Why Writing Book 2 is Harder than Writing Book 1

I don’t know if you know this, but I wrote a really kick ass book and published it in 2015. It took me about four years to finish it, which really is not accurate because I had two kids under five when I started. One of which was still attached to my breast, so my writing took a backseat to dirty diapers and sippy cups. I squeezed in a few words during nap time and Dora the Explorer distractions, but I wrote. I wrote every day, and I wrote with vigor.

I had to tell the story. The main character, Paige, took over my life, and her voice wouldn’t quiet. She talked to me all day, in my sleep, in the shower, at the gym, so when I sat down to write her story, the words flowed. Though it contained a bit of darkness, I developed a sweet love story, and Paige’s sense of humor weaved its way through the plot. Writing Dear Stephanie (shameless plug) was fun.

Actually, writing Dear Stephanie was life. The characters were my oxygen. The story was the blood that pumped through my veins.

My current WIP centers around the very light and fluffy topic of Human Trafficking. I know. But hey, my first book was about depression and suicide, so bygones. As all good writers do, I spend a lot of my time researching. Imagine reading articles about Human Trafficking. Now imagine reading those articles every day. It’s a disgusting industry, and although I am perfectly capable of going into the dark corners of my mind to write this book, those places are hard to visit sometimes, and I find myself literally (cliche warning) letting out the breath I didn’t know I was holding almost every time I write a chapter.

But that’s not the problem.

What is the problem? You’re probably (maybe not) asking yourself. I’m glad you (didn’t) ask.

Aside from the typical and normal self doubt that the vast majority of artists experience, there’s this other very nagging problem constantly putting pressure on me.

People are going to read this.

You see, when I wrote Dear Stephanie, I had no audience. I didn’t even know if I would publish it. I virtually wrote that novel as practice, to see if I could see it through to the end. When I actually typed “The End,” I was shocked. I probably, over the course of my life, started a dozen novels. But I only finished one. And I only finished it because only a handful of people knew about it. So nobody was going to read it. My family had no idea I spent most of my free time writing. My friends also didn’t know. Writing was my secret, a world where I could be free and write words that offend, words that slice and rip the flesh, words that bury themselves in your soul.

But the words were good, and with a lot of encouragement from my small group of friends who knew about them, I decided to publish. I kept it a secret going to such extremes that I created a special list of people on Facebook so that when I shared anything about the book, I could hide it from this core group of people (that consisted of all of my family and a large number of friends).

But now, everybody knows I write, and people *gasp* continue to buy my book and consistently ask me when my next book will be released, and I have readers. I have fans. And they/you expect another good read. They/you deserve it. And I desperately want to give that to them/you.

Aye there’s the rub.

That’s a lot of pressure.

Can I compete with the first book? Will my next book tank? Am I a one-book-wonder? Do I have it in me to put in the work that is required to publish another book? (In case you’re wondering, it’s a lot of work.)

Yes.

I will quiet the voices that tell me I can’t. I will squelch the negative noise, and I will write. I will write free, and I will publish this book.

I hope you will read it.

Girls Teaser

Girls Trafficked – coming eventually 

 

 

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Busted

It was bound to happen.

You know that moment when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to be doing, and you get caught?

That happened to me.

You see, this whole writing thing that I do has been a huge secret from most of my real life people for a long time, especially my family until last week.

I was sitting at my computer “working” at my new job when I got a text message from my dad.

IMG_1793

Ignore my typos (fat thumbs)

Yeah, my dad found my book. My dad, the preacher, found my book that says the F word a lot, the book where the main character indulges in all things bad: sex, drugs, sex, alcohol, sex, swearing, sex, and being a terrible person in general. Did I mention there’s a lot of sex in my book?

I may have had a mini heart attack upon reading that text.

Or thirteen.

I stared at my phone for five or fifty-five minutes unable to make words. Then I bravely dialed “Dad” and waited for his response.

“Well hello,” he said.

“Hi,” I may have whispered.

“So what’s new?”

“Um. Yeah. You have my book?” Heart palpitations, shortness of breath.

“I do,” I think he enjoyed my discomfort with the conversation.

“Okay, great. Well, don’t read it.”

“Oh, I’m reading it,” he confirmed, rather boldly actually.

He proceeded to tell me that he had plans to do nothing until he finished it, that he wanted to start it that night. I explained to him that there were terrible no good things (like a very detailed chapter about a one night stand with multiple orga um things, and another where she performs something for her boyfriend on her knees, all of which is written beautifully in HD detail) that someone of his religious affiliation and faith in the almighty God should never ever read, particularly when the fingers that typed those words belong to one’s daughter who one sees as a precious little gem who never ever would think much less create such smut…or something like that.

He stopped me mid self-lashing verbal diarrhea to say, “You know you could never do anything that wouldn’t make me proud, right?”

I swallowed the giant lump in my throat and managed a meek, “Yeah, well er … you haven’t read it.”

He then told me that he had read all of the reviews (51 five star reviews and counting) and all of my blog posts (double gulp) and that he knew what he was getting himself into. He also reminded me that he was in the Navy and that he spent forty years in construction and therefore would be surprised if there was anything he hasn’t heard. I didn’t bother to tell him I’m sure there was, as I mentally went through the glossary of words I made up like c*nt punch and slutoweem, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. I ended the call and then threw up in my mouth.

And then I dry heaved in the toilet for the rest of the day.

I wonder if this is what coming out feels like (on an obviously very much smaller scale).

The point of this ridiculously wordy account is that I have been hiding something for which I’m really proud, and now that it’s out there, I realize how foolish that was.

Having it out in the open, being able to put my book out on my bookshelf in my home, having the freedom to talk about this book that came out of my brain is freeing.

It’s liberating. 

I think I should probably thank my dad for opening this door.

I hope that if any of you are living under this cloak of fear where I spent more than four years, you’ll do yourself a favor and boldly throw it off. Stand tall, and be you. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Trust me. I only wish I had been honest from the start.

So now that we have that out of the way, tell me, what secrets are you keeping? It’s no big deal. This is only the internet. It’s not like your dad is going to read it. Oh wait.

But seriously … spill.

 

 

Pages of Paige

“Write the best story that you can, and write it as straight as you can.” Ernest Hemingway

I kind of like Ernest Hemingway, so I take his advice as often as possible. That’s what I tried to do when I created Paige and the rest of her story in Dear Stephanie. I tried to write it as straight as I could. And I think I did.

If you’re in the mood for a read that will take you on a shockwave ride of emotions, get your copy today. It’s live, and I’m very proud, but don’t take my word for it.

Here’s what people are saying about my newly released debut novel:

LizziDear Stephanie is a tale of a woman’s battle against mental illness and her own efforts to self-sabotage her entire existence. In spite of her privileges and mind-games, Paige’s story is one of connection and relationship and self. It’s a tale of maybe true love and definitely true love, and loss, and hope, and wonder, and deep, indescribable pain.

It made me laugh.

It made me cry.

It made me angry.

BethDear Stephanie breaks molds.

The realities of the main character – Paige Preston- and her struggles with mental illness and drug abuse are not prettied up, and no bush is beat around. You start out not really liking her, until you do, mostly because she starts to resemble you, with vulnerabilities and fragility. She is human. She is broken.

Castle handles this subject matter with realism and care, never glorifying or exaggerating, which I find admirable. I was genuinely swept away in the story. I laughed out loud, I teared up, I worried, and I felt. You really can’t ask for more than that.

HelenaI was moved to both laughter and tears by this book, which I read all at one sitting, never tiring of the wonderful prose — Castle’s character, Paige Preston, was a delightful narrator, speaking to her audience in a voice that was real and believable.
I’d recommend it to anyone who likes character driven stories and appreciates good writing.

DanaFrom the first chapter, I was hit by the hot mess that is Paige. I often decide immediately whether I like a character, but Paige reveals herself over the course of the novel, and my investment in her grew as I read. She is real, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, and her story stayed with me for days after finishing the book. Even now, over a week after I read it, I am still thinking about it. For me, that is the sign of a good book. It seeps into your pores and settles in.

Chrissy: In my head, I was Stephanie. Paige was writing to me.

She’s confident. Demanding. Beautiful. Flawless. But NOT without flaw. Because no one is. Depression is real, and this character exudes everything and nothing all at once. 

So much happens in so few pages, that I can’t even begin to spoil this for you. I didn’t devour this novel, so much as I was consumed by this novel. I couldn’t put it down (even at work, I kept sneaking a page here and there – sorry boss!).

ReneePaige Preston is ALL THAT – just ask her.

She is every man’s wet dream.

She is also completely hollow and bitterly cold inside, or so it seems.

But sometimes you have to give people a chance to show you who they are.

LisaCastle creates a character who is so substantive, so engaging, that you can’t help but be drawn to her, despite her many flaws and violent demons. You will find yourself breathless several times throughout the tale, right up to the very last unbelievable word.

AndraDear Stephanie is a departure from my usual reading routine, an example of trying something new to shake up a reading rut. At first, I disliked Paige Preston so much I wanted to stop reading. I’m weary of books constructed around unlikeable, unreliable narrators. But Paige wove her spell. She is a well-crafted, deep and disturbed character, manipulative enough to charm even me. 🙂 You won’t be sorry you gave Paige a try.

Dear Stephanie Final eBook cover Laura

Paige Preston wants to end her life. After an unsuccessful attempt, she lands herself in mandatory therapy with a sexy psychiatrist. When he and an even more alluring friend begin to help her break down the walls she’s spent a lifetime building, Paige begins to see something bigger than herself. Is it enough to pull her out of her dark world and help her finally feel like a human? Or will letting someone in be the final step toward her demise?

Dear Stephanie is a sinfully addictive walk through a world of beauty, affluence, and incidental love that effortlessly moves the reader between laughter, tears, heartache, and hope with the turn of every “Paige.”

So, what are you waiting for? Read the book (click here for kindle or paper back), and then let’s have a book club discussion. I can’t wait to hear what you think. Oh, and if you want to win a signed paperback, comment here. If you want a double chance, share something on Social Media with the hashtag #DearStephanie. Thanks for playing!

Thank you to all of the people who have read my book and left reviews. I am forever in your debt, and I cannot even begin to tell you how grateful I am for all of you.

Live: The Magic Happens

It’s not every day that something happens for the FIRST TIME EVER on my blog, but today is different.

We all know Beth, the blogger,  from Writer B is Me. We know Beth Teliho the author of The Order of Seven (which is live today), but only one of us (it’s me) knows Beth in real life.

Since I can’t give her to you, I’m giving you the next best thing. My treat for you today is as close to that as I can get.

We had a conversation. It took lots of convincing. When I said to her, “Beth, the magic happens outside of your comfort zone,” she finally agreed.

For the first time, you get to hear her and see her, and she’s reading an excerpt from her book. To you.

You’re welcome.

Listen, ingest the words. Like little blue pills, they will affect you.

Meet, the one and only (drum roll) Beth Teliho.

Applause. Applause. Applause.

If you still need more convincing, don’t take Beth’s word for it, take mine. Here’s my review of The Order of Seven:

Rich in description, this book takes your imagination on a sensual journey allowing you to see, taste, hear, and feel the plot. It’s hard to believe this is Beth Teliho’s FIRST novel. When I came to the line in the introduction: “But there’s another reason we want to explore our roots: our paranormal abilities,” I was hooked. I sat leaning over my kindle devouring each enticing word from this talented new writer. Normally a book with such detail would become mundane and boring, but the writing drew me in and didn’t let me stop until the very last word, and when I read that word, I sighed because I didn’t want it to end.

She gave me history, archaeology, fantasy, romance, suspense, and wonder all wrapped in a beautifully told story that spans across Texas, Oklahoma, Peru, and Africa (with sprinkles of other cultures as well). The intense research that must have gone into this novel along with the real and believable characters kept me hungry for more, and the ending…well, no spoilers.

Devi is a strong lead female character who’s still strikingly delicate. Sometimes she is angry and hostile but other times, she shows such endearing empathy. I liked her because she is real and natural, and I found myself cheering in her corner more than once. Plus, she has a little feisty in her. Who doesn’t love a girl who says what she thinks sometimes?

Then there’s Baron, just another book boyfriend to add to my list. Tall, dark, handsome…and not at all in the cliche way. He’s kind and warm but bold and sexy, with tattoos and a beard. Hold on while I wipe up my drool. Oh, and he’s basically a superhero…no big deal.

The remaining characters are alive and believable and come to life on the page. As I escaped into this luscious story, I felt like I was one of them.

If it were possible, I would rate this SEVEN GIANT STARS, a great read that spans across multiple genres. One click this. You won’t be disappointed

So….Are you as pissed at Beth as I am that she looks eighteen? Have you bought the book yet? What are you waiting for? Go. Buy it now!!!  And read it, and come tell me how much you love it, too!

Long and Smooth

I’ve always had a healthy admiration of Latin men. It’s no secret. I love dark mysterious eyes framed in whispy black lashes, light chestnut skin, pretty pink lips. Ay Dios Mio! Tulipanes humedos!

Some of you might recall the last time Beth and I had coffee. We coined the phrase: Moist Tulips ©. Well, here’s a new phrase for you: Long and Smooth ©. I can’t explain this one, but I’ll add some content in this post that might help.

Last week, Beth received something very special in the mail: Her first ever paperback copy of her first ever novel. If you haven’t pre-ordered your copy, do so now here.

To celebrate, we decided to have some Mexican food, margaritas, and laughs. We had ample amounts of all three, particularly the last.

We took pictures that will only make sense to our SisterWives, but made us spew tequila all over the table. Here’s one. Use your imagination with this one.

I did not purposely take a photo of the female waitress pegging the male waiter.

I did not purposely take a photo of the female waitress pegging the male waiter.

Thanks to our very eccentric waiter who wanted to motorboat  lick ravage become a fan of Beth, the night will not soon be forgotten. Gonzavo esta muy guapo. Gonzavo loved Beth, and her book. He said to her once, and I quote in a sexy Latin accent, “I am keeping an eye for you. Or is it better for you or on you?”

To which Beth replied, “In me. (cleared throat) I mean on me. On me.” And I concurred. Like a doctor.

When we showed him her book, he got reader wood.

Reader Wood

Reader Wood

Coming soon to a book store near you. Oo7 read by Gonzavo.

Coming soon to a book store near you. Oo7 read by Gonzavo.

 

He focused on the number seven and even gave us a very confusing yet intriguing bible lesson. Again in sexy Latin accent, “Did you know of the importance of the number,” pause for dramatic effect,  “of seven?” We nodded and leaned in closer to hear more of his seductive patois compelling lecture. I have no idea what he said, but it sounded … sigh … enticing.

I never realized I was a match maker, but I think I may have helped these two create a love connection.

Es amor?

Es amor?

As we paid our check, Gonzavo said to Beth, “I think I will be watching you. That was something really special to me. You brought it.”

When Gonzavo left us, Beth looked at me and said, “I’m about to get some long and smooth.” (There’s your explanation. You’re welcome.)

At some point, I noted that Beth said, “You can’t forget ten cats. That’s a lot of pussy.” But I cannot figure out the context of this one, so there you have an added Bethism.  I promise this is true.

See? I took notes. Who does that?

See? I took notes. Who does that?

 

At any rate, when two bloggers who are real life friends get together to celebrate a book that has been the topic of more than a gazillion conversations, well, sparks fly.

Two writers in a parking lot with an iPhone = trouble

Two writers in a parking lot with an iPhone = trouble

Que le gusta hombres latinos? Have you read Beth’s book? Do you like margaritas and getting caught in the rain? Do you like reading posts about nothing? Still here? Click here to get a sneak peak at my book cover … see it wasn’t about nothing after all. (That was a purposeful double negative.)

What if …

Do you ever wonder?

When I was fifteen years old, I volunteered at the hospital. One day, I was standing in the break room talking to one of my fellow volunteers, when he looked up at me and said, “Do you ever wonder?”

I waited for him to finish the sentence, but he stopped. After a few minutes, I asked, “Do I ever wonder what?”

He smiled a big wide grin and said, “Just wonder. Do you ever wonder?”

So that’s my question for you today. Do you ever wonder?

I often think back to moments in my life and wonder what would have happened had they turned out differently. Would I be here writing this post? Who knows?

But what if …

What if you could go back? Would you change anything? If you could walk back in time, would you go to a specific moment in your life and do it differently?

You’re thinking about it right?

I can think of a few things I personally would do differently. (Like that time my husband and I went to the Emmy’s, and he wouldn’t help me out with a huge favor. I’m at Original Bunker Punks talking about That Time My Husband Didn’t Suck today. After you read this post, go there and laugh a little.)

 Georgia Bristol’s life hasn’t turned out the way she’d imagined…but it’s a good life.
Despite that fact, she finds herself yearning for something she can’t define. Haunted by the choices of her youth.
Regrets. Everyone has them. What if? Everyone wonders at times.
Lost in a town a few heartbeats shy of deserted, Georgia encounters a mysterious woman who gives her a second chance to regain the life she thought she missed out on.
Some say getting lost is the best way to find where you’re going. And sometimes everything must be stripped away before you realize that what you have, is what you wanted all along.
The Space Between is one woman’s unconventional journey to regain what she holds dear, filled with heartbreak, friendship, and love. A thought provoking tale that will have you relating to her struggles and celebrating her triumphs.

The Space Between Cover

Get your copy today: The Space Between by Nikki Mathis Thompson

Talk to me. What would you change? Would you do anything differently, or would you keep things exactly the same? Leave a comment, and you’ll go into the drawing for a free paperback or ebook (you choice) of this new release. Comment and share, you’ll get your name in twice!!

Special shout out to March #1000Speak. If you’re not following this on Twitter, follow today. There are so many voices all uniting with one common goal: Compassion.

Postcards from California … an excerpt from Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume 2

If writing is my first love, reading is my mistress.

What’s better than diving into a journey full of love and heartbreak, hope and despair, suspense and certainty? My favorite stories have all of that, and today, I’m letting you peek at another tale told by everyone’s favorite dilettante, Helena Hann-Basquait.

She wanted to share more, but I said, “No, let’s leave them with a little bit of a cliffhanger.” I know my readers love my cliffhangers, so here’s a special gift from me to you. You’re going to want to read the rest of this story because love, heartbreak, hope, despair, suspense, certainty…all of it. So make sure and click that little link below and pre-order your copy.

 

Postcards from California … an excerpt

 “Here’s one from Santa Monica Pier,” Penny said, handing me one of the many postcards that had poured out of the manila envelope. My ex-boyfriend and would-be rock star had been keeping them for me, for years it seems, and I suppose getting a postcard out of the blue a couple of weeks ago prompted him to put them all in a package and send them to me. I honestly hadn’t heard from him in years, but a phone call on my birthday brought him back into my life, if only for five minutes.

With that unwelcome re-entry came a flood of memories, not all of them pleasant.

I said that I’d been a fool, but if I was a fool, than it was only because she made me one.

 

 Maya

 I’d long ago stopped being angry with her, but seeing her handwriting, reading the messages in her delicate script sent me spiraling backward through time. Reading the text – so carefree, so oblivious to the hurt she’d caused – just made me feel the pain of being discarded all over again. She had no idea – she was so full of herself; so selfish.

 *******

I felt like a little kid again, and part of me experienced a twinge of guilt. Before I’d left for California, I’d promised little Penelope (not yet a Countess, at the age of ten she was always Penny Arcade to me, or, sometimes Penny Dammit when her mom was out of earshot) that I’d someday take her for a ride on the Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica. There I was, on the Ferris Wheel, Maya laughing along with me. Robert was off at some … wherever yet again, and I had to fill my time somehow. So I called Maya.

Maya was different from the other fast-moving crowd in L.A. Sure, she attended all the same parties I did, and would stay out all night dancing – but at the same time, she always seemed peripheral – like she was there and not there at the same time. If wanderlust is a communicable disease, I’d say that I contracted a rather nasty case of it from Maya, and I’ve yet to find a cure. Sometimes I think that the death of my sister and brother-in-law and my subsequent guardianship of Penny is the only thing that slowed me down and kept me in one spot for longer than a year or two at a time. But not unlike with Morphine withdrawal, every once in a while, I still get that itch.

Maya must have constantly felt that itch, because she always looked like she was getting ready to leave. I should have noticed that earlier, but frankly, I was having too much fun.

We ate at the best restaurants, danced the night away at the swankiest clubs, went for long drives at high speeds, Maya going on and on about the places she’d been, the things she’d seen, the cars she’d owned, the men she’d dated. I was enraptured. She’d lived a life I could only dream about, been to places I’d only ever read about, had experiences I could never afford.

And yet, for all that glamour, all that luxury, all that opportunity, I just couldn’t wrap my head around one thing. She seemed so restless, and often unhappy. I wouldn’t have said that at first, but after I’d spent a few weeks with her, I began to see a sadness in her eyes that I hadn’t noticed before. In all fairness, I probably didn’t want to see it.

One night, over drinks (I had my customary vodka and grapefruit while Maya drank only Guava juice – she never drank, never smoked, never did any drugs) I asked her: “What do you do?”

I had assumed that she was either on vacation, or an actress or model or something. Someone who had an open schedule and a lot of money.

“What do I do?” she asked, with a bit of a sour smile.

“Yeah,” I said curiously. “I mean, what do you do when you’re not picking up strange girls and spoiling them rotten? Do you have a career? Hey – are you someone famous in disguise? Are you slumming it with me?”

She didn’t seem to be amused at my teasing.

“I do anything I want,” she smiled at me through pursed lips.

“Yes, but surely you want to do something – play music, write, paint, make Lego castles for underprivileged kids, I don’t know – something.

“And what do you do, Helena?” She asked me.

“I don’t know,” I admitted. “I haven’t figured it out yet. But you have so much opportunity! You could do whatever you wanted!”

“And I do,” she replied. The smile was fading from her face. “I do whatever I want. Today, I wanted to eat sushi with you and watch boys play beach volleyball. Who knows what I’ll want to do tomorrow?”

“So, this, then?” I asked, unaware that I was on very thin ice. “This is what you do?”

“Yes,” she said, picking up her keys and standing up. “And sometimes I do this. Good-bye, Helena.”

And then she left me sitting there, not quite sure what had just happened.

 *******

 

If you want to read more, BECOME A FAN at PUBSLUSH and pre-order Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two and Penelope, Countess of Arcadia

Available now! image06 JESSICA image07

The one, the only Helena Hann-Basquiat, everyone's favorite dilettanteThe enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.

Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

Last year, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, and is about to release Volume Two, along with a Shakespearean style tragi-comedy, entitled Penelope, Countess of Arcadia.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell. VISCERA, a collection of strange tales, will be published by Sirens Call Publications later this year. Find more of her writing at http://www.helenahb.com or and http://www.whoisjessica.com Connect with her via Twitter@HHBasquiat , and keep up with her ever growing body of work at GOODREADS, or visit her AMAZON PAGE

 

 

 

 

 

Laters, Baby

***This post is rated NC-Christian Grey. If you’re not old enough to watch the movie, scroll on.*** 

Ropes,  and cable ties, and whips…oh my! Don’t get your panties in a twist, or maybe do. I’m about to talk Fifty Shades of Grey, the movie.

I saw it last night. My panties are still…never mind.

My friend, Nikki, and I have anxiously awaited this movie since we read the book series way before the masses flooded Sara’s Secret in search of silver jingle balls. With anticipation of our fun night out, we exchanged text messages throughout the day of our impending plans. We discussed hand cuffs, penises, and of course…sex, which is typical on any normal day but a definite on Fifty Shades of Grey Day.

I arrived at the theater an hour and a half early to stand in line in hopes of securing seats  before all of the horny housewives took all of the good ones. I was shocked to see that there were only thirty-ish people in front of me. I love people watching, so I looked around and observed my fellow bondage movie goers. I noticed first the expected groups of women sitting in circles, giggling and talking all things Christian Grey, and then there were the couples. The men obediently sat next to their wives/girlfriends scrolling through their phones as visions of nipples and orgasms danced through their heads.

One group of women who turned out to be elementary school teachers wore shirts that said “Laters, Baby” on the front and “Mr. Grey Will See You Now” on the back. Totes adorbs. When they opened the doors to the (very tiny) theater an hour before showtime, I chose to sit next to them because fun is contagious, and I’m hot for teacher.

I guarded my five seats that I was saving for part of my book club until Nikki finally arrived to help. Bitches with lady wood be crazy and more than once I had to summon my inner doberman and mark my territory with a growl to keep the pre-masterbaters away from my sweet seats.

Finally, after all of the anticipation, the lights turned down, and it was time for us to watch a little S & M a film.

The opening scene seemed to be in line with what I remembered from the book. Clumsy and awkward Anastasia Steele subs (no pun intended) for her sick roommate to interview the mysterious sexy millionaire, Christina Grey for their college newspaper.

“Mr. Grey will see you now.”

She stumbles (literally) into his office. He falls in love, takes her to his red room of pain and spanks her ’til she comes….or something like that.

Here is my review.

Dakota Johnson (the beautiful love child of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson) completely stole the screen. She portrayed the naive, vulnerable, blushing/lip biting virgin beautifully. Plus she looked really good naked. The perfect Anastasia Steele. My favorite part of the book was the interjections of her inner goddess, which is basically her thoughts when Christian tells her his rules, expectations, etc. Because we couldn’t hear her thoughts, her facial expressions were key. She nailed this. In addition to that, her timing of her comic relief was spot on. She was a nice surprise.

But what is Fifty Shades of Grey without our Christian? Jamie Dornan landed the role, which left him with big ahem shoes (and ripped up faded jeans) to fill. The first thing, and I mean very first thing I noticed was his inability to hide his native accent. It drove me crazy. I have several pet peeves, and one is fake accents. Could we not have found someone with a natural American accent to be our fifty shades of fucked up leading man? I guess not.

Christian Grey is confident and stoic, brooding and sexy, a larger than life character which Jamie Dornan fell short in capturing. He seemed to be spitting out lines rather than embracing the darkness behind this highly anticipated character. He did grow on me throughout the movie and not just when he was naked…wait, what? I thought several times about Robert Pattinson’s portrayal of Edward Cullen in the first Twilight movie. Just like Pattinson, I think Dornan has potential to be very big. *insert teenage girl giggle*

Another part of the book that I loved was the way their relationship grew through text messages and emails, which made the story relevant and current, and I was happy to see that they kept that in the movie version. Ana’s and Christian’s back and forth banter was playful and adorable and probably the way a lot of real life relationships start out now that almost everyone keeps a smart phone in their pockets.

Let’s talk about sex, baby. As most of us know, the bones of this story center around a lot of steamy often risque sex. Dakota and Jamie had incredible on screen chemistry. They brought the sexual tension with full force. There were several moments when I had to gasp for air, and more than once, I squirmed in my seat…in a good way. They brought such intensity to the first sex scene, the vanilla sex and came together seamlessly (mind out of the gutter, people)  which they carried throughout the rest of the movie. They even managed to make the red room of pain moments tastefully hot without being raunchy.

I rolled my eyes several time at the instrumental score that coupled some of the scenes. Maybe I kept thinking about Edward Cullen because the music sounded almost identical to the soundtrack from Twilight. Pianos are sexy, and I wasn’t mad about a naked scene that took place on the piano bench, but come on. Haven’t we already seen the long pale fingers playing Bella’s Lullaby (or insert cliche melancholy song) once already? A little more creativity here would have gone a long way.

Overall, I enjoyed the movie. I laughed. I squealed. I had fun. If I had to give it a rating, I would give it 3 1/2 moist panties stars. If you don’t like nipples, you should go ahead and sit this one out because it is nip city up in Christian’s high rise apartment.

Now for all of the haters. Haters gonna hate. I know, but let’s get one thing straight. If you haven’t read the book, you really don’t have enough facts to be critical. E.L. James took a story from her imagination and put it on paper. Isn’t that what writers do? We can say that it’s poorly written or that it lacks depth, and lots of other unnecessary comments, but her pocketbook would disagree.

As for the fact that this book is about abuse and rape:

SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

This is a story about two adults who enter into a Submissive/Dominant relationship.  He gives her a contract that details everything he expects from her. She negotiates the contract and determines what she is willing and what she is not willing to do. He tells her the safe word for “be more gentle” and the safe word for “stop,” and they both sign the contract, which was written by a (fictional) attorney. If that is not a consensual (fictional) sexual relationship between two adults, I don’t know what is. Plus, a romance brews between them that frankly is pretty believable and more than a little swoon worthy.

In addition to that…spoiler alert…she tells him…spoiler alert…that he can never do that to her again, and spoiler alert….she walks the fuck out on him, and he watches her go.

“Anastasia.”

“Christian.”

Laters, baby.

And now some photos of our night:

The Before Grey

The Before Grey (all smiles)

The After Grey (meh face)

The After Grey (meh face)

Our Anastasia Lip Bite

Our Anastasia Lip Bite

A random condom siting

A random condom siting

Because You’re Not Going To Want To Miss This

Anyone who has ever read anything on this blog knows how I feel about a good book. Escaping into someone else’s words might very well be my favorite thing to do, and when I find a great book that I love, I can’t stop talking about it.

Today I get to introduce you to a writer who spins a good tale whether it be a horror story, a blog post, or as it turns out in this particular case,  a book that I think is going to be excellent, and good news: it is coming soon, and I am taking part in the…drum roll please…

MEMOIRS OF A DILETTANTE VOLUME TWO – COVER REVEAL!

Memoirs of a Dilletante

COMING SPRING 2015 — official date TBA

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two is the second collection of reminiscences, following Helena Hann-Basquiat, a self-proclaimed dilettante who will try anything just to say that she has, and her twenty-something niece, who she has dubbed the Countess Penelope of Arcadia.

Speaking of Arcadia, this volume delves into Helena’s childhood, as she revisits what she calls the Arcadia of the mind — that place that keeps us trapped and holds us back from our potential. Some of her most personal stories are included here, interspersed with hilarious stories of misadventure. It’s not a novel, really, and it’s not a memoir, by the strictest definition. But most of what follows, as they say, is true. Sort of. Almost. From a certain point of view.

Discover Helena’s tales for the first time or all over again, with new notes and annotations for the culturally impaired — or for those who just need to know what the hell was going through her mind at the time!

Cover art by Hastywords.

Helena is going to be running a crowdfunding/pre-order campaign at Pubslush, a community focused solely on indie writers, and has set up a profile there to launch Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two.

For more information, and to follow the progress, Become a Fan at http://HelenaHB.pubslush.com

If you just can’t wait and you want a taste of Helena’s writing, follow her blog: http://helenahannbasquiat.wordpress.com/

If you just can’t get enough Helena, or you want updates on further goings on, release dates and miscellaneous mayhem, follow Helena on Twitter @hhbasquiat

 

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The enigmatic Helena Hann-Basquiat dabbles in whatever she can get her hands into just to say that she has.

She’s written cookbooks, ten volumes of horrible poetry that she then bound herself in leather she tanned poorly from cows she raised herself and then slaughtered because she was bored with farming.

She has an entire portfolio of macaroni art that she’s never shown anyone, because she doesn’t think that the general populous or, “the great unwashed masses” as she calls them, would understand the statement she was trying to make with them.

Some people attribute the invention of the Ampersand to her, but she has never made that claim herself.

In 2014, she published Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One, several e-books which now make up Volume Two, as well as a multimedia collaborative piece of meta-fictional horror entitled JESSICA.

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume One is available HERE in e-book for Kindle or HERE in paperback.

Helena writes strange, dark fiction under the name Jessica B. Bell.

Find more of her writing at http://www.helenahb.com or http://whoisjessica.com or connect with her via Twitter @HHBasquiat.

Well Slap My Ass And Call Me Sassenach

Most of the voices in my head speak with a Scottish accent.

Here’s why…Jamie Fraser, my fictional husband. 

Diana Gabaldon (one of my all time favorite authors) introduced us about six years ago, and we’ve been going strong ever since. Last night, I got to meet him on the big screen when I attended a private preview of the show “Outlander”, which will be out for everyone to see August 9th on Starz. Take a minute to go set your DVR’s. I’ll wait. Continue reading