Monday Morning Fika, Vanilla Edition: Donna Steele on Strong Women

Please welcome Donna Steele!  Today we are chatting with someone who does not write spanking fiction but is spank-friendly.  I visited her blog earlier to chat about books being like babies, and she was so lovely that I invited her to visit us for Fika.  

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Okay, my name is Donna and I’m a vanilla. Is this the right meeting? I spent most of my life not even realizing anything else existed. Naïve I know. When I first heard about “spankos” and found out they really existed I was puzzled to say the least. If any man hits me, he’s going to draw back a nub. That said, I discovered that one of my best friends in the world was into this spanko stuff so I had to stop and think.

My first question was why did she feel she needed to be punished? What did she think she had done wrong that she should be hit? I didn’t get it. At all. It reminded me of the abuse from my grandmother and brought on rage and fury and helplessness, no erotic feelings at all. So, I asked her to explain and let me read some of her stuff.

And she trusted me enough to do just that, and followed up with explanations when I had questions. The stories were good and the characters were great, fully developed real people who happen to get turned on in a way I don’t. But hey, that’s a good thing and opened up a whole new genre for me to explore. Right, all I needed was more stuff to read. We will not discuss my TBR pile as it is now taller than me.

My friend and I still “argue” over some things and she’ll send me an article or a story and I learn a little more. I’ll continue to read it, and not just for her now.

But I can’t write it. I can enjoy it (and occasionally cringe – I’m old and it takes a lot to change me) and appreciate it now. Personally, I write strong women who usually have to haul the ass of their “heroes” out of the fray. I just love it when the guy in my story steps into it and she has to be the one to do the rescuing. In fact, when that’s not in my book, I know it’s not working – at least for me. A caress on the rear as they walk by will cause my heroine to cut her eyes at the guy, but a nice swat and he’d be on his back looking up and wondering what the hell happened.

Kat, in Rth Rising, is that kind of woman. I can literally see her laying Davd out for such a thing, but you know, he might enjoy that. Ummm.

Kat’s life did not go the way she had dreamed, but she made do and tried to make the best of it. It made her stronger and more capable, even if it did cause her to retreat from many things. At least she had support from her family and her best friend. I’m sure Davd will bring out the best in her eventually. I really need to get working on book two.

My upcoming book, Homecoming has that same feeling, though Ashley did not have the support she needed as a child. She has grown strong on her own, there’s no telling how strong she will become with the right person at her back.

“They” keep telling me to write the book you want to read. It’s one rule I can live with. Watching strong women realize their strength and embrace it turns me on. I hope it does you as well.

Me? I’m an executive assistant to a Vice Chancellor (read that secretary in the old tongue and think Della Street if you’re old enough.) She knew everything that went on in that office, sat in on every meeting and basically ran the show, but didn’t have to stand up in court and speak. I love my job.

I’ve been married to my best friend for nearly thirty-four years and he is the one that pointed out how strong I actually was and pushed me in that direction. Turns out he was right. The kids are grown and out of the house. I miss them, but I’m delighted that they’re strong enough to shape their lives and have fun doing it. And they call home a lot, just to visit.

I’m a member of RWA, Hearts of the Carolinas and Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal writing groups and love drawing inspiration from all of them.

Ana, thanks so much for having me at FIKA today!

https://i1.wp.com/www.steelestories.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/homecoming-cover-accepted1-202x300.jpg

Homecoming at Kindle

Homecoming at AllRomance

Homecoming at Barnes & Nobles

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81 thoughts on “Monday Morning Fika, Vanilla Edition: Donna Steele on Strong Women

  1. Minelle says:

    Hi Donna, and Ana of course.
    Well Donna I have your Homecoming on my Nook to read next. I can’t wait since I read ‘Learning to Trust’ this summer and loved it.
    I definitely remember Della. However she is a timeless character….I am not old! LOL
    Thanks for trying to understand us Spankos since we are really just like everyone else with a bit ‘more’
    Thanks for Fika Ana dear!

    Like

  2. Armineh Ohanian says:

    Dear Donna, it is a pleasure to meet such an accomplished and interesting lady on Ana’s blog. I am also a vanilla writer who participated in Ana’s Fika two weeks ago. Before meeting her on line, I had no idea what spanking writing was, but I guessed. And despite the fact that I am a grandmother, I decided to be a guest on Ana’s blog. In fact, I found her to be such a lovely person, that I decided to subscribe to her blog. Like you, I also write about strong women.
    Cheers,
    Armineh

    Like

    • Ana says:

      Armineh, I was VERY worried that you didn’t know what you’d gotten yourself into when you agreed to Fika! I kept emphasizing the type of blog I have just in case you hadn’t noticed the first few warnings. 🙂 I’m delighted that you came anyway! I think it’s absolutely lovely that people like you and Donna are open to different lifestyles and different types of writing. Strong women unite!

      Like

  3. Sunny Girl says:

    Hi Donna, I download Homecoming the other day but haven’t read yet. I did enjoy Rth Rising. Glad you came over to the “dark side” to visit with Ana and the rest of us. Have a great holiday season.

    Like

  4. Kelsey S. says:

    Donna, It’s great of you to be so supportive of your friend. I have several friends who would be absolutely shocked if I told them what I was into. I’ve tried feeling some out (hinting about various things) and the results weren’t good. Good for you!

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  5. pao says:

    Hi Donna and Ana. I did not know of Della Street! So the hyperlink was helpful indeed. I have not read any of your books but would like to start exploring!

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  6. Bas says:

    Ana, there’s a lot of likeliness between you and Donna. Some of it a bit coincidental.
    You have both written about Kat.
    The Way Home and Homecoming sound a lot alike.
    And you both write about strong women.
    And also with Donna, I feel a bit of the ever changing power shift that exists between two persons.
    I have said it so often. In a relation it is only a matter of taste who acts as the strong one and how the relationship is shaped up.
    And how often do we not see that the power shift turns around? FF/MF/FM/MM, what’s the difference when the characters are living in a book?
    There’s a lot less difference between Vanilla and Non-vanilla than you would superficially expect.
    You put Donna and her friend together on the couch and let people guess: who is the spanko?
    Nobody will know for sure. Because we are all humans, with just a bit of different tastes.

    Like

    • Ana says:

      I almost put a footnote saying that Donna’s Kat is not the same as my Kat! I even asked her whether her Kat was also short for Katherine, but she said that in her storyverse everyone has short names. So my Kat is Katherine-Kat, but her Kat is just Kat. 😀

      I agree about the differences between vanilla and spanko. No one would EVER guess I write spanking stories in my vanilla life. I wonder if anyone thinks Donna might write spanking stories? Maybe we can convert her!

      Like

    • Donna Steele says:

      You are so right there. I have found a lot of M/M fic that I might not have considered previously and now love. (Suzanne Brockman!!) Now I need to explore the rest. From the people that know the two of us, they’d probably figure me for the spanko – somewhere I got this reputation….

      Like

  7. Sassy Chassy says:

    Thanks for coming on and introducing us to you, Donna! While I am by no means vanilla I love a good strong heroine. I like good strong hero to go with them as well! I’m looking forward to checking out your work!

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  8. jadecary says:

    Wonderful to meet you, Donna. I, too, am vanilla. (stop laughing, ladies!. I AM! We’ve discussed this in previous posts!) This whole spanking thing is something that’s ingrained and unexplainable. The idea (for some…ahem) and the act (for OTHERS) serves an odd purpose. Whether it’s the erogenous zone of the bottom, or the idea that a man (or woman) will and can take it upon his-or-herself to DO this to you/for you, is hot. I think maybe the answer is that women (and men, but I’m not talking about them now) who want or need this have a submissive side that they are giving in to. I know that outwardly I was not always ‘this way’, but my insides were boiling over with rich fantasies, from the time I was old enough to think–three or four probably. I was always, and still am, very strong of will and of mind, but I’ve recently had to admit that there is a submissive side here that likes the IDEA of being taken in hand or whatever you want to call it. It’s a head-scratcher and I’m still trying to figure it out. In the meantime I write it and that makes me happy. I’m always hoping it makes the reader happy, too.

    Welcome, and I’m off to check out your books.

    Like

  9. Joelle Casteel says:

    That is some beautiful cover art, Donna. Interesting your comments on strong women. I don’t write specifically spanking fiction, but actually BDSM erotica, which contains a huge variety of activities. I like to mix my women, all the way from strong to doormat.

    Like

    • Ana says:

      I think the fragile heroine has possibilities, too (I’m not sure whether anyone would call Kat a strong woman), but too often the fragile heroine is *stupid*. I think there can be strength even in a passive personality.

      Like

        • Joelle Casteel says:

          Hm, actually I think your words are just fine, Donna. I think too often we are in this rush to get the most meaning into the fewest words. Like about sexual orientation. I’ve gravitated to “queer” over the years because any else isn’t right for me, both “bisexual” and “pansexual” just not quite getting it.

          Like

  10. Julia says:

    Ow, Ana, you’re a meany, introducing an author I haven’t read anything from before. There’s loads of books waiting for me to get started in them, I don’t need more on my list.
    As far as the post itself: it takes all sorts, doesn’t it? I consider myself to be a strong woman, and everyone that knows me would agree, I’d never allow a man to abuse me, but I still want to be spanked. *shrug*

    Hugs, Julia

    Like

    • Ana says:

      That’s twice today I’ve been called a meany. I must be doing something right! 😀

      If you love to read, Julia, you might consider offering book-review services. Some authors will provide you with a review copy of their book if you post a review for them (on your blog/Amazon/Barnes and Noble/Goodreads etc.). It can be tricky if you know the author and end up disliking the book, but it’s one option for voracious bookworms who can’t get enough books to satisfy their appetite.

      I’d correct you, dear, and say that you *need* to be spanked. At least from what I’ve seen on your blog. 😀

      Like

      • Julia says:

        Yes, I love to read, but at the moment I’ve got a whole stack of books clamouring for my attention. They’re competing with life, work, blog and story writing, so I don’t really need more at the moment. 😉 It’s not the money that’s the problem, but the time. *shrug*
        But I’ll keep your suggestion in mind, for when life gets a bit calmer.
        So you read my blog and then use what I write against me? How dare you!? 😉

        Hugs, Julia

        Like

        • Ana says:

          I seem to remember a certain Julia who was promised a spanking and then didn’t get one. I think that Julia was quite unhappy about it, too. 😀

          Like I always say…tell me I am mistaken and I’ll take it back. However, it doesn’t count if you have to fib to do it! 😀

          I hear you about the time.

          Like

    • Donna Steele says:

      See, Julia, that’s what I didn’t necessarily understand. I know how strong my friend is, so I needed to be educated. Hey, anyone can join GoodReads and leave reviews all the time. I love going over there and seeing my list expand.

      Like

      • Julia says:

        I’ve been interested in BDSM for as long as I can remember. I never talked about it, because I realised it was weird and just not normal, and when, growing up, I found out I’m not alone, I still didn’t dare to admit to any of it.
        Then I got married, raised a family, had a career, brought home the bacon. I’m strong in my own right, don’t need a man to provide for me, but do need one to love me and be loved by me. I can do it all myself, but want and need a partner. During my marriage, I ignored my other yearnings, knowing my spouse was totally vanilla. It was easy enough, being loved so much helped, but there was something missing.
        I’ve only started my journey a couple of months ago, because I needed to explore this, I needed to find out if this is really, really me.
        And now I know and I don’t want to ever go back to the way I was.

        Hugs, Julia

        Like

  11. Celeste Jones says:

    Hi Everyone!

    Donna–good for you for being open to your friend’s lifestyle. Being open and respectful is a real gift.

    I think there’s room out there (and readers for) all types of heroines, but I think it’s fun when there is a strong heroine who is willing to let a man be stronger at home. And frankly, when you’re kicking ass and taking names all day long, it’s nice to have someone else who’s willing and able to make a few decisions and not let you (ok, me) steam roller them.

    I will now assume that my use of the name Della for the lawyer in my short story the Long Arm of the Law went over the heads of 99.9% of my readers. Sigh.

    Like

  12. PK says:

    What an interesting conversation! I have read all of Donna’s books except homecoming and that’s next. I love her writing! You have the right attitude – openminded and willing to listen, can’t ask more than that. I can picture you as one of your heroines, not running from the villain in your spiked heals before you twist your ankle an are quickly overpowered, but ripping your spiked heels off your feet and beating the crap out of the bad guy after you circled back around behind him!

    Keep on writing,
    PK

    Like

    • Ana says:

      Tsk, how violent! I would stay away from PK, Donna. She’s a bit of a questionable influence around these parts. 😀 Plus, her character picked a fight with my character. My character won, obviously.

      Hehe…

      Like

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