Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Adult Film Review: 'Satyr' Starring Jenna Jameson and Asia Carrera

Author's Note: I wrote this movie review in 2008. It originally appeared in the online magazine Lucrezia, which is now defunct. - Erin O'Riordan 

Satyr, directed by Michael Zen in 1997, opens with the following definitions:

     “sa-tyr, n. 1. in Mythology, a woodland deity represented as a man with goat’s legs, ears, and horns.
     2. the very essence of raw sexual desire.”

     Read these two definitions carefully, and it will appear that a word has been left out of the second one.  If a satyr is a man, then shouldn’t he embody the very essence of raw male sexual desire?  The female equivalent of satyr, we are told by Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, is the nymph, a creature that is as beautiful as the satyr is ugly.  In modern English, nymph connotes a young, innocent woman who may be sexually alluring, but isn’t consciously aware of it.  It is a passive kind of sexuality (in contrast to its use in the word nymphomania, a Victorian word for scarily aggressive female sexuality).  This is the paradox of Satyr, a provocative and troubling film: is it reinforcing traditional sex role stereotypes, or subverting them?

     Pablo Picasso understood the particular essence of the satyr myth.  “The Satyr or Faun – half man, half goat, and with a goatish disposition, lustful whenever opportunity presents itself – figures in many of Picasso’s works, often as a substitute for the artist himself,” writes the author of the Spaightwood Galleries catalog of Picasso prints.  Look at many of Picasso’s paintings or ceramic works depicting satyrs, and you will notice the aroused man-beast chasing after a nymph or a mortal woman, who flees in terror.  Indeed, among the Classical satyrs is the god Pan, from whose name derives the word “panic.”  Of course these women panicked at being pursued by satyrs; they were the unwilling victims of unbridled male sexual aggression.  In other words, they were threatened with rape.


Fangspiel (Faun and Nymph) by Franz von Stuck. Public domain image. 
  For this reason, the concept of “satyr” will be problematic for some women (and men) who watch this film.  For some, it may represent a justification or glorification of sexual assault. 

     Director Michael Zen and screenwriter Ravin Touchstone have tried to subvert the satyr myth by opening it to include women as well as men.  Dr. Isabelle Jade, played by Asia Carrera, is herself a satyr, and certainly not a helpless, passive nymph.  Dr. Jade has discovered a way to turn human beings into half-human, half-animals (sort of a porn equivalent of the “mad scientist”  in H. G. Wells’ classic novel The Island of Dr. Moreau).  She sees herself as an amoral superwoman.  In the character’s own words, “We’re more than human, less than gods.  We rut like animals.  No feelings, no emotions.”

     But even as this film gives one woman the ultimate power and control, other women play more traditionally feminine roles.  This is true of Dr. Jade’s servant Sophie (played by Missy), a satyr who acts like a nymph.  She is constantly being “put in her place,” denying her instincts and suppressing her knowledge to serve others.  In one scene, Dr. Jade carries out a sadistic sexual punishment for Sophie after Sophie has spoken up out of turn.  Sophie must wear an anal plug which sprouts hair resembling the mane of a horse.  Thus, she calls to mind both the half-horse centaurs of Classical mythology, and “pony play” erotica (familiar to readers of A. N. Roquelaure; you can also find an extensive list of related websites at http://www.ponyplaylinks.com/). 

     Sophie’s response to this “punishment” is one of pleasure rather than pain, however.  She seems to enjoy playing the bottom in her BDSM relationship with Dr. Jade.  The question of whether Sophie is the victim of an assault or a willing participant in a controlled, pleasurable activity is left to the viewer.


Asia Carrera. Creative Commons image by Tabercil. Cropped. 
     Sophie is not the only female character to experience sexual domination, however.  The film’s heroine is Fawn Deering, played by Jenna Jameson.  Fawn is a naive college student who seeks out Dr. Jade while researching a paper on “animal mythology and human sexuality.”  One of Dr. Jade’s two male companions, Adam (Brad Armstrong), is attracted to Fawn.  He invites her to a party, a bacchanal.  (“Bacchanal” has come to mean a drunken party, but it originally referred to the worship of Bacchus, or Dionysus, the Roman/Greek god of wine and king of all satyrs.)  Reluctantly, Fawn agrees to come.  She almost seems to be drawn there, irresistibly, against her will.


Jenna Jameson. Public domain image by PETA.
      At the bacchanal, Adam offers Fawn a drink which, he assures her, is not alcohol.  She drinks it and loses her memory and her inhibitions.  Within moments, she is agreeing to a threesome with Adam and with Dr. Jade’s other man, Daniel (Mickey G.).  In the morning, Fawn feels ill, thinks she has gotten drunk the night before, and vaguely remembers having sex with Adam, but not Daniel.  This scene reads just like an account of a woman who was given a drug such as Rohypnol or GHB and raped.  Although she seemed to enjoy the experience at the time, Fawn is unhappy with the after-effects the next morning.  Adam encourages her to think of the after-effects as “what happens to everyone when they fall in love.”

     Thus far, the depiction of emotionless, animal-like sexuality that Satyr presents is not an encouraging one.  It suggests that unless you are the alpha female, your sexuality will be used and possibly abused.  Males, meanwhile, seem to be immune from any punishments or consequences.  There is, however, room in this film for genuine caring and honesty to triumph over Dr. Jade’s dark vision of the sexual landscape.  In the end, Satyr redeems itself. 

     The ending, however, may not be enough for some viewers to overcome the negatives it implies.  Some may also be troubled by the ethnic stereotyping – Asia Carrera is costumed to resemble the “Dragon Ladies” played by Anna May Wong in the films of the 1930s, to go along with her ruthless personality.


Anna May Wong, photographed by Carl Van Vechten. Public domain image. 
     Other viewers, however, may find that Satyr simply allows its male and female characters to express a full range of sexual choices, including dominance and submission.  Its characters’ openness to the animal nature of human sexuality could be seen as liberating.  The characters are so close to the animal world, in fact, that they refuse to eat meat.  When Fawn asks for bacon and eggs at breakfast, she is instead served a fig.  Figs are a recurring motif in Satyr.  When we are introduced to Sophie, for example, she is pulling open and sucking at the pulp of a fresh fig while masturbating.  The fig’s insides bear a resemblance to the vagina; thus it has a long association as a symbol for womanhood.  The fig tree as nourisher and sustainer has long been a symbol for the mother-goddess as well.

     Disturbing on some levels, enlightening on others, Satyr is a complex and intriguing work of adult sexual entertainment.  DVD Avenue subscribers can find it under the Straight adult film category and judge for themselves.

(Note: the DVD Avenue website for renting DVDs is no longer in business.) 

Sources

Berkinow, Louise.  “Women, Race and Movies.”  The American Women’s Almanac: An Inspiring and Irreverent Women’s History.  NewYork: Berkeley Books, 1997. 

“Dragon Lady (Stereotype).”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragon_Lady_%28stereotype%29.  Accessed July 22, 2008. 

Hamilton, Edith.  Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes.  NewYork: The New American Library (Mentor Books). 



“Pablo Picasso: Satyrs and Fauns.”  http://spaightwoodgalleries.com/Pages/Picasso_Satyrs.html.  Accessed July 22, 2008. 

Walker, Barbara G.  “Fig.”  The Woman’s Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets.  San Francisco: Harper + Row, 1983.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tank Top Tuesday: Taraji P. Henson

Yes, I have stolen the idea of Tank Top Tuesday directly from Dorothy Surrenders. Our illustrious Dorothy Snarker, lesbian-friendly blogger and appreciator of feminine beauty, is only one woman and can't watch everything. Despite her extensive knowledge of popular culture, she's never caught on to Person of Interest, Shoot (that's the ship name of Samantha Groves and Sameen Shaw) or no Shoot. Maybe that'll change if we ever get a spin-off called Shoot's Lesbian Adventures.

I'd be SO on board with that.

I'm also on board with Taraji P. Henson's post-POI projects, including the movie From the Rough, which officially premiered Friday. What's not to love? It's the heartwarming true story of how Dr. Catana Starks, the first African-American woman to coach a men's collegiate golf team, led her rag-tag band of misfits to a championship season. You know, typical sports movie fare. But with Taraji.



And also with Tom Felton - star of yesterday's blog post - best known as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter franchise. 


Taraji is normally too much of a lady to be caught in something as commonplace as a cotton tank top. 


So, in most of these pictures, she's actually wear a dress. 


Tank-style dress, halter top, or any short-sleeved garment, you can tell she has beautiful arms. 


So let's support this lovely and supremely talented actress. Go see her feel-good golf drama.


You know who'd probably love a good golf drama? Jim Caviezel, that's who. 


(See, 'cause he played the title character in Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius.)

Monday, April 28, 2014

#ManCandyMonday Tom Felton




Today I'm linking up with the Manday Hotties Blog Hop to bring you the following Tom Felton.



He is so much more than just our favorite Draco Malfoy visual reference.



Is good?


You like?



Good. Then go see Tom's new movie, From the Rough. It also stars the gorgeous Taraji P. Henson.



I don't get paid to say that or anything. I'm just a really big fan of Taraji.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Children's Book Review: I Am Otter


I Am OtterI Am Otter by Sam Garton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I selected this from the Amazon Vine program solely for the purpose of reading it to my cousin's young son and daughter, but of course I had to read it for myself first. The cover is adorable. I couldn't resist.

I wasn't familiar with the blog (I Am Otter: The Unheard Ramblings of a Modern Day Domestic Otter), so this was my introduction to the work of London's Sam Garton. Judging by this book, Garton's work is charming, infused with a gentle sense of humor, and likely to appeal to a wide selection of picture book readers/listeners.

When I was a wee reader, we didn't have the Internet yet. Fortunately, Web access is not required for this book to be enjoyed. I, for one, am glad Otter made the leap from the Internet to the printed page. I strongly suspect this won't be the last paper-and-ink adventure in which this sweet aquatic member of the weasel family will star.

In this slim but colorful picture book, Otter and her stuffed animal friend Teddy decide to open their own business while Otter Keeper is at work. It's a winning idea: toast restaurant. Who doesn't love a good toast? Of course, if things don't quite go Otter's way, she has other four-legged friends (stuffed with cotton though they may be) to blame.

Otter is not a stuffed animal. She is a real otter.

Don't worry, though. Otter Keeper - who bears a certain resemblance to Garton himself - appears to have endless patience for his mammalian companion's frisky antics.


View all my reviews

Through the Amazon Vine program, I receive products, including this book, at no cost. I was not compensated for this review in any other way. This review represents my own honest opinion.

Friday, April 25, 2014

#YABookReview: 'Blood Promise' by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy #4)

SPOILER ALERT! Go away and DO NOT READ if you don't want to know what happens in the 4th book in Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy novel series, Blood Promise: A Vampire Academy Novel. This post will discuss the plotline of Blood Promise and will include spoilers. You've been warned.




Previous Reviews in This Series:

Vampire Academy
Frostbite
Shadow Kiss

Let me just say this: I hate Strigoi!Dimitri. I hate him, I hate him, I hate him. But now I have some hope that Strigoi can be brought back to life with some kind of magic. 

In this book, Rose arrives in Dimitri's home country, Russia, and visits his Siberian village. She meets his grandmother, mother, his three sisters and their kids. She also meets a human named Sydney who belongs to a somewhat mysterious society called the Alchemists. She has a gold tattoo made of Moroi blood on her face, and she seems to be aiding Rose on Rose's mission. 

The Alchemists reminded me a little bit of the Talamasca in Anne Rice's novels. The Talamasca are impartial observers, though, while the Alchemists seem to be actively involved. In return for being of service to the Moroi, the get limited dhampir-like powers through their gold tattoos. 




Rose also meets Abe. It took me a little while - but not as long as it took Rose - to realize the brown-skinned, possibly Muslim Abe must be the same person as Ibrahim, Rose's Turkish father. I'm sure Abe Mazur comes back in later volumes. 

Sydney refers to Abe as Zmey, a Russian word that means "snake," but (at least in the book, if not in the actual Russian language) there's a connotation of a wise snake, a trickster that could be either helpful or mischievous, and occasionally outright evil. Sydney explains that the Garden of Eden serpent in the Bible is a Zmey to the Russians. 


Basically, Rose's dad is a Turkish version of Loki. 


Strigoi!Dimitri will be back, alas. Although Rose staked him twice - once with wood and once with silver - she didn't quite get his heart the second time. He's still walking around as an evil Strigoi, and he seems to be out to get Rose. Whether he'll try to kill her next time or try again to turn her into a Strigoi will be the question. I have a feeling it will make for some harrowing reading either way. 




I didn't really enjoy this book as much as feel compelled to read it. I had a feeling it would end badly, like the last one did, but I had to know what happened. It was a tiny bit hopeful. But Christian broke up with Lissa. But I'm also hopeful the two of them will get back together again. They might not, though, because kissing her ex-boyfriend was a real jerk move on her part. 

I checked this book out from my local library. I wasn't solicited or obligated to review it in any way. This review represents my own honest opinion.


Next Up: The King: A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward, another library book. 




P.S. If you have movie theater money and need something to do this weekend, please go see and support the movie From the Rough. It opens today. The movie stars Taraji P. Henson as Catana Starks, the first African-American woman to coach a collegiate men's golf team. Tom Felton - Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films - stars as one of her golfers, Edward. It also features the late Michael Clark Duncan. 

No, I am still not over the Person of Interest thing. Yes, I will support Taraji P. Henson in all of her projects. 


P.P.S. This is how Taraji would look as a vampire

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Kleio Valentien Is Now a Contributing Writer at POPPORN.COM

PHILADELPHIA, PA APRIL 14, 2014 – Platinum blonde adult star Kleio Valentien is now a contributing writer for the adult humor blog POPPORN.com. The first article the sexy starlet will issue, recounts regrettable one-night stands and all the hilarity and awkwardness that ensues. Kleio will be publishing articles regularly for the acerbic, witty, and oftentimes brilliant adult entertainment blog. To sample some wickedly decadent articles, please visit www.POPPORN.com.


“I’m excited to write for POPPORN because frankly, I hate writing and didn’t learn to read until after I graduated high school,” said Kleio Valentien. “What other idiots were going to let me write for them?”

“We’re thrilled to have Kleio writing for us,” added POPPORN editor and chief Brian Bangs. “She’s funny, sharp, and puts things in her butt. It’s like a trifecta of perfecta. I made that up.”

Kleio Valentien was born in Houston, TX. At age 23, while living in Austin, Kleio was watching an online adult video and decided that pornography was something that she wanted to try. An exhibitionist in her personal life, the idea of having sex on camera offered the opportunity for more people to watch her - a strong selling point for her into the world of porn.

Being tattooed and not looking like an everyday porn star, Kleio searched and found BurningAngel Entertainment and quickly applied to be a model for their site. She became an overnight hit with the BurningAngel fans and appeared in her first BurningAngel DVD, P.O.V. Punx 3, in 2010.

In 2011, Kleio Valentien got a boob job to enhance her already fit figure. By 2013, she began branching out, shooting scenes for Naughty America, Evil Angel, and other adult studios. You can follow the blonde babe on Twitter at @KleioValentien.

About TLA Entertainment Group:

Founded in 1981, TLA Entertainment Group started out operating repertory art cinemas and in the mid-‘80s opened a chain of award-winning video rental stores. Since 1995 TLA has operated online selling DVDs with a focus on Gay and Lesbian cinema. Through its TLA Releasing label, TLA maintains a library hundreds of LGBT, International, and Cult titles. In January 2014 TLA was acquired by New York investment firm Sterling Genesis International, enhancing its potential for expansion in the global marketplace.

Media Contact:

Brian Gross | BSG PR | Dir: 818-340-4422 | Email: Brian @ bsgpr.com (no spaces) | Twitter: @bsgpr

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Two Songs That Actually Deserve to Be Banned From Radio

I'm an erotica writer, so I aggressively defend freedom of speech. I write whatever I want, and so should songwriters. That said, I don't read my erotica on the public airwaves. If you want it, you have to seek out a copy. Here, I'm advocating for these songs to be for sale to anyone who chooses to seek them out, but removed from public airwaves. 

I think it's fine for adults who are able to exercise critical thinking skills to listen to them, but I wouldn't necessarily inflict them on younger minds with less ability to consume media thoughtfully. 

1. "Brown Sugar," The Rolling Stones

This should really be a no-brainer.

"Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields,
Sold in a market down in New Orleans.
Scarred old slaver know he's doin' alright.
Hear him whip the women just around midnight."

Human trafficking. You're talking about kidnapping women and selling them into slavery. That's human trafficking, and it's the lowest of the low of all human activities.

The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock and Roll: The Definitive History of the Most Important Artists and Their Music
I can hardly think of anything more disgusting and evil - yet no one seems repulsed by this song. Rolling Stone magazine named it one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Wikipedia notes:

"The lyrical subject matter has often been a point of interest and controversy. Described by rock critic Robert Christgau as 'a rocker so compelling that it discourages exegesis,'[7] 'Brown Sugar''s popularity indeed often overshadowed its scandalous lyrics, which were essentially a pastiche of a number of taboo subjects, including slavery, interracial sex, cunnilingus, and less distinctly, sadomasochism, lost virginity, and heroin.[8]"

7 Robert Christgau "Rolling Stones". The Rolling Stone Illustrated History of Rock & Roll. 1976 (accessed 24 June 2007).
8 Unterberger, Richie. The Rolling Stones "Brown Sugar". allmusic. 2007 (accessed 25 April 2007).

Yes, rock critic Robert Christgau is a Caucasian male. I have a feeling Caucasian males feel less of a need to understand this song than women and also men of color do. Nothing's at stake in it for the white male.


The cunnilingus ("how come you taste so good") and sadomasochistic tinges wouldn't be so controversial, though, if we were talking about consensual sexual activities between adults. However, it seems clear from context we're dealing with African women being held captive and raped by white men.

This would be disturbing enough, but the creepy factor goes off the charts once you realize these lyrics were written by Mick Jagger, a white man who is the father of Karis Hunt, whose mother, the American actress, model, and novelist Marsha Hunt, is of African descent. He can respect a dark-skinned multiracial woman enough to have a romantic relationship and a daughter with her. Yet song lyrics that don't degrade women of color to the status of commodities and objects to be sexually abused seem beyond his comprehension. Again, I quote Wikipedia:

"After noting that the lyrics could mean so many lewd subjects, he again noted that the combination of those subjects, the lyrical ambiguity was partially why the song was considered successful. He noted, 'That makes it... the whole mess thrown in. God knows what I'm on about on that song. It's such a mishmash. All the nasty subjects in one go... I never would write that song now.' When Jann Wenner asked him why, Jagger replied, 'I would probably censor myself. I'd think, "Oh God, I can't. I've got to stop. I can't just write raw like that."'"[6]

6 "Jagger Remembers". Rolling Stone. 14 December 1995.

"Raw" is a bit of an understatement. Still, Jagger may have become a bit more enlightened since the 1970s -- but "Brown Sugar" hasn't. This song has got to go.


That said, Mick Jagger is still alive. Petition for him to re-record the song with completely different lyrics? 

2. "Cocaine," Eric Clapton. Miley Cyrus was widely criticized because her song "We Can't Stop" included the lyrics "dancing with molly" and "tryin' to get a line in the bathroom." The flak was presumably because of her previous "good girl"/Disney image and the presumptive young age of many of her fans. The same critics probably assume young people don't listen to "classic rock" radio, which is why Eric Clapton gets a pass to sing "If you want to hang out, you've got to take her out" about the extract of coca leaves.

Hip hop songs have to bleep out even veiled marijuana references, but Eric Clapton's paean to cocaine seems immune from these kinds of precautions. If we seriously intend to get drug references off the public airwaves, we need to start with this blatant love song to a drug that causes heart arrhythmia, heart attacks, strokes, irrationally violent behavior, nasal perforation, permanent lung damage, ulcers, and sudden kidney failure. Not to mention, it creates a criminal demand responsible for the deaths of countless law enforcement officers and innocent civilians.

You can read more about the effects of cocaine at WebMD

Some will claim this is actually an anti-cocaine song. If one of these is you, please use the comments to explain how, because I don't see it.


Both of these examples come from "classic rock" radio, which I sometimes listen to at work with my husband. Beyond the issues raised about these specific songs, classic rock heavily features the styles, words, attitudes, and preferences of white male artists over female artists and male artists of color. On the station I usually tune in to, I hear a small number of white women's voices: Grace Slick, Stevie Nicks, Joan Jett, Pat Benatar, Deborah Harry, and Chrissie Hynde. I love them all, but they are only six women. 

Men of color are represented solely by Santana and Jimi Hendrix. Women of color as lead singers are entirely absent, unless we count Merry Clayton's vocals on the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." Because it focuses so narrowly and excludes a lot of amazing artists, classic rock radio is very problematic for me. 

But I like some of the songs, though. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Why Do We love Vamps? In a Word: They’re Hot - Suz deMello Guest Post

Like great chocolate, vampires are smooth, seductive and dangerous. They're invariably wealthy because they prey upon whoever they please and can steal for a living if they choose. Anne Rice's Lestat is the classic example.


And many female fans enjoy the fantasy of losing control to a sexy, dominant male. On top of that, our culture worships the young and the beautiful.

In my writing, I emphasize not only the vampires’ sensuality, but also their unnatural strength and speed. In Rakes in Tartan, my hero, Tor Kilburn, doesn’t box or fence to stay in shape, but he “flies”—or appears to. Here’s his version of taking a relaxing jog at night:

Tor stood on the roof of the manse he shared with Andrew. Though the home was centrally located near Piccadilly, the misty streets ’round about were deserted at this extremely late hour. The quarter-moon’s light struggled through the low-hanging fog and gleamed on damp cobbles and pavements. Few lamps broke the darkness. Silence reigned. Not even the turd wallopers were abroad, though the olfactory evidence of their foul cargo floated above the lanes.

He stretched, enjoying the freedom he felt, having stripped off the confining jacket and snug knee-breeches required for entry into Almack’s. Cloak flapping over plain trousers, he leaped to the next building, then to the next and the next. He landed squarely on a girder supporting the glass roof of the Burlington Arcade, knees half-bent.

He sprinted along the girder, then jumped again, arms spread wide. The breeze caught his black cape and helped him across Piccadilly, enabling him to land soundlessly on the roof of Fortnum and Mason.

He enjoyed his hobby as much or even more than he had in Oxford. ‘Twas a lively town but lacked the number and variety of buildings London boasted. Though he had become intimately acquainted with the several colleges comprising Oxford, the sameness of the Gothic architecture had lost his interest. London was large, diverse and highly entertaining...

Oh, and yeah: he’s hot.


Rakes in Tartan by Suz deMello                                                              

Setting: London 1816

The social season promises both sex and danger for Torquil Kilburn and Andrew MacReiver, Highland heirs arrived in London to seek brides. The Scotsmen must  negotiate the complicated morĂ©s of high society to woo and win an exquisite debutante and her passionate, unconventional mother while keeping their vampire heritage a secret.

But evil stalks the ballroom at Almack’s, the streets of Piccadilly, the drawing rooms of the ton. Headless bodies have been found drained of their blood, for another vampire haunts the streets of London, murdering noblemen. As he draws ever closer, Tor and Andrew must fight not only for love, but for their lives.

Buy it here:

About the author:

Best-selling, award-winning author Suz deMello, a.k.a Sue Swift, has written seventeen romance novels in several subgenres, including erotica, comedy, historical, paranormal, mystery and suspense, plus a number of short stories and non-fiction articles on writing. A freelance editor, she’s worked for Total-E-Bound, Liquid Silver Books and Ai Press, where she is currently Managing Editor. She also takes private clients.

Her books have been favorably reviewed in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus and Booklist, won a contest or two, attained the finals of the RITA and hit several bestseller lists.

A former trial attorney, her passion is world travel. She’s left the US over a dozen times, including lengthy stints working overseas. She’s now writing a vampire tale and planning her next trip.


--Find her books at http://www.suzdemello.com


--For editing services, email her at suzswift  (at) yahoo.com

--Befriend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sueswift

--Visit her group page at https://www.facebook.com/redhotauthorscafe

--She tweets her reading picks @ReadThis4fun and @Suzdemello



This is an affiliate link:

The First Bite Is the Deepest by Elisa Catrina. $2.99 from Smashwords.com
“Funny and clever and emotionally hard-hitting” "A perfectly creepy read." Elisa Catrina's debut novel begins as a quirky send-up of vampire romance, but quickly turns sinister. High schooler Stella Ortiz starts dating the mysterious new guy, but her friends are convinced he's bad news: Sebastian misses tons of school, he day-drinks something that smells like pennies, and oh yeah, he's a vampire.

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Today I've been tagged by Shah Wharton to take part in the My Writing Process Blog Tour. Shah answered four questions about her writing process, then tagged me. I answered the questions. Then, in theory, I was supposed to tag three wonderful authors whose answers I want to read. They would post their answers on their own blogs next Monday.

However, I had no takers. So here are my answers.

1)     What am I working on?

I've just complete re-editing and re-releasing the first two novels in my Pagan Spirits trilogy, Beltane and Midsummer Night. I'm currently working on the ending novel of the trilogy, St. James' Day. I've written it, and now I need to put the final polish on it before I self-publish it.

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

My trilogy is a contemporary romance series with a tiny bit of the paranormal thrown in for fun, but it's essentially set in the real world. The focus is much less on the paranormal and more on contemporary NeoPagan folklore and practice. It's a contemporary romance set in the Midwest U.S. - a fairly uncommon setting - exploring a subculture that's becoming more and more mainstream, but that hasn't been explored to death (yet) in fiction.

3)     Why do I write what I do?

I write the kinds of things I like to read. I love a story that has some folklore woven in - it's J.K. Rowling's successful formula, after all. I also love everything that has to do with romance. It pretty much obsesses me. So I simply write the things that interest me most.

4)     How does my writing process work?

I'm a compulsive writer, and I'm pretty much writing something or other whenever I get a chance. Mornings, evenings, weekends, at the coffee shop…you'll almost always find me hunched over the laptop, typing away. It's my husband who really gets on my case and encourages me to edit, revise, and improve, which is why we work well as a team. He helps me polish and finish my work.

If you're reading this and would like to share your answers next Monday, just link back to me and consider yourself "tagged."

This is an affiliate link:

Celebrity Authors’ Secrets - The World’s Greatest Living Authors Reveal How They Sell Millions of Books by Stephanie Hale. $12.99 from Smashwords.com
Twelve of the world's greatest living authors reveal their tips for writing a book that sells over a million copies in Celebrity Authors' Secrets. A must-have guide - filled with publishing and book marketing info - for aspiring writers, authors, publishers, editors, writing coaches, creative writing tutors and anyone who loves books. Find out how to make your book stand out from the masses!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

#YABookReview: 'Panic' by Lauren Oliver

I received an advance reader's edition of Panic at no cost through the Amazon Vine program. I received no other compensation for this review, which represents my own honest opinion.



Panic is a contemporary young adult novel with a realistic plot and characters. It takes place in the small town of Carp, New York. The high school seniors in Carp play a game over the summer called Panic; the winner takes a pot of somewhere around $50,000. To many in the economically depressed town, the money represents the only chance they'll ever have to live better lives than their parents. 
The novel is written in the third person, but chapters are divided into Heather and Dodge chapters, depending on which of the two main characters they follow. Heather Nill lives in a trailer park with her alcoholic, drug-addicted mother and her younger sister Lily. She has no plans for her life beyond high school. She dreams of leaving Carp, but she can't stand the thought of leaving Lily behind. And yes, Heather is aware that her last name literally means "nothing."

Dodge Mason comes from a similar background. He never knew his father, a Dominican roofer. His lighter-complexioned half sister Dayna played Panic when she was a senior, and in the final round she was in a car accident and lost the use of her legs. Their mom can't afford the most advanced medical treatment for her, so chances are she'll never walk again.

Dayna had been competing against Luke Hanahran when she was injured. When it's Dodge's turn to compete, Luke's brother Ray is also a contestant in Panic. Dodge intends to get revenge for Dayna - that's his main motivation for playing the game.

Along with Dodge and Heather, Heather's best friend Natalie (Nat) Velez is a competitor. Nat doesn't have a very strong stomach for dangerous activities, but she wants to win the money to further her dream of being an actress in L.A.

Panic is kept secret from the town's adults, with ever-changing rules, locations, and judges. None of the players know who the judges are.

I've been wanting to read the first book in Lauren Oliver's Delirium trilogy, which is also called Delirium, for quite a while now. After reading Panic, I'm not so sure I want to read it anymore. I just haven't fallen in love with Oliver's writing the way I have, say, Veronica Roth's. I thought Panic was interesting, but not great. There are moments of mild suspense when the characters seem to be in great danger, but very few consequences actually happen to the four main characters. The suspense is kind of a tease.

I hoped this would be more of a "what if real kids had their own version of The Hunger Games" kind of thing, but it was even more realistic than even that - which I didn't love. I knew going into this reading that it wasn't any kind of dystopian or fantasy novel, but it turns out I simply like the speculative genres of young adult books more than the more realistic kind.

This is the second stand-alone Lauren Oliver book I've read. The first was her middle grade fantasy novel The Spindlers. I thought that was just okay, too.

But if you like realistic YA fiction about what kind of trouble bored kids with very little to lose could get into, you may very well enjoy this book.

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Shift by Madison Dunn. $8.99 from Smashwords.com
I'm not sure why it happens, but when I focus just right, I can slow time. Things around me become lighter somehow, and I almost feel the tiny particles of energy spinning inside of them. The thing is, having the ability to transform the world around you isn't all it's cracked up to be -- especially when you are running from the Valencia without any deodorant.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Teaser: 'Love' by Lacey Weatherford #Romance

“Ugh.” I rolled my eyes. “A ride? That is so not romantic, Hunter.” It surprised me how easily I was reverting back to the name I originally knew him by. If he noticed at all, he didn’t comment on it.

“What’s romantic, then? How would you seduce me?”

“Pfft. That’s the easiest thing to do on the planet. It’s not even a challenge.”

“Really? Then tell me. What would you do?”

“Mmm . . . let’s see. I could brush my teeth, or my hair for that matter. Both of those have turned you on before. Washing dishes always seems to do it for you, too. Oh, and of course there’s sweeping, vacuuming, and any time that I need to change my clothes. And—,”

“Okay, okay. I get it. I’m a horny bastard.” He was grinning from ear to ear.

“I wouldn’t exactly use the term bastard. Maybe a sexual zealot.”

Laughter burst from him, and he scooped me up in his arms and headed for the front door, continuing to chuckle the entire way.

“What are you doing?” I asked, unable to keep the smile off my face.

“Carrying you off to bed with sexual zeal,” he replied. “Is that okay with you?”

“I see I can add talking to the list of things that turn you on.”

He laughed again, kicking the door shut behind us as we entered the house. “Yes, you can. Face it, Goody. Everything about you turns me on. You’re just gonna have to learn to live with it.”


About the Author

Lacey Weatherford was born in Ft. Meade, Maryland while her father was serving in the military. She has been a lifelong resident of Arizona, spending most of her time growing up in the small rural town of Clay Springs.

It was while she was attending the small country school in Clay Springs, that she read her first "big" book at the age of eight. It was a Nancy Drew novel and Lacey was instantly hooked. She read every book that she could find in the series and decided that she wanted to write stories too.

Lacey spent a lot of time at the library from that time forward, even volunteering in her later teen years and early twenties. She would don a crazy clown outfit for the Friends of the Library fundraisers in an effort to help get the new town library built.

When she and her husband moved away from the area, Lacey took the opportunity to take some creative writing classes at the local college to help further along her interests. Several years later, they were blessed with the opportunity to move back to Clay Springs with their family. The town had finally succeeded in building their library and Lacey had the opportunity to be President of the Friends of the Library, for a very short time, before relocating.

Lacey and her family still live in the White Mountains of Arizona, where she continues to write young adult novels that have a fantasy/fairytale or paranormal bent to them, as well as being sure to include a great romantic storyline!

Lacey on Goodreads
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"Bitches in Bookshops" Creators Return with "Hardcover Bound 2"

As you may recall from this post, I adore the Jay-Z/Kanye West parody song "Bitches in Bookshops" so much, I devoted an entire Pinterest board to it. Now, just in time for National Library Week (April 13-19, 2014), the creators of that literary masterpiece are back with another Kanye-based piece of inspired parody filmmaking, "Hardcover Bound 2."

You remember Kanye's video "Bound 2," right? In which the rapper and his gorgeous fiancee Kim Kardashian (Kimye for short) canoodled on the back of a motorcycle?





And then Seth Rogen and James Franco - straight guys* and platonic BFFs - re-created the video scene-for-scene, including the make-out session?





And Ellen DeGeneres and her gorgeous wife Portia di Rossi made a parody "Bound 2"-themed winter holiday card?





Well, now the video has fallen into the hands of LaShea Delaney and Annabelle Quezada, and the result is bookish perfection.


Here are the lyrics, which you can find here.

Your eyes, get tired…
From readin’, a good book
On a Saturday night
From readin’ a good book
So just grab your good book
And put on your glasses
On a Saturday night
Readin’, your - aw huh honey

All that other media lame and you know it now
Stackin papers with some glue then ya press it down
Bound
Bound

Met my book club on a Wednesday
Brave New World put me in a frenzy
Were Orwell and Bradbury friendly?
Assigned 1984, but read it already!

Reading Jung for my grad dissertation
Then Freud’s Dream Interpretations
Essays on sex aberrations
Fill the page with mad annotations
Fight Club was a rad adaptation
Palahniuk gives me heart palpitations!

How you gonna be loud at my station-
Makin noise around all these librarians?! Uhh!
This bestseller shit
This that Alchemist, Giver, Old Yeller shit
This that Harper Lee and Scarlet Letter shit
Got a first edition straight off of Alibris

Your eyes, get tired…
From readin’, a good book
On a Saturday night
From readin’ your - aw huh honey

Open up and press pause on The Book Thief
The book’s usually better than the movie.
Bound
Bound

I read Sylvia Plath in the bath
Confederacy of Dunces when I want to laugh
In Cold Blood without even blinking
I mean damn what was Capote-pote-pote pote thinking

Ey, you remember watchu first read
Okay, I don’t remember what I first read
Prob’ly, it was Dr. Seuss, eh?
Silverstein- or Maurice Sendak

Realist magic- Borges and Murakami
Toni Morrison, Allende, Salman Rushdie
Perusin’ Malthusian theory,
Edgar Allan Poe when I feel like something eerie

They ask me what’s next on my reading list-
Ever start a book that you can’t finish?!
Caryl Churchill and Tracy Letts, I  
Think I’ll make time for Samuel Beckett
Books can help you overcome lotsa things
You know, I know,
Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Your eyes, get tired…
From readin’, a good book
On a Saturday night
From readin’ a good book
So just grab your good book (Reeeeaaaaaaadin')
And put on your glasses
On a Saturday night
Readin’, your good book.
Boooooooooooooooooooooooooooks….

*Update December 2014 - I'm not actually sure James Franco is a straight guy. He doesn't seem to want a label - which is cool, because people aren't products on the store shelves that have to be labeled. He's said he's not gay, but he may yet be one of my people, the bi/pans, or at least heteroflexible. Not that there's anything wrong with being straight.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Food Porn at Its Sexiest: Ramen Matzah Ball Soup

(Woodland Hills, CA - press release) March 19th, 2014 – It isn't too often that an invention so ground-breaking comes along that it changes the way we work, play, sleep, and even live. But on Woodrocket.com's web series, James Deen Loves Food, it happens almost every week. And this week, it is Ramen Matzah Ball Soup!


The show that brought you Cool Ranch Donuts, The World's Most Expensive Burrito, and 27 Layer Dip now brings together Japanese and Jewish cuisine in the incredibly delicious and innovative new episode, James Deen Loves Food: Ramen Matzah Balls.

Star of The Canyons (the 2013 Lindsay Lohan film based on the book by Bret Easton Ellis), adult cinema, and host James Deen takes the classic Passover favorite and adds an Asian twist. He makes Matzah Balls out of Ramen noodles and adds it to a Jewish/Japanese style soup. It's new! It's multicultural! It's delicious! It's food porn at its sexiest!

This hot dish episode of James Deen Loves Food: Ramen Matzah Balls is sponsored by HotMovies!

You can watch James Deen Loves Food for Free at Woodrocket.com

Or check out the Safe-for-Work Trailer at JamesDeenLovesFood.com

Dubbed by Gawker as a “leader in viral porn content,” WoodRocket.com is a mix of adult & comedic entertainment, offering thousands of free, high quality videos, including exclusive porn like Porks & Recreation, SpongeKnob SquareNuts, and Game of Bones, & original Web series like “James Deen Loves Food,” “Topless Girls Reading Books,” and “Naked in Public.”

WoodRocket.com and its content has been featured on Gawker, Gizmodo, The Hollywood Reporter, Jezebel, Esquire, Bon Appetit, Vice, Fleshbot, and more. WoodRocket even found its Game of Bones parody as a trivia question on the highly acclaimed Comedy Central game show @Midnight.

Erin's Note: From time to time I get these press releases in my e-mail inbox. I thought this one was enjoyable. I corrected the grammar and punctuation a little. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Best Free Writing Apps For Novelists

Writing a novel is always a daunting task, but today writers can take advantage of many free apps that can help make it a little more manageable. While an app cannot do the writing for you, it can help you come up with creative ideas for plots, create an outline, structure your story and more. Let's look at five of the best free apps for novelists.

Creative Commons image by user Egy.One

1.
Dragon Dictation

Dragon Naturally Speaking is a well known program that allows the user to speak out loud and have the words transcribed on the page. Now there is a free app that lets you do the same thing. This is very efficient for people who find it easier to organize their thoughts speaking out loud. Dragon Dictation is a very convenient app to have on your phone or tablet, as you can use it whenever inspiration hits you. Most people can talk faster than they can type, so you will be able to retain more of your ideas. This app can be downloaded from iTunes.

2.
FreeSaurus

A thesaurus has always been an essential writer's companion. This tool helps you avoid the problem of using the same words over and over again. With FreeSaurus you can have one at your disposal whenever you need it. This will help you find just the word you need for any occasion. FreeSaurus can help make your writing richer by giving you more word choices. This free app is available on iTunes.

3.
Wiki Browser

Wikipedia is a great source of information for writers, as it allows you to do fast research on almost any topic. Wiki Browser is a convenient app that lets you browse Wikipedia. It even lets you do this in multiple languages. This is ideal for novelists who need to do research, whether it's on history, science, geography or anything else. This is a free Android app that all writers can make use of.

4.
A Novel Idea

This app is very useful for organizing your plot, scenes, characters and locations. You can simply fill in the ideas as you get inspiration. This app helps you clarify all of the elements of your novel. You can synch this app with Dropbox if you use that platform to store documents. A Novel Idea is a free app available on iTunes.

5.
Scribd

The Scibd app gives you instant access to a vast library of articles, short stories, excerpts, study guides and more. Although the basic app is free, you can subscribe to the full version and have access to an even greater amount of material, including many full length books. Scribd is a free Android app that can be very helpful for writers seeking research material or inspiration.

As a writer, you should take advantage of every resource at your disposal. The above are some of the apps that can make your job as a novelist a little easier. Apps that you can use on your smart phone or tablet allow you to do research, jot down ideas and organize your novel wherever you happen to be.

This article was written by Aubrey Phelps, a writer for FreeGuestPost.com. She loves tech humor and reading.