Report for Mistress Kate

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Evil Mistress Kate, aka Kate Richards, (not pictured above) would like a report from you on all the reasons why a sweet, kind Ana should be spared…

Okay, okay. No fibbing this time.

So, here’s the deal. Sweet, kind, benevolent Mistress Kate Richards​ *might* be asking for reports on why I need a birthday spanking on Sunday.

If you have pre-ordered Mistress on Her Knees and email the receipt to ana_stasia2007@yahoo.com, I will place you in a drawing to win an ARC copy. (If you already sent the receipt for Love Spanks, you don’t need to do it again.) Drawing tonight at midnight EST or whenever I wake up after falling asleep at my desk, whichever comes sooner.

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(Click on cover image to pre-order.)

The second point is independent of the first. It’s not bribery. But I *am* putting chocolate in the party favor bags. And I do love you. And…

Please put your report for Mistress Kate in the comments below. Remember, I have chocolate.

 

Party favor bags!! YAY! Plus the party schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

12-1 PM: Sex toy chat with Elyse Buchbinder

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

3-4 PM: Social hour and games

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

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

Games and fun will happen throughout the afternoon and evening

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

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

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

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

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

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

More updates and teaser photos soon. 🙂

Wooden Spoon Writing Challenge & New Year’s Eve Updates

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Writing has been erratic lately. I can whip off a freebie in an hour or two, but I stare at Indigo for hours to write a few hundred words.

I started a Wooden Spoon Challenge a few days ago to encourage Stephanie Beck to write. She wrote an amazing story with a hint of kink, posted here. Then Olivia Starke joined with a sweet-as-sugar story here. Mm. I want some chocolate now. Next, Dominique Eastwick introduced her Wiccan Haus series with this shifter story. Anyone feeling a bit paranormal yet? Dominique challenged none other than our beloved Evil Mistress Kate, aka Kate Richards. Kate put up her story today, a scrumptious sneak peek of her next cookie club story.

Who’s next? We wait with bated breath.

These were my original terms:

 

I wrote a freebie story for readers, my first Christmas menage featuring Mira and Hana from Desire in Any Language and Mira’s Miracle. I’m passing on the challenge to Stephanie Beck. Stephanie, you have 24 hours to produce a 2K freebie story (using one idea, theme, sentence, or image from my story for inspiration) or face the penalty. What penalty?

–Public admission of your naughtiness!
–Listening to “Let it Go” on endless repeat
–Forfeiting your knitting needles, wild rice, and jello!
–Having to compose a public ode to wooden spoons!
–and more! Depends on my mood!

What is the reward for successfully completing the challenge?

–Public adulation as a Freebie Girl!
–A hand-engraved Anastasia Vitsky wooden spoon!
–Your choice of an Anastasia Vitsky book!
–and one entry on either Mrs. Claus’ nice or naughty list for 2015, your choice

See? It pays to behave! Now sit your bottom on a chair and get writing, missy! Mrs. Claus will know if you’ve been bad or good. Get cracking! The clock starts NOW.

When you finish, post your freebie story link and tag me. Challenge one or two author friends to do the same thing. And go!

Everyone’s tweaked the rules as we go along. It’s been fun to see the excitement. We even had T-shirts made! Want to see? Thanks to Dominique for making the logo.

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I can’t wait to see who’s next for the Wooden Spoon Challenge.

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The Advent Calendar cards are headed toward a post office near you! Finally!

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Eight new Kindles are in various stages of preparation to be shipped to Ali Forney, Outside In, and Trinity Place. Yay!!

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Tonya Ridener gave me this lovely Secret Santa surprise in an event organized by the wonderful Sara Gomez. It was an unexpected and sweet way to brighten the holiday. THANK YOU!

Curious why I’m learning Hindi? Find out in this post from the Advent Calendar, Choosing to Believe.

And finally:

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Sanitizer with glitter. Because sparkly vampires aren’t enough.

You heard me.

 

—–

 

 

In other news, THANK YOU for your sweet thoughts yesterday. Boy, you are all smart cookies. Smart, I tell you. Maybe smart and need to be smart…ING. Hehe. It reminded me of a post I wrote a long time ago about letting myself sink emotionally into my writing. I hate it sometimes. I love the fun and games, and I love the freedom of a spur-of-the-moment story, but Indigo is serious business.

To write Indigo, I have to respect her.

To respect Indigo, I have to know her.

To know Indigo, I have to love her.

As I wrote over two years ago:

I realized why Kat and Natalie have been fighting me so much and why I’ve hated Kat 2 for the past month.  I wasn’t willing to cry for them.  I wasn’t willing to cry with them.  I wasn’t willing to be Kat and to be Natalie.  I wanted to write about them without becoming them.

Yeah.

Kat gripped me by the collar today, and she yanked me to sit down next to her.

Listen to me, she demanded.  If you’re going to write my story, you have to know me first.

The thing about someone quiet like Kat?  If she decides to stick to her guns, well…it’s a lost battle.  I listened.  I wrote.  I cried.

And then she let me tell her story.

Dear Katling?  I’m sorry for holding you at a distance.  I’ll listen better from now on.  You have a right to have your story told in a way that honors you, not in a way that is fun and easy.

Indi, you suck. I hate the devastation you will wreak on my heart and soul. I hate the tears I will shed as I write your story. I hate the pain you will endure before finding your happily ever after.

Because, after all, a happy ending means nothing unless it’s earned.

Indi, you did things that make us both ashamed. You made bad decisions, you put yourself in danger, and you believed someone you shouldn’t.

Guess what? So have all of my other main characters, and I still love them.

Come here, Indi. I’ll listen to you this time. I’ll listen without the judgment, and I will love you.

#SciSpanks Winners!

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READER PRIZES!

Kindle Fire or Nook HD (winner’s choice): WINNER: NURSE MYRA

(donated by Blushing Books)

  • $25 gift certificate to Amazon and an autographed copy of Alien Warriors
    *Available to US and Canada only
    (donated by Sue Lyndon)
    WINNER: HEATHER HAND
  • $20 gift certificate to Amazon
    (donated by Witty Bard Publishing)
    WINNER: RENEE M
  • $20 gift certificate to ThinkGeek
    (donated by Naughty Bard Press)
    WINNER: SH
  • $10 gift certificate to Amazon
    (donated by Lipstick Lesbian Reviews)
    WINNER: CORINNE
  • Alien tote bag, autographed book, and assorted swag
    (
    donated by Eve Langlais)
    WINNER: KELLY BEAR
  • Custom-written short story
    (donated by Erzabet Bishop)
    WINNER: LAUREL LASKY
  • VIP membership to Loose Id
    WINNER: MANDY PEDERICK
  • One-year membership to Silkwords (two winners)
    WINNER 1: KYRA TINKER
    WINNER 2: CAROLE EVANS

AUTHOR PRIZES!

SPANKING PRIZES!

  • 6-month online couple membership to Learning Domestic Discipline
    WINNER: MARYBETH
  • 6-month membership to Discipline and Desire
    WINNER: EVA
  • Custom-made wooden paddle* from Blondie’s Place
    *Available to US and Canada only
    WINNER: STEPHANIE FREDRICK
  • Spanking paddle* from Kate Richards
    *Available to US and Canada only, gift certificate substitution for international players
    WINNER: JENNIFER
  • Goody bags from BDSM Bookreviews (five winners)
    WINNERS: JANY, AMBER COLE, ASHLEY HOLLEMAN, LAURA, AND JOYCE

MORE READER PRIZES!

 

Book Bundles from:

If you are a winner, you have 48 hours to accept your prize. If you do not respond within 48 hours (8 AM EDT Friday), your prize will go to someone else. If for any reason you wish to decline your prize, please let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Individual prizes for my own blog will follow.

Sci Spanks 2014 Authors and Ambassadors

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PARTICIPATING AUTHORS

These blogs are offering free Sci Spanks stories, prizes, and more! Comments on these blogs earn you entries in the grand prize drawings as well as individual contests. You will earn one prize entry per comment per blog, and commenting on all seventeen blogs will earn you five bonus prize entries.

Be sure to sign up for our exclusive chat with Sci Spanks authors! Message Ana or Anne for an invitation.

 

 

 

SCI SPANKS AMBASSADORS

These blogs sponsor Sci Spanks. Many have donated prizes, some are also authors, and all are a fabulous part of this event. Be sure to check out their sites!

Amanda L Pederick

Ameliah Faith

Anna Jones

Annie Slasher

Asnee Llygedyn

Cat Hopkins

Dame Margo

Dana Danis

Hermione Martingale

Joelle Casteel

Jolynn Raymond

Kristin Elyon

Leigh Smith

Megan Michaels

Minelle Labraun

Missy Jones

Paloma Beck

Regan Nicole

Ronnie Soul

Skeeter Lee

Announcing #SciSpanks 2014!

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SCI SPANKS 2014 IS NOW LIVE! CLICK HERE (BIT.LY/SCISP14) FOR ALL OF THE LINKS! BE SURE TO VISIT ALL 17 BLOGS!

Would you like free stories, fun, and a chance at over $1,000 in prizes? This summer, you can participate in a short story extravaganza! Award-winning authors of dystopian, paranormal, urban fantasy, speculative, and science fiction will showcase stories for your enjoyment. Chat with your favorite authors, meet new-to-you authors, find great new books, and meet new friends!

Sci Spanks Featured Authors

Anastasia Vitsky

Anne Ferrer Odom

Carole Cummings

Cathy Pegau

Erzabet Bishop

Eve Langlais

Eva Lefoy

Jessica E. Subject

Kate Richards

Kathryn R. Blake

Leigh Ellwood

Louisa Bacio

Maren Smith

Natasha Knight

Olivia Starke

Sue Lyndon

Introducing guest blogger Ami Starsong!

 

Want to become a Sci Spanks ambassador and earn an extra prize entry? See below!

Even better, participation could earn you a GRAND PRIZE!

READER PRIZES!

Kindle Fire or Nook HD (winner’s choice)

(donated by Blushing Books)

AUTHOR PRIZES!

SPANKING PRIZES!

MORE READER PRIZES!

 

Book Bundles from:

Many authors also will offer a contest on their individual blogs.  Your comment on their blogs automatically enters you in both the main contest and the individual contests!

What’s the catch?  Absolutely nothing!  We love writing for you and want to thank you for your readership.  Perhaps someone might get a spanking or two, but that’s a reward rather than a catch, right?  😉

Here are the rules:

  1. Visit each blog between Wednesday, June 25 and Sunday, June 29 to read the posted stories and excerpts.
  2. Leave a comment answering the story question on each blog.  You will receive one entry per blog for the grand prize drawing.  You will also be automatically entered in that author’s individual contest, if she has one.
  3. If you have visited all of the blogs, visit Ana’s blog to sign up for FIVE bonus entries to the grand prize.
  4. Deadline is midnight EDT (UTC -4) on June 29!!
  5. If you successfully completed a previous challenge (Love Spanks 2014, Spank or Treat 2013, Spankee Doodle 2013, Love Spanks 2013, or Spank or Treat 2012), you may add “VIP” to your comments.  You will earn THREE bonus entries toward the grand prize.  (Yes, we will be doing this again.  Yes, if you successfully complete the Love Spanks 2014 challenge you can become a VIP for our next activity!)
  6. If you are an published writer/author, please add “W” to your comments. That way, your name will be entered in the special author prize drawings.
  7. Visit any of the participating blogs on Wednesday, July 2nd to find out the lucky winners.  Will it be you?

NEW THIS YEAR! Visit us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/scispanks) between June 25th and 29th to receive an invitation to an exclusive Sci Spanks party! Chat with your favorite authors, earn extra prize entries, and give feedback about the stories!

Like these events? Want to support your friendly sci-fi authors? Become a Sci Spanks 2014 Ambassador! In exchange for promoting this event, you will receive one extra prize entry, AND you are still eligible to participate and win prizes!

To sign up, contact Ambassador Liaison Kathryn Blake at krb_spanks@kathrynrblake.com, with the subject line “Sci Spanks Ambassador.”

For more information, updates, and a list of participating authors, please visit:

https://governingana.wordpress.com

Like us on Facebook!

Twitter hashtag: #SciSpanks

 

What if Kat met quilting grannies? #ThursThreads

What if Kat, in preparing for the baby, took up quilting at her church? Here’s a 250-word snippet imagining what it might be like. Hope you enjoy!

I held out my fake quilt-print fabric, stitched with love but little skill. The German quilting thread cost ten dollars, so I settled for flimsy polyester thread that knotted whenever I sneezed.

“Please don’t laugh,” I said. Straight pins stuck out at awkward angles, and the fabric crumpled where I had gripped the edges. “I know the back looks terrible.”

My mother would have tsked at the multicolored tangles, but my white-haired companion patted my shoulder. Dorothy let fabric fly through her sewing machine without patterns or pins.

“I hate it,” I said, picking at the Frankenstein-like mess of red and blue stitches showing through the back.

“There’s a better way,” she reassured me, dabbing spit onto thread to push it through the eye of the needle. She slid the needle through the muslin backing without letting it show on the mock quilted top.

“Oh!” I exclaimed as she knotted the thread and worked the loose ends under the stitches, leaving a tidy trail of thread.

“Snip it here, next to the knot.” Dorothy held the tail while I followed her instructions. “You finish here,” she said, pointing to the unstitched squares. “Next time, I’ll show you how to do the binding.”

“Okay.” I gathered my material, as if I were collecting sheet music after a childhood piano lesson.

“Kat,” she said, and I paused. She closed her hand over mine, and my chest tightened. “Well done.”

I ducked out the door before she could notice my tears.

This flash fiction piece originally appeared in Siobhan Muir’s Thursday Threads event on February 13, 2014. Judge Kate Richards awarded it Honorable Mention, saying:

Her easy style for this piece,  was appealing on a whole other level. Made me feel as if I found a whole new Anastasia to read, one I like as well, but in a different way, than her usual carefully crafted words.

Taste Us! You’ll Like Us: Meet Kate Richards! Plus, the cinnamon oil winner!

Today marks an exciting beginning! Over the next three weeks, I’ll introduce you to each of the Love Spanks authors. Some names you know, some are new, and some are new names but familiar faces.

As part of the Taste Us! You’ll Like Us! series, each Love Spanks author filled out a brief (or not so brief) interview form. You’ll get to know a bit about each author before we delve into the Love Spanks fun February 7-9. We’ll begin today with a familiar face, Kate Richards who not only participated in Spank or Treat 2013 and Spankee Doodle 2013, but who has appeared on Fika to give advice to aspiring authors. She is a co-owner of Wizards in Publishing, a consulting company for authors, and senior editor at Decadent Publishing. In other words, she is one busy woman! We are lucky to have her with us.

Sharp eyes will recognize Kate as one of the helper elves from Ana’s Advent Calendar 2013. 🙂

Before we “meet” Kate, however, I’d like to announce the lucky winner of the cinnamon oil! I promised one random commenter from Maren’s and my interview (to celebrate the release of Mira’s Miracle), and Sassy Twatter will be one sore, sniffling, repentant young lady as soon as her package arrives. Miss Sassy Twatter, I’d advise you to spend some time in the corner reflecting on your misbehavior before you experience the cinnamon oil for the first time. Perhaps that way, you’ll avoid meeting Nurse Trinity’s pocket paddle. 😉 Congratulations, Sassy Twatter! May you finally learn to behave…for at least one second. 😀

And now, without further ado, let’s taste Kate…I mean meet Kate…I mean…you know what I mean. Taste Kate! You’ll like her! Wait…

(Kate says: “Wait who’s going to taste me? I need references.”)

———-

I’ve been writing FF for about four years, and reading it forever. Vampire’s Bard was my first FF story and my first self-published work as well. I taught myself formatting, conversion and upload on that book—valuable lessons that took me far longer than I like to admit. Trail of Hearts is another one, a 1Night Stand series story published by Decadent Publishing. I am also proud of a short story called simply Kimmy, in the anthology Love’s Reprise at LazyDay.

One of the reasons I began writing FF was the intensity of emotion I found in the stories I read about love between two women. In fact, when I was writing Vampire’s Bard I began to fear I was doing something wrong, because it felt so different from the MF stories I’d written. I had to slow down, read it over, and talk to some friends to realize I was expressing a different kind of love. Sex was there, I am an erotic author after all, but approached from a slightly different angle.

My favorite recipe varies by the season, and my mood, and how deeply I am involved in what I am writing. Yesterday, embroiled in a sex scene between two customers in a tent (Camping sex rocks, just saying) I burned water. Yes, it is possible. And could well be the subject of a spanking scene. But when I am paying the slightest bit of attention, I understand I’m not a bad cook.

I like to go to the farmer’s market and see what’s in season and create from there. Usually I prefer simple recipes, with a few ingredients like roast chicken and mashed potatoes or my grandmother’s German pot roast. We also enjoy smoking meat in the back yard. Ribs, pork chops, and a rib roast that has made us famous.

Rib roast is a fancy cut and I had my doubts about taking it out to the smoker, until we did it and now it’s the thing we do when we feel like a giant splurge or expect visiting royalty for dinner.

Smoked Rib Roast

Couldn’t be simpler. Pat dry one rib roast and coat with salt and pepper to taste, pierce and insert slivers of garlic, place in the smoker Follow smoker directions and cook at 175-180 degrees until roast reaches 116 degrees with an instant read thermometer, for a four rib roast probably four hours or so, but smokers vary, then place in preheated 400 degree oven. Turn oven off and go away for forty minutes. Do not open the oven, at all, until the time has elapsed. Then remove the roast which will have developed a perfect crust and be meltingly tender inside. Let it stand for fifteen or twenty minutes on the counter before slicing.

Kate Richards divides her time between Los Angeles and the High Sierras. Wherever she is, she loves to explore all different kinds of relationships in her stories. She doesn’t believe one-size-fits-all, and whether her characters live BDSM, ménage, GLBT or any other kind of lifestyle, it’s the love, the joy I one another, that counts.

Facebook Fan Page http://on.fb.me/14Vqx48

Goodreads Page http://bit.ly/19yVcWh

Twitter http://bit.ly/17AeWeM

Blog: http://katerichards.wordpress.com

Tuesdays with Ana: An introduction to reading and writing book reviews, Part One

Most of us have experienced book reviews, whether it’s reading or writing them. If we are looking for a good book, we might scan other readers’ reviews to decide if the book is worth buying. If we write reviews, we might worry about offending the author or experience negative responses for writing a critical review. If we are an author, we might feel frustrated when a reviewer posts comments that are harsh or unfair. If we are a new or aspiring author, we might feel confused trying to decide which criticism to take and which to ignore.

It’s complicated! Let’s talk about a few of these items, starting with the types of reviews and their purposes. I’ll share two examples of reviews, one positive and one negative. Later, I’ll share some responses from quite a few reviewers I’ve interviewed. I’ll also open discussion for questions and advice about reading and writing book reviews. Let’s get started! I’ll post some introductory thoughts today, and later I’ll post interviews with eight reviewers.

First, let’s begin with who I am: I am an author, and for that reason writing book reviews often means writing about my colleagues. Awkward, you say? Sometimes. 🙂 Writing reviews for other authors is a great service, but it can become problematic unless I write glowing comments. I write very few reviews, but that’s because I come from a different tradition of writing reviews. I believe that a detailed, intelligent critique is a compliment to the author. I also recognize that many authors want glowing reviews to help sell their books. Let’s be honest: I love getting glowing reviews that will help sell my books. Who doesn’t? 🙂 I’ll talk more about the different kinds of reviews and critiques later, but for now let me point out that different kinds of people write reviews for different purposes.

Here is an example of a review I wrote for Spanking Romance Reviews:

By Anastasia Vitsky

The first time I read Switch (The Trainer)Kate Richard’s newest book, I was incensed. The plot developments were unfair to the main character! How could he… how could she… it was an injustice!  Then I stepped back to evaluate my reaction. Emotional investment in characters is a sign of good writing, and this book made me care about its characters. For that accomplishment alone, Richards is to be commended. Switch brings readers into a world of sympathetic characters, believable conflict, and satisfying resolution. Along the way, we also enjoy some delightful spankings and sizzling sexual action.

The premise for Switch will resonate with many practitioners of DD (domestic discipline). The marriage flounders, communication fails, and both partners have become trapped by inflexible relationship patterns. In this case, Rick’s irresponsibility fuels Esme’s disappointment and lack of trust. They seek help from a character known as the “Trainer,” a DD consultant. As the Trainer teaches Rick how to spank Esme, the couple re-discovers the foundation of their marriage: love, a commitment to each other, and a scorching sexual chemistry.

Yet, rebuilding their marriage is not as easy as applying a chosen implement to the correct portion of Esme’s body. Rick and Esme rush into DD without considering its limitations. Their conflict and struggles are both poignant and real, recognizable to nearly every new practitioner of DD. Herein lies the secret strength of Switch: Richards helps us understand our own real-life relationships in a better way, and she packages everything in a shiny happily-ever-after. Life lessons with a finishing touch of sweetness.

Professional book reviews are often short, as in 250 words or shorter. (This review is 260 words.) A typical professional review contains a few main elements:

  • Introduction to the book’s context. Is the book paranormal, a romance, young adult fiction, or a thriller?
    From this review of Switch, the reader learns that the book is a romance, contains sexual content, has a happily-ever-after ending, and is about domestic discipline.
  • Introduction to the major characters and conflict of the book.
    Rick and Esme are a couple struggling with their marriage, and they use domestic discipline to try to solve it.
  • A personal response to the book.
    This book made me furious! However, I still recommend the book because it contains good writing and makes me care about the characters.
  • A take-away message for the reader, or the “So what?” element. Why should we care about the book? (Unless the review pans the book, and in that case we should see still see a take-away message.)
    We should care about this book because it helps us understand our own relationships.

A good review makes a claim about a book, and then the reviewer gives reasons to support that claim.

What if a reviewer hates the book? He or she still needs to support the claim, and in fact has a greater obligation to do so. Take this example written by Jade Cary:

Sir Thomas Aldley, the Queen’s ambassador to Portugal, believes such a savage place is not fit for his budding 17-yr old daughter, Lady Catherine. God help us if she happens to fall in love with a rakish Spaniard, or something. Well, Lady C would have been better off, and the ol’ man should have left well enough alone. He sets her to sail for his sister’s place in England so she can enjoy the season and marry well. The sailing vessel is apparently ripe to be plucked for its rich booty by cutthroat pirates, and it is indeed taken over by Captain Jonathan Hale and his band of merry men. He releases the hostages, except for Cathy, whom he berates, spanks and then rapes, not once but over and over again. Despite all of that, Cathy seems…smitten.

Eye-roll and Sigh.

The alleged hero, Jon Hale, is absolutely horrible–probably the vilest ‘hero’ I have ever seen in romantic fiction. The whole kidnap-rape-Stockholm Syndrome thing has been done over and over again in modern fiction, so I was surprised to see this theme in what can only be described as a bodice ripper that should have us all swooning. Instead, this character has not one redeemable feature, and the author doesn’t see the need to scrounge one up for him. Through most of the book he’s busy in a rage, calling her slut/whore/trollop, and then treating her like one, all the while justifying his actions. My favorite moments in the book were the many times he said to her, ‘Have I beat you, or hurt you in any way?’

No, sweetie. You were great.

By the middle of the book I started hating Cathy, too. She luuuurves him. Jeepers, really? REALLY? He seems to blame her for something or other and won’t listen to reason. The man spends so much time sulking, calling her names and raping her that he comes across like a spoiled, horny teenager whose frontal lobe hasn’t fully reformed. We are told, ad nauseum, via the author, via Cathy, how masculine, how ‘all man’ he is. Not so much–more like a malformed brat. And as far as getting to the point of his ‘rage’ (rage isn’t all that sexy), not much happens to get him to the Ah Ha! moment, so when we get there, it’s like, duuuuh. You can see the light bulb go on over his head (I imagined such things so I didn’t start screaming at my poor Kindle Paperwhite) Anticlimactic just doesn’t describe it.

When, toward the end of the book, Jon tears off her clothes, verbally humiliates, and then rapes Cathy (Really? Again??)–now his wife and mother to his newborn son–in the back of a carriage, and then declares them ‘even’ after she slaps his face, I almost threw Professor Paperwhite across the room. I am at a loss as to how, and why, the author thought this man was sexy, how she thought this horror show of a man would bring tingles to female readers, and how she could have written such a weak character as the dim-witted Cathy. Instead of swatting him over the noggin with her favorite cast iron pan, she continues to pine after this a-hole, and in the end they get their HEA. Sadly, I didn’t buy it. Even for the time period in which the book was written, and the year in which the author wrote it, this dude is over-the-top horrid. We all adore the lovable cad who has his odd moments (and a tiny bit of rage, which IS sexy), yet his love for our heroine is clearly at the forefront, and we can find forgiveness for him in the end. That’s how it’s done. Robards missed this one by a sea mile. What was she thinking?

Really. Bad.

Is anyone uncertain whether Jade liked the book? LOL! Jade’s style is different from mine, and she uses more personal phrasing than I did. However, Jade still follows the same basic principles of a book review.

  • Introduction to the book’s context. Is the book paranormal, a romance, young adult fiction, or a thriller?
    This is a historical romance that contains pirates, action, and adult themes. It is not suitable for younger readers.
  • Introduction to the major characters and conflict of the book.
    Cathy loves Jon, and the kidnapping and rape make her fall in love with him.
  • A personal response to the book.
    This book made Jade furious, but not in a good way. She objects to a weak female character and feels the rapes are not a believable form of courtship.
  • A take-away message for the reader, or the “So what?” element. Why should we care about the book? (Unless the review pans the book, and in that case we should see still see a take-away message.)
    This could have been a great book, but it failed.

Readers, that is ordinary readers who are not also authors or who write for review sites, write “customer service” types of reviews. “This is what I liked and what I didn’t like. I’d recommend it or not recommend it to others because…” These are often the most persuasive kinds of reviews because readers have no personal investment in the product (the book). If I want to buy a new computer, I’m more likely to listen to personal stories of people who bought a computer and liked it. Readers purchase the book on their own, or they may receive the book as a gift or a prize. Reader reviews can range from “It sucked!” to a more thought-out review such as Roz’s wonderful review of Editorial Board.

Reviewers, that is people who write a review for a reviewing site (whether their own blog or someone else’s site), usually receive a complimentary copy (an advance review copy, shortened as an “ARC”) to write a review. They may receive these books individually if their book review site is their own. Review sites with more than one reviewer will typically ask for a book blurb, buy link, and basic information about the author. This information is passed on to the site’s reviewers. If someone wants to review, the site owner will obtain an ARC and pass it on to the reviewer. These types of reviews, while still a personal response, tend to be more formal. Some review sites have a policy of only publishing positive reviews. Other sites want a balance of positive and negative reviews. These kinds of review sites often specialize in certain types of fiction. Lipstick Lesbian Reviews, for example, only accepts books that contain (surprise!) F/F themes. The review policy reads:

Lipstick Lesbian Reviews focuses on the underrepresented genres of lesbian, F/F, and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) literature and fiction. I am interested in reading and reviewing:

  • Contemporary and Realistic fiction
  • Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy
  • Erotica and Dark Romance
  • Young Adult and/or New Adult

Books do not necessarily need to have lesbian characters but it is preferred to have some aspect of female lovin’.

If you are interested in submitting your book for an honest review please send an email to lipsticklesreviews@gmail.com
Please include in the email:

  • Title and Author
  • Sub-genre
  • Blurb
  • Desired time frame

While I may not be able to review EVERY book I will do my best 🙂

Other sites may only accept M/F stories, or only YA, or refuse to accept books with certain themes. Reviewers are not aligned with certain authors (although they may be authors themselves), do not receive financial compensation for their reviews (other than receiving the book free), and work hard to give honest reviews that will help readers choose a book to read.

Author reviews are often given as a form of mutual support. (Bless you and thank you to all of my fellow authors who have done so!) These typically focus on the positive elements and serve as an endorsement of the book.

Where are book reviews posted? Amazon, Goodreads, the publisher’s website, if they take reviews (my publishers, Blushing and LazyDay, both take reviews on their sites), and your blog are all great options. You can also post links to your review on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media sites.

What a book review (of any type) should never do:

  • Insult the author personally or speak disrespectfully about the book.
    Example: “I wanted to bash this person’s head in.” (True story. No kidding.)
    Better: I don’t like these kinds of characters because…
  • Give away major plot points of the story (aka “spoilers”)
    Example: What a stupid book. In the end (major character) (major plot point spoiler).
    Better: I objected to the ending of this book. Without giving away any spoilers, let me say that the author did not set up the ending, and the plot twist came across as gimmicky rather than realistic.
  • Criticize the book without taking into account its genre and context.
    Example: Mira’s Miracle sucked because it was all F/F action. There should have been a hot guy. Also, spanking is abuse. (Um…read the blurb, shall we?)
    Better: The male characters in Mira’s Miracle did not get enough attention. I liked the strong female characters, but I would have liked to see Mira interact positively with a male disciplinarian figure.

Here’s a real-life example of an appropriate criticism:

Unfortunately this one almost became a DNF to me because I struggled with the age play content.  This is the first time I have encountered age play in a novel and it personally makes me uncomfortable.  However, reading is an experience and now from experience  I know that this type of content is now a hard limit for me.  Regardless, I enjoyed the core of the story and will pick up the next in the series.(Read the full review of Becoming Clissine here)

It’s a fair criticism. Becoming Clissine is advertised as a sci-fi/fantasy socio-political spanking story, not an ageplay. There are no warnings about ageplay, although the blurb does describe Clissa’s re-education being treated as a child.

Phew, this is the longest Tuesdays with Ana to date! And yet we’ve barely scratched the surface. Good thing this is only Part One, and good thing eight talented reviewers have agreed to post interviews about their thoughts as reviewers.

Would you like to try writing your first book review, but you don’t know how to get started? Ask Roz! She’s the newest pro. 🙂 Do you write book reviews for a site and feel frustrated by inappropriate author behavior? Are you an author and frustrated by inappropriate conduct by reviewers?
Do you have advice for new book reviewers, new authors, or any aspects of book reviews?

Oh, and if you leave a book review for Mira’s Miracle on Amazon, Blushing, and/or Goodreads, I will bless your name forever. 🙂

Come back tomorrow for a very exciting announcement! Something amazing will happen in the world of F/F fiction, instigated by yours truly!!

New cover and today’s prizes!

Daughter of Discipline

Pardon me for hijacking my own prize announcement post, but I have finally received the cover for Daughter of Discipline! Blushing Books will have it available for purchase just as soon as technology can make it possible. 🙂 If you find the book buy link available, please let us know! There may be a special thank you for doing so… 😉

UPDATE: Buy link here!

For those of you who have read The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, you’ll remember headstrong, spoiled daughter Claire and her loving but feisty mother, Minelle. (AKA the knickerless Minelle AKA Ms. “Granny Panties”) Daughter of Discipline picks up a few months later, with Claire preparing for her college graduation and a birthday trip to Las Vegas. Mother Minelle frets about her daughter’s safety, but she also has problems of her own. Matthew keeps expecting her to submit, as in do what he asks! Combined with Minelle’s obsession about her weight and tendency to do too much for others, it takes more than one (badly accepted) spanking for Matthew to restore order in the Labraun household.

I do hope you’ll take a look at one or both books as you prepare for your holiday season. After all, what’s December without a good, hard wooden-spoon spanking from our beloved and feared Mrs. Claus?

*ahem*

And now for more exciting news…prize announcements! Let’s not tell Mrs. Claus about today, shall we? Or we can blame Kate. It’s always a good idea to blame Kate.

Laurel Lasky wins Becoming Clissine from Anastasia Vitsky

Marybeth Renn wins South Sea Siren by Heather Geoffries

PT Wyant wins a holiday card donated by Rogue (only six holiday cards left!)

Pieclown wins Dungeon Time by Kate Richards. Kate chose Pieclown’s entry yesterday for its creativity in completing “Sex Toy Story.”

Congratulations, everyone! Please contact your prize donor (with the except of PT, who will contact me) to make arrangements for receiving your prize.

Don’t forget to send a thank you note! Authors and donors help make Advent Calendar special, and gracious winners will encourage repeat donations next year.

One note: Please don’t forget to let me (or helper elf Kathryn Blake) know when you receive your prize! Otherwise, I wonder whether you have actually gotten it. Thank you notes are always appreciated, too. 🙂

Introduction posts from today’s winners:

Laurel Lasky

1. Yes
2. No. This is my first time.
3. Where are the daily questions? I can’t find them.
4. I would love to win an amazon but would be happy to win any spanko book.
5. I am a new spanko, and as I’m 70 I’m past it so I get a vicarious thrill as long as my batteries last.lol this sounds like great fun.

Marybeth Renn

1. Yes, I have read and understood all the rules pages.
2. I did not participate in Ana’s Advent Calendar last year.
3. I heard about this through the Blushing books website.
4. I hope to be here every day. But, sometimes life breaks through! :-)
5. I am hoping for gift certificates. Like Katy Beth, I have hundreds of spanking and BDSM books.
6. This sounded like fun. And I have never posted on a blog before. So, hopefully I do OK.
7. I am Marybeth. I have been married for 26 years and have 3 kids, 20,17 and 14. I am a stay at home mom and I am going back to college part time. I don’t really want to be a teacher anymore because of all those “pesky regulations”! I am in a vanilla relationship as my husband is not interested in the lifestyle. So, I lurk and read. lol
8.Hi Merna. I hope that you get your wish with your husband. I’m not sure I would like the reality of a DD relationship. I am pretty strong willed and don’t know if I could be submissive.

BTW, Ana, thank you for setting this up and getting all the prizes. Also, I don’t recognize the term ttwd. What does it stand for?

PT Wyant

1. Yes, I read them and think I understand them. (But how do you sign up again?)
2. Nope. This is my first year.
3. I heard about it from someone who thought I might be uncomfortable reading spanking scenes.
4. Computer and internet willing I’m planning to be here every day.
5. What I’d like to win? Becoming Clissine. (Kissing up is allowed, correct?) Well, actually, as long as I don’t win my own book I’ll be happy. LOL And if I don’t win anything I’ll be happy, too, as long as I get to pick on the hostess.
6. My computer and internet and FaceBook bring me here. And I’m playing because it looks like fun.
7. My name is Paula (aka P.T.) Wyant and I’ve been here before via Sunday Snippets. I’m a writer — mostly fantasy with occasional forays into science fiction. I write, I blog, I do counted cross stitch, have a dollhouse remodeling project that is on hold due to lack of space, and I’m really good at avoiding housework.
8. Hi, Robin! You sound like me — too little time. (You can’t keep up with the stuff you record on your DVR and I can’t keep up with the stuff I download to my Kindle.) Ana’s a great writer — enjoy her blog!

Pieclown

1. Yes, I have read the 4 pages
2. No, I did not participate last year. I just found your blog today.
3. I saw it on another blog called Naughty Little Writer.
4. I plan to be here every day, Lord willing and the computer does not crash.
5. To be honest, I would like the Kindle, it would be first foray into “Smart” Tech. I have a dumb cel phone and a tower for a computer. I did see a purple paddle, then there is the spoon set, and the pantie( if I win them I hope they fit.)
6.It looks fun and can give me another way to celebrate Christmas.
7.I am new here, first day. I 46 male and live in Nebraska – GO BIG RED. I am divorced and daddy to a 8 year old. I am a professional clown but I keep my “pieclown” separate. I started following another blog on DD and am slowly expanding my views. As for experience, my x-wife was mostly vanilla. I have posted on some websites. I consider myself a switch. My main kinks are pies in the face, dunk tanks, spankings, and bras. I like seeing, doing or getting.
8.Hello George K. So are you a Sooner or Cowboy fan or do you not fallow college football.
With all the prizes, you just might get that new book. Good luck to you and all.

pie pie 4 now