WILD CARD UNDERCOVER

It’s here! The cover for the anticipated debut by Kari Lemor, WILD CARD UNDERCOVER. The first in the Love on the Line series will be published by Kensington Lyrical Underground – March 2017, and I can’t wait! Until then here is a little of what you can expect from this upcoming must read.

All that glitters in Miami is not gold…

Lured in by a bad ex-boyfriend and the moonlight of Miami, Meg O’Hara is trapped in a nightmare situation, waiting tables for a crime boss and fearing for her life. When undercover FBI agent Christopher Shaunessy offers her a way out, she seizes it. Getting the goods on Salazar Moreno might not be easy, but she’ll do anything to be freed from her servitude and Moreno’s sexual advances, even if it means moving in with the charismatic agent.

Chris Shaunessy pretends to be Meg’s lover in order to keep her safe, but he steels his heart against further involvement. Passion has no place in the sordid world of organized crime. And yet, the closer they get to cracking the case, the stronger his feelings for the spirited waitress shine. It’s a dangerous game he’s playing, and taking Meg in his arms for real could prove a fatal misstep . . .

Chapter 1

“Does that man never have a day off?” Margaret Kathleen O’Hara grumbled, grabbing her tote bag and sarong to move surreptitiously along the chairs by the pool. If the hotel manager saw her here again she’d be toast. He’d more than toss her out. Threats to call the police had been thrown at her for months now. Although in her case, that might be a better deal.

With her eyes trained on his location and the Miami sun beating down on her exposed skin, Meg backed along the water’s edge attempting to leave the area before he spotted her. She needed to shower the chlorine out of her tangled hair and change for work soon. He looked in her direction and she rushed behind the closest object. It was six-foot-plus of blond-haired gorgeousness. The man’s eyes were glued to something on the upper deck. Her boss was sitting there with one of his expensive bimbos. Did Blondie like that type? Maybe he wouldn’t notice her little game of Hide and Seek.

She leaned around him, ducking back when she saw the Pool Nazi still present. Getting caught was not an option. She already owed more than she could ever repay.

“Are you okay?” Forest green eyes stared down at her, puzzled. Would he buy that she was simply looking for shade? He was big enough to provide it.

With strong hands, he reached for her shoulders and Meg reflexively batted them away. She got enough of people groping her at work. Scorching curses froze before erupting from her mouth as the hotel manager moved, staring in their direction. Her mind kicked into overdrive, scrambling for a way to hide in plain sight.

“Sorry,” she squeaked. Grabbing the man’s head, she planted her mouth solidly on his. Short, thick strands of hair tickled her fingers. Firm lips yielded no resistance to the increased pressure of her mouth. Better make this look good.

An electric current skittered over her skin causing her heart to race. Maybe too good? Slowly he pulled her closer with his muscular arms. Her eyes flew open and she broke the connection. His hair-covered chest was too close for comfort. And much too tempting. Distance, she needed distance.

Her eyes darted around, seeing no signs of the manager. A sigh escaped. Time to make her exit as well.

“Sorry,” she mumbled again, looking up. Big mistake. The stranger’s curious eyes captivated her. They were soft and tender and filled with something she could…trust? If she still had any of that left in her. His hands were gentle as they held her. A tiny smile played about the full lips she’d brazenly kissed. She couldn’t believe she’d done it. Her mother would be appalled. But it had worked.

The chlorine scent from the pool faded into the background as sweat and suntan lotion wafted off the man’s damp skin. Her stomach did cartwheels followed by a few back flips. Dangerous.

“Let me go,” she hissed as reality returned. She gave a swift shove at his well-defined pectorals, rushing to get past, to escape from this distraction and the possibility of being caught. Her head whipped around at the sound of a splash and water droplets from behind. Gorgeous was just breaking the surface of the pool. Had she pushed him that hard?

“Oops.” No time for apologies. He looked like the forgiving type. She had to blow this joint before the Pool Nazi came back. Grabbing her fallen sarong, she ran across the deck to hustle inside the luxury hotel.

“Damn.”

The manager stood sentry near the front door. A crowd appeared at her back making that way impossible. The stairwell to the left would have to do. She’d go up a few floors then down to the side entrance. She wrapped her sarong around her as she carried out her plan to avoid being seen…and caught.

Meg should stop coming here to use the pool: this proved it. Sneaking in was adding to her already hellish life but swimming always helped work out the stress and the pool here was more accessible than any other on the strip. Pretending she had money to stay in a place like this, rubbing elbows with all the beautiful people, yeah, that got her through too. She’d learned the best times to come and not be seen. Well, for the most part. It was well worth the risk to get away from her dump of a room and its enchanting neighborhood. She’d leave this all behind her soon. She kept telling herself that. Had to believe it for her own sanity.

Footsteps behind her pushed those thoughts away. Her bare feet padded silently along the lushly carpeted hallway. Heart racing, she ducked into the ice machine alcove, her sigh echoing in the silence. She glanced down. Her bag? She must have dropped it as she rushed off. How had she not realized? It couldn’t have been the threat of being arrested. Or the crooked smile of the handsome stranger she’d kissed. The one with the kind eyes and gentle hands. No, she couldn’t allow herself to be led astray by a pretty face. Not again.

She continued down the hall, her trip cut short when someone grabbed her by the arm and spun her around.

***

Need More? Pre-order and have it at your fingertips on release day: WILD CARD UNDERCOVER Pre-Order

For more information on Kari Lemor or her Love on the Line series from Kensington Lyrical Underground, follow her on social media.

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They Took my Pencil

It’s not uncommon to find an author’s bio stuffed with tales articulating their lifelong love affair with books. Sometimes their college academic achievements that lead to degrees in English or other literary related fields. I love many of these bios, they’re just not mine. I wish I’d fallen in love with books as a child and carried that passion throughout life, but I didn’t. In truth, I hated reading. Hated everything about it for the first twenty years of my life.

My story starts in Texas, where I was born, and where they took my pencil. I was always behind the curve in the reading and language arts classes in school. It was just hard for me. I could read, but not well, and certainly not fast. By the time I struggled through a sentence I’d forgotten what the dang thing was about and had to start over.

My physical writing skills weren’t up to par. The creative parts I had down. I could always create a story from nothing and I had an above average vocabulary to match. Problem was, I struggled to get it down on paper in a way that someone else could understand. I couldn’t spell, I always used the wrong homophone, and although I could put together a proper sentence verbally, I couldn’t tell you what all the parts were on those stupid worksheets. You would think that would be plenty of challenges to overcome in grade school, but to make it worse my handwriting was horrible too.

By second grade I’d taken a bazillion test for every known mental defect under the sun. Testing was a success! They found what they were looking for. They called it dysgraphia with a side of dyslexia. I called it the most irritating combination of mental disorders for a person that never felt mentally disabled.

I could write you a book on the challenges of a kid with these disorders, but since this is just a bio I’ll go with short and sweet. To sum it up, I was smart. Just as smart as any of my peers and in a lot of areas I was better than most, but it didn’t matter because I couldn’t get the info out of my head in the conventional manner. And yes, in school the conventional manner is all that matters, because it’s what you’re tested on. I had the answers, but when I put the pencil to paper something shorted out. I could see the words on the page, knew and understood them, but the processing speed just want there.

I hated reading because it was hard, really, really hard. I hated writing because I felt like I had great ideas, so many aha light bulb moments in my head, but when I got them on paper they were a mess of bad handwriting. Most couldn’t read it, and when they could, the spelling was all wrong with the wrong word usage and backwards letters from time to time. It doesn’t matter what you know if you can’t get it out of your head.

In third grade, after they were able to name the disorder to my frustrations, they took my pencil! They told me I would never have good enough handwriting to use it, so they took it. They replaced it with a laptop. You need to understand that it was 1993 and computers weren’t common, laptops were unheard of, and I didn’t know how to type. The laptop created as many problems as it fixed.

The rest of my school career I battled with the frustrations of my disabilities, still do. Having a name for them didn’t make them go away. I did get my pencil back. I demanded my pencil back, and with the help of my elementary school special education teach, it was returned to me. I wanted to write. I wanted to do it the same way everyone else did, by making pretty marks with a number two pencil on a piece of notebook paper—if only so I could pass notes in class.

In sixth grade we moved to Colorado and I lost my academic lifeline, my special ed. teacher, and a school system that finally understood me. I was drowning again. The next few years of life were rough to put it lightly. I found I had a knack for trouble. I got in every kind of trouble you can imagine, and most of the time it got me kicked out of school. I didn’t care because I didn’t like school anyway. I went to six different schools in three years.

Between school five and six, I spent a few months in a juvenile corrections facility. That’s where drugs and alcohol, fighting, running away, and living a life more befitting a felon than a young teen girl will get you. I would tell you that it worked and that I straightened my life out, but it didn’t. When I got home, school five asked that my parents find somewhere else to send me. (I was obviously a joy to work with as a child)

They found school six in the next town over. School six wasn’t anything extraordinary, no cutting edge curriculum or high tech programs to help people like me. No funny metal contraptions you put your pencil in to make you hold it different (which one school did make me use and I hated). I would venture to say that when I started there half of the administration was even incredibly lackluster. What they did have was a small teaching staff that gave a damn. I wasn’t just a problem child to some of them. I was a child with a problem, and they took the opportunity to help me. The harder I pushed away, the harder they pulled back.

School was still hard, always would be for me. I give up often. When I gave up there were a few teachers around me that refused to let me quit.

At sixteen my lifestyle caught up with me again. The end of my junior year I had my daughter. That would’ve been an easy time to throw in the towel, and I actually had a principal suggest that I should. I went to talk to her about making accommodations for my finals, because that’s when my baby girl was due, and she suggested I quit and get my GED. That was exactly what I needed.

I was always a stubborn, say I can’t and I will, kinda girl. I wanted to prove her wrong, her and a whole lot of people that told me a sixteen year old girl couldn’t provide for their child and complete school. So I moved out of my parents’ house, got a job, and stayed in school. My little girl deserved a mom with an education. She shouldn’t suffer a sub-par life because of my mistake.

Of course I had some assistance in my efforts to prove those people wrong. I had those teachers, the one’s that held my hand through my pregnant junior year of high school and kept pushing me through my senior year. In 2003 I graduated with honors. A girl with a learning disability, was in special education my entire school career, sixteen and pregnant, graduated with honors. It was the middle finger to those who had told me I couldn’t.

The following semester I enrolled in college. Two years later I graduated, again with honors and as a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. (Not with a degree in any English related fields. I still hated reading.) It was a great accomplishment for me, but it was a massive struggle. There were times when I couldn’t pay my rent, times when I fed myself and my daughter at the local shelter, and got food from the giving people at the food banks. I had proven them wrong, but the life of poverty I had provided for my daughter was far from what she deserved.

By the time I was twenty and in my junior year of college, I was a single mother. I dropped out and opted for better employment and more income, and so ended my academic career.

Sitting at home one day with nothing to do, I got this crazy idea to read a book. My parents both loved reading and my mother had packed me a box of old books she thought I might like someday, if ever the day came that I chose to read without being forced.

I rummaged through and pulled out Witch of the North, by Courtway Jones. I loved it! I couldn’t put the book down. The girl who hated reading and was always the slowest reader in every class, read the novel in two days. I read the other two in the trilogy, books one and three (because I had unknowingly read book two out of order), all in the same week. When I was done I kept in that same vein of reading and picked up The Merlin Trilogy, by Mary Stewart, and that is how my love affair with books began.

My love of writing had started long before, back in grade school, well before they took my pencil. It started with my love of storytelling. After years of hard work and many dedicated teachers, I have the tools and skills to get all the crazy fantastic things out of my head and on to paper where you can read them. I love the physical act of writing. I still handwrite out all of my brainstorming sessions with my yellow number two pencil and notebook paper. I probably love it because someone once took my pencil and told me I would never be able to.

It would not be honest to say that I write with ease now and it is a happily ever after. I still struggle. I still misspell the really easy words and nail the hard ones. I google ever homophone I use just to be sure, and I still mess them up. I have to work to put the mess in my head down in a clear manner at times, and I edit, edit, and re-edit to remove the mistakes my disabilities make it easy for me to make. But I love it. I love being able to share my stories.

I have since moved from Colorado and I live a wonderful life in Oregon where I read and write every day. I also still keep in contact with some of those amazing teachers that refuse to give up on me even after I am far from the reaches of their classrooms.

I think those that know me now would tell you that the wild child bad girl of my youth is only slightly reflected in who I am now, and only in all the best ways of course. I don’t know what kind of struggles life will present me in the future, or who will stand in my way and tell me I can’t accomplish something. I can tell you, however, that anytime someone tries to take my pencil I will take it back. Anytime someone tries to take yours you should do the same. It is always worth the struggle if you want it.

As always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Hit me up, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or anything else.

Sincerely,

May B.B. The-couldn’t-always-write, writer

Reading Romance

I’ve been asked for reading recommendations three times this week. Must be a week for romance. Awww

Since I’ve pieced together this list a few times, I thought I would leave it here for all who might want it. I am going to break these down into a few categories for you. Here we go:

Dark Erotic Romance

I have two picks in this category. These two stand out far and above the others for me.

The Dark Duet series by C.J. Roberts. First one free right now* or trilogy. As the title suggests, these books are dark. Very dark in a way that a lot of erotica is not. They contains some physical abuse, and some sexual abuse. They are not for everyone, but they create a beautiful story. Life is not all sunshine and daisies. Not all love is born from something bright and lovely. This series does a great job of taking something tragic to an amazing place. Not to mention they are sizzling hot on the erotica scale. You certainly won’t find many books more erotic than these.

Blood and Roses series by Callie Hart. First one free right now* or series. This is a series of novellas. I tend to find novellas a turn off, but I love these. Love. Them. It is one of my favorite series in any romance category. I devoured these when I started them. They are a perfect balance of the dark side of erotica, an engaging plot with jaw dropping twists, and the heat you look for in this genre. Zeth is easily my all time favorite book boyfriend.

Lighter Romance

These books still pack plenty of heat, but have a lighter theme than the books listed above. There are so many  romances that fall in this area. It makes it so hard to pick.

Archer’s Voice, by Mia Sheridan. This was the easiest book to pick for this category and might be my favorite read of the year so far. Beautiful story. Sweet, and heartbreaking, and steamy. Everything needed for a great romance read.

The Surrogate Husband, by Wynter Daniels. This book was a lot of fun. Light and sexy with a few good laughs.

Forever His, the first in the Stolen Brides series, by Shelly Thacker. I was never sure that historical or time travel romance was for me, but this book puts a great twist on it and won me over big time. An American girl taken back in time 700 years to the home of an ornery dark knight makes for some funny and sexy scenes. This is a romance with a great page turning plot.

Owned by Fate, and Exposed by Fate, the first two in the Serve series, by Tessa Bailey. These are a nice way to ease into the world of BDSM. Beautifully erotic, but plots that are light enough to still be fun.

Owning Violet, by Monica Murphy. This book is well within the erotica category. It has heat that jumps off the pages.

Paranormal Romance

I can also narrow down my favorites in this category to two series.

Black Dagger Brotherhood, by J.R. Ward. Book one. Vampires the way you imagined they would be. Dark fantasy lovers. Alpha males ready to sink their teeth in. This series weaves a thick complex plot, layered with smoking hot erotic scenes. There are a lot of books in these series. It can seem daunting at first. Just dive in. Pick up book one and I can promise you will want to read them all.

Fever series, by Karen Marie Moning. Book one. Lighter on the erotic side. Reads a lot like a YA urban fantasy series, but definitely adult. If you like YA but want it a little sexier, maybe a few more orgasms, this is the series.

Male Male Erotica

Temptations series, by Ella Frank. Book one  or series. This is the only series I have for this category. Trust me, it’s enough. You would be hard pressed to find erotica with more heat than these. There are three in this series: Try, Take, and Trust. I have only read the first two(the third is a recent release and I will be reading it very soon). I will say, I like the second book, Take, a bit better than the first. That isn’t normal for me. I usually like the first, and peter out as the series goes on. The first book is all heat and lust. Don’t misunderstand, I loved it. But the second book starts to pull at your heartstrings. That, along with all the heat that easily carries over from the first book, edges it out over its predecessor just slightly.

My only caution on these books is do not listen to them on audio.  The narrator sounds just like the movie trailer guy, and turns the book in to a total cheese ball fest. It really ruins how steamy and sensual they are.

YA Romance

Obviously these won’t be erotica at all, but there are some beautifully written romances in YA. Both of my favorites come from the same author.

The Infernal Devicesand The Mortal Instruments, by Cassandra Clare. The Mortal Instruments was released first and is the more known of the two series. The series do intertwine, but are absolutely stand alone. I tell you that to say, even though The Infernal Devices was released second, I would read it first. It is a prequel of sorts to the other. That isn’t why I am telling you to read it first. It might be my favorite romance story…ever.

Both series are urban fantasy, and are cut from the same cloth. However, The Infernal Devices series, I feel, does a better job of focusing on the interpersonal relationships, making it a better romance. It is heartbreaking, beautiful, and it made me ugly cry. It takes a lot to make me ugly cry, but these books make you that emotionally invested in the characters.

Okay, that is it… for now. We will have to do this again.

If your jaw is dropped, not understanding how your favorite romance didn’t make my reading recommendations, it could be that I haven’t read it yet. Remedy this by letting me know what your favorite is. My favorite reads have all come from recommendations.If you have blazed through these and are looking for more, check me out on Goodreads.

May B. B. The reads-more-than-she-writes, writer.

*Books listed as “free” were free on Amazon when I posted this. I can’t guarantee that they will be free a moment longer.

 

Grey & A Few Other BDSM Colors

Restraints, clamps, collars, floggers, crops, gags, spreader bars, pugs, beads, canes, blindfolds, rigging, paddles… Sweat dripping, tension building. Skin pulled taught. Chest heaving, dragging in air that’s too thick. Will I? Won’t I? Can I? What if it hurts? What if it hurts and I like it? Scared and excited, and uncertain about which out weighs the other….

Oh the wonderful world of BDSM.

So what brings us here? I have gotten a decent amount of crap for reading Grey, and wanted to clear some things up. I’ll start by saying I don’t give a shit what people think of what I read. Book choice shouldn’t be a popularity contest. Read what you like and leave others alone so they can do the same. Simple as that.

Grey sold over 1 million copies in 4 days. Yet, if you look at Twitter and read how quick everyone is to denounce it, you’d think not a soul had bought it. I smell some closet Grey readers. Sucks our book culture has made them feel a shamed or like they need to hide what they read. Tisk tisk.

Anyway, that really isn’t what I wanted to rant— I mean discuss. I won’t defend the book as great literature. I can’t say it is a must read, or even that it was exciting and passionate. I am not even telling you to go read them. I have better reading recommendations for you if you are looking for things in that vein. For me, both the original trilogy and Grey were lackluster, okay reads. I like the plot. I wish it was better executed. I can think of some of my favorite erotic writers that could have done wonders with it.

And that plot is what I am defending. I have heard so much outrage and disgust about those books containing abuse. I’ve engaged in many debates about whether Christian abuses Ana. I only feel the need to defend them because BDSM is not abuse. I think it is important for people to understand that.

I did a mental check of the sex scenes in the 1st book. Most are pretty vanilla. He asks, she gives consent, and they have sex. Pretty basic stuff. There is the first time he spanked her. It was with his hand. He told her exactly what he was going to do and she laid herself willing over his lap to let him do it.

Yes, I know, she cried after he left. But she states that it was because he left her(not spending the night, which he did come back and do) and that she was confused by the fact that being spanked turned her on. Not that she felt beaten and abused. And yes, it can be hard to reconcile your feelings about some measure of pain or punishment, such as being spanked, turning you on. That’s normal.

Every scene between there, and the last in that book, she describes herself feeling excited about what he was going to do. Nervous, yes, but that is part of BDSM and I’ll get back to that in a second. When they were in the boathouse, he said he was going to spank her. She asked him not to and he didn’t.

He told her, and it is very true in any grounded BDSM relationship, that the sub(Ana) has all the power. He can only do what she will allow. If she says no, uses a safe-word, or otherwise doesn’t consent through preset limits or otherwise, it doesn’t happen. Period. That was always true in this fictional relationship between Christian and Ana.

The last scene. She asked, physically opened her mouth and asked him to paddle her. She wanted to know how “bad it could get” in his BDSM world. He asked if she was sure. She said yes. I would think—and please remember that I am talking about a fictional character, so I am projecting here—that a man like Christian that had been in the wonderful world of BDSM, was hoping that she would like it. Or at a minimum think it wasn’t so bad and she could do it if he liked it. We all do things that we are not thrilled about, but find tolerable, for our significant others.

What?!? I know, I know. I must be crazy right? He thought he could bend her over a bench, paddle her, sending flames of heat up her body, making her hurt, and scream, and cry, and burn, and she would like it? Even be turned on and wet for him after? Yep. That’s what I am saying. It would be a common hope for someone like him.

Maybe the thinking behind why some people like that kind of thing, deserves some explaining, but I think if you want that explanation from me, it will require it’s own blog post. If there is enough interest, I’ll write it… Ooo into the mind of May. Okay moving on(scary place).

If Christian had spent years with women who did like that, why wouldn’t it be okay for him to hope Ana would like it too. Don’t we all want the people we find a romantic interest in to be into the same things we are? To learn to love the things we love and share them with us? And is it unreasonable to ask them to try what you like if they haven’t before?

I could understand if he tied her to a bench, didn’t tell her what was going to happen and then started wailing on her, popped up at the end and said, “So, was that good for you? It was great for me!” But that is so far from what happened.

I have also heard the argument that it was not what he physically did that was so horrible, but that she only did it because she thought it was the only way to stay with him, that made it so bad. It is unfair to layout what you need, or what you think you need in a relationship and let the other person know they can walk away if they can’t provide that?

I think more people should hop on that train.

She wanted a relationship with him. As a result she put herself out there and tried somethings she had never tried before. All of them, with the exception of one, she ended up liking.  The last book would lead you to believe that not only did she like them, she liked them so much that she insisted that they continue doing them well into their marriage. Yes, even spankings.

BDSM, by it’s very nature, is about pushing your limits. Doing things that make you nervous, put you on edge a bit and require you to put your faith in someone else. For anyone entering into that world for the first time, not just this fictional virgin, it is a nerve racking experience where you constantly question “Can I? Will I? What if? I’m not sure about this?”

Those are not bad feelings to have. A lot of new experiences in life are scary. A lot of them you do because someone else is pushing you to do them, asking you to step out of your comfort zone and try something new. You either like it or you don’t, and either way that is okay. BDSM is no different.

Okay, I’ll step away from the BDSM side of this conversation for now. It is a big topic. So much bigger than these books touch on. But before I rest my case, I just want to make one more point.

I read a lot. I read everything from YA to erotic. Thrillers, urban fantasy, romance of all kinds, some science fiction, historical fiction…. I think you get the point. It is SO, SO very common in all of these to see death, murder, torture of many kinds, violence(the non-consensual kind), abduction…

I don’t see mass outrage on social media about the number of fictional characters that get offed in horrible ways in books. Are we saying that it is more justified to be outraged by a book depicting a consensual spanking with a paddle, than all of the hundreds of ways we end lives in books? I doubt it. They offed a bunch of kids, in Hunger Games. Is that not worse morally than a spanking? Perspective, people. Perspective.

I would say it’s more likely that we just like to get together in mass and be outraged about something. Unfortunately for a lot of top sellers, they give us a focus that so many of us know about, making it easy to unite in our outrage against some facet of them. Pop culture is not your enemy. So you don’t like it and don’t understand why a million other people do? So what. Move on. Don’t waste your time on banding together to be “outraged” by something you don’t think others should enjoy.

Perhaps you could band together to uplift something you do enjoy and put that on the pop culture map? Just a thought. But really, where ever you want to spend your energy….

As always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Hit me up, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or anything else.

Sincerely,

May B.B. (The, hates that everyone hates on everything, writer)

Falling in Love & Suicide

I was reading one of my recent WIP lines, and it struck me that the line worked for both falling in love, and suicide. Pleasant thought, I know. Well that thought led to a few more.

“You will always fall in love, and it will always be like having your throat cut, just that fast.”
― Catherynne M. Valente, Deathless

I rummaged through some romance novels, of which I have plenty, and noticed that often analogies for falling in, or being in love, sound like dreadful things. I did a quick search and found a whole list of things falling had been compared to: the plague, disease, murder, suicide, a virus, etc.

“Some say love, it is a river that drowns the tender reed. Some say love, it is a razor that leaves your soul to bleed. Some say love, it is a hunger, an endless aching need.”  Amanda McBroom, The Rose

Yes, I know there are a myriad of quotes that describe falling in love in a more fanciful way, but as I read through some quotes from others, it became alarming how well they work for the darker sides of life.

“…a fever which tests our strength, and too often leads to perdition.” ―George Meredith, The Ordeal of Richard Feverel

I don’t I know what falling in love is like for others. Perhaps for some, it is sunshine and soaring. I can’t say I’ve ever known it to be that way. It has always been a process of reluctance, digging heels in and eventually being taken over. Something close to drowning, where I flail and fight ‘til my limbs give out, and the enormity and power of the water around me wins out.

“I have flown and fallen, and I have swum deep and drowned, but there should be more to love than “I survived it.”  ― Lisa Mantchev, So Silver Bright

It has always been a process that is freighting to me. One I can’t imagine going willingly into.

“….but you’re still jumping off a cliff…” ―Lisa Kleypas

Yes, we can just chalk me up to being a lost cause on believing that falling in love can be a painless, openhearted process. It may be true enough that I am jaded, but you can’t deny that there are too many quotes that work well for awful things in life, as well as falling in love.

I pulled some of my own lines and have posted them below. Thing is, not all of these are about falling in love; some most certainly are, but some are just about unfortunate life events. Can you figure out which are which?

The cuts were small, one here and there, but each opened her wider. As they came faster, it became too hard to close them all. And then it happened, she surrendered and lay open before him.

Her heart raced in her chest and her arms threatened to give out. She clung fiercely to the crumbling edge, resisting the fall to the shimmering water below, the depth of which was still unknown.

Looking in the face of what was before me, I shivered. This could hurt, pain that would only be made bearable by the sweet adrenaline high that accompanied it for a time.

She stood on the edge, looking out over all that was before her. Closing her eyes, she spread her wings and jumped.

The blow came fast. It slammed in from the side, catching her unaware. She scrambled to recover, but it was too late. She had dropped her guard, and the damage was done.

Gwen was trying to balance just on the edge of the abyss. She saw how deep it was and knew if she slipped over the edge the fall would be endless.

He made the first cut. It opened a vein I knew I couldn’t close.

He careened over the edge, tumbling helter-skelter down the side with nothing to slow his fall. The hit waiting at the bottom would be swift and hard.

-Lines by May B.B.

Do you see what I mean? Love and suicide, sometimes murder, seem like peas in a pod at times. Still, I suppose it’s a part of life, however sweet or bitter, painful or freeing, that is all but avoidable.

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As always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter. Hit me up, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this or anything else.

Sincerely,

May B.B. (The, goes kicking and screaming, Writer)

Who Am I & How Do I Get Out Of Here

January 12, 2015

I‘ve spent a decent amount of time thinking on the subject of who I am, and what the different parts of me are. This came about in earnest when I was working out the plotting for my current WIP. It’s a book about a girl that has so severely dissected the parts of her life, trying to please the people around her, that she is losing track of who she is as a whole, and can’t quite figure out how to blend the parsed-out sections of her life back together. When you’re one girl at work, one for your old friends, one for your new friends, and a completely different closet version you’re afraid to admit you like, how do you deal when they start to collide?

Once the book was well underway and I could start applying those thoughts to Alex, my MC, and not myself, I left thinking that topic through regularly, behind. That is until recent events had me brewing about it again.

A few weeks ago I was talking to some friends, and a few of their friends that I don’t really know. The subject of movies came up and I was feeling rather lost about most of the titles. When I admitted that, the people I didn’t really know started listing out some fairly iconic movie titles that most people our age have seen and asking if I had seen them. This is far from the first time I’ve had this conversation. I got the normal reaction of slack jaws and bug eyes. How had I not spent my childhood watching Star Wars and the Goonies?

Well, for one, I was told to go outside a lot. I can’t quote movie lines from the 80’s and 90’s, but my fort building skill are on point. Anyway, we can chat about my odd childhood later. I know I’m the only person my age who has never seen Star Wars, or Farris Bueller’s Day Off. I’m coping with it.

At some point during the conversation I was informed that my “geek card” was being revoked. I wasn’t even aware that it was something I had, or that I was supposed to be defending it in that moment, but none the less it was gone. I was officially not geeky enough to be a geek. I was crushed, as you can imagine ; )

I tweeted something about it later that night, and a guy I know, okay this time I actually don’t really know him, I just read his blog and he puts up with my too frequent pestering on twitter (I have no idea why), but I digress. So the guy wrote a nice little blog post about how there really isn’t a such thing as a geek card and how, as a group, it’s a shame to see the “geek club/society” start acting like the “cool kids” from high school. (I might have done a bad job of summarizing that) Point is, it made me happy but seeing as it was not the first time it had been brought to my attention that I was not geeky enough to be a “real” geek, I think the jury is still out on giving me back my imaginary club card.

Fast forward a week. I was on Facebook reading postings in a book club. The question was, “What was the first romance book you read that turned you on to the genre?” I was surprised to see how many people prefaced their answers with “I’m ashamed to admit this…”. That was most often followed up by the answer Twilight, or Fifty Shades of Grey.

 I have noticed in many of my social circles, online in particular, that it’s now the cool thing to hate on mainstream, or pop culture. I can’t tell you many things that irritate me more than reading a tweet or post, ranting about some faction of pop culture, knowing that they’re just hating on it because it’s mainstream. I really just want to yell at them to get over themselves.

I read and enjoyed both Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not really sure why I’m supposed to be ashamed of that? Perhaps because admitting that will get me kicked out of one of the other social clubs that I’m not quite enough of this or that to fit into. So I’m not alternative really, because I like a few mainstream things too.

And now rewind with me a few months. I was sitting in a local sports bar. I spend a fair amount of time there. If you’re on my softball team, you either work there, are dating someone who does, or are enough of a regular that they would probably put you on the payroll. I like sports, participating and spectating. Not all sports, but a majority. I won’t watch a golf tournament with you, and though I’m happy to go out to the greens, it’s likely you’ll just get frustrated at how outstandingly horrible I am at it, and never invite me back. On the other hand, any given Sunday, rain or shine, from the months of May through October, you can find me at the softball fields.

So as a girl, if you ever tell a guy that you like sports you’ll be immediately quizzed. Be prepared, ladies, these are grueling. I was sitting at the bar watching a Mariners game. This guy asked me if I actually liked baseball or if I was just staring at the TV because it’s what was on. I informed him that I do like baseball, and play softball. He then quizzed me on the Mariners roster. News flash, I don’t know it. I could see him scoff as I told him I didn’t know the entire roster, or even who was in their bullpen. Still, I like them and if a game is on that’s what I am probably watching.

I have had a very similar conversation with a man after he found out I box. He then wanted to talk about current boxers and upcoming matches. Thing is, I box, I don’t watch it. UFC? Hell yes. I’m all over it, but boxing, nope. So maybe I’m not Sporty Spice, or a real jock.

I was born in Texas, and am undoubtedly Southern. My first real paying job was herding cattle on horseback (don’t tell anyone). I do have one pic and you’ll never see it. Second job was teaching classes on riding and equine care. I spent summers on a dairy farm as a kid standing in cow shit. I like country music, but only about half, and not much of the current stuff. I’d also take alt rock over it any day. I don’t, however, own cowboy boots, or a hat, or wranglers. I do own guns and like shooting, but wouldn’t be caught dead in camo as casual wear. I don’t kiss men that chew (sorry boys). I’m not teasing my hair, and hate NASCAR. I lost my absolutely ridiculous half Texan, half Mississippi accent (thank the lord) a few years after I moved to Colorado, and for most proper country folks, I’m too liberal. So I’m not country enough to be country.

So here is where I’m headed with all of this. I’ve learned, and it only took 29 years, that I’ll never be enough of one thing for any particular group.

I am geeky about reading, writing, my fish, fish tanks, and the plants I grow in them, but probably not much else.  I am a dork; goofy, stupid and silly, unnecessarily so at times. I like sports, but don’t know as much as you do, sir, I’m sure. I’m artsy in that I draw and paint, but by far not hippy. I like some mainstream things, some hipster things, some offbeat things, and some things that I’ve yet to categorize. I like to dress girly, wear my heels, and put on make-up, but not every day, and I am just as comfortable in sweats, or my softball cleats.

Most importantly, I am sure that I’m not alone in my inability to fit into a predefined category. I was relieved when I got out of high school, thinking I would find that these social groups were no longer a thing. I am sad to see that they still are. Not only are they still a thing as adults, they are thriving on social media.

So geek, dork, jock, hipster, preppy, country, artsy, emo, alternative, I’m okay with being them all and not in equal parts or even ratios that make much sense. At the end of the day I’m just me. Something you might not like all of, but odds are we will have something in common. I won’t feel bad for liking Twilight, and Taylor Swift, while also liking The Hobbit, and Goo Goo Dolls.

I find that if you just focus on what you like, and not so much on why or what that means you are or aren’t, you’ll be a happier you. Try it out.

As always, you can find me on Twitter and Facebook or shoot me an email via the contact page on this site. I love to hear from you.

May B.B. (The, I’m confused about who I am and most things in general, Writer)

Rape in Romance. It’s still rape.

January 9, 2015

It has been at least two weeks since I’ve read any romance genre books. Too long. So I thought I would dive back in with a short erotica novella. The teaser for the one I chose looked good, and $0.99 is always the right price for me so I downloaded one from an author I had not heard of.  

It made me cry. Not because the writing was good and moving in any way. Not because the author set a sad scene (intentionally). No one died, and I can’t say that any of the characters would tell you any tragic events happened (which is, essentially, the issue here). I cried because the book being passed off as erotica, a genre I write, read, and love, is really a rape scene.

To give you some gauge of my sensitivity in general, I can count on one hand the number of times I cried, actually physically shed tears, last year. I am, unfortunately, a distant, if not cold person. I can let things just roll of with the best of them, usually.

So here is how it goes down. A girl gives a guy a BJ. That is over, and it looks as though they’re going to go their separate ways when another guy, a stranger she doesn’t know (to be fair she doesn’t really know the first guy either but their encounter was prearranged), so a guy she doesn’t know, doesn’t know is there, doesn’t know is watching, comes from some unseen place and slams into her, pinning her to a wall.  She is dazed and confused when he then forcefully kisses her and shoves his fingers inside of her via the easy access of her dress.

The author writes it out that the girl is still so lust drunk on her encounter with the first guy – who is still standing there chatting it up with his buddy that is forcing himself on the girl- and now coupled with how fast everything is progressing, that although the girl wants to struggle, everything is too hazy and heavy. Does this sound like a rape scene to you yet?

Okay so at some point she starts to like it, even want it in some confused way. (I could freak the fuck out right at this moment, but I’ll wait a second.) So the guy stops forcibly penetrating her with his fingers and tells her he wants her consent to now letting him actually fuck her. Before she answers he starts with the fingers again. She is still pinned between him and the wall and his douche-bag buddy is still looming too. He also proceeds to bite her.

He asks again for consent to fuck her and she notes, mentally, that she should point out that more or less he is already fucking her (without that consent). (Could also freak the fuck out here but…) So obviously she says sure. They fuck, douche-bag watches and then they ask her to go back to their hotel….. I honestly quit reading not long after this, but not before the author makes one small attempt at curtailing the rape opener.

The girl asks the one guy that raped her (‘cause that is what it was) if she had said no when he eventually asked for consent (after he had already vaginally penetrated her) would he have stopped. Of course the dude says that he would have stopped and even says that he goes to extremes to get what he wants but he isn’t a rapist. I might have just vomited in my mouth.

So am I supposed to think “Oh, well since he would have stopped, you know, eventually, because he had already started, then it’s okay”? With that attempt to lighten the blow of rape, I would assume the rest of this novella is a few kinky sex scenes and the end. Don’t know. Don’t care. Not reading the rest.

I was, at the point where the author is attempting to curtail rape, still crying. She can have her main character think non-rape-ish, confused, maybe I want this, internal thoughts. She can tell you that it is erotic. There doesn’t have to be crying and screaming from the girl. Those of us that know better, those of us that have a healthy fear of men (if any fear of men can be called healthy) will never see scenes like that as anything other than what they are, rape. It will hurt for us to read them and hurt even more that someone, a woman especially, is trying to pass it off as being acceptable.

For those that don’t know better, the author is painting a horrifically misleading picture about what rape is.

As to what she is saying to men, well, this is what I see. This opening say that it is okay to physically trap a woman, penetrate her in some way, work at her for a bit and if you’re good enough at it she’ll like it and let you continue. Great fucking message. There is also a small bit in there about her being wet so must be turned on. NO. It is a biological reaction, not a fucking invitation.

I cannot, and will not try to articulate to you how far off base this author is about what goes on in a woman’s head when someone who is physically superior to her, traps her, and enters her body with anything: fingers, dick, foreign object, doesn’t fucking matter. *It doesn’t have to be his dick. And to say or portray that it wasn’t rape because he only enters her with his hands and not his dick right away, is wrong. Colossally wrong.

I have read other books that contain rape scenes. I have even liked books with these scenes, not liked the scene themselves, or the fact that it was a part of the book, but liked the book as a whole work. It is an understatement to say that it is unfortunate that rape is part of, or has been a part of life for some people. As all parts of life do, it has its place in literature. My issue with this novella in particular is the authors attempt to pass off the act of rape as something else, as something acceptable.  

Because I don’t really want to sit here on this train of thought all night, I’ll wrap this up by saying that if you ever write a sex scene, and you intend it to be anything other than rape, you need to have this order of operations down pat. 1) Consent, clear consent. 2) Everything else second.

May B.B.  (The, disappointed in her own genre sometimes, Writer)

*I am not implying that you must be, or that rape only happens when one person is physically superior to another. It’s just how it went down in that case.

As always, you can find me on Twitter and Facebook or shoot me an email via the contact page on this site. I love to hear from you.

Writing Prompt: Cassius

It’s always fascinating to me to see how two people can take the same idea and end up in two completely different places. I see this in most art forms, but writing and visual arts (painting, drawing, etc.) most often. It’s one of the basic things that make humans amazing. Our life experiences, things we have seen, heard, felt, and been through will shape everything we do. It is, essentially, how we get such a variety of books and stories to read and enjoy. No two people are ever the same.

So how does that get us to this writing prompt? Glad you asked. Not a lot of people know, but before I wrote, read, loved, and swam in all things romance, I was an uber fan of fantasy. Yes, I just said uber. No, I’ve never said it before. Yes, I might try it again. Anyway, dragons, elves, magic, all things Merlin, other worlds, swords, arrows, rings, you get where this is going, high fantasy all the way. Fantasy and Arthurian literature ruled my world for many years.

My top two favorite reads of all time actually come from this genre, and not romance like most assume. Christopher Paolini’s, The Inheritance Cycle, and Mary Stewart’s, The Merlin Trilogy; if you have not read them, well, I’m just not sure we can be friends. Please go correct your mistake now.

When I started writing I wrote strictly fantasy. No sex at all. Can you believe it? How does one go from writing things that read like Dungeons and Dragons, to things that have no dragons but a few BDSM dungeons? We can talk about that later. I wrote a book that was high fantasy and then wrote several short story prequels for many of the characters. Obviously at some point I abandon this project and got so lost in the world of romance that I can’t find my way out now.

I was looking back through my files for that long lost project and I found a short story that I started, just barely, and then did nothing with. When I say just barley that is what I mean. It is a few short paragraphs that gives you a character, his relative location, and what action he is taking in that moment. So here is what I’m doing. I am giving it to you. All of you, any of you, whoever wants it, here you go. I am hoping that you will finish it and then let me read what you wrote.

I am thinking I will probably finish it too, but since it has been so long since I first started it there is no way it would take the same shape I had originally intended it to. After reading some other pieces of short fiction I am thinking of taking my version in a completely different direction now.

So the prompt: finish this story. Short, long, poetic, whatever you feel, start writing and see where it goes. If you feel up to it, send it back to me. I would love to read all the places people end up with this character. If you don’t mind me seeing what you came up with you can email it to me at maybbooks@yahoo.com , just put “writing prompt, Cassius” in the subject so I know you’re not spam. If you would like, I am also happy to post what you send to my stories tab here.

So take this and pass it around to all of your friends, post it on your blog, page, whatever. I think this could be fun. Cassius Link

May B.B. (The, has the hots for Merlin, romance writer)

As always, you can find me on Twitter and Facebook or shoot me an email via the contact page on this site. I love to hear from you.

Dirty Secrets of a Girl

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Trying out different greetings. How do we like that one? I was born and spent the first twelve years of my life in Texas, so it seemed fitting. Anyhow, I was thinking about sex tonight. Not the act of sex so much, but the idea that as a girl I can be sexual, even overtly so.

I grew up in a home, even a culture where as a girl I was taught to be conservative. Women didn’t dress provocatively; we don’t make jokes about sex, or do ridiculous things like ogle men. I grew up with the idea that women didn’t watch porn, go to strip clubs, or hangout in groups having dirty conversations about the things we had done or would do. Sex was not something women pursued or admitted much about. Walking, talking virgin Marys. I have just never been able to shake the feeling that sex is a boy’s club thing.

To be fair, the first twelve years of my life I grew up in a very religious culture. The rest of my life has been a free for all, but we can talk about that some other time.  I’m sure that most of my thoughts on this come from those first twelve years. Even in that religious culture, it was still much more acceptable, even expected that men would talk about/ watch/ participate in sexually related things, and women would just blush politely when it was brought up.

It might surprise you to know, considering I write romance and erotica, but I still feel awkward about being open regarding sex. I still feel judged and ashamed. It is the main reason I use a pen name and not my name to write. I want to be able to promote my writing without the judgment of those in my day to day life, say the people I work with.

I was at a Facebook romance book release party tonight. If you have not been to one, GO! They are so much fun. Mostly it is girls posting pictures of men missing their clothing, and talking dirty. Really dirty. It was this party that got me thinking about tonight’s topic. Well, sorta. Really it was the fact that right after I sat here shamelessly posting pics of naked, beautiful men, and using words like lick-able, I went to post a much less provocative pic on Twitter and paused.

I didn’t want to post the pic on Twitter because I was afraid of what people might think. This is stupid considering my followers on Twitter all know me as a romance and erotica writer. Thing is, I was worried that they might think of me as less intellectual, or even sluttish, or shallow. I was worried about the other writers that follow me, and not so much those that follow me as readers or lovers of romance books.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized it is the men that follow me that I was most concerned with. After going to enough of these FB release parties I know just how dirty my fellow ladies are. I know that I’m not the only one that enjoys a beautiful man or having a place to be forward about it. We just do it behind closed doors (or in private FB parties). We do, however, judge each other in public, and I think that is just to save face.

So why is it that no one bats an eye when a man talks about a woman having a nice rack or ass, but people cringe when a girl talks about men that way? Is it the same for me to say a dude is packing, or that I wouldn’t mind finding out if he is?

I’ve spent a lot of time in bars. My parents owned one I worked in growing up, along with several others. Currently most of my friends work at a sports bar. I hear the way the guys talk about the girls that are not afraid to express their desires, thoughts, and selves regarding sex. Those are sluts, trashy, or girls that are less classy than the rest of us. Except that they aren’t. They’re just braver than most of us, or don’t give a shit about the unjust judgment. I also have heard the vilest things come out of these same men’s mouths, but they don’t suffer the same judgment.

So here it is for what it’s worth.  I like the human form, men and women (though not equally). I sometimes think dirty things when I see a form that appeals to me particularly, as I am sure men also do. If you have a nice mouth (yes we’ve talked about this before) I might think them while you’re talking to me. Some of the things I think or say might be considered objectifying. I like to think of it as appreciating, and don’t care that men do the same. I like strip clubs. Yep, not just tolerate them, like them. I’ve been known to scroll through a porn site, though with no regulaJameson_j-howtomakelovelikerity. The first nonfiction book I read was Jenna Jameson’s, How to Make Love Like a Porn Star. I am human and there for somewhat sexual in nature. Being a girl doesn’t change that.

I can be all, and do all of the things above and not be “dirty”. I can still be classy and intellectual. It doesn’t mean I sleep around or that I want to.  I have not, nor do I want to do all of the things I write in sex scenes for books. I do enjoy writing them, however (along with all of the other parts of the book and yes, there are other parts).

So this was supposed to be freeing in some way and I’m thinking it really isn’t. I know I’ll still second guess making that dirty joke or posting the yummy pics I find. I will still blush (and hate that I do it) when people say things that are sexual in nature to me. I won’t start posting things under my given name, and I’ll think about what you all think of me after I post this. I’ll post it anyway.

 Ladies, stay fabulously you. Be crazy, love what you love, and feel no shame.  Men, in too many ways we are just you with boobs and nicer asses.   

Give me your two (or three) cents on this, or anything else, on my Facebook or Twitter page.

May B.B. (The, I can be a good girl (sometimes), Writer)