Oh, it’s a special day indeed. My best friend since childhood has just released her first romance novel, JADED, under the name Ember Leigh! I asked her to spend her release day on my blog, and she said yes. Good thing, or I would have stopped speaking to her and forced one of our other friends to pass along notes explaining why I was angry.
Ember and I began our smut obsession at—I’m estimating we were thirteen, Ember, because I was still in band at the time—at thirteen, with CHILDREN OF THE PORN, an erotic fanfic starring the cast of FRIENDS, Tom Cruise, and Hanson. We tried our hand at writing romance novels when we were sixteen. Mine ended up full of cheating, scheming, abuse…and whips. Hers was kind of the plot of Two Weeks Notice.
I think she understood the game faster than I did.
We still like different things in our romances. But that hasn’t stopped ultra-vanilla Ember from entering the Kingdom of Man-kink to give me a guest post.
Take it away, Ember!
EL: When it comes to luck in the universal grand theme of things, I really lucked out.
Growing up, I had a dense group of 4 best friends. Definitively 'the weird kids', we were so weird that most people didn't bother teasing us. This led to more weirdness, which eventually led to acceptance and even *gasp* some respect for our weirdness. We were the kids making dying-animal noises in the hallway amongst ourselves, scribbling notes constantly to exchange in Spanish class (which would go on to become novels), and rearranging posters in public spaces to spell the word 'poo'.
The five of us gelled around age 13. That was almost 20 years ago. We're still best friends to this day.
Another way in which my universal luck runs deep? J.A. Rock is one of those childhood best friends.
She and I started writing together when we were about 16. We held weekly editing meetings in the local library and revised manuscripts of dubitable quality (all romances), struggled with plot questions (like, "I think my story doesn't have a plot") and considered title choices (should it be titled 'Perfection' or 'Imperfection'?).
My universal luck didn't just bring J.A. Rock to me as a best friend, the universe brought her as my editor and First Reader. She's like my right-hand woman on the ship that navigates strictly prose. Storms on those seas constitute character inconsistencies and plot holes, which are no picnic to weather. Sometimes entire characters disappear into the dense chop of adjectives and adverbs, which rage hard against the stern of the ship.
I'm writing this article and I still don't understand why I got dealt such a fine hand in the Eternal Soul Mate Friend Category. If this were poker, my cheeks would be twitching with the strain of containing my satisfied smirk.
Even though J.A Rock and I have been writing and editing together since we were 16 years old, our styles have always been very different (well, unless you count hilarious as a style). As well as our topic matter.
See, it was JA who introduced me to BDSM. And I don't mean that she tied me to a chair and calmly informed me of a safe word before beginning a very physical lesson about BDSM, but rather that she took the time to explain all the shades and permutations and quirks and, of course, what it even stands for.
Entering her world, albeit with only a Press Pass and no privileges to touch or to linger too long, was fascinating. It was a completely different world all together.
In fact, her world made me realize just how vanilla my world actually was.
So we're all clear, I very much prefer and choose my vanilla world. But when it comes to book blurbs and interesting summaries, well, my novels just feel so boring in comparison.
I know J.A. Rock is the most famous M/M BDSM author out there (right? I come from Hetero World, so, I could be wrong), but just so everyone is clear, my novel coming out today is M/F Contemporary Erotic Romance. I'm going to make a list of what my novel doesn't offer so there are no false hopes.
And by the way, my novel is Jaded. A construction crew shows up to remodel Isabella's house, a surprise gift from her meddling mother, but what nobody expects is that her love life ends up completely remodeled as well when hunky Luke sets his sights on her. Though she's sure he's just a player using the wrong head, Isabella quickly learns there's more than meets the eye. Will she let her guard down and let him in, or will she be forever Jaded?
J.A: Ooh, I just got tingles. Let’s see this list, shall we?
THINGS JADED DOES NOT CONTAIN:
1. Spanking. My characters don't spank each other for any of the following purposes: fun, chastisement, to induce humiliation, sexual pleasure, or theatrical reproductions.
What about for money?
2. Gay sex. Pure hetero sex here, which means vaginal penetration enacted by a penis. Between grown, consenting male and female adults. But in male/female pairings. Only.
3. Anal. My characters do not participate in anything anal, which includes the use of the following implements: fingers, penises, plugs, vegetables, dildos or vibrators. My characters do, however, have anuses, which are not referenced at any point in the narrative.
Major editorial oversight.
4. Brats. Jaded contains no brats, which, according to my J.A. Rockducation, are back-sassin' young men who are seeking the guidance of an older, wiser dom to obtain discipline they both crave yet reject. My characters are generally well-rounded adults and, while Luke is a bit egotistic and makes bad choices from time to time, he can own up to it and nobody would call him a brat (not to his face, at least).
Lol, pretty good! Though brats can also be old. And any gender. Why, Ember, you could write a m/f brat story, if you wanted…
5. Mark Cooper. Unfortunately, you can only find this guy in Mark Cooper Versus America, which you can buy from J.A. and Lisa Henry here.
(I did not even tell her to say that. She’s just a really good friend.)
After all this, if any of you are interested in reading Jaded, you can find it here. Thanks for letting me on your blog, J.A. Rock! Let's be real --- despite all the complex, stimulating, sometimes weird flavors in the world, what's the best ice cream topping for a fresh, warm m/f contemporary brownie? VANILLA.
WITH SPANKING SAUCE!!!!
Ember, you should know that you’ve taught me a great deal about vanilla heterosexual intercourse. And while I’m a little sad that you did not take my suggestion to change some of JADED’s sexual content and retitle the book ISABELLA AND LUKE DO ANAL, I think it was probably for the best. I’m so, so lucky to have you in my life, and I’m so proud of you. Thank you for being here.
JADED is out now from Breathless Press!
And you can find out more about Ember Leigh here:
And you can find out more about Ember Leigh here:
Hey, Ember, bring JADED over here so BY HIS RULES can make out with it…