Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Implausible Marrows

So I have been at a point of almost, almost being ready to submit my latest book, still tentatively called Like the Lightning, to the publishers for several days now. I was reading through draft #3,687,648 (probably) on the train this morning when I realised I had a problem.

I had messed up my dates.

The village fete - which was going to prove fairly instrumental in my two protagonists' courtship - was taking place in May.  And yet, despite this, they managed to have the following conversation:

“I hope you will enjoy the Waverley fete. I am a little worried it might not be terribly exciting for a young man such as yourself.” 
“Oh I doubt that. I love a country fete. My father hosts an annual one in Rochester which is tremendous fun.” 
“Well I hope Waverley can provide stout competition to Rochester.” 
“Tell me,” said Felix conspiratorially. “Do you have a coconut shy?” 
“Oh yes, and bat-a-rat and a stall where you have to throw a hoop around wooden blocks to win a prize." 
“Against almost impossible odds?” 
“The odds certainly seem stacked against one, yes.” 
"Capital! And are there competitions for jam making and cake decorating and growing the biggest marrow?” 
“Certainly. We take that sort of thing very seriously around here. There will be whole tents full of enormous vegetables to impress you.” 
“I trust the entrants are fiercely competitive. Almost obsessively so?” 
“Of course. Mr Fotherington and Mr Dodds almost came to blows last year during the judging of the Largest Onion prize. The difference of opinion was, I believe, whether any part of the root can be counted in its overall length.” 
“And was any satisfactory conclusion reached?” 
“The judges decided that the entire bottom root needed to be removed. It most upset Mr Dodds who said that removing it destroyed the aesthetic appeal of his onions. Mr Fotherington, unfortunately, wasn’t very gracious in his victory. It was quite a drama as I’m sure you can imagine.” 
Felix laughed. “And are the two gentlemen in question exhibiting this year?” 
“Mr Dodds has foresworn onions for all time, I believe. Although we expect to see his cabbages and broccoli entered in their respective classes. If you do meet him, I implore you to keep off the topic of the aesthetic properties of onions.” 
“I shall try but I am not promising anything. I find that the aesthetic properties of onions works its way into most every conversation I have.”

You can see the problem immediately, I am sure. How the hell are the good people of Waverley entering marrows into biggest marrow competitions in May? What kind of freakish vegetable-growing schedules are these people keeping to?

So every date in the book has needed to be shifted back three months. I have just spent the last hour checking every sodding date and mention of the season in order to ensure that the fictional veg doesn't have to be harvested until August.

Because the last thing I want is a bunch of poor reviews of Amazon complaining that while they quite enjoyed the sex and spanking, they found the improbable marrows totally killed the mood.

I'm not being even slightly sarcastic by the way. That's the sort of thing that totally bugs me as a reader.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Writing Process Bloghop

Today I am taking part in the Writing Process Bloghop. I was tagged by Megan Michaels who talks about her own writing process here.

Question 1: What am I working on?

At the moment I am finishing my second book which is tentatively entitled Like the Lightning. The title is a reference to the hero’s work in the field of electricity and is also a quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:
It is too rash, too unadvised, too sudden;
Too like the lightning, which doth cease to be
Ere one can say 'It lightens.' Sweet, good night!
This bud of love, by summer's ripening breath,
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.
Good night, good night! as sweet repose and rest
Come to thy heart as that within my breast!
I’m not sure the title will stay though. I don’t think coming up with titles is my forte. The last one was called The Marvellous Marvelo until just before publication when the publishers suggested that His Lordship’s Apprentice would be a better title. Which, to be fair, it is.

Today I have been reading the final draft of the manuscript on my kindle in order to spot any errors I’ve missed and to ensure that the plot makes sense when read end-to-end. I shall probably be sending it to the publishers in the next day or two.

Once that it is done, I’ll start on my next book. At the moment I have outlines sketched out for three books (plus one short story I want to write that might lead to more.) These books-to-be consist of a Victorian story about an heiress and some confidence tricksters, a story set in a dystopian future which would probably be quite a bit darker than my previous books and a sort-of sequel to Like the Lightning featuring the heroine’s son, Robert and his quest for true love. The short story I have in mind would feature a 1920s consulting detective called Tabitha Moriaty.

It seems a bit premature to start writing a sequel to a book that’s not been published yet (and that everyone might hate) so I shall probably concentrate on the dark dystopian future one which will make a change from the historical stuff I have been writing lately.

Question 2: How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Given that I only have one published book so far, it’s probably a little too early to tell. Feedback for His Lordship’s Apprentice definitely tends to use words like ‘gentle’, ‘lighthearted’ and ‘sweet’ which seems fair and is probably what I’m going for. Those adjectives all apply to the new book, I reckon. Quite possibly even more so.

I don’t write comedy, as such, but I think humour slips into most things I write. In my new book, a lot of the attraction between the hero and heroine comes from their ability to make one another laugh so I hope that comes across in their dialogue otherwise they’re just going  to sound like lunatics.

Question 3: Why do I write what I do?

I have always been fascinated by spanking. Right back to when I used to read Enid Blyton’s stories where characters  were threatened with (and occasionally received) sound spankings. I had a picture book collection of her stories as a child which contained an illustration which is seared into my memory. It showed a wizard administering a spanking to a crying elf while nervous elves stood queuing for their turn. There were also several elves who had clearly already had their turn and were looking most unhappy about it. I have tried to find it online (seriously, you do not want to see my Google searches some days) with no success so far.
It may have been this one. Or one of the many hundreds of others that she wrote.
One day I will find it again, you mark my words.
I don’t really remember what happened in the story (other than everyone getting spanked in the end for their naughtiness) but I think reading it was a significant landmark. When I look back to when my interest in spanking started, I think I can safely say that I have been interested for a very long time. Although as a kid I think I was just sort of fascinated by the idea. It didn’t become a turn-on until my teens.

It’s been a guilty pleasure for a long time and it was only pretty recently that I realised how good some spanking literature is. God, I love my Kindle. Discovering writers like Renee Rose and Maren Smith totally changed the way I looked at erotica and made me realise that writing romance was something I really wanted to do. Particularly if I could stuff it full of spankings.

Question 4: How does my writing process work?

I don’t have time to write at all at the moment, really.  I work full time as a Technical Author and am studying for a Bachelor with Honours degree in Computer Science which should be finished this year. I’m also job-hunting again. Or at least I should be.

Basically, if I’m writing, there is usually something else I should be doing instead. If you see me posting, tell me to get on with that bloody assignment that needs doing (there’s always at least one).

Never-the-less I make time to write because I really enjoy doing it. When the degree’s finished (if I am spending enough time on it to actually pass the thing), I shall be able to spend much more time writing but until then (assuming my whole ‘Win the lottery, quit job” plan doesn’t pan out), I just have to fit in when I can. I commute into the City of London each day which takes an hour each way so I often use that time to write. I write longhand in a 2013 diary which was surplus to requirements at one of my previous jobs. I’m on diary number four at the moment and I have about fifty of the things so I’m good for notebooks for the next ten years or so I reckon. It’s quite a lengthy process because I have to type everything up again when I get home but I prefer it to lugging a heavy laptop around with me.

I used to feel embarrassed about writing some of the more explicit stuff on public transport but it doesn’t bother so much now. I think the embarrassment went when my first book got published. “Yeah, I’m writing about sex and spanking. It’s a thing I do, you know?”

Plus if anybody IS reading what I’m writing over my shoulder, well I like to think it will give them a startlingly new insight into what might be going on in the heads of their fellow commuters.

Work in Progress

I now have to pass the Writing Process Bloghop baton onto two more fellow writers.

I am really excited that two absolutely fantastic authors, Maddie Taylor and Maren Smith have agreed to do it.

Maddie Taylor has written a ton of great books including Marshall's Law which is my all-time favourite time-travel spanking romance. You might think that that's too specific a genre for that accolade to mean much but I love a time-travel story. If it's got both time-travel and spanking in it, then I've probably read it. And Marshall's Law is the best.I was grinning from ear to ear the whole time I read it - apart from the times when I was welling up.

Maren Smith, as a mentioned before, was one of the authors who made me realise how well-written and engaging erotic books can be. Naturally I love her historical stories best. My favourite is either Angel of Hawkhaven or Black Sheep. I'd be hard pushed to choose between them because they are both so different. Her stories are always beautifully engaging with characters that are so well-drawn that you wish they would just step off the page so you could hang out with them.

Check out their blogs next week to read their answers to the Bloghop questions and find out what makes them tick as writers.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

His Lordship's Apprentice gets reviewed on Spanking Romance Reviews

I've done a few reviews for Spanking Romance Reviews lately. Most recently Casey McKay's Emmaline's Groom which I raved about like a starstruck fangirl. Seriously, I'm like one step away from stalking the woman like an obsessed One Direction fan.

Because the only true way to appreciate art is to totally lose your shit.
So I am genuinely excited and pleased that Casey has reviewed my book His Lordship's Apprentice for Spanking Romance Reviews and that she actually seemed to rather like it.

Check out the nice things she said:

I really enjoyed this endearing story about a woman who is down on her luck and ends up having her dreams come true. Etta Stark shows a promising start with her first book. The characters were very believable and Lord Hardcastle and Violet have a chemistry between them from the very beginning

I may stitch her above words into a sampler. Or possibly have them tattooed across my lower back. (There's a lot of space there actually, I could probably fit in the whole review.)

Check out the whole thing here!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Saturday Spankings - Snippet from my forthcoming book

Happy Easter! This Saturday Spanking is being posted far later in the day that it should be. Somehow, due to the Easter weekend, I had completely lost track of what day it was.

As I mentioned last week, I have almost finished my second book. I am going through it now, filling in the bits where I've left place markers like [man's name] and [mention that thing from earlier] and trying to bash any painfully clumsily constructed sentences into shape.

The story is tentatively called 'Like the Lightning' but may well change before publication because I suspect I'm not very good at titles.

It's set in 1870 and is about a forty-one year old widow called Margaret who has spent the last 10 years since her husbands death doing pretty much what she wanted. She has two grown-up sons and no interest in re-marrying until she meets attractive and brilliant scientist, Felix Oliver who becomes captivated with her. Marrying him will mean a drop in status as well as risking scandal in society given that Felix is only 26 years old - not much older than her sons. There's also the matter of spanking. Felix tells her at their first meeting that he believes women should be disciplined and that he would spank his wife.

The following snippet takes place just after Felix has proposed to Margaret. She is stil weighing up all the options.

“Would you beat me if we were married?” she said.
“What?” Whatever he had been expecting her to say next, it wasn’t that.
“The first time we met, you told me that you thought it a good idea for men to spank their wives. You said that if I were your wife, you would spank me.”
“I haven’t forgotten.”
“Of course I thought you were speaking entirely rhetorically at the time. It’s funny how things turn out. So, tell me, would you expect physical discipline to be part of our marriage?"
Felix spoke quietly but without hesitation. “Yes I would.”
“Very well. Then before I can decide whether or not to accept your proposal, I need to understand precisely what I am letting myself in for.”
“You want to be spanked?"
“I need to know what to expect if you decide to punish me. I think the only way for me to ascertain that would be for you to carry out such a punishment this evening.”
Felix’s heart hammered in his ribcage. She had laid down a challenge and he was damned well going to be man enough to accept it.

Check out the rest of the Saturday Spankings links.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Is this Adult Content?

This is a question for everyone who uses Blogger. Have you activated the 'adult content' warning on your blog? If so, when and why did you decide to do so?

I ask because it seems to be de rigueur among fellow Saturday Spankings bloghoppers and the like. However, I find I am instinctively resisting ticking the box. I don't want the Content Warning page to flash up every time someone nips over to my blog.

Or is it?

My blog's not that rude, I reason to myself. There's nothing on it that you wouldn't find on, say, or the sex problems page on the Guardian. There's no nudity, for one thing. I even swear less than I've done on previous non-spanking-related blogs.

Obviously it's an adult blog. I'm not suggesting children wander over and read the spanking excerpts. But, the fact is, "adult" in this context means "porny" rather than "not child-friendly". In the same way that "adult bookstores" aren't full of copies of the Game of Thrones and Stephen Hawking's Brief History of Time.

Parents don't assume that everything on the internet that doesn't explicitly come with a warning is safe, clean family entertainment. They know if they did, their kids would see some pretty freaky stuff by the time they were eighteen.

Anyone ever NOT clicked the orange box?
I could be looking at this the wrong way, though. I don't want the Content Warning page because I assume it will put readers off. Maybe it doesn't. For all I know, it may act as an enticement, luring people in with its promise of sexy, sexy content.

It's like the paragraph that you get at the end of the blurb for a spanking book on Amazon: "This book contains graphic sex scenes, consensual and non consensual spanking and anal play. Please do not buy if you are offended by such things." I'm not the only person who skips to that bit first, surely? That kind of warning must encourage far more people than it deters.

The main thing that worries me in my current 'Content warning'-free stance, is that maybe the decision will be imposed on me from outside. Can I get reported for offending the sensibilities of the casual websurfer with my slightly kinky erotica-themed website? What will my "It doesn't even have any boobies on it!" defence be worth when the Google Police step in and wipe me from the blogosphere?

It's entirely possible I'm overthinking this. It has been known. I would be really interested to know other bloggers' opinions.Is the Adult Content warning a furtive apology, a proud declaration or a straightforward courtesy to other web users?

Photo of a pair of boobies which totally undermines my earlier point.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Spanking Romance Review - Emmaline's Groom

I forgot to mention this last week, but I donned my flamboyant reviewer's hat again for Spanking Romance Review and reviewed the fantastic new book my Casey McKay, Emmaline's Groom

You can probably guess from my gushing enthusiasm at the start of this review how much I enjoyed this one. I had a massive smile on my face most of the time when I was reading it. The setup and characterisation are perfect and the two leads are just lovely.

Classy cover, too

Here's a little snippet of my review. Check out the whole thing here.
Casey McKay’s Emmaline’s Groom ticks every single one of my spanking preference boxes and does so with great style. It’s fantastic. I feel like I have I have just acquired my very own bespoke romance writer catering specially to my own personal requirements. 
Although to be fair, I’m probably far from being the only person likely to be enchanted by Emmaline and Leo’s story.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Saturday Spankings - After her spanking

For Saturday Spankings these last few weeks I have been posting excerpts from my book His Lordship's Apprentice each snippet occurring directly after the last and describing scullery maid Violet's spanking across her employer, Lord Hardcastle's knee.

The spanking is now over.

Violet rose to her feet. She tried to wipe away the tears with the side her of her hand. Lord Hardcastle passed her his pocket handkerchief. “Keep it.” 
He looked at her intently as she wiped away the tears. “Good girl,” he said. “Now, off to bed with you.”
He landed another sharp smack on her already bruised and tender bottom. 
“And try to keep out of mischief this time.”

This means I shall have to give some thought to what excerpt to share with my fellow Saturday Spankos next week. I'm not sure my work-in-progress - tentatively entitled 'Like the Lightning' - is ready to share yet but we'll see. It's almost finished but it could be all gibberish. It's hard to tell.

As always, make sure you hop about and visit all the lovely spanking writers on the below list.

Friday, 11 April 2014

When Movie Posters Lie About Spanking

Yesterday I complained loud and long about John Wayne's use of a coal shovel as a spanking implement in McLintock. And you know what? I'm clearly not the only person who doesn't associate coal shovels with sexy, spanking action.

Below is the original theatrical poster for McLintock. Notice anything missing?

Here's the same scene from the movie for comparison:

Hmm. You know, not only did they willfully mislead the general public about the amount of hand spanking contained within the movie, they kind of made a mess of the artwork as well.

What's up with John Wayne's arm? I get that they had to change it from being bent forward to being raised back, and that foreshortening is a tricky thing, but seriously the designer seems to have no clue how arms actually work. It looks like it's erupting alien-style from halfway down his body.

So, 1960's theatrical posters, you just can't trust 'em apparently. Consider this a Public Service Announcement.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Spanking in the Movies

I mentioned the other week how you really don't get a lot of spankings in mainstream movie. It's not like I expect there to be as much spanking on screen as there is, say, inside my head. That wouldn't leave enough time for all the car chases and robot battles and stuff. Not surprisingly, I tend to be drawn to films where I know there is going to be be some kind of spanking and below are four such films which I've seen (and seen all the way, through, you understand. I'm not just youtube-ing the spanking bits) and my thoughts on them. Turns out my overriding response to spanking in the movies is one of slight disappointment. They're not as satisfying as books, that's for certain.

So here they are in no particular order (well they are in a particular order, I suppose. They're in the order I wanted to talk about them Just not in chronological order or anything.)

McLintock (1963)

John Wayne spanking Maureen O'Hara must be one of cinema's most famous spankings. It's right there on the DVD cover and everything. It was a pretty ungentlemanly spanking though. McLintock pursues his ex throughout the town before wrestling over his lap in front of the whole townsfolk and spanking her with a coal shovel. A coal shovel! Why on earth would you even choose to use that as a spanking implement? It's non-springy, it has a small surface area, it's made of metal for goodness sake. If you were to compile a list of every possible type of object in order of their suitability as a spanking implement (and who knows I may just do that at some point), with razor strops, belts and ping pong paddles at one end and meringues, diamond rings and glass eyes at the other, then a coal shovel would definitely be closer to the rubbish end.
Luckily for McLintock, the spanking has the desired effect and the two of them are happily reconciled at the end of the movie. So, yeah, it worked. But maybe next time you could do it with a bit more finesse, mate.

A Dangerous Method (2011)
Keira Knightley and her extraordinary accent are patients of groundbreaking psychoanalyst Carl Jung. She suffers from hysteria and Jung’s revolutionary new ‘talking therapy’ reveals her intense desire for physical punishment. Jung encourages her to pursue her plans to become a doctor and she encourages Jung to have an affair with her in order that she might have a
better idea of sexuality. Jung hums and haws for a bit because, you know, she is his patient and he is already married and everything but eventually reaches the decision that, yes, he would like to have sex with the pretty girl. Spanking inevitably ensues. The spanking scenes are not particularly engaging though. I think it’s because they are only shown in isolation with no build-up or aftermath. We know that being punished excites her but we’re never really shown what Jung gets out of it. Does he enjoy spanking her or is he doing it in the spirit of scientific enquiry? It’s left pretty unresolved because, being based on a true story, things don’t get all neatly wrapped up but events just sort of go on for a bit and then stop. Like life. The best quote in the film comes from maverick psychoanalyst who counsels Jung when he’s wavering as to whether he should accept his patient’s offer. “I can't understand what you're waiting for. Just take her to some secluded spot and thrash her to within an inch of her life. That's clearly what she wants. How can you deny her such a simple pleasure?”

Blue Hawaii (1961)
Now I’m not going to be rude about Elvis Presley. The man’s the undisputed King, for goodness sake, he influenced everyone in music worth listening to for generations after him. Half of my Christmas Spotify playlist is Elvis Presley because at his most cheesy , he’s still Elvis and
there’s nothing more festive than hearing him croon “O Little Town of Bethlehem”. Still, when all’s said and done, he did make some truly terrible films. Blue Hawaii is one part Hawaii tourist board promotion, one part music video and one part Elvis just phoning his lines in. Although it does come with a nice spanking garnish so that’s a bonus. Bizarrely, the girl who gets taken over the knee by Elvis isn’t even his love interest in the film. She’s a spoilt brat that Elvis needs to take care of as part of his tour guide duties. And by ‘taking care of’ we mean being bent over his lap and spanking soundly, of course.
Jenny Maxwell who was on the receiving end of the spankings said that they were all for real and that the scene took several takes to get right. It’s a fun scene that is only marred by the rest of the film being absolute rubbish. Nice songs though.

Secretary (2002)
This film is a bit of a weird one. Sure, it’s all fun and games to start off with spanking over the desk, and saddles and carrots and arm yoke-things. Maggie Gyllenhaal plays Lee, secretary and submissive to James Spader’s E Edward Grey (Hey, he’s called Mr Grey like that other suit
wearing dominant. Totally didn’t realise that before) but things getting a bit bleak as the story progresses. Culminating in Lee being instructed to place her hands on his desk and not move until Grey comes back for her. He leaves her for three days while she becomes the focus of her messed-up family’s ministrations and the object of media attention who stand outside the building reporting on her ‘hunger strike’. I think the ending of the film is supposed to reassure us that the couple work everything works out OK for the couple but I didn’t really feel convinced by it. I would like to have seen some evidence that they go on to have the happy BDSM relationship we want them to. A nice over-the knee spanking at the end would have improved the film immensely. Although now I come to think of it, that’s probably true of all films.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Saturday Spankings - Violet's Spanking Concludes

Hello! Welcome back for another Saturday Spanking! The excerpts I have been posting for the last couple of weeks have been from my book His Lordship's Apprentice. Violet, a scullery maid working for Lord Hardcastle has been caught stealing wine by his Lordship himself. He takes her over his lap for a swift, hard spanking. The spanking is now drawing to a conclusion although the last few spanks won't be easy for our heroine...
He then laid five swats in quick succession. If Violet had though the preceding spanks were hard, they were nothing in comparison to these.  
These made her realise that he had been holding back for most of the spanking. Each of these five swats made her yelp loudly although she managed to remain in place and not jerk upwards or kick.  
Those hard swats seemed to signify that the punishment was over. Lord Hardcastle did not spank Violet further. 
She lay across his lap choking back sobs and trying to regain her breath.  
“Up you get, Violet.”

Remember to check out the other Saturday Spankers in the list below! Hope you all have wonderful weekends doing whatever makes you happiest.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Spanking Romance Review - Mail Order Switch

My review of Patty Devlin's Mail Order Switch was posted yesterday on Spanking Romance Reviews. Check it out here.

Mail Order Switch is a great story featuring a teen runaway and set in the Wild West. A snippet from my review:

Her new husband, Wade is a gruff but fair man with a firm belief in physical discipline. Of course he is. I rather hoped he would be. Wade delivers the first spanking within hours of marrying his new bride. Given Liz’s inevitable tendency to lie – and lie badly – coupled with her preponderance to run away the moment she feels stressed, Wade has plenty to reasons to spank her subsequently on numerous occasions. And each time, within the story, it feels deserved. 

A review of the book's sort-of sequel, The Chicagoan Switch by Celeste Jones was featured a couple of days before mine. Because they like to mess with chronology at Spanking Romance Review. It's just like a Quentin Tarantino movie over there. Or that film with Guy Pearce and the tattoos.