Saturday, September 6, 2014

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Back in May, I wrote about my reality show audition. As part of the process, I had to fill out tons of forms, including a detailed background questionnaire: When was the last time you used drugs? How many X-rated movies have you been in? Are you current on your child support payments... and so on. Filling out the forms were exhausting, and kind of painful, because they were intended for 25 year-olds. Contestants for these shows are evidently kids who actually know the e-mail addresses of their college roommates.

With all the work I put into getting on the show, I started getting really optimistic, and truly interested in the idea of changing the world and being on TV. My plan to just enjoy the experience went out the window. The show loves me! And I love the show! We were meant for each other! I spent a lot time imagining my new future.

Months went by, and I realized my love affair with the show was one-sided. The show did not pick me. The show did not love me. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was actually mad. And then I was sad. And then I was all, "The show is gonna suck anyway, and besides, the show picked nothing but narcissistic, high-concept lack-wits." And then, finally, I accepted the rejection. I had a pretty happy non-Hollywood life before, and I would again.

Less than a week ago, I got a phone message from the show. My love needed me! I was thrilled and flattered. I knew the show was being filmed, and had heard there was some trouble with the contestants not following the rules. Happy that the show loved me again, I returned the call.

The show was, as I suspected, looking for alternates. Yes, I was still interested in being on the show. Yes, I could be ready as long as I got two weeks notice. But at the end of the day, I was massively irritated. Why had my great love returned? All the emotional work I did to get the show out of my heart and mind was wasted. I started dreaming about my new and exciting Hollywood future again. Which is nuts because the future is bleak: The young casting assistant who spoke to me knew only my name and number. Nothing else. Not the forms I'd already filled out, not what sort of person I was, not that I already had an audition "package". 

I'm pretty sure the show called me only because I'm an entry in a little black book. Some love. Heh. If anything exciting happens, I'll post an update. Otherwise, I'm going back to my happy non-Hollywood life.

Friday, August 15, 2014

I Have a Website!

I'm in the process of developing a website! It's kind of raw, but hey, I've got to start somewhere!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

YOLO: Reality Show Audition

We had a family emergency recently. It took days of hard physical labor to get things fixed up and back to normal. I returned to Colorado exhausted, keenly aware of my mortality and my limitations. When faced with such a gloomy realization, some people might turn to religion, or maybe drugs.

I auditioned for a TV reality adventure show.

I took my youngest daughter’s motto to heart: YOLO or You Only Live Once, and filled out a short online form. I made hay about being an erotic romance writer. I figured that would distinguish me from the multitude of personal trainers. I swept through the questions, my answers more snarky than pensive. Halfway through the questionnaire, I got my cheery back.

Not long after, I got a call from a producer/casting/assistant type of person, inviting me to an on camera interview. I went.

The on camera audition was an altogether unfamiliar, and lovely, experience. There were three young people in the room. Two transcribed what I said onto their laptops (I think that’s what they were doing), and another worked the camera and asked questions. The interviewer was empathetic and highly personable. I wondered what they were looking for.

I’ve always been goal-oriented. Concrete achievements are the measure of success. Like a degree. Or getting to the top of a mountain, or potty training a child, or getting a book published. I soon recognized that audition success had nothing to do with a curriculum vitae. Beyond the basics of my background, the casting folk just didn’t care.

They were looking for personality.

To get to the next round, I’d need to allow the producers to see some innate, inborn part of me. I’d have to pitch who I was, not what I’ve done. And I’d have to do it by showing, not telling. Was I funny? Intellectual? Judgmental? Adventurous? Psycho? Personality analysis happens during all job interviews, I suppose, but usually there’s a pretense of discussing skills and education. The purpose of a reality show interview is only to find people who’ll make good TV. Heh. We'll see how far I get. In any case, I'm having an adventure.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pole Dancing and Me

I've always believed that I should write what I want to know, rather than what I do know. Learning something new makes writing fiction a full-on blast. But sometimes I cheat. Like when I wrote exotic dance scenes in Management Skills, I ended up relying on my general dance experience.

But ever since, I've wondered... shouldn't I find out what exotic dancing is all about? I got my chance last Friday when one of our local pole dance studios (yes, we have two!) offered a trial class for 5 bucks. Armed with curiosity and a full water bottle, I went. The instructor was cute as a button, wearing some sort of tiny volleyball shorts and jogbra. Happily, she was patient and a skilled teacher. She started out with stretches and upper-body strengthening exercises. I should've known I'd be in trouble when she started doing one-armed planks.

Soon we were learning mini-routines on the pole. Arm strength is critical. Why? Because pole-dancing is actually not dancing; it's gymnastics. It is an athletic event. The pole is made up of some sort of material that's supposed to stick well to skin. Evidently, a bare thigh squeeze can help hold a person up. Hence the instructor's volleyball shorts. Unfortunately, I wore super long shorts, sometimes known as pants. So no thigh squeeze for me. I had to hang and slide and twirl using my upper-body.

Which brings me to the subject of sexiness and pole dancing. Grimacing and grunting and landing in a meaty heap is not normally considered sexy. Let's just say I tried hard. But the instructor did teach us a little routine we could do on the floor. I convinced myself I was even graceful doing it. I committed the little dance to memory, intending to show my husband.

I performed my floor dance for him. He found it... inspiring.

The pole-dance class left me with aching shoulders and arms. I hurt for two days. I still have bruises on my inner and outer thighs and ankles. I can't wait to go to class again.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Miss You, Sir: Cover Reveal

I'm thrilled to announce that Siren will be publishing my new BDSM novella series about the Quinn Brothers. Miss You, Sir will be coming out at the end of February. Take a look at the terrific cover. I love it!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

How Not to Apologize for Plagiarizing

Shia LaBeouf, the "Transformer" actor, has been called out for plagiarizing a graphic novel written by Daniel Clowes for his short film. Here's Shia's apologetic tweet from Dec 28.
"When you've made a mistake you should apologise. But more importantly -- most important of all -- you've got to learn from your mistakes."
This apology is a huge mistake for three reasons.

1. A victim of theft doesn't want to hear about how a thief is going to learn from his mistakes. Tell that to the judge--or to your mother, Shia.

2. The tweet itself is plagiarized.  Nick Clegg, the UK Deputy Prime Minister wrote the same thing in 2012--including the British spelling of apologize.

3. The promise to "learn from your mistakes" is less than sincere when theft is getting to be a habit.  LaBeouf's short graphic novel "Stale N Mate" allegedly plagiarizes a Melville House book by Benoit Duteurtre.

Shia's tweet from Dec 30 continues the sorrys:
I can't apologize enough. I'll always be sorry this happened. Trust is hard earned and I messed that up.
"Sorry this happened" isn't an apology. It puts the blame on fate. Fate is a trampoline blowing into someone's yard--not the theft of ideas.

And Shia tweets on Dec 31:
Mr. Clowes, I can only ask that you view my apology as a stepping stone toward repairing this misunderstanding between us. I'm sorry.
Misunderstanding? Again this an attempt to minimize the problem. Where's the personal responsiblity, Shia?

And finally, here's Shia's latest tweet. He blames his supposed drug habit:
Im addicted to lean & that shit ain’t no joke. I can barely remember all the things I’ve done & said. However there’s no excuse 4 skywriting

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Writing Descriptions

I'm blogging about this topic over at Samhain today!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Fear, Trust and Submissive Safety

I recently read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It's fascinating and valuable how-to book, offering techniques for protecting ourselves from violence. de Becker writes that the primary warning signal of danger ahead is the momentary feeling of fear. Not anxiety or suspicion, but actual fear. Too often we don't pay attention to fear because we're in a constant state of nervousness as it is, or we force the emotion away because it's impolite to take action on the basis of a hunch. This is a mistake. Predictive fear is based on a whole slew of subconscious observations, which we might dismiss if we attribute it to mere "intuition."

There have been a few occasions where I might have been in danger.  When I was a college student, I lived in a ratty apartment in downtown Denver. One night I get a knock at my door. I open it. A big man is standing out in the hallway. He holds a Bowie-type knife in his hand. I'm surprised, and a little nervous. Big man. Stranger. Knife. Night. But I don't't feel a jolt of fear. I ask him, "Are you wanting to hurt me?" He says no. He then proceedes to vent about a fellow apartment dweller who was complaining that he'd been playing his Pow Wow music too loud. Afterwards the big man with the big knife goes back home. So why didn't I feel fear? There were plenty of clues that I was not in danger, and my brain was evidently processing them subconsciously.  Like: The security system of the apartment pretty much meant he was a neighbor. So not some guy off the street. He was stoking his knife the entire time. My mind must have interpreted this stroking not as a threat, but as an upset guy handling a security blanket. His actions, his body language, the context, his voice, all made me believe he was just a lonely, scared man who was seeking friendly human contact. What didn't count was his answer to my question about if he was going to hurt me.

A few years later, I'm flying to San Jose for a job interview in Northern California. A young woman and I get to talking on the plane. She finds out I'm renting a car to head north.  She asks me for a ride to city on the way. I say sure. As we're deplaning, she suddenly informs me she wants me to take on another passenger. She has a friend, a man, also on the plane. I'm surprised and uneasy. I pause to think about this new development, and she smiles at me. Her smile is wide, and meant to be reassuring. The smile says, "Trust me."  I now feel true fear. Needless to say, I didn't let her, or her companion, in my rental car.  It's possible that this couple wasn't dangerous at all. But I still think they were.

And this close call brings me to the topic of this post: What can The Gift of Fear, full of great advice for the vanilla world, offer a sub in the BDSM world? Clearly the concept of respecting your fear isn't all that relevant in the kink sphere, given that fear is the extra thrill attracting many to BDSM. So how can the knowledge in de Becker's book protect the submissive?

First, by analyzing the concept of "trust" rather than "fear".

de Becker describes, in detail, a group of signals that let you know you may be in danger. These signals are the intellectual (and often subconscious) underpinnings of the fear emotion. The vulnerable sub is going to have to study those signals in the context of trust, rather than fear. I'll write about two of de Becker's signals, but in relation to BDSM play.

Forced Teaming: Translated to the BDSM world, this is a manipulation to "force trust". A sub who responds to such manipulation is in grave danger. Here are a few examples: A Dom is "owed" trust. A Dom "deserves" trust. A Dom has "earned" trust. A Dom is "hurt" because there's not enough trust.  A Dom is angry because there isn't enough trust. A Dom demands trust. A Dom claims there's a timetable for trust. Bullshit. To see how ridiculous these claims are, replace trust with the words "romantic love". Is someone owed romantic love? Is romantic love earned? Does romantic love have a timetable?

Trust, rather than love, is often the emotional currency of BDSM. Treat trust with respect, and expect your partner to do the same.

Discounting the word no: This concept obviously doesn't need recasting. I can't tell you how many times I've spoken to subs who played with someone who violated their limits or ignored their safeword. They're hurt and harmed. But after a promise to do better, they play with the same person again. And get into even worse trouble. There's no "three strikes and you're out" in BDSM. The kink game is a lot rougher and potentially more deadly than baseball. One strike is enough. Get outta there.

Unless it's by some mutually agreed-upon, in advance, mind-fuck or role-play scenario, "no means no" in BDSM, too.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Vent: The Neverending Charity

Have you noticed the slew of retail stores that ask customers to "round up" their bill for charity? I've been asked to donate by grocery stores, the KMart, the plant nursery, eBay, and even the thrift shop! I don't say yes if it's a charity I've never heard of.  I like to research new non-profits, and donate to those I feel will do the most good with the least expensive bureaucratic infrastructure.

The plant nursery, for example, asked me to donate to a fine-sounding but obscure organization. I asked the clerk what the charity did. She replied, "The charity provides organic food, even to those who can't afford it." Isn't giving food to the people who need it the job of a food bank? I already donate to the food bank. So why is this charity (with a different set of directors and paid officers) better than a food bank? Because the food is organic? And you can't mix organic with chemically treated? Because possibly, maybe, if they are lucky, once in awhile, a poor person will get some? I'm not convinced this organic food charity even had a distribution plan. So yeah, I said no to the request to donate.

The stores pimping for charity are getting more brazen. "Rounding up" isn't good enough anymore. Last week the clerk at the Ross store requested my donation only in dollar increments. The charity was unknown to me, but it had children in the name. You can't say no to helping children, right? Yeah, well, I did say no. In the meantime, Ross crows about how they are "giving back".  Is Ross really giving back? Isn't the customer who responds to the request the one giving back?

I prefer the more generous approach of Kohl's, a dry goods type of store, similar to Ross. Kohl's sells adorable stuffed animals and high-quality, classic children's books near the checkout counters. All of the money goes to charity. I've bought tons of the toys--for my children, of course. Kohl's is truly investing in the charity. Kohl's does give back.

Colorado has frequent local tragedies, all of which require spur-of-the-moment giving. And I do. But I am pretty well sick of third-party, institutional begging.