY dark past, this could be a strait erotica with a great plot    that in no way over shadows the love story.

Also it's a Fem on top book. I love books with vague BDSM and Skye Warren has that in most all her books. Here she stays true to form but deviates by switching up the roles by giving us a dark and twisted gal. She needs control in the bedroom, and Clint loves been handled rough by a strong woman. I appreciated the fact that even though Della likes control, it's not a crazy FemDom book.

The sex is outstanding. Clint and Della's chemistry spark quickly to flame. I've never read a Fem on top book that I got so totally into the sex scenes. Clint does lose control but through most of the book he really has fun and gets off on Della playing the aggressor.

There are some minor details that seemed to have been missed. At the beginning of the book it's implied that Clint is 23, but later it's implied that he is 21. Really, he seems a bit older than either of those ages, but you got to keep them young to qualify in the NA genre. Bureaucracy right? <rolling eyes, making gagging face> I got my copy from ARe and I believe there may have been a formatting issue. It's on sale, but entire chapters were italicized.

Outside of those small glitches, I still easily recommend the book. I meant to read for twenty minutes, then get other things done, but ended up reading the whole damn thing.

Happy Reading!