Ah, the day of love. It's in the air. Can you feel it? The candles, the candy, the romance. A romantic dinner in a quiet cafe, the single candle in a room full of them reflecting in his eyes. He holds my hand in his, and we talk about us. He orders a sinfully good bottle of wine, and our meal is delivered hot and cleverly prepared by a chef who knows we are sitting in his dining room, two people in love. When we get home he will skillfully undress me, and not just with his eyes like he was doing in the restaurant. We will make exquisite love, the kind of love reserved for the one day a year that is all about L-O-V-E.
Eh. We did all that last night. In fact, we do this all the time. We show our love and appreciation for each other every day. Sometimes we lose track of each other in the mire and muck of our own stuff, and then we reconnect over that candle, over that wine, over that meal. I am lucky to have him, and I am blessed in this love.
Tonight I will bring something in, or maybe I will cook--I haven't decided. We'll open a nice bottle of wine and we will watch something on TV. When we go to bed, I will have a little gift waiting for him on his pillow. It will be a gift that keeps on giving--the best kind. The love will be exquisite, or it might be wild and erotic, or we might choose to simply fall asleep in each others arms after a long talk about our day, or about nothing special. i will kiss him today the same way I do every day. I will tell him I love him in the same way I tell him every day. And he will do the same for me.
Happy Valentine's day to all of you. Be good to each other. Love each other. Love yourselves.
A 1-star review for The Point of it All on AMAZON:
MISOGYNISTIC BULLCRAP IS RIGHT!
"...what a message to teach/convey/endorse as a female writer! i will never purchase/borrow/recommend a jade cary book again given her bent! how truly disgusting and insulting to all women...particularly those who truly experience the horror of male control to the extent of physical abuse. jade cary should be ashamed of herself!"
I'm not. Not in the slightest. I will never apologize for my writing. My target audience is probably not 'those who truly experience the horror of male control to the extent of physical abuse'. In addition, I am not here to 'teach' or 'endorse' anything. I am a fiction writer. I entertain. I provide escape, and hopefully a few tingles south of the border. That's it. That's what I do.
However, this is the second 1-star review I've received on AMAZON that makes use of the 'M' word (I suspect that all three 1-star reviews are from the same person. The vitriolic tone and the aversion to proper punctuation are clues).
So, let's address the term misogynistic.
mi·sog·y·nis·tic (m-sj-nstk) also mi·sog·y·nous (-sj-ns)adj. Of or characterized by a hatred of women.
Now, I'm not exactly sure whom the "reviewers" are addressing with that word. Are "they" saying I am misogynistic? Well, I am a woman, and I will say, here and now, that I love women. A lot.
Are "they" saying Val Rios, my hot hero in The Point of it All, is misogynistic? Anyone who has read the book will see that from the first moment he sees the beautiful, sassy Diana Kenyon, he is moved by her. And at no point in the book does he ever verbally, or in his head, say or do anything that would lead anyone to believe he hates women, least of all this woman. In fact, there is so much exposition on Val's part throughout the book about how he feels toward Diana that the reader knows he is a man who loves hard and deep. No question.
Is the writing misogynistic? Maybe that's what the above review was suggesting. After all, I should be ashamed of myself for writing about abuse.
The first message that is conveyed to anyone looking to purchase the book is the warning at the bottom of the product description:
*** Contains scenes with spanking ***
Pretty clear. No gray area with this statement.
The next message that I, and my publishers, attempt to convey about the book is via the product tags:
SPANKING and DOMESTIC DISCIPLINE.
(I'd like to ask readers to tag the book as such if you get a chance. The more tags with the above, the more likely the book will appear with like-genre books.)
Is ROMANTIC SUSPENSE and ROMANTIC THRILLER also tagged under the book? You bet, because it's true. So, my question is, if this subject matter turns someone off, why read it? It would be like reading a book about vampires, then writing a 1-star review because you didn't like the part where he bites her. Makes no sense.
I write romances that contain scenes with spanking. Why? Because it is the genre I choose to write in. I write about the dynamics of this minor part of the loving couple's relationship because there is an audience for it. It is not abuse. No one is struck in the face (except Val, but no one complained about that. Interesting...), no blood is drawn, no implements are used for discipline, except in one scene at the end, and the scene is implied. And, it is very clear that, while Diana may not like what is going on at the time, there is a part of her that realizes she might just need it, and on some level, want/like it. Val knows it, too. Diana's strength lies in this realization, not her weakness. This is a choice. There is a scene in the book where, during an erotic spanking, Val expounds on this gift of control Diana is giving him, and how, if she decided to put a stop to it (the discipline aspect), he would respect her wishes. This speaks volumes about the kind of man Val Rios is. Diana Kenyon loves him, all parts of him. And he loves her, unequivocally. No misogyny here.
We all have issues; we all have buttons that get pushed, at times, by the things we read. I know what my issues are, what I don't like to read, and I avoid those subjects. I read for pleasure, not to upset myself. Why on earth would someone read about a subject that turns them off? I almost clicked and downloaded a book in the erotica genre the other day, then saw that the story was M/M gay erotica. Guess where I discovered this? That's right: the product description and the product tags. Since M/M gay erotica is not my thing, I skipped it. How unfair would it have been to the author if I had read it, then gave it a 1-star review because I liked the premise, but hated the part where they had sex.
Reviews are good, and I welcome them all--good and bad. For every review I get, someone new discovers the book. This serves me well. But, I don't want, and I don't want the book, to be someone's issue. I write to entertain, not set the world on it's ear. Enjoy, and if anyone feels that I could have done what I do better, please let me know. To suggest that I do something else, or call me misogynistic, or accuse me promoting abuse because the subject matter isn't your bag is a waste of time, and isn't helpful to other readers who are considering the book, which, I thought, was what reviews were all about.
I've got another book coming out in the spring. Yes, same genre. Surprise. This is what I do. Enjoy. Enjoy and be happy.
Judith Krantz is the kind of writer you just don't see anymore. When I first read I'll Take Manhattan in the 80's, I read it as a reader. It took me away to places I'd never been before: Monte Carlo, New York, a drafty castle in Scotland. It immersed me in a life I knew nothing about: publishing, extreme wealth, bitter siblings who would stop at nothing to destroy others. Exciting stuff.
This time around, I read ITM as a writer. Judith write with a flair rarely seen in romances anymore. She can, and does, go on for pages and pages about how someone is feeling, in eclectic prose that belie the character's truth. I saw a different Maxi this time around. I saw a different Rocco. Lily was not the woman I remember from 20 years ago. I saw situations that seemed so outrageous that, if written today, would have quite possibly been slashed to bits by any editor with even a fool's concept of what sells.
Yet, somehow, Judith Krantz still remains belle of the ball in this genre. Maybe it's because, when all is said and done, we read romance to escape. It doesn't have to be real, doesn't have to ring entirely true to be entertaining. Sometimes real is...well, TOO real, and sometimes we need a break from it. Sometimes reading about the heroine who has been raped and abused and unable to love again, and the hero who follows her around for 365 pages trying to change her mind, can be trying at best--no matter how good the writing, no matter how wonderful the characters. That's when we return to Judith, who takes us on journeys to foreign lands with spoiled, rich women who trudge through their trials, get burned, get up and dust themselves off, and realize in the end what is truly important--love. The alphas, the brutes, the rakes and the swindlers she tosses in just for fun are the icing on an already very rich cake.
I'll take Judith Krantz. Any day.
This is a post I originally made to my publisher's blog before The Point of it All was released. I wanted to share it again.
When I came to writing late in life, I came as a reluctant bearer of themes and characters that were missing for me in contemporary novels. I figured that if no one else was going to write this stuff, then I would. Some examples of my disappointment: Heroes fought the good fight, but never fell in love. Heroes chased the girl but never caught her because he was too damaged, or she was. Heroes had dead wives to avenge and dead children to mourn. They didn’t marry, they didn’t fight with their girlfriends, and they didn’t bat an eye when she became that dreaded character known in fiction as Too Stupid To Live—those people, usually women, who walk down the alley after dark, or venture into the woods to look for their dog, Cuddles, when they know the serial killer is lurking nearby (all the characters in all the Friday The 13th movies bear this distinction). I found myself on more than one occasion shouting at the page, ‘Spank her, for God’s sake! Where are your balls? Don’t you care about her?’
Wait, what? Spank her? Yeah. I mean, come on! She behaves like a shrew/tosses fists full of mud at him in a fit of temper/is TSTL. The hero sighs, says something like, ‘I have had ENOUGH!’ and he…well, you know the rest. In my soon-to-be-released novel, The Point of it All, I explore this issue as it pertains to two people who come together under extremely stressful and unusual circumstances. Valerio Rios is in the rescue business. He saves lives. He does not suffer fools or spoiled women. Diana Kenyon is in a situation as foreign to her as tentacles on a washboard, and she has had to survive by sheer wits and will. It is this battle of wills between her and Val that defines who these two people are as individuals, and who they will become as a couple in a committed, loving relationship. This is not a spanking novel. It is a novel that happens to contain the non-consensual (mostly) spanking of an adult female within the confines (eventually) of a loving, committed relationship. And there, dear readers, is the rub. How can striking a woman’s backside because a man thinks she needs it, be considered an act of love? Consider this, taken from an article posted on a fantastic web site called, aptly, Taken in Hand:
A woman’s desire for a naked over-the-knee spanking is twofold. Part of her wants to be wanted. She wants to belong to someone who really cares about her. Part of her wants to be disciplined, cleansed, and perhaps even healed. It is only at a level of getting beyond physical pain that spanking has any meaning. Otherwise, the exercise is a parlor game of make-believe of daddy’s naughty little girl getting her bottom smacked for being very bad.
This is quite a mind-fuck. In this day and age, where gender roles are as blurred as they can be, the idea that a woman actually craves this is ludicrous, right? But I get it. Do I live it? I learned early on to be careful what I wish for. I write fiction, and my stories feed into something very real for many people. I’m confident in few things, but this I am sure of. Here’s more from this article at Taken in Hand.
The man who truly loves a woman is not always easy on her. There is a passion within him that burns beyond lust.
…Although a woman may hate the idea that she needs a spanking, she will also often feel the need to be punished – wanting it to hurt and eventually despising a timid man – she seeks an experience that goes beyond being transformed from naughty to nice.
When I was in the middle of writing The Point of it All, I had to put it aside for a while. I hated it. I hated the direction these two people were taking me. I did not want to portray Val Rios as a domineering prig who swatted with puritanical impunity, and I did not want to weaken Diana Kenyon, or make her acceptance of this predilection of Val’s, feel forced simply because I wanted her to move in this direction to tell a story. I realized that it was Val who needed to change. He actually needed to earn the right to exercise this control over her, for lack of a better word. I also needed to show that in Diana’s acceptance of this, she was exercising her own power as a woman. In a way, she was meeting a need of her own in a way that the intellectual populace could find offensive. Yet, wasn’t the idea behind feminism about choice? I don’t think it was about Bella Abzug’s choice, or Gloria Steinem’s. It was about a woman’schoice, even if that choice wasn’t in line with the mainstream bra burners.
The journey was uncomfortable for me. The more the character of Val Rios set the pace, the more I fought him—kind of like Diana did on occasion. Of course, he wasn’t asking me along for the ride, he was asking Diana, right? Well, I cannot speak for other writers, but for me, the heroine is part me and part who I wish I was. The hero, of course, is who I’d be if I were a man. Simple, right? Yeah. You try it sometime. Talk about a mind fuck. Once I allowed Val to direct the second half of the story, I fell in love with it, and with him. He took me to a place I never dreamed I’d go. It was as much of a journey of discovery for me as it was for Val and Diana.
I adore these characters, and I am very proud of this story. I think it explores love in a very real way, with all of it’s complications and imperfections, all of the mistakes we lovers make, all the hurts we hurl at the ones we love, the apologies we make and the self-reflections we take, and the letting go—the letting go of our preconceived notions about love, the letting go of our egos so that we can love honestly, and the letting go of our ideas about what we want, and allow ourselves to ask for, and get what we need. And, the idea that perhaps true freedom lies in restraint is one to be explored and discussed.
The following is part of a review I recently received for The Point of it All:
It was misogynistic bullcrap and the author should take some classes on the evils of domestic violence and maybe a class on normal male female interaction.
Skip this one, download something worth your time. This was a waste of a good premise, and a waste of paper and ink.
Clearly, this book was not for her. The warning at the bottom of the product description that the book contains scenes of spanking, did not deter her from downloading a copy, so she was somewhat intrigued. That, or she wanted to send some sort of message.
I've been saying for...well, a looong time, that more people are into the spanking thing than is believed. To every person who reads a book or a story on this subject and believes it is abuse, or that by writing such 'drivel', we've set the progress of women back a hundred years, I say that whatever lifestyle you choose, it is precisely about that--CHOICE. That was what Gloria Steinem and Bell Abzug had in mind when they fought and preached for equality. Choice. Not their choice, but yours, ladies.
We all know the difference between a CONSENSUAL relationship between adults, and abuse. Intelligent people also know the difference between real-life and fiction. There are many authors out there who write in this genre. Go to Amazon and search SPANKING or DOMESTIC DISCIPLINE under ROMANCE, and a hundred books will come up. I'm a fan of many of these authors, and all of them are writers of fiction. They are stories meant to entertain.
Do I live this lifestyle personally? Do other authors who write in this genre live the lives they write about? If it helps you to enjoy the books more, believe what you will. After all, it's about escape. It's about fantasy.
To that end, there are people who actually DO live this life. Are they over 18? Is it consensual? If so, then God bless.
Here is an interesting article from an online news source in South Africa:
A SPANKING GOOD STORY
I have always been fascinated by alternative lifestyles. I never dreamed I'd one day write about it. It's fun, and I guess I'll do it until it isn't. Life and choice. It's all good.
Jade Cary writes Romantica and Romantic Suspense, on the rocks with a twist. Bottoms up!
SITES I DIG
A FADED ROMANTIC
ALTA HENSLEY, ROMANCE AUTHOR
ART OF AUTHORITY
BASIA ROSE, AUTHOR
BLACK VELVET SEDUCTIONS
BOTTOMS UP BOOK REVIEWS
CARA BRISTOL, AUTHOR
CDD FOR LIFE/PATTY DEVLIN
CELESTE JONES, AUTHOR
THE DISCIPLINED FEMINIST
EMMA K. GARDNER, AUTHOR
FREDDY AND EDDY - A WEBSITE OF ALL COUPLES
THE HAND OF LOVE
HEART AND SOUL
THE IMPROVED CHAUVINIST
KARLA DOYLE, AUTHOR
KOREY MAE JOHNSON, AUTHOR
LAZY DAY PUBLISHING
MY BOTTOM SMARTS
RENEE ROSE, AUTHOR
SADEY QUINN, AUTHOR
SARADORA'S SPANKING FICTION
SUE LYNDON, AUTHOR
TROLLOP WITH A LAPTOP