Death and remembering how to live

Taliaschild, my upcoming release from Decadent Publishing and sequel to Taliasman, deals head-on with the question of death. Charisan, the white-ribboned potion that causes instant death, is forbidden by Queen Vina but concocted by Merda who calls herself queen.

Merda tells us, in Taliaschild, “Only by embracing death can we live life to its fullest.”

Some people have praised me for working in hospice. They say it’s brave, takes special people, or that they couldn’t do it.

For me, it’s not about being special or brave. I’d rather focus on things that really matter (people who really matter) and the real, pure essence of what it means to be a human being. I need this for myself, as much as it’s about helping others.

At the same time, today I drove home in tears. I chose this. I voluntarily put myself into the life of someone who will die sooner rather than later. Probably within a few months, if not sooner.

I am surprised at how much she has become part of my life, how much I can’t imagine my life without her…and I wonder whether I am crazy (more than usual).

Grief sucks. Death sucks. Loss sucks.

Why on earth would I deliberately add more of this to my life?

And then I remember stroking her forehead, kissing her cheek, and holding her hand. Telling her I love her and hearing her say she loves me, too.

As we get older, there are few (if any) joys without sadness. Love without loss. Happiness without grief.

Today I held the hand of a dying woman, and I asked myself why I would cause myself more pain.

Why?

Because she reminds me how to live.

#FallinLove with Fairytales, Day One!

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Welcome to the Fall in Love with Fairytales blog tour!

If you would like to win an enormous grand prize consisting of a Kindle, gift certificates, and author swag, visit each day’s post(s) and follow Rafflecopter instructions for prize entries. For more information, please visit:

How do you like your fairy tales? I enjoy mine slightly scrambled.

I was first introduced to re-envisioning fairy tales with Politically Correct Bedtime Tales and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. At first, I wasn’t sure how to take the books. The first one was clearly satire, but was it mean-spirited? Three Little Pigs felt like (to be melodramatic) an attempted murderer making excuses. I admired the wit and humor, but it felt wrong.

Later, Wicked became an international sensation. I never saw the musical, except for clips I could find on Youtube, but I read the book. While I could have done without the bestiality, I was captivated by an adolescent Elphaba struggling to gain acceptance despite her green skin and inability to bathe.

And when Once Upon a Time appeared, I was amazed at a grown-up television show focusing on fairy tales. All of my old favorites appeared in a new form. While I didn’t agree with some of the portrayals, they gave new life to fairy tales many adults considered childish.

However, my dearest wish has not yet materialized: a retelling of Rapunzel’s story from Mother Gothel’s point of view. I love Tangled and couldn’t wait to write Mother Gothel taming Rapunzel with the famous hairbrush. I was disappointed to receive “Our Lady’s Child” instead, but I found immense pleasure in re-writing the Virgin Mary as a queen kinkster. (I assume I’ll have a nice, toasty afterlife.) When I received The Snow Queen for my second fairy tale, I couldn’t wait to incorporate elements of Frozen with the original story. Isn’t everything better with flying icicle magic?

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Taliasman, my first Beyond Fairytale, is the story of a downtrodden girl who has been taught she has no value. Her constant refrain is, “If I had been born a boy.” Its sequel, Taliaschild, will debut with a sneak peek at Sci Spanks June 12-14. You’ll find quite a few Beyond Fairytales authors joining the Sci Spanks fun, so please come and join us!

In the next two weeks, you will find posts from the authors behind the Beyond Fairytales series. We have spaceships, cowboys, owls, princesses, princes, and geese. If you like M/F, M/M, F/F, or ménage, you’ll find at least one of each. Each one is unique and indescribably naughty.

If you’ve gobbled up all of the collections already, be sure to check out the Beyond Fairytales blog for new releases and additional books.

Tomorrow, please look for posts from V.s. Morgan and Melissa Shirley.

For your convenience, here is a handy-dandy worksheet with daily schedule, blog stops, and space to keep track of surprise words.

Or you can use this plain text version if it is better for you.

audio Taliasman headphones

Best of all, Taliasman is now available as an audiobook on Audible and Amazon! It will be on iTunes very soon.

Here is the surprise word for today:

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(I’m assuming there are amazing spanking androids on these spaceships. Jessica Subject promises me this is so. She will share her androids but not her aliens.)

To earn entries toward a FABULOUS grand prize, follow this link to use Rafflecopter.

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Red Book of Grown-Up Fairytales

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Blue Book of Grown-Up Fairytales

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Green Book of Grown-Up Fairytales

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Gold Book of Grown-Up Fairytales (Recommended Read on ARe!)

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Advice for Newbie Authors: Don’t listen too much to advice (Tuesdays with Ana, Part 3)

I’m over at Adaline Raine’s today, and Kat and Natalie are giving an interview! Please say hello. 🙂

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Well. My post for today has changed dramatically from what I had originally intended. I was planning to introduce the first scene of The Way Home and talk about when we have lost the person most special to us. That will have to be a topic for another day.

Instead, the shocking success of The Way Home has prompted questions and discussions from more than a few people in the past week. How did I get into the Top 100? What did I do? What did my publisher do? How can other people succeed?

I am embarrassed to be asked these questions because success is such a chancy thing. This week’s Top 100 may be next week’s garbage can liner. It’s not that I mean to be disingenuous, but I honestly don’t know. Wonderful people who have supported me, a wonderful publisher who believed in me, and luck?

What I can offer today, however, is this piece of advice to new and aspiring authors:

Don’t listen too much to advice.

Yes, really. Don’t try to publish too soon. Don’t focus so much on writing to a market/publisher’s demands/algorithm of what will sell well…that you lose sight of why you began writing in the first place.

Because, honestly, if you are writing solely for the money–fiction is not the best place for you.

I have been told a great deal of advice on this journey:

  • Don’t make it too difficult to understand. You need to spell everything out for the reader.
  • If you want to sell well, you must have sex.
  • If you insist on not writing sex, you must include gratuitous details of the spanking in order to satisfy readers’ needs for titillation.
  • You must include characters on your cover, or else the book won’t sell.
  • Write what readers want to read, not what you want them to read.
  • If you insist on writing your way, your books will never sell.
  • No one will read F/F.
  • No one will read F/F without sex.
  • You use too many fancy metaphors.
  • You can’t use first-person point of view.
  • You can’t write in the present tense.
  • Your book won’t sell unless it has a romance.
  • You book must be a romance and alternate between the two main characters’ point of view.

The problem with this kind of advice is that it fails to take into account individuality of writers. I don’t want to be the author of the next Fifty Shades. Nor do I want to be the next Stephen King.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not criticizing either, just saying that’s not the kind of writing I do. Instead, this is the kind of advice that I have found helpful on my journey:

  • Go to your readers for advice. What do they think?
  • What I keep hearing you say is that you like the story the way it is.
  • You have something important to say.
  • You won’t be happy writing for the mass market, so why try?
  • Writing should be difficult. Take the time to do it right, and don’t let it become facile.
  • Make me feel something.
  • Sometimes you need to step away and take a break.
  • You can’t control how well your book sells. All you can control is producing the best product possible.
  • I know that you can do better.
  • I want your story to give me permission not to like the characters all the time.

But the best piece of advice is something I learned on my own. Because I don’t write sex, don’t (usually) write M/F, don’t write conventional romance (don’t write conventional anything)…I never had the opportunity to be blase about my identity as an author. From the very beginning, it’s been clear and simple.

Anastasia Vitsky is an author of F/F DD fiction. She writes about the real-life ups and downs rather than the fantasies none of us can hope to achieve.

My first big success, The Way Home, came about because my publisher insisted on marketing it as a F/F story…rather than apologizing for it containing a F/F storyline. I will never appeal to everyone, so instead my publisher helped me to appeal most strongly to the people most likely to buy the book.

Your author identity will be different. Only you will know your strengths. Don’t let anyone else tell you that you must fill a certain mold in order to succeed.

Don’t apologize for who you are. Make it your strongest asset.

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The Way Home
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.

The FULL first chapter of The Way Home!

If you would like to check out the first chapter of The Way Home (Kat and Natalie, Volume One), you’re in luck! PK graciously agreed to host the chapter for Fantasy Friday today. Go and check it out here! While you’re there, please tell her that Ana doesn’t need a spanking, but Cassie does. 🙂 And that Natalie isn’t too strict. Hehe.

The Way Home sank to #91 yesterday, then rallied at #69 by the end of the night. My quote:

The Way Home contains no sex scenes, but it’s #69 on the Amazon Top 100 for LGBT fiction. I’m giggling immaturely. I also used an adverb.

Jade said she was “stunned” by my crass humor. Sorry…hope I didn’t offend anyone. Hehe.

Guess what? I woke up this morning to see that The Way Home jumped to #34!! 34 on Amazon US, and it’s #31 and #32 (slightly different categories) on Amazon UK.

“What’s your favorite number, Ana?”

“Thirty-one.”

Two 5-star reviews, too! THANK YOU! Thank you for loving Kat and Natalie.

A story of love, loss, and reconciliation; just with spanking

Remember when you were younger (or if you’re at that stage of life) when you had that friend whom you could laugh with at everything; be comfortable with even if you’re both so different? Remember that friend who believes in you, sees you at your lowest, picks you up and is not embarrassed to be seen with goofy you? Remember that friend who eventually became family, your raison d’être? That was what Kat and Nat were to each other through college…only Nat spanks Kat.

This is a trip down memory lane, a story of love, loss and reconciliation. I found myself laughing at all the silliness between Nat and Kat, then tearing up at the grief from losing family and the ugliness of the grown up world that surfaced that one fateful night and will continue to haunt them for ten years.

The characters felt real, in the sense that they were vulnerable, they have flaws, make wrong decisions and they have their quirks just like any of us. The writing was vivid and it allowed me to visualise each scene and feel the emotions the characters were feeling.

I love this book because it is a story of regular people and their struggles, only with spanking. Most of all it is a story of love, of how it triumphed and led Nat and Kat onto their way home. I love it because this story touched me. I suggest that you read it in a quiet place and savour it. I can’t wait for the next installment!

(From Pao)

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A true story of friendship

I absolutely adored this book, it grabbed me right at the beginning and never let go. I ended up reading it in one day because I just HAD to see what was going to happen next. I became very invested in the characters and their struggles, friendship, and love for one another. It is beautifully written, I laughed, smiled, and cried throughout. I can not wait for the next book to come out so I can see what happens next!! Great read!!

(From SH)

#SatSpanks: Meeting Edie

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Happy Release Day to Editorial Board (affectionately known as Edie)! Get the book here! You’ve seen a bit of Spring’s attitude, and today we get to see her softer side. But shh. She might smack me if she finds out I spilled her secret.

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I turned away bathed in shame, but her gentle fingers cupped my chin and made me look at her.

“Just do as I say, Spring, and you’ll see that it will be all right.”

I was sure that someone somewhere was laughing her head off at the thought of my doing anything anyone said, but I nodded. My head felt like an oversized sunflower lolling on a too-thin stalk. I didn’t know who or where I was, but the light pressure of her hand was more restraining than a full-body cast.

“I can’t,” I said as if someone were operating puppet strings to my mouth. “I really can’t.”

“Then maybe I will need to help you.”

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Editorial Board

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…

For more Saturday spankings, visit the blog!

Cover reveal for The Way Home, free spanking story, and a birthday wish!

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Didn’t we just do this? Why yes, we did. Surprise! Here we go again. Here is the cover for The Way Home (Kat and Natalie, Volume One), published by Lazy Day next Wednesday, March 6th! So neat that you need to see it twice!

Whenever I post a cover reveal, I write a bunch of stuff and people only comment on the picture. This time I’ll keep my comments to a minimum and only say…pink carnations for Kat, red poppies for Natalie, a rather somber interior peering out into the glorious world, the softness of the colors, love and longing and hope mixed up with a hint of darkness.

Oh, Kat. Oh, Natalie. It’s nearly your big day that we have anticipated for six months. We’re almost there.

 The Way Home (Kat and Natalie, Volume One)

For ten years, Natalie has been Kat’s rock, the one person Kat could always depend on to be there for her whether she needed a hug, a giggle-fest, or even a punishment. Natalie has been the confident and fun-loving social butterfly who teaches Kat about college life, academics, and friendship by taking Kat under her wing… and over her knee. But as they grow up, the darkness of the grown-up world creeps in and pulls them apart.

So when Kat wakes up one morning to find Natalie shutting her out for the second time, she is at a loss. In trying to make sense of Natalie’s abrupt alienation, she thinks back to all the good times they had together – and all the bad. It has been nearly a decade since the last time Natalie shut Kat out, and now she knows that they must make peace with that fateful night all those years ago if they are ever to find their way back to each other. Their way home.

Available March 6th from Lazy Day Publishing

FREE SPANKING STORY!!

Chuenn won the custom-written short-short spanking story, and PK has hosted it today for Fantasy Friday. I wrote (gasp) a M/F story!

Bas and everyone who wanted more M/F, here it is for you.

Go and check out “Christmas in March”!

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BIRTHDAY WISH!

Thank you to Minelle for this lovely surprise birthday wish! Sneaky lady. 🙂 Aw!!

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Oh, and check out Celeste’s discussion of Jade Cary’s To Love a Woman today!

My birthday wish for today is simple. For my new books to do well and for people to like them. To achieve this next step in my career. To return to full health.

But most of all, to always have the love and support from my community both on and off the screen.

Thank you, everyone who visits here. You bring me more joy than you can ever know.

xoxo