PLEASURING YOURSELF

Welcome to the May 2018 Blog!

Sometimes I think of my sexy, provocative, and deliciously naughty stories as being “left-hand” books. Ones that you hold with your left hand to read while your right hand is touching and pleasuring yourself.

The young woman pictured above looks like she may be experiencing a self-love kind of lovely stimulation and gasping euphoria at the moment herself.

Yes, I’m talking about masturbation. Sexually pleasing yourself. Solo sex. So, is it sin or salvation?

I’ve heard it said that masturbation is what guys do all the time and girls never admit to doing. Some say it is the most pleasurable thing in the universe, and others claim it is part of the reason why there are fewer teenage pregnancies.

There are endless slang terms for the act:  to jerk off, jack off, jerk the gherkin, beat off, beating the meat, choke the chicken, slap the salami, slide the pole, spit-shine the rod, polish the knob, date Miss Palmer, hump my fist, wank off, wax the brass candlestick, rub one out, pud wrestle, spank the monkey, strangle the snake, turn on the sprinklers, and many, many more.

Did you notice those are all male-related terms? But men don’t have all the fun cumming like a fire-hose. Women are the lucky ones who come harder, longer, and more often. There are numerous slang terms for female masturbation too.

Examples are:  fingerbating, jilling off, polishing the pearl, mixing the soup, buttering the biscuit, brushing the beaver, applying lip gloss, tripping the switch, saucing the taco, gilding the lily, finger painting, flicking the bean, muffin buffin’, visiting the finger vault, getting lost in the deep end, petting the bunny, pet my kitten, and paddling the pink canoe.

The Swedes didn’t have a term for female masturbation so they held an official contest looking for a term to help open up a dialogue  about masturbation and female sexuality. The winner was “klittra” which combines “clitoris” and “glitter” (an apt descriptor of how it makes her feel?) to make a positive and happy word.

There is a taboo about masturbating and an even greater taboo against talking about it. The act is usually considered a secret and private matter so the topic is off limits for discussion. Not here.

According to the University of Michigan, the vast majority of children discover their genitals and the pleasure they can bring by age six. They are usually taught not to touch their private parts “down there,” and, to scare them, some were told it was a sin or even the myth that masturbation would make them blind – utter nonsense of course.

It is usually around puberty when the libido spikes and we naturally begin to explore our bodies. Most often it is tween boys and girls who are  10 to 12 when they begin to masturbate. However, they won’t achieve a true orgasm until they reach puberty.

Most parents find it super-awkward when adolescents start masturbating, but not only is it normal, it is healthy. They should be taught to be respectful and only do it in private. To use only their fingers and hands, and to wash afterward. The bottom line is our children’s masturbation should affect our lives about as much as our masturbation affects theirs – not at all.

It is for everyone regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or religion. Anyone can do it and these things don’t matter.  You can be a shy introverted virgin or an experienced lover. It can be done as often as you desire, solo or with a partner.

It is our deliciously wicked little secret that is tremendously exciting and arousing, so it is no wonder the erotic activity is so popular.

How you touch yourself is private. It usually begins by lying in bed and arousing yourself while caressing your erogenous zones; breasts and nipples, vulva or penis and scrotum. The fun parts of our body that create a safe and amazing  sensation very similar to sex.

It feels marvelous, and afterwards you may feel light and happy. All the tension drains out of your body and you feel relaxed and sated as you experience a wonderful sense of euphoria. Some say masturbation is as good or even better than intercourse.

Pleasuring ourselves is often done accompanied with some sort of mental, visual, or audio stimulation to assist in arousal and reaching climax. Using erotica such as a sexy, erotic photo, magazine, or video, or whatever it takes to get you good and wet if you are a female, or super hard if you are a male.

Maybe what turns you on is the Fifty Shades series of books following the salacious sexual journey of Christian Gray and Anastasia Steele, or my own titillating stories are also great inspiration. Possibly what works best is to simply use your own steamy hot memories or fertile imagination.

Masturbation is simple and easy to do. The method can vary but usually is just to use our hands and fingers, and especially females might enlist the aid of a device such as a dildo or vibrator-or something more inventive-for more intense stimulation. We happily masturbate for the delicious arousal and pleasure and that eventual goal of a scintillating and satisfying surge of release.

We can do it any time of the day or night. It can be quick and dirty for a fast orgasm, or the journey to the ultimate climax can be prolonged so the effervescent pleasure lasts and lasts. It can be once or, especially for females, multiple times. You don’t even need to be naked, it can also be done either clothed or semi-clothed.

Most often it is probably accomplished while lying in bed, but it can also be while standing, sitting in a chair or on the sofa, in the shower or bathtub, or it can be done almost anywhere. The possibilities are only limited by our imaginations.

Many women masturbate but they haven’t beaten the men when it comes to solo sex frequency…at least not yet. This gender gap might be explained because women have often been considered “good girls” when they adhere to the traditional sex role: to be sexually passive, naïve, and dependent – basically, to be nonsexual. Sexually experienced and independent women are frequently seen by some more conservative individuals as threatening and “loose.”

Some women have even been taught their genitals are repulsive and “dirty.” They are encouraged to repress their sexual feelings until marriage when sex is for the purpose of procreation (never their pleasure) and pleasing their husband. A woman learns she is supposed to received sexual pleasure only from sexual intercourse (not from touching or oral sex, and especially not from masturbation) with her husband (not with anyone else or by herself).

Likewise, if a woman is without a partner, masturbating is seen as a desperate act of loneliness, not an indicator of a woman’s natural sexuality.

All foolish and absurd of course, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

Masturbation is a healthy and natural part of sexuality. It enables people to learn about their own bodies and genitals as well as to recognize and develop their sexual responses or orgasms.

It also helps to foster communication in intimate relationships by making it easier for partners to identify and express what feels good physically and sexually for them and to each other.

Candid discussions about sexuality and sexual pleasure can help free women (and men) from the historically negative influences that have bound and prevented some individuals from discovering, exploring, and enjoying their sexual selves.

These conversions can make it easier to break the taboos and myths about masturbation and can encourage women and men to reach their healthy, sex-positive goals. And to have fun doing it.

Old studies, like the one by The Kinsey Institute on white American adults in 1948 and 1953, reported 92% of men and 62% of women admitted to masturbating. A 1994 study about masturbatory practices of men and women between ages 18 and 59 found that 41.7% of women and 63.3% of men had masturbated during the year studied.

In another large nationwide study of adults ages 18 to 60 conducted between 1983 and 1992, 10% of women reported masturbating frequently (several times daily or weekly) vs. 25% of men. Similarly, 38% of women reported masturbating on a regular basis (daily to monthly) in comparison to 55% of men.

An old joke observes that 98% of people masturbate – and the other 2% are lying. The numbers and frequency may be slightly lower now than previously believed. A newer study in 2007 by University of Chicago sociologists on a representative sample of American adults, reports only 38% of women said they’d masturbated during the past year compared to just 61% for men.

Interviewers asked 3,116 adults from age 18 to 60, “On average, over the past 12 months, how often did you masturbate?” It is possible that the face-to-face format suppressed the response numbers. However, even allowing for this possibility, it seems that masturbation may not be quite as prevalent as reported in the past.

Other findings:

Men are most likely to masturbate from their teens into middle age, but the rate fell somewhat after age 50. However, on the whole, men who masturbate continue to do so into later life.

Apparently it takes women some time to warm up to masturbation. Women aged 20 to 39 were the most likely to masturbate, with lower rates among women 18 to 20 and those over 40.

Masturbation becomes more likely for individuals of both sexes who have increased education, greater frequency of sexual thoughts, sexual experimentation before puberty, or a larger number of lifetime sexual relationships.

Poor health reduces masturbation frequency for women, but not for men – they do it regardless of their health.

Compared with people raised in families that are religiously liberal or non-observant, those raised in more conservative families reported less masturbation. It seems being more religious is an impediment to sexual freedom.

Masturbation has traditionally been regarded as a convenient sexual outlet for people who lack a lover, and that held true for both men and women.

White people are the most enthusiastic masturbators. Other ethnic groups reported less.

In American culture masturbation is often viewed as a sexual refuge for singles as a way to compensate for a lack of a sex in a relationship. In this survey that turned out not to be the case. In both genders a sexless relationship suppressed masturbation. Respondents who masturbated the most were usually involved in a sexual relationship. Having partner sex, it appears, piques interest in solo sex.

Finally, sex involves both physical and emotional closeness. In this study, any disconnect between these two elements was associated with increased masturbation. In fact, for women, one of the best predictors of masturbation was a relationship that lacked emotional intimacy.

Unfortunately, like most sex surveys, this one did not include those too young to be considered adults – some of whom we know have already indulged for years by age 18.  Nor did it include people over age 60 despite growing research that most of those over that age remain sexual.

Take from the above what you will…and do whatever you are comfortable doing.  I consider masturbation wonderfully good and satisfying so you can expect to see some of it in my sexy romance novels and short stories.

Above all remember touching yourself requires no permission or approval from anyone – not family or even your partner or spouse. You alone are in charge of your body.

Happy…doing!

ABOUT THE WRITING

NOVEL

I am excited and satisfied to report that I have completed my fourteenth novel! Mr. Right Seeks Miss Wrong is a 72,838 word book of 155 typed pages. The cover of the new manuscript is pictured above.

The story is a sexy romance about Chicago Police Commander Eric Wright who is sick and tired of being mistaken for, and teased about being, the mythical Mr. Right every woman seems to want. His jest to one of his buddies about needing a Miss Wrong to be his perfect match backfires when an unknown and very private woman appears and complications ensue.

SHORT STORIES

I have also been very active writing additional FREE sexy short stories (or longer) that I post on my website, blaineallenauthor.com, for anyone who has registered. I now have a total of 30 free stories available to read on the website!

I have a dozen or more promising short stories in progress, but ultimately I want to return and finish novel Baby Daddy. I have a ton of notes for it, and the book is started, but I still have the majority of the project left to complete.

I’ve mentioned before how I log each new story title and plot idea, along with the accompanying primary character names and multiple pages of notes, that I conjure up in my cluttered mind. The total is now up to 257 titles recorded – all possible writing projects!

I also have 117 of both my completed works and some of the more promising of that multitude of possible projects on the computer, with file folders created for each title and with word documents inside the folder for the text and maybe another one for notes.

FREE BOOK DRAWINGS

Over the past several months there have been five drawings from new subscribers on my website for free signed copies of my published book, One Night and One Day. The latest winner who was sent a book was A.L., in East Moline IL.

Please encourage any romance readers you know to check out the above website. Thank you!

WHAT IS LOVE?

Welcome to the September 2017 Blog!

Did you ever wonder about what love is?

I’ve heard love described as “a tickling sensation about the heart that can’t be scratched.” Or that “Love is heaven, and love is hell.” – presumably for the intense emotions it evokes.

I write about romantic love all the time in my novels, but never thought to look up the definition. When I checked I found a variety of answers. Here are a few – Love is:

An intense feeling of deep affection. A deep romantic or sexual attraction to someone. Symptoms include:

affection – fondness, tenderness, warmth, intimacy, attachment, endearment.             attraction – adoration, doting, worship, passion, ardor, desire, lust, yearning, infatuation

Love is a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. A feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection. Sexual passion or desire. A person toward whom love is felt; a beloved person; sweetheart.

Love means caring, kindness, respecting, understanding, giving, and wanting to make each other’s dreams come true.

Love is a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person. An attraction that includes sexual desire. The strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship. A person you love in a romantic way.

Other selected thoughts:

To truly love is a very selfless act.

Love is a feeling a person kindles inside you. It changes your chemistry, softens your mood, alters your mind, and sweetens your senses. You can’t help but dedicate the best of your energy to this.

The nature of love cannot be defined in one way that suits every person. Due to its intangible and mysterious qualities, it is impossible to love accurately. Instead, strive to love fully.

Love cannot be taught on a chalkboard or a video series. Sure, one can pick up tips here and there, but the only true teacher is experience, as filtered through the heart.

Love is for those of any age who care to soak in every detail, savor every moment, and weave a magical experience.

Love is a constellation of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness.

So I learned love is a strong emotion and it can be very compex. The meaning of love varies, but the central themes are affection and attraction. Romance, sexual passion, and desire are also mentioned often. Those are continuing themes present in all of my writing.

However I admit that I am addicted to love and romance. A consequence of that is I create environments and characters in my fantasy stories that sometimes may be better than they can possibly be in real life.

There is function in that for feel-good, escape fiction. But be cautious you’re not so addicted to fantasy romance you’re also “wedded to calamity,” to quote Shakespeare. Because, at some point, your romantic environment and your romantic soul are going need to deal head-on with the real world. You can’t have unrealistic expectations about your real life.

Your version of love is just that – yours. I hope you make of it everything you possibly can.

Here are my two personal favorite sayings about love:

To love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth!

When the one man and the one woman find each other and love, the very Angels in Heaven sing for joy.

ABOUT THE WRITING

NOVEL

I am particularly excited to report that I have completed my thirteenth novel! SAVING MR. P. is one of my longest projects at over 88,000 words and 190 typed pages. The cover of the new manuscript is pictured above.

The “Mr. P.” in the title is short for Mister President. The story is a sexy romance about a fictional future U.S. President who is saved by a female rancher in a remote area after a tragic accident. The long widowed Chief Executive suddenly wants to discover if the strong and self-sufficient woman might be more than only his rescuer.

SHORT STORIES

After my milestone birthday in March I’ve relaxed more and spent fewer hours writing novels. During the spring I went back to my first love of reading and spent many relaxing hours reading a few dozen novels.

Besides the length and complexity of the new novel, and taking vacation time during the summer, part of the delay in finishing the novel was because I have also been pretty prolific in my other writing.

My other big accomplishment is the several additional free short stories that I have completed and are posted on my website, blaineallenauthor.com, for anyone who has registered.

There are now 25 (!) short stories – many actually much longer novelettes or novellas – available. Those projects have been a lot of work too!

Now I plan to return to the other two projects I have started. “Mr. Right Seeks Ms. Wrong” is already novel length (over 40,000 words) at 54,780 words. “Baby Daddy” sits at only 16,800 words right now. I have tons of notes for each novel, so it is way too early to determine their finished lengths, and I never set deadlines.

I’ve mentioned before in my blogs how I log each new story title and plot idea that I conjure up in my cluttered mind, along with the accompanying primary character names and multiple pages of notes. The total is now up to 202 titles and information recorded – all possible writing projects.

Keep in mind I have only been writing since March 11, 2014 when I put words to paper for the very first time. So my completed novels, short stories, a couple dozen other unfinished projects, and all those plot ideas and notes, have all been accomplished in the three and a half years since then. It makes me tired just thinking about it! That’s a tremendous number of hours sitting in front of my computer screen!

WRITING PHILOSOPHY

With a March birthday I am a Pisces, and sometimes I look at my horoscope in the newspaper just for fun. Most are ridiculous tidbits that don’t apply to my life, but two recent ones have resonated with me.

I was never formally trained to be a writer and don’t know all of the proper methods and formal “rules.” So I never get anxious about breaking them when I write.

One entry said: “Before you rush to sign up and learn, consider going without training for a while. In fact, maybe wait as long as you can to learn the rules. If you don’t know what can or can’t be done, you’ll be creatively free.”

I never claimed to be a great author. Writing is a pastime and hobby for me, not a profession. The truth is every time I review one of my books I find things to change, but at a certain point I call it good enough or I would never get anything done. I get great satisfaction from both the creating and the completing of a project, and I don’t demand perfection of myself.

The other entry said: “In all things there is a kind of cost-benefit analysis that’s at the heart of finding satisfaction. All that’s required is that you work until it’s more or less good enough, reaching a kind of equilibrium between time, effort, and benefit.”

Both of these horoscopes support the approach to writing I have adopted and that help make me be happy and stress-free. It works wonderfully, so I think I’ll stick with exactly what I am doing.

I hope you had a great summer and had a chance to get a break from the normal daily grind. Have a happy autumn!

HAPPILY EVER AFTER (?)

Welcome to the February 2017 Blog!

Do you believe in the concept of “Happily Ever After?” – (Also known as HEA) Valentines month seems like an appropriate time to examine the topic.

Has there ever been a phrase that has generated more doubt, cynicism, hopelessness – and yet through it all, more hope and desire – than this one? I think not.

HEA is the fairy tale ending with the hero and heroine finding true love that lasts to the end of their days. Is there such a thing? It’s debatable.

Many react to the words with an eye-roll, an exasperated shrug, or an annoyed, “Pfft! Yeah, right.” The promise has been betrayed too often for the modern world to really buy into it. People might think that it sounds great, and maybe it can really happen…but only for other lucky people, and certainly not for themselves.

The Urban Dictionary offers these definitions:

“To find your one and only true love and live with them for the rest of your life. To be continually happy with no end.”

“Engaged to be married, happily married, married with children, as in a storybook ending. To be removed from the pool of eligible people to date.”

“To be happy for the rest of your life. To be, or to become happy or happier.”

Your beliefs will likely be directly influenced by your own experience with relationships and love, good or bad. Either yours personally, or by witnessing those of the family and friends in your sphere.

You might think the answer is simple – do you believe in the fairy tale, or not? But the answer is much more complicated than that.

Opinions have changed and the answer varies. There are many skeptics, cynics, detractors, and just plain unbelievers who reject the idea outright or at least qualify their response. Should there be a fairy tale ending to the story? A hopeful ending? Or a more realistic ending that is a not so happily-ever-after ending? A story that is believable and realistic yet sprinkled with positivity?

The regular dictionary may not list a definition for the phrase, but the internet is a treasure trove of viewpoints on the subject. Here is a sampling of ideas on the topic:

“Single is no longer a lack of options – but a choice. A choice to refuse to let your life be defined by your relationship status but to live every day Happily and let your Ever After work itself out.”

“They lived happily ever after (aside from a few normal disagreements, misunderstandings, pouts, silent treatments, and unexpected calamities).”

“Every fairy tale, it seems, concludes with the bland phrase “happily ever after.” Yet every couple I have ever known would agree that nothing about marriage is forever happy. There are moments of bliss, to be sure, and lengthy spans of satisfied companionship. Yet these come at no small effort, and the girl who reads such fiction dreaming her troubles will end ere she departs the altar is well advised to seek at once a rational woman to set her straight.”

“Maybe there aren’t any happily ever afters or valiant knights who ride in to save the day. Maybe, in real life, Prince Charming isn’t always perfect – he’s just as flawed as everyone else. And the princess? She’s not perfect either. But she’s smart enough to know not to wait around for a prince to charge in and slay the dragon. Maybe she saves herself, and in the end rides off into her own goddamned sunset.”

“Love is not sufficient. It never has been. Happily ever after?  Hard to come by. Real life sucks too often.”

“Love yourself a little bit longer, until you can’t stand not to love someone else.”

“Oh, there’s definitely happiness, but it’s just about moments, not ever-afters. You have to appreciate those wonderful moments when they happen, because the reality is we don’t get that many of them.”

“Just live. Be happy. Life isn’t always about ‘Happily Ever After.’ It’s about loving forever, regardless.”

I’m a believer. I believe love at first sight is possible. I believe relationships deepen and strengthen over time as love grows even richer. A love that stands the test of time does exist. However, I freely admit I’m an optimist and a hopeless romantic. But then I was happily married for over 42 years and I write about romances.

Sometimes you might think you’ve found your HEA, but it turns out you were wrong. Don’t despair. It doesn’t mean you can’t try again. Something worth having is worth both waiting for and fighting for.

Some criticize HEA books for not portraying real life. Those people don’t understand why they should read these stories because they say there are no men like that around, and hardly anyone gets to live happily ever after.

For me, I want and need a happily ever after in the romance stories I write. My favorite thing about the romance genre of fiction is the stories are about finding hope and happiness – regardless of the obstacles to be overcome. Satisfactory happy endings are happy for the reader in that the characters he or she sympathizes with are rewarded.

My novels are meant as a feel-good escape from the less than perfect realities of our everyday lives. If someone is going through difficult times in their lives, I hope my book makes them smile for the first time in a long time. Escapism shouldn’t ever be a downer.

Nothing makes me happier than to know something I’ve created made someone feel better. That’s the magic of romance.

I hope you have either already found your Happily Ever After guy or gal – or will soon!

ABOUT THE WRITING

I am very happy to report that the long Christmas story I hadn’t finished in December is now my twelfth completed novel or novella. CHRISTMAS AFFAIR is almost 35,400 words. Novellas are between 17,500 and 40,000 words long, so this book was pretty close to becoming novel length.

I put a photo of a very hunky man who is raring to go for Christmas on the cover of the new novella. (see above) I think the female readers will really appreciate it.

Now that I have completed two more manuscripts for a new total of 12, I have updated the photo of all my books on the My Books page of the website. Check it out.

I’m having trouble keeping the monthly free short stories I write under the 7,500-word limit. This month WEDDING SHUFFLE is a fun 8,700-word story about a couple that goes to Las Vegas to get married with a few close family members and friends, but everything quickly starts to go off the rails in unexpected ways.

The extra length is to your benefit if you have subscribed on the website. You are getting more for the money…No!…Wait!…At any length it is still FREE for subscribers!

If you still haven’t subscribed so you get access to the FREE stories, do it now! Until you register you are missing out on the 19 stories that are available to you!

The winner of the January drawing from new subscribers is V.H. From Moline Il. Her free signed copy of my published book, ONE NIGHT AND ONE DAY, has been mailed to her.

Have a very Happy Valentine’s Day!

HAPPY 2017!

Welcome to the January 2017 Blog!

For the New Year I suggest, recommend, and even plead that you set a goal to READ MORE! Or maybe you need to rediscover the pleasure of reading again.

Reading is good for you. It will make you smarter and can be an escape and relax you.

So carefully put down your cellphone and back away! Break the chain and end your self-slavery to technology – at least for awhile.

Find your favorite genre of books or read a variety of stories. It doesn’t matter if you get your books from your own collection, a friend, at the local library, the local bookstore, from local authors, or online. Choose hard cover, soft cover, or e-book, and recorded books are becoming more popular too.

With so many options finding something to read is easy, so make a commitment for 2017 to carve out some time for yourself and READ!!

I promise you’ll love it!

ABOUT THE WRITING

I was correct with my prediction in the December 1st Blog – December was a very hectic month.

The decorating, December birthdays, gift shopping, wrapping, Christmas cards, get-togethers, and all the other festivities were a definite distraction from writing. I watched all the Hallmark Holiday movies on TV and went to several motion pictures at the local theater – one week five movies in five days. I also enjoyed reading several books, both printed and on my Kindle.

Honestly, I loved the Holiday period and the break from the usual routine. However, the writing suffered and I am behind. But that’s okay. The only pressure I have is what I put on myself, and I have learned to be kind and not become stressed.

I did not finish either of the two short Christmas stories I had started. One of them, Christmas Affair, is looking very good, but it is destined to become a longer novella and be included in a future Christmas anthology with two or three others. Instead, I wrote Christmas Surprise.

I was far from idle with the writing, however. I have added three new sexy free short Holiday stories that are available now for anyone who has registered on the website. (simply send me your e-mail address so I can provide the password for access to read the free stories)

Here are the new free short stories:

For December – Christmas Surprise, 3,324 words.

For January – New Year’s Kiss, 5,233 words.

For February – Don’t Be My Valentine!, 7,522 words.

I am very proud to tell you there are now 8 free short stories (under 7,500 words), 2 novelettes (7,500-17,500 words), and 1 longer novella (just over 17,500 words) – 11 in all – available to readers who have registered on the website! If you are not registered yet, don’t miss out! Remember, the stories are FREE!!

A.R. from the Quad Cities is the December winner of the drawing from new registrants to the website, and she won a free signed copy of ONE NIGHT AND ONE DAY, my published novel.

I mentioned in my September blog how I log each one of my plot ideas for new stories as they occur to me. At that time I had 133 new titles recorded (through August). Since then I have logged many more.

In September I added 6 new titles, in October 5, in November only 3.

In December, along with everything else, I was extremely prolific and added a whopping 17 new titles! No wonder I was so busy in December!   So the new total at year end 2016 is 164 new story titles logged – all possible new projects. Whew!

As we all get back to our normal routines, I sincerely wish you a very healthy, happy, prosperous, and peaceful 2017! And happy reading!

Writing HOLIDAY Romances

december-blog-photo-smallWelcome to the December 2016 Blog!

Just about everyone loves holidays! Especially if it is one of the major ones that you have off from work. Holidays are made to be celebrated, and celebration means having a good time.

People often do fun things on holidays, and it is likewise fun for me to write about them. It is always entertaining to include the added element of a holiday in a story. Holidays offer unique avenues for a writer to follow. One of them is about those people, like firefighters and others, who do not have the occasion off from work when almost everyone else does.

The unlimited additional possibilities for plots and settings provide a kick-start to the imagination and give a boost to creativity to utilize the occasion in an integral way.

The holiday involvement in the story can be anything from being a primary element to just a very secondary consideration. Is it a holiday centered book, or does it merely coincidentally happen at holiday time?

Here are a few key questions that are useful while formulating a holiday story: What is the connection to the holiday? Where does the story take place? How did the protagonist get there? Who is he or she with? What is their relationship? What is the weather like? How do they dress? What did the characters do? Where is the conflict? How does the holiday affect the characters and relate to outcome?

These questions and many more need to be answered. When they are, you have the holiday story.

Holidays provide new and different ideas and writing opportunities. The setting can be at a holiday party like at Christmastime, the unique festivities associated with a holiday like Halloween – such as a costume masquerade, or just take place around the holiday time – maybe at New Years. Also, think Thanksgiving, Valentines Day, or the 4th of July for possible involvement. Don’t discount writing a story around Veteran’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or possibly Columbus Day. Even minor celebrations, such as Ground Hog Day, could posssibly be utilized in a story plot.

One of my books, Bonfire, begins with a fall hayride and bonfire that sets the tone for the rest of the novel. There are no limits to what spin the author can put on the holiday-related events of the story.

To incorporate a holiday in the midst of a love story is special. After all, love is a happy time and celebrated too, so why not combine the two in a romance novel?

Holidays, like love, are times of magic and joy. Happy reading!

About the writing.

There is so much going on this time of year that the writing is slower. My condo is decorated and ready for Christmas, and I went to the Quad City Festival of Trees. I’ve begun to read my personal collection of Christmas anthologies, have been watching the Hallmark holiday movies on television, and I plan to see a few flicks in the theater before the end of the year too. There are three upcoming December family birthday parties that lead right up to the holiday get-togethers. Whew, that’s a lot happening!

Speaking of the Holidays, I have three Christmas novella’s I started last winter with the intention of putting them all in a Christmas anthology. Hopefully, if I can get to it, I’ll be able to complete that project later this winter in 2017.

In the meantime, I’m having a good time writing all the free holiday short stories for the website.

For November the free online story had a Halloween theme. The title of the December 2,640 word free story, Thanksgiving Dessert, immediately gives away the holiday setting. It is available now for those who have registered on the website.

I currently have two Christmas stories in progress. I began The Christmas Gift, but my development was slow. Then I started Christmas Affair, so one of them should be ready to post on the website in a week or two.

I also have a concept in mind for a New Year’s story to post for January, and the Valentines Day story for February is already completed. So you can see there are several more holiday themed projects coming up for your free reading pleasure in the next few months.

My sincere hope is that you thoroughly enjoy the anticipation and process of preparing for the celebration of the upcoming holidays, and finally I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

TABOO!! – Hush!!

hushWelcome to the November 2016 Blog!

TABOO means: proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable; that is prohibited, banned, or forbidden.

What are your taboos? What should be kept concealed–have any mention of it suppressed? What do you find disturbing and say, “Oh my God, that’s horrible!” Graphic and explicit sexual and child abuse, rape, torture, and murder are certainly in this category. Those dark, troubling subjects make me cringe and are taboo in my mind.

Sex is taboo for many people, especially on TV or in movies. Some hate to talk about it or even having it mentioned. It’s an uncomfortable subject for them.

But how starved for subject matter would writers be were it not for taboos–and for those brave or foolish characters who flirt with the forbidden?  For writers and authors there is a fine line.

It is difficult to say storytelling that includes these topics is taboo, or many of our greatest novels would be banned – Lolita and numerous others. Or think about all the taboos flaunted in Game of Thrones on television.

When a story is purely fiction, and no one is harmed or forced to read the work against their will, a written text is not improper or illegal. It is pretty standard for obscenity laws to revolve around imagery–still or video–rather than written works.

However, some agents, publishers, or publications have certain restrictions or topics they won’t touch. One Colorado publisher will not accept novels with any reference to sex in them at all. Naturally the individual reader makes his or her own choices on what they purchase or read as well.

For erotic romance authors the common taboo topics are primarily sexual – things like underage sex, masturbation, incest, anal sex, sexual variations and paraphernalia, and other “kinky” sex.

Most taboos are created within a society as a way to control people and force them to comply with approved cultural values. Other societies, other cultures, do not necessarily share them.

For example, the slight glimpse of a Victorian woman’s ankle was considered too racy for much of the 20th century. In fact the mention of limbs at all was taboo. Everything was covered up. Some people even went so far they covered the legs of their pianos in little skirts. However, I doubt the sight of woman’s ankle ever spurred anyone into uncontrollable lust.

The first taboo that comes to my mind is anal sex.

In the past anal sex was rarely discussed, however, it exploded into mainstream consciousness in the 1970’s and 1980’s. It had been a taboo practice few couples would ‘fess up to trying, even if it was something they’d fantasized about or had experimented with. It is certainly not for everyone, but it is much more commonplace now. 44% of straight men and 36% of straight women have tried it.

The Fifty Shades of Grey novels demonstrated that readers have no problem with sex beyond the vanilla. Our society is becoming more open and non-judgmental when it comes to sexual experimentation. More people realize sex is a beautiful and pleasurable experience that should be celebrated rather than considered a dirty or taboo act.

What was considered taboo years ago isn’t nearly as shocking now. Most sex acts are not nearly as forbidden anymore, so almost anything goes these days. Especially among consenting adults who are willing and even eager to try new, exotic sexual things in the bedroom or elsewhere. Romance novels reflect that trend.

Authors need to be true to themselves since, in many ways, fiction is an extension of themselves. If you have a story inside you, tell it. Taboo’s shouldn’t be denied or tip-toed around. We shouldn’t be afraid of talking about and exploring them. Broaching these difficult subjects should not be off limits for fear of risking offending people or upsetting their own families.

It is how we handle the subject that really matters. As a writer there are lessons to be learned from the character’s experiences, and how the protagonists come out stronger on the other side. Some things might happen off the page but may remain a strong theme; the character whose abuse as a child has defined their choices later in life and helped form who they are today.

Taboos exist, and they always will. However forbidden, they don’t define what writers can or will write.

The key is to write taboo subjects sensibly and with sensitivity. Never just for cheap or crass shock value. For romance authors, within the context of lovers, anything is permissible. From the perspective of a love story, sex is an integral part of it. Taboo sex or not.

I try to handle potentially upsetting subjects with care. If the scene is crucial to the story, I attempt to put it in a way that is true to the character. But also so it ends in a satisfying way that gives resolution to the conflict. The journey can’t be wasted.

I take responsibility for what I write, and hope the readers feel entertained at the end.

ABOUT THE WRITING

In October I completed my 11th novel, PURE FOLLY. It is almost 70,000 words long, and a sexy romance story about a top Hollywood actor and his new, younger personal assistant who had always idolized him. The fun setting where it takes place is on a mega-yacht in the Caribbean.

I am back to writing Mister Right Seeks Miss Wrong now.

This is the second time I have waited two months instead of one to issue a new blog. Not by design, but that’s just how it worked out. I’m not promising how often the blogs will appear. I used the extra time to complete Pure Folly.

In my September blog I mentioned I had logged 133 new titles, plots, and notes for possible future stories. That number is currently up to 143.

FREE SHORT STORY

This month’s free short story is available for subscribers on the website. Trick or Treat is your almost 1,900 word Halloween treat from me. Just send me your email so I can provide you with the password for access to this story and all the others. Enjoy!

There will be other free Holiday themed stories coming for subscribers soon.

Writing – Puzzle, Pain, & Pleasure

0916 blog photoWelcome to the September 2016 Blog!

WRITING is like a large, complicated, puzzle. The project to gather and sort the ideas, the notes, and the facts is complex. It takes a huge chunk of time and continuous and serious effort to complete the difficult journey from inspiration to a finished story.

Each story is not only comprised of ideas, notes, and facts. Each individual word, each sentence, every paragraph and page must be drafted, concocted, devised, or contrived, and assembled one by one. Sometimes even agonized over. Then it gradually progresses to a written scene, eventually a chapter, then several chapters, and, if you’re fortunate, it becomes a completed work.

If you are luckier still, you have created something you can be proud of enough to allow others to read it.

All through the complicated process the author is trying to form characters the readers will care about. To make the dialogue between them seem realistic. To have the plot be believable and based on fact, at least loosely, to ground the story and give it a frame of reference for the reader. The latter takes some research.

Writing is not for the faint of heart. It can be extremely challenging and certainly isn’t easy. It’s a chore, plain and simple. Often a painful one. Especially at the end trying to tie up everything in the story to ensure completeness, continuity, and hopefully no errors.

But it’s fun to see the manuscript come together. I love it – when I’m not feeling tired or disheartened or gotten bogged down and lost my enthusiasm.

Writing is the focus of my life most of the time. It fills my days and makes me happy to be doing it. It is very satisfying to transfer my inspiration, my thoughts, ideas, and notes, into a form of art. It’s rewarding to see a page of my manuscript fill with words and then watch the finished pages pile up. The culmination is seeing the short story, novella, or novel become a completed work.

It feels like something I need to do. The idea I’m creating something that will last is a unique feeling. To me it’s important to fashion each detail of the story into the form I used to shape it and then give it freedom.

I think it’s important to live a good and productive life. Writing allows mine to include “Author” in the title.

About the writing

I’ve been very busy writing in July and August. I indicated in my last blog I planned to continue with writing the novel, “Mr. Right Seeks Miss Wrong.” I did do more work on that project.

Then on July 11th I dreamed up a new story, “Baby Daddy,” and started working on it instead. It is 8,600 words at present. However, since July 22nd I’ve been writing another new novel, “Pure Folly,” which is 100 pages and officially a novel already with almost 44,000 words right now. It is probably 95% completed.

In August I also completed my new free short story to release with this months blog. “Topless Heiress,” is my longest freebie yet. At 43 pages and 19,000 words it is officially a novella (over 17,500 words) in length.

Sometimes I’m concened I’m too prolific for my own good. I constantly conjure up so many new story plots that I log each of them now. I give the story a working title, usually tentatively name the primary characters, and make notes on my thoughts to file away for possible future use. It’s also common for me to continue to add additional notes for titles I’ve previously indexed. Just today I wrote new notes for four of them.

In July I registered new plot numbers 121 through 126. In August I added numbers 127 through 133. It makes me tired just thinking about writing thirteen more projects, although three of the new titles are already started and named above.

I think the preceding data gives you the idea of how really crazy the writing gets for me.

If you are keeping track, here are the totals(since March 2014):
– 10 completed novels (1 published)
– 12 completed short stories
– 11 projects started/in process

FREE SHORT STORY

My sixth free story is ready for reading. The sexy new novella, “Topless Heiress,” is available for subscribers now. It is a special treat for my readers. At 19,000 words it is my longest free short story, surpassing “Polyamory Proposal” in July by 7,000 words.

Note: Remember all of my stories and my past blogs are available for viewing at any time on the website.

The summer months are almost over and I hope you made the best of them. I hope you have a great Labor Day Weekend!

BDSM – No Torture or Pain

0716 blog photoWelcome to the July 2016 blog!

I know BDSM (BD = bondage & discipline, DS = dominance & submission, SM = sadism & masochism) is still a major trend in romance novels, but it’s not for me.

BDSM has always been around for a secret few, mostly out of view. The Fifty Shades of Grey books by E.L. James made their first appearance in 2011 and changed all that. The trilogy brought that dark world into the mainstream. It obviously hit a nerve with readers and became a franchise.

The books were initially popular with married women over the age of thirty with whom it tied into their secret fantasies, so was dubbed “Mommy Porn” by some. The books eventually also became popular among teenage girls and college women and others.

It is very apparent the BDSM phenomenon fulfilled female fantasies. There is no doubt that this kind of book has been a phenomenon and has proliferated. BDSM has become a very popular romance sub-genre.

It should also be noted here that part of the rise in the popularity of female erotica is attributed to the success and discreet nature of e-reading devices.

The Grey books, similar to the Harry Potter series of books, also successfully inspired new readers and renewed interest in reading, although in the adult romance genre. It created a plethora of imitators and new niche for books that have predominated the romance market ever since. Authors like Sylvia Day and many others have notably benefited.

However, many of these books are presented as a romance with the theme that BDSM is normal and pleasurable, but instead romanticize dangerous behavior and glorify abuse.

I’m pretty confident very few people actually go to such extremes in reality. But after all is said and done, if these books enhance women’s real-life sex lives and intimacy, they will continue to be popular.

Here are the key definitions:

bondage – slavery, involuntary servitude, being bound or physically restrained by or subjected to some external power or control

discipline – punishment inflicted by way of correction and training, behavior and order maintained by training and control

dominance – rule; control; authority; asserting physical or psychological control

submission – inclined or ready to yield to the authority of another; unresistingly or humbly obedient, submissive conduct or attitude

sadism – the condition in which sexual gratification depends on causing pain or degradation to others; any enjoyment in being cruel; extreme cruelty;

masochism – the condition in which sexual gratification depends on suffering physical pain or humiliation; gratification from pain, deprivation, degradation, etc.

Does that sound like fun to you? Personally, I don’t think so.

I suppose there is some titillation value in nude, or almost nude, people doing almost anything. But anything involving intimidation or bullying, or that is about abuse, torture, or pain, doesn’t interest me.

I’m no philosopher, but I think there is way too much inhumanity toward our fellow man already. I don’t need to add any hint of that brand of mistreatment in my books.

I might include a sex toy or other paraphernalia in my stories. I may refer to dildos, or vibrators, nipple rings, or other sex toys. Or I may include being tied up or in handcuffs. I use whatever seems to fit with my characters. You never know what will feel right when you write, but I’m not going to inflict real pain or torture my characters.

I’ve already mentioned in one of my manuscripts that one character is a secret dominatrix. I’ve even considered the possibility of writing a sequel with more details about that character. We’ll see. They say, Never say never.

But I’m generally opting out of what I consider the hard-core stuff. I’ll leave the BDSM sub-genre to the experts to write. I may just dabble in it occasionally.

What’s With the Writing?

I was gone to Florida for a week of vacation with family at the beginning of the June. In the middle of the month I traveled for a family wedding. I also took great pleasure in focusing on reading for a change, and did practically no writing other than this blog and the July short story this month.

I plan to get back to writing, Mr. Right Seeks Miss Wrong, in July.

However, the big news is I did receive the second manuscript, of Bonfire, back from the editor. In fact, if I hadn’t posted my blog early last month, it would have been here before the end of May. Misty really knows her stuff, and did a thorough and masterful job of editing. Help like this is invaluable for me to understand where my weaknesses are.

Again, I have made the simple line-by-line changes she recommended to the text already, but the more complex suggestions requiring major revisions will be much more time consuming. I’m not ready to tackle that gigantic project now. Truthfully, I’m not sure I will ever be ready. It won’t be fun to do.

Business

NO DRAWING. There wasn’t enough new subscribers to have a drawing for a free book giveaway this month.

SHORT STORY

The new July short story, Polyamory, is available to be read by subscribers now. It’s an over 12,000 word novelette. Read the hot sexy story about a woman who decides who she really loves.

If you haven’t registered on the website you are missing out on the free short stories. Subscribe today!

I really enjoy writing the short stories. I just wish more readers were signed up so they can read them!

I would also like to hear feedback from my readers, especially about which monthly short stories they like best. You might even want to give me an idea of what story theme you’d like to see in the future.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  With summer here and more things to do outside, my next blog may be in September instead of August.

Enjoy your summer!

Happy Endings – Writing Weddings

WeddingCoupleBeachJune is the most popular month for weddings. Even my parents were married in June. (I was born exactly nine months later.) I suppose that has a lot to do with the weather. Maybe June is also popular because it’s when school is over so more guests can attend.

In most of my books, the happy ending includes an engagement or wedding or both. To me that seems to be the prototype happy ending of a romance novel. I wouldn’t necessarily have to go that far for a happy ending, however. Just an evident commitment or even the implication of the loving characters staying together would suffice.

I love the happiness and emotion of weddings, but I don’t like writing about weddings in detail. It’s not easy for me to write them, and I’m not sure I do justice to the happy occasion.

As a result, my characters are liable to elope or marry quickly, in Las Vegas or somewhere else. That’s more likely than me describing an elaborate wedding.

In my personal instance, my wife and I were engaged in ten days and married in three months. She was 19, and I was 24 after four years in the U.S. Navy. We just knew it was right. Our happy marriage lasted over 43 years until her untimely passing.

My Books and Writing Update
I have been unable to dig into my big three-part writing project as intended. I wouldn’t consider it a writer’s block, but the project is overwhelming. The problem is I have so much material, so many pages of notes (over 200), plus research. The mass of it is daunting. I worked on it and made some progress, but I didn’t get very far before losing my enthusiasm.

I think writing should be fun. It’s not a job for me, and I don’t have any deadlines to meet. So I don’t want to force the writing. I’ll let the project simmer a while longer until I’m ready to tackle it again.

In the mean time, I had another fun story idea, so I started writing that manuscript instead. It is titled, Mr. Right Seeks Miss Wrong, and it is starting out well.

I also have other things to do. The new monthly blog and short story require substantial additional time and effort. The book review of Correspondent has been returned to me from the editor. The other edit in progress, of Bonfire, should be ready any day.

Jodie Toohey did a great job editing Correspondent for me. Her input was invaluable. I have already made all her suggested line-by-line edit changes, and there were a lot of them! The book is much more concise and the text is cleaned up now. However, she and I agree I have too much stuff crammed into the eleven pages after the climax at the end of the book.

That will necessitate a rewrite, something I’ve never done on this scale. I need to pare down the contents in some way, and I want to focus on the romance at the end. So now I have another project. It’s okay though, because I know I can make improvements and the resulting book will be much better than it was.

In early June, my daughter and her family are taking me along on a Florida beach vacation. I’m leaving my laptop at home and taking a short break from writing. For a few days, I intend to focus on leisurely reading for a change. I miss it. I’ll take along a couple of real books and my Kindle, but I will still have my voice recorder and steno pad with me to capture any new ideas.

I will attend a family wedding for a nephew and his lovely bride on June 18th in the far western suburbs of Chicagoland. I can’t wait to see all my sisters, their families, and all the cousins!

Did you know these wedding facts?
– 10.8% of weddings are in June, 10.2% in August, 9.8% in May, 9.7% in July, 9.6% in September, and 9.4% in October. December has grown to 7.8%.
– 2.3 million couples wed each year in the U.S.. That breaks down to nearly 6,200 weddings a day.
– The average age of a bride in the U.S. is 25.3. Grooms average 26.9.
– The average number of guests invited to a wedding is 178.
– One-third of those getting married each year have been married before.
– The average wedding budget is $20,000.
– The average honeymoon budget is $3,657. Average length is 7-9 days. 40% travel within the U.S., but 60% go to a foreign country. (I assume that’s primarily to Mexico or somewhere in the Caribbean Sea.)
– 80% of weddings are performed in places of worship.
– Las Vegas is the top U.S. wedding city, with 114,000 weddings. An average of over 312 per day!

Taking Care of Business
D.G. from Bettendorf, Iowa, is the lucky winner of the May drawing for a free autographed copy of my published book, One Night and One Day. Her book has been mailed.

The fourth free steamy short story, “Mistaken Identity,” is now available for viewing by subscribers.

If you have not subscribed yet, do it now for a chance for the next free giveaway drawing, and to read all the short stories available. Watch for another sexy new story next month.

Next month I’ll discuss the current popular BDSM trend in romance novels.

Please don’t forget to pass the word to other romance readers about my website and the freebies.

Have a great Memorial Day weekend and start of your summer!

Erotica By Design

shutterstock_152108807Welome to the May blog!

I haven’t been shy about saying I like reading romance stories with a happy ending, and I choose to write the same type of books I love to read. However I always prefer the plots that also contain a steamy sexual attraction. I want to read stories that include the added element of sex – with an honest sexual relationship. Not cold and  unemotional sex just for the sake of it, but in context of the narrative.

So, yes, the books I write have sex in them. My novels fall under the genre of Romance, but contemporary erotic romantic fiction is my specific genre. Some of my books are also romantic suspense.

I assume many romance readers watch the Hallmark Channel romance movies. I enjoy them too, but I detest the lack of any affection or sexual attraction until the last minute of the show when the male and female leads finally embrace and share a bland junior high level lip-lock – without any lip movement, real passion, or suggestive physical contact. I understand the limitations of family television prohibit too much passion, but that brand of mild and dull plot isn’t very satisfactory for me to watch.

I don’t have the inclination to write those kinds of passionless stories either, so I leave those tamer tales to meeker authors. I’m all for romance, but in the books I write I want more than a believable plot, emotional depth, and love. There needs to be a more realistic physical relationship between the characters. Having a sexual relationship is a real part of adult life, and I’m referring to much more than just hot kisses.

How many of you only shared one single kiss before getting engaged or married? – Had no intimacy at all – no passionate kisses, amorous petting, or took even more liberties until later stages? I’m not saying it’s impossible, nor am I promoting anything. However, I think the chance of that is miniscule unless you are very young, but then you shouldn’t even be on this adult website.

Sexual intimacy is normal, so why skip it and pretend it’s not? Why leave that gaping hole in the storyline?

I write books that are sensual, erotic, and explicit, with deeply provocative love scenes that are key components of the story. The sex scenes are a major factor in the emotional depth and fantasy of the love story between the hero and heroine.

So if you want interesting adult romance stories you can get emotionally involved in, that are also edgy, sexy, stimulating, titillating, and provocative, that is what I write.

Exciting News!
In addition to the novella, The Last Virgin, I also completed a novel, The Right Mistake, in April. It is a 99,650 word story (201 pages of 8.5” x 11” text). I have a new photo showing all ten of my completed manuscripts on the My Books page of the website.

Now I’m working on my final large unfinished project, Summer Crew, that I started back in 2014 and just returned to again. It is a three-part novel, my most ambitious and probably longest project yet. I still have a long way to go.

Other News:
Two of my previous manuscripts, Correspondent and Bonfire, are currently being professionally edited by two different editors, and should be ready for me by the end of May. I am very excited to see the results of both edits. However that’s when my dual tasks of deciding which recommendations I’ll accept, and then making all the changes begin. Those will be two big projects for me, but necessary prior to publishing.

I just attended a class on 4/26/16 about another way to publish that would be much less expensive because the author can do most of the prep work, so that may be the way I’ll go. I’ll keep you informed.

FYI. According to the RWA, Romance Writers of America, Romance sub-genres include:

Contemporary Romance
Erotic Romance
Historical Romance
Inspirational Romance
Paranormal Romance
Romantic Suspense
Young Adult Romance

Do you know the difference between contemporary romance and historical romance? Many people assume historical romances are those that take place during the United Kingdom’s Regency period between 1811 and 1820, often extended to apply to the years 1795 through 1837. That is only partially correct – see the definitions below.

Answer: Contemporary romance novels are set after World War II, generally from 1950 to the present.
Historical romances are set prior to 1950, so they are not only the ones set back in some more “ancient” time of hundreds of years ago.

**Remember to subscribe on the website to be eligible for the quarterly free giveaway drawings, and all subscribers receive the free short steamy story downloads each month.

Winners of the March & April drawing from new subscribers were:

– $25 Visa Gift Card  =  M.S. From Batavia IL
– Signed Book Copy of One Night and One Day  =  G.W. From Maple Park IL

Those gifts have been mailed. Congratulations to the two winners!
Another signed book will be given away to a subscriber next month.

The free May short story, Wildcat, is ready for subscribers to download. It’s a 2,700 word sexy story about a workplace attraction that finally explodes into action. Enjoy! Look for another free short story coming in June.

To all the mom’s: Happy Mother’s Day! On May 8th.