50 Shades of F**ked up!

  This weekend marks the release of 50 Shades in theaters. I’ve wrestled with this and haven’t written about it until today.

I’ll admit it, I couldn’t finish the first book. For me there was a huge ick factor in it. The female is barely an adult and a virgin to boot. Losing her virginity to a Dom who is angry and jealous made me very uncomfortable. Maybe it’s because I know too many kids around that age, ( I know I’m showing my age here…lol.) including my now 18 yr old son.

Writing about this subject is a delicate thing. Fans of the books are naturally going to defend this series and will point out that writers who are against this are jealous. I freely admit I’m envious of the book’s success, who wouldn’t be? But, it’s the content of the book that has me shaking my head.

BDSM is a complicated thing and this movie doesn’t even come close to being a healthy relationship. There are writers out there who do it right and do it better. When VJ and I wrote our Cooperate Affairs series, we did an insane amount of research and continued to do so when we started writing our novella series Scenes from Velvet Ice.  The world of BDSM is so much more than being tied and whipped.

While the physical aspects are wide and varied, the emotional component is really what it’s all about.

Safe, sane and consensual are the main components of such a relationship. Negotiation paramount. The power exchange should always be understood and followed. Laymen need to understand that it’s the submissive who has all the power, not the Dom. Spelling out limits, respecting each other and trusting the other person completely are just a few of the things that MUST happen to have a true BDSM relationship.

What bothers me the most, is that readers or movie goers, who aren’t familiar with the lifestyle will experiment with it and may end up getting hurt, either physically or mentally.

“But it’s only fiction!” I can hear people saying that over and over again.

Yes, it’s true, its fiction but for those who aren’t familiar with the delicate dance that is BDSM probably see this as an actual portrayal of such a relationship.Practicing what they’ve seen on the screen in their own lives, without the knowledge of the emotion toll they weren’t expecting and don’t know how to deal with.

Playing Dom and Sub without understanding the entirety of this kind of relationship has the potential to move from sex to abuse, and eventually some will confuse the acts themselves.

True, subs will enter contracts that are very specific in nature. What the limits will be and what crosses the line. Both the Dom and Sub know exactly what to expect from each other. The potential for abuse is very real and anyone seeing this movie needs to understand that it isn’t close to the reality of a TRUE BDSM relationship. There are plenty of curios people who may not understand that 50 Shades is nothing more than fiction.

For some the idea of this kind of play will seem intriguing and it can be a very satisfying relationship but the reality of what it means to submit, to put all your trust in another person, riding the edge of your limits, is delicate. Playing these games without understanding the emotions behind them is pretty scary.

Giving another person your absolute trust is difficult in most circumstances. I shiver to think that movie goers will leave the theater and go home and try to do what they saw on the screen. Then might be left afterwards feeling hurt, shame, and a whole host of other negative emotions that will stay with you. Make you look differently at your partner, if they accidentally hurt you because neither of you have the experience because they didn’t do any research on what it’s like.  I worry that abuse could be passed off as BDSM. That people will think it’s all about pain and that it could put a big rift between couples if they take things too far.

The warm up and the aftercare are just as important as the scene itself. These are deeply emotional times and it’s up to the Dom to see to his subs needs.

I’ve put my total trust in a lover before and when that trust is broken it is devastating.

  If you’re going to see the movie please keep some things in mind. This started as a work of fiction. Fiction that started out as fanfic for Twilight, not for BDSM. Melding the two is scary. If you’re unfamiliar with the lifestyle you shouldn’t look at this film as a “HOW TO” but treat it as nothing more than a complete fantasy.

If you want to know what goes on in a true BDSM relationship, there are plenty of authors who write  the reality of such a relationship is.

The best example is Joey W. Hill. She’s written these stories for many years and is so damn accurate about not only the physical but the emotion toll these relationships can have. She’s a must read if you want a real portrayal of a Dom and his/her Sub.

Before embarking on this kind of play there are several things you absolutely should do.

Read on the subject matter. There are plenty of non-fiction books that detail a real Dom/Sub encounter.

Visit a real dungeon, so that you can see exactly what happens say when you get whipped and ask yourself the hard questions.

Will any pain you’re given enhance the sex you have?

Can you give up control to another person?

Do you both understand that as the Sub, you can stop whatever you’re doing at anytime when you feel uncomfortable?

Do you understand that a Dom/Sub relationship is much more than whips, ropes and toys. It’s an emotional connection, one where you are both on the same page.

This kind of relationship can be the best thing ever or your worst nightmare.

Nothing is more dangerous to the heart, body and soul, then when people may possibly get abused and mistaking it for BDSM. Abuse is abuse…period.

As I’ve said there are  plenty of great fiction that presents a truer perspective of BDSM. A lot of authors, including myself and VJ, who’ve been writing these stories for ten years. I like that this book opened up the door to this subject. Unfortunately the facts are wrong, this feeling it invokes in me are wrong.

Tread carefully and keep in mind this a fantasy and nowhere even close to reality. Indulge your fantasy, but always have the facts before trying anything.

 

Sound Track for my new novel.

I haven’t made a specific soundtrack for any books since 2008. I always listen to music but back then I had certain artists/albums that were playing in the background, especially for The Worthington’s. Going through my music I found an album that spoke to me and to the story I’m working on. Kane and Josie are the protagonists in my new w.i.p. So I thought I’d share some of the songs from the cd title Amarylis. Scene after scene popped into my mind every time I listen to it.

These particular songs fit my characters as they deal with loss, mistrust, dark pasts and finally falling for each other.

Closing out 2014

          2 days left before 2014 is behind us. This is the first time in many years that I’m looking forward to starting a new year. So many wonderful things have happened over this year and I’ve learned so much about myself. I was finally able to pull myself out of the pity party I was having and living for today. My personal life has finally come full circle and I’m enjoying time spent with those I love. I’ve removed those who were toxic from my life and have allowed others back in.

Adding to all the positives has been the weather in Michigan. Yeah, it’s starting to get cold but there’s been no snow (it’s coming I know but hey I’ll take it). The best thing by far has been all the sunny days we’ve had. The worst thing about winter here is the dark and dreary days that bleed together as days turn to months. This Leo is thrilled and grateful for everyday of sunshine we get and I always make sure to spend some time outside, enjoying the large, yellow orb in the sky. I love the summers here and have no problems with the heat unless it’s really humid out. I could never live in Florida or Georgia just because of the humidity. Even if I lived close to the water there’s nothing quite as oppressive as hot, humid days. But luckily we don’t suffer too much from that. Some years have been worse but all in all I can’t complain.

My writing has exploded over the past three months and I’m so excited about the coming year and what I’m working on. I’m going to experiment a little with some of my stories.

1. I’m delving into Urban fantasy. Yes, there will be some romantic element to the stories but I’m focusing more on the action and world building aspect and the romance will be more of a sub plot. My dystopian re-telling of King Arthur will fit nicely into this category.

2. I also have a new series I’m working on that I thought would be my urban fantasy but the more I’ve written the more it’s become clear that the romance is just as important as the other elements of the story. How erotic I’m going to make it remains to be seen. But I’m really excited about it.

3. I have a new werewolf series I’ve been working on as well. I haven’t published anything new since March but I have been writing.

4. I’m also working on the 4th Alexander Wolves book- Nolan’s Dark Sacrifice. I’ve had a lot of readers ask me about that book and it’s been started.

5. I would like to revisit Club BBW. I deleted Silky Sweet which told the owner of the clubs story. For my own personal reasons I killed the story and want to re-write it with a new hero that is a better match for my girl.

6. Finally VJ and I will have something from the world of Club Velvet Ice, hopefully more but I don’t know what or when that will be.

I’ve set these specific goals because it’s time. Taking the year off was what I needed to do. I didn’t like it. Didn’t like feeling like I was paralyzed but it helped me to really come to terms with what is important, who is important and where my place in the world is. Profound? No, millions of people go through the same thing all the time and as we all know you can’t tell anyone, anything they don’t want to know. They have to learn it on their own and that includes me. It was the end of my time being on the outside looking in. I’ve reached a place where I can say that I’m really, really happy. It’s reflected in the way I take care of myself and my family. In my writing and my belief in love and romance. In the joy I find I have more often than not. I’ve learned to turn off the negative shit and not obsess about it on bad days. I’ve found my compassion again and hope it is with me always.

The beginning of this is going to be a test for sure. My mother is very ill and we aren’t sure what is going to happen with her but I have to hope that things will improve. Wasting time thinking about the worst doesn’t help her and only stresses me out and my dad needs me to help facilitate things for them.

At the same time my son is having MAJOR reconstructive surgery on his foot. My job there will be to take care of him. Make sure his schoolwork is kept up. At this point it looks like he’ll be out of school for about a month or at least until he’s able to get around without a wheelchair or walker. His high school is 3 stories and the elevator has a sketchy history of breaking down. Between the DH and I though we’ll be able to help him through the surgery, recovery and physical therapy. Of course I’m scared as hell but I have faith in his surgeon, he’s one of the best in Mi.

When January is in the mirror, the stress should again die down until the next time.

I’m re-reading series as well. The first is the Christine Feehan, Carpathian novels. 25 in all so far. I stopped reading them after 12 of them so I have plenty more of them to go. I love her writing and am so glad I’m doing this.

So I say adios to 2014. Goodbye to the struggles I used to have. Goodbye to all the negative, self-doubt and worry. I’m looking forward to continuing what I started this year and want nothing more than to make each and every day better than the day before. I’ve  EXISTED for such a long time and have finally been able to be a participant in life once again. Don’t get me wrong. I still won’t be taking any shit from anyone but I also won’t be wasting my time on people,places and things that don’t make me happy and bring nothing but all the bad feelings you can have when you think about them. I didn’t wake up one day and poof, my world was right again. It was a gradual thing, like removing one brick at a time from the wall that’s standing in my way. A continual work in progress that’s working so far.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the New Year celebrations. Please, please don’t drink and drive. I don’t really ever drink, in fact I can’t remember the last time I did and I don’t have anything against it. BUT if you make the stupid ass decision to get behind the wheel after a couple of drinks you’re being selfish and reckless. There are plenty of places that will be offering rides for those who are too drunk to drive. AAA has a program for the New Year’s Eve. Take advantage of all the services out there while you enjoy your holiday. Drunk driving is something that I’m passionate about and those who know me, know they only have to call- at anytime- and I will pick them up. If you’re not a drinker, offer yourself to your friends who may need the help.

          Take care of yourselves and I hope that you all have a spectacular New Year!

All my love,

Sierra

                                           

What I’m Working On.

This last year was the toughest year I’ve ever had where my writing has been concerned. The reasons aren’t important, my reaction to them are. I allowed other things that were out of my control to crowd my thoughts and second guess myself.

I’ve spent the better part of 6 months changing that. From letting go of old hurts and anger. To filling my life with family and friends. I spend a lot of time with my DH and kids, with my friends and my cousins. I started working out and getting some yoga in though I need to do much more of it. I found out that I have a pretty bad case of bursitis and since August have been dealing with the pain everyday. I’ve had cortizone shots in my hips for the last year as well as the joint at the base of my thumb. They don’t do anything so I’ve opted not to continue with them. Instead I’ve been reading up on different vitamins and minerals as well as stress reducing things and they seem to help a little. The pain and stiffness is still there when it’s chilly out but I’m getting used to it at this point. I’ve also lost 20 pounds in hopes that will help my joints.

There’s nothing like physical pain to relieve mental pain though and in an odd way, it’s freed up my mind. Over the past month I’ve been writing more than I have in over a year. It’s been fun because I’m writing because I love it, not because I have to.

Here’s a little what I’m working on now: Nolan’s Dark Sacrifice–The Alexander Wolves Book 4

Nolan Alexander gave up his freedom to the Dark Fae Queen in order to save his sister’s life and his new mate. When the Dark Queen released him, he showed up back at home, naked and beaten, battered and barely alive. He is nursed back to health by Rachael, the woman he agreed to mate with in order to gain his another sister’s freedom. He was violated body and soul when he was in the Dark Fae realm and doesn’t want to talk about what he went through. He’s the Alpha, his people come to him for help. He was the leader of the pack and it was his job to be strong, he couldn’t afford to be vulnerable. He had revenge to plan and if it was the last thing he ever did, he was going to make the Dark Queen pay for what she’d done to him.

Rachael Slater agreed to mate with Nolan so that her best friend Liberty could leave her old pack. Now Libby was reunited not only with her brother Nolan but with her two sisters Haven and Justice. What should have been a new beginning for them all turned into a nightmare when Clarinda the Dark Fae Queen demanded payment for the death of her son at the hands of Haven.

Nolan was a noble male and put his family before himself for year. When he showed up at home a broken shell of a man, Rachael almost fell apart. The normally shy woman found her voice when she took care of her mate as he healed. But Nolan came back different. He was distant and angry and didn’t want to talk about what he’d been through.

Rachael wasn’t accepting it. She’d finally discovered who she was and she wasn’t about to let Nolan shut her out when he needed her the most. She wasn’t giving up on him, not without one hell of a fight.

Driving The Wolf Crazy:

Petra is on the verge of losing everything she holds dear. She always dreamed of owning her floral shop. But when she divorced her ex opened up and started competing with her. After several disastrous events, she’s lost almost all of her business and she’s having a hard time making the rent of her shop. Jack, her hot, werewolf landlord didn’t care about her troubles and she was running out of options. But she comes up with a great idea that will have her smack dab in the middle of the werewolf side of town. Human’s and wolves didn’t mix too much. Neither trusting the other too much, but Petra wasn’t intimidated by  the wolves and it was going to take a lot more than a bad temper to deter her from her goal.

Jack owns the building where Petra’s business is. He’s ready to start the eviction process against her. He likes Petra, in fact he’s incredibly attracted to her curvy body and wouldn’t mind spending the night with her. But business is business and if he made exceptions for her, his other tenants would expect the same. Now she has the hair brained scheme to become the florist to the wolves. He didn’t like all the males who came sniffing around now and he was going to put a stop to it…now

 

VJ and I are tinkering around with another Velvet Ice novella. I’m also working on a dystopian retelling of King Arthur and am toying with the idea of trying to write in a few other genre’s. I love erotic romance but think it would be fun to try a thriller or a straight up -Not Erotic- Urban Fantasy. I’ve always been a panster when it comes to writing, these are some of the directions that I’ve been going to lately, so I thought why not give it a try.

I’ve had such great support from friends, family and readers during this past year. I’m so damn happy to be back in this place. To be back to me, with the kind of enthusiasm for writing that I haven’t had for a long time. It’s been a solid month of good writing and when you’re successful, you only want to do it more.

I think I’ve found a better balance between taking care of me and taking care of others. Allowing the kids to go their own way and explore things for themselves. I don’t make them the center of my universe anymore. Does that mean I don’t love them as much? Hell no. It only means that, they are doing their own thing and so should I. Spending time with “The Girls”. It’s so important to be able to sit around with the girls and talk, laugh and act as silly as we want to. Friends are essential to a long, happy life.

They say that people without their own friends (Not marital, shared friends) live longer and happier lives while people who don’t have friends tend to die younger and have more depression in their lives and I agree. Imagine you don’t have any good friends, the kids grow up, you look at your spouse and think now what? And in that moment a terrifying thought enters your brain- we have nothing in common. When you have friends this isn’t such a big deal. You can hang with yours, he with his and then time together. But if you have no one else to spend time with, you’ll get really tired of each other pretty fast.

So with my fingers crossed and getting ready to go into 2015, I can say that I’m happier emotionally, and mentally than I’ve been in for many, many years and I look forward to what tomorrow will bring.

 

 

Yep…I’m a music Ho!!!!!!

With all the videos that I’ve put up, it’s no surprise when I say I’m a music ho. It’s always been a part of my life. When I was young I listened to what my parents did. From my dad it was Elvis and all the old country singers. George Jones, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn.  From my mom it was Motown and golden oldies. During the seventies it was Blondie, Abba and yes I listened to disco. Hey I was only ten at the time but I couldn’t get enough. I remember going to see Grease and begging my mom to buy the record.

I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to music. I listen to everything and in all genres. I have some favorites but in general anything and everything that catches my attention. I’ve found obscure bands and singers that have blown me away.

Last night I was writing down all the concerts I’ve been to over the last 20 years and was surprised at just how many I’ve been lucky enough to attend. I discovered that I’ve been to almost 50 concerts so far and have no intention of ever stopping. Music plays such a big part in my life. I’d rather have that then television any day of the week and often have it on all day when the kids are in school and the DH is at work. My 17 yr old has become my concert buddy over the last 6 years and it’s been a blast going to shows with him.

Here’s my list, as you will see it is very diverse.

My very first concert was at 15 and it was with my best friend Tina. Her father (my second dad) took us to see them. 20 later, she and I took her 16 yr old daughter to see them, it was a full circle moment for us.

So here’s my list. I’ve tried to sort them out by decade but after a while, I couldn’t remember what was in the late 80’s. early 90’s etc…But it was fun remembering the shows. I always remember the shows. Some bands I’ve seen more than once and noted it next to their names.

Duran Duran- 5 times,   Erasure, Tears for Fears,   Inxs,   Thompson Twins/Berlin,  Bruce Springsteen,   New Order/Echo and the Bunnymen, Gen loves Jezebel,   Depeche Mode/ OMD,   Howard Jones,   A-ha,   The Cure,  George Micheal,   Eric Clapton,  Bon Jovi-2 times,   Areosmith,   Kiss/Winger/Skid Row,   Scorpions/ Extreme,  Guns and Roses,   Metallica,   Poison/Warrant,   Slaughter,   Elton John,   Waylon Jennings,   .38 Special,   Pink Floyd,   Kenny Wayne Sheppard,   Incubus,   30 Seconds to Mars-2 times,   Steve Miller-3 times,  Joe Cocker, Shinedown- 4 time,  Avenge Sevenfold,   Chevelle,   Sevendust,   Papa Roach,   Staind,  Puddle of Mud,   Skillet- 2 times and my last one late this summer was Linkin Park.

I also took my kid when he was 12 to see Weird Al and he puts on a hell of a show-costume changes and all. I thought it would be kind of hokey but it was sold out and it was a lot of fun.

I also have seen hundreds of bands in clubs, bars and music festivals where I live. There is nothing better than a live show to make you feel alive.

There are still artists on another list that I haven’t seen in concert and I hope that I can see them in the future.

Billy Idol (Damn after all the years, he’s still one of the sexiest men in the world) 3 Days Grace, Theory of a Deadman,  U2, Eminem, Alter Bridge, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, Katy Perry and Nickelback- I know everyone likes to say shit about them but I like their music and I’m not ashamed to say it…

For me music is the heart and soul of expression. The words can speak to you, the rhythm moves you and you can find a song to fit your mood, to help you grieve or to make you happy. I would be lost if I didn’t have music in my life. Elvis, The Beatles, Micheal Jackson, Led Zepplin, Janis Joplin and The Doors. The Sex Pistols and Black Flag, Jayzee and Beyonce. Metallica to Shinedown and everything in between.

IMO, I think that music should always take a front seat with your family. Turning them onto it. Finding songs they love. It’s so important. My favorite you tube videos are the ones that have cropped up lately. Fathers riding in cars with their daughters and singing along with the Frozen soundtrack. It’s so awesome to watch. For me, music is the great equalizer. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, black or white, a genius or not, a CEO or a factory worker. Music is one medium that brings people together.

The next time you go to a show, look around at the people who are there as well. They come from all social and economic classes, all different races and generations.Songs remind us of people and places. Love and hate. Descent and peace. Anger and joy.

Most of my book ideas come from music. Sometimes directly, sometimes it’s as simple as a scene that plays in my mind while the song is on.

I’m grateful for my love of music. The next time you’re in need of inspiration, try turning on the i-pod and see what comes to mind.

 

Those Dirty, Dirty Blonde’s

images  We’ve all read books featuring the tall, dark and handsome hero. It’s been drilled into us since we were children. The knight that would come and sweep us off our feet and make the world a beautiful place. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy tall, dark and handsome.

I thought for a nice change of pace, I’d put up a dedication to those dirty blondes that make us go crazy. Whether died or natural, there’s nothing better than a scruffy, blonde. My best and sweetest relationships have always been with blondes. I think it’s because I’m the opposite of them with dark brown hair and darker brown eyes. I even tried to be blonde a few times and it just wasn’t me, plus keeping up the dye job was too much.

So for your viewing pleasure here are a few of the hottest men in the world. I threw in a ginger because I’m sort partial to them.

Enjoy,

Sierra

Blonde 1Blonde 2BradimagesCHarlieJensenMartinPaulRedVikings

 

Is there such a thing as too much angst?

pain  How much pain is too much? Do you search out books from authors that you know write characters who have dark, painful pasts? Or do you avoid them like the plague?

Authors, is it difficult for you to put your protagonists through hell and back again?

There are some writers who thrive writing these kind of characters. They enjoy digging in deep to the bones and stripping someone bare. Exposing every thing, shame, humiliation, pain, abuse, anger. Everything a person can go through. Everything they can feel.

I’ve written a few pretty intense books, usually with my writing partner VJ Summers and let me tell you by the end I’m emotionally drained. You feel as though you’ve lived a small part of what your characters have and for me it’s an exhausting journey.

I enjoy stories that are on the dark side, but I find that I do have a point that I just can’t cross. Not because the books aren’t well written. Not because the stories are great, but because with my imagination the story will stick with me. I will think about it and it will haunt me.

Millions have read VC Andrews. I did the Flowers in the Attic series and then I read Heaven. After that I had to stop.  Not because the stories didn’t entertain me. I just couldn’t deal with the suffering her characters had to go through. I wanted to reach into the books and shout “Run…and don’t look back.”

If I wrote nothing but stories like that I’m pretty sure my DH would have to pull me off the ceiling. My heart just couldn’t take it. I mean I once read a book from a well-known author (I’m not sure if he’s considered thriller or horror) but  after I invested my time reading the book (it was so good I read it in two days) he killed the hero at the end. I threw the book across the room as hard as I could and I’ve never read anything by this person again. Which is a shame because he’s a very talented man but I was so upset by what I considered an unnecessary death of the hero (he’d gone through so much) that to this day (I read the book over 20 yrs ago) I still haven’t forgiven him.

I’ve had the same reaction to a movie on a couple of occasions. I was watching a movie ( I can’ t remember the title) with my friend Amy and the freaking hero who was trying to find out who was responsible for killing a man in a ritual in the end gets killed in the same fucking ritual. So here we are knowing that all through the movie he’s going in at the last-minute to save a woman he thinks is being abused and sacrificed only to find out that she’s in on it the whole fucking time. O.M.G- yeah if it had been my movie it would have been in pieces on the floor but it belonged to Blockbuster so instead we both kind of paced around the room, yelling and bitching about it.

Now though, I’ve lived long enough to know what my limits are. I know how far I can go when I write until I say okay that’s enough. I’m lucky in that I have a writing partner who is very apt when it come to the harder emotional stuff. She helps lead the way for me.

My question to the readers is- How much angst do you like in your books?

Authors- How difficult is it for you to write a character who is really damaged?