Writing Sex Scenes.

Well-known authors and those published through traditional publishers, get plenty of exposure. And though I’ve read, and still do read many of those books, I also support indie authors. In fact, I intend to feature several on my blog via guest blogging, interviews, and reviews.

Today, Thomas Bryant, indie author of LONG GONE, answers a few questions about writing sex scenes. You can follow his blog here.

And this is where I post a WARNING TO READERS: IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY DISCUSSIONS ABOUT SEX, STOP READING NOW.

Because that is what Thomas and I are discussing. I mean, the title should have been a tip-off.

You’ve been warned.

1. How do you prepare to write a sex scene?

Thomas: I get out a bottle of wine and make sure I’ve a condom or five. LOL seriously I put myself in the frame of mind of the partners. This will vary, depending on whether it’s married sex or single-sex. Married sex might go something like this: Marge came out in her good robe and when she bent over, I thought ‘hell I can watch Bonanza any time.’ And single-sex might go something like this: There she was, with a saddle and a pair of jumper cables.

Okay, this time I’m really serious. This is the scene that I wanna do as soon as I begin writing for the day because my energy is high and, like sex, I want to take my time. I will expend a lot of energy on this scene as my partners take each other in with all of their five and maybe even six senses.

Dicey: Okay. Honestly, you really had me rolling with the first line.

2. Do you find it easier or harder than writing an action scene?

Thomas: I wouldn’t classify it under easier or harder. I would say it is a lot more time-consuming and more critical than any other scene. More than any other scene, my words have to flow like poetry. And it is most critical that my characters and their surroundings appear absolutely vivid and multidimensional while the tempo in my writing must reflect the rhythm and pace of the scene as well as the characters.

Dicey: I find pacing and vividness very critical too.

3. Is there anything you refuse to write in a sex scene?

Thomas: Yes! I could never write scenes that might be considered kiddie porn or male homosexual sex. I have to be able to put myself in the frame of mind of my characters and that would be impossible to do in these scenarios. Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘well what about lesbian sex?’ And the short answer is, I could write those. I never have, but I know that I could put myself in between those characters. I think most guys have put themselves in that position, in fantasy or reality at some point. I’m sorry, did I say short answer? For some reason, I seem to have belabored my point. And I meant to say in the frame of mind of those characters and not in between them. Must’ve been a Freudian slip.

Dicey: LMAO! Belaboring your point was effective in this instance.

I do have to say that we differ on the male homosexual sex though. I can’t wait to write an upcoming scene of the sort. I love reading these scenes from other authors and this will be a first at writing one for me.

And man…I sure hope the scenes in my novel SHAMEFUL between Joanne (39) and Alex (16) aren’t considered kiddie porn.

Thanks, Thomas!

More indie authors to come.

Read Part II here.

Three 5-Star Reviews For SHAMEFUL.

Wanna know why nothing is going to get me down this week? Because I’ve just noticed THREE 5-star reviews pop up for my novel SHAMEFUL. And there is nothing better for a writer than to have her art appreciated. Of course, I know everyone won’t love it. But today, I’m celebrating three who did. Yay!

Copied from Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars OMG!!, November 28, 2011

This was a very intriguing novel…indeed!!! You meet Joanne, a neglected military housewife, who’s life revolves around her family and making them happy with little or no reciprocity. As you take a deeper look at Joanne, you can see how a woman with no sense of, pediphilia, in her nature, could succumb to such a thing. Joanne is basically a single mother, her husband provides for them financially, but, other than that, an absentee parent/husband. So, I applaud Joanne for holding on to her fidelity and not “stepping out” or divorcing her husband sooner! lol..I feel that this book has the potential to be very controversal, in the sense that some will be offended by some of Joanne’s actions and decision in the novel. Oh yes, there will be a few heated conversations, but I feel, that this is what makes this novel such a great read!

Now, when you meet the other main character, Alex, a 16 year old adolescent, who appears to be wise beyond his years…you do have to remind yourself, that he is just a kid. As their two worlds collide, literally, you are slowly and painfully watching Joanne’s demise, so to say, into the inevitable!!! On one hand, you can see how she gets caught up, but on the other hand…you are yelling at her to remove herself from the situation, not because you don’t think that their feelings could be real..but, because of a little something called…Jail..lol…and the fact that he is still a kid! All I could think and kept saying to myself..”Nah, she’s not going to do that, she seems to understand the consequences, and how absurd that would be, and…Oh no she didn’t!!!” lol!!! I enjoyed this one very much, and look forward to more from this author.

Copied from Amazon:

5.0 out of 5 stars A Bittersweet Taboo, November 21, 2011

This novel is an engaging tale of Joanne, a 39 year old house wife and mother of three who appears to be living the American Dream, but who feels that dream is suffocating the life out of her. Being the wife of a member of the armed forces, she is both financially secure and extremely lonely from being alone for long periods of time. Additionally, the pressures of raising a family, without much help from her husband, take a mental toll on her.

When she meets Alex, a very mature, hardworking, and extremely handsome 16 year old he seems to be heaven sent. He is able to provide a helping hand, which she desperately needs, on everything from yard work to tutoring her children. Although, as time goes on, Joanne realizes that having a man, even an under-aged one, constantly around the house during her husband’s absence is probably not the best idea. Particularly, since her 14 year old daughter has an obvious attraction for him, limiting his interactions would seem to be the best option, but the more she tries to set boundaries the more she finds herself crossing them.

Although MANY can probably relate to the main character in a number of ways, this story is not for those who are easily offended. The sex scenes are explicit, there is strong language used, and there are numerous situations that many would consider inappropriate.

I would strongly suggest this book for those who are looking for a good story with VERY real characters.

Copied from Smashwords:

Review by: Tasha Wilson on Nov. 28, 2011 : star star star star star
“Shameful” is the new “Lolita” in reverse. Joanne is the typical hypocritical American who lives her life in a bubble and judges others through her filters. As a wife and mother of two, life can be so stressful that you are sometimes placed between a rock and a hard place. The frustrations of life push some people into drug addictions, sex addictions, gambling, depression, etc. The author did a great job of laying out Joanne’s frustration and displaying the internal and external battles of life. Joanne succumbs to the battle by having sex with Alex, but in the end she ultimately wins by finding internal peace.

I would recommend this book to someone who is not afraid to face the ugliness of life with an open mind. Child abuse and statutory rape are very serious issues, but it is a reality that cannot be ignored.

Keep reading, folks. Keep reviewing.

Thanks!

 

Fetish Fun Or Extreme?

My character, Sleepy Willow, works at a fetish club where all kinds of interesting things take place. Readers are forewarned about the grit and gruesomeness of featured fetishes because some may find it offensive. But do not be mistaken. It DOES take place. Take this November 17, 2011 KHOU headline, for instance: “Houston man who mutilated girlfriend sentenced to 30 years in prison.”

Well, he mutilated her, so he deserves to be sentenced, right? How about if the mutilated girlfriend testified FOR the defendant? What if she insisted it was just a sex game that went too far? And that she didn’t want him punished for what she CONSENTED to?

Ring any fetishism bells? A sex game where one enjoys being beat and the other enjoys doing the beating? Where humiliation, degradation, and power are turn-ons? Where the lines between pain and pleasure are blurred?

That’s sadomasochism (also commonly referred to as BDSM), ladies and gentleman. Or aggravated assault, according to the jury.

Why aggravated assault? Doesn’t it make a difference if she consented to the abuse? If she begged for him to beat her and burn her and mutilate her? If the pain brought pleasure to her as well?

Not legally in most of the western world, since no one can consent to grave bodily harm. She is still considered a victim and he is a felon.

Well, what constitutes grave bodily harm?

Though usually left to a reasonable person standard in many U.S. courts, I think it’s safe to say the following are universally considered grave bodily harm even to the most liberal of folks: breaking bones of another, inflicting wounds that require sutures, causing injuries that result in disfigurement, and causing prolonged or reoccurring unconsciousness.

According to KHOU: “Prosecutors said Longoria tied his girlfriend to a bed and beat, choked and burned her for more than 15 hours back in February of 2011.”

I’m pretty certain a 15-hour sex game that involves beating, choking, burning, and results in permanent disfigurement would not turn me on in the least. And I’m preeeetty sure most people are going to consider it grave bodily harm no matter how much the submissive enjoyed him or herself.

For those who enjoy being beat or beating those who “consent” to the beatings, how much is too much and therefore, punishable by law? Is it fair for the legal system to step in and decide?

While I am all for freedom in sexual self-expression, I am glad the court intervened and imposed this sentence. In THIS particular case. Why? Because after following some of the testimony, I wasn’t really convinced she actually consented.

Where I Got The Idea For Such A Taboo Subject.

“Dicey, you seem like such a sweet, smart, sane woman. Where in the world did you get the idea to write about a thirty-nine-year-old married mother of three having an affair with a sixteen-year-old boy?”

Good question. I have every intention of answering, but you know I like to do lengthy intros first. So…

First off, thanks! I am a little sweet and smart, but I’m insane in the membrane. And I’m not the only one because the idea for my novel SHAMEFUL derived from a discussion with a close friend, who thought it would be an interesting topic as well. Plus, sales of my book have been going quite well. So, that tells me others are interested in reading something different. Even if it is taboo.

Secondly, thanks for actually asking me about it. Normally, when I tell folks about the book, they start counting how many kids I have. I have TWO. I look nothing like the woman on the cover. I have never cheated on my husband. I was thirty-four when I first started writing the story, and I’m only thirty-seven now. No, the book is not a memoir. It’s not an autobiography. It is NOT about me or my family. Got it?

Now…

How did my friend and I get on the topic?

We had just finished reading…

(drum roll, please)

The TWILIGHT series.

You read right.

We read all four books. In a little over a week.

I am a vampire fanatic who fell in love with Jacob’s character. 1. He’s a huge dude, well over six feet. 2. He’s at least 110 degrees hot, which I prefer over Edward’s ice coldness. 3. He’s sweet and devoted to Bella, who’s constantly getting his feelings trampled on. 4. He has a Native American-tanned complexion and long hair…until he cuts it. 5. He can turn into a killing machine and kick some ass.

My homegirl and I were squealing over his character like all the rest of the Twihard teenage girly fans. And it seemed weird. I mean Jacob’s a teenager in the books. It didn’t seem right to love his character so much. At least we could watch the movies without feeling pervy. Because Taylor Lautner didn’t quite look like the Jacob we imagined.

Then he packed on thirty pounds of muscle.

Hello.

Our convos got reeeeally interesting then. And I saw bunches of forums with grown-ass women discussing Jacob/Lautner too. Most had completely overlooked his age, which was seventeen at the time. Others wrote about all the “interesting” things they’d do to ol’ Lautner after he turned eighteen. Not that it mattered, because none would EVER have a shot with him, but I looked up the age of consent laws and learned he was legal in most states.

Hmmm.

My story had been born. BUT that wasn’t good enough. And older woman having a younger lover has been done a million times in a million different ways. I deliberately dropped his age to sixteen so that I could address all the issues that would arise if those middle-aged women from the forums actually did get their hands on an underage Lautner…or Jacob…or my character Alex.

I can’t believe I just revealed that secret.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

First Two Chapters Of SHAMEFUL.

I’ve been reluctant to post an excerpt from my novel SHAMEFUL due to its subject matter…until now. So beware! Nothing has changed. It’s still about a thirty-nine-year-old married mother of three having an affair with a sixteen-year-old boy. Her fourteen-year-old daughter is still smitten by him. It’s still taboo fiction. It’s still raunchy. And it still falls within what the law deems as statutory rape (in most U.S. states). It’s also available on Kindle, Nook, iTunes, Smashwords, and paperback for readers who dare.

If you’ve read my novel Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul: The Narcoleptic Vampire Series, you’re going to think this excerpt is tame (hopefully, not lame). I’ll admit my vampire novel is rigidity-raw, but you may find it less offensive because all the raunchiness and foul language occurs between “adults”. Hence, the big difference with SHAMEFUL.

If you haven’t read my vampire novel, but you’re eagerly anticipating the low-down and dirty bits in SHAMEFUL, you won’t find any in the first two chapters. I mean, c’mon–she can’t just jump in bed with him right away. Right? There is a progression, or regression (depending on how you look at it) that occurs within the story. In this excerpt, you’ll get familiar with Joanne. You’ll discover how she and Shimmer accidentally meet Alex. And you’ll get to test out my writing style.

So…

IF YOU FIND THE SYNOPSIS OFFENSIVE, STOP READING NOW.

You have been warned.

Chapter 1: “The American Nightmare.”

“Mom!” someone shouted from a distance…and I was NOT pleased.

I’d been having a good dream, dammit. The kind I didn’t want to awake from. I’d been in a bluebonnet meadow on a beautiful spring day, and I’d felt free, complete, and happy.

“Mom! Get up! Grandma said breakfast is ready!” the shouting continued, closer now.

I squeezed my eyes tight and lay thinking about springtime, freedom, and happiness.

“Mom! GET UP!” This time there was banging on the door too.

Jerking upright in the brightly sunlit bedroom, I looked at my reflection in the dresser mirror straight ahead. Matted hair formed mini-tornadoes atop my head and my gown, comforter, and sheet were soaked with sweat.

“Goddamn, Texas weather,” I muttered. It had been chilly when I’d gone to bed.

“Mom! You coming?” my nine-year-old son, CJ, asked through the bedroom door.

“Yeah, baby. I’ll be out in a sec,” I replied half-heartedly then plopped back down on the soggy pillow, throwing the wet comforter over my face.

I wasn’t free at all. In fact, I was married with three kids.

No doubt, my mother-in-law Julie was responsible for sending him to get me. And she knew I needed rest. Hell, she’d suggested the kids and I visited this weekend so they could spend time with their grandparents…and I could rest.

Peeping at the nightstand clock, I saw that it was only ten o’clock. Not even late.

“Mom! You coming? Grandma’s waiting on you.” Julie had sent my fourteen-year-old daughter this time.

“Yeah, Shimmer. I said I’ll be there in a sec. Y’all go ahead. Start breakfast without me.”

Being a single mom while their father was deployed to Kuwait was taking a toll on my psyche. I needed a moment to breathe, to hear my own thoughts. And I needed it before I became another crazy bitch like Andrea Yates.

Well, too late to rest now.

Pulling the comforter from my face, I glanced at the high school picture of Chad hanging on the wall and sighed. He was as handsome at forty-one as he’d been as my high school sweetheart. With sandy blond hair, which he wore buzz-cut now, and blue eyes, he looked just like his mom. As Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force, he was bossy like her too. Like mother, like son.

Truthfully, I hadn’t been close to Julie since she’d begged him not to marry me. She’d said I was pretty and all, but not good enough for him. That he could take the girl out of the trailer park, not the trailer park out of the girl.

I’d rather be trailer trash than bourgeois trash like her.

Ignoring Julie, Chad and I got married right after he finished undergrad. The ink was barely dry on the marriage license before my mother began pressuring me to have kids right away. We didn’t have Shimmer until four years later because we’d been too busy traveling and enjoying each other.

Ahhhh. Those were the days.

Now I was pathetically hiding from reality, perspiring under a comforter. Wishing I was still in my fantasy world.

Throwing the linen back, I headed for the shower before melancholy really set in. Being in Chad’s old room made me feel more lonely instead of feeling closer to him because I missed him so much.

It had been three months this time. And though we talked on the phone daily, it wasn’t the same as having him home. Absence did not make my heart grow fonder. I needed him here.

Knowing how much he loved his job, I didn’t press the issue. I had known he’d always wanted to serve our country and I’d agreed to support that endeavor. But moving around the world with him every few years took its toll. Our kids needed stability. Plus their grandparents complained about not seeing them enough. So we bought a house in Houston, which was as close to San Antonio—to his mother—as I could get without the constant urge to jump off a cliff.

Chad’s current rank created a comfortable life for us. One I used to be content with. Now I was just counting down the days to his retirement, which he promised would come after he made 0-6 Colonel. I held on to that hope even though I was skeptical he’d actually give up being an officer. After all, he was married more to his job than to me.

As water slid down my body, I stood still, dwelling on how much I missed my husband. By the time my shoulders shook uncontrollably, the water on my face wasn’t only from the shower. My tears ran down the drain as well.

Why did I feel so trapped? Why didn’t I feel complete like the woman in my dream?

Looking down at my body certainly did not improve my mood. I grimaced at the visible changes it had underwent to bring three lives into the world.

When Chad had suggested plastic surgery, particularly a tummy tuck and breast implants, I wasn’t thrilled. Buuuut I was motivated to prove Julie wrong about me not being good enough. So maybe I should look in to it, especially liposuction.

As if on cue, my stomach growled. Hopefully, there was some breakfast left.

After spending two seconds deciding what to wear, I swiveled to inspect myself in a floor-length mirror. With jeans, a sweater and no makeup, I was comfortable and less than casual, but cute. I could only get away with this while Chad was gone. Didn’t matter if I was going to the store for gum, he’d expect me to look stunning. “Image is everything,” he’d say.

Everyone was still at the table, done eating when I got to the kitchen. Shimmer and CJ were laughing and comparing cartoon characters. My six-month-old daughter, Miracle, was sitting in a highchair with scrambled eggs and pancake in her head and all over her onesie.

Studying all three made me feel invisible since they had Chad’s blond hair and electric blues. I’d look like the nanny if I didn’t dye my hair. Not even my naturally dark hair or brown eyes held any significance. Like my sole purpose in life was breeding and caring for everyone else.

Forcing myself back to the present, I looked over at Chad’s dad, Stan, sitting at the table reading the Sunday newspaper. Thankfully, he was a quiet, to-himself sort of man—never meddling, always smiling. Give him a cigar and he was happy. Despite my disdain for Julie, I admired their relationship. Since my parents divorced when I was young, the Coopers represented what I wanted in my marriage. Surely, ours stood a chance since Chad’s parents were happily married over forty years, right?

That’s what I told myself anyway.

CJ was talking with his mouth full. Shimmer was laughing hysterically. And Julie was loading the dishwasher.

“Good morning, everyone,” I said with a sardonic grin…fooling no one.

They continued on without acknowledging me. Good—didn’t want to be bothered anyway. After grabbing a plate of diet-friendly food (wheat toast, hard-boiled egg, turkey-bacon, and fat-free yogurt), I sat on the chair opposite Stan and glared at them all.

When we finally left my in-laws in the early afternoon, I wasn’t disappointed—especially since I hadn’t gotten much rest. I only regretted not leaving my children behind for a month…or two.

While pumping fuel at a gas station, I noticed a convertible sky blue Maserati GranCabrio drive to the other side of the pump. Other patrons turned in its direction too. You couldn’t miss a car that screamed money and excess, power and success, speed and freedom.

My mind immediately drifted to another realm, one with a hot pink Maserati and me behind the wheel speeding towards Vegas—

“Hey! Is that you, Joanne?” said a high-pitched interruption.

When I looked to see who’d spoken, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It was the now-stunning Sarah-Sue, my high school classmate…the notorious school slut turned hot Austin stripper.

I had always thought she’d end up in an alley strung out on drugs. But last I heard, she was doing well. Judging by the fact she was the one driving the Maserati, I assumed the rumors were true and my prediction had been wrong.

“Hey, Sarah-Sue,” I said begrudgingly. Had to get away before we got to the part where we exchanged life stories.

“It’s been ages, hasn’t it? It’s so good to see you,” she said as she walked over and hugged my neck. She seemed genuinely excited to see me—probably wanted to rub in how well she was doing. “I was visiting my mother this weekend. Guess you were doing the same, huh?” she continued.

I hugged her back because it was the right thing to do, but hurriedly shut down the pump and closed my tank. Sure hoped my SUV was full enough.

“It’s good to see you, too, Sarah-Sue,” I lied, feigning a smile. I didn’t tell her my mother was out-of-town and I’d been visiting my in-laws.

Looking through my SUV window, she asked Chad’s whereabouts and my kids’ ages.

Reluctantly, I answered both. “I love your car,” I added partly because it was true and partly because I wanted to shift the conversation to her life. It was clearly more glamorous than mine.

“Thanks. You still live in Houston?”

Damn. It didn’t work. She was still probing and she must’ve heard rumors about us too.

“Yep. We bought a home there,” I said.

“Really? I love Houston. My boyfriend bought a house there, but we rent it out mostly. We split our time between the house in Austin and one in Italy. I told him he might as well sell it since…” My mind wandered while she yapped.

I remembered hearing that Sarah-Sue had a sugar daddy, someone she’d met at a strip club when she danced in Austin. Neither of them had wanted marriage or children, and it must’ve worked out because she looked amazingly happy in her leopard-print pumps with matching shawl and black spandex bodysuit. Her strawberry blond hair was partially covered by a black scarf and her green eyes were covered with Dolce & Gabbana yellow-tinted shades. Her A-cups had magically morphed in to surgically-constructed Dolly Pardon boobs and her monstrous pimples had disappeared from her smooth creamy white skin. Time had been good to her.

And she made a good case for going under the knife.

“So will you come?” she asked, smiling brightly.

I’d just realized she had asked a question. “Uh…I’ll have to see. I don’t get out much…you know…with my three kids and all,” I emphasized by pointing to my vehicle.

“Well, think about it and call me. My number’s still the same. Like I said, my handmade jewelry is to die for. You’ll love the show.”

“Okay.” I had no idea what she was talking about and didn’t care. We lived in different worlds and there was no need of commingling them. I didn’t tell her I never had her number.

She squeezed my hand farewell then walked towards the store entrance.

Driving off, I remembered how Sarah-Sue had screwed lots of boys in school and I hadn’t, yet she was the one living the dream. She epitomized beauty and freedom and happiness.

Things had changed for me once we added bodies and responsibilities to our household. Sarah-Sue was still doing whatever she wanted, whenever…and I was resentful of that. Never thought I’d envy her life. I’d pursued marriage, kids, and domesticity while she’d pursued sex, money, and drugs. We had both gotten what we wanted.

She looked pleased with her decision.

To drown out my thoughts, I turned up the radio. Didn’t want to spend the next few hours comparing myself to Sarah-Sue or dwelling on how much my life sucked. I just wished something, anything, would change.

Whoever said “be careful what you wish for” hadn’t lied. I had no idea change was coming so quickly.

Chapter 2: “Accidents Happen For A Reason.”

We’d finally arrived in Houston after riding two and a half hours with the windows down, enjoying the comfortable seventy-five-degree March day. By June, the heat and humidity would be ghastly. But of all the places we’d lived, I liked Houston’s weather best…even with the hotter-than-hell summers.

Beep! Beeeeep!

Glancing in my rearview mirror at the truck behind me, I realized I had no idea how long I’d been sitting at the light, lost in my head. After a quick, apologetic wave, I accelerated with a sudden jerk.

Suddenly, Shimmer’s eyes opened. She wiped drool from her mouth and sat upright.

“Are we there yet?” she asked. Miracle and CJ still slept.

“No, sweetie…almost.”

After exiting onto a feeder road, I began rubbing my aching shoulders. Then I glanced at my reflection in the rearview mirror and saw more defined crow’s feet and forehead wrinkles. Today had been my scheduled Sunday at Pampered Dolls Spa & Salon and I’d missed it. Managing stress was an important part of child-rearing. I worked hard at making my body fit Chad’s image but regular spa/salon treatments were what I did for myself. To maintain my sanity.

This was the last time I’d visit my in-laws on the weekend of my scheduled massage. I had gone to San Antonio to rest, not to be stressed.

“Ew!” Shimmer shrieked as she crinkled her nose and swiveled her head from the backseat. I turned just in time to see vomit spewing from CJ’s mouth onto himself, the tan leather seats, and the floor.

“Oh, no!” I said. Ew was right.

Using napkins from my glove compartment, I dabbed the creamy residue from CJ’s chin. I was disgusted. And upset. I’d told Julie not to give CJ ice cream. Of course, she hadn’t listened. “Only a few spoonfuls,” she’d said.

With my head turned one second too long, my vehicle stopped abruptly, jerking us forward as the force of our bumper collided with the bumper ahead. Exhaling deeply, I closed my eyes. There was no telling what I had hit. Hopefully, no one was hurt.

Opening my eyes, I glared at the small faded gray car. To separate the bumpers, I reversed my SUV then asked Shimmer to clean CJ. While grumbling under my breath, I grabbed my insurance card and license from my purse and got out.

A male was already approaching. Greeting me with his warm smile as opposed to the grimace I’d expected.

“Hey. Is everyone okay?” he asked, stopping in front of me.

He had perfect white teeth and either deeply tanned or naturally dark skin. He was partially hidden underneath a hooded sweatshirt, insulating him from the whirling wind. Not enough to hide his dimpled chin or youthfulness though. He looked close to Shimmer’s age.

Great. I’d hit a kid. Who had to be at least sixteen since he was driving, unless he was doing so illegally.

“We’re fine. Are you okay?” I said sheepishly. “I’m so sorry. I can’t believe I did that. My son got sick and I turned around to help him when I should’ve been facing forward. I’m so sorry. I’ll get your car fixed. Here’s my insurance card. It’s valid. And here’s my license so you’ll know I’m who I say I am,” I rambled as I handed both to him. “Let me see how bad it is.”

I stood between our vehicles, surveying the damage. I’d knocked a deep dent in his rusty bumper, but my Mercedes GL 450 wasn’t even scratched.

He stood next to me, hands in his pockets. “Is your son all right? Tend to him. It’s an old car anyway. No biggie.”

No biggie?! I was stunned. Was he serious? Not only was he not reaming me for running into him, but he was more concerned about my son. In fact, he wasn’t even inspecting the damage. He was facing my SUV, presumably to see CJ through the windshield.

Shimmer still looked as distasteful as she had when she’d first discovered CJ’s accident. Well, I couldn’t deal with that right now. I had to deal with my own accident. Returning my attention to his Mitsubishi Galant bumper, I agreed it looked old…and now banged up, thanks to me.

“Hey, it was my fault. I’ll fix it.” At least it wasn’t bad enough to call the police. Nervously glancing in his direction, I wondered if he’d already made the call.

He was still facing my SUV, slowly walking towards it. I followed his gaze.

“Your son’s throwing up,” he said.

Before I could respond, he’d climbed in the backseat and leaned CJ towards the opened door. It worked to make CJ’s next projection land on the street and partly on the hooded stranger’s clothes. Luckily, he didn’t seem to notice or mind. Now, I needed to get my SUV detailed, fix this boy’s car, and get his clothes cleaned.

Hair on back of my neck stood when Miracle first squealed, “Whaaaaaaa!!!”

Nice. Just what I needed.

“I’m so sorry,” I said to the stranger. Tripping over my flip-flop, I ran to the other side of my vehicle to get her. “Miracle, I’m coming, sweetie.”

Shimmer rushed towards Miracle too, but I got there first so she went back to cleaning up. She was helpful sometimes, which was good. Hopefully, my mothering experiences would deter her from starting a family too early. Last thing I wanted was for her to have crumb-snatchers in tow before she was ready.

While I soothed Miracle, the stranger disappeared and reappeared with a Wendy’s cup and a white t-shirt. Scooping ice from the cup, he put it in the t-shirt. Then balled it up and gently placed it on CJ’s head.

“This should make you feel a little better,” he said.

Good, level-headed thinking. It was warm out, even with the wind blowing.

“Thanks for your help. I’m really sorry I hit your car. I’m Joanne, by the way. What’s your name?” I called to him.

“Alex.”

“Short for Alexander?”

“No, Ma’am. It’s short for Alexis. It means ‘helper, protector, defender of men’.”

So the boy had manners…and some sense.

“Call me Joanne. You’ll make me feel old, otherwise,” I responded.

“You are old, Mom,” Shimmer snickered.

“Okay, Joanne, then. And what’s your name little buddy?” Alex asked CJ, whose eyes were closed while he enjoyed the attention.

“His name’s CJ. Well, Chad Julius, named after my husband…but we call him CJ. And this is Shimmer and Miracle,” I said, pointing to each.

Alex flashed his beautiful smile. “Everyone looks tired. Did y’all have a long day?”

“We just got back from San Antonio,” Shimmer replied, overenthusiastically. Oh, boy.

“What’s in San Antonio?”

“My grandparents live there. We were there for the weekend. By the way, isn’t ‘Alexis’ a girl’s name?” She’d completely stopped cleaning to fully engage Alex in conversation.

“It’s actually unisex, but I go by ‘Alex’ to avoid confusion.”

“I don’t think anyone’s gonna confuse you for a girl, Alex,” she teased.

Or was she flirting?

No telling how long we’d been here, but it was definitely time to go.

When Miracle calmed, I handed her to Shimmer to strap in the car seat then walked around to face Alex and wind down our business.

“Is that better?” he asked. CJ nodded.

“I’d be happy to cover your dry-cleaning bill also,” I said while ransacking my purse until I found my wallet. “Would you rather I gave you cash? I don’t know how much would make this right, but maybe you’ll take five hundred dollars?” I counted my bills.

“I have about half on me, but I can go to the ATM and get the rest.” I handed him the money. When Alex didn’t move to accept it, I nervously asked, “Did you already call the cops?” Nobody likes points on their license.

He shook his head. “No. Of course, not. I told you it was no biggie. Keep your money.” The left side of his mouth curled and his forehead creased as if he was insulted. After securing CJ with a seatbelt, he wiped some of the nearly-dried puke from his sweatshirt. “And this is my workout shirt, so it doesn’t need dry-cleaning. I’m just glad everyone is okay,” he said.

I looked at him incredulously. At least he should take the money for being inconvenienced. “Alex, you’re being incredibly good about this. I feel awful. Take the money. It will make me feel better. I know I ruined your afternoon.”

“No, actually this was the highlight of my day,” he said with a humorous twinkle and a smile that revealed a dimpled cheek. I hated to admit it, but this had been the highlight of my day also…unless my meadow dream counted.

Fine—I wouldn’t press the issue. I put the money back in my wallet, but wasn’t driving away from the scene without making sure he could contact me if he changed his mind. I scribbled my name and number on the back of a receipt.

He’d already started walking back to his car when he said, “It was nice meeting y’all. I hope you feel better soon, CJ.”

“Please take this in case you change your mind. You’ll need to be able to get hold of me.” Walking towards him, I handed him the receipt. Which he took hesitantly and looked at me. When our eyes met for the first time, I discovered his were beautiful: intensely deep brown, guarded by thick black, arched eyebrows and high cheekbones. “How old are you, Alex?” I asked.

“Sixteen.”

It was as I thought. “That’s my contact information if you decide later that I’m rotten scum who should pay for what I did to your car.”

He shook his head like I was absurd.

Miracle squealed again.

And just like that, it was time to go back to the sanctity of my dull, boring life. “Well, thanks for your help. Sorry I hit you. Take care.”

“You too, Joanne.” He waved quickly towards Shimmer before getting in his car.

I headed back to my vehicle, where Shimmer was waving rapidly, grinning like a buffoon. Before I could drive off, she said, “He was HOT!”

“Really?” I kept my eyes on the road.

“Oh, yeah. Mom, didn’t you see him?”

“I don’t notice things like that,” I lied.

“That’s right. You’re old,” she teased. “Too bad you don’t notice things like that because Alex was H-O-T!”

Oh, I noticed all right. “You couldn’t see much of him. He had a hood on.”

“I know, right? Imagine how gorgeous he’d be if he dressed up?”

I chuckled. She had a point. Alex was cute and sweet…not the worst boy to get her attention. But noticing was all she’d better do right now. I’d lock her in her room until she turned thirty if I had to.

She sank deeper into the seat, smirking. I rolled my eyes since I had a clue what she was thinking about.

As if my driving wasn’t bad enough, I pulled out my cell phone to tell Chad what had happened. After we discussed the accident and Alex’s helpfulness and forgiving attitude, we chatted about the visit to his parents’ house. Then we talked about Chad’s work project. By the time our conversation tapered, I’d pulled into the garage.

After promising to be more careful while driving and to call when the kids were ready for bed, I hung up.

That was our way of staying connected while he was away. We would crowd around the speakerphone and sing songs or read stories at bedtime every night. The kids still looked forward to these times. I’d started wanting nothing less than the real thing.

After eating, bathing, and reading with Chad, it was close to ten thirty. Miracle had already fallen asleep during story time so transferring her to the crib was easy. I tucked CJ in, who said he felt better and apologized for throwing up. Rubbing his head, I assured him all was forgiven. Accidents happen. Which reminded me of how helpful Alex had been when I’d had mine. Hopefully, when Shimmer started dating—after she was thirty-five—she would find someone like him.

After knocking on Shimmer’s door, I peeked in. She was writing in her journal, as she did every night before bed.

“What’cha writing about? Alex?” I joked, knowing it was true.

“You know I can’t tell you what’s in my journal.” She melodramatically closed the hard-bound book and smiled.

“Okay. Go to bed soon. You have school in the morning,” I said, closing her door.

I wasn’t worried about anything she wrote because I knew where she hid it and invaded her privacy by reading it from time-to-time. Eavesdropping on her personal thoughts, helped me know her better…how to relate and communicate with her. I could never let her know I spied though because I’d lose access to her innermost thoughts AND she’d be pissed.

Downstairs, I double-checked that the doors were locked and enabled the alarm. After making tea, I tiptoed back to my room, feeling grateful all four bedrooms were upstairs. I felt more secure with my kids down the hall.

After showering, I stretched across my bed with a book. Finally able to relax.

“Oh shit!” I said aloud.

Wasn’t sure what made me think of it, but I’d just realized I’d forgotten my license and insurance card. I remembered giving them to Alex as soon as I got out, but couldn’t recall getting them back. Sitting up, I thought harder about it. Nope. Never got them back.

Unfortunately, I’d given him my contact information, but had never gotten his. There was no reason to at the time. Never even got his last name. So I couldn’t look him up in the phone book or internet either. I slapped my forehead. Idiot! I wasn’t concerned about my insurance card; I had several copies. Getting another license made would take hours of waiting in line at the DMV though. Hopefully, Alex would notice he still had them and call me.

Hopefully.

I lay back down, no longer wanting my tea or book. Closing my eyes, I searched my most recent memories of desirable men until I found one to daydream about. Then I focused hard on Hugh Jackman’s chiseled chest until my daydream became a real dream and I was sound asleep.

An Interview With Dicey.

EDITED ON NOVEMBER 28, 2011 (see below)

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This is an interview I did for ILoveVampireNovels.com in preparation for the release of their first anthology. I was thrilled to have the first five chapters of my debut novel Sleepy Willow’s Bonded Soul: The Narcoleptic Vampire series featured in their book, but I have yet to see this interview posted to their website, an author page, links to my book, or “tons of ‘Viral’ promotion opportunities so your new fans can help spread the word about your books!” as listed on their FOR AUTHORS page. Since it was completed over two months ago, I’m beginning to think it has fallen through the cracks and they have moved on to other things.

Nevertheless, I took the time to do it. So, I will make sure my fans have an opportunity to read it. Keep in mind it was submitted September 13, 2011, so some of the information is outdated now. 😦

1. When did you decide to become a writer?

In the middle of my eighth grade year when I was fifteen-years-old, my family and I moved to another city. It wasn’t that far away from our old place, but far enough that I had to change schools, neighbors, and friends. Well, not all my friends. Especially not Pam. We kept in touch. But this was pre-internet days so I spent a lot of time writing long—I mean, loooong—letters to her. It was my escape, my refuge, my way of remaining connected to someone safe…someone strong. In fact, I made it through my years of teenage angst due to writing those letters to Pam. From there I wrote songs and poems, but never shared them with anyone because it was just my way of coping. It was the foundation for me wanting to become a writer. Now that I’m an adult, I still purge my aggressions out on paper. Writing what I think and feel is my preferred outlet. Some people sing. Some dance. Some cry. Some take pills. I write.

2. How long have you been writing?

I wrote as a means of dealing with my emotions when I was a teenager. Then, I wrote academic papers throughout school. Next, I wrote on blogs, submitted essays for contests, and free-lanced small jobs. Within the last three years, I’ve devoted a significant amount of time to writing fiction books.

3. What types of books are you reading?

Paranormal romance. It’s an addiction. I don’t favor books that are just romance or just paranormal. I LOVE when there is a mixture of both. And I especially love it when there is a series. I will read every single one of them, one right after the other.

4. What was your favorite part of writing your book? The hardest part?

My favorite part of writing SLEEPY WILLOW’S BONDED SOUL is when my characters took over. I mean that, really. I was happily writing according to my outlined plot and characterizations, when suddenly my characters decided to do something different than what I’d planned. It happened a couple of times. In re-reading my story, those surprises were the best parts of the book.

The hardest part of writing my book was getting over what my parents, my pastors, and my super-religious-holier-than-thou friends would think of my graphic sex scenes and foul language. When I realized it shouldn’t matter what they think because this is what I like to read and write, it was a breeze. I’m sure to give people a warning message before they say they want to read my book though. Beware!

5. Tell us what it’s about.

Instead of regurgitating the synopsis, which can be found on my website (diceygrenorbooks.com), I will say, SLEEPY WILLOW’S BONDED SOUL is about Willow, a vampire who has narcolepsy and works at a fetish club where she specializes in necrophilia. She’s attracted to Remi, one of her fans who happens to have a personality disorder. Max, Willow’s maistre vampire, doesn’t play that Remi shit. And while Willow’s working through her relationship drama, VET, the vampire extermination agency, is after her ass. And they aren’t the only ones.

The book has lots of twists and turns, lots of supernatural beings and elements, and lots of suspense and action.

Visit my website, click on Books, and view the official synopsis.

6. What are you working on now?

Besides marketing/promoting SLEEPY WILLOW’S BONED SOUL, which will be released on Oct. 1, 2011 as an ebook and Dec. 1, 2011 on paperback? I’m writing the sequel. I’m also gearing up for the release of my other novel, SHAMEFUL, on Nov. 1, 2011.

7. What is your favorite part of being an author?

Telling the story in my head and having it appreciated.

8. What do you do in your free time?

You mean after my one-year-old son and four-year-old daughter are asleep? I read, write, and watch movies. I am a movie/book fanatic.

9. If you could give a piece of advice to your readers on anything,
what would it be?

Read my book if you are not easily offended. If you don’t like to read about sex, violence, or blood, share my book with someone you know who does. And you know of someone. If you read it and love it, tell the world!

10. If you could give advice to new writers, what would it be?

Finish your damn book. Edit the hell out of it. Edit it again. And then again. Keep at it until it is your absolute best work.

Interview Questions From Fans:

From Barbara Irving: if you could be any fictional character who would
you pick and why?

Bella. No, not from “Twilight”. From “Lover Awakened” by J.R. Ward. Why? Because Bella’s strong. Just look at what she had to go through, yet she survived. And she didn’t let those bad experiences dictate who she would become. When it was time to do some killing, she could do that too. She’s beautiful and confident and totally devoted to Zsadist who in turn, is totally devoted to her. As screwed up as Z is, she’s able to see past it to the loving man he is underneath. But she doesn’t take any mess from him or from her brother Rhev. She doesn’t let anyone force an agenda on her. She fights back and goes after what she wants. And she knows what she wants.

From Carrie Humphrey: When sitting down to write a novel, whether it be a vampire one or something different, what’s the first step you take?
Outline? Blurb out ideas? Just write and see where it takes you?

I spend a few weeks letting the ideas simmer around in my brain until they begin to swirl and boil over until I can take it no more. If I don’t sit down and write it down, I will forget something good. So I start writing, putting the ideas in to an outline. After I work on the outline a few weeks, I start putting the book together. Most of the time I begin writing the book by copying and pasting already written scenes from my outline. Once I’m in the story deep, the outline is just a guideline. The characters take over.

From Sarah Lynne Brenzott: How much Vampire reading had you done before you began as an author? Do you think the vampires that you got to know in literature aided you as developed both your plots and characters in your own writing?

I read series after series of vampire books before writing my own, so I’d be a lying ass if I said none of those stories aided in the development of my plots and characters. I’ve incorporated everything I loved about other vampire stories in to my own books and avoided the things I hated.

I love how Rice’s books are mostly told in first person and how the vampires are very sensual. Hamilton is queen at “revamping” her protagonist in order to keep the vampire hunter series going through twenty books. Ward’s alpha warriors are the sexiest bad boys ever and her fast-paced story-telling is amazing. I love that Harris introduces several supernatural elements and has a variety of species. I’m in awe of Kenyon’s historical tie-ins and I’m warmed by her emphasis on ever-lasting love. I love Meyer’s werewolf descriptions and the suspense she surprisingly maintains throughout her meaty-sized books.

So,  yes. This is where a lot of my inspiration comes from. But my book is uniquely me.

Rose E. Barrett: With all the “Vampire legends” and whatnot already out
there(i.e wooden stake, burn in the sun, immortal) how do you keep your characters original?

I give my characters new and improved weaknesses and strengths. There are some of the things we’ve come to expect about vampires, but how many have you read with narcolepsy? That’s just one example.

Debbie Wright: Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Keep writing until you finish the book. I can’t begin to tell you of all the people I talk to that say they want to write a book but don’t know where to start or that they’ve started but stopped before they finished. That’s no good. If you haven’t started, start. If you haven’t finished, finish. Nothing to it but to do it.

If they happen to post this interview to their site along with the aforementioned promotions, I will update this blog to reflect those links.

To read another interview with Dicey, go to CJ Johnson’s blog.

#HardOutHereForAPimp

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THIS POST WAS EDITED ON NOVEMBER 28, 2011 TO INCLUDE THE LINK TO WHERE THE INTERVIEW HAS BEEN POSTED ON ILOVEVAMPIRENOVELS.COM.

Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number.

I’ve mentioned that I didn’t write SHAMEFUL with the intent to advocate for, promote, or encourage infidelity or statutory rape. You can read where I previously addressed this accusation here. It is merely entertainment for those who find it entertaining. An escape for those interested in living vicariously through fictional characters without experiencing the consequences of their actions.

Today, I’ve opened my blog to Houston family law attorney, Tasha Wilson, to discuss her take on statutory rape. I think she does the subject justice considering she is one of my beta readers and deals with family legal issues on a regular basis. This is what she had to say:

Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number. Really?

The phrase statutory rape is a term used in some jurisdictions to describe sexual contact where one person is below the age required to legally consent to the sexual act. It generally refers to sex between an adult and a minor past the age of puberty. Statutory rape is different from forcible rape in that overt force or threat need not be present. The laws presume coercion, because a minor is legally incapable of giving consent to the act.

In Texas, it is illegal to have sexual contact with a person under the age of 17 years of age. The defense to sex with a minor is that the alleged perpetrator is not more than three years older than the alleged victim and the alleged victim must be 14 years or older. In other words, it is not illegal for a 19 year old girl to have sex with a 16 year old boy, but it is illegal for a 20 year old woman to have sex with a 16 year old boy.
Now that I’ve gotten all the legal jargon out of the way, I want to get to the meat of the issue…sex with minors! Just typing the words makes me feel uneasy. 

But why? Is it because America has told me that it is wrong for an adult to have sex with a minor? Is it the instinctive desire to be a protector and mother-like/father-like figure to the young and less experienced? Had I grown up in a different part of the world, I am sure my thought process would be different. In some cultures, it is not uncommon for a man to marry a much younger woman or girl. This is sometimes due to importance placed upon female virginity, the inability of women to earn a living outside of the home, and to women’s shorter reproductive life period relative to men’s.  In any event, being born and raised in the USA has shaped me into a person that knows and feels that an adult having sex with a minor is just SHAMEFUL.

In the novel “Shameful” author Dicey Grenor captures the essence of the American thought pattern when her main character Joanne internally defends age of consent laws during a somewhat heated family discussion saying, “Chad had to understand kids were impressionable. Our laws protected us, helped us peaceably co-exist. Age of consent laws protected children who may be exploited by adults. If Chad got them thinking everything was culturally-defined, they’d start questioning all authority, missing the point of our legal system. It was our job as parents to help them understand the difference between right and wrong. Some things were right because they were legal. Other things were wrong because they were illegal. Doing illegal things made the acts wrong.”

Joanne thinks like most of America. The age of consent laws were established to protect the predator from preying on the young and unsuspecting. With the recent Penn State child abuse scandal, it is clear that the old prey on the young and poor. With the experience, power, prestige, and manipulation that some adults possess, gullible minors can be easily targeted and taken advantage of. One victim’s mom stated that the boy could not tell the Coach Jerry Sandusky “no” to sex.

So, is age just a number? It depends. If a 21 year old wants to marry a 40 year old, then it should be their prerogative. But if a 21 year old wants to marry a 12 year old, then that is shameful and the law needs to step in. The only thing a 21 year old may have in common with a 40 year old is sex, but at 21, a person should have the experience and savvy to make informed decisions.

There has to be a line drawn in the sand to protect minors from adults. Texas hits the nail on the head by making that age 17. Some may argue the age of consent should be lowered since minors are making grown-up decisions daily by being sexually active and having children. Others argue that the age should be raised to 21. Regardless, we as adults have to do everything possible to protect the youth of today. I cannot argue against the fact that experience is the best teacher and there’s not an ample substitute; however, to allow minors to “learn the hard way” is foolish and our nation suffers the cost.

If you’re looking for a dedicated family law attorney in Harris, Fort Bend, Brazoria or surrounding Texas counties, check out Tasha’s website or her Facebook page for more information.

If you’ve read SHAMEFUL, have a strong opinion about it, and would like to express your thoughts, leave a comment. All opinions are welcomed.