Lyn Gala

One writer's journal through one version of reality


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A-holes

ImageAssholes.

No, not the anatomical ones we all have, but the metaphorical asshole.  I just submitted Turbulence to my publisher, and the main character truly is an asshole.  Jacqs is gruff, unforgiving, and very likely to assume the worst of others.  I think he also has redeeming qualities, but your miles may vary on that.  He certainly is a little… um… rough around the edges.  Jayne from Firefly inspired him, so he would have to be.

Reading the reviews, I have to wonder why some love watching Jacqs annoy the rest of the crew and others hate him.

God knows that there are real asses on television I love to watch.  I adored Gregory House the first few seasons, and he makes no apologies for his lack of social skills.  I also have an unabashed adoration for Jayne.  Yes, he’s got a crusty outside, but every so often, you see hints of a softer, kinder man underneath.

The Huffington Post even has a whole writeup on TV’s biggest A-holes.

But I think these giant buttfaces need to have some sort of redeeming quality.  With Jacqs, I tried to show right up front that he won’t stand for bullies. He stands up for what he believes, although he often does it in the worst possible way.

Jayne was an even larger ass, but he had this loyalty to Mal that made him follow his captain into Reever space (even while bitterly complaining about it).  House saved people, and every once in a while you got a flash of emotion that made you think maybe he even cared about those people he saved.

Story Addict suggests that assholes need to have some trait that balances out those more negative qualities.  They add Bella and Katniss to that list of annoying characters. However, they claim that “the important thing is that the character doesn’t bore you or have absolutely no redeeming qualities.”

I think Jacqs has that balance, particularly in the longer story.  He is very protective of Zeke and loyal to a fault.  However, looking at some of these links, I have to admit that I have other assholes sitting on my hard drive.

Myles Borodinskii is a former fashion model who now runs his own mega-corporation including magazines, fashion, and appearances on television reality shows.  He also has someone trying to kill him, but his arrogance leaves him refusing to take the threat seriously.  He calls a military-trained bodyguard “sweetheart” and makes fun of how he looks. He uses humiliation as a weapon at virtually every turn.

But he also adores his Russian grandmother who has a sharper tongue than he does, and he viciously protective of those he sees as his own, going so far as to hire a bodyguard for a low-level employee.

But honestly, Asymmetrical is stalled because it’s hard to write Myles. I think one of the reasons this prompt with Jayne appealed to me was because I was struggling with Myles and writing that asshole archetype.

A long-suffering hero like Miguel from Urban Shaman or the classic good guy like Charleston from Gathering Storm or even the bratty hero who hides his strength like Ferro in “Shepherd, Slave and Vow” are all easy to write.

Jacqs wasn’t, although I had Jayne to use as a template.

Myles is even harder.

Maybe I’ll wait a while before I try to dig back into this particular character type.

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Reader first

ImageWriting isn’t about writing. It just isn’t.

Writing only becomes significant when it is read. If I write a masterpiece, but I do it in a language that only I can read, I’ve failed.  I’ve failed to use my words to entertain or enlighten.  I’ve failed to take anyone on an emotional journey.  So that brilliant story written in my special code is an utter failure.

What is important is how people read a text.

I am the first to make fun of 50 Shades of Grey.  Truly that book is… yeah.  However, it is successful, and not because of the money.  Okay, not only because of the money.  Face it, that book convinced women to open their minds and explore their own sexuality.  That is powerful.  And the power doesn’t come from the act of writing—all the power comes from the reading.

I never intended the message of Fettered to be that SSC is wrong.  I meant to show that it’s not the only philosophy out there, and by putting Guard in the plot, I hoped to show that everyone had to find their own dynamic. Guard would be the better partner for most subs, just not for Dylan. However, the reader who takes it as an attack on SSC isn’t wrong because that is the interpretation they took from the book, and I can even see where it came from.

My intent is not the ruling factor in understanding my books.

It’s like C.S. Lewis who didn’t intend to write an analogy of Christ, but his children’s book The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, is exactly that.  His intent doesn’t matter as much as the message the reader takes.

But that leaves writers in a difficult situation, especially since for some authors, the line between author and work is dangerously narrow. We all put ourselves in our novels, even when we claim we don’t. So when readers seem to look at our book through a different lens (not wrong, just different), it’s hard to stand back and let that happen.

I know that some authors avoid the review sites because they don’t want to see how others are taking their work. They want to hold onto their own pure image of the text and the tangle of conflicting interpretations strangles their muse.

I’m not so good at avoiding reviews, though, so I have to go into every new review remembering that my books aren’t me.  Readers, reviewers and even my friends have a right to dislike my work. Given that I range from action to scifi to contemporary to paranormal, there’s a good change that any given friend will dislike at least one thing I’ve written.  Add in fanfic, and I’ve run the range from rape recovery fic to pony play to bukkake. Yeah, don’t judge. It was for kink bingo, and I actually made it about the woman-power.

But the point is that someone is going to dislike a story. It doesn’t mean they dislike me.  I had a creative writing professor who put it this way—you have to put your kid on the bus and let other people call him ugly. If you don’t, that story will never grow up and find his way into the world.

Great advice, but not that easy to take.  I think I’ve had it easy because I came up through fanfic.  Say what you want, but fanfic is a playground in more ways than one.  Sure, you make sandcastles out of other people’s stories, but you also learn about the playground rules.  And trust me, there are some nasty playground fights in fanfic.

If you can’t learn to enjoy fandom and shut off some of the nastier comments, you’re going to get driven right back out.

So it’s easier for me to put my kids on that bus. It’s easier for me to have other people call them ugly. It’s easier for me to separate myself from my stories and to step back when someone calls my kids ugly.  Sometimes, I’m even willing to admit that I’ve birthed a few ugly children.


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Guilty Pleasures and Annoying Misses

samGuilty pleasures.  $2.99 guilty pleasures, to be specific.

That seems to be the going price for gay erotica, and I’m not going to comment on the fact that my 360 page novel sells through my publisher for $7.99 (two cents per page) and they’re charging me three dollars for roughly 25 pages (twelve cents per page).

Rant over… I promise.

But honestly, the price does often stop me from indulging in these little treats. Well, that and the fact that I generally prefer to lose myself in a more well-rounded meal.  Jane Davitt, Joey Hill, Sabrina Deane, and Heidi Cullinan all scratch that itch for hot and steamy when I get in the mood.

However, sometimes you want a meal, and sometimes you want to shove a handful of salty potato chips in your mouth and get crumbs all down your cleavage.

It started with a craving for Jesse Bond’s “Bound by the Enemy.”  I wanted it, but it was too short, but I wanted it, but there was no way to develop a character in 25 pages, but I wanted it.  The side of me that eats entire bags of potato chips won.  I bought it.

And I was right.  The characters aren’t developed.  There is a hint of Stockholm, a hint of natural submission, but in the end, we see one whipping scene, and a man we are told is a strong soldier crumbles to sand.  After being rescued, he even refuses to remove his collar.

There were such beautiful suggestions of a good story in there, so much that I would give this three stars, but I couldn’t lose myself in a world where I kept going, “But… but… but.”

However, the writing was so damn good that I bought the second book, and while this had more development, I was still ultimately disappointed, not at what I saw on the page, but at what I didn’t see.

The writing is stunning though.  Absolutely stunning.

So, if I was going to really indulge in the darkest of my dark kinks, then I wanted to see what guilty pleasures were out there.  Ophelia Lovelace’s “Riding the Slave” certainly went for one of my guilty pleasures… ponyplay.

Again, I had the whole stupid internal debate about cost because this time the damn thing was only 17 pages.  17! And again, my inner glutton won.

There just isn’t enough ponyplay or puppyplay in the world, and honestly, too much of it rests on the humiliation side of the fence.  Yes, dehumanization and humiliation can be a huge part of this culture, but so can loving and caring for someone. Think about how much you cared for your first pet, for the dog that grew up with you, for a favorite horse or cat.  Now think about all that unconditional adoration transferred onto a submissive.  Honest guys, it can be incredibly hot.

So, back to “Riding the Slave.”

It has some damn good trappings.  There’s a man who chooses to put himself in slavery to study a culture, so I don’t have to worry about non-con, and within three pages, it’s pretty clear that he’s as submissive as he can get, which would explain putting himself in slavery.

That’s all good.

And there’s a nice balance between some dehumanizing moments and the affection of the stablemaster toward our hapless slave.  However, there’s no sinking into submission.  There’s just some verbal wandwaving, and now Mike has no human ambition and only wants to serve master. Between the first day when he was put in tack and then whipped for disobedience and the end where the people from his university come to retrieve him, the story falls into empty generalities.

I want to like it. But I can’t.  Two stars for some very good set up for hotness, but there’s a lack of follow through.

I almost stopped.  I did.  I mean, I can see where this trend is going, but luckily I have no self-control because the third time was the charm.

Jackpot!

I found the 2.99 naughty treat I’d been craving without knowing it.  Brad Vance’s “Sam’s Reluctant Submission”

Sam is straight, and so is Derek.  At least Derek claims he’s straight, but he also has a penchant for competition and screwing the men who lose.  He offers the military bad-ass Sam a deal… if Sam can evade him for two days, he gets $10,000.  These are two strong men who know the stakes and go into it with eyes open.  Derek is an expert at psyops (psychological operations) and stealth.  Sam is an expert at SERE (Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape). There are no helpless victims here.

But what I love about both parts one and two is that there are two battles going on. Which man is the bigger military badass?  Which man is the more psychologically honest with himself?  Which can survive seeing the truth in all its raw glory?

Okay, so I wanted more, and I still chafe at the lack of those little details that would help me get to know these men, but the alpha dog posturing, the strong men, and the military details all make this a solid winner.  Four stars.

I still have potato chip cravings.  “Enemy Captive” by Clara Bright whispers to me, but you know, I haven’t had great luck.  And at 11 pages, do any of us really think that Ms. Bright can overcome the potato chip nature of these short treats?

I think it’s time to go back to eating balanced meals.


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How to Plagiarize

writing pen artistic

Pulled to publish fanfiction. A dozen different books that feature a bazillionaire with sex issues falling for the innocent virgin.  Plagiarism.

These are the key words that are designed to make reviewers’ hearts skip a beat.  They rail.  They pound the keyboards in fury.

What is an author to do?  Simple.  Plagiarize well.  Yep.  You need to know your plagiarism rules.

Rule 1: Setting

If you’re ripping off something (your work or someone else’s), change the setting.  No, that does not mean go from Washington State University Vancouver to University of Oregon.  It means you change the whole reality.  You move from contemporary to science fiction, from fantasy to historical.  You really get off your ass and move that entire reality.

Let’s look at a confrontation from my fanfic “Butterfly Kisses” where Xander learns that his former mentor nearly got him killed while plotting to kill their former enemy turned ally and lover—Spike.

“Honey, we’re home,” Xander called as he walked in the door, bellowing like a sitcom father.

“Xander. Oh thank god,” Giles said. Giles’ smile vanished when Spike followed.

“Evening,” Spike said, narrowing his eyes in warning. He wanted to kill, and Rupert needed to understand that the soul wouldn’t stop Spike—not when he faced an enemy. As far as Spike was concerned, putting Rupert down would be a favor to Buffy and Xander.

“Spike.” Giles’ voice was utterly devoid of emotion.

“Funny thing happened on the way to the forums,” Xander said with a mock cheerfulness that reminded Spike eerily of Angelus, “and now it’s time for all the little Watchers to get the hell out of my house.”

“What?” Willow had been sitting in Spike’s chair, a huge book in her lap, but now her head snapped up like a poppet’s.

Being fanfic, this is set in the world of slayers and vampires and watchers created by Joss Whedon. I really can’t copy that setting. So how about turning this into a hard-core science fiction?

There are no slayers, so to give Buffy’s character authority and leadership responsibility, we can have her be the captain.  Giles, her former mentor, can then be a retired captain she served under for years before having to ask for his help. And the reference to Angelus won’t work, because the setting has changed, so we’ll have to be more explicit there. That could work. So, let’s run the text through that filter.

“Honey, we’re home,” Xander called as he stepped up the ramp into the loading bay proper.  He bellowed the words like some sort of sitcom father from those old vids from Earth.

“Xander. Oh thank god,” Captain Giles said. His smile vanished when Spike followed.

“Evening,” Spike said, narrowing his eyes in warning. He wanted to kill, and the captain needed to understand that the fear of getting arrested wouldn’t stop Spike—not when he faced an enemy. As far as Spike was concerned, putting Rupert down would be a favor to Buffy and Xander.

“Spike.” The captain’s voice was utterly devoid of emotion.

“Funny thing happened on the way to the forums,” Xander said with a mock cheerfulness that reminded Spike eerily of his old captain when he’d run with the pirates.  That man had seen a good disemboweling as art, and right now, Spike was starting to think that Xander might have that same violence in him. “Now it’s time for all the little ex-Captains to get the hell off of my ship.”

“What?” Willow had been entering data onto the deck console, but now her head snapped up like a poppet’s.

Rule 2: Characterization

Now we’re getting somewhere. It’s starting to feel a little better, but it’s still nowhere near acceptable because the characters are still clearly fanfic characters, especially Xander.  That inappropriate humor is totally Xander, and I need to give my original story original characters.

Okay, so my Xander is going to be a little darker, edgier and a man of fewer words.

But wait.  If he’s all danger-boy, then why would he need to make an alliance with a dangerous ex-pirate Spike?  Why would Giles be surprised that Xander survived?  Okay, this changing personality thing is harder than it looks.

Right then, what if Xander is a bookish sort, sick from childhood with lungs still prone to pneumonia?  The rest of the crew are family, and they’ve sheltered him, and only Spike—the newest on the ship—notices that Xander has a coldly dangerous mind.  Okay, that fits.  Let’s run that through.

“We’re back,” Xander called as he stepped up the ramp into the loading bay proper.  His voice rasped, but given their recent adventures, it was hardly surprising. At least he’d gotten control of the coughing that had racked him earlier.

“Xander. Oh thank god,” Captain Giles said. His smile vanished when Spike followed.

“Evening,” Spike said, narrowing his eyes in warning. He wanted to kill, and the captain needed to understand that the fear of getting arrested wouldn’t stop Spike—not when he faced an enemy. As far as Spike was concerned, putting Rupert down would be a favor to Buffy and Xander.

“Spike.” The captain’s voice was utterly devoid of emotion.

“You won’t guess who we ran into on dock,” Xander said with a mock cheerfulness that reminded Spike eerily of his old captain when he’d run with the pirates.  That man had seen a good disemboweling as art, and right now, Spike was starting to think that Xander might have that same violence in him. “Now it’s time for certain ex-Captains to get the hell off of my ship.”

“What?” Willow had been entering data onto the deck console, but now her head snapped up like a poppet’s.

Better, but not okay. Spike still sounds awfully Spike-like.  Okay, so we know he’s a pirate, right?  Well, ex-pirate.  He’s a bad guy turned good guy who still has a lot of the bad going for him, but if he was a space pirate and all-around bad-ass, when did he have time to learn words like “poppet”?  Yeah. Never.  So, through another filter we go, this time for Spike.

“All clear,” Spike said, narrowing his eyes in warning. He wanted to put a blaster in this asshole’s gut and pull the trigger.  He desperately wanted to see flesh rip and burn as Giles’ collapsed with his hands clutching at his stomach.  And the captain needed to understand that the fear of getting arrested wouldn’t stop Spike—not when he faced an enemy. As far as Spike was concerned, blasting a hole in Rupert Giles would be a favor to Xander and Captain Summers.

“Spike.” The captain’s voice was utterly devoid of emotion.

“You won’t guess who we ran into on dock,” Xander said with a mock cheerfulness that reminded Spike eerily of his old captain when he’d run with the pirates.  That man had seen a good disemboweling as art, and right now, Spike was starting to think that Xander might have that same violence in him.

“Now it’s time for certain ex-Captains to get the hell off of my ship.”

“What?” Willow had been entering data onto the deck console, but now her head came up like a gun turret snapping into position.

Whoo hoo.  Okay, that sounds good.  But wait.  Xander and Buffy Summers and Spike and Giles?  Yeah, the names have got to go.

“We’re back,” Hill called as he stepped up the ramp into the loading bay proper.  His voice rasped, but given their recent adventures, it was hardly surprising. At least he’d gotten control of the coughing that had racked him earlier.

“Hill. Oh thank god,” Captain Courvier said. His smile vanished when Mueller followed.

“All clear,” Mueller said, narrowing his eyes in warning. He wanted to put a blaster in this asshole’s gut and pull the trigger.  He desperately wanted to see flesh rip and burn as Courvier collapsed with his hands clutching at his stomach.  And the captain needed to understand that the fear of getting arrested wouldn’t stop Muller—not when he faced an enemy. As far as Muller was concerned, blasting a hole in Rupert Giles would be a favor to Hill and Captain Bolton.

“Muller.” Courvier’s voice was utterly devoid of emotion.

“You won’t guess who we ran into on dock,” Hill said with a mock cheerfulness that reminded Muller eerily of his old captain when he’d run with the pirates.  That man had seen a good disemboweling as art, and right now, Muller was starting to think that quiet, bookish little Hill might have that same violence in him. Hill smiled maliciously as he delivered his next line.

“Now it’s time for certain ex-Captains to get the hell off of my ship.”

“What?” Della had been entering data onto the deck console, but now her head came up like a gun turret snapping into position.

Rule 3: Plot

The plot has to be changed enough to fit this new setting and new characterization.  If you change it enough to do that, trust me, you will change it enough that no one will catch you copying.  Right then, if we’re in space, the big bad is clearly not the First.  And honestly, I’m bored with the all-controlling government as the big bad.

So, let’s make the big bad a mining conglomerate called the Viking Company that is trying to monopolize the jump gates.  Hill and his Captain Shelly Bolton are a small family ship trying to fight back when the company goes from lawsuits (which they lose) to hiring pirates to drive off the other ships.

Muller comes into the plot when he jumps from pirating to the Bolton family ship to try and save his sister.  His sister doesn’t appreciate his attempts to get her out of the path of danger, and she tells him to fuck off before shooting him in the leg, leaving Muller to either crew up with the Boltons or get spaced when his old enemies catch up with him. That seems at least as believable as the subplot with Drusilla, and no, we’re not even going to discuss the damn chip.

Okay, this has some possibility.

“We’re back,” Hill called as he stepped up the ramp into the loading bay proper.  His voice rasped, but given their recent adventures, it was hardly surprising. At least he’d gotten control of the coughing that had racked him earlier.

“Hill. Oh thank god,” Captain Courvier said. His smile vanished when Mueller followed.

“All clear,” Mueller said as he scanned the deck behind them for danger. It wasn’t like the Viking Company to give up on an opportunity to sabotage a ship, particularly the Bolton’s Highflyer. It made Muller wonder what fee Courvair had gotten in return for trying to betray him to his old crew. On pirate ships, he would have expected betrayal, but being on the Highflyer was making him soft because it fucking hurt to think that this asshole had tried to sell him out.

He wanted to put a blaster in this asshole’s gut and pull the trigger.  He desperately wanted to see flesh rip and burn as Courvier collapsed with his hands clutching at his stomach.  And Courvair needed to understand that the fear of getting arrested or of getting tortured by his old crew wouldn’t stop Muller. As far as Muller was concerned, blasting a hole in Daniel Courvier would be a favor to Hill and Captain Bolton.

“Muller.” Courvier’s voice was utterly devoid of emotion.

“You won’t guess who we ran into on dock,” Hill said with a mock cheerfulness that reminded Muller eerily of his old captain.  That man had seen a good disemboweling as art, and right now, Muller was starting to think that quiet, bookish little Hill might have that same violence in him. Hill smiled maliciously as he delivered his next line.

“Now it’s time for certain ex-Captains to get the hell off of my ship.”

“What?” Della had been entering data onto the deck console, but now her head came up like a gun turret snapping into position.

Rule Four: Erase the fingerprints

So, what do you think? Have I successfully plagiarized?  How much of the original text is still there?  You need to shove the original and your new version into something like textdiff.com and see what you are dragging with you.  You need to check for fingerprints, meaning phrases longer than three or four words that might betray you to those pesky plagiarism checkers and rabid reviewers with their keyboard pounding.

called as he  …  the  …  oh thank god  …  said  …  smile vanished when  …  followed  …  his  …  wanted to  …  and  …  needed to understand that the  …  as far as  …  was concerned  …  would be a favor to  …  and  …  voice was utterly devoid of emotion  …  said with a mock cheerfulness that reminded  …  it’s time for  …  to get the hell   …  of my  …  what?  …  had been  …  but now her head  …  up like a  … 

Oh my. I have some phrases to change.  Let me try this again.

“We’re back,” Hill called as he stepped up the ramp into the loading bay proper.  His voice rasped, but given their recent adventures, it was hardly surprising. At least he’d gotten control of the coughing that had racked him earlier.

“Hill. Thank the merciful gods of merchants,” Captain Courvier said. His smile faded when Mueller followed.

“All clear,” Mueller said as he scanned the deck behind them for danger. It wasn’t like the Viking Company to give up on an opportunity to sabotage a ship, particularly the Bolton’s Highflyer. It made Muller wonder what fee Courvair had gotten in return for trying to betray him to his old crew. On pirate ships, he would have expected betrayal, but being on the Highflyer was making him soft because it fucking hurt to think that this asshole had tried to sell him out.

He wanted to put a blaster in this asshole’s gut and pull the trigger.  He desperately wanted to see flesh rip and burn as Courvier collapsed with his hands clutching at his stomach.  And Courvair needed to know that fear wouldn’t stop Mueller, not fear of getting arrested or of getting tortured by his old crew. As far as Muller was concerned, blasting a hole in Daniel Courvier would be a kindness toward Hill and Captain Bolton.

“Muller.” Courvier’s voice was flat.

“You won’t guess who we ran into on dock,” Hill said with an almost cruel imitation of delight that reminded Muller eerily of his old captain.  That man had seen a good disemboweling as art, and right now, Muller was starting to think that quiet, bookish little Hill might have that same violence in him. Hill smiled maliciously as he delivered his next line.

“Now it’s time for certain ex-Captains to get the hell off of my ship.”

“What?” Della had been entering data onto the deck console, but at that her head came up like a gun turret snapping into position.

And now I’ve successfully plagiarized myself. At least, I don’t think I’ll get caught.

So, reviewing the steps, we start with picking a piece (and please pick well. If you feel a need to plagiarize 50 Shades of Grey, people will make fun of you, as they should).

Then follow the rules to filter that text.  Change the setting. Then redo the characterization and character backgrounds and names.  Third, get an original plot in there, and finally erase the fingerprints.

Then you can start editing for consistency and clarity and grammar and all the normal things you must do with a text.

Effective plagiarism, or even pulling fanfic to republish, requires no less. If you’re not prepared to plagiarize well, then I have another rule for you…

Don’t.


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Five Star Self

Don’t rate your own books!

That’s the advice from most people, but then I’ve never been much of a rule follower. Oh, I follow rules that I agree with or even the ones I think questionable but I understand the rule-creator’s purpose. I really do try to avoid “naughty” words with my high school students, although a “hell” slips out every once in a while.

However, rating your own books hardly seems like a great sin.

What is the harm of rating a book? I suppose some would say it skews the statistics. Well, so does the one-star rating I have that berates me for on-page underage rape in Desert World. 1) There’s no on-screen rape. 2) All the characters are adults.

Shrug. It happens.

So if the overall ratings are already skewed, what’s the big deal?

I suppose the bigger sin is arrogance. After all, if you think everything you write is five-star, doesn’t that make you a raging egomaniac? Is that simple pride in your work?

Trust me, I don’t think everything I write is perfect. I have 17 works on Goodreads. One is simply awful, and I don’t know why it’s even listed there because it was part of an “Easter-egg hunt” on the Dreamspinner website and was never intended as stand-alone story.

I wrote one novella during one of the darkest times in my life when I was inches from unemployment and being harassed by a boss who was breaking the law and I had no proof. I think that negativity came through on the page because when I read it now, the words seem far more jagged than I ever intended.

However, out of 17 works, I have rated five of them as five-star because I want to tell people which of my novels I am truly proud of… the ones that I wouldn’t go back and rewrite, even if I could magically make the previous version vanish.

If people look up my profile, I use those stars to try and tell readers where I think they should start.

Desert World Allegiances and Desert World Rebirth taken together create one of my favorite couples. They start as idiots and each has to come to terms with his own demons before they come together.

The two BDSM novels I’m really proud of, Fettered and Gathering Storm, both treat BDSM practitioners as real people, and that’s the one thing that annoys me when I’m reading—the idea that those into the lifestyle do nothing except brandish a whip all day every day.

And my beloved Blowback. Blowback is what I want out of femdom. The female lead is strong enough to let her sub be tough as nails without ever doubting her own ability to bring that junkyard dog back to heel.

So I rated them five stars, and I’m sticking by it. They are the only books I’ve written that I go back and reread myself.

However, with every book I hope to create that new five-star read that I will read in bed on my Kindle with the lights out. If, a few months after my new book comes out, you find that I’ve rated it five stars, then you know I’ve been able to reread my work without cringing at the things I didn’t do and the scenes I could have written and didn’t.