Guest post from Katrina Strauss – Plus a Giveaway!

October 31st, 2013

Hey all. My good friend Katrina Strauss has just released a new story (Which I’ve read! It was much fun!), and I was very happy to invite her to my blog for my very first guest post. Even happier that she accepted.

So without further ado, here she is!

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Body LanguageMany thanks to Rowan for inviting me to hang out today! I’m here to dish the dirt on my latest M/M release, Body Language. While I’m at it, I’m giving away one digital copy to one lucky blog visitor. But more on the giveaway in a bit.

My naughty new novelette was inspired by two sources. The first was a website a friend referred me to a few years ago called Guys with iPhones. (If you Google it, do so at your own NSFW risk!) Basically, it’s a site where dudes submit selfies, some quite daring ones at that. I found myself asking “What prompts a man to do this?” That question was followed by the rather authorly thought of “There’s a story here.”

Around the same time I discovered the first site, I was frequenting a BDSM dating site. (Let’s say I was doing “research” and leave it at that.) I discovered a subculture of men who sit around the house naked all day, waiting to perform on cam at a moment’s notice. I was fascinated, although not for the reasons you might think! Honestly, I found it interesting from a sociological perspective, leaving me to wonder what these guys did before the advent of the Internet and webcams. Once again, I found myself asking “What prompts a man to do this?” Once again, it was followed by the resounding thought of “There’s a story here.”

And so I sat down to write that story. And Body Language was born. Here’s a quick excerpt, followed by how to go about winning a copy for your reading pleasure:

 *****

 

EXCERPT:

 

The very idea that so many hot, horny men would willingly photograph themselves and then post it on the Body Language site stirred a strange sense of arousal in Seth. He studied one rather creative image of a tattooed goth boy who’d contorted himself on a bathroom rug to photograph his ass. The duck-print shower curtain or dusty base of the toilet in the background might have been turnoffs, but they only added to the desperate, horny tone of the moment. Seth felt his cock go completely hard.

He tugged down his sweats, revealing the solid-black star inked between his left hip and groin, his one and only piece of body art. Wasting no time, he gripped his cock and squeezed. A drop of precum slicked his thumb, indicating he was already pretty worked up. Sliding his hand up and down, he stared at the hard, lean body on the laptop screen. With what mental focus he had left, he realized the source of his arousal lay not in what he wanted to do to the guy in the picture, but that he wanted to be the guy. He wanted to be the one on the bathroom floor, his bare ass up in the air with cheeks spread wide. Seth wanted another man to look at him the same way he was looking at the goth boy.

Yeah, that’s right—down on the dirty floor, doing dirty things. Maybe get my hole tongued before I get pounded doggy style. Seth groaned and pumped his hand faster. The process usually went easier with lube, but sometimes the occasion called for a dry one, and this was one such moment. As he neared climax, a naughty thought flashed through his mind.

What if I uploaded my own picture?

 *****

 

Okay, I’m done teasing. If you’d like more, Body Language is available on Amazon at:

http://www.amazon.com/Body-Language-ebook/dp/B00G3LBAGS/

Or Smashwords at:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/371944

 

To win a copy, simply leave a comment along with your e-mail address (example: katrina.strauss AT gmail DOT com) and your preferred digital format. If you’d like, tell me what you think motivates someone to post their family jewels online for all to see. Or tell me why you’d like to read my story. Or tell me to have a nice day. Just be sure to comment, along with your e-mail addy, before 11:59pm CST Monday, November 4th, and I’ll send the winner a copy of Body Language ASAP!

Note from Rowan: While this blog crossposts to other sites, entries for the giveaway are only valid if they’re posted in the comment section of the main blog – http://rowanmcbride.com/blog/. Thanks for entering and good luck!

Recommendations!

October 25th, 2013

Hey hey! What are you guys reading? I’m looking for something sweet and fluffy. (Apparently I’m still decompressing from writing Want Me, lol.)

Got any recs?

Next page

October 15th, 2013

As many of you know, I’ve been dealing with a chronic illness that spun out of control and landed me in the hospital for a week in August. I hadn’t written any fiction for a long time before that, and when I got out of the hospital, I realized that my days of writing in glorious bursts of inspiration were probably over. Which was depressing.

But any time life knocks you down, you have to figure out how to adapt. I love writing, and I didn’t want to stop, so what do I do now?

Get to the next page. That’s my new work ethic. Pick a story and sit down every day to write with the goal of getting to the next page in the chapter, or manuscript or whatever. If I write more, great! But at least I’m always making progress.

So that’s my current philosophy. It’s slow, and can be frustrating as hell (remember that halcyon time when I would average a chapter a week, maybe more?), but I’m making progress. I’m adapting.

Just thought I’d share. 🙂

“Want Me” is a Recommended Read

September 20th, 2013

click here to learn more about the story
 

Sirius from Dear Author granted Want Me a Recommended Read, saying “I think this is one of the most unusual books that I have ever read in the mm genre, and I highly recommend it, but you should be sure that you are up for reading a dark story.” How cool is that? You can read the rest of the review here.

Body Language

August 1st, 2013

Note: The following post contains graphic language. About bodies. And their parts. Also there’s some random swearing. Well maybe a lot of swearing. A metric ton of swearing, really.

Also metaphors.

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I had a conversation with a female friend of mine last week, which reminded me of a conversation with another female friend of mine a few weeks before that, which reminded me of an attitude I used to have a few years back, which brings us back to a here-and-now that’s a little bit clearer for me.

So let’s start with the thing I thought a few years ago:

I was active on a lot of writer loops, reader loops, M/M loops (ah, energy. I miss you so). There was a conversation that popped up fairly often (and I imagine still pops up fairly often) on why women write M/M. It turns out women write M/M for a variety of reasons, how wild is that? From “if one man is great, two is better,” to “I cut my writing teeth on slash and now I’m here” to “I wanted to explore relationships that featured couples who carried a different sort of gender baggage” to “I like love stories in whatever form” and on and on. All of it was interesting because it’s interesting to find out why writers write (interesting to other writers, anyway). But there was one that never failed to piss me off.

“Girl parts are icky and gross in erotic romance. I’d rather not have to describe them.”

What. The. Fuck.

I was judgmental as shit. You’re talking about your own bodies! I thought. Girl parts are fucking awesome! I thought. If the only reason you’re not writing M/F or F/F is that you don’t like the way women’s bodies are portrayed, then write a fucking book that portrays them differently! I thought. You’re fucking writers! That’s our fucking job!

I swear a lot internally.

Fast forward to around a month ago. I was talking to a friend on the phone, and we ended up talking about body parts.

 

“I’m thinking of writing an M/F,” I said, “so I’m picking up a lot of newer ero-romance to see if there are any new words in circulation to describe female parts.”

“I can tell you right now that they’re all the same ones. There is no good word for vagina. Or vulva. None.”

“Oh, come on. I’ve been out of the loop for like seven years. There’ve gotta be–”

“Nope.”

“Huh,” I said.

“Yep,” she said. “I hate them *all.*” And then she brightened. “You know what? We should make up a new euphemism. One that has no baggage tied to it whatsoever and has nothing to do with anything. Like… Like… Oh! Like ‘shoe’!”

“Haha. What?”

“Or stereo!”

I laughed. “Or checkbook! That way your body could actually write checks it couldn’t cash!”

She groaned. “Or… Or…” Several moments of silence. “Or leaf.”

We both went “Ohhh.”

“That actually sounds kinda nice,” I said.

“Yeah. Yeah, I think I’m gonna go with it,” she said.

“And it totally works. Because a leaf is what’s left when someone takes your flower.”

She groans again, this time with real pain. “Aaaaand now you’ve ruined it for me.”

“What? Why?”

The next few minutes were her explaining to me why the whole concept of “taking someone’s flower” is kinda gross. Then I felt bad.

“Okay, okay. I take it back.”

“You can’t take it back! It’s in my head! Now we’re going to have to use stick or bark or twig or something.”

I chuckled. “I really am sorry.”

 

She grumbled for a while longer and then we talked about other things. After the call ended, I decided I still kinda like the word “leaf.” Dunno if I’m the type of writer who can pull off coining a term like that, though.

Which brings us to last week, and a txt convo I had with another friend of mine. I’d read a review where the reviewer had called one of my characters a cunt. I’ve been writing for a while, so I’m used to harsh reviews. They’re part of the baggage that comes with writing for public consumption. But that statement had really jarred me, and I was ranting about it with her.

 

Me: Saying sorry for using the word “cunt” as an insult does not excuse him from using it. Good lord. I know a lot of women in M/M who write M/M because the words they’re required to use for female body parts give them anxiety. And that shit right there is why. (Epiphany Achievement: Unlocked! Angels sang on high, heavenly light streamed onto my phone. Aaaaaand, it only took me seven years to level up. O.O)

Her: Female body parts are the reason I read a lot of M/M.

Me: It’s hard. All the words you have to use are also terrible terrible insults. There are no sex-positive words for that area. Except clit. I’m quite fond of clit. Probably because I’ve never heard some random douche yelling it out in anger.

 

So today I was thinking about how hard it is to be a female reader/writer of erotic romance. You literally have to split your psyche in two in order to enjoy it. You have to pretend that the part of you who knows that “cunt” is considered one of the worst insults you can hurl at a person does not exist. Otherwise you associate that word in your book with violence and then it becomes an unsafe space. You have to pretend that you don’t know men often refer to “pussy” as a completely separate and inanimate thing (Comedians talking about “old pussy” and “new pussy” and the lengths they have go to in order to “get pussy,” for example), as if there’s no living, breathing person attached. Otherwise you start thinking about objectification and rape culture and the book ceases to become a safe space.

If any space should be safe, it’s a love story. But there aren’t a lot of words that describe your body and are not simultaneously derogatory. So you split yourself in two, or you switch over to books that don’t feature women having sex at all, or you drop the ero from your romance and read books that don’t use graphic language, even if you like graphic language.

And that whole situation fucking sucks.

Realizing that, I apologize for my foul attitude back in the day. I don’t think anyone noticed it, because I make a point of being polite (note: polite does not mean nice and in NO WAY equals kind), but I am sorry for raging at my screen without trying to understand. I know it seems like I’ve been apologizing a lot lately, but eff it. People should apologize more often because genuine apologies clear the air enough to let honest discussion take place. And honest discussion is good.

Plus it might lead to words for female body parts that aren’t triggering, and that would be fantastic because both the parts and the whole are fucking awesome.

So if you’d like to continue the discussion, please do so in the comments below. Trolls and disrespectful comments will be deleted, however, because this is my safe space and I can totally do that.

Winner!

July 22nd, 2013

Thank you to everyone who entered my “Some Like Janice” drawing.  I’m wicked sorry for being TWENTY-TWO DAYS late picking a winner, but the whole Google cracking down on “adult content” and my subsequent decision to integrate a WP blog into my static site took a bit longer than I had anticipated.  As you can see, it’s still a work in process. >.>

But joy! We have a winner! Congrats to britindc. I’ve sent you an email full of squee, but if you haven’t received it yet, please check your spam folder. XD

Also, thank you to everyone who said they’re going to watch “Some Like It Hot” as a result of that post, thank you for your warm words of support, and thank you for your patience with my ill-timed blog move.

You rock my socks!

 

Testing the new blog software.

July 10th, 2013

Okay. It’s still mostly bare bones, but I think I have the necessities of the new blog set. Hopefully it’ll post to my Goodreads, Amazon, and Twitter pages.  And, theoretically, you should be able to subscribe via RSS and Email now.  I think the move will be for the best since the blog is fully integrated with the main site now.

I’m also planning some major tweaks to the site overall, so if you have any suggestions, let me know. 😉

New Digs. Again.

June 28th, 2013

I got an email from Google saying that my Blogger account has been flagged for adult content. The email also said:

 Please be advised that on June 30th 2013, we will be updating our Content Policy to strictly prohibit the monetization of Adult content on Blogger. After June 30th 2013, we will be enforcing this policy and will remove blogs which are adult in nature and are displaying advertisements to adult websites.

I have no idea what their criteria will be for their purge, but I moved as much as I could from my Blogger account here to WordPress just to be safe. Since I’ve never used WP before, it’s going be rough for a while. >.<

Some Like Janice

June 13th, 2013

I had a lot of misunderstandings as a kid. But I think that those misunderstandings happened because I was already wired differently and didn’t know it.

For example: Janice, the Muppet from The Electric Mayhem. I met her when I was around…six, maybe? When I saw her I thought she was a man in woman’s clothing, and I never mentioned that “fact” to anyone because I assumed everyone knew it. Janice was a natural part of my world. As I got older my view of her became more complex, but she was always Janice. It wasn’t until my first year in college someone decided to “correct” me, and they were pretty cruel about it as they set out the canon material that stated in no uncertain terms she was a woman. At the time I didn’t understand why it hurt so much, because I didn’t understand what was going on inside of me at all well.

Then there’s “Some Like it Hot.” A movie I saw when I was very young and remains one of my all-time favorites. When I was a kid, I didn’t understand it was a comedy. Sure, it had some truly hilarious scenes, but for me it was always about the love stories. Joe/Josephine (played by Tony Curtis), who was all about hooking up with Sugar (played by Marilyn Monroe), and Jerry/Daphne (Jack Lemmon) who suddenly won the attentions of Osgood Fielding III (Joe E. Brown).

I loved Daphne. So, so much. While Joe pretty clearly disliked dressing and acting like a woman, the lines were much more blurred with Daphne. Even with something as basic as picking out feminine names for themselves. At first, Joe and Jerry decide on Josephine and Geraldine, but at the last second, Jerry blurts out that her name is Daphne, earning a look of confused consternation from Joe. When Joe grabs her for explanation, Daphne replies:

Daphne: Well, I never did like the name Geraldine.

Names are important. Especially when you’re picking out your own. I never liked the name my parents picked out for me, and for a long time I felt guilty about it. That scene, that one little line, gave me permission to think about what I might like to be called instead, and that whatever I chose didn’t necessarily have to be a retooled version of what I had.

And then there are the scenes with Osgood. They are funny, and I laugh every time I watch them, but for a long time I didn’t understand they were meant to be *gags.* I thought their relationship was like any other romcom relationship, and I adored it. Especially their final scene, which is also the final scene in the movie:

Osgood: I called Mama. She was so happy she cried. She wants you to have her wedding gown. It’s white lace.

Daphne: Yeah Osgood, I can’t get married in your mother’s dress. [nervous laughter] She and I… Well we’re not build the same way.

Osgood: We can have it altered.

Daphne: Oh no you don’t! Osgood, I’m gonna level with you. We can’t get married at all.

Osgood: Why not?

Daphne: Well, in the first place, I’m not a natural blonde.

Osgood: Doesn’t matter.

Daphne: I smoke! I smoke all the time!

Osgood: I don’t care.

Daphne: Well, I have a terrible past. For three years now, I’ve been living with a saxophone player.

Osgood: I forgive you.

Daphne: I can never have children!

Osgood: We can adopt some.

Daphne: But you don’t understand, Osgood! Ohh…

[Daphne pulls off xyr wig]

Daphne: [In a much deeper voice] I’m a man!

Osgood: [shrugs] Well, nobody’s perfect!

See? See? Osgood loves Daphne for who she is. The stuff on the outside doesn’t matter to him. That means there’s hope for me, right? I mean… right?

I didn’t know it was supposed to be a gag. And now I choose to believe it wasn’t. I choose to believe that Osgood and Daphne got married and that Janice is far more complex than her bio on Wikipedia would have me imagine.

The scene I quoted above is my favorite scene in “Some Like It Hot,” as well as one of my favorite scenes of all time. Not just because it’s funny and that last line gave me such a terrific happily ever after, but because through that entire exchange, where Daphne’s desperately trying to convince Osgood that they can’t get married, she never once says “I don’t love you” or “I don’t want to be with you.” In the grand scheme of things, none of the other reasons matter, and Osgood happily has an answer to each one until we get to his “nobody’s perfect!” line. Daphne has no response to that, and the last moments of the film show her confused and taken aback, in a “Holy shit, is this really an option?” kind of way. It was a revelation for her.

It was a revelation for me.

And that, right there, is why we need more movies/shows/cartoons/comics/books that tell gender queer and trans* stories. Because I was lucky enough to meet Janice and Daphne and take them to heart, but how many other kids who were just like me didn’t have the luxury of accidently misinterpreting what they saw on TV? How many children had the “truth” of those characters explained to them long before they were old enough to build their own truths, their own stories?

How many kids never had a chance to discover that a third option even exists?

I think we’ve come a long way since the day I met Janice. Networks like Hub are airing shows like SheZow that I couldn’t have imagined existing even five years ago.

I’d like to see more shows I couldn’t imagine when I was a child. Because I could imagine a *lot.* We all could, even if we weren’t aware. Some liked Joe. Some liked Kermit. Some liked Daphne. Some liked Janice.

Some still do.

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Note: This post is part of the NER LGBT Pride Blog Fest. It lasts all June, and there are a lot of authors posting interesting articles this month. The site is also giving away its own prizes, so if you’d like to read and enter, go to http://naughtyeditionreviews.com/ and please check it out.

I am giving away an e-copy of Paul’s Dream, as well as a never-before-seen expanded print of the cover designed by the fabulous Anne Cain.



Nice, yeah? I’ll sign it if you want. 😉

To enter, all you have to do is join my newsletter (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/rowan_mcbride) and post a comment with your email address below. If you’re already a member of the newsletter–no worries. All you have to do is post here.

I’ll announce the winner July 1st. Good luck. XD

June 12th, 2013

The Naughty Edition Reviews Blog Fest has begun! For the month of June, go to http://naughtyeditionreviews.com/ to celebrate LGBT Pride, read interesting articles, and win a variety of prizes. Lots of authors will be featured, including yours truly on the 13th.






PS: The Fest started on the 1st, and I’m very sorry for being so late in letting you know. I’d been having some technical difficulties. 🙁