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Tolerance gets a test

nothingThose of us who walk around proclaiming how humans ought to treat each other with more kindness and respect run into this problem. We find people doing things that aren’t illegal or unethical but just make us say “yuck”. Whether it is hot dog eating contests or tongue splitting procedures, our first instinct is to search for reasons why this is a a genuinely bad idea. There must be some valid objection that allows us be disgusted. There is health and nutrition. Infections and sanitation. And always, the children. We have to protect the children.

Of course, one quickly sees how those same arguments are used to ban books and ostracize anyone unusual and ultimately discriminate against freedom of choice of all kinds. Do you really want to live a world were anyone gets told how much they can eat of what or how little they can modify their own body? I don’t. And I don’t believe in treating people poorly based on preferences they are entitled to have. I don’t have to like their choices, but I’m also not entitled to a world in which my sensibilities are never offended by other people enjoying what I don’t like.

Enter the new BSMD craze.Or is it BDSM? I’m not sure, but the indie publishing world is aflame with hunky dominant men who enjoy hurting and demeaning their otherwise strong and gorgeous women who apparently love every bit of the pain and humiliation. Given that I am the author of four self-published books, I do some marketing research and was kind of aware of this in the background. However, I recently took my latest creation, c3, on a blog tour and got a whole new look at what is out there. Oh my.

My tour was conducted by a recommended site that focuses on fantasy, science fiction and romance. Kind of a nice mix, I thought, and I checked out some of the blogs ahead of time and they seemed fine. Once my tour started, however, I noticed how many of the sites involved required me to click something affirming that I was over 18 years of age and did not object to sexual content. That was fine.I enjoy a little erotica now and then. No problem.

To be fair, many sites did include a wider variety of stories, but once it moved to the erotic, it looked like most of the folks in these books were busy tying each other up and beating on each other. Yuck. My fantasy novel championing the power of young girls to take control of their own bodies and their own sexuality was actually sandwiched in between a novel about a football player who likes his women to pretend to be submissive little girls and an excerpt about one female submissive interviewing another about getting beaten with a stainless steel cane by her fiance as he ‘prepares her’ for their honeymoon. I’m not making this up. There was also a blog feature about how African American’s are embracing the sadomasochist fun, and listing various conventions to attend. Conventions? These people with slavery agreements and stainless steel canes have conventions?

spirit science 1I took a few deep breaths. Adults are entitled to all the consenting fun they can handle, I reminded myself. They are entitled to read about it as well. I just had no idea that there was such a market for something that seems to go far beyond mostly gentle horseplay all the way to a lifestyle of chosen submission. I found myself angry about how often these “she really loves” it arguments are used to justify genuine abuse and rape, and how debilitating such treatment is to the many women who find it disgusting, not erotic. I found myself protective for the young men and women who might read this and let it shape their ideas of how to behave, in the bedroom and outside of it, with those who share such tastes and more critically with those who don’t. Yes, I found myself wanting to protect the children. I took a few more deep breaths.

It was too late to cancel the book tour, so I let it wind itself down, and declined to add any more posts or articles of my own once I hit this point. Honestly, I’m still struggling with how I feel about this.

 
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Posted by on June 25, 2014 in writing

 

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My own peaceful place

outlines 3The last two weeks I’ve been living underwater  — or at least that is the feeling I always have as I put the last little pieces of a novel together. I call this process my first edit, but in reality it is more like fitting tiny puzzle pieces into the right slots as all the miniscule components of the plot get checked and triple checked for consistency, correct order and believability.  Most my awareness goes where it needs to, and that’s into the world of the book itself. I thank the wonderful people who tolerate my lack of presence here.They know who they are 🙂

But I’ve come up for air today. I’m just over half done, and know from past experience that the first half of the book takes considerably more time. Apparently by  the end of the story, I have a better idea of exactly where I am going with it. The good news for me is that I am pleased with my latest creation. It’s called c3, and it is the story of youngest daughter Teddie’s out of body experiences. I hope to get it to my first beta readers over the next couple of weeks, and to have it out on kindle at least by the end of the year.

Meanwhile, my blog tour for novel y1 has just ended, and a couple of the guest posts I wrote seem worth posting on my own blog. Below is my favorite, about the peaceful place that helps me write and my appreciation of those in my life who provide me with such support while I do it.

How to Create a Great Work Area for Inspiration
porch1 (2)I think that a good work area is so important to writing that I’ve gone ahead and made three of them right in my own home.
Work area number one is a living room chair designated as my writing chair and used when I just have to get something out of my head quickly and I don’t care who is talking or how loud the TV is. I keep little notes strewn all around it and the whole family knows not to touch anything on “my chair”. It’s a little indulgent, but they humor me and having it there lets me feel like I can stop and get an idea down at any time.  I suspect every once in awhile my daughter walks by late at night and finds things like “Jeb must meet Tasha sooner!!!!!” scribbled on a paper towel with a red marker and just shakes her head.
Then there is the small spare bedroom upstairs that I have turned into my official office. The walls are lined with inspirational sayings. I go there when I need lots of time alone.  Four things make it special.  A closed door. Its own attached bathroom so I don’t have to emerge even for a minute and risk anyone interrupting my train of thought. A very comfortable chair. And, a second power cord for my laptop so I don’t have to run downstairs for that either. When I go into my office everybody, including myself, understands that I am very, very serious about getting some writing done.
Finally, there is the place where I actually write.  At least I’ve written over eighty percent of each of my three novels in work area number three, which is my front porch.  It is clearly where I most enjoy writing, even though the workspace has to be set up fresh every time.  Two pillows cushion the rough wicker chair and a third softens the small table turned into a footstool. The roof overhang protects against all but the worst of rains, especially if I turn around and face the house, and lean over to protect my laptop while I let the raindrops bounce off of my frustrated back until the deluge stops. I live in Texas, so in the winter, which lasts about two months, I bring a blanket and a space heater out with me.  In the summer, which lasts about seven months, I work in a tank top and blast one and sometimes two fans at myself. It’s coffee in the morning, ice tea in the afternoon, and sometimes a glass of wine as the sun goes down. That’s about the time when my husband will stick his head out of the front door and ask “are you still out here writing?”
“Yeah. I’ll be inside in a minute.” He shakes his head and half an hour later he brings my dinner out on a plate.
It’s good to have at least one work area that you love. It’s even more important to have people who will let you love it.

This post appeared on:
June 11 at Blog-A-Licious Authors
June 17 at The Unending TBR Pile
June 30 at Reading the Dream Life
Check these blogs out for a wealth of information on reading, writing and publishing as well as leads for many fine books you aren’t that likely to hear about elsewhere.

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2013 in writing

 

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