The problem with spanking romances

spanking

 

Oh dear. I think I might be about to say something controversial.

Won’t be the first time, and won’t be the last, so here we go: I don’t understand why spanking novels are as popular as they are. 

Yes, I know, I know. I only write spanking romances. It seems stupid of me to bite the hand that feeds me.

However, the thing is that I try to read as many other spanking romances as I can and I’ve discovered that many of them do nothing more than anger me. I wanted to know how other authors dealt with the problems that challenge me whenever I fire up the laptop, and instead I find that they don’t deal with them at all.

Alright, let me try and be more clear.

I’m a feminist. I believe in the equality of men and women. I also believe that sex is fun, and whatever you do in bed is perfectly fine as long as everybody is on board with it. If I choose to play a submissive role sexually it has no bearing on how I expect to be treated outside the bedroom. If I choose to extend that role into my life outside the bedroom, then I would expect to have the respect of the dominant.

The key words in the previous sentences are choose and respect. 

My problems as a writer, especially of a writer of historical fiction, are many and varied. My sentences run on too long, I disagree with my editor over the use of the Oxford comma, I seem disinclined to use exclamation marks and I seem incapable of writing a woman being sexually abused and call it a romance.

So many of the books I have read in the spanking genre seem to think that if the couple in the book have a disagreement, the dominant is perfectly within his rights to spank (or whip, or paddle) the submissive until she changes her mind. This is what I have real problems with. A couple will always have disagreements. They will argue, they will act in ways that annoy or frustrate the other. However, instead of talking out the issue first, explaining their point of view and their actions, so many books leap straight to the ‘punishment’ of the submissive for daring to disagree with her dominant. Only after the punishment, and often sex, does the dominant let the submissive explain her actions.

This makes me itch inside. I can understand a dynamic where one partner willingly gives up their authority over their body to another, and will accept judgement on their behaviour, leading to punishment. What I can’t understand is a submissive partner putting up with a dominant who spanks first and listens afterwards. How poor does your sense of self have to be before you’ll tolerate that happening to you? That isn’t a man acting without thinking because he’s so madly in love with his partner that his feelings are overwhelmed. That’s domestic abuse!

I don’t understand how readers want that. I don’t understand how writers think that it’s ok to write that.

The trickiest thing for me to write in my books is the idea of consent, especially as I write historical fiction. The idea of a man beating his wife was considered understandable then, even if it was something that made people uncomfortable. Even with that get-out clause, I still struggle. I don’t like reading about women being abused by their partners, so I won’t write that. Yet I still have to find a way to get her over the hero’s knee (or spanking bench, or library table, or…) and liking it.

It’s hard. I don’t think that I’ve managed to get it fully right yet. I completely understand that it’s tricky for everybody. I just don’t think that some writers are trying hard enough to show that there’s a difference between a woman willingly handing her autonomy over to a partner who cares for her well-being and a woman who’s in a relationship with somebody who likes the domination and punishment, but isn’t so keen on accepting that the submissive partner has the right to be listened to and cared for on more levels than just the sexual.

Just my opinion, but one that makes it hard to find what I consider “good” spanking fiction. If anybody has any recommendations, I’d be glad to have them!

Recipe recommendation

I love cooking because I love eating. I love eating so much that I really have to work hard in 2016 to shift a ton of weight, but that is another series of angsty blog posts for you to skip over.

It’s Christmas time, and for the last few years I’ve found myself making this gorgeous popcorn recipe I found on Buzzfeed. Before I tried this, I’d never really thought of mixing sweet and savoury flavours together before. Being British I could have either maple syrup or bacon, not both together! Something about this recipe caught my eye though, and I gave it a whirl.

(Well, I gave it a whirl after I converted the American measurements into British measurements, anyway. Fahrenheit to Celsius, cups to milliliters, it takes a little time.  Oh look at us America. Two nations, divided by a completely ridiculous aversion to the metric system.)

Bacon-Peanut Caramel Corn

Makes 16 cups.

Cups? Who measures popcorn in cups?

INGREDIENTS
½ cup popping corn kernels (or use 16 cups pre-popped popcorn)
1 tablespoon canola oil     I didn’t bother with this as I bought the popcorn.
1 lb sliced bacon     I just used one packet.
1 ¼ cup pure maple syrup   This is one small bottle and a third of another.
2 cups roasted, unsalted peanuts  I used a pack of unsalted cashews
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper  Whatever you do, don’t use any more!
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon kosher salt  Is this a thing in America? I just used sea salt.

Special equipment
Large (at least 4 quart) sauce pot with lid (if using pre-popped corn, you won’t need this)
Large (at least 4 quart) heatproof mixing bowl
Large skillet  Frying pan, for those of us across the pond. 
2 large baking sheets
Parchment paper or wax paper  Baking or greaseproof paper. 

PREPARATION
1. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper, and preheat oven to 300°F.  150 degrees C. 

2. To make popcorn:
In a large sauce pot, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil over medium-low heat, then add popping corn kernels. Cover the pot, and shake to coat the kernals with oil. In about a minute, kernels will start to pop. Shake the pot, still over medium-low heat, occasionally. When the popping sound has slowed to less than 1 pop every 10 seconds, turn the heat off and uncover the pot. Pour popped corn out into the large, heatproof mixing bowl, discarding any unpopped kernels.

I used 200g of pre-popped popcorn, or two large bags from the supermarket.

3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook half the bacon until the fat has rendered out and the meat is crispy. Remove cooked bacon from skillet and allow to cool on a plate or cutting board, leaving the fat in the pan. Add the rest of the bacon to the skillet, and repeat. Set aside the cooked bacon, leaving the bacon fat in the skillet.

4. With the skillet still over medium heat, add the maple syrup, peanuts, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, and kosher salt, stirring to combine. Heat the mixture for about a minute, until it starts to bubble, then remove from heat and set aside.

5. Once the bacon is cool enough to handle, cut it into large strips (about 1 inch long and ¼ inch wide). Add bacon to the popcorn in the large mixing bowl, then pour the maple syrup mixture on top. Mix with a heatproof spoon or spatula, until all the popcorn is evenly coated with the maple syrup mixture.

6. Spread the popcorn out over the two baking sheets, and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes. Popcorn may feel slightly soggy but will crisp as it cools.

Let the popcorn cool completely on the baking sheets (if you put it in the airtight containers to early, it’ll be soggy). Once it’s cool, divide into gift jars and cover. Popcorn will keep for five to seven days in an airtight container at room temperature.

Good luck trying to make this last five to seven days. It is so delicious it will barely last five hours! It makes a lot, but trust me, you’ll eat it all.

popcorn

 

 

Wow. Apparently I’ve made some money.

First of all, hi. Once upon a time this was a real blog, not something I dropped into once or twice to plug a book release. Then real life took over and between keeping on top of the day job and trying to write I let this slide. New resolution: at least two blog posts a week, not including book release posts.

Today, I got an email regarding royalties. I need to say that a clause in my contract says that I am not allowed to discuss this matter in any detail, so I’m going to be deliberately vague. Not that I would have mentioned figures anyway; Mum always insists that talking about money is vulgar, which is a bizarrely middle class notion from a solidly working class woman but we all have our little idiosyncrasies, don’t we?

Anyway, I got my first ever royalty statement. I’ve been thinking about this for a little while as a matter of curiosity rather than anything else. I had convinced myself that I would never sell enough copies of my books to earn any royalties; I was satisfied with the advance payment (again, no details) from my publishers. I have been able to buy a few new things that I needed, with money left to tuck away in a little savings account. To be completely honest, I rather felt a little sorry for my publishers. The fools! They paid me advances that they would never make back! Ha! I get to see my name in eBook print, and they pay me for the privilege!

I think this only goes to show just how naive I am about the whole way this publishing thing works.

Today I got my royalties statement and even though it doesn’t tell me how many copies I sold, it did tell me that my publishers owed me royalty money. It’s not J K Rowling money, not by a long chalk, but it was a genuine surprise to discover that my very first book, the one that I think is my weakest, earned me so much. Well, so much to me. As I think we’ve established, I have no idea about things like this work. At all.

With some fairly simple maths, I think I can work out roughly  how many copies of the book I sold and again, I’m amazed. This, from what I think is my weakest book? My word!

Best of all, my publisher said that the next time I’m due royalties, the amount will be more!

I think flabbergasted is probably the best word to describe me right now. It’s not huge sums of money at all but to me, who never expected to earn anything from them at all, it’s an absolute fortune.

gast

 

 

The Incorrigible Annabelle Spencer

Available now on Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com and the Blushing Books website!

This is a bit of a departure for me – this is by far the most explicit book I’ve published! Let’s just say that Annabelle Spencer gets her horizons broadened by the devilishly handsome Duke of Rothmuir!

I hope people like this new Ruttingdon series. The sequel will be published in January, and I hope to have the third book finished soon after that.

Enjoy!

TheIncorrigibleAnnabelleSpencer

Change of title for my next book!

The first book in my new, racier series, The Ruttingdon Series, has had a name change!

Thanks to the popularity of another book from the same publishers, The Duke’s Proposition has been re-named The Incorrigible Annabelle Spencer.

Here’s the fantastic  cover!

TheIncorrigibleAnnabelleSpencer

Isn’t it pretty? I’m so excited for this release! The Ruttingdon Series is different from the Victorian Vices series – there’s still the same mix of strong heroines, sexy heroes and very sore bottoms, but these books will be a lot naughtier than before!

It’s due to be released in one week’s time, on the 20th December 2015. Treat yourself with something naughty this Christmas, and meet The Incorrigible Annabelle Spencer!

passionate about the past