Tag Archives: writing

The P Word – Piggybacking!

The problem with being an UK author published by a US company with primarily US authors and readers is that I’m always missing Facebook drama when it kicks off. Curse you, time difference!

That’s not really right. Facebook drama isn’t anything to get excited about, and proper grownups should avoid it at all costs. My mother calls is washing your dirty linen in public, and I get where she’s coming from. The thing is, it’s just too interesting to ignore!

When I blearily checked my author Facebook account at six o’clock this morning, news of alleged plagiarism was being discussed. I don’t know too much about it, and I’m hesitant to name names. I don’t know the people involved, and I don’t know the full story. It does make me realise that my gut reaction to the thought of co-authoring a book with someone – running away, screaming in fear – is probably the right one considering what seems to have happened.

That made me think about something else though, a real pet peeve of mine, and that is authors who write using characters created by somebody else. I call it piggybacking, and I mean all the Jane Austen books that write about Lizzie as Mrs Darcy, or have the Dashwood sisters fighting off sea monsters, and all the authors who have Sherlock Holmes help their own plucky detective out. What’s worse, all the authors who include actual historical characters in their work – Freud helping to solve murders, Oscar Wilde dropping in to share a few bon mots. 

This all makes me so angry!

For the love of God, people, create your own bloody characters! Stop piggybacking on the work of people who were creative enough to invent interesting characters! Just because their work has gone out of copyright and you can do it legally, it doesn’t mean that you can do it morally. It’s lazy, uninspired writing and I can’t stand it!

Authors who use real people as supplementary characters annoy me even more. How the hell do you know that the real historical person would behave like that? That they would say the words you put in their mouths? That they would espouse the beliefs you give them? The very best biographers would be hard pressed to do this. What self-inflated sense of ego makes you think that you could manage it?

I think the closest I’ve ever got in my own writing is have Daniel and Annabelle attend an audience with Queen Victoria, and have Sophia Preston be presented to her. In both books the queen is mentioned but not seen, which is as comfortable as I am with including real people in my books.

Historical fiction that tries to accurately represent actual history, through the medium of fiction – well, I have my doubts. A run-in with a Sharon Penman book made me dig in my heels on the topic, and no matter how minutely researched Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is there’s no way that I can finish it. C J Sansome gets away with it because the main character isn’t a real person, but even then I only read the first book once.

Let’s not get me started on P D James, who should have bloody well known better than to write Death at Pemberley, or Ben H Winters who would be best served by never trapping himself in an enclosed space with me; I am of the firm opinion that if Jane Austen had wanted zombies or sea monsters in her work, she would have included them in her final draft.

So authors, do yourself a favour. If you can’t invent interesting, memorable, relatable characters yourself, don’t steal other people’s. It does you zero favours with this reader, and I’m sure, many others.

 

 

 

Annabelle’s Awakening is on sale now!

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The Honourable Annabelle Spencer will soon become the Duchess of Rothmuir, and she can’t wait to get married! It’s not the beautiful dress or the opulent wedding ball that she’s looking forward to the most, however. All she wants is to be naked in the arms of her love Daniel, the Duke of Rothmuir, once more.

But it has now become clear that there is more to marrying Daniel than simply becoming his duchess. In addition to being a powerful peer of the realm in Victoria’s England, he is a proud member of the Ruttingdon Club, an exclusive group of titled noblemen who enjoy inflicting pain while taking their pleasure. Annabelle is determined to accompany Daniel to meetings of the Club when they are married, but he is unsure whether she can cope with the physical and psychological demands that appearance at club meetings place on females who attend these exotic functions.

Can Annabelle endure the strict training the Club requires? Will she master her fear of bodily exposure in front of strangers? Can she and Daniel build a life together that balances duty to their roles in society with their desire for dark sexual pleasure?

Read Annabelle’s Awakening, the second in the Ruttingdon Club series, to find out!

Buy from Amazon.com here!

Buy from Amazon.co.uk here!

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Curious about how Annabelle met her duke? Read The Incorrigible Annabelle Spencer, available from Amazon and the Blushing Books website!

I think I’m growing as a writer.

Figuratively speaking, anyway. I’m already 5’10”, I don’t need to be any taller.

I was just updating my Amazon Author Central pages when I noticed a new review on my Victorian Vices series. It’s one of those damned with faint praise ones – I can’t tell if she’s being a bit snide and taking a pop at the genre or just words things badly.  The first time I got one of these reviews I was quite upset. Now, though, my skin is thickening and I’m starting to think like a real author.

I added up how much it cost her to share her feelings – £9.78 – and thought about what I’d spend her money on instead.

Like me, love me, flame me, shame me – just buy my books, if you please. I’ll work through my emotions on the lovely foreign holiday you’re helping to send me on!

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The problem with spanking romances

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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!

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.

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Writer’s…torrent?

Does anybody else have this problem when they write?

I seem to have the opposite of writer’s block. I think I’m calling it writer’s torrent. I had a nice novella planned out and thought that it would be, at most, 30-35000 words. It’s a sequel to a forthcoming release, tying up some loose ends and providing a link between that book and an as yet half-written other one. Sort of a book 1.5, you know?

Except that the damned thing is now at 51000 words and counting! Not exactly novella-sized….

I know this probably sounds like the most ridiculous problem that a writer can have – “Oh no! I’m writing too many words! My wallet is too small for all my fifties and my diamond shoes are too tight!”

(Thank you, Chandler Bing. Credit where it is due.)

I’m concerned, though. Is this a sign that I’m including far too much unimportant fluff? Does it show a lack of plotting ability? Can I not self-edit? Or was I just plain wrong about it being a novella?

I’m going to have to see this thing through to the bitter, 60000 word end and see what my editor thinks. If I have to cut it down I’m going to be so upset!

To make up for this awful whining, have a picture of the delectable Nyle from this season of America’s Next Top Model. Would you, or would you not, be able to stop yourself from biting that delectable bottom?

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