“Nothing’s too good for you”: Saturday Spankings and Snippet Sunday

Apologies for the delay! (For Saturday Spankings, at least. For Snippet Sunday, I am early.) After a few sleepless nights, I crashed yesterday. I should learn to schedule these posts ahead of time.

The following sentences are a sneak peek (unedited) from Ana Adored, a Masters of the Castle book I am co-authoring with Maren Smith. Thank you to Thursday Threads judge Layla Wolfe, who gave this snippet an honorable mention. Her comment? “Anastasia’s story of speed and bad impulse control also scared me into wondering what was going to happen.”

“Mapquest says it’s seven hours to Chicago. Want to bet we can do it in four?” They hurtled through a four-way stop sign, and Ana fought nausea. She’d never gotten carsick before, but she couldn’t handle much more of this thriller theme park ride. “We’ll wander around the Loop, and I made dinner reservations for the fireworks at Navy Pier.”

Shocked, Ana gave a sharp laugh. Workaholic Peyton had scheduled the vacation Ana always wanted? “Shut up, that’s not true.”

Peyton slammed the gas pedal as soon as they merged onto the highway. “Nothing’s too good for you,” she proclaimed.

Tuesdays with Ana: A time to read, and a time to write

I’m not a huge fan of folk music, but one song has always tugged at my heart. “Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)” by Pete Seeger is the sort of song that’s played on the radio, in films, and in many popular contexts. Add the Biblical text of the lyrics, and it’s a song that speaks to a broad range of people at key moments of their lives. Wikipedia tells me that twenty-nine artists and groups have performed a cover of the song, ranging from Tori Amos to Bruce Springsteen to Dolly Parton to The Byrds.

This recording of Mary Hopkin singing the song in Welsh (her native tongue) stopped me in my tracks. She recorded an English version of the song as an audition (when she was 18 and looked about 14) that’s sweet and shows off her voice, but the Welsh version is stunning. There’s a richness most singers have when using their native language, and it makes the purity of her voice shine even more. Also, the “Turn turn turn” always distracted me because the rest of the lyrics follow the Ephesians text exactly. 🙂 The “Tro tro tro” is less distracting.

 

“Turn! Turn! Turn!”

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracing

To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time to every purpose under heaven

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late!

As you can probably tell from all of the book reviews lately, I’ve been reading a lot. Not beta reading for authors or helping aspiring authors to prepare manuscript submissions, nor research for my books, but genuine reading for the pleasure of reading. I’ve struggled with my latest work-in-progress for more days than I care to admit. A girl’s live-in girlfriend threatens to leave her for not coming out to her family, and things get messy. It’s a painful story to write, even though it’s a story of strength, hope, and learning independence. I love my main character and the story, but every freaking word is like a drop of blood squeezed from a stone. I’ve gotten myself into a panic more than once, wondering when I’ll ever finish this story.

Then, I remembered this song. I looked it up, listened to it, and relaxed. There is a time to read as well as a time to write. I wrote two and a half novellas plus part of a short story in the last month and a half. I worked 18-hour days, from the time I opened my eyes until I fell asleep in front of my computer. I became acquainted with every take-out restaurant in my neighborhood as I scrambled to meet deadlines.

Foolishly, I thought I’d set my new normal pace. I thought I could keep it going, until my psyche said no. I’ve read more books for pleasure in the last three weeks than in the last three years. Perhaps more. That stuns me. I, who used to read ten books in a weekend? I, who merited a rebuke from my school librarian for complaining at the terrible, awful, unreasonably stingy limit of four books per student at a time?

I used to live a thousand lives in a year, and I’ve found myself reduced to one. One cramped, sore-wristed, stressed-out life of pounding away on a computer keyboard to create stories that never live up to my expectations. I get myself into such a frenzy that I refuse to go out, take care of everyday details, or socialize with anything but my computer. In essence, I forget to live.

When we stop living, we have nothing left to write. I think that sometimes, our writing fire goes out because we’ve forgotten to feed it with logs, twigs, or even kindling.

I’d like to finish this darn WIP as soon as I can, but for now I will read. I have a new book written by two of my favorite authors from childhood. Plus a naughty new book from one of my favorite spanking authors.

I wish this were a time to write, but it seems to be a time to read. I’m off to enjoy my new books today (after tying baby quilts with my favorite quilting grannies). What kind of time is it for you today?

Tuesdays with Ana: When writing makes a writer cry

Have you ever had a day when you struggle for hours to pound out 748 words, and you know you’ll be lucky to keep half of them? It’s hard to write a first draft after struggling to polish a final draft of my previous manuscript. I have to remind myself, every time I start over with a new book, that it’s okay to write fill-in words for the first draft. I’m feeling my way with new characters, getting a sense for the plot, and testing what will be possible.

Still, it’s a constant battle to quiet the snob inside my head who spits back every word of every negative review I’ve received. I convince myself that praise only comes from biased friends who soothe my fragile ego, and I scoff at my foolish hope that I can create stunning works of fiction that will change hearts for the better.

I finally wrote down a list of projects I’ve promised to various people, some with deadlines and others “when I can.”

  • Short story that builds on the flash fiction I wrote last Thursday
  • Twisted (and I mean twisted!) reinterpretation of a fairy tale that includes the Virgin Mary–seriously!
  • Corbin’s Bend novella, details to be announced later (will involve California, a professor, and some unashamed kink)
  • Sequel to Editorial Board, this time with some happy action between Spring and Rachel
  • Short story with a new twist on Korea
  • Short story that involves quilting grannies (more about this later)
  • Ana Adored, a book that Maren Smith originally promised to write for me and later asked me to co-write. I can’t wait to work on this with her!
  • A brand-new F/F book for the Castle series, also with ageplay. No, not Mira. 🙂

And, of course, I’d love to eventually write the third books of Kat and Natalie as well as Mira and Hana. Oh, and I’m working on a M/F story as well.

Plus one or two super secret projects that can’t be named yet.

Oh, and Sci Spanks next month! June 25-29 we’ll have a sampling of science fiction, paranormal, fantasy, and speculative fiction. I’m debating between writing a sneak peek of Tay of Tre, book two in the Bastia series, and a sneak peek of an upcoming urban fantasy/magic realism short story. The second one might not have spanking. :-O

I joked earlier today that I’d follow a “debt management” approach to writing by starting with my smallest project and working my way up. When I have too many projects due at once, I tend to work a little at everything and accomplish nothing. I’m still floundering a bit after submitting Freiya’s Stand, which will now be a stand-alone book rather than part of the Corbin’s Bend series (the story became much deeper than I’d intended, and it made more sense to release the book on its own). To date, it is the book I am proudest of writing. While forgiveness is a theme in many of my stories, the forgiveness between Freiya and her partner, Sabrina, struck a chord in a way I hadn’t expected. I hope you enjoy the story. 🙂

Reading through what I’ve just written, I’m realizing why I’ve been so distracted lately! It never seems like that much until I see it written down.

One distraction has been a negative (but well-written and intelligent) review for Editorial Board. It’s given me a lot to think about. Editorial Board has always been a love or hate book for readers (similar to Desire in Any Language), and the recent review has made me re-think my audience. I’ve always prided myself on writing the kind of spanking fiction someone could enjoy even without enjoying spanking, but perhaps that’s not the case. As I’ve become more involved in the F/F (or, as I’m learning to call it despite personal misgivings about the word, lesbian) community, I’m finding a different set of expectations from readers and fellow authors. I’ve even…gasp…considered writing a story without spanking.

We can’t write for everyone, and usually we write best when we focus on a tiny postage stamp of territory. I enjoy a passionate love story to someone’s chipped front tooth much more than a generic ode to loving everyone all the time. I might not care two cents about that chipped front tooth, but the author’s conviction and concreteness of detail will draw me in.

All of these thoughts swirl in my head as I try to craft a new story, and sometimes it makes me want to cry. So many competing demands, and so many conflicting opinions! I look at my old stories and cringe at clunky prose or amateurish plot twists. Before I published my first book, I heard advice to enjoy myself. Authors write their first books for themselves, and they never again get that luxury. I didn’t understand that sixteen months ago when my first book came out. I was impatient to begin my journey as a professional author.

I say two things to every aspiring author I encounter:

1. Respect your rejection letters. An honest, clear-cut rejection is far more ethical and professional than a half-hearted acceptance. Getting published by a house that can’t support your work does you no favors.

2. Don’t be in a rush to publish. (Been there, done that.) Before you publish your first book, your world is filled with possibilities. After you’ve launched yourself into the publishing world, your labors of love transform into professional obligations. I still love (most of) what I do, but I miss those days of writing as fast as I could because the story begged to be told. I had no fear, no worry, and no deadline. Instead, I wrote for the pure joy of writing.

Today, I hold my aching head in my hands because I can write a 1000-word blog post in half an hour but can’t write more than 800 words all day. I want to tell this story, dang it, but it’s exhausting work.

I’ll go back to writing my amateurish first draft, but I hope you’ll take this through your day today:

If our lives are works in progress, how can we expect our first drafts to be masterpieces?

P.S. If you haven’t already, check out Kat and Natalie’s new story. It’s a Mother’s Day tradition. 🙂

P.P.S. Kat’s birthday is next month! 😀

Editing purgatory, or why we love to hate editing

Few people adore editing. I should qualify that. Few sane people adore editing. Have I lost any of you? 🙂

Some books roll smoothly from beginning to end. The ideas flow, the characters breathe life onto the page, and motifs combine into a meaningful conclusion. I get to the end, re-read, and whistle to myself. I wrote that? Wow! Of course I have to polish, proof-read, tighten, etc., but the essence of the story shines.

Then there are other books. My poster child for difficult books is Lighting the Way. I wrote that book in two frenetic weeks, staying up all night. The minute I’d lie down to sleep, another idea made me get up and return to the computer. I felt as if I were living with Kat and Natalie.

The revisions of Lighting the Way took eight months. Eight long, torturous, painful months. I deleted several chapters, wrote new ones, deleted the new chapters, and went back and forth with beta readers. I am proud of the finished product, but sheesh. I could have gestated a baby in that time. 🙂

The most difficult part about revising is the gap between my vision for the book and the words on the page. I know what I want, but it’s tough work forcing my written words to comply. There never seems to be a shortcut to the process. First comes elation when I see the possibility. Then feverish working around the clock, trying to make it happen. Then fatigue and downright hopelessness as the task seems overwhelming, despite my efforts. Then, ever so slightly, the tipping point at which all the hard work begins to pay off.

I’ve reached the tipping point and feel hopeful, but it’s still hard work. The neat part, though, is when an editor reaches out to you. “I know you can do better,” the editor says, and then I hunker down to prove that faith true.

The upside to living in editing purgatory is that I’m getting great ideas for Editorial Board‘s sequel. I’ve promised it for a long time (Yes, Roz, it will actually happen!), but I hope to work on it next month. Now that Spring and Rachel have decided to work together, they find themselves repeatedly butting heads. Rachel knows Spring can write better, and Spring hates being made to work. Gosh, I can’t imagine what might happen next. Can you? 😀

I hate editing, but I hate it the way a runner hates the first minutes of a run. I hate editing the way a musician hates practicing etudes. I hate editing the way an architect hates reworking sketches.

If it doesn’t hurt, it means we’re not working hard enough. If we don’t have at least some tiny loathing for the process, we’re not taking it seriously. If we jump for glee at editing, we haven’t committed ourselves to the mind-numbing, soul-crushing work of ripping up our beloved newborn.

Then, when it’s over, we rejoice.

See that manuscript? Took me eight months to beat it into shape.

And we walk away, holding our heads high because we took ourselves and our craft seriously enough to make the book our best.

For love of the game: baseball and DD

This summer, something strange happened: I became a baseball fan.

Intentionally? No.

Willingly? No.

Gladly? Yes.

I grew up whacking wiffle balls, hitting the rubbery T-stand instead of the ball, and occupying a strange nowhere space. On one side were the girls who wore nail polish from birth and color-coordinated their orthodontic elastics with their outfits and Trapper Keepers. On the other side were the “sluggers” who won respect from the boys for their athletic prowess.

Me? I dabbled in nearly every sport, was just good enough to play on the teams, but never reached a level of competence where I’d be respected for my skills. Once I graduated from junior high and teams no longer were obligated to accept every would-be team member, sports-for-fun turned into sports-the-talented-kids-played. I buried myself in my academics, literature, and music. Sports? Whatever!

Fast forward a few years. Okay, more than a few. 😀

On my travels this summer, I pondered souvenirs for my family. It’s tough to buy gifts for people who are picky and don’t really need anything. I tell you, buying gifts is not at all fun when you see them unused year after year! Then, I heard a passerby make a comment about a baseball cap.

Baseball, hm? My dad likes baseball!

In a flash, an internet search presented me with several possibilities for souvenir shops selling sports mementos. The next day, I traveled on the metro to a gigantic sports complex large enough for a dedicated baseball field.

As fate would have it, I entered precisely as hordes of other metro riders swarmed to the ticket entrances. It was a game day! Cheerful, bright-colored flags, caps, jerseys, and various cheering tools dotted the landscape. I stood for a moment, lost in the swirl of energy. I wish I were going to the game, I thought. What? I asked myself. You don’t like sports.

Three days later, I sat in the outfield bleachers past first base to watch my first professional baseball game in years.

I could tell you that the crowd sang, cheered, applauded, and stamped their feet.

I could tell you that I sat close enough to watch the right fielder make an amazing catch.

I could tell you that the evening sun slanted across the dome and made the grass gleam.

I could tell you that the PR system blared with rollicking music and television cameras roamed the stadium for close-up shots of the seventh-inning break where a couple kisses for the camera.

I could tell you that a young couple in front of me clasped hands, each wearing a jersey of a favorite player, and snuggled each other as they cheered for their team.

But even if I told you all of that, I couldn’t explain to you the strange and new experience inside of me.

There’s an elegance about baseball, especially for the right fielder+ who waits patiently throughout the inning. In an ideal game, he’s* never needed because the pitcher strikes out all of the batters or limits hits to small infield. In an average game, perhaps he makes a few catches here and there…but are they ever spectacular!

Or not.

As I made more trips to the baseball stadium and watched games streamed online, I saw right fielders fumble a catch, run too slowly, or fail to respond quickly enough to a ball hurtling toward them.

When the catch did occur, it was magnificent. Arm outstretched, glove snapping closed, legs propelling the body in the right direction, and perhaps a dive or slide to punctuate the winning play. Sometimes it resulted in the end of the inning or even a game. One catch snatched a would-be homerun ball. Have you heard of Ichiro Suzuki and his famous laser beam? This guy can throw a ball from the depths of right field…straight to home plate. If you haven’t seen him, you should watch this video.

As I watched the miraculous catch and later re-watched the moment on instant replay, I was struck at the similarity between a right fielder and a HoH in a domestic discipline relationship.

A great right fielder watches, without interfering, while play occurs. A great right fielder doesn’t necessarily expect to be involved in every play–that’s the responsibility of the infielders, especially the pitcher and catcher.

Instead, a great right fielder waits, always ready, to respond to the situation at hand. No one ever announces, “I’m going to hit a ball to right field!” Instead, within a nanosecond, a bat goes flying and a ball rushes straight toward (or not even close) to the right fielder on whom all eyes now rest. A pitcher, usually the focus of the game (no one ever says “starting right fielder” or credits an entire game as a “save” by the right fielder), wipes his brow in relief as the right fielder leaps or dives for the catch.

A right fielder doesn’t do the job for the pitcher or basemen, and he doesn’t strip them of independence. Instead, he is in the background and waiting to be needed. Then he steps in, identifies the problem, and takes swift action.

In the meantime, he does calisthenics, drills, and other preparation to be ready for the moment.

As I swoon over my favorite right fielder, I think to myself, Isn’t that what we all want? Someone to catch us before we fall?

DD. Catching us before we fall.

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*In this post, I say “he” when referring to baseball players because I fell in love with men’s professional baseball. Of course women can play baseball, and of course women can be HoHs.

+Center fielders and left fielders are also beloved and worthy members of the team, but I sat next to the right fielder. Therefore, right fielders are sexy. 😀

Tuesdays with Ana: Thoughts for a newbie considering publishing

One of the best parts about being a published author is reading letters from readers. Because I was part of the blogging community before I became a published author, I’ve tried to keep one foot in each world. I try to do enough marketing/advertising to make people aware of my books, but I also try to stay connected with blogging friends who may never have the desire to purchase a single book. I’m not here only as a blogging advertisement; I’m also here as Ana the person who enjoys talking with people. So when these two worlds converge and reader/friends ask me about publishing and authoring, it’s a special joy.

I’ve been asked these questions, in various formulations, over the past few weeks and months:

How did you get published?

Could I get published, too?

How do you know if a manuscript is good enough to submit?

Where do I start?

I wrote something for fun. I’d like to publish it, but I don’t know if it’s an impossible dream.

Good news! With all of the smaller epublishers operating, there are publication opportunities for more and more types of fiction. Gone are the days when publishing, especially publishing something other than the mainstream types of fiction, was a pipe dream. Several people have gotten contracts to publish lately: PK for her first Cassie book and Sunny Girl for her collection of short stories. Others may not be new to publishing, but this is their first time using a publisher for a full-length book: Celeste and Thianna. Other have had success with self-publishing (when you don’t use a publisher but do all of the work on your own or hire someone to do it for you).

Instead of writing out new answers to the questions, let me first point you to a wealth of information available on previous Fika posts (as always, you’ll want to read the comments because information is also in the discussion):

For some thoughts on what kind of books readers want to read, read this Fika by Minelle on a reader’s perspective.

You may be especially interested in Maria Coltman’s Fika with Kate discussing her aspirations to publish a manuscript.

Don’t forget previous Tuesdays with Ana posts, either! One you might find relevant is on creating an author identity. Also this post on digging down to find emotional honesty in your writing.

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Phew! Is that a big enough list of links to keep you busy for a while? 🙂

Deciding whether you want to publish is a big step. No one can tell you if you or your writing is ready, but one of the best things you can do is practice your writing. Be brave. Share a story with a friend, or even send a story to PK for Fantasy Friday. She’ll post stories from anyone, even if it’s your first time trying to write. Try visiting author blogs to see snippets of their work. Of course, there are other similar options if you want to publish fiction without spanking. (Fiction without spanking? It exists? Oh, the horror! 🙂 )

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Finally, you may want to finish by revisiting this piece: Everything I need to know I learned writing spanking fiction. If you’d like a one-stop shop to understanding my thoughts on writing and how writing changes us as people, here you go. 🙂

(And although I really don’t want to turn this into a book-promoting feature, Editorial Board–for all its silliness–actually contains much of my philosophy on writing.)

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Does that help? Did I miss an important part of your question? Join the discussion by leaving a comment below! If you’re a published author, I encourage you to add your advice/wisdom to the mix. If you’re an aspiring author, please add questions. If you’re a happy-to-never-publish reader, do you have any input as a reader of fiction?

Thanks for joining Tuesdays with Ana!

What if heterosexuality were a crime? Introducing BASTIA (Fall of 2013)

Many of my readers are new to the F/F genre, and I often hear the following comments:

  • I don’t like F/F.
  • F/F makes me uncomfortable, but since your stories are largely about friendship they are easier to read.
  • The idea of F/F makes me uneasy.

These comments are often followed by, “But I like your stories.” I truly appreciate the compliment, and in many cases I take pride that my stories have helped to change some people’s assumptions that stories of female relationships must always center around sex. Kat and Natalie lie in a curious zone of not-quite-lovers-but-more-than-friends. Only with Simple Gifts have I branched out into a fully developed romance. Part of the reason for this reticence (although only a part) is that I did not want to deal with anti-LGBT backlash. I want to write stories of people who love each other, not political statements about sexuality.

A side note: I have given M/F a try (and the second installment of The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, affectionately known as “Vennie”, should be coming out soon), and I enjoy exploring the old-fashioned dynamics of a DD couple. I enjoy a lovely M/F relationship just as much as the next person, but there is something so tender, so intimate, and so precious about the love between two women.

In my journey of publishing, submitting cover art requests, sending books out for review, and interacting with other authors and readers I have returned to the same paradox again and again:

People feel comfortable telling me that F/F is not their thing, but the same people find it offensive when I say that M/F is not mine.

As a writer, I have puzzled over this many times. Certainly, M/F is the majority. In many religions and societies, M/F is the only morally correct mode of living. When I fill out cover art request forms that ask me to describe my “hero and heroine”, I understand this is a case of majority dominance rather than prejudice.

Yet I struggle to explain why things like these matter. When the basic fabric of our lives is built on the assumption that only relationships between men and women need to be acknowledged, how does that limit our perspectives? Our capacity to understand viewpoints that are not of the majority?

Out of this curiosity, I asked myself these questions:

What if LGBT were “normal” and heterosexuality were not?

What if heterosexuality were, in fact, not just abnormal but a crime to be prosecuted and punished by the state government and religion?

What would this world look like? What small changes would be made to protect the state’s mandate of same-sex relationships? What if children were taught, from the time they could first talk, that the state’s religious deity decreed all men should create families with other men, and all women should create families with other women?

What if a college girl, born and bred to be married to another young girl from a powerful family, discovered she had feelings for the male friend she had previously considered a brother?

In Bastia, a series premiering this fall with Becoming Clissine, a girl named Clissa finds out the unspeakable:

She loves a boy.

And her world will never be the same again.

Monday Morning Fika with Liv Honeywell: Living, writing, and breaking rules in the BDSM/DD lifestyle

I started writing BDSM erotica years ago. I am in the lifestyle as a sub, and I first started reading erotica to learn about what I might like to try. When I first started I knew so little that I didn’t even know what the questions should be, never mind the answers. The stories I read set me off thinking about what situations I might like to be in. What would be too much, what didn’t interest me at all, but better than that, what did appeal?

 

It wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy a lot of the tales I read. I did actually. Not all of them were very well written but I still enjoyed them for the ideas they gave me. But then I started thinking about writing stories on what I wanted. I could make them exactly to my tastes then, create my own little world where nothing happened that jarred me out of the story because it didn’t work for me.

 

And that’s how it all began, back in 1998 when I wrote my first story, blushing as I typed, and wondering if I’d ever have the nerve to show it to anyone.

 

I finally did show it to someone, to the Dom who got me started with all this. He asked me straight out what my fantasies were and persisted with the question, despite all my attempts to get out of telling him, until I wrote him an email which still makes me blush today for the memory of it. After he didn’t run away and tell me I was a freak – always a good thing! – I plucked up the courage to send him my first story and he liked that too.

 

Then we tried it. Oh boy! That’s perhaps a story for another time, but it led me into the wonderful world of BDSM. I found some amazing, friendly and welcoming people who are still close friends today and who gave me so much good advice. Luckily I was sensible enough, despite the kid in a candy store feeling, to follow it.

 

But along the way, and sometimes even now, I’ve come across people in both the BDSM and DD lifestyles who seem to think there is a chiseled in granite, handed down from aeons ago, Rules of How to ‘Do’ BDSM/DD. Oddly enough, it always seems to be a set of rules that only they are privy to.

 

As far as I’m concerned, the only rule of BDSM or DD is that there are no rules. It’s what you make of it and what suits the people (however many there are and of whatever type, sex or orientation) in the relationship. Really, who on earth is anyone else to come along and tell you that what you are doing isn’t BDSM/DD? There are a whole bunch of ‘experts’ out there who are quite happy to tell everybody else what they ‘should’ be doing but, as long as you and yours are happy with what you’ve got, who cares?

 

And it’s the same for writing.

 

Whether it’s same sex, opposite sex or several people of different sexes all at once, if it’s realistic for that story and it is well written and makes sense for the people involved, I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. Whether it fits neatly into any one genre or not.

 

It’s all about the characters, isn’t it? Would they do that? Would they really say that? And if they would, if it’s consistent, what’s the problem?

 

I know Ana has faced this and overcome it with her non-traditional tales of FF spanking with no sex, and I’m hoping it works for me with a book I want to have published by the end of the year.

 

It’s my first full length novel, The Undomesticated Subby, which the characters from Coming, Ready or Not, my latest release, are taken from. It probably won’t fit neatly into some categories because it’s not how erotica ‘should’ be done at all but I’m still going to write it. I may well have put some people off already with the title as a lot of people don’t like the word ‘subby,’ but it fits for what I’m doing.

 

It’s a traditional romantic comedy with all the ‘will they, won’t they’s and things going wrong, but about a couple developing a Master/slave relationship. There may even be only one sex scene right at the end (because, of course, they *will* – got to have a happy ending!).

 

And some people will hate it, because it’s not their idea of what this kind of book ‘should’ be. I know that already, but hopefully enough people will love the story of two people who have been best friends for years discovering a Master/slave relationship – after a few trials and tribulations, of course. But even if they don’t, even if no-one reads it at all, I’m still going to write it. Just for me.

 

That’s the thing. You know what stories you have inside you. You know what you want them to be, and, whether they fit the traditional idea; whether they fit the ‘should’s or not, write them!

 

The biggest thing I got from being in a D/s relationship was knowing that I was completely accepted for exactly who I am. Not because I’m perfect or I don’t have any faults – believe me, I do – but purely because he let me be me, whatever that meant. Even on my bad days.

 

And again, I think that applies to writing, whether the acceptance of what you write is from yourself or the people around you. But it also applies to the lifestyle that we choose to live, whatever that means for us. The world would be a nicer place if there weren’t so many cliques and so many people busying themselves with telling everyone else that they’re not doing it right.

 

Maybe one day we’ll get there.

 

In the meantime, I hope you will live how you want to live; write what you want to write, and don’t let anyone tell you that what you’re doing isn’t the true and only way.

 

 

 

 

Liv’s Bio:

 

When not writing about delicious, hot male dominants and the female subs who love them, I’m usually doing something craft-like, reading, baking, eating the results of said baking, and attempting to satisfy the demands of His High and Mighty Dominance (the cat!). My first story, Imagine, was published with Silver Moon Books last year and Coming, Ready or Not is my first solo book. The Journal, co-written with Domitri Xavier, is out soon.

 

 

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Coming, Ready or Not! is available from Amazon US – http://amzn.to/14aeYm2 and Amazon UK – http://amzn.to/135xK03.
You can follow me on my blog – www.liv-honeywell.com, Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/LivHoneywell or Facebook –https://www.facebook.com/LivHoneywellErotica and my Amazon page is here: https://www.amazon.com/author/livhoneywell

Kat and Natalie’s cooking class, from Celeste Jones (add to the story!)

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Thank you to Celeste Jones for providing today’s birthday fun! (By the way, she is hosting a discussion each Friday on the short stories in Coming to Terms. Jump in! Kat and Natalie’s short story, “Tomorrow”, will be discussed next month. Oh, and be sure to read Celeste’s story, “Reconnecting”. It is my favorite work of hers so far.)

Celeste said to me, “I felt sort of funny writing your characters. Like I was having an affair or something.” Ha! Kat and Natalie are loyal to each other. Don’t worry, Celeste. 🙂 She also suggested, “Maybe you could have people take turns writing the next part of the story.”

I think it’s a great idea! What do you think will happen next? Add your bit in the comments!

 

 

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“Are you sure this isn’t too expensive?” Kat looked around the pricey high end gourmet supply store located in the pricey high end fancy mall. “I saw a spatula for $20.00 out there. Who pays that much for a spatula?”
“I’m sure that people who are desperate to impose a spanking on an ungrateful girl might be inclined to spend that kind of money.”
“Natty!” Kat looked around the elaborate classroom kitchen located at the back of the store to make sure that no one had heard, though the crimson blush covering her face probably told people who might notice the two women whispering together that something was amiss. Or maybe she just had sensitive skin.
Nat squeezed Kat’s hand. “Let’s enjoy your birthday. I can’t believe I agreed to do this.”
“I can’t either.” Kat pulled on a bit of Nat’s hair and giggled. “I bet I get a better grade than you!”
“Oh, there is no grading here,” a perky woman in a pristine chef’s coat walked to the front of the room and addressed the class, though Kat was sure she was talking directly to her. “We are all here to have a good time. No judgments. I’m sure that all of you will succeed in making a special cake today. Isn’t that right?”
Everyone in the room, including Kat and Natalie nodded along.
“Great,” the instructor said. “Please call me Pat. As in Pat A Cake.”
Kat laughed. Nat rolled her eyes. “This is going to be a long afternoon.”
“Natty, stop it. You promised!”
“I know I did. I’ll be a good little cake baker just for you.”
“Thanks, Natty.”
“Let’s get started. First, at your station you’ll find all the ingredients and equipment that you’ll need for today’s class. Let me just go over all of these with everyone so you all know what each item is called. Creates less confusion that way, I’ve found.”

Kat looked at all the items and was proud to realize she knew all their names. Nat picked up a wooden spoon, slapped it against her palm a couple times and said to Kat “I’m pretty sure I know how to operate one of these.”

————

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.

Tuesdays with Ana: It all started with a piece of sugar candy (on living and writing well)

There is a saying:

   Learning to write well is learning to live well.

Okay, okay. I made that up. I thought it would sound better if I called it a ‘saying’, but I am sure that others have said something similar.

A few weeks ago while working on my newest WIP, I put observation skills into practice and wrote a scene involving a piece of candy.

Out came a shiny, foil-wrapped hard disc. K unwrapped the rustling cellophane and placed the bright red candy into C’s mouth. Surprised, C worked the cinnamon lozenge up and down inside her mouth, the spicy sweetness melting in a sugary warm glaze. She swallowed, wanting to spit the candy out but enjoying the first real taste in as long as she could remember. Back in her little rooms with her nurse, she had eaten only the plainest of meals. Oatmeal with a little milk. Dry cereal. Toast, sometimes with a wisp of butter.

As I wrote the experience of tasting this piece of candy, the “sugary warm glaze” contrasted with the “plainest of meals”. I was surprised to find myself wishing for a real piece. Me? I enjoy sweets, but hard candy has never been my favorite. I prefer something soft and chewy, like taffy or cookies. This scene, however, made me lick my lips and *almost* taste the slowly melting cinnamon candy. Mm.

A while later, a friend and I met for lunch. After a wonderful meal of conversation and laughter, we paid our checks and went to the door. I ducked down to pick up one of the cellophane-wrapped hard candies that the restaurant offered for customers. My friend did the same, and as we went outside I popped the butterscotch candy into my mouth. Even if hard candies aren’t my favorite, they are a nice way to cleanse the palate after a spicy, pungent meal.

As the first taste of that butterscotch began melting onto my tongue, I nearly stopped walking. My taste buds and my tongue reveled in the sugared glory, and my entire mind and body focused on the creamy sweetness.

I’m not really a candy person, but in an instant this piece of candy had transported me into the pages of my latest WIP. I was the heroine, recovering from a long and debilitating illness and able to taste something real for the first time since I could remember. My world narrowed to the moment when sugar enveloped me in a mist of security and comfort. The slightly stale ribbon candy my grandmother would offer every time I visited, the cotton candy of a child’s first visit to the circus, and the melting chocolate of a truffle selected after a week’s quest to find the perfect Belgian chocolate.

If I hadn’t written that scene about the character savoring the candy, I wouldn’t have reacted so strongly to eating a piece of real candy a week or two later.

As I walked down the wooden steps to the parking lot, the sun was warmer and brighter than usual. The air was fresher, the trees and grass greener. It’s all a lot of cliches, but in that minute between putting the candy into my mouth and walking out of the restaurant to get into my car…something magical happened.

I became so fully present in the moment that something as insignificant as the candy could transport me to a place of utter joy. Joy at being alive.

The skills that we practice as writers (whether we are publishing our 100th book or happily writing a few lines for our own amusement only) are skills that we need to live.

To write well, we must first learn how to live well.

Live well, my friends. (and prosper…)