BDSM In My Romance

When I started writing the Game Series, my main goal was to portray kink and BDSM as accurately as possible. I’m not in any way an expert, but after some ten active years in the lifestyle, I’ve been to my fair share of events, meets, and parties. And BDSM communities are beautiful the way they are. They’re not perfect. Far from it. There’s drama, people come in broken, others have unrealistic expectations, many are just having fun, some take it way too seriously, some discover what their actual limits are, and so on and so on.

I wanted to bring all that into my new series. The different peoples, the unconventional dynamics, and the clashes.

Oh, the clashes!

I think back on when I wrote the Touch Series. Realism was important to me even then, realism in how I portrayed the kink. But suddenly, my characters were flawless! Oh, they had trust issues, they fucked up, and they caused some minor drama. But once I put two main characters together, their kinks lined up perfectly and they rode off into the sunset together.

I’m not smack-talking my own series. I loved writing Touch. It took place in a time where I was evolving a lot in kink, and each story got more fleshed out. Starting with a dreamy, insta-love age-play novelette, ending with a full-length novel about a triad finally finding their way after many hiccups. The Touch Series is in many ways my baby.

The Game Series is different. Not only because my play has advanced over the years but because I’ve learned that BDSM isn’t about toys and playrooms. It’s about people.

The series started out pretty easy. Two Tops accidentally falling in love. Chemistry is a controlling little bitch, and we can’t help who we fall for. So in Top Priority, I wanted two Daddy Doms to get knocked on their asses. But they found their way, and then they found it again in Their Boy, where they meet their third. Happily ever after for everyone!

In Breathless, I wanted to delve into sadism. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know I lovingly (sometimes not-so-lovingly) refer to my partner as The Sadist. Because he is one. Big-time Sadist. Many ouchies. So much pain.

He’s a bit of a dick too. (I love you!)

But anyway. Because of that troll, and our experiences, Breathless was an outlet. I wrote what I’d actually lived through, in many of the cases, definitely not all.

I won’t spoil anything.

Now comes Doll Parts

Doll Parts is the next book in the Game Series, and it’s…different. It took me weeks to figure out if I disliked my own writing or if I loved it. Then it slowly dawned on me that I knew these characters. I’ve met versions of them in every BDSM community I’ve been in. I’d finally reached my own goal of portraying kink the way I wanted to, because I was writing people who actually exist. Not to mention scenes that’ve happened so many times.

The imperfect Master. The Daddy who has his own insecurities. The kinksters who don’t abide to every safety rule there is. The scene that didn’t live up to everyone’s expectations. Limits changing. Dynamics evolving because someone is poly and another is monogamous. Kinksters with mental health problems and disabilities. Different body types. (Although, so far, I’ve given you nothing but abs and tattoos! But don’t worry, I can’t wait for y’all to meet Gael. He’s a sweetheart.)

BDSM brings ALL kinds of people together, and all their various shades of different will alter their new relationships, their fetishes, and their views.

That’s what I wanna write. That’s what I’m writing. Those are the people I wanna give Happily Ever Afters to.

I’m excited for you to read Doll Parts. It has all the puzzle pieces. (That will make sense when you’ve read it.)

I’m excited for you to meet Noa, Cameron, Lucian, and KC.

I’m excited for you to see their differences coming together.

No pun intended.

(I’m also really excited about Out of the Ashes, the book that follows, but that’s a story for another day.)

Before I wrap up, I thought I’d give you a li’l teaser from Doll Parts.

PEACE,

Cara

*

Doll Parts Teaser

I chewed on the inside of my cheek and wondered how the hell I hadn’t connected the dots sooner. Fuck, it was hot. I ran a hand through my hair and looked around me. The restaurant was right on the corner of a busy intersection, and the sleepy locals on their way to brunch were sharing the sidewalk with tourists.

Maybe I should text him and call it off…

“Excuse me, are you going to the munch?”

I cocked my head to the guy to my left. He was about my age, I estimated.

“What if I didn’t know what a munch was?”

He grinned, and it was hot. Hot and cute. “I would’ve said never mind and hightailed it out of here,” he replied. “But I’ve been around long enough to spot someone too nervous to join an event.”

Oh. I wasn’t nervous to join an event. My very first munch, I’d been the first to arrive.

I scratched my head. “I’m stalling because I’m pretty sure I’m barging into someone else’s territory,” I admitted. “My mom’s ex-husband is kinky too.”

The guy made a yikes-face, and I felt the need to elaborate.

“I check his Instagram sometimes, and if he posts four pictures every month, one is from this place,” I explained. “Usually with a caption like ‘Luke is teaching me to post foodporn, whatever that is’ and ‘Macklin’s eggs Benedict are a bit of a religious experience.’”

I could tell I’d mentioned names the guy recognized. I was right. This was the munch of KC’s kink community. Motherfucker. I’d seen eight pictures from this place on KC’s dusty Instagram—or parts of the place. Mostly from the rooftop terrace. Maybe that was where they hosted the munch.

“You know them, don’t you?” I pressed.

The guy smiled uncertainly and shrugged slightly. “We take integrity seriously, but…”

Yeah.

“Who’s your mother’s ex-husband?”

“KC Hayles.”

He nodded once. He’d heard that name too. Then he eyed someone else, or two someones, coming up the sidewalk. They were twins. Hot-as-shit set of twins in their forties.

One of them smirked upon seeing the guy I’d been talking to. “You hidin’, Cameron?”

I observed the guy’s reaction. Cameron. A crooked grin full of mischief lit up his face. He was really fucking cute, and I didn’t usually feel attraction toward men my age. He was a bit taller than me but not much. Blue eyes.

“Does that sound like something I would do, Sir?” Cameron countered. Definitely a submissive.

One of the twins chuckled and ruffled Cameron’s shaggy, dirty-blond hair. “See you upstairs, boy.” He spared me the quickest of glances, lifted his brow a little, maybe in curiosity, before he and his brother took the steps up to the restaurant.

Cameron turned back to me. “It’s possible you’ve stumbled upon your stepdad’s community.”

I figured. “I’ll just reschedule with the guy I was gonna meet. Thanks for letting me know.”

It wasn’t too important I met him today anyway. It was only a bite to eat to see if I was compatible to play with him and his boyfriend.

Cameron cleared his throat. “Hey, wait. If you know KC… Does that mean you know Lucian too?”

That would be a stretch. “I’ve met him a few times, sure. I wouldn’t say I know him, though.” I’d had my suspicions about Lucian—that he was kinky too. It wasn’t a surprise whatsoever to have it confirmed. He was big-time Master material. “Why, are you together or something?”

Cameron snorted. “I wish. No, he’s with some dude who’s manipulating him like fucking whoa, and Lucian won’t see it.”

I frowned. That didn’t compute with my impression of Lucian.

“Anyway,” Cameron went on. “Here’s a crazy idea. You wanna get out of here and grab a burger or something? Your plan fell through, and I can think of better things to do than watch Lucian and his little troll.”

I stood straighter instantly. This guy wanted to hang out? Fuck yes! I could use a new friend. “Absolutely,” I said, sticking out my hand. “I’m Noa.”

Cameron smiled, visibly relieved. “Cameron.”

*

The Game Series

#1, Top Priority – HERE – Colt/Lucas

#2, Their Boy – HERE – Kit/Colt/Lucas

#3, Breathless – HERE – Shay/River/Reese

#3.5, The Air That I Breathe – HERE – River/Reese

#4, Doll Parts – Coming in February! – Cam/Noa/Lucian/KC

#5, Out of the Ashes – TBA – Kingsley/Tate/Franklin

#6, TBA

Adding Layers to Characters

GS 3 Tablet

Hi there, long time no see and all that. Yes, I just heard my editor complain about that very first sentence in my head. Like a character, she lives there permanently and pipes up every now and then.

Zip it, I tell her, now’s not the time.

So! I hope y’all are feeling all right in these weird times. I’m currently trying to make my deadline and finish writing Breathless, the next book in the Game Series, before my birthday on July 23rd. But today I woke up feeling generally off. Headache, stomachache, and some mild nausea. Not enough to throw my ass on the bed and declare myself dying in hopes of lots of sympathy from the man in the house, but enough to completely pull me away from my writing.

Well, sort of.

Breathless is going to be a somewhat angsty, hotter-than-hell, eventually sweet kink story about Shay Acton, a young man who’s lost most of his family, and twin Sadists River and Reese Tenley. It’s a standalone piece, but for those following the series, it’s a “Finally! We get the twins!” As they’ve already made appearances in the previous two books. 🙂

And you know what’s freaking impossible to write when you’re not feeling well?

Sizzling hot kink. Yeah. It’s not happening today.

However

My passion has always been to write everyday heroes and heroines, with everyday struggles, realistic misfortunes and mishaps happening, and all those insignificant human isms. They go to the bathroom, they sneeze when their noses tickle, they get food poisoning, they have cramps, headaches, and mood swings.

They get sick sometimes.

Yeah! Guess who I just gave a fever? Shay will battle this off day with me; I will get back to writing, and he will just suffer with me. The words sure as heck flow easier when I can get into the scene properly and relate to what he’s feeling, and I think…I think the Tenley twins need to give him ice cream and cuddles.

To be frank, I want ice cream too.

Much love,

Cara

Linky link: The Game Series.

Daddy kink | Age difference | Realistic BDSM | S/M | …and much more.

This author tried to keep her mouth shut

noname

I’ve been staring at this empty document for about twenty minutes now, and I’m still not sure how to phrase myself.

I should start by saying that I always shy away from drama. I wouldn’t say I keep my head down and chicken out from stating my opinions; I’ve just made the choice to focus on romance, on the books I write, and on characters.

That’s part of why I’m blogging today, because the issues, for lack of a better term, have reached characters and how we write them.

It’s unbelievable that an author has to say this, but here goes: I am not my characters. They are, however, a reflection of my view of society, and that includes all walks of life. I spend an insane amount of time on research in order to be able to stick to “write what you know.” I have written teachers, rock stars, bartenders, bipolar hockey players, autistic men and women, the rich, the poor, the homeless, and everyone in between. I seek out perspectives of those who know from experience, and I do my best to give a realistic portrayal–in most of my books. I’m not gonna lie, when I write BDSM, I put more energy in portraying kink than the occupation of the characters.

I’ve been lucky so far. I haven’t been involved in any platform-wide drama. My writing hasn’t been dragged through the mud. Yet, maybe. But every now and then, I receive a message from an angry reader, which I guess is unavoidable–we can’t please them all–and I choose not to make a big deal out of it. I choose to ignore it or address it privately.

Now I’m kinda done. Today’s political climate has become so infected, and we’ve seemed to have lost the plot when we go after fictional characters. My own political views don’t matter one bit when I write. I joke when I play the devil’s advocate with my friends and say I’m a bit of a political cocktail. Socially progressive, part classic liberal, part libertarian, with a twist of conservatism. Either way, I will write characters whose own opinions I disagree with.

For chrissakes, I made Casey in Path of Destruction and Uncomplicated Choices a Pepsi lover.

Pepsi!

#FakeSoda

Kidding aside, I have conservative characters and liberal characters and those who don’t give a flying fuck about politics. Politics rarely play a part in my books, though it’s there, like a current flowing underneath it all in some stories.

Which brings us to the use of language.

I’m currently writing This Life II, and side note, I’m having a blast writing a liberal woman with a conservative man. It doesn’t kidnap the main plot; it’s a source of banter, some eye-rolling, and discussion. The main plot…okay, there’s a lot going on in this trilogy, but it’s mafia romance. And you wanna know something bizarre?

Finnegan, the name of the hero, kills, steals, lies, and deceives for a living. No problem. Mafia romance is a popular genre, and we like reading bad boys who are devoted to one woman only. I’ve had so much fun researching his skillsets, and I haven’t thought twice about him committing murder or stealing. Then the other day, I came to a stop. I wrote something, and I leaned back and went, “Shit, can I really write that? Some will take offense.”

Here I was, writing a scene in which he is going to kill someone who’s scared his wife, and I hesitate because he called the enemy retard.

It’s nuts.

I’ve already put a leash on my boundaries if I consider altering the language for the sake of delicate readers.

I won’t do that.

Finnegan, an Irish mobster from Philly, will definitely use the word retard.

So did Dominic in Home. Because do you know who doesn’t care about being politically correct? A twenty-four-year-old guy who’s spent most of his adult years on the streets, trying to make a buck to go see his autistic daughter.

Speaking of Autism. As an autistic author, am I supposed to be offended by the use of this word?

I’m not. And even if I were, I’d use it. Because it fits certain characters and the world they grew up in.

It doesn’t fit into Adrian’s world. He’s the kind high-school teacher who teaches history and takes Dominic in. When Dominic uses the word retard, Adrian mutters a dry joke about how he throws books at his students for saying the “r-word.”

In the real world, perspectives meet–and sometimes crash–all the time. They do that, and will continue to do so, in my books too.

The next word is cunt. Or cunty. A few months ago, I actually received a message through my website from an anonymous reader. They claimed I should know better than to use the word cunty. Especially because I am a woman. Cunty is degrading to us. It was funny to me–you know, after the shock settled–that someone (a woman maybe?) would tell me, another woman, how to write, what is degrading to me. Pro tip: don’t police this woman’s  use of language for her characters.

I showed the message to a couple friends, and I wanted their honest opinion. Did I use the word poorly? Like, in the wrong place for the wrong person?

No.

The character in question, a working-class dude from New Jersey, had this word in his vocabulary. End of. And the irony in this specific scenario was so brilliant, because the guy had been in the middle of defending a woman when he used the word. But that didn’t matter. Intentions lost their meaning, and everything became about the word he used.

I started out as a fanfiction author, and many are waiting for me to rework another mafia series and publish it as an original, and to be honest, I’ve been dreading it. We’re talking full-on Sicilian/American mafia taking place in the ’70s up to present day in Las Vegas. No one will bat an eyelash at the bodies they bury in the desert, but then there’s the way they speak and how they treated their women…

I’m gonna write it, though. It’s what I do.

Now I’m going back to Finnegan and Emilia in This Life II. She’s pregnant and just had a glass of champagne.

–Cara

Allowing myself to be proud

We have an unwritten rule and a culture in Sweden that’s so deeply imbedded in us that it always catches me off guard when I see authors promoting their own work. This rule, this culture, states, not-so-roughly translated, don’t believe you’re better than anyone else.

We’re not supposed to toot our own horn and boast about anything where the credit belongs to us.

You have to be modest, and it’s like that old…

“I love your shirt!”

“Oh, this old thing?” It’s brand new. “It was on sale.” It cost half a freaking fortune.

It goes without saying that I absolutely suck at promoting myself, and it’s been a problem since I started publishing. It just wasn’t something that was encouraged when I grew up. It’s a stupid culture, and I’m trying to let go of some of it. Because you know what? I’m proud of the characters I create in my head. I’m proud of the universes I build, and I’m proud of the work I put in when I research and keep track of all the tiny details.

The Game Series is a new universe. It’s The Touch Seres 2.0, not necessarily new and improved but certainly heavier and more developed. This kinkster community gets their freak on in DC, and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as I do. 🙂

Top Priority was the first novella, a prologue of sorts, yet it stands on its own. It centers around Lucas and Colt, two Daddy Doms who fall for each other despite the fact that their kinks don’t match. And now…the second book. Their Boy went live today(!), and we meet Lucas and Colt once more, this time from Kit’s point of view. It can also be fully enjoyed as a standalone; you don’t need Lucas and Colt’s background story.

Tattooed bearded male sits on a chair.

Left all alone in the world—and in a very big house—after the loss of his parents, Kit Damien has struggled to find his place in society and in the kink community he longs to be a more active part of.

Daddy Doms Colt and Lucas have been a happy, committed couple for eight years. But two Tops need a bottom, and their quest for a Little to make their lives complete has led them to Kit’s empty doorstep.

But just as with his physical wounds, Kit’s emotional scars won’t heal overnight. Colt and Lucas must challenge him at every turn to force him to open up and let them in, to let them use their own individual methods to make him whole again. Together, the three will embark on a journey to learn about true love, growing up, the importance of sprinkles, and the rules of The Game that can make them all winners.

UNIVERSAL AMAZON LINK

So here’s me, promoting myself, and if Daddykink and triads are your jam, you should totally give Their Boy a chance.

*hyperventilates*

Nailed it!

I finished another book, and I’m tired

Typing “the end” in a book brings an insane amount of satisfaction. I get to ship it off to my editor and be done with it for a while. Then a few weeks of editing back and forth follow, not to mention I get sucked into the whole PR part of publishing books. It’s a busy time that keeps my mind occupied; I spend more time with readers, I take part in online festivities, and I host giveaways and etcetera.

Then it’s all over.

I sit back, a little unsettled, a little frazzled, a little numb, and I read some reviews. I play games on my phone. I sleep and eat. I’m a little quieter than usual.

The reviews for both Auctioned and Stranded have been humbling, and I crack a tired but genuine grin when a handful readers–on the actual release day–binge read and then ask me when the next book is out.

It’s flattering, exciting, and encouraging.

It’s also nuts! And I say that fondly.

Truth is, when it’s all over, it’s my turn to process. Without giving away any significant spoilers, I can say that this is when I’m sucked back into the book I just published. I’m on that island with Darius and Gray, or in the hospital with them, or on that small, chartered  plane toward new challenges. I can still feel the sand between my toes, the sweat trickling down my neck, and the sticky papaya juices on my fingers. I know what thunder smells like in the tropics and the pressure anxiety puts on my chest. Darius is still speaking in my head, and he’s worried about Gray. He’s also planning and strategizing; his mind is going a mile a minute, which means mine is too.

Writing a series poses new issues as well. Because Gray and Darius are far from done, and leaving things unfinished goes against my nature. Goddammit, feelings are being developed, and these two need each other.

But other books demand attention, and I have to walk away for a bit. I can’t let myself get invested in the next book yet, even though Darius and Gray have already set the course and told me the gist of what’s going to happen. Philly will be interesting, as will the developments in the human trafficking case that take Darius and Gray on a cross-country road trip to Joshua Tree in California.

The next book is called Deserted, and I shouldn’t be thinking about it. Or the characters that will be involved, most from Camassia, a couple from this place called Bakersfield, and of course we need more of Ryan. Maybe. Hmm. Fuck! No. I have other books to focus on now.

*grips hair in frustration*

I’m tired. I’m itching to write more, to take a break, to move on, and yeah, it does take a generous dose of insanity to be a writer, thank you for asking.

So I’m going to play games on my phone tonight, and then tomorrow…tomorrow I write other characters. Lani and Jax are about to get it on in the Alaskan wilderness or something.

Being able to write full-time and make a good living on it is a dream come true.

But damn, I’m tired.

And happy.

Oh, and the shameless plug part. If you like MM romance with action, with sweet-hurty angst, with suspense, and with two men who are balls deep in PTSD–and sometimes Darius in Gray–you should check out the Auctioned series. Auctioned, book 1, is on sale until tomorrow. Stranded, the second book, was released this week and is also on sale until tomorrow.

Classic black and white fine art portrait of a handsome tough gu

Until next time,

Cara

 

I’m doing it!

I’m blogging again! Possibly because a reader in my Facebook group was kind enough to point out, “shouldn’t you be blogging?” To which my smooth response was, “Oh shit.”

And then Eliza, the ever present PA/babysitter/manager, told me I should too.

So here I am. And today, she is more than a PA/babysitter/manager. She’s also a bartender. We’ll be celebrating my release of Power Play in my Facebook group, and she’s got book-themed drink recipes to share! I don’t know about you guys, but I’ll be sipping on a Slapshot and Needy-Wanty tonight.

Some wicked cool authors will also stop by for giveaways and games, so you better show up. Here’s a link to the group and you’re hereby required to come.

Check out this lineup!

So yeah, Power Play came out today! Hashtag Daddykink, gay romance, hot older tattoo artist, and younger cheeky hockey player. 🙂 Hashtag like a pro.

Have a blurb on the house.

I was my own worst enemy. For as much as I depended on order and a structured life to easier manage my bipolar disorder, fire was irresistible and indisputably my favorite toy to play with. On the ice, it turned me into a hotheaded hockey player. In the bedroom, my attitude was my last defense, a front I wanted to see tumbling down. But lately, all I got was burned.

Love sucked. Correction: it sucked when you were in love with your parents’ closest friend and he didn’t feel the same. I admitted my feelings for Madigan Monroe over a year ago, and I was still waiting for a response. Now my balance was gone. My anxiety was all over the place, my fits of rage had just earned me a suspension from the team, I questioned myself at every turn, and being home for two weeks was gonna make it impossible to avoid Madigan.

I used to be his Abel, his sweetheart, his trouble. It’d been the two of us against the world since I was a kid. I’d even discovered we had kink in common! On paper, I was seemingly perfect for him. Maybe that was why his nonverbal rejection hurt so much. Or maybe it was because, recently, he seemed hell-bent on us “being friends” again.

Whatever. I was a loser, and I couldn’t resist him for crap.

I’ll see you tonight, right? RIGHT? I mean, if you wanna. There’s gonna be free books and shit.

Until next time!

I was told to do this

“You gotta be more active on social media,” she said. “It’ll be fun,” she said.

“Update your blog more often,” she said. “It’ll be fun,” she said.

Are you having fun yet?

Eliza is a PA in a managerwolf clothing. (It’s a word!) She’s bossy. And it’s kind of hard to bitch at her when she’s right, although I do try. I feel like it’s my job, you know? (Let’s pretend for a minute I didn’t give her free rein to push me to be “better.”) Thing is, I enjoy interacting with my readers and online friends; more than that, I enjoy getting to know them better. But being…who I am, I fidget for a century before blurting out the most ridiculous crap, so when I go online to be social, don’t expect anything brainy because I’m talking out of my ass.

So far this year, I’ve tweeted about cloning myself so I can enslave my other me. I’ve posted a lot of pictures of drinks with cherries, and I said I’d like to be a test bunny for Lelo vibrators when I grow up. Which is true.

Now I’m gonna blog too. Yay.

For the record, this chick, Eliza, hurricaned into the romance industry a year ago, and I think she knows more about it than me now. I’ve just been chilling here for five years, but whatevs. Annoying little bug. She’s all about sales and plans and marketing and financial structure, and I’ll be here like, “But did you see the meme I sent you.”

Anyway. Let’s blog! Like pretty much all other authors, I’m currently writing. With Power Play being edited by my fantastic, road-trippin’ editor, I’m now back to writing delicious angst. Auctioned will be a five-book series packed with action, trauma, suspense, angry sex, and of course love. If you liked my Aftermath and Outcome, this is the type of book/s for you. Here, have a looksie at the covers!

What else can I blog about?

Oh! Here are three songs from my Auctioned playlist.

Warpath by Tim Halperin

Tear It All Down by Ed Prosek

New Kings by Sleeping Wolf

Link goes to my Spotify list for Auctioned. 🙂

What else…

Or maybe I should wrap it up before I start musing about how many cherries I can fit into my mouth. My guess is a lot.

 

Autism In My Perfect World

I don’t necessarily write autistic characters every now and then to make a statement, or to even raise awareness, though it’s definitely a big bonus. I write autistic characters in some of my books because they’re real.

They walk among us.

😉

Or, we walk among you.

I found out I was autistic in my late twenties. Ironically, I read a book in which a character might as well have been me. It sparked my curiosity, because that guy in that book had the same questions I did. What the freaking frakk is so important about staring into each other’s eyeballs so much? Why did I have to suppress sheer rage just because a goddamn label in the neckline of a shirt rubbed against my skin? Why did sudden noises give me heart palpitations? Why didn’t I react like most others did? And did I really have an unhealthy attachment to my headphones?

When you’re diagnosed later in life, chances are a person has perfected the act of pretending to fit in. While I don’t understand certain social cues or always pick up on them, I can fake them damn well. I learn by shoving memories into a mental catalogue, memories of how others react to specific things, and if I make a wrong move, I probably won’t do it again. Instead I’ll mimic what’s normal. This is one of the reasons many—who found out about Autism later—get the grating question, “But you don’t seem autistic” here and there.

Would it help if I behaved like Rain Man?

I’m not interested in Rain Man. I’m interested in those who can’t guess the number of toothpicks on the floor with a single glance.

Whether it’s a car mechanic in Bakersfield or a three-year-old little girl who doesn’t speak, I write Autism on the spectrum that it exists. Everyday struggles included, some more relatable than others, some more severe than others. I want it real because Autism isn’t all adorable quirks and funny mishaps, though they take place, too… We are pretty fucking cute. But most of all, Autism is personal and can alienate someone in the blink of an eye. All it takes is a neurotypical person’s perfectly normal reaction for an autistic person to feel different. And if that person doesn’t know about Autism, he or she can easily turn that into there’s something wrong with me.

You only have to scratch the surface before you realize how common Autism is. Yet, it’s so easily misunderstood and misrepresented. Other than the fact that Autism is an interesting topic for me, that’s why I write autistic characters on occasion. Because we’re friggin’ everywhere. And this applies to many mental disorders, so when an author has the insight and ability, I think it’s kind of cool they/we give these disorders a voice. If then someone learns something on the way, fucking A.

A little understanding never killed anyone.

Autism in my perfect world of fiction is about normalizing something that’s already common.

That’s all.

Crap. I guess this qualifies as a statement, after all.

Are you sure you’re happy with your novel?

I published a new book the other day. Fist-pumps the air. The idea for this novel came to me seven years ago, title included. This was back when I wrote more fanfiction, so I still have the banner I created. January 27th, 2011. Path of Destruction. Since then, the idea of the rock-star romance has grown and developed in some dark corner of my mind. Names for characters popped up, scenes played out before my eyes, and boom, hey, let’s end the guy’s rock star career with a prison sentence, and hey, let’s research addiction and abuse for the heroine.

I lived and breathed that novel once I really started writing. I questioned myself at every turn, I dreamed about it and woke up with ideas and lines and various crap I just had to include in the book, I—as usual—stopped existing in real life, and I had notes everywhere that I swear some little gnome move around when I’m not looking.

Since I value realism and plausibility as much as I do, research is a big part of my work. It’s something I take pride in. For this particular novel, there was a lot to learn. Lincoln, my main guy, has spent the past ten years in prison, and can you imagine? He missed the internet explosion. He’s new to social media, and he can’t for the life of him understand why people text so fucking much. When he leaves prison, he thinks Walkman is still a thing. He’s overwhelmed and has a short fuse.

Rewind: my first thought, no matter how brief it was, was about reuniting him with the girl he lost when he was arrested. Then I thought, well…hold up, he’s been to prison, and ten years have passed. Let’s find out how he’s actually going to react. Freedom comes before the girl. The world has changed.

Step by step, I brought him out of that facility. Literally, step by step. He’ll register the familiar sounds of the locks and heavy doors, the comfort of the only clothes he’s worn for a decade, and when he’s given some pocket change, he notices the design of the money’s changed.

Research brings a story to life on another level, in my opinion. Whether I’m reading journals from inmates who have spent years and years locked up, or I’m asking my musician husband about Lincoln’s guitar playing, I try to cover everything I can think of. A book is a puzzle. Everything has to fit. Does the way he speak match his education and background, would Jesse and Abel accept Lincoln’s presence quickly or would there be issues, and when the hell can Lincoln and Adeline finally get together?

I’m rambling. I actually have a point to make, believe it or not.

When picking beta readers, the last thing I want is a group of ass-kissers. I want their honesty about everything, and I did get some criticism. Thank fuck. Because if they didn’t catch it, it would fall on the readers to get dissatisfied. So I went back and did some changes; my editor and I went back and forth for weeks, too. Then my proofer had her go, and again, some changes, very minor this time.

Last reading round, I was so fucking happy with Path of Destruction. The puzzle was complete, and I heard enough “This is your best book yet; I’ll never forget it” to make me soar.

Of course, me being me, I suck at promoting myself, so this is hardly a book that will hit any bestseller lists. But, no matter what, I’m very happy with my work. I continue to write what I want to read, and I actually read it yesterday. I recommend it. 😉

To my point. An author can never please everyone. There will probably be readers who completely trash Destruction on Amazon and Goodreads. It happens. Always. Now, it’s close to impossible to offend me, but I can still get my feelings hurt, so I tend to avoid reading reviews. The reviews are for readers, not for writers. My job is done. But yeah, there will be those who don’t like it, and here’s what won’t happen if/when I see someone tearing Path of Destruction to pieces: me venting about it online.

As a writer, I understand the sting. Goddammit, we put so much energy into these books. Someone calling them shit can hurt. Some readers get overly vicious, too. But I promise, turning it into a fight won’t change the reader’s mind. If anything, more will see an author throwing a tantrum because someone didn’t like their book. On social media, we never see every side of the story. We scroll down our feeds and see one side, one bitch fit. And I’ll never understand why.

Are you not happy with your book? If you are, then why let one reader ruin it for you? Did no one ever tell you to not feed the trolls? Or…did the review strike a chord; did the reader have a point? In which case, accept it and improve because your butthurt is showing.

As I write my book, I think some crazy shit

I’m going to focus. Concentrate. Hard. I’m going to write this bitch so good. I see the scene in my head, the one that will end up somewhere in the middle of the book where the hero shoves the heroine up against the wall and growls “I’m done pretending” before kissing her until her panties are ruined. Y’all know that scene. I see it, so I’m going to focus. Concentrate. Hard. I wonder how different the scene would look if I wrote heroin instead of heroine…

Focus!

*puts on headphones and stares at empty document.*

A familiar sight. New chapter. I should upgrade from Office 2003, but I hate change so much that… I just don’t like change. To some, it’s a regular personality trait. To some, it’s autism. It’s been a while since I went on Pinterest to look for Aspie memes…

Fuck, now I lost concentration. I’ll just play Blossom Blast on my phone for ten minutes, and then I’ll be ready to write this bitch. So. Good.

Ten minutes is silly, though. I have five lives; I might as well stick it through until I can’t. I’m no quitter!

*plays Blossom Blast.*

A human interrupts me. “You hungry?”

I glare at him. Can’t he see I’m busy? “I’m working! How many times do I have to tell you that when I’m wearing my headphones, I’m busy–”

He points to my phone. “It doesn’t look like work.”

I suppress a sigh. He wouldn’t understand. Muggle.

“I’m not hungry,” I say, returning to my Blossom Blast game.

I run out of lives and rub my hands together. Then I lose track of time as I write my next masterpiece. Oh it’s going to be so good. My hero’s past is tragic. He doesn’t have any parents. They died because I don’t want to write them. Boring. Now I don’t have to include them. I don’t have to think about them. There won’t be any in-between takes where he goes to visit his folks, no boring phone calls from his mother. It’s really easy to kill off parents in books.

*tilts head.*

I wonder how many orphans there are in fiction. Many. Do other writers kill them off for the same reason? Or just to build up the hero’s tragic past? Ugh. This is not original. Maybe mine will simply be a bitter bastard, not because he lost his folks but because…um. Oy, this is getting complicated.

*kills off parents.*

There. Done.

“How was work, hon?”

“Good, I killed some people.”

I have five lives on Blossom Blast again!

I get to the next level before I’m out of lives. It was a good break. I check the time and wonder where the time went. Shit. Well, I did refill the lives a couple times… A two hour break is perfectly fine, because now I’m ready to write this bitch so good.

Two paragraphs later, I’m hungry like whoa. I’m also stuck, so it’s best to take a break again. I cook dinner and get my fill of human interaction. I do human things, and it gets me thinking on realism. I like that in my books. My characters get hungry. They go to the bathroom. You rarely see that in the fluffier romance novels. Even rarer in BDSM books. They can go out for a Mexican bean fest for dinner and then they hit the lavish playroom for some good ‘ol anal sex and maybe even a fisting. Or a bondage session. And I’m sitting there, wondering if the sub never has to pee.

“What’re you thinking about?”

I snap out of my thoughts. “Um…realism?” I raise a solidarity fist. “Buttsex before burrito.”

He’s looking at me funny. “Right… I’m not sure if you’re asking for anal or if you’re still hungry.”

“I’m full.”

“So you wanna…?”

I forget to answer, already getting back into work mode. I make sure my character goes to the bathroom before he gets on his flight, because really, he’s six foot two and airplane bathrooms were built for…children. I don’t know the PC protocol. Is it okay to say midget? Dwarf? Little person? I’m useless about that. When I’m around people I’m comfortable with, I use the r-word and justify it with a diagnosis. I’m entitled to use the word like some black comedians can’t crack a joke without that other word. You know the one.

Another word many seem to dislike so much in books is cunt. I think it’s about exposure. I used to think it was too crass, or best used as an insult. But I’ve changed my mind after reading smut where it was all cunt, cunt, cunt.

It can be hot when used right.

I snicker. That’s what she said.

I’m such a fucking dork.

Focus!

Right. It’s been a while since I played Blossom Blast…

Then I realize it’s late, so I might as well call it a day. I got little to fuck-all done, but I’ll write this bitch so good tomorrow instead. Grammatically, I know it’s write this bitch so well. I’m not completely r-worded.

I’m asked how work went today.

I answer, “I put on my headphones but forgot to push play. How was yours?”

The next day, I’m unreachable. Everything just clicks, and I write forty pages in no time at all. I don’t understand it sometimes, how motivation and determination work, but I’m thankful it does work on occasion. Otherwise I’d have to get a normal-person job.

Gross.