Taliasman and why we all need a little love: Fairy Tale Magic Herd Hop

Welcome to the Fairy Tale Magic Blog Hop! You can win a $100 Amazon gift card as a grand prize, and other bloggers will be offering individual prizes on their own blogs. Click on the image above to get all of the links.

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Today, I will visit a hospice center to hold the hand of a woman I met nine short months ago. A woman who spoke three sentences to me before revealing herself as a kindred spirit, soul mate, friend I’d always known and loved before we even met. A woman (I’ll call her Sara) who helped me heal in ways I never knew possible.

The first time I lost a grandmother, no one allowed tears. Later, I would see my mother shed more tears over the family dog than her mother-in-law. “She’s lived a long life” and “What a way to go” were the refrains at her funeral.

The second time, it was after a protracted and complicated year of absence. While living overseas, I found a ridiculously cheap phone plan that allowed nearly unlimited minutes for $3 a month. No matter how many times I tried to convince her, however, she didn’t believe me. “This is too expensive,” she would say, and sometimes she would insist on hanging up after a minute or two. I’d coax her with questions about her favorite news shows (she watched all of them and had strong opinions about the female newscasters’ wardrobe and hairstyles), and sometimes she would forget until twenty or thirty minutes went by. Then she’d exclaim, “I’ll let you go. This costs too much!”

Even living overseas and making a home visit once a year, my aunts told me that I visited my grandmother more often than most of her seventeen grandchildren. I didn’t do it for her; I did it for me. I’d “discovered” my grandmother in college (while writing weekly letters, we formed a bond), and until that point I’d been the not-so-interesting youngest grandchild after a plethora of grandchildren on both sides of the family. For the first few years living overseas, phone options were too expensive for more than an occasional brief call. Once I discovered Skype Out, my world changed. I looked forward to our daily call, and I’d grown up and gotten better at drawing people into conversation. I’d always been unsure of myself as a child/adolescent, and overseas I found people who liked me and liked talking to me. When I brought this new, more confident self to my grandmother (via technology and separated by thousands of miles), I received the unexpected gift of someone who loved me and connected with me on a daily basis.

Then, it all changed. She got sick (pneumonia or a fall, I can’t remember which came first) and was brought to the hospital.

She never went home.

After all while, she was transferred to the local nursing home for recovery/rehab with the hope she might go home (with more frequent home health care visits, and/or one of the family staying with her at least part time). She never got better, and the days turned into weeks and months.

She never accepted that she wouldn’t go home, and she didn’t want a phone put in her room. The nursing home didn’t provide phones, and patients’ families had to bring one. I begged my family to put in a phone anyway so I could talk to her, but they said no. Things with my family were complicated enough that they didn’t place priority on her communication with me, and they would have read (and judged) any letters or cards I mailed to her.

After months of no contact, a nurse friend gave me an idea to call the nurse’s station, explain the situation, and ask them to bring my grandmother to the phone. I did, they did, and I had one last conversation with her. I’m not sure she heard or understood me, but the nurse said she seemed responsive. Perhaps it was a lie, but I am grateful to her for telling it.

Later, when I received the call that the end was near, a plane ticket home cost more money than I could pay. I never got a chance to sit next to her, hold her hand, or share memories with everyone else who loved her.

I didn’t cry when my second grandmother died, either.

When I met “Sara” less than a year ago, I’d volunteered to help with the church quilting circle. I know the basics of sewing, but I couldn’t keep up with women who’d sewed twice as many years as I’ve been alive. I drifted to a table where a petite white-haired woman tugged embroidery thread through pieced quilts to tie knots.

“Can I help?” I asked.

“Sit down!” she smiled.

As we chatted (she and I remember this conversation differently), she asked me, “Where are you from?” She grew up in the neighboring state (which considers itself the better state), and somewhere in our conversation she laughed, “Why would anyone go there?”

“Because I grew up there,” I answered, and at least once a month since then she has told others about our exchange.

“I was so embarrassed,” she says every time she brings it up. “I just thought…well, who does live there?”

Within minutes, we recognized each other as someone special. At the end of the day, she was a friend I’d known my entire life. I went back to the next quilting session specifically to spend time with her, and the next week I debated for ages whether to bring her cookies. I finally (reluctantly) decided against it, even though I wanted to. She was someone special from the first moment, but I didn’t dare assume more to the relationship than was there.

Later, while playing cards (our monthly card game, an event she never missed and therefore an event I never missed, either), I mentioned, “I wanted to bring you some cookies, but I didn’t want to bother you in case you were napping or tired.”

Her eyes lit up, and she looked both surprised and pleased. “I’m diabetic so I wouldn’t have been able to eat them, but I would have loved the visit.”

I wish I could have brought her cookies, but at that time and in that place the verbal interaction affirmed our connection.

The last time I saw Sara (at our monthly card game last week), she laughed, joked, and set the rest of us straight when we took too long to play, didn’t go in order, or confused her by going out of order. As I left, she stood in the entryway waving to me while standing on her own two feet and leaning on the walker her daughter insisted she use.

A friend of mine told me, “It’s not often we get second chance to go back and redo something. Go and say goodbye to Sara, and tell her about your grandmother.”

Today, I will hold the hand of a woman who became a grandmother in all the ways that mattered. I know the tears are for my sake and not hers (she told everyone she had lived a good life and was ready to go when it was her time), and I am grateful to get the chance to say good-bye. To me, that is an affirmation of our love and connection. Saying good-bye is not about death but about life. The saddest good-bye is when there’s no one to say good-bye to.

Taliasman, my upcoming release from Decadent Publishing’s Beyond Fairy Tales series, tells the story of Talia, a young woman who never got past her initial hurt. Unwanted by her parents and devalued for being a girl, she decides to shut out the entire world. When Queen Vina comes to her home and offers a sackful of gold in exchange for Talia, Talia is hell-bent on rejecting every possible sign of affection from the one who bought her.

Taliasman blurb:

Born to a destitute woodworker who wanted a son to carry on the family business, Talia grew up with one phrase on her lips: “If I had been born a boy.” If she had been born a boy, she would have been cherished, supported, and launched into the world with her father’s legacy. As only a worthless girl, she toils all day long to earn her handful of inferior grain.

Far away in the heavenly palace, Queen Vina receives a mysterious coin necklace from Nicodemus, teller of stories. Compelled by the throbbing heartbeat, she scours the earth to come across Talia, enslaved to a family who never wanted her. Rather than admit her motives, Vina purchases the girl with a sack full of gold. Furious, betrayed, and homesick, Talia endeavors to share her misery with the entire palace. Vina, afraid to confess her love, allows herself to become trapped in the role of brutal slave owner.

Talia, bred to expect nothing but misery, faces the first choice of her life. Will she accept love, even if it comes from an unlikely source? Or will she reject the one who offers her everything?

Excerpt: 

If I had been born a boy, I would have followed in my father’s footsteps and become a tradesman. Because I was a girl, he sold me instead.

“No,” Vina corrects me when I bring up the story, which is not often. She doesn’t like the facts, and I dislike her pretty lies. “Your mother agonized whether to let you go, but she knew you would be better off here. She wanted to give you a better life.”

I would call Vina on her mistruths, but she claims I still reason as a child. All of my protests to the contrary serve to prove her right, at least in her mind. Only when I agree with her does she admit I am a full-grown adult.

“You’re happy with me, aren’t you?” Vina makes me sit next to her at the formal dinners she hosts most nights, and she dresses me in rich silks with real lace. If I tell her no, she sends me to my room as punishment for what she calls my petulance. If I resist, she gives me one of her lessons in obedience. Some are painful, others pleasurable, and all serve to narrow my world and make me focus on her. How could I not, when she owns me?

“No,” Vina corrects me when I call her my owner. “I set you free, and I gave you the life you never could have had otherwise.”

When I turned nineteen, no one wanted to marry me. My mother fussed with my hope chest, if it could be called that, arranging the one cotton handkerchief as if it could attract a suitor.

“Let me stay with you,” I entreated my parents, and I won. I always did. The house needed new walls, and I wielded the power tools. Small of stature and still a child, I could carry them to the electric outlet on the neighbor’s property. As an adult, Father would have faced fines for stealing electricity.

“You’ve turned her into such a tomboy no one will want her,” Mother chided Father, and the truth stung. I could have cared for my parents into their old age, but they wanted me gone.

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The artwork image is small, but this original drawing by the multi-talented Minelle Labraun depicts the talisman worn by Vina that calls her to Talia.

I will draw one random commenter to receive an ARC of Taliasman. Thank you for visiting, and may you have a blessed day filled with love.

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The Grocery Store Debacle: Trying to keep my sanity in a fast-paced life

Have you ever felt discombobulated by the multiple competing demands for your attention? Have you tried to keep things straight, only to end up a confused mess? We know Our Lady of 15 Font Colors, Minelle, has shown up at work with her clothes inside out. (Wow, I didn’t know P was that good!) We scramble, trying to get it together, only to sheepishly admit to our shenanigans.

Every Sunday in the late morning or early afternoon, I go to the grocery store. The food is fresh, the crowds minimal, and I can plan the week’s menu in peace. Sometimes I watch the cooking demonstrations, and occasionally I ask for help. Where’s the curry paste? What is the price on this bag of green beans? Do you have any sugar snap peas? The local grocery store is staffed by friendly, courteous professionals who make my visit enjoyable.

Today, I loitered by the Easter/Passover clearance table. There was a sad, one-eyed chocolate Easter bunny at least a foot tall. I like chocolate, but ew. (At least it wasn’t a chocolate cross, eh Louisa Bacio?) Cadbury eggs, so horrifyingly over-sweet and yet filled with nostalgia for a childhood hoarding the precious chocolate. Chocolate covered marshmallow eggs. Yum. I’m a sucker for marshmallow and chocolate together, and everything was half price or less. There was a big selection of “Kosher for Passover” Matzo boxes. At only a dollar a box, I was curious enough to try some. Sure, what can taste good about flour and water, but it’s Matzo! I gave an apology to my Jewish friends as I considered spreading some Matzo with peanut butter for a snack. That’s not sacrilegious, right? (Louisa knows about sacrilege!) It’s okay if a non-Jew eats Matzo, isn’t it? I promise not to eat it with bacon. 😉

By the time I got home and unloaded bags of food into my refrigerator and cupboards, I had a funny feeling something was wrong. I knew I’d bought a can of orange juice concentrate, but it wasn’t in my freezer. I searched high and low, in all of the bags, and went back to my car. Nope. Another search. Nope.

Puzzled, I phoned the grocery store. “This sounds really stupid,” I apologized. “But have you found a shopping cart with groceries still in it?” Maybe I had left some of the food in the cart. I couldn’t remember putting the cart back into its stall. Had I driven off with some bags still in the cart? Did the bagger forget to put some of the groceries in my cart?

“I’ll look,” the manager promised. “Who’s the cashier listed on your receipt, and what was the time? What were you wearing?” He took my name and phone number and promised to investigate.

Just a few minutes later, the phone rang. The manager confirmed the color of my hair, and he said, “I was at the desk! I saw you put the cart away empty, and the cashier says she gave you all the groceries.”

I went to my kitchen counter to look through the empty bags again. “This is so weird,” I said, perplexed. “I mean, one can of orange juice might have fallen out of my bag or rolled underneath my car, but I’m missing a lot more than that. Cough syrup, apples, a box of Matzo, vegetables. I don’t understand.”

The manager listened patiently. “Come back, and grab another of what you need.”

I stammered, “Are you sure? But if I bought them, and I lost them…”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “We’ll take care of you.”

I hung up the phone after thanking him profusely. I reached for my car keys…to find an ignored bag of groceries sitting next to my front door.

Apples.

Yep.

Cough syrup.

Yep.

Matzo.

Yep.

Corn.

Yep.

Oh, crap.

I blushed and considered not calling the manager back. How would I ever explain a second phone call describing even more stupidity than the first? At last, I decided I had to ‘fess up since I do go to the store every week. Better to let the manager know I’m an idiot over the phone, when he can’t see my face, than in person the next time I shop.

“Hi, I just called you about the groceries missing…”

“Yes, what can I do for you?”

“Uh…I’m really sorry, but I just found them. Sorry to bother you.”

The manager was lovely enough to thank me for calling back, but I’ve been embarrassed ever since.

So…that’s my Sunday afternoon. How’s yours?

100 registrants surprise check winner!

Ana’s Advent Calendar 2013 hit a special milestone late last night: 100 registrants! Currently (pending some frantic elf-scurrying to tally all the registrations and comments) we have 108 people signed up for the Advent Calendar. Wow, wow, wow! Let me tell you, this hubbub is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. I love it!!

Quote of the day, thanks to Miss Not-so-innocent Paula Wyant: “I’m not nuts, I’m condiments. I’ve been promoted.”

Yep, that’s us. Silly, nutty, condiment-y, zany us. I love each and every one of you. Your comments crack me up, make me sigh for the right reasons, and restore my faith in the sanctity of safe spaces. Thank you for coming to my party, playing in my sandbox, and honoring the spirit of Governing Ana. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for making this event such a brilliant endeavor. What I love about today’s post is that already you are talking to each other, bantering, swapping information, helping each other out, and learning more about each other. WOW! Dream come true. Yes. Dream.

So the three hours it took me to respond to comments was a bit long, but really, I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It’s such an honor and privilege to host you. I know I sound like a broken record, gushing all the time, but each one of you makes me proud. Thank you.

Now! Sue will pick five (yes, FIVE!) winners for her book, Hanna’s Awakening, tomorrow, but for today I’d like to celebrate reaching the 100 registrants milestone! I put all registered names in the hat and picked one at random (okay, I used random.org, but a hat sounds cooler!).

Guess who won?

None other than MINELLE, our lady of fifteen font colors!

Here is her introduction post:

1)Yes! Although just to mess with you I was tempted to say no.
2) I absolutely participated you were my first Advent Calendar.
3) Seriously???? Actually I think it was you and your blog ….plus I drew naughty elf Ana for the event!
4) I will come every day and want perfect attendance…but not to get a prize …but, because I love the challenge and it is great to participate.
5) I will be happy to win anything…or nothing. I will be excited for anyone to win. Now maybe I hope that Cat or Ami will win the spatula set! I wil gladly share if I do.
6) I would never miss this exciting event, I love the community spirit it engenders!! Christmas is my favorite time of the year.
7) I am Minelle, a wife mother sister and friend. I am an artist and a teacher. I am a bit crazy and busy in my life I can SOMETIMES need reigning in because my life gets a bit overwhelming. I hope to come here to step away from craziness and remember the meaning of the Holidays!
8) Pao Hi!!!! I feel we know each other a bit after commenting over on Kat and Natalie’s stories.

Sheesh Ana I had to copy and paste the questions so I could remember to answer all the questions!!! Now I bet I will need to comment again since It took me so long to finish my answers. I think I need to speak with Mrs Claus!!

I swear this was totally random and not in ANY way influenced by Minelle drawing the artwork. I swear. My hand on Mrs. Claus’ wooden spoon.

She wins The Story of L: Odyssey by LA Cloutier. Minelle, you have four days to contact LA (check the prize donor contact info page) and make arrangements to receive your prize.

Congratulations, Minelle! Thank you for playing, everyone!

You have 6 hours and 3 minutes left to comment on today’s post and earn an entry toward the grand prizes! Get going!

Ana’s Advent Calendar 2013

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Visit the main page of this blog to read today’s post and comment to earn your daily prize entry!

Ana’s Advent Calendar 2013

 

Do you remember, if you were lucky, having an advent calendar as a child?  The traditional kind had small, perforated paper windows to open for each day of December.  Each day’s window revealed a small surprise.  Usually it was a piece of chocolate or candy.  I never had one, but I envied the children who did.  Guess what?  We’re going to have an Advent Calendar, but we’re going to do it my way!

How will the advent calendar work, Ana style?  There will be rules.  Of course there will be rules.

  • Sign up!  (Bonus point if you sign up before December 1st!) Be sure to leave your email address (so I can contact you if you are a winner) and book preferences (S for spanking, K for kinky or edge, and V for vanilla)!  This will ensure that I track your comments to give you credit for each day that you play.  If you have any trouble leaving a comment, please let me know immediately by email.  If you do not sign up, you will not get credit for your entries!
  • Play daily.  Leave a comment responding to a post or answering a daily Advent Calendar question.  Only one comment per post will count as an entry, but you are welcome and encouraged to leave additional comments as part of the conversation.
  • Check for the winner list on Christmas Day!  Those who participate the most will win!

Yup, that’s it!  Oh, you want more rules?  Well, if you insist.  😉

  • Surprise Checks!  Prizes will be awarded during random “surprise checks” throughout the month.  It may be the first person to post on a certain day, a randomly selected commenter on a randomly selected day, the first person to mention a secret word, or anything else.  Surprise!
  • Perfect Attendance award!  Everyone who comments every day (by midnight EST on the day of each post) of the month will win a small surprise.
  • Free book days!  A few authors will be offering one or more books free on select days in December.  Check for details on the blog throughout the month.

Grand Prizes

  • Kindle Fire or Nook HD (winner’s choice), donated by Blushing Books
  • 2014 VIP discount to Loose Id, donated by the same
  • Beginning Domestic Discipline Boot Camp package (instruction book and workbook) and 6-month couple membership to the Learning Domestic Discipline online forum, donated by Learning Domestic Discipline
  • 6-month subscription to Discipline and Desire, donated by the same
  • Paddle from Blondie’s Place
  • Wooden spoon and spatula set, donated by Katie
  • Knitted jingle bell slippers, donated by Celeste Jones (US only)
  • Polka-dot “St. Knickerless” panties, donated by Ami Starsong
  • Content edit of a manuscript up to 25K, by Lina Sacher

 

Book Prizes

A Little Training and A Little Trouble by Abbie Adams

Becoming a Lady and Marked by the Alpha by Adaline Raine

Spanking Detective, Killer Heels, and Spank Camp by Alice Dark

Ruby Rose (two copies) by Alta Hensley

Fever Dream by Annabel Joseph

Becoming Clissine, Simple Gifts, Desire in Any Language, Editorial Board, The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, and The Way Home by Anastasia Vitsky

Still, Guarding Hope, and Ivan’s Captive Submission by Ann Mayburn

The Solicitation by Bella Bryce

Destiny’s Chance by Cara Bristol

Lady Katherine’s Comeuppance and Lady Katherine’s Conundrum by Celeste Jones

Toy Run by Charley Descoteaux

Sorority Girl Pledge Time by Cheryl Dragon

The Grass is Greener and The Man of the House by Constance Masters

The Christmas Fraternity by Courage Knight

L’Amore Perfetto and Budde Bear Quilt Top Pattern by Cynthia Kimball

Wraith’s Heart (US & Canada only) and Nowhere for Christmas by Donna Steele

Claiming One and Tell Me (How to Write) A Story: Good, Basic Advice for Novices Ready to Write by E.J. Runyon

Explorations: The First Notebook of Emily Orn Wilkes, Secret Countess of Wessulk (three copies) by Emily Tilton

Correspondence Hall of Shame by Erica Scott

Valkyrie Chronicles: Return of the Asgard, Karaoke Queen (Music of the Soul), and Fracture: Divergence by Erik Schubach

Time of Grace by Gabriella West

South Sea Siren (two copies) by Heather Geoffries

Santa Spanks! and Santa Spanks! 2 by Holla Dean

Bella Rosa by Jade Cary

Taught to Serve, Trust Me to Know you, Trust Me to Own You, and Trust Me to Keep You by Jaye Peaches

Alien Adoration and Alien Lover by Jessica E. Subject

Elizabeth’s Destiny, Lessons of Love, and Dark Obsessions (US) and one Kindle book of winner’s choice by Jolynn Raymond

Magic of the Loch by Karen Michelle Nutt

Spanking Ms. Whitman by Kate Richards

Acting Lessons by Kathryn R. Blake

The Gate, Sharp Bite of Pleasure, and Christmas with the Countess’s Bride by KT Grant

The Story of M: A Seduction, The Story of L: An Odyssey, and The Story of L:

Enlightenment by LA Cloutier

Little and Loved and Michael and Jenna’s Christian Domestic Discipline Marriage by Leena Darling  

Lonesome Oak Ranch and Living the Dream by Leigh Smith

The Texas Rancher and the English Rose, My Texas Cowboy, and The Cattle Rustler’s Bride by Lucy Appleby

Demon Soul by Linda Hamonou

Coming, Ready or Not! Three Tales of Tease and Denial (two copies) and The Journal (two copies) by Liv Honeywell

No Flag (two copies) and Mine (two copies) by Liz Borino

All-Girls Academy and A Date with The Death by Louisa Bacio

A French Affair by Lucy Felthouse

Everything Christmas by Maddie Taylor

Forbidden Deception by Mahalia Levey

Aspen Meadows (two copies) by Mila Kerr

Mr. Short, Dark & Funny, and Three Strikes..You’re in Love by Nancy Levine

Aching To Submit, Taken By The Beast, and Captive’s Desire by Natasha Knight

The Prince’s Lash by Nattie Jones

Dreaming in Blue and Her Moonlight Lover by Olivia Starke

Hold My Hand and Touch My Heart by Paloma Beck
Correcting Kathy and The Winner: Romantek Book One by Patricia Green

Christmas Joy, The Naughty List (5-book set), and Tyler’s Resolution by Patty Devlin

The Spirit of Giving by Penelope Hasler

Song and Sword by PT Wyant

In His Command by Rie Warren

The Ladies of Heatherton Hall and The Countess and the Magician (two-story combination) by Rollin Hand

Tie Me Free by Sandra Bunino

Desperate Housewives of Olympus (two copies of Audible recording) by Saranna DeWylde

Desire and Deception by Sharon Buchbinder

Bound for Disappointment (two copies) by Sheri Savill

A Hell Hound’s Fire and The Beltane Witch (two-book set) by Siobhan Muir

Taking Chances by SJ Maylee

One book of winner’s choice (two winners) by Starla Kaye

Hanna’s Awakening (five copies) and Christmas With the Professor (five copies) by Sue Lyndon

Master-bation, At Sir’s Command (The Torn Series: Book 1) by Suzy Ayers

Mastering Maeve and My Naughty Little Secret (four copies total, reader’s choice, plus one paperback to US or Europe) by Tara Finnegan

Twice as Nice: Anya’s Tale and Erotic Shorts, Volume III by Thianna D

Betrothed to Mr. Darcy by Violet Bedford 

Taking Control and Catching Death by Virginia Nelson

Immoral: Tales of a Vampire Hunter and Amaranthine Rain by Zander Vyne

Surprise Day Sponsors

Dinah McLeod

Leigh Ellwood

Kathryn R. Blake

Maren Smith

Renee Rose

Tara Finnegan

Zee Monodee

Advent 2013

Artwork by Minelle Labraun

Graphic design by Katie

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What are you waiting for? Sign up by clicking here!

Visit the main page of this blog to read today’s post and comment to earn your daily prize entry!

Monday Morning Fika with Minelle Labraun: What Does a Reader Want?

Good morning and welcome to Fika!  Today we are welcoming a long-time regular reader and participant, Minelle Labraun.  Does the name sound familiar?  You may recognize Minelle in one of three capacities.  Her namesake is the co-heroine of The Vengeance of Mrs. Claus, inspired by Minelle herself.  What happened?  I teased Minelle by saying that her husband should spank her and then proceeded to write a tiny scene where he did.  She loved it!  I put a snippet up for Six Sunday, and other people loved it as well.  So I kept writing, and Vennie was born.

The other way you might recognize Minelle is that she is the one who can be counted on to tease me in the comments.  Every day!  (Don’t you ever take a vacation, Minelle?  Hehe…)

But finally, the name Minelle is familiar to many of our spanking fiction authors because she is the dedicated reader who not only reads every single story she can find, but she also gives reviews and feedback.   She has a way of understanding stories on such an intuitive, empathic level that I often find myself re-examining my writing after hearing her feedback.  To have a reader like Minelle is the best gift an author could hope for.  Thank you, Minelle, for all that you do for the spanking fiction author community.

Minelle has agreed to chat with us today, so we have the dream of any author: a real live reader who will answer our questions!  I’ve asked her a few questions to get us started, but then feel free to chime in with your own.

Anastasia Vitsky: Please tell us a bit about yourself.

Minelle Labraun: I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend. My natural family and chosen family inspire me to be better. As I get older I try not to let my natural reticence compete with my love of others. The one unifying element within all of those labels is that I am an artist. It is how I see the world. It is also often how I connect with people…I enjoy people. I love sharing friendship with others. Even when I am not painting or creating art, my eyes do not always see what others see. I get caught in the imagery around me. I pick up on things and they excite me. When I see a beautiful or interesting object or natural scene my heart races and I become lost in that vision. I often read with this perspective as well. A good story can inspire me to creative thought or just pure enjoyment.

Oh and I guess I like to read about spanking….and maybe enjoy the threat of spanking….Sometimes even practice a little spanking!

Anastasia Vitsky: How did you first become interested in spanking fiction?

Minelle Labraun: I have always been into spanking fiction. Any book I came across that mentioned spanking became the source of secret pleasure or a heart pounding rush. As I approached adolescence and later young adulthood, I read any romance, and eagerly embraced one that suggested spanking may occur or… ‘Joy’ did contain a strong leader taking someone in hand. I often kept those books and would revisit the spanking threats or scenes often through the years. I often think some of those bodice buster authors are settled right here in this community.

Five or six years ago instead of rushing off to search out a main stream ‘spanking’ fix, I decided I would try and understand the connection for me. I felt there needed to be an explanation for my secret desire.

I typed the phrase spanking in romance for my search. My world exploded. I was never to be the same again. I certainly had been mildly spanked in my relationship with my husband and threatened upon numerous occasions (not just by hubby) through the years, however I never thought about it beyond the secret thrill/confusion and embarrassment that loomed before me.

Then I began reading book sites and blogs…. ALL THE TIME. I started to feel comfortable buying stories so I bought lots…. Initially for me it was the spanking and romance not necessarily the sex. (The strong alpha man, taking in hand the equally strong woman.) I was amazed that there were stories such as I wrote in my head on a daily basis for as long as I could remember. Instead of imagining the scenes from my vanilla-ish books with a real spanking….I could actually read them personified.

Soon I made a connection with our dear Ana here, and she opened my eyes to FF spanking with Kat and Natalie. The writing was emotionally compelling and the love between Kat and Nat was palpable. Even though I had an open mind, I fell into the category of choosing things based on my MF bias. However I was amazed at her writing. The moment I discovered Kat and Nat story’s I waited with my breath held for each new scene to be revealed. The scenes were filled with descriptions invoking new experiences. I felt like I was back in a literature class analyzing and interpreting the subtle meaning behind the motivation of these multi-dimensional women.

Anastasia Vitsky: What about spanking fiction do you find interesting and enjoyable?

Minelle Labraun: Frankly I can enjoy almost every type., however I lean toward DD. But when a story is noteworthy it comes down to how the author sets up the story. When I first began reading stories I had all these preconceived stipulations regarding what was okay and what wasn’t. For example, I could find certain implements or the length of a spanking harsh. I would become so emotionally vested I tried too hard to place the story in my real world.   Now I have recognized that there are differences between fantasy and reality for me. Something that may seem harsh in fantasy can be enjoyable within the fantasy the author has created. It is important for me when an author sets up the scene properly. In those instances it doesn’t matter to me whether I agree with why the TIH [Taken in Hand or disciplined] individual is spanked, but that it was explained, even if it is just because this is our dynamic and I am in control.

Another draw for me is the conflict. I like that feisty struggle. The spanked doesn’t make it always easy. He or she doesn’t want the punishment. Maybe they do not even acknowledge the positive.  I am fine with the HOH making mistakes as long as it is discussed somehow and recognized and rectified. I do enjoy a happy ending but it doesn’t always have to get there easily. There are exceptions to happy endings. Sometimes the direction a story takes just doesn’t deem a happy ending as one that is plausible.

And yes I can deal with formula writing since I am getting a spanking story!  Good formula spanking stories will see me revisiting the author more often. Bad formula is much more difficult to slosh through.

A consideration regarding how I choose stories may also favor on my emotions. If I am moody etc… I may pick a harsher story. I always read the blurb and if the author offers a part of or chapter free that often settles my decision.

If it is in the erotic element all bets are off and I just enjoy the variety of approaches.

Anastasia Vitsky: How do you find new books to read, and how do you decide which ones to read?

Minelle Labraun: I enjoy word of mouth. I also will read stories from authors I have read previously. I am very loyal.

Anastasia Vitsky: Approximately how many stories do you read per week/month, and how many do you think you’ve read in all?

Minelle Labraun: I read spanking fiction all the time. I read a new story a few times per week. I read many books or stories at the same time. I belong to a few sites and when I buy books I have many pages. Ana, and now Sunny love to tease that I have read almost all the spanking fiction e-books…They may be close to right, regarding certain genres and categories. However I may have lost books since I am totally a tech-no.

Anastasia Vitsky: What do you wish for in a spanking story?  What do you hope won’t be in the story?

Minelle Labraun: Someone gets a Spanking…..or two…or three….! I like the traditional OTK spanking scenario. The intimacy of that position is so much a part of television and the romance novels I grew up seeing. It propels my fantasy.

I do not always want or need to have it consensual. For me it is okay within the context of fantasy. The idea of giving up control and someone making everything okay is part of the white horse fantasy. I don’t care of it is MF, FF or MM, There is a great appeal to being taken care of and put first. Love is the common denominator. Now for me…And I don’t judge others’ fantasies, there needs to be care in the spanking scenarios…not cruelty or abuse, I have some clear limits here. The main Characters having a moral fortitude guiding their actions is always a plus. Now I am not talking about a black and white definition, there can be a multitude of grays. Human nature is flawed and I do not mind seeing a transitional journey.

Anastasia Vitsky: You’ve tried your hand at writing a few spanking stories and put them on your blog.  How was that experience for you?  Will you continue to write stories?  What do you enjoy about it?

Minelle Labraun: Well I have PK to thank for encouraging me to write my first spanking story. If not for her I would have just continued weaving scenarios in my head. Daily in the quiet moments I would settle and create a picture and dialogue for my mind to enjoy. I would choose a set of characters that were strong but real, sit back and imagine away. When I actually attempted to pen my first story, the experience was literally one of the most exciting and frightening creative journeys I have faced. I know I am a novice but I enjoy facing the challenge. I try and learn from my mistakes and make the characters fun, albeit flawed. As long as everyone is willing to muddle through my sophomoric attempts I will keep trying to get better.

Anastasia Vitsky: What would you say to spanking fiction authors if you could?

Minelle Labraun: Keep writing your stories…..Write the way you enjoy. Don’t try and change based on what you think readers want. We will read what you write if it seems as if it is authentic. If you feel a certain way write it and don’t put something into a story just because you think it is what a reader wants. Every author has a different voice. That is what I enjoy as a reader…your perspective.

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

The-Way-Home-3D

The-Way-Home

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