Friday, July 25, 2014

Brandon Mills versus the V-Card

Lisa Henry and I have an acceptance on our sequel to MARK COOPER VERSUS AMERICA, BRANDON MILLS VERSUS THE V-CARD. It was originally BRANDON MILLS VERSUS VIRGINITY, but Amazon is having a little prude party, which you can read more about over at Lisa Henry's place. But we're very happy with V-Card, and even happier to get to share book two of the Prescott chronicles with you sometime in the near future!

Smart, shy Prescott sophomore Brandon Mills is working hard to overcome his troubled past and be normal. Life at Prescott, and in his fraternity, Phi Sigma Kappa, is good. With the help of his friends Mark and Deacon, Brandon is slowly coming out of his shell. When he accidentally drenches a freshman in orange soda, though, he faces something he’s not ready for: a boy crushing on him.

Alex Kekoa pledges Phi Sig because it has everything he wants: a house full of nerds who won’t tease him for being smart, a dog, and Brandon Mills. Brandon is just the type of guy Alex needs to help fulfill his college ambition: losing his virginity. Except Alex doesn’t know that Brandon can’t stand to touch or be touched.

When Alex and Brandon are drafted onto the Phi Sig Academic Challenge team, they start spending time together. If there’s anyone who can help Brandon discover it feels good to touch and kiss, maybe it’s klutzy Alex with his cute glasses and his dinosaur obsession. But as the competition--and their relationship--heats up, Alex’s determination not to die a virgin clashes with Brandon’s vow of lifelong celibacy, forcing them to examine what’s truly important to each of them about love.

Friday, July 18, 2014


Meet TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, newly under contract with Loose Id! This one has a very frenetic--but I hope fun--narrator. He's only eighteen, but he's got a lot of opinions. And at least ninety-nine problems. The farmer's market is one. School is another. His perpetually-screaming family. His internet friend, Evan. His sister's mafia dollhouse. The random guy online who wants to pee on him. The subversive characters from his Spanish workbook. And this:

Here's the working blurb:

Dresden Marich has failed out of high school three months shy of graduation. He’s infatuated with his online friend, Evan, alienated from his family and former classmates, and still trying to recover from his father’s death six years ago. He’s also keeping a troubling secret about his older brother, Gunner, who is currently away at boot camp.

Then Dresden meets Caleb, a judgmental environmentalist who’s hardly Dresden’s fantasy come true. But Caleb seems to understand Dresden’s desire for rough sex, big feelings, and, ultimately, safety. As Dresden becomes embroiled in a farmers market drama involving Caleb, a couple of bullying tomato enthusiasts, and a gang of vigilante vegans, he discovers he might be willing to trade a fantasy relationship with Evan for a shot at something real with Caleb.

But Dresden fears telling quick-to-judge Caleb his secret, and the news that Gunner is coming home sends him fleeing to California for a chance to meet Evan in person and hopefully fall in love. When the meeting doesn’t go as expected, Dresden faces a choice: stay in California and carve out a new life, or take the long road home to his family, Caleb, and a past he must face if he has any hope for a future.

In other news, BRAT-TISTIC, the omnibus paperback of the WACKY WEDNESDAY and THE BRAT-TASTIC JAYK PARKER, is now available. So if you've been saying to yourself lately, "Man, I'd really like to read two books about domestic discipline bound together in one convenient tome, but I'd also like them to feature body swapping and a cake that tastes like butt cum," look no further. I've got you. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

BDSM Blog Hop: Using Our Words

Hi, and welcome to the BDSM blog hop, running July 5-13! Visit the hop's main page to see what BDSM readers and writers have to say about the lifestyle. Today I'm talking about misusing the BDSM label in fiction. Krog! Bring me my soapbox!

We know BDSM encompasses a massive range of activities and identities. But what does an activity need to be in order to fall under the BDSM umbrella?

Say it with me: Safe. Sane. And consensual.

BDSM stands for bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadomasochism. Individually, these terms aren’t defined by the presence of consent, or even sex. But when you’re using the letters together, you’re referring to a variety of consensual practices with protocols in place to ensure the safety of the participants.

Which is why it bothers me when publishers include rape, torture, abuse, and kidnapping books in their BDSM and/or kink categories.

I used to see it happen a lot. And I still see it happen some. It’s like if there’s a whip in the book, regardless of why it’s there, the book gets labeled BDSM. I read a story last year that featured zero consensual sexual activity and pretty much nonstop rape and torture, and was asked by my Kindle when I finished, “Want More Unconventional Kink?” This was followed by a list of recommended reads. An eyeball licking fetish might be an unconventional kink. Rape? Um, no.

One of the biggest misconceptions the BDSM community has struggled with over the years is the idea that what we do is abuse. That it is violent, damaging, and only practiced by people who have a screw or two loose.

I get that in romance, readers have certain “kinks” we enjoy reading about but know are not okay in real life. Capture. Forced sexual slavery. Getting busy with krakens. But there are a lot of romance and erotica books on the market that portray capture, rape, and abuse, not as an erotic fantasy, but as crimes. And still get shelved as BDSM.

So the deal is, if it’s a story where the relationship and/or the sex is nonconsensual, it’s not BDSM. In BDSM, there’s consensual nonconsent—pre-negotiated enactment of a nonconsensual fantasy—but rape, even the I-was-ravished-by-pirates-and-was-surprised-by-how-much-I-enjoyed-it kind, is not BDSM. If it’s a story featuring mental or physical abuse—non-negotiated, nonconsensual damage to a person’s body or psyche—it’s not BDSM.

I know there are some gray areas. Anne Rice’s Beauty trilogy isn’t consensual, but it is clearly a fantasy, taking place in an imaginary kingdom in a time that never was and with participants who become willing (not to imply that a participant becoming willing after the fact is EVER an excuse for rape IRL). Would I call it a BDSM story? Yes. Why? I don’t know. Probably the spicy buttplugs. I do think it’s necessary, in a genre that explores taboos the way erotic romance does, to draw some distinction between realistically portrayed rape and violence, and very obvious fantasy.

The BDSM label in fiction is perhaps more for the benefit of readers, and doesn’t necessarily refer to how the characters in the story define their relationship. But what does it do for the real world perception of BDSM to put a book about a consensual kinky relationship in the same category as the stuff Law and Order: SVU episodes are made of? I love reading the SVU stuff. But I don’t want to see it on a list of Kinky Recommendations.

It’s time for the writing world to use its words and make a distinction between BDSM and abuse.  

And I’ll bet making that distinction could give rise to some creative new marketing categories…