Friday, 28 September 2012

Your Museum is bad and You Should Feel Bad.

Help us welcome I.M. Cupnjava, author of Full Circle.

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My home state of Virginia holds a wealth of destinations. We have the ocean on one end and the mountains on the other. Nearly all of it, thanks to the interstate system, can be done as a daytrip or a long weekend. This past weekend a friend and I went out to see Natural Bridge in Natural Bridge, VA.

Seeing Natural Bridge is worth it. Seriously.

Protip: When the town is named after the tourist attraction be skeptical.

I found a nice campground that's just a short distance from a slew of attractions. The cabin was adorable. Natural Bridge was majestic. The creative quirky installation art of Mark Cline was an absolute treat. We had the chance to meet him and he's a treasure in and of himself.

One of Cline's better known installation pieces. A full replica of Stonehenge made of foam. Taken at sunrise on the equinox. Yes, I woke up before dawn while on vacation to see the sun rise around slabs of painted Styrofoam. We roll hardcore like that in the commonwealth.

My problem rests squarely in the lap of the Natural Bridge W--hmm...perhaps I should change the name to protect the guilty. (Translation: limit liability). My problem rests squarely in the lap of the Solid-Rock Span-Traversing Natural Structure Museum of Wax.

Protip: When you buy tickets to see a bridge made of stone and carved by nature and they give you free admission to a museum of figures made of wax and carved by man be skeptical.

My traveling partner and I went to the SRSTNS Museum of Wax after walking through the underground caverns which contained, as he said, "Forty-five steps. Doesn't sound like much, does it? They don't tell you that they're uneven, irregular steps and at some point you're grappling and attempting to pull yourself up with nothing but your lips. I think blew out a chamber of my heart down there." And, before being treated to the oh-so-darling SRSTNS Museum of Wax, we saw Natural Bridge and walked through what must have been a warp in the fabric of the space-time continuum as it's a 10 mile to walk to the waterfall behind Natural Bridge, but only three-quarters of a mile to walk back. The tour guide claims that that there are 137 steps down to the bridge and the walk to waterfall is two miles roundtrip.

I do not remember these evil stairs being this uniform. They're deceptive. Not shown: The entire tour group gasping to catch their breath.

Lies. It's a solid 25 miles to the waterfall and .75 miles back. The Theory of Relativity explains that, right? Sure it does. Fair warning, the 45 miles it takes to get to the waterfall are all uphill.

Editors everywhere twitch when they think of this being called a waterfall.

The tour guide also claims that George Washington surveyed the land and climbed 23 feet up one of the walls to chisel his initials. What they don't tell you is that the initials were uncovered in 1927 and no one knows who the "G. W." was. Additionally, there's no documentation supporting the idea the former president surveyed the area. His other survey sites, like The Great Dismal Swamp, are well documented. This story came about around the time someone wanted to sell something not unlike the Betty Ford house claims. The real story of Natural Bridge is remarkable, but I can't go into that now.

Protip: Tour guides lie. Be skeptical.

George Washing slept...err...carved here. Maybe. Possibly. Probably not, but it sells tickets.

So, after "ooo'ing" and "ahhh'ing" at the Natural Bridge and being wholly underwhelmed by what the tour guides claim is a waterfall, we headed to the craptastic Wax Museum. I suspect that they employ a sculptor, but I'm not entirely sure. I'm confident that they do not employ a writer or a historian.

Protip: When the signs in a "museum" are misspelled, be skeptical.

I'm new on this blog and you may need a little bit of information about me before I continue. I recognize that I'm a bit of stickler for historical accuracy. I know what day is America's real Independence Day, but don't whine about how we're celebrating the wrong day every Fourth of July. I shut up, eat a hamburger, eat something fried, and watch the pretty colors in the sky like any other good American. I do, however, get real testy around Thanksgiving when everyone is singing the praises of the Pilgrims being the first colonizing Europeans here. Umm...excuse me, Jamestown was founded in 1607. Mayflower and crew were lost trying to get to Jamestown, ran out of beer, and took to shore to brew some more in 1620. So, now you know that my persnickety level is somewhere between "Celebrate July Second" and "Remember Jamestown Colony and the Lost Colony."

The sheer crapitude of the museum must have short circuited my brain. I normally take loads of pictures, but this oh-so-amazing museum melted the picture taking part of my brain. I woefully admit that I have no pictures.

I had no problems with The Garden of Eden display even if Eve was a blonde Caucasian. It's a wax museum not a history museum, right? This one tried to be a historical museum and that's where it went wrong.

I can handle the three different Thomas Jeffersons who didn't look like each other and looked almost but not entirely unlike Jefferson. I can even take shoe-horned references to missionaries being burned at the stake by members of a Native American tribe in a display that was handled with all the cultural sensitivity as small pox blankets. The room-sized "Last Supper" display was wholly disappointing and it made me feel like I'd left a wannabe history museum and stumbled into a church. It lacked any real information about the fresco or Leonardo da Vinci. It did, however, spend a good deal of time blowing wind around with fans and giving me a sermon. I kept waiting for the collection plate.

I could take all of that in stride. Virginia is in the Bible Belt, after all. I consider myself lucky when natural history museums don't have to dedicate a wing to Young Earth Creationists.

What angered me was something completely unrelated. What angered me was the treatment of our current president. In one section of the museum, and I fear that term is being used incorrectly, there were two large displays on either side of the walkway. One side had all of the Presidents of the United States bar one. The other side had prominent African American figures including one president, who looked distinctly Latino and was only recognizable due to the Presidential Seal on the podium before him, and the current First Lady, who looked like they took Laura Bush's wax figure and dipped it in dark paint.

I don't care what your politics are. I don't care if you like Obama or if you don't. The fact is that he's the 44th President of the United States. He's one of 43 men to have held that office (unless one counts Peyton Randolph and the other Presidents of the Continental Congress). I'm not trying to take anything away from being a groundbreaking historical African American figure, but he's the president for crying out loud!

If you're going to have a display of all of the Presidents of the United States then you need to have a display of all of the presidents! Perhaps your Clinton looks Asian, your George W. Bush looks like he eats Play-Doh, and the oddly gray Reagan looks like an Area 51 accident, but you put all of the presidents together in a display.

"Oh," but you might be saying, "Maybe they didn't have the room for Obama on the side with all of the Caucasian guys." Oh, but no. That was not the case. All of the Anglo-Saxon presidents were standing around a mock-up of a porch. They had so much room in this display that at the end they included Laurel and Hardy playing checkers and a several other treasured actors who never came close to being president. There was room. There was a lot of room.

At this point I looked at my traveling companion and said, "The Confederacy and Christianity are well featured here, but other than this display how many African Americans do you remember?"


There were three others: two slaves and a figure standing in the hallway as if she were a patron. She was dressed in 50s style clothing. There had been no Latinos and the presentation of Native Americans teetered between "noble savage" and "savage" and their religious beliefs bounced between polytheistic and monotheistic and included claims that they worshiped the bridge itself. The fact that this land had been sacred was not mentioned. With a few notable exceptions like Frederick Douglas and the First Lady, nearly all of the faces of the African American figures seemed to have been created by someone who frequently says, "They all look the same."

The only thing informative or interesting about this elaborate candle factory was the basement where they showed their process. Disembodied heads and half-formed faces lined the shelves. Limbs and torsos dotted the walls. It felt like walking into a secret workshop run by Ed Gein. It was equally cool and creepy.

I highly recommend seeing the beauty of the Natural Bridge, but the trickle they call a waterfall and the Wax Museum are at best a disappointment and at worst offensive. The tour guides are sources of legend presented as fact and springs of misinformation. By all means see the bridge. It's worth it, but be skeptical.

Blurb: In a war-torn world, a group of vampires struggle to reclaim their past glory. One of their own is missing. Weakened by solitude, the leader of the vampires, Kendrick, must find Byron, his covenant mate, before the pain of isolation kills them both. However, locating Byron is the least of the vampires' problems.

The chaos of the world's death rattle breeds suffering, death, and pestilence as well as a call for vengeance. The opposing sides of good and evil never looked so similar. A war that began with the dawn of time has enjoyed a respite. That respite is ending. Vampiric history, human history, and the lives of two lovers are about to come full circle.

Adult Excerpt:

Kendrick was going to have to be the responsible one. It wasn't Seth's fault. Seth didn't know what buttons he'd pushed. Seth was only trying to help. Such a sweet and deserving human. His lips found one of Seth's nipples, and his hands found Seth's waistband. Torn between wanting to embrace and wanting to ravage, Kendrick twisted his talons in the cotton of Seth's pajama pants. He licked Seth's nipple until it firmed upon his tongue. Alternating between sucking and pushing with his tongue, he toyed with the nipple between his teeth.

This wasn't enough.

Seth's life swirled around him. Seth's moans slipped in his ears, and Seth's hands--oh dear God--Seth's hands on his back--all of it made him crave more. He pulled his head back, leaving just the tip of his tongue against Seth's skin. He teased Seth's nipple. "Tell me to stop, Seth."

Seth curled his fingers and ran his smooth nails up Kendrick's back. "I'm not going to stop you."

Kendrick arched his back and pushed against Seth's touch. A strained groan left him. He shifted up and brushed his lips against Seth's. "Tell me no."

"Yes." Seth nudged forward and drew Kendrick into a kiss.

Kendrick closed his eyes and dove into the kiss. Seth arched from the bedding and clawed at Kendrick's back. The more Seth clawed, the harder Kendrick kissed. The firmer Kendrick kissed, the more Seth clutched. A synergistic cycle that razed Kendrick's senses.

Mustering what was left of his self-control, Kendrick jerked away from Seth. Panting, he crossed his arms over his chest and pressed his talons against his shoulders. This was going to turn into full-blown venery if he didn't check himself. "Stop me, Seth. Please."

Seth sat up and stretched out his arm. "Take me, Kendrick, please." He lightly ran his fingers along Kendrick's silk covered arousal. "You know you want to."

Kendrick's eyes popped open. This was entirely too tempting! He grabbed Seth's wrists, pushed them together, and slammed Seth's hands against the bedding above the human's head. He restrained Seth with one hand and tossed pillows over his shoulder, looking for his robe. With the end of his belt between his teeth, he yanked on his robe until the strip of silk was freed. He coiled the belt against Seth's wrists and knotted it.

The fixtures to the baptismal tub had long since been removed, but the holes were still there. He looped the tails of the belt through the holes in the tub and knotted it. One test yank told Kendrick there would be no further temptations from the tempter.

Kendrick rested on his shins and studied his handiwork. Perhaps that had been a mistake. A blush of passion dusted Seth's cheeks. Need glistened in Seth's brown eyes. The clean lines of Seth's understated chest rippled with shadow and light at every breath. Two pink nipples called to Kendrick. Seth's navel whispered for caress. The pronounced erection between Seth's legs begged for pleasure.

Kendrick's eyes fluttered back, and an invisible force pulled him down. Seth's heels kicked the bedding while Kendrick roamed the human's torso. Hunger and need drove Kendrick. He licked, sucked, and nibbled as the whim struck, making his way to Seth's navel.

The smell of arousal slammed into Kendrick. He wanted Seth. He wanted Seth's life and hope. He wanted to feel it around his body and gripping his cock. After tonguing Seth's navel, Kendrick turned his attention to Seth's delectably engorged, cloth-covered erection. He ran the tip of his nose up Seth's length and deeply inhaled the tantalizing spice of arousal. He dragged his lips down the firm bulge, and Seth pushed back, seemingly encouraging the attention.

Kendrick twisted his talons in the fabric over Seth's hips. He pleaded with his seducer. "Please, tell me to stop."

Seth rolled his hips, pushing his cock against Kendrick's shoulder. "Please, go on."

Kendrick gritted his teeth. He twisted his fists and ripped the fabric. Seth's prick bobbed once it was freed. "Halt me."

"Touch me."

Buy Full Circle at Freya's Bower.

~ ~ ~

Bio: I.M. Cupnjava is a "chick with a keyboard" who is never far from the coffee pot and cherishes the beauty of human sexuality. She lives in Virginia with her cats. Originally, she started writing because the "voices in her head" wouldn't shut up until she told their story. She has a degree in Sociology and a minor in Anthropology which she feels helps deepen her understanding of human (and humanoid) behavior. She harbors a great interest in philosophy and science.

Momma Cup has been guiding Cup, as many people call her, toward being an author since Cup was twelve, but it took a friend, J. V., to give Cup the kick in her backside to turn her hobby into a career. A few decades past twelve, Momma Cup finally got to hear, "You were right, Mom." And J.V. learned she forever changed Cup's life.

Writing has been more work and more fulfilling than Cup ever imagined possible.

She treasures each and every one of her readers. Feel free to friend her on Facebook, read her ramblings on Blogspot, or haunt her neglected LJ. Readers can e-mail her at

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

It Will Hit the Trash Can

Put it away or it hits the trashcan!

I say that a lot at my house. The other day I cleaned my big kitchen counter. We have a large kitchen, and it has two counters but the main worktop is one of those L-shaped counters. The downside to having this type of counter is the corner, especially if cabinets are over it. Everyone throws tosses, dumps, stores, etc., his or her garbage there.

I call it garbage because their stuff doesn’t belong on the counter or even in the kitchen—and most of it was junk! It took me two hours to sort, toss, and put away the crap on this counter. Wrappers, toys, nail polish, jewelry, pens, pencils, old school work, and just plain ol’ garbage that the family was too lazy to put in the trash can.

Why is it so difficult to file or put something away? Seriously, you just take it to where you got it and put back. If it’s trash, you just walk to the trash can and toss it in.

Simple, right?


My seven year old has no clue what a trash can is, and my youngest dau believes the coffee table IS a garbage pail. The hubby thinks the floor by his chair against the wall is for EVERYTHING.

And the space between my writing chair and the wall has everyone’s stuff crammed in there.

Hang on a minute. That is MY area. Why is everyone else's crap in MY area? I don't go in my son's room (that is a post all unto itself. At the moment I'm considering putting a sign up on his door that states "Danger: Hard hat must be worn at all times") and dump all my things in there. I don't go upstairs and throw all my stuff in my dau's room nor do I store or pitch all my belongings in the hubby's area either.

So why is the space behind my writing chair filled with items that belongs to everyone else in the house???

And yes, I chew everyone out over this problem, but it goes in one ear and out the other.

I’ve finally told both kids and the hubs that if I keep picking it up and putting it away OR I have to keep telling them to clean up their “garbage” areas, I will throw their stuff away—and I don’t care what it is!

The youngest--except for his room--and the hubby are doing better, but not a lot. The dau...oy! She has the attention span of a gnat, but that’s a teenager for you.

When I strike it rich, I’m hiring a maid! With my luck I'll find all her stuff behind my chair too!

Monday, 24 September 2012

Turn off the Damn Heater!

My husband and I are in a war. He freezes 24/7, even in the summer, and I’m hot ALL the time. As a matter of fact, the youngest dau and I are in a similar battle, although it’s not as bad nor are there casualties.

I’m one of those few people who are overly warm. It doesn’t matter if it’s the dead of winter; I seldom step outside wearing anything heavier than a sweatshirt or hoodie. I’ve been known to even walk out on the porch or the sidewalk in bare feet to feed the dog. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me. Now I won’t go as far as walking around barefooted in the snow and ice, but I don’t bat an eye at a few minutes out on a freezing porch or sidewalk.

Now let me give you a li’l background info on the hubby. He’s a welder, so he works in extremely high temperatures and in close proximity to metal that has to be heated until it glows red. I get it that he feels cold when he’s been standing next to a piece of cast iron all day that registers 400 degrees. After 8 to 10 hours of that and then stepping out into 85 degree weather, I’m sure he feels cold in comparison. Not only that, he has poor circulation.

However, we had temps this summer in the 100s, going as high as 107 with the heat index pushing it a li'l higher. That man would come home, sit at his usual place in the kitchen to watch TV, and then turn the heater on behind him.

Oh, no you didn’t!


“Who the hell turned off my heater?”

“I did. It’s 107 out and you come in and turn on the heater.”

“My back hurts and the heat helps it,” he growls.

“I don’t care if you’re the Hunchback of Notre Dame! It’s 107 degrees out. Read my lips! One-Oh-sev-en!”

He complains we don’t spend as much time together as he wants, but I can’t handle the heat of the kitchen where he spends most of his time when he’s home. I already have a built-in furnace. The last thing I want is to sweat while watching TV. And when a meal is cooked, especially if the oven is in use, the temperature climbs.

It got down to 41 one night last week. The hubby was wrapped in the comforter as if he was sleeping on the snowy tundra. Sweating, I kicked the covers off. He got up for work, and when I got up I was wandering around the house in undies and a t-shirt while he and the dau were bundled up in long-sleeved shirts and sweatshirts.

And when I do want some of the comforter at night, it’s a fight to the death. That man can snap a blanket off of me and rolled up in it like yanking a tablecloth off a table, leaving everything else to stand undisturbed.

And all day he’s home the heater gets a workout. On. Off. On. Off. On. Off.

I open the door to get air. He shuts it.

I open the window to get air. He shuts it.

Finally, I usually yell something like, “Damn it, if you’re that freaking cold go put on more clothes.”

“If you’re that hot,” he counters, “take off some clothes.”

“I’m already in a t-shirt and panties,” I’ll snap.

He will then grin at me. “I know.”

“Ass wipe,” I’ll shoot back and stomp to the bedroom where it’s cooler.

Even my hands exude heat. The dau will come up to me and ask me to hold her hands for a minute to warm them up. She says mine feel like oven mitts just out of the dryer. And the hubby gets cold at night and crowds me because I’m emitting so much body heat he thinks I’m better than an electric blanket. Some nights he crowds me so badly I get up and go to the couch. Honey, I love you but get the hell off of me so I can at least breathe! Add his body heat to mine, which is already too high, and I feel like I’m in a sauna.

Oh, and let’s not forget the mini war where the hubs unplugs my laptop or my wireless cord so he can plug in his heater.


Will he plug it in the power strip? Nooooo! He has to have the wall outlet.

One day he’ll get that heater stuffed where the sun doesn’t shine. Once I plug it in, he won’t have to worry about being cold anymore.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Continuing on a Theme

“Don't bend; don't water it down; don't try to make it logical; don't edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”--Franz Kafka

I grew up a conservative, Catholic Canadian. That quote? Pretty much the antithesis of how I was taught to behave out in the world. So it shocks me that someone thought of me when they saw it. sort of inspires me, even if that good little Catholic girl in there thinks its a scary, completely dangerous idea that can only end in tragedy and/or a pail of Haagen Dasz.

A lot of the time I just trundle through life completely unaware that I am, in fact, sort of living it. For one thing, we don't just home school our kids. We un-school them. We encourage them in their creative pursuits of music an dance and art, and squeeze math and science in when it comes up. (and for the record, because they're brilliant, (and I'm their mom, so I get to say that, and no one gets to argue with me about it!) they're still ahead of most of their peers in those subjects.) We don't own a car. We don't (often) mow our lawn, and when we do, we use that old-fashioned kind of mower. You know the kind without a motor?

Occasionally, we even grow our own veggies and make our own wine.

I'm a writer, for cryin' out Pete's sake! I write not just novels, but romance novels, and not just that, but erotic romance novels, and not even just that but GAY romance novels!!!!!

I am living the life I never even dared to dream of back in the day when I first put pen to paper when I was fifteen years old. I am doing what I love. I'm living the life that makes me deliriously happy.

Granted, a good portion of my family (and trust me, it's a REALLY big family) thinks I'm insane, probably even thinks I'm in denial over how much I am in love with my family and the life we have. In fact, I'm pretty sure certain members of my family can barely stand to watch just how little we care about things like status quo, conformity, conventional-ism, and a trimmed lawn. I'm pretty sure some of them think it's all my husband's fault. That I need to be rescued.

I'm positive I'm just mercilessly following my passions and my bliss.

Just like when I write a book, and I follow my characters into plots more conservative writers might frown on, I'm not doing it for them. I'm doing it for me. And if I teach my kids one thing in life, I hope I teach them to be brave and stand up for the mercenary in them that wants happiness above status and conventional acceptance. (With any luck, that won't include anything really socially unacceptable that might land them in jail or anything.)

I self-edited all this joy and self expression out of my soul for nearly thirty years of my life. It's bad for a book, and it's bad for your soul. I'm not doing it any more. So there!

What about you? Do you ever look at your own life and think: "Damn! I really am doing ok!"

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Who's This Story For, Anyway?

It seems like every time I turn around, someone, somewhere, is asking something like...."But will readers buy that?" or "Will readers get pissed off if I...." (fill in the blank) "will readers hate my characters if they....." (again, pick a vice)

And I always just want to take those writers, shake them and ask them "what the hell is wrong with you?"

Because you know what? They aren't writers. Asking them to answer such questions is like a long shore fisherman asking a dairy farmer where the good fishing holes are. It doesn't make the farmer any less smart because he can't answer that question, but I have to seriously wonder about the fisherman.

Asking another writer is only slightly less impossible. Now the longshoreman is asking an Alaskan Crabber where the Atlantic cod are. He might have an answer, but it probably won't be relevant or accurate enough to matter.

The thing is, the answer to all those questions is at once yes, no and who the hell knows?!?!? Who cares? Watch me piss off all my readers, but...I don't write for them. I write for the story, end of.

Now I also probably pissed off all the writers who've ever asked if making their main character a 'cheater' or an addict who falls off the wagon, or if they can write a romance in which the two main character share less than half a novel's worth of page time. Some days, I'm not very diplomatic. Rest assured, my friends (if I can still call you that!) every one of those questions has flitted through my mind, and I have asked. And you know what my brilliant writer friends say?

Who the hell knows? Who cares? Is that what the character is doing? Then why are you still talking about? Why are you bugging me? Why aren't you just writing that shit down?

And they were right, and I did. In this book.

If there is a vice for Laurie to exploit, he does, and you know what? Not everyone is going to dig that. That's ok. I'm not writing for them. I'm writing for Laurie. His story has been told and his voice has been quieted. That's all that matters.

Blurb: The violent implosion of Lawrence McKenna’s last relationship left him floundering at the bottom of a bottle. Recently unemployed and struggling with his newly discovered submissive tendencies, Laurie needs his best friend, Jeff, more than ever. One sleepless night of detox and a desperate kiss convince him that the attraction they’ve battled all their lives has become too hard to ignore, but Jeff has other responsibilities that take him far away from Laurie and his self-destructive behavior.

When Jeff leaves, all Laurie wants is to be left alone to wallow. Instead, he finds himself riding herd on his friends who have quit their jobs to achieve their dream of starting their own manga publisher. Those same friends return the favor by riding him: about the booze, talking about what happened, seeing a doctor—and about Jeff, whose abandonment left Laurie bitter and resentful. Laurie knows they can’t have a relationship without forgiveness, but when Jeff returns, can he be what Laurie needs?

Friday, 7 September 2012

Getting Old Sucks

I am not that old, but in the past six months, I feel like my body has let me down. It's kind of been working on it for the past couple of years. Then, in March, I went in to swim, and I struggled. It wasn't just hard. I was miserable. I keep swimming, hoping it will get better. To some degree it has, but it hasn't been as easy to get "back" into shape. And, I have gained about five pounds and haven't been able to lose it.

What really opened my eyes are the yoga classes I've started taking recently. They're good. They're hard, so much harder than I remember it. And while talking to the instructor tonight, I found myself making excuses and angry that she didn't believe me. I was trying so hard to convince her how strong I was. (snort) It was as I walked home that I realized what I was doing and the reality: I am getting old. And, honestly, it sucks. It makes me grumpy. Not just grumpy, downright pissed. WTF is the point of eating right, exercising frequently, and taking care of myself if I am going to lose half my strength overnight?

And, yes, that is how it feels. My hormones have gone nuts, my moods are swinging like howler monkeys in the jungle, I get migraines that I've never had, leaving me incapacitated with a husband who just doesn't get it (if you don't have migraines, hope you never do.), and my weight is higher than it's ever been except for when I was pregnant. By evening, I mostly just want to chew on someone's leg I'm that frustrated.

I have always been active. Always. Even when I didn't swim when Lily was very young, I was walking 10 miles or more a week with her in a backpack. She was an extra twenty to thirty pounds. I still walked (uphill half way) three miles an hour. I was strong. So, this is very frustrating for me.

I did yoga in college. Everything in that class was easy. Everything. Not one stretch felt like I stretched anything. Now, I can't even touch my toes without having to bend my legs. I pulled my hamstring jumping off the blocks a good 6 weeks ago. It still hurts. I've come to the conclusion that it's how tight my hips are, and they are affecting my legs.

But does that really matter? I mean, it's all just a sign that I am aging, right?

Maybe I'm just whining. Maybe I have unrealistic expectations of my body. Maybe, but I can honestly say I'm not liking it one little bit. Not liking it? It sucks major wads, and whoever came up with this idea of aging should first be made to suffer and then made to change it. (g) Let me stay young physically then decide it's time to go. Would we ever decide to go if that happened? Eventually. Maybe sooner than later for some. Maybe later than sooner for others. It would even out, I think. And without all those crappy diseases and infirmities of old age would be nice.

People say you don't have to let age slow you down. Ha! I'm trying really hard not to, but I may be fighting a losing battle. Whether I lose (probably) or not, I'm sure the air around me will be blue every step of the way.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Review: Alec’s Reward

by Kim Dare

Publisher: Total e-Bound
(No cover available for this title)

I’ve been doing some market/genre research of late, so I’ve been buying books from various authors and picking up freebies in specific sub-genres, too. This one I came across on Total e-Bound’s free reads page.

Since this story is so short, I don’t want to spoil the plot for anyone who downloads the e-book, so I’ll try to sum it up in a nutshell.

Alec is a submissive. Mr. Leavery is the master. Alec has worked extremely hard to win his master’s approval and has undergone all the rigorous ins and outs of being the submissive of a BDSM master. Now Alec has completed a final task of endurance and devotion of his current phase of training, so he awaits Mr. Leavery’s decision on whether or not he has passed the test.

Although I’ve read and edited light BDSM, it’s not a genre that I’m keen on, so this story wasn’t really my cup of tea...

However, Ms. Dare writes well. The author has a clean, streamlined style and wields the five senses like sharp weapons. I smelled, heard, felt, saw, and tasted everything because it’s so well defined in the story—and without being overdone. Lastly, this short tale has a nice, satisfying ending.

If you like BDSM and a li’l m/m too, give this short a try. You can find it on Total e-Bound’s free reads page.

Disclaimer: all books reviewed by 4SW have been purchased or are free offers downloaded by the individual reviewer; some may even be borrowed from our local libraries. 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

"Squeal," went the penny

For the past couple of years, I've been looking to replace my 1991 bedspread. Yeah, 1991. So, I keep things for a while. What can I say? If it still works, I'm not likely to get rid of it...unless I'm tired of it. And, well, after 20+ years of the same bedspread, you could say I'm tired of it. LOL

But finding a bedspread that is not $300-400 and doesn't look like it belongs in a bachelor pad, a college dorm room, Grandma's guest bedroom, or a cathouse is like finding a vein of gold in your garden. At least, that's how it seemed to me. It took me two years to find our new comforter and my mom's creative financing idea to convince me to order it.

My mother was visiting for Lily's birthday party. A conversation we had during her visit spurred me to search on the internet again for this elusive quarry. I'm picky. I know it. I wanted a light background with a floral pattern. Not Grandma's floral print, but something modern, timeless, and elegant. No geometric patterns or stripes. Something feminine, but not frilly. (I don't ask for much, do I? grin) Yes, I knew it was going to be hard, but I didn't think it would take two years.

Then Mom suggested I look on this one store. I'd never considered this particular store because it's known for being pricy. I would most likely find something (although, believe it or not, there wasn't that much to choose from), but I wouldn't want to pay that much. This is when Mom came up with the creative financing. We had some gift cards coming to us because we'd taken a health survey. (It used to be really easy. You answered a few questions; they sent you the cards. This last time, it took 6 weeks to complete, and you had to keep track of your eating habits and your exercise habits to get the card. After which, they try to tell you how to improve your health, except they don't really know that much about your health and, in my opinion, are coming from the Dark Ages. And... I digress...) She suggested using the department store credit card then paying it off with the gift cards.

With that idea in mind, I pulled the site up and found this beautiful comforter. It was... $400. (Of course.) But wait! It was on sale for $199 (because the pattern was being discontinued) plus tax, minus a 15% discount and free shipping. Hm... With the gift cards, I would pay maybe $40 out of pocket for it. That sounded really good to me. Really, really good.

I didn't have the department store credit card, so I had to sign up for it. (It's been shredded now that it's paid off.) Within minutes, I'd bought the comforter, ordered my gift cards, and couldn't wait to swap out my old one for the new one.

Fast forward about three or four weeks to Saturday. The department store card had arrived, the gift cards were here, I'd been using the comforter for a good two to three weeks now, and it'd been on my mind to go and pay the card off before I forgot and late charges accrued. (Thirty percentage rate on this card. Insane, which is why it's been shredded.) Charlie was home, so I could escape.

I ran over to the store and walked up to a customer representative. "Excuse me. Do you know where I can make a payment on my card?"

"You can do it here, ma'am."

"Great!" I pulled out my card and the gift cards and set them on the counter. "I'd like to use these gift cards to pay on it, and I'll pay whatever's left over."

She shakes her head. "I'm sorry, but you can't use gift cards to pay off your credit card."

"That makes no sense to me. The money is on the card. The store's been paid. It's as good as cash."

"It's policy, ma'am."

"That may be the case," I was getting a little hot, "but that's not right." I took a deep breath. "I'm not upset with you. I understand it's policy, but I'd like to speak to your manager."

She went to the phone. A few minutes later, she asked, "How much do you have on the card?"

"I think it's around $180."

She conferred with the manager on the phone before asking, "And you'll be paying the rest of it off?"

"Uh, yeah." I'd already told her this.

"Well, my manager said that we could do it just this once."

She couldn't see it, but I was doing a little happy dance inside. (grin) "So, how much is on my card exactly?"

She crossed to the register and pulled up my account. "$150.89, so you will owe eighty-nine cents."


Eighty-nine cents. Apparently, another discount for opening the account had been applied to my balance. (grin)

Uh-huh, I got a $400 comforter for eighty-nine cents. The only thing that would have made this even better would be if they owed me money.

But I'm not going to be greedy. I'm okay with my deal. I think eighty-nine cents is pretty good.

And, yes, I heard that penny squeal all the way home. (grin)

My new bedspread.