Snippet Sunday: Freiya’s Stand

 

Freiya’s Stand, now available on Amazon, combines domestic discipline with real-world problems. What happens when spanking can’t solve everything? Freiya teaches kindergarten while Sabrina teaches advanced placement English at their private Catholic school.

The problem?

Administration.

Catastrophe began, as it often does, with innocuous good intentions. It struck at St. Agatha of Sicily, a private Catholic school serving kindergarteners through high schoolers. St. Aggie’s, as it was affectionately known by its admirers—St. Haggie’s to its detractors, including some of its own students—was plagued by the problems known since the beginning of time: too few dollars and too many unrealistic expectations for its students. When in trouble, the administrators of St. Aggie’s chose the approach also known since the beginning of time: knee-jerk overreactions that lacked solutions and precipitated catastrophe instead.

First, they called a faculty meeting.

 

Freiya(1)

Freiya’s Stand
When should love take a stand?

Freiya’s life is perfect. She’s got doting parents, a classroom of adorable kindergarteners, and the love of her life. Even if Sabrina insists on discretion in their private Catholic school, they share happiness in private.

That is, until the bombshell hits. Their principal demands a “Fight for Families” covenant to refrain from “sexual perversion.” All teachers must sign. No exceptions.

Sign, Sabrina says. Otherwise, they’ll lose their job, privacy, and home.

Freiya doesn’t want to betray the woman she loves, but how can she sign a document that denounces their love? Is standing up for love worth losing her livelihood?

If she speaks the truth, she’ll lose everything.

If she lies, she’ll lose even more.

How can Freiya take a stand for what’s right when the choices are wrong?

How can it be wrong to love the woman who makes her life worth living?

The truth should set them free, but Freiya’s stand threatens to destroy the very love she refuses to deny.

When “religious freedom” legislates against identity, how can Freiya and Sabrina survive?

Buy it on Amazon!

 

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#SatSpanks: Freiya’s Stand

Find more spanky fiction at Saturday Spankings!

Freiya’s Stand, now available on Amazon, combines domestic discipline with real-world problems. What happens when spanking can’t solve everything? Freiya teaches kindergarten while Sabrina teaches advanced placement English at their private Catholic school.

Behind the scenes, Freiya has introduced domestic discipline into their relationship. Baffled, Sabrina investigates. Despite her reservations, she realizes that this discipline is exactly what Freiya needs.

“Frey,” Sabrina said. “Why do you think you’re getting a spanking?”

Freiya had been surprised the first time Sabrina asked that. She didn’t know Sabrina had found books, sites, blogs, and online discussion boards. If Sabrina were to be charged with disciplining the woman she loved most in the world, she intended to do it right. All of the advice said she should make sure Freiya knew why she had to be spanked.

“B-b-because I got mad,” Freiya whispered to the floor. Cried out, she nestled into the duvet like Sleeping Beauty waiting for her rescuer.

 

Freiya(1)

Freiya’s Stand
When should love take a stand?

Freiya’s life is perfect. She’s got doting parents, a classroom of adorable kindergarteners, and the love of her life. Even if Sabrina insists on discretion in their private Catholic school, they share happiness in private.

That is, until the bombshell hits. Their principal demands a “Fight for Families” covenant to refrain from “sexual perversion.” All teachers must sign. No exceptions.

Sign, Sabrina says. Otherwise, they’ll lose their job, privacy, and home.

Freiya doesn’t want to betray the woman she loves, but how can she sign a document that denounces their love? Is standing up for love worth losing her livelihood?

If she speaks the truth, she’ll lose everything.

If she lies, she’ll lose even more.

How can Freiya take a stand for what’s right when the choices are wrong?

How can it be wrong to love the woman who makes her life worth living?

The truth should set them free, but Freiya’s stand threatens to destroy the very love she refuses to deny.

When “religious freedom” legislates against identity, how can Freiya and Sabrina survive?

Buy it on Amazon!

 

Save

On losing a father, six months later

It’s been six months. A lifetime ago, or maybe yesterday, I lost my dad. Sometimes, I get really good at focusing on daily routine instead of what’s missing. Other times, it feels as if the daily routine is only a veneer. A pretense. A child playing make-believe because I’m supposed to be an adult.

I received a card from my mom recently, and she signed it Mom. Not Mom and Dad, but Mom. After checking my mailbox, I sat in my car fighting helpless sobs. I kept telling myself, “Stop crying. I’m going to stop crying. There’s no need to cry.” I argued with myself as the tears refused to cease. It was such a tiny thing, but I always took it for granted. Every holiday meant a card signed Mom and Dad. I might not always have been happy with my parents, but they sent the cards.

Sometimes, I want to wake up and no longer be the daughter who lost her father. I just want to be me, ordinary me who will have an ordinary day. Sometimes I actually forget, for a moment or an hour or perhaps a whole day.

Then something will remind me of my dad, and everything floods back.

I wonder if Dad…oh, wait. I can’t ask him.

Dad would know the name of….oh, yeah. Still can’t ask him.

Wouldn’t Dad like to know that I…oh, that’s right.

The recent publication of Freiya’s Stand has brought education closer, and I find myself defensive when educators are criticized. The phrase that makes me see red is, “Those who can’t do, teach.”

I don’t mean thoughtful, intellectual critique of a simplistic statement said without thought. I mean fire-in-the-belly, hot-under-the-collar indignation that anyone dare to malign my father’s life work.

My dad did a lot of things, including teaching and training future generations of teachers.

He was a good man. I hold onto that when I feel robbed of an adulthood without a father.

On good days, I find myself wistful when people my age or older (sometimes decades older) speak of their (living) parents or even grandparents.

On not-so-good days, jealousy rears its ugly head.

Grandparent? Ha! That’s nothing compared to losing a parent.

I shove the uncharitable thoughts away as fast as I can, but the damage is done. Comparison is the evil, divisive tactic of a small person. I fight, but sometimes the urge is overwhelming.

Everyone’s grief is valid. Everyone’s pain is real. Everyone, not just poor little old me, has difficulties. How dare I think otherwise?

But the childish whisper in my heart refuses to be silenced.

We were supposed to have more time.

I’m grateful my father died in strength, and that I didn’t have to watch him suffer the indignities that would have killed his spirit. I’m grateful I got to say good-bye, and that the generosity of loved ones made it possible.

I’m grateful for so many things, but the heart-call remains.

You left before I got to know you, Dad. Not as a daughter depending on her daddy or an adolescent fighting with authority, but one adult to another.

I thought that I, the girl, would care for my parents in their old age.

That’s no longer an option.

What now?

 

#SatSpanks: Freiya’s Stand

Find more spanky fiction at Saturday Spankings!

Freiya’s Stand, now available on Amazon, combines domestic discipline with real-world problems. What happens when spanking can’t solve everything? Freiya teaches kindergarten while Sabrina teaches advanced placement English at their private Catholic school.

But before then, we have the moment when Freiya and Sabrina first realize they both are attracted to each other.

“If anyone told me I’d spend my spring break watching five Shakespeare plays in four days, I’d ask what I did wrong to deserve such punishment.” She kept her lips as still as possible so no one but Sabrina could overhear. Sabrina had barely looked at Freiya since the train trip, and she was desperate to get her attention.

Sabrina didn’t bother to tell Freiya to keep her voice down. She blushed and looked away. Freiya looked at her, startled. She replayed her words inside her head. She had meant them as a joke, but maybe Sabrina thought she was serious. Oh, no. What if Freiya had come across as a spoiled brat instead?

“I’m sorry,” she said, begging Sabrina to look at her. “I’m excited to be here, really. I just don’t know anything about the play.”

At that, Sabrina the literature teacher relaxed. “It’s amazing,” she said. “I don’t know the actress who’s playing Cleopatra, but it’s one of the best parts Shakespeare wrote for a woman. People think Lady Macbeth is the greatest role, but Cleopatra is the one who makes all of Antony’s efforts possible. Then again, that didn’t turn out well for either of them.”

Freiya was glad for Sabrina’s mini-lecture and irritated by it. She wanted Sabrina’s attention, but was it too much to ask for some eye contact? She interrupted Sabrina’s historical background explanation with a change in subject. “Why do you think Katharina deserved a walloping?”

There. Wrong play, wrong time, wrong theater. Might as well go for broke. Sabrina stopped mid-sentence. Freiya could almost see cartoon-like thought bubbles over her head, filled with exclamations such as, “What?” and “No way!”

The Taming of the Shrew,” Sabrina said, stumbling for words. “A lot of people think it’s misogynistic, but…”

“What do you think?” Apparently, there was no end to Freiya’s boldness tonight. Why not? No one in the audience knew them, and in a few days she and Sabrina would hop on a plane and go home. If Freiya were making a huge mistake, no one would remember except a few tourists they would never meet again.

“I think,” Sabrina said softly, watching Freiya while she spoke. “I think sometimes a woman feels out of control, and she needs help. Don’t you?”

Freiya(1)

Freiya’s Stand
When should love take a stand?

Freiya’s life is perfect. She’s got doting parents, a classroom of adorable kindergarteners, and the love of her life. Even if Sabrina insists on discretion in their private Catholic school, they share happiness in private.

That is, until the bombshell hits. Their principal demands a “Fight for Families” covenant to refrain from “sexual perversion.” All teachers must sign. No exceptions.

Sign, Sabrina says. Otherwise, they’ll lose their job, privacy, and home.

Freiya doesn’t want to betray the woman she loves, but how can she sign a document that denounces their love? Is standing up for love worth losing her livelihood?

If she speaks the truth, she’ll lose everything.

If she lies, she’ll lose even more.

How can Freiya take a stand for what’s right when the choices are wrong?

How can it be wrong to love the woman who makes her life worth living?

The truth should set them free, but Freiya’s stand threatens to destroy the very love she refuses to deny.

When “religious freedom” legislates against identity, how can Freiya and Sabrina survive?

Amazon Buy Link: http://amzn.to/2beSKwO

 

Getting it wrong: The moral obligation in writing marginalized identities

The title today is a mouthful.

My thoughts are even more so.

In the recent past, I’ve encountered two situations.

First, in conducting research and networking as I prepare for the Transcendent anthology to support trans young adults (click for information here), I received both enthusiasm and one guarded reaction.

Mind you, I expected caution and outright skepticism. Would I co-opt a cause, appropriate an identity that is not mine, and (worst of all) be viewed as profiting from someone else’s marginalized identity?

Meaning, what obligation do I have when I write about an identity not my own?

Sure, the glib responses go. You don’t have to be a killer to write a murder mystery, and you don’t have to be a billionaire’s secret baby to write about one. Write whatever you want, this line of thinking says.

But in this case, the caution wasn’t writing about a marginalized identity. It was writing, period.

“You’re an author,” came the explanation, and the door was politely but firmly shut in my face.

Author of kink, I understand. My naughty spoons are too much for some to handle.😀 Some don’t like to read about women who love women. Others prefer their fiction squeaky clean or, conversely, a lot dirtier.

But does “author,” in and of itself, denote unreliability, lack of integrity, and inability to respect boundaries? When I am honored by receiving confidential information, it stays confidential. No one with integrity would do otherwise.

Right?

Still, “author” can set off warnings for those whose spaces have not been respected. I was reminded of that when the shoe was on the other foot.

One aspect of my identity, one that I keep private, unexpectedly popped up when reading a new book. The writing was lovely. Characters well drawn. Storyline was compelling enough that I read the book in one sitting. (Not an easy feat, with the multitudes of books available and my increasingly full reading list!) I had one quibble with the storytelling, but overall the book was enjoyable.

But.

But.

But…

This marginalized identity was presented in a problematic way. So problematic, in fact, that the book nearly became a DNF (do not finish). I believe in judging a book in its own context, so I don’t expect a book to address issues exactly the way I would. Rather, I expect a book to maintain an internal consistency.

Example: If I’m reading an I Love Lucy type of story about domestic marital bliss, I don’t expect overt feminism.

If I’m reading young adult Christian fiction written by and about middle class white Christians, I don’t expect a great deal of sensitivity with regard to racial or colonial/postcolonial issues.

The problem comes when one marginalized identity (or one perceived marginalized identity) is addressed with great care while another is reduced to a caricature, an afterthought, or at worst a perpetuation of discrimination, ignorance, and bigotry.

Example: Qualifying statements aside, Orange is the New Black works extraordinarily hard to give a respectful portrayal of Sophia Burset, a trans woman who endures ostracization, negative comments, and outright hate crimes. We watch Sophia, and our hearts quicken as her unfair treatment comes to light.

Is her depiction problematic? Sure. No portrayal is perfect. But the camera, script, and actors respect Sophia. In a flawed way, perhaps, but the intention is clearly there.

By contrast, Brooke Soso is the outcast, outlier, and the suicidal cipher who finally gets grudging acceptance by submerging her identity as “Blasian.” Sophia is presented as an identity in her own right, but Brooke must be subsumed by the majority in order to be seen.

It’s the contrast that is so disappointing, as this Hyphen article argues.

I love Orange. It’s completely NSFA and beyond my comfort zone, but I love its sharp dialogue and gritty plotlines.

I can’t tolerate how it gives respect to one marginalized identity while perpetuating discrimination against another.

This, then, caused me to stumble in reading the recent book. A character may be ignorant or bigoted, sure. Does that excuse the author from responsibility in creating the portrayal?

If we create fictional representations of real-life violence and injustice, what is our responsibility in doing so?

If we write titillating details of a fictional rape, are we blameless because “that’s what the character would do”…or are we culpable for perpetuating the reality of rape? We may write (or read) fiction, but stories don’t stop in the telling. Stories are vehicles of power, change, and a call for collective action.

Telling the story for another is an enormous responsibility. If we tell that story badly, if we do that person an injustice…it is far worse than if we never told the story at all.

It’s never “just a story.” It’s life truths wrapped in a veneer of fiction just shiny enough for us to tolerate.

If we write injustice, we sow injustice.

If we write bigotry, we legitimize it.

No, we don’t have to swing the pendulum to happily-ever-after fairy tales (although they are wonderful in their own right). But in Ana’s world, writing injustice is never done lightly.

And so, perhaps controversially, Freiya’s Stand injects a moment of hope that transcends everyday reality. Unrealistic? Perhaps.

But what kind of reality would you like to live in?

Me, I want a world of justice and love.

What about you?

Freiya(1)

When should love take a stand?

Freiya’s life is perfect. She’s got doting parents, a classroom of adorable kindergarteners, and the love of her life. Even if Sabrina insists on discretion in their private Catholic school, they share happiness at home.

That is, until the bombshell hits. Their principal demands a new “Fight for Families” covenant to refrain from “sexual perversion.” All teachers must sign. No exceptions.

Lie, Sabrina says. Otherwise, they’ll lose their job, privacy, and home.

Freiya doesn’t want to betray the woman she loves, but how can she sign a document that denounces their love? Is standing up for love worth losing her livelihood?

If she speaks the truth, she’ll lose everything.

If she lies, she’ll lose even more.

How can Freiya take a stand for what’s right when the choices are wrong?

How can it be wrong to love the woman who makes her life worth living?

The truth should set them free, but Freiya’s stand threatens to destroy the very love she refuses to deny.

When “religious freedom” legislates against identity, how can Freiya and Sabrina survive?

Now available on Amazon!

 

 

Freiya’s Stand is now available!

Freiya’s Stand is now available! Run, don’t walk to your nearest Amazon site.

You’ll find a few surprise treats at the end of the book, too.😀

I hope you love Freiya as much as I loved creating her.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, everyone.

Freiya(1)

 

When should love take a stand?

Freiya’s life is perfect. She’s got doting parents, a classroom of adorable kindergarteners, and the love of her life. Even if Sabrina insists on discretion in their private Catholic school, they share happiness at home.

That is, until the bombshell hits. Their principal demands a new “Fight for Families” covenant to refrain from “sexual perversion.” All teachers must sign. No exceptions.

Lie, Sabrina says. Otherwise, they’ll lose their job, privacy, and home.

Freiya doesn’t want to betray the woman she loves, but how can she sign a document that denounces their love? Is standing up for love worth losing her livelihood?

If she speaks the truth, she’ll lose everything.

If she lies, she’ll lose even more.

How can Freiya take a stand for what’s right when the choices are wrong?

How can it be wrong to love the woman who makes her life worth living?

The truth should set them free, but Freiya’s stand threatens to destroy the very love she refuses to deny.

When “religious freedom” legislates against identity, how can Freiya and Sabrina survive?

Homophobia: The false luxury of “not taking sides”

I’ve been quieter about Freiya’s Stand than one might expect from an author about to release a new book, and a recent event has made me understand why.

For some, institutionalized discrimination is an academic issue. There are pros and cons, sides to consider, and an appearance of “neutrality” or “objectivity” to maintain.

There are others for whom discrimination is an everyday lived experience.

Yet in our society, it’s those who claim to “see both sides” who receive the most legitimacy for their beliefs.

What is this claim to “not take sides?”

Today, do we praise those from the civil rights era who pondered the good and bad of allowing “coloreds” into spaces previously decreed off-limits?

Do we expect reasonably intelligent citizens of our society to carefully consider the merits and counter-arguments whether male humans should rape female humans? Whether attractive mug shots and swim times should outweigh the violence of one person against another?

Or do we expect morally upstanding citizens to gasp in horror and fight for human rights for all?

I’ve held Freiya’s Stand close to my heart for going on three years now because the story is less academic and more personal. My dad served in the educational field, you see. He lived and breathed the principles of free public education for every child, no matter what that child’s circumstances might be. I tagged along as he asked me to help him choose a baseball cap for a child newly diagnosed with cancer, shoes for another whose parents couldn’t afford them, and food for those who came to school hungry.

My dad would have given his life to make a child’s life better.

He was of the generation for whom work was not “just a job” but a career, vocation, and an identity. Even after retirement, he served in various educational capacities until the year before he died.

He was not gay, but what if he had been?

What if his life’s work had been taken away from him, solely because his sexuality did not align with that decreed acceptable for educators?

As long as acts occur among consenting adults, why does one’s genital activity determine one’s right to teach?

If my father, may he rest in peace, had lost his job because of his sexuality, the world would have been poorer because of it. The generations of children who passed through his classrooms and schools would have been deprived of a truly great man.

(I can brag about him. Daughter’s privilege.🙂 )

Freiya’s Stand is not about my dad, but it’s about the travesty of educational gatekeeping. Oh, sure. I’ve heard the arguments. Children are young, impressionable, and innocent. They might “catch” homosexuality from adults they admire, they might think it’s “cool” or try to imitate being homosexual. I’ve listened to fear mongering from adults who want to ban LGBT folks from any contact with children. I watched a gay couple refuse any unchaperoned activity with children because their church community might accuse them of inappropriate conduct with minors.

I don’t know if Freiya’s Stand was able to capture everything I’d wanted, but I hope the story will make you think about what’s really best for our children.

Do we want our children educated by the very best candidates available?

Or do we eliminate gifted teachers based on an aspect of their identity outside of their control?

 

 

Freiya(1)

When should love take a stand?

Freiya’s life is perfect. She’s got doting parents, a classroom of adorable kindergarteners, and the love of her life. Even if Sabrina insists on discretion in their private Catholic school, they share happiness in private.

That is, until the bombshell hits. Their principal demands a “Fight for Families” covenant to refrain from “sexual perversion.” All teachers must sign. No exceptions.

Sign, Sabrina says. Otherwise, they’ll lose their job, privacy, and home.

Freiya doesn’t want to betray the woman she loves, but how can she sign a document that denounces their love? Is standing up for love worth losing her livelihood?

If she speaks the truth, she’ll lose everything.

If she lies, she’ll lose even more.

How can Freiya take a stand for what’s right when the choices are wrong?

How can it be wrong to love the woman who makes her life worth living?

The truth should set them free, but Freiya’s stand threatens to destroy the very love she refuses to deny.

When “religious freedom” legislates against identity, how can Freiya and Sabrina survive?