Party favor bags!! YAY! Plus the party schedule

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At the request of a reader, I’m posting a teaser photo of a party favor. 🙂 I have spent…well…let’s just say too much time making special items for each bag. At last count, 43 people have requested a bag. Wow! 40 people have submitted their registration form, and two people have let me know they will do so soon. The last person will likely have her bag given away to someone else.

First, it was cookies. Then wooden spoons. Now party favor bags. I spent *cough* too much money and too much time putting together the bags, but it makes me happy. Retail/arts & crafts therapy, I suppose. 🙂 The photo above is a sneak peek of the main handmade item. It took me about 25 minutes to do each one, I’d estimate. That’s about 10 separate steps to create every single item. The other handmade item was made in about 13 separate steps, and third item is much simpler. 🙂

Some people might call me insane. Probably I am (every project like this gets bigger and more involved), but it is healing, too. I love to create pretty things. I love to imagine the surprise and pleasure on your faces when you open the gifts. Yay!

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This is one partial set of handmade items, gift-wrapped.

When I graduated from high school, my mom got mad at me because I wanted to put together gifts for people who came to my reception. I also wanted to put out graham crackers for people with babies. My mom wanted everything perfect for the reception (I am sure it shocks you that someone in my family wanted perfection), and crackers would ruin her perfect spread. She was right, of course, that parents of babies could bring their own crackers.

Still, I wanted to give something to everyone who came to my party. It is fun to give. 🙂

The party schedule for Sunday is pretty exciting. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted a month or two ago…just that Kate Richards does an amazing roleplay and for my birthday I wanted one of my own. 🙂 She graciously agreed (oh, all right…I begged!), and bit by bit other plans fell into place.

Anne Ferrer Odom, Teresa Wymore, and Christine will host an interactive game based on Mistress on Her Knees. They did a fantastic job at the Love Spanks party, so I’m turning them loose for this one. (I may regret this!)

Sara Daniel, who wrote Once Upon a Marriage that I love (about a couple divorcing that tries to save their marriage), is offering a chat with “Dr. Sara” on relationship advice. She’s offered a sneak peek: Share your French fries, but not your Happy Meal hats. She also says she will share advice, not her toys.

Elyse Buchbinder, who sells sex toys for Pure Romance, will host a sex toy chat for an hour. She came for Love Spanks and was a hit!

And finally, Ann Mayburn who is a Domina and served as one of my consultants for Mistress on Her Knees (she gave Graciela one of her best lines), will chat about being a female dominant. The official party information is below.

March 1st is my birthday plus the release date for Mistress on Her Knees. Won’t you come and help celebrate? There will be silly fun for all, plus party favor goody bags (see post below) for anyone willing to pay shipping.

All times are in EST (UTC-5). To find out the conversion to your local time zone, google “New York time now.”

11 AM-12 PM: Ian & Armina’s Relationship Advice with “Dr.” Sara Daniel

12-1 PM: Sex toy chat with Elyse Buchbinder

1-3 PM: Birthday spanking from Evil Mistress Kate Richards. All are invited to participate!

3-4 PM: Social hour and games

4-6 PM***: Special Mistress surprise! You won’t want to miss it! (Interactive game with Teresa Wymore, Anne Ferrer Odom, and Christine Rachel)

7:30-8:00 PM Domina chat with Ann Mayburn

Games and fun will happen throughout the afternoon and evening

***In order to prepare for the interactive game, you’ll want to read the first three books in the series:

–> DESIRE IN ANY LANGUAGE (Mira & Hana 1)
–> MIRA’S MIRACLE (Mira & Hana 2)
–> FIRE OF DESIRE (Free online serial available here: https://governingana.wordpress.com/free-reads/)

MISTRESS ON HER KNEES, book four in the series, will be available on March 1st. Pre-order now so you can get a jumpstart on reading and enjoy the game even more!

And, finally, I’ve been setting birthday packages under my birthday tree. Oh, shush. It IS a birthday tree. I’ll find some happy birthday ribbon to throw on it by Sunday. 😀

I’m so grateful to all of you for making this day special. The day is not without complications this year, and I feel guilty about creating an event for me to be the center of attention. I also feel guilty at how generous each of you has been to me. I hope you know how much I appreciate it…and you. ❤

If you want an invitation to the party and haven’t gotten one yet, please let me know your Facebook account.

More updates and teaser photos soon. 🙂

On bullying, domestic violence, homophobia, and fear #HAHAT #IDAHOT

(Please click on the above image for a list of participants in this year’s hop.)

I learned fear the year I turned fourteen.

When I came out of the bathroom at school, a boy would knock my purse just hard enough to empty its contents. When I approached a classroom, another boy would ambush me with a homemade rubber band gun.

“She flinched!” he would crow, chortling with laughter until my so-called friends joined in.

“Did you flinch?”

It became a game to see how far they could push without getting caught. I carried all of my possessions with me so I wouldn’t have to stop by a locker. I mastered changing into and out of my gym uniform fast enough to prevent salacious comments or ransacking of my bag while my back was turned. I learned to remain as still as stone, never giving away my feelings.

Who am I kidding? My feelings were easy to read as the tears escaped. Gym class and bus rides were the worst. I counted each day as I went to bed. One week. Two months. Four months. I knew I would be told to “ignore” or that I was making a big deal out of nothing, so I told no one.

I became labeled a “c*nt,” and I was too naive to know it was an insult until someone told me.

At the end of the day, however, it’s not the boys I remember. I remember my so-called friends, laughing as they joined in. I remember my father asking, “What did you do to provoke them?” I remember my mother saying, “It’s your fault for not telling anyone.” Boys would be boys, and girls were to blame for fighting back or not fighting back.

Bullying. It’s a popular word these days, as parents, teachers, and officials scramble to find a solution to a complicated problem. What is bullying, what does it look like, and what can we do to help? Specifically, what does bullying mean for the LGBT community?

Welcome to the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT)! I’m thrilled to join the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia (HAHAT), a collective effort from authors, publishers, reviewers, cover artists, and others involved in LGBT fiction. IDAHOT has been supported by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon as well as many, many others. The aim of IDAHOT is to encourage local efforts, and as an author of F/F fiction I’m grateful for the chance to participate.

We talk a great deal about homophobia, transphobia, and other fears about those deemed “different.” Too often, the response is a dismissive comment such as, “I’m not scared of anyone; I think homosexuality is wrong. I have the right to think that without anyone shoving a gay agenda down my throat.”

Today, I’d like to make a proposition:

Homophobia, domestic violence, and bullying all stem from the same fear.

What fear might that be?

Fear of the unknown. Fear of the “different.” Fear, coupled with a desire to control others.

But mostly, fear of ourselves.

That’s right, ourselves. When we are secure in our own identity, confident and happy to be who we are, we have no need to knock anyone else down (physically or emotionally). The comments people have given me about F/F fiction reveal much about their insecurities and nothing about the love between two women.

What happens to a woman caught between multiple forms of this fear? She might face homophobia at work and domestic violence from her partner at home. But if that partner is a woman, resources may not be available to her that are available to a heterosexual woman. Consider these findings from the Lesbian Partner Violence Fact Sheet :

  • Domestic violence in lesbian relationships is as common or more common (1 in 4 or 1 in 3) as domestic violence in heterosexual relationships.
  • Women in same-sex relationships may not be allowed to request a court-ordered protective order
  • A homophobic environment allows a woman to threaten her partner with forced outing (to family, work, etc.). This also means a woman who is abused cannot seek help from the police.

According to a study by Little and Terrance (2010), gender stereotypes make it difficult for lesbian women to “prove” that they were the victim of domestic violence. Men tend to dismiss all violence perpetrated by a female to a female, and women tend to blame a female victim if she did not conform with stereotypically feminine traits.

Perhaps most shocking of all, many domestic violence shelters refuse to take lesbian women. That’s right. For the 16% of lesbian domestic violence victims who seek official help, they are then re-victimized with denial of legal protection and shelter.

(For more information: Domestic Violence in the LGBT community and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s New Data on Domestic and Sexual Violence

Special thanks to Myra Swintz for providing informative links.)

Do we hear about this in the LGBT news? Nope. We hear about people outraged that someone won’t make them a wedding cake.

I understand that discrimination of any type is wrong, but what is more important? A wedding cake or protecting lives?

As the anti-homophobia movement is gaining momentum, I would like to add this plea:

Let’s focus our energies on where it matters, not on trivial issues.

How do I focus my energies? I write stories of women who love women, and I use opposite worlds to help people understand what it would be like to live in a society that blames us for our identity.

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Click here for the Becoming Clissine book trailer

Becoming Clissine (Bastia, Book One)

What if heterosexuality were a crime?

Betrothed at birth to the daughter of one of the most prominent Houses in the totalitarian theocracy of Bastia, soon-to-be-college-graduate Clissa isn’t sure whether she is ready to undergo the Mar. Once she becomes the Nur, or the submissive partner, to her betrothed she will have to submit all major decisions of her life to the beautiful Helaine whom she has only met once. She must marry a woman, according to the decrees of Bastian law.

Caught between his desire to “get along” and the growing awareness that he is “het” and is attracted to Clissa, Destral kisses her one day as they study in their college library. Shocked at the feelings the kiss awakens, Clissa begins to question everything she has been taught. Did Basti, their deity, really decree that it was sinful for a man to be with a woman? Will her growing feelings for Destral cost her everything that her parents have worked hard to give her?

In a mad attempt to subvert Bastian authority, Clissa and Destral run away to find the Het Pride, a group that preaches tolerance, equality, and peace. Z, their leader, promises that one day hets will achieve equality and freedom. When the Bastian police capture or kills most of the Het Pride, however, Clissa is assigned to new parents for “reeducation” in the doctrine of Bastia. Her new parents are given one mandate: Bring her back to rightness with Basti.

Clissa, lost in a system that is threatened by her very identity, must make her choice. Will she be broken by Bastian authority, or will she find a way to break free? Can true love overcome a harsh regime?

—-

For this hop, I will offer three prizes:

How to enter: Leave your name and a working email address in the comments. Respond to one or more of the following prompts:

  • What about this post surprised you or was new to you?
  • Please share any personal experience and/or wisdom to share regarding any of the points made in this article.
  • How could we make more resources available for lesbian women who have experienced bullying and/or domestic violence?

Winners will be announced on May 25th here on the blog (governingana.wordpress.com), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/anastasiapvitsky), and Twitter (@AnastasiaVitsky). Winners must claim their prizes within 24 hours, or I will re-draw for a new winner.

Extra prize entries! If you leave a new review on Amazon and/or Blushing Books for any of my F/F books (The Way Home, Lighting the Way, Editorial Board, Simple Gifts, Desire in Any Language, Mira’s Miracle, and Becoming Clissine), you will receive an extra prize entry for each book you review! All of my books are available on Amazon and Blushing, and you will receive a prize entry for every review (two per book, if you post both on Amazon and Blushing). Please leave a note in the comments telling me which book you reviewed and where.

Best of luck, and happy International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia!

Happy Lunar New Year from Mira and Hana!

Yesterday, the wonderful Pao gave us a peek at Lunar New Year celebrations in Malaysia. Is anyone else hungry? I am! I can’t picture lifting salad over my head to let it fall onto the table, but it sounds fun.

Today, in celebration of the Lunar New Year, we have two visitors who will share a bit of their celebration plans with you. For the actual celebration, you’ll have to wait until Love Spanks next week. Yes, next week already! From February 7 to 9, you’ll get to sample writing from some of the best F/F writers today.

Please welcome Hana and Mira! If you are new, check out their chronicles from Desire in Any Language and Mira’s Miracle.

Ana: Hello, Hana and Mira. Thank you for joining us today. Happy New Year!

Mira: Hello, everyone. How fun to meet all of you.

Hana: Do your readers know about Seolnal?

Mira: That’s the Korean word for the new year.

Ana: Yes, our good friend Pao told us about new year yesterday.

Hana: That’s right, I read the article. What a well-written piece by a lovely young woman. Future diplomat material, I should say.

Mira: I’m not sure. After all, she did teach everyone how to be a brat and demand money.

Hana: She doesn’t need to teach you how to be a brat, does she?

(Mira blushes)

Mira: So, anyway, about the new year celebration, Hana had this big idea.

Hana: I enjoyed having Mira as my little girl at the Castle, and after returning to Korea we both wanted to keep the dynamic alive.

Mira: And Trinity promised to visit this year!

(Hana smiles at Mira)

Hana: If she does, my love, you’ll have to be on your best behavior.

Mira: Not that it will matter. You’ll both take care of me either way.

Hana: Mm. Oh, yes. Oh, absolutely yes. Wait, what were we talking about?

Mira: Hana took me shopping and got this gorgeous hanbok, but she got a children’s one!

Hana: You’re adorable in it.

Mira: And today she’s going to teach me the traditional bowing. Not exactly the way Pao does, and I don’t get red envelopes. That’s not really a Korean thing. Hey Hana, will I get money for doing the bows?

Hana: Oh, you’ll get something, all right!

(Hana grins and slaps one hand against the other. Mira turns bright red.)

Mira: Hana, not in public!

Hana: It’s okay, Mira, everyone here knows what we do.

Mira: Everyone? Yikes! It’s like being at the Castle again.

Hana: Oh, the Castle. I can’t wait until we go back.

Mira: Next time I want to choose where we play. No more silly little-girl dresses.

Hana: But then you wouldn’t get to see Nurse Trinity or Louise.

(Mira shivers)

Mira: I think I’d be all right with not seeing Louise again. She’s scary!

Hana: Only if you misbehave, dear.

Mira: Like I said, she’s scary.

Ana: I’m afraid we’re nearly out of time. When can readers find out more about your new year’s celebration?

Mira: I don’t think I want them to know what Hana’s been hinting about for weeks!

Hana: You mean taking you over my knee for a good, hard, bare-bottom paddling?

Mira: Hana!! Ana, help me!

Ana: Yes, Hana, isn’t that an everyday occurrence now?

Mira: Ana! Not like that!

Hana: Yes, of course. Readers will get to see all the juicy details in our Love Spanks excerpt next week.

Ana: Were any apples harmed in the making of that story?

Mira: Ha! No, all fruit should be unharmed.

Hana: Thank you, everyone, and 새 해 복 많이 받으세요!

Ana: What does that mean?

Mira: It sounds like “Say hay bok mahnee badusayo,” and it means “Receive many blessings for the new year.”

Hana: Let’s go home and give you your first blessing, Mira-chan.

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Whisked away to the fairytale Castle for a dream vacation, Mira confronts her darkest fears. 

Vacationing at Master Marshall’s world-renowned Castle should have spelled Fantasy Land, but for Mira the trip means paying a debt. She promised to work hard at her translator’s certificate course while her advisor went on maternity leave, but distraction arrived in the form of her first love. Diplomat Hana Takahashi, from Desire in Any Language, captures Mira’s total attention. Between Hana’s stringent embassy security and Mira’s draconian school dormitory curfew, their stolen kisses drive Mira wild with desire. Hana makes a bet with Mira: keep up with her schoolwork or take a trip of Hana’s choice, according to Hana’s rules. No veto power.

When Mira presents her inadequate end-of-term report, Hana books a dream vacation—of Hana’s dreams. Safe within the Castle, the elaborate role playing kink haven, Hana turns Mira into her little girl.

When she encounters a tutor who triggers her deepest fears, she must face her residual trauma over the duplicitous “Mistress Susan.” Is Mira ready for the nurturing offered by Hana, or will her unhealed wounds drive everyone away? Will there be a miracle for Mira?

Warning: contains ageplay, mouth-soaping, spankings, and sex scenes

No more fun without consequences: #Satspanks, #Wewriwa, #SnipSun, and #SeductiveSnS

Mira’s Miracle has received rave reviews, and it’s shot to #11 on the the Amazon bestselling list for F/F romance Hooray! What a great beginning to the Love Spanks F/F season. Can you feel the love in the air? 😀

Today’s snippet comes from Mira’s Miracle. Set within Maren Smith’s Castle world of a BDSM/kink playground, Mira from Desire in Any Language discovers what it is like to experience her first love. Previously, Hana questioned why Mira didn’t buy more apples. Mira explained how the apple became damaged, and we find out more about Hana’s plans for Mira.

“Tell me more about our trip,” I demand, trying to catch my breath.

“Ah-ah-ah,” she reproves. “You know our agreement.”

I nudge her. “C’mon, give me a hint.” Because she is Hana and I am Mira, and because my thumb teases the outermost edge of her earlobe, she tells me her story.

“Since you lost our bet—”

I groan. In the short time since Hana came into my life, everything I used to take for granted has flown out the window. No more lollygagging to finish school assignments, no more late-night parties that cut into study time, and no more fun without consequences.

(For an extended preview of the preceding scene, please click here.)

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Mira’s Miracle

Whisked away to the fairytale Castle for a dream vacation, Mira confronts her darkest fears.

 

Vacationing at Master Marshall’s world-renowned Castle should have spelled Fantasy Land, but for Mira the trip means paying a debt. She promised to work hard at her translator’s certificate course while her advisor went on maternity leave, but distraction arrives in the form of her first love. Diplomat Hana Takahashi, from Desire in Any Language, captures Mira’s total attention. Between Hana’s stringent embassy security and Mira’s draconian school dormitory curfew, their stolen kisses drive Mira wild with desire. Hana makes a bet with Mira: keep up with her schoolwork or take a trip of Hana’s choice, according to Hana’s rules. No veto power.

When Mira presents her inadequate end-of-term report, Hana books a dream vacation—of Hana’s dreams. Safe within the Castle, the elaborate role playing kink haven, Hana turns Mira into her little girl. Complete with a private nurse, playroom with its nanny in charge, and a schoolroom filled with naughty pupils and a stern teacher, the Castle’s ageplay wing reduces Mira to a child from the moment of her arrival. Hana’s word is law, and all of the Castle employees carry out her orders for Mira.

However, Mira’s natural resistance leads to tantrums, defiance, and spankings from every adult who assists with her care. When she encounters a tutor who triggers her deepest fears, she must face her residual trauma over the duplicitous “Mistress Susan.” Is Mira ready for the maternal nurturing offered by Hana, or will her unhealed wounds drive everyone away? Can she become Hana’s little girl, or will she safeword out of the Castle to return to everyday life…without Hana? Will there be a miracle for Mira?

Warning: contains ageplay, mouth-soaping, spankings, and sex scenes

If you wanted more apples: #Satspanks, #Wewriwa, #SnipSun, and #SeductiveSnS

Today’s snippet comes from Mira’s Miracle. Set within Maren Smith’s Castle world of a BDSM/kink playground, Mira from Desire in Any Language discovers what it is like to experience her first love. Previously, Hana questioned why Mira didn’t buy more apples.

She takes the bag from me and sets it on the table. The only apple lies mushy and broken, a testament to our phone call.

“If you wanted more apples, you shouldn’t have distracted me.” I lift an eyebrow at her, as if I can tell her what to do. She rests her hands on my bottom, giving a squeeze to make me yelp. This is the first time I have entered her home, and it’s the first time we don’t have to worry about strange gazes from other people. Diplomat security plus dormitory rules don’t make for an easy courtship.

“If you didn’t want to be distracted, you should have answered my question the first time.” Before I can complain, she bends down to drop onto my lips a kiss so sweet, so tender, and so gentle I lose track of any thought I ever could have had. It’s a good thing I’ve already set the apple down because nothing would survive this embrace.

(For an extended preview of the preceding scene, please click here.)

edca_mirasmiracle

Mira’s Miracle

Whisked away to the fairytale Castle for a dream vacation, Mira confronts her darkest fears.

 

Vacationing at Master Marshall’s world-renowned Castle should have spelled Fantasy Land, but for Mira the trip means paying a debt. She promised to work hard at her translator’s certificate course while her advisor went on maternity leave, but distraction arrives in the form of her first love. Diplomat Hana Takahashi, from Desire in Any Language, captures Mira’s total attention. Between Hana’s stringent embassy security and Mira’s draconian school dormitory curfew, their stolen kisses drive Mira wild with desire. Hana makes a bet with Mira: keep up with her schoolwork or take a trip of Hana’s choice, according to Hana’s rules. No veto power.

When Mira presents her inadequate end-of-term report, Hana books a dream vacation—of Hana’s dreams. Safe within the Castle, the elaborate role playing kink haven, Hana turns Mira into her little girl. Complete with a private nurse, playroom with its nanny in charge, and a schoolroom filled with naughty pupils and a stern teacher, the Castle’s ageplay wing reduces Mira to a child from the moment of her arrival. Hana’s word is law, and all of the Castle employees carry out her orders for Mira.

However, Mira’s natural resistance leads to tantrums, defiance, and spankings from every adult who assists with her care. When she encounters a tutor who triggers her deepest fears, she must face her residual trauma over the duplicitous “Mistress Susan.” Is Mira ready for the maternal nurturing offered by Hana, or will her unhealed wounds drive everyone away? Can she become Hana’s little girl, or will she safeword out of the Castle to return to everyday life…without Hana? Will there be a miracle for Mira?

Warning: contains ageplay, mouth-soaping, spankings, and sex scenes

Thursday’s Thankfulness, 3 days early (or 4 days late): Stunning reviews for Mira’s Miracle!

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Today, you can read the second half of my interview with Maren Smith on her blog! Don’t forget that you need to comment on both part one AND two in order to enter the contest for the cinnamon oil.

Find out more about Bill Emerson, Miranda Hardwick, and how Maren managed to push all of my F/F desire buttons at once. During an interview when I was trying to be professional, too. MAREN! 😀 Plus, learn more about Trinity and the role of a Nurse within the Castle.

As well, please read this stunning review by Erzabet’s Enchantments:

I fell in love with Ana’s book Desire in Any Language and was thrilled to see what came next in Mira’s adventures. Hana was still a bit of mystery at the end of the last book- I admit I was pretty transfixed on Mira’s fascination with her tutor myself.  Finding out more about Hana and Mira’s relationship was very exciting. Going to the Castle on vacation was even more so. All the possibilities-especially in a shared universe like this one. When Mira gets to the Castle, she finds out that the luxury vacation she thought she was getting is very different from the reality that awaits her. Each step took me deeper and deeper and I didn’t want it to end.

Thinking about how this book made me feel left me with twisting emotions indeed. I loved it completely. It explored age play and that is something I have discovered is a trigger point in most cases. So…I identified with Mira’s terror at being touched by the male teacher in the school. When something bad happens to you like what she experienced, it leaves scars. I will be the first to admit it-I still have them and they pop up and the damnedest times. Journeying with Mira at the Castle, I felt like I was there with her as she was dressed in in children’s clothes and made to behave as if she were a child. It was hard for her and for more than one reason.

Full review continues here. It’s worth the visit to read! Wow. When I labor over a book never to hear responses afterward, it can be disappointing. Then Mira’s Miracle came out and the response was wonderful! Here’s crossing my fingers that it will continue. I bet even Cat will like ageplay more than she thinks, and Irishey, too. 😀 I’ve promised Irishey that I will accept her challenge: She said I could write about the dynamics between bubble gum and concrete and still keep my readers interested. Later this week, I will write a very short (100-300 words) piece about bubble gum and concrete. You can all be the judge whether I’ve fulfilled Irishey’s mandate. 😀

Plus another 5-star review from Kristin Elyon:

5 STARS PLUS!! This book was d*mn near perfect for me! I looooooved it!!!! If you LOVE The Master of the Castle series by Maren Smith, like I do then this story is just an added bonus! Ana’s amazing characters visit that castle! All the characters, the interwoven storylines, the drama, the love, the passion, the angst, the fear, the doubt, the sheer happiness – it was all so good!! I know I really like a book when I start reading it really slow, taking in all the details, because I simply don’t want it to end! That’s how this one was for me! One of the best books I’ve read and it’s f/f!!

Kristin Elyon also wrote this wonderful review of the first book, Desire in Any Language:

Well, I am thoroughly de-virginized now. My Anastasia Vitsky f/f cherry has been popped and I enjoyed it immensely. I’ve heard so much about this wonderful author I just had to take advantage and read her story!

It was a perfect mix of sweet seduction, spanking, wicked activities and loads of emotional connection. For the first half of the book I devoured each page, turning and turning without taking a breath. I can’t wait to read the second book and read more of Mira and see her new adventures!

I am definitely putting Anastasia Vitsky on my must read list and hope to happily devour more of her books in the near future.

Oh, I nearly forgot! Roz posted this amazing review of Editorial Board. Wow! Thank you so much, Roz!

I was thrilled and excited to win a copy of Editorial Board by our very own Anastasia Vitsky in Ana’s individual blog competition over at Governing Ana as part of the 2013 Spank or Treat blog hop.  It has taken me a while to get the chance to sit down and read this and therefore to write this review.  Ana I apologise 🙂  I have to say though, it was well worth the wait!

Ana offered me a number of titles to chose from and I decided upon Editorial Board.  I chose this book because I liked its premise and the main character, Spring Meadows (yes, you read right.  She also has   sister’s Autumn and Summer) sounded appealing to me.  She sounded as though she could be rather Scrappy and that I would therefore relate well to her 🙂

Please visit Roz’s blog to read the rest of the review. Worth the visit, again! I loved Roz’s review so much that I actually took out Editorial Board and re-read it start to finish last night. Now I’m plotting sequels. I’d love to see more dynamics between Rachel and Spring. Maybe Spring drops some bubble gum on the sidewalk…

Giggle.

Thank you to everyone who has read my books, reviewed them on your blog/Amazon/Goodreads/Facebook, told a friend about them, bought one as a gift for a friend, or in other ways shared the word. THANK you! Thank you so much. I’ve just gotten word that Becoming Clissine will receive a 5-star review, too. Wow! For ages I go without a single review or feedback, and then it all happens in a day or two. Is today my lucky day? Sure feels like it.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter the contest for cinnamon oil! SH, you are NOT excused! No trying to cheat. 😀

Love you all. Thank you, each one of you, for giving me such a wonderful response. Bless you.

By the way, I had to giggle at re-reading Cat Victoria in Editorial Board. Probably one of my favorite characters and definitely my favorite non-human character of my books. The image of Kayley trying to walk Victoria on a “leash” made of her belt…is it wrong to admit that my own words made me giggle?

Ah, well. Cats will be cats, and we love ’em anyway.

Dickens Quote

The first response: Four 5-star reviews for Mira’s Miracle!

Sometimes, when you put your heart and soul into a book, you receive a response that makes you scratch your head. “I thought it was clear,” you think. Or, “But I did this for this reason, only the reader didn’t understand that.” Even worse, “I understand someone didn’t like my book, but why did she (or he) have to slam my characters or me as an author or a person?”

Receiving a bad review is difficult, and much has been written on how to handle a bad review. The general advice seems to be:

Don’t engage. It will get worse.

Period. I’ve seen some exceptions, such as Jade Cary’s response to a negative review last year. I’ve engaged a reviewer in discussion before, respectfully of course, to ask for clarification about the criticism. Other times, when the review is disrespectful, mean-spirited, or completely off-base, I may not respond at all.

On Tuesday, we’re going to have a discussion about reading and reviewing books. If you have never reviewed a book before but want to support your favorite author, I’ll give you some tips on how to write your first book review. If you are an author and wonder how to respond to reviews, there will be advice not just from me but from quite a few reviewers. I’ll explain about different types of reviews and when it’s appropriate to give or respond to certain kinds of criticism.

If you are a reviewer and curious how other reviewers handle things, or if you have had difficult situations from authors, you can get advice from other reviewers who have had problems.

Today, however, I’d like to thank four readers who have already put their feedback on Blushing’s site for Mira’s Miracle.

Emily Tilton says:

Mira’s Miracle is something very special: it takes the fascinating frame of Maren Smith’s Castle series and uses it to tell a moving–even at times a harrowing–tale of Mira learning to be at peace with her need for kink and for the wonderful Hana. Ms. Vitsky writes as always with an extraordinary lyricism of Mira’s fraught emotional relationship to her sexuality and to past trauma, and by the time we get to the wonderful resolution (with the cinnamon oil) we feel Mira and Hana have earned not just a happy ending, but happiness with one another.

Pao says:

I love it when fictional universes collide. Continuing from Mira’s discovery from the first book, Mira is whisked away to Master Marshall’s Castle (from Maren Smith’s “Castle” universe/ series) by her lover where she is made to face her deepest desires and fears. Mira’s Miracle is a sensual, sensitive, tender and revealing story of a young adult struggling to embrace her desires – which I think is something some, if not all of us can relate to. I felt that the story captured the emotions and actions very well – fear, rebellion, letting one’s defences down, acceptance, sharing a dark secret and healing. The ageplay parts were tender and it will leave you wishing you got those cuddles and chocolate cookies. In addition to the tenderness of the story, I quite enjoyed the banter and relationship between Hana and Mira. Their antics and Mira’s inner thoughts were really entertaining and funny. The detail in description made everything so easy to visualise and I loved the use of the honorific titles within the story. I was curious about Hana at the end of the first book and I found her quite charming. This was a very engaging and entertaining read that I did not put down until I was done.

Sassy T says:

Mira’s Miracle is a must read. The buildup of the story is amazing…..it keeps you squirming in your seat as you read from start to finish. Like little nibbles on the ear and that lead to more you can’t stop reading once you start. I want to read more the characters come to life and jump of the page. I can perfectly picture Mira & her outbursts. The story drew me in had me giggling & crying. It was both sensitive and seductive…..a beautiful story that touches our most vulnerable needs- the need to feel loved. I loved Ms. Vitsky writing it captured me from the fluffy fur ball to nanny’s pocket paddle; I was transported to the castle watching eagerly wishing I could be there. The story left me smiling while still wanting more. My favorite line is “Good discipline is the greatest gift anyone can give” and I almost believe that after reading this story of longing and acceptance.

SH says:

A wonderful addition to the Castle Series! What a beautifully written romance and love story, I absolutely adored it! I started reading and did not put it down until I was finished, I just had to find out what was going to happen next. This is a different type of AP, much more tender, than the usual harshness AP tends to have. At times I was literally laughing out loud and at times I was crying. Mira works very hard to embrace her feelings/kink and confront the trauma from her past and you can feel the love of all of those around her during this process. Ms. Vitsky has written a heartfelt story that speaks to anyone who has looked for love and acceptance on any level. Very well done and one I will definitely read again.

It was such a surprise and a pleasure to wake up to these reviews after Mira’s first day of publication! Thank you, more than I can say. I am thrilled to make people laugh and cry, and I am glad to have given you pleasure. Your thoughts are always welcome and appreciated.

Mira’s Miracle is not yet out on Amazon, but please let me know if you see it. There may be a nice reward for the person who finds it first. 🙂

A big thank you to Maren Smith for making Mira’s Miracle possible, and thank you also to Blushing Books for supporting my dream for F/F spanking fiction. Later this week, I’ll give you some exciting news from the world of F/F fiction. 🙂

Don’t forget you can enter the contest to win a vial of cinnamon oil, and that Maren Smith will host the second part of the contest on her blog tomorrow.

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Extraordinary: #Satspanks, #SnippetSunday, #SeductiveSnS, and #Wewriwa

Welcome to Saturday Spankings, Seductive Studs and Sirens, Snippet Sunday, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Mira, from Desire in Any Language, has found new love in the stunning and brilliant diplomat, Hana Takahashi. Mira adores her, even when Hana gives her provoking calls in public. Equal parts exasperated and turned on, Mira continues to reflect on the changes Hana has brought into Mira’s life.

Previous eight sentences

Previous extended preview

I never thought I would be the sort of person to say dirty things in supermarkets or proclaim my love in front of strangers. I think of myself as shy, unassuming, or even ordinary. But life with Hana has taught me even the most ordinary of events can become extraordinary. She makes me – in some ways when I’d rather not – find excitement in the everyday. With her, every day is a discovery; each meeting is an occasion.

“Why didn’t you get more apples?” Hana asks when I return home. Or, rather, to her home, the home from which we will begin our travels tonight. It’s hard to believe we will take our first trip together.

Mira’s Miracle is now available from Blushing Books! It’s not yet on Amazon, but it should be very soon. I hope you enjoyed your sneak peek. 🙂 By the way, it’s not too late to enter the two-part contest to win your very own vial of cinnamon oil. Why would you want cinnamon oil? Read Mira’s Miracle to find out!

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Mira’s Miracle (with Maren Smith)

Whisked away to the fairytale Castle for a dream vacation, Mira confronts her darkest fears.

 

Vacationing at Master Marshall’s world-renowned Castle should have spelled Fantasy Land, but for Mira the trip means paying a debt. She promised to work hard at her translator’s certificate course while her advisor went on maternity leave, but distraction arrives in the form of her first love. Diplomat Hana Takahashi, from Desire in Any Language, captures Mira’s total attention. Between Hana’s stringent embassy security and Mira’s draconian school dormitory curfew, their stolen kisses drive Mira wild with desire. Hana makes a bet with Mira: keep up with her schoolwork or take a trip of Hana’s choice, according to Hana’s rules. No veto power.

When Mira presents her inadequate end-of-term report, Hana books a dream vacation—of Hana’s dreams. Safe within the Castle, the elaborate role playing kink haven, Hana turns Mira into her little girl. Complete with a private nurse, playroom with its nanny in charge, and a schoolroom filled with naughty pupils and a stern teacher, the Castle’s ageplay wing reduces Mira to a child from the moment of her arrival. Hana’s word is law, and all of the Castle employees carry out her orders for Mira.

However, Mira’s natural resistance leads to tantrums, defiance, and spankings from every adult who assists with her care. When she encounters a tutor who triggers her deepest fears, she must face her residual trauma over the duplicitous “Mistress Susan.” Is Mira ready for the maternal nurturing offered by Hana, or will her unhealed wounds drive everyone away? Can she become Hana’s little girl, or will she safeword out of the Castle to return to everyday life…without Hana? Will there be a miracle for Mira?

Warning: contains ageplay, mouth-soaping, spankings, and sex scenes

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Mira’s Miracle now available for sale!

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Mira’s Miracle is now available on Blushing Books! Look for it to go on sale at Amazon within the next day or so.

Don’t forget to visit today’s interview with Maren Smith on creating the first F/F couple in her Castle! Leave a comment today and Friday (on Maren’s blog) to win your very own vial of cinnamon oil. Cinnamon oil? Why would you want that? Read Mira’s Miracle to find out!

 

Oh…and we like cats. Just saying. 😀

Dickens Quote

A spanking story mashup: how Ana Vitsky’s characters visited Maren Smith’s Castle

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Today, we welcome Maren Smith for a two-part interview! Please comment on both today’s post and Monday’s post to enter a drawing for a very special surprise…a bottle of cinnamon oil. Cinnamon oil, you ask? Read more about it on Minelle’s blog.

Anastasia Vitsky: Hello Maren, and thank you so much for joining us at Governing Ana! We’re doing a two-part series to celebrate the latest release from your Castle series, Mira’s Miracle. Today I’ll host you on my blog, and on Monday you’ll host me on your blog.

Maren Smith: Thank you for having me, Ana. I don’t do this very often, so it’s always such a thrill when I get to visit with others.

Anastasia Vitsky: I’ve always admired your work, from way back before I knew you personally. I’ve said this a few times before, but I love your Pets series. I admire how you can create an entirely new world, challenge your readers, change how we think, and still give a rip-roaring story chock-full with spankings and all things delightfully kinky.

Maren Smith: Thank you, but that’s what we all do, isn’t it? From Becoming Clissine, to Cara’s Breeder, to Pets. That’s our job. But more than that, I don’t think we can help it. It’s too much who we are as authors.

Anastasia Vitsky: Speaking of Becoming Clissine, that marked the beginning of our collaboration, didn’t it? I wrote to you, nervous about writing my first honest-to-goodness story with ageplay, and pestered you with questions and requests for advice.

Maren Smith: Yes, it did! But I wouldn’t call it pestering. 🙂 You had an awesome story idea, a world that spoke volumes to both the kink of spanking and ageplay, and the emotional impact that really made that story. It was a pleasure to work with you in that regard and it led to our collaborating in the Castle series, which has been a delight right from the start.

Anastasia Vitsky: When you and I first talked during the creation of Becoming Clissine, I found your thoughts both helpful and challenging. Then when I read what would later become Kaylee’s Keeper (while basking in the sun at an IKEA cafeteria, if you truly want to know!), I became consumed with the world you had created. Right from the first page, you captured my imagination. The setup was pure genius–Kaylee, a novice, makes every rookie mistake and opens the story for those new to the kink lifestyle. Yet she enters a world full of respectable professionals in the Castle, and there is enough “serious business” to keep longtime players interested. I remember writing to you, “I’m so jealous you thought of this setting first!”

Maren Smith: My idea for the Castle was two part. I wanted to come out of the fantasy a little and introduce something meaningful and real from the aspect of someone who lives the lifestyle. Everyone knows about 50 Shades. Although these kinds of stories have been around for years, it wasn’t until 50 Shades that the door really opened for us and brought in the kind of audience that legitimizes this genre. But, 50 Shades is not an accurate reflection of this kink, real Doms or real submissives. There’s nothing really accurate about that story, in that it doesn’t reflect real people or emotions. I wanted to show what I’ve seen over and over again. Novices who come in not knowing what they want or how to get what they need. I wanted to show that it was okay to not know everything. I also wanted to show that there is more to BDSM than spanking. There are so many different aspects of TTWD, that are every bit as beautiful and fascinating and worthwhile, apart from my main literary focus which has always been the spanking.

Anastasia Vitsky: That’s the beauty of Kaylee’s Keeper and Kaylee herself, that she makes all the worst mistakes (no spoilers!) and places herself into bad situations, but she still finds her happily ever after. (She’s similar to Mira in that way, as a matter of fact.) Master Marshall then leads her through all of the various kinks available at the Castle.

Except, and anyone who knows me will anticipate this objection, I was disappointed to find that the Castle was a M/F world. I adored Kaylee, I adored her experience, and I adored your writing (as always). Yet when Master Marshall introduced her to kinks ranging from violet wands to ageplay to pony play, we did not see any F/F couples. In fact, the intake forms mentioned M/F. In addition, the reference to the “Rainbow Room,” the central gathering place where people could interact out of character, specifically mentioned it was not in reference to LBGT. I wrote to you, with a great deal of trepidation, mentioning that I loved the story but had trouble with those points. Imagine my surprise when you not only took my words seriously, but you made the changes and invited me to write a F/F installment to your Castle series! I nearly fell to the floor in shock. I’ve had many experiences as a F/F writer in the oddly M/F-centric world of kink, but the kind of instant acceptance and understanding you showed me was unprecedented. For that, you will always have my respect and gratitude.

Maren Smith: But that’s what I had always seen and wanted for the Castle. I had always imagined it to be a world where anyone could find their specific niche. That it would be met with acceptance. That we are all of us united by this thing we do, whether we like to get our bottoms spanked or dress up as Littles or put on tails and paws and kitten ears and crawl around being petted by a room full of strangers. I write predominantly M/F because that’s who I’ve always been, but that’s not what I wanted the Castle to be. I wanted to show M/m, F/m, F/f. I wanted it to be that reflection of reality in which we are not all carbon-copy people. We have variances and subtle and not-so-subtle differences. And yet, it wasn’t until you pointed out where I had fallen short of my vision that I realized I couldn’t write all those different nuances myself. I don’t live them. I don’t feel them. I would not be able to do them justice. But you could, at least in regards to F/f. I’ve read your work before. You have a very clear, concise voice in regards to what you’re passionate about. You have skill and vision and I knew if I could get you to come into my world, you would do it justice. You’d take it seriously and write one hell of a good story, and I was right.

Anastasia Vitsky: The world of authoring is both fraught and competitive, and despite the surface happy-happy-joy-joy many of us struggle (established authors, too!) trying to make ourselves heard and to push our own books forward. I respect and appreciate your generosity in saying, “Here, Ana. Here’s my sandbox. Come in, make yourself comfortable, and do everything that I couldn’t.” Rather than falling short of your goal, I felt that you were both honest and straightforward. None of us can write an entire world by ourselves, and none of us can represent all of the different perspectives. The genius of the Castle is that your storyverse begs us to fill in our own postage stamp of space. If it had been a world I created, I might have felt uneasy letting someone else into it–and yet you gave me keys to the kingdom and complete trust. Didn’t you have any qualms or concerns before letting me run around in your Castle?

Maren Smith: Yes, actually. Which was why I asked you to follow a few rules. My biggest concern wasn’t that you’d do something outlandish in my world or alter my vision for how it might work. It was that you’d write me into a corner with one of my own characters. lol, I was a little leery of giving up total control, which was why it worked so well that you didn’t come in and just take over. You kept me in the loop. You asked tons of questions about what I wanted to do in this regards or that, or in other aspects of the world. And you brought with you some really awesome ideas in areas I hadn’t yet thought of. That rocking chair in the Castle Nursery was pure genius. So were the kittens. I could see that happening.

Anastasia Vitsky: Because this was my first straight-up ageplay, rather than a story containing ageplay elements (Becoming Clissine does contain ageplay, but it’s within a socio-political context rather than the pleasure of ageplay in its own right), I had to negotiate a balance between respecting ageplay versus not alienating my readers who are not comfortable with ageplay. I am a sucker for kittens, as I think many people are, and the thought of holding and getting to name a newborn kitten brought out all of the childlike delight in me. One thing I’ve learned as a writer: if I love what I write, readers will, too. Your addition to the kittens idea (I won’t say in order not to spoil the story) was pure genius, as well. For me, that was the best part of writing this story. Mira and Hana were my own creation, already existing in their own world from Desire in Any Language, but within your world I got to see them grow and interact in new and interesting ways. I loved going to you each step of the way and saying, “Maren, who would be your school teacher? Who’s in charge of the Nursery?” It felt as if we needed a tourist map and a visitor’s brochure!

Maren Smith: I’ve had people who’ve sent emails saying that, too. They want this to be a real Castle so they can pay to visit.

Anastasia Vitsky: Me, too!!

Look for part two on Maren’s blog on Monday! Find out more about Mira and Hana’s visit, as well as behind-the-scenes discussion of how the story came to be. In the meantime, look for Mira’s Miracle to go on sale at Blushing Books tonight! I’ll showcase eight sentences for the weekend snippets, and next week we’ll talk more about cinnamon oil as well as the process of reviewing published books.

Enjoy your visit to the Castle, whether it’s your first or fourth!

Desire in Any Language (Book one in the Mira series)
Mira thought she wanted a spanking.  What she got was love.

On her own for the first time, Mira is studying abroad for her translator’s certificate.  Unfortunately, the heady excitement of dance clubs, late-night parties, and endless shopping quickly distracts her from her educational goals.  Mira’s advisor offers her private tutoring, but the combined pressures of culture and language difference threaten Mira’s progress at school.  She is unable to get her act together until she makes a discovery that horrifies and tantalizes her: in her new country, corporal punishment is a way of life.  The secret to her academic success just might also fulfill her wildest, unspoken dreams.

Sexy. Seductive. Dangerous. A poignant and compelling read.

Mira’s Miracle (with Maren Smith, book two in the Mira series)

Whisked away to the fairytale Castle for a dream vacation, Mira confronts her darkest fears.

 

Vacationing at Master Marshall’s world-renowned Castle should have spelled Fantasy Land, but for Mira the trip means paying a debt. She promised to work hard at her translator’s certificate course while her advisor went on maternity leave, but distraction arrives in the form of her first love. Diplomat Hana Takahashi, from Desire in Any Language, captures Mira’s total attention. Between Hana’s stringent embassy security and Mira’s draconian school dormitory curfew, their stolen kisses drive Mira wild with desire. Hana makes a bet with Mira: keep up with her schoolwork or take a trip of Hana’s choice, according to Hana’s rules. No veto power.

When Mira presents her inadequate end-of-term report, Hana books a dream vacation—of Hana’s dreams. Safe within the Castle, the elaborate role playing kink haven, Hana turns Mira into her little girl. Complete with a private nurse, playroom with its nanny in charge, and a schoolroom filled with naughty pupils and a stern teacher, the Castle’s ageplay wing reduces Mira to a child from the moment of her arrival. Hana’s word is law, and all of the Castle employees carry out her orders for Mira.

However, Mira’s natural resistance leads to tantrums, defiance, and spankings from every adult who assists with her care. When she encounters a tutor who triggers her deepest fears, she must face her residual trauma over the duplicitous “Mistress Susan.” Is Mira ready for the maternal nurturing offered by Hana, or will her unhealed wounds drive everyone away? Can she become Hana’s little girl, or will she safeword out of the Castle to return to everyday life…without Hana? Will there be a miracle for Mira?

Warning: contains ageplay, mouth-soaping, spankings, and sex scenes

Dickens Quote

Remember–you need to comment on part two on Maren’s blog on Monday in order to enter the drawing for the cinnamon oil!