Quid Pro Quo: Howdja Like It?

Good evening, Angels…

[“GOOD EVENING, CHARLIE!”]

I hope you took advantage of the freebie Angels’ Prey flight of fancy. As I mentioned before, I’ve put erotica on the back shelf for awhile, but may return to it with enough encouragement. A handful of folks have asked me to get back to the Dark Alchemy chronicles, and I was thinking of writing a series of novelettes (7,500-17,500 words), keeping the price of each at 99 cents. Since I’m interested in switching point-of-views, I’d be moving from the first person narrative of Angels’ Prey to the third person. This goes against current erotica trends, but I’ve never been one to follow trends, so….

…if you did read/enjoy Angels’ Prey, please leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads. If you read/did NOT enjoy Angels’ Prey, please leave a review, as well. I’m interested in what you have to say. (Unless you’re a troll. Then I don’t give a rat’s ass.) If it looks like there’s an audience, I’ll bring you more naughty fun with Clarice, Jabazael, and Maelfar. Not to mention a host of other angels, daemons, and extraordinary humans who are ready to get tangled up in the wars of the spirit and physical worlds. Plus have XXX-rated romps. I aim to please.

Kisses,

vka

P.S. If you didn’t get a chance to grab Angels’ Prey, here’s the handy link to Amazon:

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Angels’ Prey: RE-RELEASING TODAY!

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Okay, now that we got This Guy out of the way….

Look, it was on “stock photos” on Google Images for “trashy angels.” Since the gettyimages tag is still on it makes me think there’s a copyright involved which I’m violating. In which case, may the owner of this photo please contact me so that I can remove it at once. Apparently, there are tons of Trashy Angels available, but this fella fit the bill. He’s buyin’ what I’m sellin’!

It’s Getcher-Freak-On-Friday! On a whim, I decided to revive this ol’ chestnut, previously published by Noble Romance (that now-defunct indie company wrought with scandal and corruption) under my own “publishing company.” [I call said press “Ahwenterprises, LLC…” which is a self-pleasuring way of saying KDP.] Here’s the original blurbie:

                                                 ONE WAS NEVER ENOUGH

Clarice Larrabee’s scandalous dalliances as a maid in the Oakesdale estate have her expelled to the Holy Order of St Anne for a life of celibacy and repentance. Lord Frothingham’s calculated seduction and Clarice’s romance with his handsome son George led to her social and spiritual ruin, leaving her heartbroken, scorned, and bereft. There is no place in Victorian English society for a love so passionate, nor a will so bold, nor a mind so bright as Clarice Larrabee, who now dedicates herself to the convent, praying with all her might for redemption. Yet how long can she run from her true nature?

                                                HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF

An amorous visitation from an Angel named Jabazael reawakens the sensual side of Clarice, from which there is no turning back. After a night of wanton lust in the arms of this powerful being, she realizes her destiny is not within the confines of a manse, nor the walls of a cathedral, but in another realm altogether. After her surrender to Angel Jabazael, she encounters Daemon Maelfar, who reveals Clarice’s unique destiny as a receptacle of angelic light and diabolical darkness. But her role in the universal balance between good and evil can only begin after a ritual of erotic pleasure when both holy creatures share her body, where she submits to becoming eternally…

                                                         ANGELS’ PREY

 

It’s weird, it’s wicked dirty, and it was fun as heck to write. Think of a triple-X (try MMF) comedic tribute to Victorian Gothic romance novels (of the “Dear Reader” variety), and a total parody of V.C. Andrews. But –spoiler alert– no one has sex with any siblings, cousins, or uncles. I did have fun breaking all the “Never use passive voice, adverbs, exclamation points, purple prose, em-dashes, run-on sentences, hyperbole, etc. rules.” The title and description are a bit misleading, since the majority of Clarice’ sordid tale takes place at the Oakesdale estate, and the angels are only in the first and last couple of chapters.  I had every intention of turning it into a series, so it’s primarily sexy backstory.

But, as I’ve mentioned here before, I am on an erotica hiatus, until it gets to be fun, again. In my last post, I mentioned clearing the desk drawers of old work, in order to keep making room for new fiction, poetry, and art.

As with all KDP books, Angels’ Prey is available for FREEEEEEEEE with Kindle Unlimited! Periodically I’ll be doing promotional price drops, but can’t seem to figure out how that whole thing works. That may not happen for awhile, but, still…. $2.99 is way cheaper than a small pumpkin spice latte, and Angels’ Prey Porny-Purple-Prose is way more stimulating than caffeine. Not to mention way spicier than flavoured corn syrup.

In a few days, AP will also be available as a paperback, for people like me who get headaches reading e-books. Plus, it’s just aesthetically pleasing to hold a solid book in your hands, and you retain more from turning physical pages than scrolling on a screen. True story! I’ll update this with the link in the near future.

Have a lovely weekend.

Kisses,

vka

THE LAND OF NOD: You Might Hate This Book

 

 

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“She’d been subterranean for little more than an hour, and already was forgetting life on the outside….”

The Land of Nod is a psychedelic Roman a clef, a journey of magical realism, a dark children’s tale for adults. Recovered methadone baby Kassandra Bullet is on a quest for family, faith, and Self. Along her journey she meets a lively set of players: 78-year-old potato farmer Adelaide Wentworth, Bufo Alvarius rancher Toad Licker, former Illitch Chief Deputy John Losa, her doomed lover Raven Black, and even a mime who just might be Jesus Christ. Will this strange girl in a strange land stumble upon salvation, or descend into destruction?

                                                       THE LAND OF NOD

                                                           Nothing Is Real.

Surprise! I’m putting out a new book this week.

Pirates, be ye warned.

As the title of my post indicates, this here is a Preemptive Strike. Hi, Twitter! Lots of content warning and some ’splainin’ is in order for Vivacia K. Ahwen and Rachel Robbins’ new release, The Land of Nod. I’ll try to hit all points I can think of. Though I’ll surely be reminded if I forget something 😉

Let’s start with authors and genre, shall we? Vivacia K. Ahwen writes erotica, but has grown quite weary of it. Rachel Robbins writes some hot stuff, but it’s not the primary focus of the story. More magical realism, less wank. Since I (Rachel) haven’t published anything under my own name, I decided a good way to cross over into my lit fiction and still have some brand recognition was co-authoring with Vivacia. Also, let me be clear: The Land of Nod is a New Adult book, not a Young Adult. Rather than list all the potential “triggers” in the book, let me just say there’s a bunch of them. If you are easily offended by exploring upsetting issues, please read something else. The MC is only eighteen by the end of the book, which would scream YA, but there’s some seriously creeptastic stuff in Nod. It might be considered appropriate for the teen set back before we started infantilizing readers, but nowadays it’s not. There is physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. The underground toad ranch is not a safe space. Also….

I started writing LON in 1992, and it was an on/off labor of love that kept me semi-sane through some dark years. The Land of Nod was my playground. Unfortunately, by the time I’d finished (2004), the novel was already irrelevant and outdated. For example, people are going to think of actress Sandra Bullock when they read “Kassandra Bullet.” I’d never heard of her until long after Miss Congeniality had come out, and since Kaybee’s name is integral to character, plot, setting, theme, etc. I can’t change it.

Twilight’s Jacob Black wouldn’t ride his motorcycle onto the pop-culture horizon for at least another year. Once he did, I was crushed, having not found a publisher for Land of Nod. You see, “Raven Black” (also from a fictional Indian Nation) is Kassandra’s love interest, and –once again—his name is part of the story. Oh, and THEN the Raven Cycle series came out. I read the first of them this year, and it seems there’s a similar magical realism thing going on with that. Raven Black is all connected with birds, ya see.

Which leads me to my next woe/worry: I’m so going to get nailed for cultural appropriation and stereotypes. Even though I was attempting to address problematic stereotypes and do some lit deconstruction with the Illitch tribe, that likely will be an issue for some readers. I can see people taking excerpts out of context, kicking up some internet outrage, and start a campaign of 1-starring without reading the book. Because of what I’m going for, that’s a risk I’ll have to take. Tina Fey got a major smackdown for doing something similar in “The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” and she did it far better than I. So, there it is.

Mexico and France chapters may be considered “problematic,” due to my renegade use of Spanglish and Franglish, which was intended. Also, the characters they meet will be called out as stereotypical. Fair enough, but they were based on the old-school locals I met while I was staying in the area. Old school is what I wanted, and that’s how I wrote them.

While we’re talking  race/nationality, Kassandra Bullet’s is never clearly stated, which was also deliberate. Also-also, there are people with disabilities in the book, and some LGBTQ community, too. Even though I may be pressured to reveal my ability or lack thereof, or speak to strangers about my sexuality, it ain’t going to happen. I’ll write whatever I damn well please, and have watched one too many authors bend under pressure, feeling the need to share personal information so that they can prove themselves “qualified” to write marginalized characters. I’m not doing it.

Oh, and there’s no table of contents.

Think I covered my bases. Since I’m not doing a lotta promo, am negging the book in a public forum, and the fact that it’s around 600 pages, I don’t expect many people to read The Land of Nod. This post is primarily just to save me some time deflecting down the road. If you’ve read this far and still want to check it out, here is the Kindle Link, but the paperback –which will be available next week– is way cooler. Not only because the cover art looks even trippier, but it’s meant to be read as a page-turner, turn, rather than a scroll and slide. It just is.

FREE with Kindle Unlimited! $9.99 *cough* without:

Maybe you’ll love it.

Though I haven’t read LON in well over a decade, I do remember having a blast working on it. For the most part. Okay, I cried a few times, too. I hope you have a blast reading it and cry a few times as well. Embrace the weirdness. Listen To The Warm.

Above all, I just needed to get The Land of Nod out of the drawer so that I can close that chapter of my life, and focus on writing something new. There’s a ton of stuff in the works, and I’m cool with saying a final goodbye to Toad Licker.

Hugs,

RR + vka

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter Cravings in Sweet Summer Sweat: Remember the Crockpot!*

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Something about the New Moon can turn even the not-so-clean gal into a neatfreak, and this Virgo is no exception. I’d like to say I “tucked my crockpot away until autumn,” but the fact is I forgot it existed until I was sorting through a mess of pots ‘n pans when cleaning the cabinets last night. And I never used it last fall. Actually, I kinda forgot I had one.

Okay, to my friends in warmer climates than Maine, it sounds wimpy when I say 95 degrees outside makes anything to eat that’s not cold look gross, at least if you’re cooking at home. And no matter how tasty your fancy feast, might be, you just don’t want to cave the house in with home cooking comforting sweet-stank. Tonight, I wanted the pasta ‘n red thing to cure my PMS, but didn’t want the house to turn all sauna-like.

And then, yes! I rediscovered the Crockpot. It ain’t just for Gilmore Girls. Nor just for “dump-cake,” a 3-years-ago phenomenon I’m still trying to figure out.

A couple cans of tomatoes, fresh basil, crushed garlic, carmelized onions, farmer’s market yellow bell pepper, whatever-the-eff I do with herbs, and some leftover wine into the pot. Fired ‘er up, took off for a foresty hike in “Hobbitland” –I’ll post pics at some point– and came home to a house that smelled like a cold-weather dinner, but no sweat.

So to speak.

This is starting to sound like one of those cooking blogs, but it’s not. Let’s talk about music and light.

If you’re my age (somewhere between 40 and 50), you know about multi-album sets of relaxing, romantic music. The cover photo was always an uber-sensual 1970s couple, enjoying a nice picnic, sporting what everyone always wore on private picnics back in the day. Like, a white Gunny-Sax dress for the girl, a leisure suit with jacket removed for the gent.The 5-set record pile was meant to be stacked onto an automated flip stereo (very high tech for the times), where the albums would magically drop themselves down, just at the right Riunite-On-Ice moment.

I’ve dug all over the internet for some examples, but found nothing. This romantic photo of 70s summer luvin’ could kind of work, but isn’t quite the droid I was looking for.

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My boyfriend is a musician, which means that 80% of the time, I cook for one, leave leftovers for two. He eats twice as much as me, and at midnight his cravings apparently kick in, because there’s nothing left in the morning.

When you make food THIS good, it’s a bummer to eat it alone. And to my fellow musicians’ girlfriends? You make a lot of good food, and eat by yourselves more than you’d like to admit. There’s the phone-binging, the writing, the yoga, the painting, the meditation, and Netflix shame before bed. But you probably had dinner by yourself, because on Sunday night hosting an evening get-together isn’t a likely thing. Everyone else is going to work tomorrow. When your 10 years into a relationship-something with a musician, there are just so many gigs that you want to go to, and Sunday night is just not something you can do.

Tonight, I decided to have the sensual Vinyl Five experience, doubled  with a burning candle via Youtube. So, like, you layer up your Youtube crap.

The food was good, but somehow the stack of fake candlelight and Bossa Nova 70s sensuality tune made it kind of fabulous.

So, in addition to food porn, here’s a link to what you, too can be enjoying when you rediscover your crockpot in the summer heat and eat some tasty winter food. Light a candle or do like I did and YouTube stacking.You’ll feel like you’re having a quiet evening in a cabin with Gordon Lightfoot.

And isn’t that what every girl wants? Gord doesn’t have that many Sunday night gigs, these days.

Kisses,

vka

* This is an old entry I dashed off sometime in July, so it’s out of date. Never posted because I thought it was weird, scattered, and a little sad.  I was totally right!

 

Testing…Testing…A Gen-Xer Tries to Figure Out How to Shut That Shit Down

Hi. This isn’t a real post, but a a placeholder to find out whether or not I correctly blocked the comment section. I’ve avoided my WordPress for “reasons”, the biggest of which is that I had no idea how to shut off comments. Because it seems I am an offender to more people than I knew could be offended. Because I saw a video of a girl who’d been internet bullied, posted it, and then written only one of the similar experiences I’d had. Yep. The post I put up that got me so thoroughly lambasted was one I wrote defending an author who was so bullied (we’re talking not about “I hate your book,” but “you’re an ugly….etc, etc.”) that she was ready to quit writing. And she found a new genre, which is awesome, but I’m not sure how much of that was based on her internet crucifiction. I got 1600 hits on that one post, simply for putting STGRB as a searchword. I cut and pasted samples of some of the ugliest, nastiest “reviews” I could find on GoodReads and Amazon, including one for my book.

When I normally post, there are VERY few reads/comments. Like, three all year. This post had over 1600. The blog readers had no interest in my writing, but wanted a punching bag.

Yep, I posted that something over a year ago, and got the internet beat-down. Readers twisted my words into something stupid and ugly. When I foolishly wrote a follow-up in my post, and when I responded in my own defense to the nastiness, I was beaten further. “Don’t engage with trolls” is advice I now take to heart. I couldn’t take the abuse. So, like many women who have been abused,  something in me felt familiar/horrible. The mob stirred up old things. (Trying to avoid the word “tr*****d here.)  I’ve been quiet…and doing my best not to wind up those who would easily be internet-enraged.

My “WordPress updates” have been meek.

I shut my mouth.

Capped my pen, as it were.

Which is the one of the reasons folks go trolling.

To silence others.

Long story short, I took the post down, because there are better things for me to do than hit “delete” to hundreds of hate-mails in my professional (vs. personal) gmail inbox. There were some that were positive and understood my point. But there were so many happy to join an internet beat-down, that I couldn’t deal. I stopped reading them, but they glutted my inbox.

I’ve missed writing on my WordPress site. Since I come from a different generation (X, specifically) and because my brain works differently than some folks, I couldn’t find/follow ( what to some people would be) simple directions as far as how to shut off comments. Tonight, I’m PRETTY sure I did. So I get to write freely on my blog, without fearing the comment box.

And it’s pretty sad to me that I’d been posting for a couple years as an independent author, a single mom, a lady who keeps on trucking despite dealing with a disability, poverty, and trying to keep her head above water. That somehow the wrong “buzzwords” was what made folks click on my page. Seriously doubt anyone read my other posts.

So.

For those of you who –like me– have no idea how to do this social media stuff? Keep writing, anyway. Google “How to shut down the comment section on WordPress,” and then do your thing.

PLEASE try to comment on this post. If you succeed, it means that I need to go back to the WP help page to fix something. If I get no comments, then I’ve figured out a bit more about social networking, how to combat abuse, and how to get my voice back. Go, me.

Kisses,

vka

Just Like Honey

Well, good morning, friends. Bear with me, ’cause the post your reading is going to be a little off, since I’m frustrated as heck and exhausted. So not only did I write/save a WP draft of this post, but (yes, for all you folks who say, “Did you have a backup document?”) also had a Word Doc which has also vanished. Since I believe The Universe Is Talking To Us, I took the cosmic hint and am rewriting. Clearly, the original was such bad stuff that it even was not meant for a blog no one reads where I do my navel gazing. It’s so far past bedtime. We’re talking 4:00 a.m., and I’m normally in bed by 10 because that’s how I roll. But now I have to do a rewrite, so I’m not tossing and turning and mad as a hornet.

For the last several hours I’ve been up reading this stained, sticky, torn up manuscript; highlighting, and making notes in margins as though they belonged to a student. Apropos, since I wrote it high school. They were fair comments…encouraging, but honest. More honest than when I graded term papers and Intro to Comp essays. For example, I never wrote “WTF…HAHAHA” on any student’s work. Get this: the last chapter is stuck together, so I’ve no idea how this draft ended. After a long, hard think, after a lot of sorting through memories Just Like Honey ignited, I’ve come to the conclusion that I didn’t know myself so well when I was sixteen years old. Or I did know, was scared to death of myself, lost as eff, and desperately needed someone to talk to.

So I wrote a book.

I remember reading every chapter to my high school girlfriends and then slowly my not-girlfriends from outside cliques who kind of joined us in whatever little corner of the hallway, library, top of a picnic table, wherever we were having story time. Boys were not allowed at these gatherings. Since it grabbed so many of us, something must have resonated with Bridget and Aaron to all of us. What if there was some kind of Troubled Hurting Guy who was so totally wicked mature and super hot. One who could make us feel wonderful, horrible, and beautiful? Here was a story to fill the void of our own unfulfilled fantasies. After all, we lost our collective virginity to the wrong people at the wrong time, and it was mostly a bummer. Sometimes problematic. Sometimes traumatic.

Because, let’s face it. I don’t know how things are with those crazy kids nowadays, but no guy when I grew up had heard of Astroglide, and –far as I can recall– any joy resulting from sexual intimacy was not because our boyfriends or random goons we hooked up with at parties had mad skillz, it was that we girls tried to make it somehow work for us. Otherwise, what was the big deal? Aaron was a wizard in bed. See, he was…well. I’ll stop. Think that was about to be a spoiler, and I haven’t pitched this thing to anyone yet.

In a previous blog, I mentioned how back in the 80s, for “sex ed,” there was lots of info about wet dreams and erections for the fellas. It was like adolescence was this awesome thing that would feel great, and well…just take care of it. What girls were taught about were periods, pregnancy, and birth control. Any physical, explorational happiness adolescent women experienced was something we figured out privately, then shared with each other, and tried to make it work. No biology teacher ever mentioned that girls could masturbate, how to get more relaxed, and quickly. So we had a hormonally brilliant, curious hive mind thing going on.

There were, of course, the Phoebe Cates from Fast Times at Ridgemont High type chicks who were a couple years older, all-knowing, already had A List, and tried to convince everyone they had some kind of cool thing we were missing out on. And yeah, there were a few who brought cucumbers to school to show us how to give a blow job. But, you know it and I know it. Nah. Those boys weren’t cucumbers. We didn’t have any kind of guidebook. Going back to seventh grade? Judy Blume’s Forever had some things wrong. Like It’s Cool To Have Sex Without A Condom. Or first time a girl has sex with a near-virginal guy, has a vaginal orgasm. I mean, come ON. So to speak.

Well, Fifty Shades of Grey confirms the virgin/vadg-gasm, so…anyway.

Okay, there was a copy of  The Story of O circulating, and also Anne Rice/Rampling was becoming a Thing.  Wait…yeah, I had some bodice-rippers (no apologies, fellow erotica writers) bought from used book stores with babysitting money. But none of this was real life any of us teens could relate to, though we tried. None of the sex slaves and ravished maidens were characters we could relate to. Sex was such a mysterious thing, even after you’d “gone all the way.” The fear, excitement, disappointment, confusion, hope, emptiness, and longing. We had to discuss amongst one another, trying to put it together. And hope, at some point, we wouldn’t have to keep explaining to some pimply-faced boy with dyed-black hair, “No, the left. No, the right. Jeez, never mind.” Then give up, because they all were somehow obsessed with “fingering.” Oh, and what to do with the boobs.

Hold on! Just remembered that I had a copy of The Sensuous Man which I started circulating for the boyfriends to pass around. You know, to give them a clue.

Back to the story.

No wonder I decided that writing erotica would be fun. Oh! I should’ve mentioned: the new novel is not erotica. That’s right! It’s NA or YA, depending on how much of The Sexy is in the final draft. Currently, most of the luvvin’ takes place offscreen. And there’s not an awful lot of profanity or hot ‘n dirty talk. Bridget Waters and Aaron D’Amour are no Lily Dewitt and Dorian Holder.

The story was originally called No Strings Attached. It was a gazillion [that’s ’80s teenagerspeak for 200 on a Brother Word Processor] pages long. Since everyone fell in love with the sordid tale of Bridget and Aaron, I decided to call it Bridget and Aaron. Because  girls kept saying, “Read more Bridget and Aaron. Write more Bridget and Aaron,” and I’ve always been a people-pleaser. But after rereading it two decades later, and seeing how prominently 1980s pop-culture fit into the story, I’m going song title-y. Come on, having the Boy You Liked give you a mix tape was the best thing, it would make your week.

Not sure HOW many things were described as being “honey,” but Aaron’s flowing locks, endless cups of coffee, and even kisses were bee-friendly. So Joy Division gave me a the title.

For now. But it might change.

So will this post. Like, tomorrow, because I don’t feel like going back and editing right now. Also, there’s a spoiler alert, which is so not a spoiler. Just don’t want to go into Aaron’s Big Seekrit right now. It’s just too darn PAINFUL. He is, after all, a New Adult Novel hero. Pretty sure this one can’t be YA, but we’ll leave that to whomever decides what genres are, these days. Oh, did I mention I need an agent so I don’t get into a FOURTH snafu with a publisher? Because I so do need one.

I’m so tired.

It’s so late.

Honey-Sweet Kisses,

vka