Rogue and Christina crash Kat’s birthday party (and give her some life advice)

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Lighting the Way is finally available on Amazon! Happy birthday, Kat! Many happy returns. 🙂

Click the book cover below for the US link.

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Also, as Kat’s birthday gift to everyone–

The Way Home is now FREE on Amazon! Get your copy today!

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Now…today’s birthday bash installments! Thianna Doesitmatter (I never can type that name without giggling!) has posted this hysterical birthday letter to Kat. Go and read it!

Once your stomach stops hurting from laughing, come back and read this story/interview from two women loved and respected for sharing their DD journeys. Our wonderful Rogue (from Rogue’s Awakening) and Christina (from Red Booty Woman) wrote this unique, touching, and heartfelt gift for Kat. Truly, Kat is lucky to have new friends to advise her.

Rogue being Rogue, of course there is a twist to their gift! 🙂 Enjoy!

——————-

Rogue and Christina are having a drink on the back porch at R’s house with the fire going. C is looking longingly at the flames and kicking herself b/c she forgot the paddle to burn.  Rogue is oblivious to C’s distress, as she happily sips her wine.

R – So, I ran into an acquaintance recently — Ana — and she was buying a birthday cake for a friend’s upcoming celebration party.  She knows about our dd lifestyles, and she began telling about her friends’ relationship.  Check this out — their names are Nat & Kat.

C – NatKat. That sounds like a chocolate bar. Are they real people?

R – (chokes on wine)  Yes, C, and don’t make me waste my wine.  Anyway, what she told me has just stuck and I’ve been mulling over totally butting in where I don’t belong and giving unsolicited advice. Wanna help me be nosy?

C – Sure!

R – Well, currently in their relationship, Nat is the spanker.  Kat is quite the handful and she gets spanked a lot.  This may sound crazy, but given events in their life, I think it would be beneficial for Nat to hand over the paddle and let Kat spank her.

C – Just a spanking or a complete “going Rogue”?

R – Probably just a spanking.  Let me explain.  They met in college and Nat immediately took Kat under her wing.  Or her arm, which is beneficial for stand-up spankings, you know. (Christina sighs as she “hates” stand up spankings!) Pay attention! Natalie is very bossy (Kat’s description) and she works hard to keep Kat in line.  One night while at college, they found themselves in a wrong place, wrong time scenario surrounded by drunken males.  In a gut-wrenching move, Natalie commands Kat to return to their dorm.  Kat obeys immediately without realizing that Nat didn’t follow her.

C – OMG, Rogue!

R – Christina, what Natalie did…to protect Kat…words fail me.  What she sacrificed to keep her safe…

C – And you think she should be spanked for that?!

R – No, no, no!  She should be given a medal for what she did.  Here’s the thing.  When Nat returned to the dorm, she shut herself away from Kat, from everyone, for a week, then returned as if everything was completely normal.  But she wouldn’t discuss that night.  Period.  Understandable, but you’ve gotta get that stuff out, you know?  The kicker is that Nat would never let Kat get away with not talking to her.  Whenever Kat tried to withdraw, spankings abounded.  Now, hang with me because there’s another glitch here.  Kat was hospitalized twice for drug overdose.

C – Oh, lordy.  Why?

R – I don’t know all the details about everything that’s happened because Ana held their cards close to her vest.

C – Her chest?

R – Her vest.  Although, chest works, too.  A vest covers your chest.  *sigh*  Anyway, these girls have been through hell and back with — and for — each other, C.  Eventually, Kat left, claiming she couldn’t tolerate Nat’s bossiness anymore.   Personally, I think she was running…

C – So where does the Kat spank Nat part come in?

R – Well, according to Ana, they were separated for a long time.  Then, out of the blue, Kat gets a call from Nat…and what she wants is for Kat to be her witness at her wedding.  Oh, and help shop for a wedding dress.  It’s all very surreal.

C – Does she do it?

R – She does.  Ana didn’t say how long they were married OR what happened to Nat’s husband — don’t ever play poker with Ana, C — but something was drastic enough to land Nat in the hospital. Long story short, Kat is the one who pulls Nat out of despair.  It’s all very sad and heart-wrenching and…hauntingly beautiful.  They have found their way back to each other, but they are different now.  This is where the Kat-should-spank-Nat comes into play, and where I need your help. I want to write a letter to Nat and possibly Kat, but I have no idea what to say.

C – It should probably start with “Dear, Nat”.

R – Ha! That’s better than a “Dear, John” letter. So how do you convince the disciplinarian to hand over the paddle?  Maybe I should start with Kat and work on helping her channel her inner domme.  What to do, what to do…

C – Why do you think Kat should spank Nat?

R – Because THEY need it.  Kat’s mom died when she was young and she’s been an ‘afterthought’, so to speak, from her own family.  When her dad died, they didn’t even send funds for her to come home to attend the funeral.  She was always “alone”, then she meets larger-than-life Nat at college, a woman who takes care of her, loves her dearly, pushes her to do her schoolwork and spanks her bottom frequently.  Again, Kat claims she left because she couldn’t handle Nat’s ‘bossiness’.  The flip side to that coin is Nat, who feels that Kat is her ultimate responsibility — and boy howdy, did she prove it — yet she can’t open up and talk to Kat.   They need our help, C.  They don’t know it yet, but they do!

C – I’m game if you are. Let’s give these girls the benefit of “us”.

R –  The timing couldn’t be more perfect.  Kat’s birthday is coming up soon!  What a fabulous present for her to have Nat be on the receiving end of Kat’s birthday spanking.  *giddy with the possibilities*

C –  Ever since you went “Rogue” with Jared, you think the answer to everyone’s problems is to spank each other. Every one gets a spanking!

R – Well, duh, of course!  SPANK THEM ALL, I say!!! We should start with the politicians first.

C – My friend, we crack ourselves up! *belly laughs*

R – Oh, my tummy hurts.  Okay, let’s be serious now.  How do we go about implementing — haha — my/our plan?

C – Do you think a letter is the best way to go? Why not crash the birthday party? We could “kill two birds with one stone” and give our advice and the gift of a Pocket Paddle from Blondie’s Place.

R – SHOPPING!!!

C – One of my favorite activities.  Let’s go!

Enter Rogue and Christina into a hopping birthday celebration.  They have a gaily-wrapped present and with huge smiles on their faces, they ignore the festivities and approach Nat and Kat to introduce themselves.


R – Hi, I’m Rogue!

C – And I’m Christina.  Nice to meet you.

R – We have a mutual friend in common, it seems…Ana.  (Grabs C’s arm and whispers vehemently “Eyes THIS way!”)

C – (mumbling) Sorry.

R – (Smiles sweetly at Nat & Kat)  Could you two take a few minutes to talk to us?

In a more private setting…

R – Thank you both so much.  Ana has told us about the history of your relationship, and if it’s okay with you, I want to share something personal about mine.  Christina and I both are in domestic discipline relationships, but mine has a different flavor to it.  Long story short, my husband and I were at a major crossroads and ready to separate when — listen to me carefully here, girls — the paddle found its way into MY hand, and trust me, it was a surprise to both of us.  It’s also been the best thing that ever happened to us.

C – It’s destructive for a relationship, in whatever format, when one partner pulls away emotionally and physically from the other. (Looks at Nat) You held Kat accountable for this behavior with a punishment spanking. Then you pulled the same behaviour on her. Perhaps you both need to think about using spanking as a tool towards healing your relationship again… only this time Kat needs to be the one who spanks Nat.

Both Rogue and Christina look at Kat.


R – You can do this, Kat (warmly).  We’re not trying to preach or tell you how to live in your relationship.  We just have a lot of experience, and we just wanted to — actually, Ana requested that we share it with you for a moment on this special occasion, that in moving forward, perhaps you could explore the option of a domestic discipline relationship where each of you holds the other accountable with a spanking.

C – And to start with, the first rule you  have is that neither of you runs away physically or emotionally from a problem. You turn to each other for support. You communicate what your needs are in an open and truthful manner. After all, you both love each other and the purpose of domestic discipline is to protect and guide the other to be the best person you can be in your relationship.

R – Aww, that is so sweet, Christina.  And very true.  (Looks at Nat.)  Natalie, I feel as though I know you — thanks to Ana — and the fact is, you will not allow Kat to hide from you, yet you do just that to her.  Remember how scared you were, not knowing that Kat was safe?  That’s how she felt when you did the same. You made sure that she understood that her behavior was not acceptable. Don’t you think that Kat feels the same?

Kat and Nat look at each other.


C – I’m sure it feels like you’re in this all alone. I remember that feeling. I hope you’ll consider joining our Ladies Night at the LDD Network, where women from all over the world, who practice DD in different ways, meet to talk about issues, offer support… and have a lot of giggles.

R – We do have a great time, and the support we give and receive is priceless.  (Looks at Nat again.)  The responsibility you feel toward Kat is understandable — you have saved her more than once.  But you must open up and let her in.  I recognize how hard that will be for you, given all you’ve been through, but if you don’t, I fear you may lose her again.  And you two belong together, Natalie.  Some bonds are unbreakable.  I know it’s unorthodox, but…please give it some consideration.  (Looks at Kat.)  Yes, Natalie saved you, and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that she would do it again, but finding yourself on your own, you pulled through.  Lonely, sure, but you did it.  Be grateful that this lovely woman stands beside you, but don’t underestimate your own strength.

Rogue hands Kat the gift.

R – We have a gift for you to start what hopefully will be a new beginning in your relationship.  Happy Birthday, Kat! (Both Rogue and Christina give Kat and Nat a warm hug).

As Rogue and Christina turned, they linked their arms together and headed back to the party.  Looking back, they saw the girls start to open Kat’s gift.  Along with the present of the Pocket Paddle, there was a card that suggested…

“Go find Ana and give her a stand-up spanking for being such a gossip!”

 

And afterwards…thank her.  😉

Purchase Lighting the Way on Amazon!

Purchase The Way Home on Amazon! (FREE through June 10th!)

Ami Starsong’s birthday story for Kat!

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Well! Miss Kat has received her second birthday gift, and it’s a full day early! How did she get so lucky? Our dear Ami has written this fantastic spanking story of Kat and Natalie’s trip to England. Let me tell you…next time I think Kat and Natalie should stay home and *I* will visit Ami instead! 🙂

The story is wonderful. Go read it!

Also, don’t forget that you can win a FREE copy of Lighting the Way! All you have to do is find the Amazon link and post it here in the comments. If you are the first, you will win a copy of the book! The link will be up sometime tonight. It may even be up now. Go and look!

Lighting-the-Way

 

College roommates, best friends, and family. Can Kat and Natalie find a way to stay together…without killing each other?

 

Kat Astra knows one thing: everything is her fault. A dead-end job. A fear of confrontation. An inability to speak up when necessary. Desertion of her best friend in her time of need.

 

Natalie Mestecom knows one thing too: everything Kat does is Natalie’s fault. The relationship rule is simple; Kat has problems, and Natalie fixes them. But what worked in adolescence becomes more complicated with adulthood, and new developments in their relationship challenge these roles. Kat is no longer sure whether she is willing to be disciplined according to Natalie’s rules, and Natalie is no longer sure whether she is worthy of Kat’s trust.

 

Can Natalie allow herself to be vulnerable? Can Kat believe in her own strength? Can Natalie believe in Kat’s strength? How will they, each in their own way, learn to move beyond guilt and blame in order to forge a new relationship together? In order to make peace with themselves and each other, Kat and Natalie reconnect with family, re-visit memories of their past, and make plans for taking steps forward in the future. To light their way home.

A happy birthday song and slideshow from Constance Masters!

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Constance Masters, a wonderful fellow spanking author and long-time friend to Kat and Natalie, created this adorable and perfect happy birthday gift for Kat. It takes a while to load, but the wait is worth it! (Hint: If you haven’t read “Tomorrow” in Coming to Terms, you may not catch all of the references.)

In response to my post yesterday about the assumptions make about two women being together, Constance had this lovely and loving reply:

I love everything about this post Ana. So much so that I don’t really know where to start. I love my husband more than anyone in the world except for maybe my children. I do though have a best friend who means the absolute world to me. She is always there, she doesn’t judge and I can tell her anything. That includes rambling about things that my husband pretends to listen to but doesn’t really. I think that women generally need each other in that way. I think it is possible to have a soul mate that you aren’t sexually involved with. I also think you can have more than one.

As for relationships, my sister is gay, her partner is just like another sister. Do I wonder what they do in the bedroom? Hell no, anymore than I’m sure she would think about us and what we do.

Each to their own I say and Happy Birthday Kat :)

Each to their own, indeed. Thank you, Constance, for being the best friend Kat could hope for. Any chance that your sister has a Natalie who spanks her? 😉 Love ya.

Click on the link below to (I hope!) view Kat’s first birthday gift. Thank you! (By the way, it’s not too late to join Kat’s birthday club!)

http://smilebox.com/play/4d7a59344e6a67344d6a6b3d0d0a&blogview=true&campaign=blog_playback_link&partner=google

P.S. Lighting the Way may be available on Amazon as early as tonight! If you are the first person to find the buy link and post it in the comments, you will win a free copy for yourself! Who will be the first?

Look for other prizes and surprises during the birthday bash this week and next! Tomorrow, Rogue and Christina (from Red Booty Woman) team up to deliver an unbelievable joint gift. It will make your jaw drop! 🙂

Lighting the Way (Kat’s ice cream, part three): #Satspanks, #Wewriwa, and #Seductive SnS

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

In preparation for Kat’s birthday bash on June 6th (click here to read the details and find out how you can join!), I’ll be showing a three-part preview of Lighting the Way, Kat and Natalie Volume Two. (This is the sequel to The Way Home.)

Today’s sneak peek continues after Kat has eaten the last of Natalie’s ice cream and flaunts her snitching after Natalie arrives home from work. Part two showed Natalie’s response. Can’t imagine what that might have been, can you? :)

Miss Kat gets what she bargained for, plus a bit more. What is that “bit more”? Come back next week to find out.

I give an exaggerated shriek as she tugs my sweatpants and panties down to spank my bottom to a toasty glow within minutes.

“Ow!” she exclaims, shaking her hand. “That stings!”

“Like I’m feeling sorry for you—OUCH!”

Natalie has somehow managed to reach one of the wooden spoons she likes to keep everywhere, and she spanks merrily away.

“I’m scared!” I howl. “I’m scared of the spoon. so we should throw it away.”

“Not a chance,” Natalie says easily as the spoon finds its target over and over again. “You’re the one who said you wanted things back to normal.”

 

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Lighting the Way (Kat and Natalie, Volume Two)

College roommates, best friends, and family. Can Kat and Natalie find a way to stay together…without killing each other?

Kat Astra knows one thing: everything is her fault. A dead-end job. A fear of confrontation. An inability to speak up when necessary. Desertion of her best friend in her time of need.

Natalie Mestecom knows one thing too: everything Kat does is Natalie’s fault. The relationship rule is simple; Kat has problems, and Natalie fixes them. But what worked in adolescence becomes more complicated with adulthood, and new developments in their relationship challenge these roles. Kat is no longer sure whether she is willing to be disciplined according to Natalie’s rules, and Natalie is no longer sure whether she is worthy of Kat’s trust.

Can Natalie allow herself to be vulnerable? Can Kat believe in her own strength? Can Natalie believe in Kat’s strength? How will they, each in their own way, learn to move beyond guilt and blame in order to forge a new relationship together? In order to make peace with themselves and each other, Kat and Natalie reconnect with family, re-visit memories of their past, and make plans for taking steps forward in the future. To light their way home.

 

Are you a fan of Kat and Natalie? Visit Spankee Doodle 2013 for an all-new short story, completely free! Plus, you’ll have a chance to win prizes and free books. It’s not too late to sign up to be an ambassador!

Wet and Wild bloghop!

Welcome to Skye Warren’s Wet and Wild Bloghop! Please click here for a list of other authors who are participating in this event. In order to be eligible for a $100 Victoria Secret gift certificate, please leave you email address in your comment. Skye will choose the winner from the comments, and you need to have your email address visible for her to contact you.

I will be awarding one free copy of any of my books (Coming to Terms, Simple Gifts, The Way Home, Editorial Board, Desire in Any Language, or The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus) to one lucky commenter. To be eligible for my prize, leave a comment (with your email address, of course!) answering the following questions:

  1. Have you read any F/F stories?
  2. If yes, which ones? If no, would you be willing to try one?
  3. If you win my contest, which of my books would you like to receive and why?

 

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Music.  Without the love of her life, how can Leila learn to live again?

 

Professional violinist Leila Feran is accustomed to fame as the youngest and first female concertmaster of the Philharmonic Symphony.  Driven to achieve ever-increasing heights, she injures her wrist so badly that she may no longer be able to play.  While she recovers, she moves in with her childhood best friend, a pianist and beloved orchestra teacher in a small town.

Carene welcomes Leila with open arms and only one condition: no divas allowed.  And if Leila can’t follow the house rules, she might find herself over Carene’s knee…or worse. In between arguments over physical therapy and house rules, Carene’s zero-tolerance policy regarding divas results in some old-fashioned discipline that changes into something more.

 

Will Leila and Carene’s new feelings for each other blossom into something wonderful? Or will Leila lose not just a potential soul mate, but also her friend?

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Summer means more than fun and sun, rest and relaxation. For the couples in Coming to Terms, vacation presents a chance to connect, and work through important issues in their domestic discipline relationships. From endeavoring to define DD to missing a DD partner to balancing erotic spanking and disciplinary spanking, these stand-alone stories penned by seven authors of spanking fiction cover a broad spectrum of issues commonly encountered in loving DD relationships. Will the obstacles prove too difficult to overcome? Or will each couple emerge from the vacation with their relationships revitalized and stronger than ever?

WARNING: This book contains scenes with spanking, Domestic Discipline, and graphic sex.

*Contains the short story “Tomorrow” that serves as a transition between The Way Home and Lighting the Way.

Lighting-the-Way

College roommates, best friends, and family. Can Kat and Natalie find a way to stay together…without killing each other?

 

Kat Astra knows one thing: everything is her fault. A dead-end job. A fear of confrontation. An inability to speak up when necessary. Desertion of her best friend in her time of need.

 

Natalie Mestecom knows one thing too: everything Kat does is Natalie’s fault. The relationship rule is simple; Kat has problems, and Natalie fixes them. But what worked in adolescence becomes more complicated with adulthood, and new developments in their relationship challenge these roles. Kat is no longer sure whether she is willing to be disciplined according to Natalie’s rules, and Natalie is no longer sure whether she is worthy of Kat’s trust.

 

Can Natalie allow herself to be vulnerable? Can Kat believe in her own strength? Can Natalie believe in Kat’s strength? How will they, each in their own way, learn to move beyond guilt and blame in order to forge a new relationship together? In order to make peace with themselves and each other, Kat and Natalie reconnect with family, re-visit memories of their past, and make plans for taking steps forward in the future. To light their way home.

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Natalie always wanted a little sister.  Kat didn’t know she was allowed to want anything…or anyone.

 

Kat, a shy farmgirl, arrives at her freshman dorm with a backpack, a suitcase, and her mother’s wish for Kat to attend college “at least until you get married”. Her roommate Natalie, a confident and fun-loving social butterfly, decides sight unseen that Kat will become her best friend for life. Natalie teaches Kat about college life, academics, and friendship by taking Kat under her wing…and over her knee.

 

Then their lives fall apart one fateful night on campus, and for the rest of the decade Kat and Natalie struggle to find their way back to each other. Their way home.

 

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Award-winning author Spring Meadows and newspaper-turned-literary editor Rachel Templeton have one thing in common: they can’t stand each other.  Spring is sure that her bestselling talents single-handedly keep her publishing company afloat, while Rachel would like nothing better than to take this smart-mouthed, button-pushing prima donna down a peg or two.  When Spring makes the fatal mistake of accusing Rachel of sexual misconduct, Rachel decides to teach her a lesson.

 

“What is an author to an editor?” Spring asks herself.  If only she had been prepared for Rachel’s answer…

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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.

 

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In some countries, turning 21 means gaining the right to vote and drink alcoholic beverages. For Claire Labraun, the Christmas after her 21st birthday would be beyond her wildest imagination.

Minelle and Matthew Labraun believed in a traditional marriage. Matthew was head of their household, and Minelle was his helpmeet.  When it came to raising their headstrong 21-year-old daughter, however, they found themselves at a loss.  Minelle had always taught Claire to do the right thing for right’s sake. Claire, however, had different ideas.  She rebelled against their rules, flaunted authority, and connived to get things she wanted.  She had never been spanked in her life; Matthew and Minelle kept that adult privilege strictly between themselves. But this year, a visit from Santa plus Claire’s newly adult status would change her idea of Christmas forever.

Lighting the Way: Kat’s ice cream, part two (#SatSpanks, #SeductiveSnS, and #Wewriwa)

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

In preparation for Kat’s birthday bash on June 6th (click here to read the details and find out how you can join!), I’ll be showing a three-part preview of Lighting the Way, Kat and Natalie Volume Two. (This is the sequel to The Way Home.)

Today’s sneak peek continues after Kat has eaten the last of Natalie’s ice cream and flaunts her snitching after Natalie arrives home from work. Can’t imagine what might happen, can you? 🙂

Never one to disappoint, Natalie unbuttons the cuff of her blouse and rolls up the right sleeve. She grips my ear gently between her thumb and forefinger and leads me to the living room, and I make a great show of hollering and squealing.

“No, Natty, no! I’ll be good…even though it was your fault you didn’t come home on time and I have to do all the packing by myself.”

Natalie is struggling not to laugh as she sits down and pulls me firmly across her perfectly creased suit pants. Mm, brushed cotton today.

“What am I going to do with you, darling?” she asks with a quirk to her lips.

“I dunno…buy me more ice cream?”

Lighting-the-Way

Lighting the Way (Kat and Natalie, Volume Two)

College roommates, best friends, and family. Can Kat and Natalie find a way to stay together…without killing each other?

Kat Astra knows one thing: everything is her fault. A dead-end job. A fear of confrontation. An inability to speak up when necessary. Desertion of her best friend in her time of need.

Natalie Mestecom knows one thing too: everything Kat does is Natalie’s fault. The relationship rule is simple; Kat has problems, and Natalie fixes them. But what worked in adolescence becomes more complicated with adulthood, and new developments in their relationship challenge these roles. Kat is no longer sure whether she is willing to be disciplined according to Natalie’s rules, and Natalie is no longer sure whether she is worthy of Kat’s trust.

Can Natalie allow herself to be vulnerable? Can Kat believe in her own strength? Can Natalie believe in Kat’s strength? How will they, each in their own way, learn to move beyond guilt and blame in order to forge a new relationship together? In order to make peace with themselves and each other, Kat and Natalie reconnect with family, re-visit memories of their past, and make plans for taking steps forward in the future. To light their way home.

 

Join Kat’s birthday club and celebrate on June 6th!

Kat’s birthday is coming up, and we are going to fete her in style! Join Kat’s birthday club and become part of the fun!

Volume Two in the Kat and Natalie series, Lighting the Way, will come out on June 6th! That’s only three weeks away! In order to celebrate Kat’s big day, we need your help! Want to get involved? Here’s how!

  • Write a note or letter wishing Kat a happy birthday (suggestions how Natalie should “celebrate” are completely up to you!)
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  • Send suggestions for how she and Natalie should celebrate. They live just outside of Chicago, so you can suggest plans for Chicago or suggest traveling for the celebration.
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  • Write a “fan fiction” type of scene or scenario describing Kat’s birthday.

If you’d like to send a submission for Kat’s birthday bash, please leave a comment here and/or email me at anastasiavitsky. I use Gmail. Please put “Kat’s birthday bash” in the subject line.

I will go through all of the submissions and post as many as I can during the week of the release. If yours is chosen for posting, you will get a chance for your choice of special perks. Examples include getting to name a new character for the third book in the series, a sneak peek of the third book, and a free copy of Lighting the Way.

Join the fun! Send your ideas for Kat’s birthday bash. 🙂

A peek at “Tomorrow” from Coming to Terms:A birthday party for Kat!

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Coming to Terms is now available for sale! Hooray!

In order to celebrate release day, the other authors and I are offering sneak peeks at our stories in this domestic discipline anthology. My story, “Tomorrow”, serves as a mini-sequel to The Way Home and a prequel to Lighting the Way, which will be available on June 6th.

June 6th also happens to be Kat’s birthday, and we will celebrate her special day in style! To get ready for her big day, “Tomorrow” tells about Kat’s first birthday celebration. Ever. She has refused to have a party for as long as Natalie has known her, but this time Natalie talks her into doing something special. Little does Kat know that Natalie makes big plans!

What are those big plans? I’ll give you a hint. “Sarsi World” is in Florida, is popular with children and families, and involves both shows and amusement rides.

Here is a sneak preview:

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“When I was eight,” Natalie begins, and I settle into a more comfortable position. Is it the feel of Natalie’s hands in my hair that calms me, or is it Natalie’s voice? I thought I was comforting her. Leave it to Natalie to turn things around yet again. Despite, or perhaps because of, the change in subject, her voice deepens and slows to sound more like the resonant Natalie voice of old. “I wanted to become a ballerina. You saw my recital pictures, didn’t you?”

I nod wistfully. The perfect pictures of Natalie dressed in a sparkly, fluffy pink tutu looking as scrumptious as cotton candy, her hands forming a circle over her head. No 4-H for Natalie. It was ballet classes, piano recitals, and Girl Scouts.

“So Mom gave me a ballet birthday party. The invitations were pink, we had pink streamers everywhere, and she had my party a week late so we could all go to the Nutcracker at the local theater. My best friend Alice gave me a Ballet Barbie doll, and it was my favorite for years.”

By this time I have slipped lower and lower until my head is resting on Natalie’s lap. To her this might be a childhood memory, but to me it is a fairy tale. I half-expect a godmother to appear and grant her three wishes.

“I had lots of neat parties, but that was my favorite one. What was your favorite birthday party?”

I blink hard. I pull away, stand up, and walk back into the kitchen.

*    *    *

“Katya.”

I look up uncertainly.

“Tell me why it upset you to think about your birthday parties. Is it missing your mom?”

None of your damn business, I want to say, but then I realize that I do not. Not really.

“No. My mom…”

Natalie waits.

“There were so many of us kids, and the boys were so much older and didn’t care about that stuff, and the farm never did well enough for us to have much money, and we lived so far away from everyone else, and in June everyone was going away for vacation anyway…”

She strokes my hair. Damn it, I might as well be Pavlov’s dog. “So you never had a birthday party?”

She carefully keeps any trace of pity out of her voice, and I nod.

“It’s okay,” I start to say, but Natalie interrupts.

“Is that why you never let me throw a birthday party for you?”

“Well, other than not having any friends…”

Swat!

I jump and rub before I realize what she has done, and I stare at her, speechless. Yet she does not look regretful, or surprised, or even ruffled. She looks more like a bossy, infuriating, control freak.

Like Natalie. I gulp, surprised at how relieved that I am to have her back.

“Care to change your answer?”

I hop up and down in tiny jumps, more from the shock than pain. I thought we were in the special no-combat zone where my bottom was safe. Is it a good thing that she has given me a spank, or is it bad? I am furious, but at the same time I am secretly pleased. I do matter to her, after all.

“Ouch, Natty!”

“Answer the question, please.”

“Maybe. Kinda.” So the rules have changed again? Are there rules?

She waits until I meet her gaze. “What if I say you’re going to have a birthday party this year whether you like it or not?”

I make a face. “I’m too old…”

Swat!

“Ouch! Natalie, stop it!” Once was enough! More than enough! Again, a curious mixture of pleasure and indignation ripples through my stomach.

Natalie gives a sigh and speaks with immense patience. “Fine. May I please do something special for your birthday this year?”

I shrug in confusion. “But why do you care?”

“Memories,” Natalie says, and I gape at her. “Creating memories.”

I shake my head again, and she speaks as patiently as if I am a rather dim-witted child. “It’s your birthday soon. Dr. Mitchell wanted us to do something fun, now, and happy that would let us create new memories. Remember? Let’s use your birthday. Please, Katty? I want to do this for you. For us.”

I adjust the collar on my bathrobe and sweep off the towel that has come untucked, and I give her my best smile.

“Okay,” I say. “So, like a cake or something?”

*     *     *

The moment that the plane jerks with the wheels unfolding from underneath its belly, I awake with a start.

“Natty!” I cry softly, hunkering over the oval window. “Palm trees! Ocean! Sun!”

“Hmm?” Natalie opens one eye, moans, and closes it again.

“We’re here!” I bounce in my seat before remembering with a wince that it is not a good idea. “Look!”

Lazily, she stretches. “Not thirsty,” she murmurs before tucking her head in the crook between her headrest and my chair. I give up on waking her and instead watch, fascinated, as the greens and blues and yellows become more and more distinct. It is only my second time on an airplane and my first time in the Sunshine State, and I want to remember every moment. Open-mouthed, I peer at the houses that lay in doll-like smallness. Tiny blue rectangles, ovals, circles, and kidney beans dot the spaces next to nearly every house. Does everyone own a pool in Florida?

“Natty!” I hiss before remembering that she has gone back to sleep. “We should get a pool!”

Natalie, if she were awake, would remind me that I am the one who refuses to spend money. I slip my hand into her limp one and cuddle next to her.

“Wake up!” I whisper. “We’re here!”

Her eyes snap open, and as comprehension fills her eyes she smiles.

“Sorry you threatened not to come?”

I huff in indignation, but she strokes my cheek. “It’s a joke, Katya.”

I make a face, and she taps the tip of my nose. “I can’t wait to see you in a Sarsi hat.” She smiles, her eyes sparkling.

“I’m not going to wear a Sarsi hat…”

“Pink with sparkles and a little filmy veil, just like Princess Sarsi. And we have to get your picture taken with her, and get you a Sarsi balloon, ooh and the character breakfast on the paddleboat…”

“If I wear one, so will you,” I grumble.

“Nuh-uh,” Natalie grins. “You’re the birthday girl.”

She proceeds to tell everyone that it is my birthday, even the bus driver from the resort who picks us up, and I am offered a “Happy Birthday” sticker then and there. Natalie attaches it to my polo shirt, and I wrinkle my nose at her.

“You don’t have to make such a big deal about it,” I say, but she shakes her head.

“We have more than thirty birthdays to catch up on at once,” she answers.

And despite the hot flush in my cheeks every time someone nods and smiles at my childish sticker, I take her hand.

Then I have a thought so unsettling that I stop in my tracks. Natalie nudges me to continue sliding into my seat. I wish I could roll the window down. If I am not the one driving or at least in the front seat, I tend to get a little carsick.

It is not the carsickness that makes my stomach flip-flop, though.

What if she thinks that having more than thirty birthdays to catch up on means also catching up on the birthday spankings?

.

.

Also check out excerpts from my six co-authors!

Cara Bristol, Jade Cary, Alta Hensley, Celeste JonesRenee Rose, and Sue Lyndon

Coming to Terms is available on…

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon CA
Amazon DE
Barnes and Noble (coming soon)
All Romance (coming soon)

Mother’s Day Sorrow & Cover Reveal for Lighting the Way

(Apologies to my European friends who have already celebrated Mothering Sunday.)

It’s a funny thing that holidays to celebrate inclusiveness tend to (unintentionally) become the most exclusive days of the year. Last year for the Advent Calendar, we talked about “Blue Christmas” and the mixture of feelings that the holiday can evoke. We had a wonderful discussion, and quite a few people told me that it was a refreshing change from the hype of a perfect holiday.

One of the earliest scenes that I wrote for The Way Home was Kat’s first Mother’s Day after reuniting with Natalie.

Natalie’s voice stops as I usher her into the kitchen and she takes in the table set with our best dishes (really her dishes, but since I had so little to move in I’ve started to think of hers as mine), a mixed bouquet in the center, loose daisies wrapped around the cloth napkins sitting on top of the plates, and the (if I can say so myself) most scrumptious-looking meal ever of fresh croissants, miniature omelettes, fresh fruit, and little heart-shaped muffins.  Or sort of heart-shaped, if you squint a little when you look at them.

“Kat…you…”

I tug the stammering Natalie to her chair and push her into her chair.  I sit down in mine, beaming, as I hand one of the serving spoons to her.  “Dig in!” I say happily.

Natalie takes the spoon and starts scooping honeydew melon and grapes onto her plate in a daze.  Her other hand reaches up to pat her adorably mussed hair.  “But, Kat, what on earth…”  She looks up at me in confusion.

And without warning, tears stream silently down my face.  I’m not even moving or blinking, just sitting in my chair.  Natalie reaches across the table, her face a mass of concern and question marks, but I back my chair away.

“Kat?  What’s wrong?  Are you…”  Natalie stops mid-sentence as realization floods her face.

I turn my head to the left, staring at the yellow-and-white tile floor.  I close my eyes, feeling the tears stream past my cheeks and drip off my chin.  I’m not here, I tell myself silently.

I jump as I feel Natalie’s hand on my shoulder.  She must have gotten up to stand next to me.  She puts her other hand on my cheek and very gently tries to turn my face toward her, but I keep my eyes closed.  I feel her start to ask a question, catch herself, and then wrap her arms around me.  She rests her cheek on the top of my head as she pats my arm.

After a few moments, I cautiously open my eyes and twist around to look up at Natalie.

“Mother’s Day?” she says, not even needing my tiny nod of confirmation to know that she is right.

I swallow hard as she hugs me again.

“And you were trying to make it a special day for me to take your mind off of it, weren’t you?”

I give another little nod.  “I’m sorry, Natty,” I whisper.  “I wanted it to be a nice day.”

Mother’s Day can be hearts and flowers and kisses for someone expecting a wanted child or celebrating having a mother and/or a daughter. It can also be a painful reminder of a maternal figure who is no longer present. For Kat, Mother’s Day is a mixture of loss and love. Natalie and Mama Jane have brought love into her life, but for several years she lost both of them. Even after Natalie and Mama Jane are back in her life, the memories of Kat’s mother sometimes overshadow the love she receives now.

For some, this will be the first Mother’s Day after losing a mother. For some, the label of “mother” is a complicated one due to various circumstances. Some people may be reminded this weekend of dreams to become a mother that have not or may not come true. Some may be happily child-free but feel a twinge at an orchestrated societal custom that reinforces the connection between “woman” and “mother” in cultures that have not often validated the worth of women who do not become mothers for many different reasons.

For children in foster care or institutional living, Mother’s Day is a reminder (in addition to their losses) that society often views them as objects of pity rather than people in their own right.

The Way Home is a difficult story for some to understand. Someone recently called it “the oddest book I’ve ever read.” Not because it contains spanking, but because it doesn’t describe a typical bodice-ripping romance. It depicts the journey of Kat and Natalie through dark times of loss, alienation, and isolation. Betrayal. Mutual distrust, and the slow dissolution of a friendship of a lifetime.

Lighting the Way, volume two in the Kat & Natalie series (due out on June 6th from LazyDay), describes how Kat and Natalie fight to stay with each other. The Way Home is about Kat finding the courage to go back to Natalie. Lighting the Way is about their commitment to never again let the darkness of the world split them apart. (Sorry. Was that a spoiler? :D) It paves the way for volume three (release date November 23rd of this year) when the joy of their relationship finally begins to overtake the sorrow. (I can’t wait for the third book!)

In asking for Lighting the Way‘s cover art, I wanted to continue the floral and window imagery of The Way Home. I also wanted a darker color scheme and an old-fashioned feel. Kat and Natalie, despite their spanking, are two old-fashioned girls in a modern world.

I also wanted a small, subtle reminder of the discipline that is both the blessing and bane of their relationship. Look closely, and you’ll find Natalie’s famous wooden spoon.

Lighting the Way has been my most difficult book, requiring eight full months of revising and editing. I’ve wanted to throw it at the wall many times, but I am prouder of this book than any other so far.

We’re going to throw Kat a birthday bash on June 6th for the release date, but I’ll give you more details about that later. For now, I’d like to offer hope that any journey, no matter how dark, can find light if we can hold onto love. Sometimes when we least expect it, we find love from someone we thought we had lost forever.

This weekend, I hope you will find love to light your own way…and that of others. Won’t you join me in being a little light?

Lighting-the-Way

Tuesdays with Ana: Why and how to avoid POV shifts

Disclaimer: Conventions and attitudes toward shifting POV (point of view) within a story can change depending on the genre. In some types of stories, such as romance, some readers and publishers expect writers to alternate chapters between POV of the two romantic leads.

Second disclaimer: “Headhopping”, or shifting between two or more character’s POV within a short time frame, is a standard that has changed with time. Many older romance stories use this technique, but most current publishers discourage it.

Third disclaimer: I dislike POV shifts. Not everyone does.

Good morning and welcome back to Tuesdays with Ana! Are you feeling refreshed and secure in your identity as an author?

Today we’re going to talk about a problem that most writers face at one time or another, POV shifts. Here are some questions that writers ask:

  • When is it okay to shift POV? At a chapter change? Scene change? Paragraph change?
  • Is it okay to shift POV, period? Or should I only stay with one character’s POV?
  • Why can’t I use 1st person POV?
  • What is headhopping, and why can’t I do it?
  • I want to do something wild and crazy with POV shifts. Can I?

Let’s start with the third question, “Why can’t I use 1st person POV?” By 1st POV, we mean a story that uses “I” in the main character’s narration. Examples include Desire in Any Language, Editorial Board, and The Way Home, as well as Claire’s part of the story in The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus. Writing in 1st POV gives a story intimacy, and it brings the reader closer to the character. Not all publishers accept manuscripts written in 1st POV, which is why some writers are told that they “can’t” use it.

You can do anything you want, but your choices may limit what publishers will accept your work.

I prefer 1st POV and use it for a few reasons. One, I write F/F. If I say “she” and “she”, the reader won’t know whether I mean Kat or Natalie, Mira or Eunji, or Spring or Rachel. Repeating the characters’ names for clarity can make the narrative feel stilted. Using 1st POV is a matter of simple practicality. “She” and “I” are easy to distinguish.

The other reason that I use 1st POV is that my stories often focus on emotion, personal growth, and the inner journey of the main character. Take Kat, Mira, and Spring, for example. All three stories focus on their struggle to come to terms with who they are. 1st POV works well because it allows me as the author to bring my readers right into Kat, Mira, and Spring’s inner thoughts. I don’t tell you what they are thinking and feeling; I make you feel it.

Does that mean 1st POV always works? No. As much as 1st POV gives intimacy and emotional depth to a story, it limits what you can show and tell as an author. For the entirety of The Way Home, Desire in Any Language, and Editorial Board, we only see and hear the story from Kat, Mira, and Spring’s POV. (With 1st POV there are techniques to show that the narrator is unreliable, but they take practice.) This can make things difficult. Kat, for example, is shy and sensitive. When she reacts to Natalie’s words or actions, I as the author have absolutely no way of showing that Kat’s perception is limited or even flawed. Believe me, I have tried! The problem, however, has been that I created such a sympathetic narrator that most readers take Kat’s interpretation at face value. The intimacy of 1st POV has its risks.

In revising Lighting the Way, the forthcoming sequel to The Way Home, I added three scenes from Natalie’s POV. Is that headhopping? Breaking the rules? (No, because my editor told me to do it…and I am a good, obedient author who always does as I am told…)

When can I shift POV, you ask? I’d point to the above example. If your story is stalled because you have tried every other approach but can’t make things work without shifting POV, give it a try.

Reasons to shift POV:

  • This information is crucial to the story, but there is no way that the main character would know it. (Suspense is often a good example.)
  • My publisher or genre expects me to do so, or this is a clearly established pattern that I have followed throughout the entire story. (In romance, authors often change POV so that readers can understand both characters’ journeys toward finding each other.)

Reasons not to shift POV:

  • It’s easier to switch to the other character’s POV.
  • I’m tired of writing from this character’s POV.
  • It will give variety to the story.
  • Ana told me not to.

Why do I dislike and discourage shifting POV, especially for newer and beginning writers? Shifting POV is easy and tempting, so much that we may do it for the wrong reasons (see above).

Shifting POV is easy to do, but it’s difficult to do well.

Staying in one character’s POV is good discipline and training to learn the limitations of that character’s POV.

Once you have mastered the art of staying in one POV, you’ll see the depth in exploring that perspective. If you begin by staying in one POV, later on you will be able to shift POV purposefully, to accomplish a specific goal (see above). It will make your POV shifts that much more powerful, and it will charge your story with extra narrative oomph.

If you begin by shifting POV, or without learning to distinguish when you are switching POV, you weaken a powerful storytelling tool (changing POV) into the dreaded “headhopping”.

What is headhopping? Shifting POV haphazardly, too frequently, and without a specific reason.

Respect the power of the POV shift. Use it responsibly, wisely, and well.

Thus saith Ana. Go forth and sin no more.

(Can you do something crazy? Of course. But only if you understand how and why.)

What about you? What do you think? How have you used POV shifts in your own work?