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We’re on Patreon!

January 18, 2015
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New year, a new approach to our writing.

K. Piet and I would like to be able to focus more on our fiction. It’s what truly makes us happy. We love sharing our works with all our readers, but there’s a lot that readers don’t get to see. The behind the scenes. The fun side track stuff. The cracky stuff K. and I write just for our enjoyment. Well, we’ve decided to invite readers to become a part of our cracky fun times. :D

We’ve set up a Patreon account for people to become patrons of. Plenty of stuff for everyone freely offered in addition to reward levels.

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Our levels begin at $5/month and go as high as $250/month (with some pretty awesome perks there). Check it out! Become our patron. We will be announcing on the 25th what our current project list is. If you can’t become one of our patrons, we’d love a signal boost, a sharing of this post, our Tumblr post, or our Facebook post. Signal boosting is awesome!

Movie Review: Starry Eyes (Unrated)

January 1, 2015

Starry-Eyes-Poster

“Sarah (Alex Essoe) is a beautiful actress that wants to make it in the acting world. She’s willing to do whatever it takes, even at the detriment of her own personal being. When she’s scouted for the film The Silver Scream, Sarah has to decide exactly how much she’s willing to go through for fame.”

This movie did not have a rating from the MPAA. My partner, mother, and I sat down the other day to watch it when I rented it from Amazon.

I thought–up until the last 20 minutes–that this was actually a pretty good horror movie. Not overly gory, and the acting wasn’t painful. I didn’t fully connect with the characters enough to be rooting for any one of them survive the movie, but they didn’t make me cringe. The movie’s storyline between the friends and the main character are superficial at best, but I’m used to that in horror movies.

Sarah’s need to be famous is intense. She copes with her anxiety by pulling her hair out and screaming. When she thinks she loses out on her audition, she has one of her fits while one of the casting directors is in the bathroom. That is enough to intrigue them and ask her back. When she tells her friends, The Roommate is happy for her, The Bitch is catty, and the other nondescript friends are more or less supportive.

After her strange call back (which was a strobe light, brief images, and orgasmic sounds), she is called to meet the producer. This is an uncomfortable scene where the producer basically sets it up as she can either sleep with him for the part or go. She chooses to go. That is until events occur with her friends (along with a hit of acid) make her change her mind. She goes back, blows the producer, and is told that fame requires sacrifice.

From here on, things go down hill for Sarah. Her body begins to fall apart. Grossly. It’s very well done, though, and I found Alex Essoe’s acting done brilliantly. I believed she was terrified and in pain. But once the producer makes contact with her a final time, telling her what must be done to be ‘reborn’ a star, the movie fell apart for me.

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I’ll be honest. I thought the whole thing was in Sarah’s head. I thought she had lost out on the audition and gone crazy. I expected her to snap out of it after killing everyone and realize she’d been on one hell of a bad acid trip while be psychotic. That, to me, would have been an awesome ending, one I wound have felt was right and true to the character.

Instead, we get a quick body count in the space of 15 minutes, a main character with no humanity or remorse in her, and who looks like a freaking demon. How can she be a ‘star’ when she looks like that! No. The whole cult thing was poorly done and badly supported, and the quick wrap of all the plot ends in the last 20 minutes made the 70 minute build up of fear, terror, and atmosphere pointless.

It was a good movie in premise, and the execution was great… until those last few minutes. Had everything been in Sarah’s head, I would have given the move a 5-star rating. But the shoddy, lazy ending the threw in there with the poor backstory/support for this cult that initiated Sarah through a coerced blowjob was just too much and had me rolling my eyes.

My Family Needs Help

October 10, 2014

My parents and brother are in a very bad place, and I’m trying to help however I can.

My mom’s dog died late last month. Their power was scheduled to be shut off until I paid it on Wednesday (which really hurt me and my partners financially). And now, they’ve been given 30 days to vacate the home they have lived in for the last 19 years as it goes to auction at the end of that time.

My dad has been unemployed for four years after losing his job of 25+ years. He also developed severe diabetes in this time with no health insurance. He’s been in the hospital for it three times now, and twice he almost lost a limb due to infection. As it is, he just finished six weeks of antibiotic infusions through a PIC the hospital put in after they removed a bone in his foot and scraped out the infection. He has also recently begun to tremble uncontrollably, and while he has applied for disability, that could take years.

My brother works very hard but doesn’t make much. Most of his money goes to his medical benefits, and what’s left is eaten up by whatever bills are most urgent. He’s a hard worker, but in this economy, he just can’t catch a break.

My mother is on a pittance of disability due to her multiple sclerosis. She has a host of other medical issues connected to the MS, and her MS is currently untreated due to only being on Medicare. My mother has done without so often, and now she is going to lose her home. She’s overwhelmed and uncertain and hurting, and I just want to help her however I can.

They need help, and right now, I can’t offer any more than I have. If you have anything you can give, wonderful. If not, please signal boost? 30 days isn’t much time, and I just don’t want to see my parents homeless.

You can donate at the GoFundMe page I’ve set up for them, or you can just signal boost the fundraiser. Either would be wonderful. Thank you all so much!

Heat Ratings Bug Me

September 5, 2014

I want to talk about heat ratings.

This is something else that was brought up mainly due to an email I received from All Romance eBooks about the heat rating of Human Rights. When Kris uploaded it everywhere, she chose a heat rating a four. Four flames. I didn’t know this because I just let Kris do her job.

So, I got an email from ARe saying customer feedback made them think the flame rating was actually three flames. Now, I’ve been publishing on ARe for a number of years, and I’d never before received that sort of email. Several other titles have had heat ratings that differed quite a bit from the ‘Senusality Rating’ that customers can offer. To me, the heat rating and sensuality rating have always been different ratings in my mind, so I was surprised to see that ARe was using them interchangeably.

My issue with heat ratings—and why I absolutely hate them—is that they are utterly subjective. Why did Kris choose a four heating rating? A few reasons.

1. There are three full explicit sex scenes and one fade to black sex scene in 34,000 words.

2. There was a mix of gay sex and straight sex.

3. Most of those explicit sex scenes were between a human and a full-out anthro cat who was as anatomically correct as I could make him while keeping the scenes sexy.

4. There was a power inequality inherent in Jiat and Ewan’s relationship, and to me, that meant it had an air of dubious consent (though Ewan does consent, does want it, and understood fully what it meant, but the society presented a power inequality that might have rubbed some readers wrong).

In the end, we subjectively chose to rate it four flames based on our thoughts about the material. Now, readers vary in their reaction to books, and for some, four flames means some heavy duty, every other page sex scenes while for others, our rating was spot on. In the end, it’s subjective to every reader, and since I don’t even know how many readers contributed to that Sensuality Rating they disply, I can’t even say how big this pool is to draw from.

I replied telling them the four flame rating is what we feel is correct, and I gave some of my reasons. I just think this flame rating crap needs to be phased out. It’s not very helpful—and I’ve never been able to reliably count on the displayed heat rating at any retailer—and it can cause confusion.

If ARe wants publishers and authors to display accurate heat ratings, then they need to fully define what each one means rather than vaguely word it so everyone takes something different away from it. Because, seriously, trying to decipher the actual difference between three flames and four is like asking me to describe the difference between cobalt blue and sapphire blue.

A Bit of a Ranting, I Admit

September 3, 2014

Recently, we sent out a book review request to a bunch of sites… like we do. Most people either don’t respond or they politely accept/decline. I’ve no problem with that. We don’t even ask why a site might decline our review request. It’s just the way things roll.

However, one site did respond with more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’, and the way this site owner—who is male—responded really rubbed at me wrong. There are three areas he touched on with his response that I wanted to address just in general. As a female author and publisher of erotica and erotic romance.

One of the things that really bothered me was the dismissal of erotica by this site owner. Erotica, as he defined it, was plotless sex. The vibe there was they only read real books, not just sex crap. Which, whether they realize it or not, speaks down at those who do read and enjoy erotica. Erotica is a legitimate form of fiction, and it is no less than any other form of fiction simply because its focus is sex. As if sex is shameful. It’s not, and writing about it… reading about it… loving it… it isn’t shameful, either. Erotica does have plot, but it’s a sex-driven plot, and there is nothing wrong with that. Dismissing it as less does the genre and its authors a disservice, and it makes you look elitist.

The second accusation was that erotica written by women about gay or bisexual men was flat-out fetishization. Wow, really? Simply writing about a marginalized group, according to this site owner, when you are not part of that marginalized group is fetishization. Oh, but only if it’s erotica. Otherwise, I guess it’s not? (Let’s leave aside for the moment the breathtakingly naive assumption that every woman who writes about gay and bisexual men is necessarily straight. There are staggering numbers of authors in this genre who identify all along the sexuality and sexual identity scales, who are dealing with marginalizations of their own.)

‘Fetishization’ is a word men who don’t like women playing in their fiction sandbox like to throw around. Let’s just take a look at that word, because I don’t think it means what you think it means.

A fetish is a very specific thing. As defined by Mirriam-Webster, a fetish is ‘a strong and unusual need or desire for something; a need or desire for an object, body part, or activity for sexual excitement’. By saying women who dare to write men in sexual situations with other men (the ONLY time that the word is pulled out in this genre) are doing it solely and completely due to a strong and unusual need that is necessary to become aroused is ludicrous. It is arousing? For many people, yes. But by calling it fetishization, you’re making the statement that we are incapable of becoming aroused any other way. The same accusation is rarely, if ever, leveled at straight men who enjoy lesbian erotica or pornography, though it is functionally identical.

The word these people are reaching for is, perhaps, ‘exploitation’, but even that is an unfair accusation. By writing about marginalized groups they aren’t members of, these detractors say, women authors are profiting off of the life experiences of gay and bisexual men, and somehow, to them, that’s not right. Never mind all of the men in gay pornography who actually identify as straight when the cameras are off. For some reason, even the fact that the practice is called Gay-For-Pay doesn’t seem to trigger the same ire despite the fact that straight men are even less marginalized than women, and in even more of a position to make a profit from their work. No, these slurs are only ever aimed at women, which makes the whole thing feel less like an actual concern over a possible loss of identity and more like indignation over having the Boys Only clubhouse overrun by stinky girls with their cooties and yucky emotions.

This site owner’s email boiled down to one requirement: for them to review gay or bisexual male fiction, the authors of those stories had to be gay or bisexual men. Which, quite frankly, is ridiculous. The sexism that runs rampant is stunning sometimes. Men can write lesbian fiction, but women can’t write gay fiction. There is only one way to write a marginalized people, and that is by being a part of that marginalized people. Let’s not forget, though, that we’re discussing fiction. You know, stories that aren’t real? Fiction. Made up worlds with made up people doing made up things. And everyone has the right to tell the stories they want to tell, and everyone has the right to read the stories they want to read.

And that includes this site. I just think they stepped in a big pile of shit when they tried to gives reasons for rejecting our book for review. Nowhere in their policy do they state this. Nowhere on their site do they give this impression.

Then, to top of their email, the site owner informed us that there is absolutely no reason to be given that would make non-con/dub-con acceptable. Ever. So, if you have rape fantasies—like a lot of people—you should be ashamed. Ashamed!

Needless to say, we have removed that site from our review roster. I don’t like giving people free books when all they do is sneer down their noses at the contents from their moral high horse (though, the site does review Laurell K. Hamilton’s stuff, so I don’t think that high horse is as high as they think it is).

“Human Rights” and Kobo

August 30, 2014

I have been informed that Kobo has rejected Human Rights.

Why?

Because Jiat is a cat. They consider it bestiality. Which is bullshit. Bestiality is sex between a human and a non-sentient animal. Jiat is a humanoid feline who is as intelligent and self-aware as a human being. He is anthropomorphized. He’s a furry. To me, he is no different than the myriad books littering Kobo’s virtual shelves of shifters in some shifted form having sex with their human companion. It really angers me to be censored in an area that fantasy and sci-fi have long been treading. But, someone over at Kobo has a bee in their bonnet about it, so it’s not available there. We have an email in to them asking that it be published as there is nothing wrong with the story and it does not meet their content restriction guidelines (I don’t write bestiality, it’s something that makes me incredibly uncomfortable).

But, it you want it, please buy it from Storm Moon Press. They have ePub, LIT, MOBI, and PDF, so it can be bought there and loaded on your reader. :)

Release Day! “Human Rights”

August 29, 2014

It’s finally here! Human Rights came out today! I am so… happy… to have it out. It was a two year struggle for me, mainly because the last year included a major move, a conference, illness, a sick parent, and two pet deaths. It’s been a long time coming. I hope everyone enjoys it!

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After landing in the pound after being abandoned by yet another family, Ewan is convinced he’s too old to be adopted out again. For a pet like him, the only fate left is to be put down. But when Sir Jiat—of the City Guard, no less—visits the pound, he goes straight to Ewan. Jiat prefers the more mature pets and treats Ewan better than he’s ever been treated by any previous owner. Ewan sleeps at the foot of his master’s bed, not on the floor or outside; he is given toys and other pets to play with and plenty of room to run; and he’s fed on a schedule and eats very well. But Ewan’s love for his master begins to change, to become something else, something more.

Plenty of pets have been killed over the years for acting on the feelings that Sir Jiat inspires, so he dares not express the desire building inside him. And yet, Ewan can’t help but notice that Sir Jiat has begun to act differently as well, more doting, treating Ewan almost as an equal. So even though the thing he wants more than anything is also their society’s greatest taboo, Ewan resolves that if he must die, he will die having felt, just once, the warmth of Sir Jiat’s soft fur pressed against his bare naked skin.

Now available for $3.99! Buy it at Storm Moon Press or from your favorite retailer.

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