Kimberly Kinrade's Blog, page 8
October 29, 2013
It’s Halloween week and that means SCARY TALES and one of our favorite Halloween traditions started by Neil Gaiman, All Hallow’s Read, where you give the gift of a scary story for Halloween. Since we can’t mail you each a scary book for Halloween (can you IMAGINE the postage?) we will instead give you a scary story each day this week to tantalize and terrify!
And on Halloween day, watch for a very special guest post from our nearly 11 year old daughter, Maddie, who will share her own short horror story. (She turns 11 on Halloween!)
So, to kick things off, here’s a super short flash fiction that Dmytry Karpov wrote a few years ago, but still gives me goosebumps.
The Pumpkin Man
By Dmytry Karpov
[image error]Remember when we used to go trick or treating?” I asked Tim, who sat beside me on the bench, his dark brown coat matching the leaf covered ground.
“Yeah, sure,” said Tim. “It feels like a lifetime ago.” He smiled at a girl, a witch, as she passed by. Probably sixteen, seventeen. She looked Tim’s age. My age.
I smirked as two kids in ghost costumes knocked on the door across the street. Pumpkins lined that front yard, like orange soldiers with fiery eyes.
“Do you remember the stories?” I asked.
Tim checked his watch and sighed. “Of… what?”
“The Pumpkin Man?”
“Of course I know him.” Tim tapped his foot against the rough sidewalk. He checked his watch again as if minutes had gone by.
“But the stories?” I asked.
“Yeah, I remember them,” said Tim. “Stories.” He chuckled. “Every Halloween the Pumpkin Man claims a new soul. On midnight, he comes for you.”
“He, or his ghosts?”
Tim frowned, flexing his pale fingers. “Yeah, there were many versions.”
The wind howled, twisting pumpkin eyes like tornadoes. Their carved up faces, anxious–hungry even.
The shadows were messing with me again. They were everywhere, even at night.
“It’s funny,” I said. “You grow up believing in these stories. Believing in these…” I pointed at a chubby miniature batman counting his candy, “…traditions. But always, you outgrow these things. You know what I mean?”
Tim nodded. “Everything gets old.”
“Exactly. Before, I might have minded what we’re doing, but not anymore. The feelings… they’ve dried up.”
Tim laughed. “Like candy.”
“Right. Like an old rotten candy. So bad it could kill you, but it has no choice. You’re the one eating it.”
“Yeah.” Tim checked his watch and stood up. “It’s time.”
I got up too. “Who we doing this year?”
Tim walked down the street, cars not slowing down, not seeing him. “The Pumpkin said he wants the Witch.”
I followed. “The girl that walked by?”
“Well, I wouldn’t mind having someone new to talk to.” I reached into my coat and pulled out a knife. Cold steel chilled my hand. “I’ll do it this year.”
“Yeah,” said Tim. “Got to do what the Pumpkin wants.”
“Yeah,” I said. “No choice.”
Tim and I waited until the girl went down an alleyway. We cornered her. The wind picked up.
And the pumpkin faces curved into smiles.
Want short stories from us regularly? For a few dollars a year, you could get short stories emailed to you before anyone else gets access. Check out The Gathering of Tales for more information!
We hope you enjoyed this blog post. Want more from Karpov Kinrade? Check out our Amazon page here. New to our work? Get Seduced by Innocence FREE everywhere ebooks are sold, and find out why the Seduced Saga is a bestselling fan favorite!
October 28, 2013
[image error]We couldn’t have been more excited for the series premiere of NBCs newest show, Dracula, starring Jonathan Rhys Myers, and we weren’t disappointed. We loved this Golden Globe winner in The Tudors, and we knew he’d be perfect for the role of Dracula. He’s got a sexy charisma that is dark and dangerous, and he nailed this role last Friday night during the premiere.
Set in the late 19th century in London, Myers poses as an American entrepreneur who has big dreams for the future of electricity. In the first episode, many plot lines are set in place that bring mystery and intrigue to the story. First, he has an invention that could revolutionize electricity and bankrupt the rich white dudes who are banking on a future of oil. But we soon see there’s more to the story than just business as a secret society unfolds, one that not only hunts vampires, but was responsible for some pretty dastardly deeds in the past (and possibly present.) The plot thickens as Dracula (acting as Alexander Grayson) meets a woman who just might be his dead wife reincarnated.
I always find it amusing that in many of these reincarnation plot lines the person in question looks exactly the same as they did in the previous life. That notwithstanding, there’s sexual tension in every exchange between these two, and a decidedly brother/sister chemistry between her and the man she’s supposed to be in love with. Not looking good for the lovable reporter boyfriend.
With a setting and costuming as lush as you would expect for this era and storyline (particularly with the producers of Downton Abbey!), and actors who nail their parts, Dracula is strongly positioned to become a hit.
We can’t wait for this Friday night!
Here’s a question: What do you think is the enduring allure of vampires in cinema and literature? As much as we might complain that vampires are overdone, they still sell, and people still LOVE THEM! Why do you think this is? We’ll be doing a blog post about this soon, and your ideas will be included, so sound off below!
We hope you enjoyed this blog post. Want more from Karpov Kinrade? Check out our Amazon page here. New to our work? Get Seduced by Innocence FREE everywhere ebooks are sold, and find out why the Seduced Saga is a bestselling fan favorite!
October 24, 2013
[image error]We were readers before we were writers, and we continue to read voraciously, as every writer—nay, every human—should. So we know what it feels like to become emotionally attached to fictional characters and their plights. We know how it feels to read something that makes us angry, sad or despondent. We also know how it feels to read something that makes us cringe and wish we could rewrite it with a different ending.
And so we write our own stories the way we would tell them. The way the people in our heads dictate them. We write for us first, and then we hope you, dear readers, also love the people who have created themselves in our minds.
It used to be, before the interwebs, that this was enough. A writer would write and a reader would read and never the two shall meet. Now, not so. Now, social media, and online reviews and the internet have given readers a voice to not only meet and engage in dialogue with their favorite authors (Kimberly still has the tweets starred that she and Neil Gaiman exchanged), but readers can voice their opinions about the books they read. They can take those emotional journeys online and en masse.
This has some real perks. Those connections, making reading a group experience to share with friends and family, getting to know your favorite author more personally, sharing your favorite books far and wide—all awesome!
But there is one trend we noticed first with video games, and now with books, that we have to wonder about.
Recently, we’ve seen a few popular authors receive major heat for the way they ended their popular series. (And in one case, the criticism is for choices the author has made in the series as it progresses.)
Laurell K. Hamilton, popular, bestselling author of the Anita Blake books, wrote a post years ago about her negative readers. The ones who would wait in line for hours during a signing just to tell her they hate her books.
We are scratching our heads at people who would spend SO MUCH TIME and ENERGY to hate on something. Don’t like it? DON’T READ IT!
So obviously, getting passionately…. Er… passionate about a series isn’t new. What’s new (at least what SEEMS new-ish) is this tendency to blacklist authors because of a choice they make in their books, or even because of the style of book they write.
Fans of Veronica Roth are livid over the ending of the Divergent series. Allegiant just launched and already it has a 2.5 rating with [image error]over 177 1 star reviews. Many are saying they will never read anything by this author again, because of how she ended the series.
Fans of the Sookie Stackhouse series went crazy when Charlaine Harris gave Sookie the ‘wrong’ happily ever after, going so far as to send death threats, suicide notes and more to the author, who canceled her book tour.
We understand that the characters in books become real to readers. WE ARE READERS and WRITERS. The characters we read and write are all real to us. But there has to be a line drawn somewhere.
At the end of the day, the author is THE AUTHOR. They, and only they, have exclusive access to the voice of their characters and storyline. Both Harris and Roth said in interviews that the ending for their series were known from the beginning, because sometimes that’s the way the muse speaks.
I, as the reader, may not like it, but it’s not my book to write.
But it’s not only the endings that are getting authors blacklisted by readers these days. H.M. Ward, author of the New York Times Best Selling serial novel, The Arrangement, has garnered a lot of criticism from fans for her serial approach to this series, many of whom have threatened to ‘never read this author again.’
That’s of course their decision, but that seems harsh and a little alarming.
Firstly, Ward has other books out, full length books that are not serials. Secondly, her serial is clearly marked as such, with word count and everything, so if serials aren’t your thing, DON’T BUY THEM!
Which brings us to the third point. There is a DANGER to this way of thinking from fans.
Let’s say authors listen to this craziness and start changing their writing style and book endings and formats to appease the most negative vocal readership they have. What would happen?
The death of innovative literature. THAT is what would happen.
Perhaps you think we’re being alarmist, but hear us out. We, as authors, need freedom to tell the stories that are in us to tell. We may write in different genres, different lengths and story types, with different kinds of endings. We may experiment with dark characters or fun characters or a blend of both. We might push the envelope on topics that make you uncomfortable. We might *gasp* have endings that are more tragic than happy. We might write books that are just not for you.
And that’s okay. We don’t expect every fan we have to read every book we write.
But if we as authors (in the larger sense of the word), listened to this kind of criticism, and started writing for the vocally negative, then all that innovation would stop. We would start to write in ruts, only content to repeat the tried and true story ideas, lengths and formats that received the least amount of criticism.
We wouldn’t venture forth with new ideas.
We wouldn’t innovate.
We wouldn’t try new things.
And we would become stale.
Trust us when we say that nobody wants to live in a world where this kind of writer is the only one writing.
So might we make a suggestion? Instead of shaming authors in reviews, instead of threating to ‘never read this author again’ because they violated something in the length of their story or ending of a series that was important to you, perhaps take each story as its own, each book as its own.
It’s okay to hate a book, or hate serial novels, even, but unless that is the ONLY THING the author has ever written and ever will write, why vow off the author forever and always? Why not support the author in making different choices for different books, depending on what they feel the story calls for?
Why not allow the author’s muse to speak to them, and decide based on each book whether it’s something you’ll enjoy or not?
Because the last thing we want to do is create a society of writers who stop listening to their muse and start listening to the angriest, most vocal of their readers.
Sound off below. Would you stop reading an author forever and always if they wrote something you didn’t like or ended a series in a way you hated? What do you think authors owe readers in regards to their books?
October 23, 2013
[image error]Mom of three, Maria Kang, has been accused of ‘fat shaming’ and ‘bullying’, when this image went viral in the last week or so. The image shows her in work out gear looking trim and fit with her three young children around her as she poses the question, “What’s your excuse?”
I’ve been thinking a lot about this image, and reading the responses it’s generated. And here is the conclusion I’ve come to:
1) I understand why this message has offended people. “What’s your excuse?” implies to some that if I don’t look like her, I must be making excuses. It insinuates that anyone who is not ‘fit’ and ‘beautiful’ based on the mainstream media standard is somehow doing it wrong, and that can be offensive. BUT…
2) I also understand those who are NOT offended by it, and who feel others are overreacting. Because this is a woman who worked hard to get the body and shape she has (GOOD FOR HER!), and was presumably trying to encourage others to accomplish their own health goals without excuses (and by the way, this image was originally posted by her, on HER fitness oriented Facebook fan page, so I’d say it was an appropriate motivator for where and how it was used.)
I could just as easily have taken a picture of all the books I’ve written in the last two years and put my three kids around them and written “Writers, what’s your excuse?” next to it, for the same message. Because that message can be applied to ANYTHING that you say you want, but then find reasons not to go after.
And that’s the bottom line here. That if you REALLY want something, you shouldn’t let anything stand in your way of getting it. If you aren’t as fit as your body is able to be (and not all of us can look like Maria Kang, no matter how much we work out or eat well, because we all have different genetics and body shapes and health issues–and from what I’ve read and seen about her, she’s not trying to MAKE YOU look like her, just trying to INSPIRE you toward your own fitness goals… ), but if you don’t have the body and health you want, and it’s TRULY important to you, then don’t make excuses. JUST DO IT.
But what if that’s NOT a priority for all women everywhere? I think that’s what’s rubbing some the wrong way, the assumption that this SHOULD be the priority for all women everywhere. That somehow we are all morally obligated to make working out and looking good (and even being super healthy) a top priority in our lives.
But what if it’s not? Is that okay too? Are we allowed to have different priorities?
Obesity and having the ‘perfect body’ have become loaded issues in our society. Moral issues. So much so that people feel morally obligated to speak out about their obese neighbor, friend of family member. (Or random person walking down the street.) And so much so that one Facebook meme meant to motivate has come under attack. As someone who has had the near ideal body and look, and who is now not so ideal at all, I have felt this discrimination and glorification from both sides of the fence.
I don’t care for either. I didn’t like the attention my body got when it was close to the ‘ideal,’ and I don’t like how it feels to be out of shape and overweight. I have beat myself up a lot about it these last several years, and about a year ago I had a long talk with my best friend and finally understood something I hadn’t until then.
This is the truth we all need to grasp.
I had to choose what my priorities would be. My body and my life as a whole reflected those choices. I could change those choices at any time, but I couldn’t do EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. I had to prioritize.
Some of you know some of my story, how I was in an abusive marriage for many years and finally got out. How I met the love of my life on Twitter. How I was a single mother of three young girls. How I discovered undiagnosed food allergies that had made me sick and inflamed my body until I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and put on pain meds.
Getting back in shape for me wasn’t just a matter of hitting the gym and eating better. I had to really carve out a serious chunk of time, money and free attention to make my health, healing and all of that a true priority. Which meant I had to give up something else.
And for too long, I was sinking financially, struggling just to keep food on the table for my children. I only had enough free attention to keep my most basic health needs met during that time.
Then, Dmytry and I got together, and we worked hard to build our career as writers. While we wrote all those books, we still had bills to pay and kids to feed, so we also did other work. I was a publicist for clients and marketing director for a publishing company. I did freelance writing and took on jobs (like ghost writing real estate) that were tedious for me, just to pay the bills. All the while trying to build my career.
And I’d be so upset that I couldn’t also get healthy and in shape during this time. Until I realized through my talk with Jan, that I could, but it meant giving up something else.
I had to choose!
And so I did. I chose financial stability. I chose building my career so that I could ultimately free my attention to handle my health once I was working as a writer full time. This was MY choice, and it might not be the same choice you’d make. I had my reasons, and looking back, I’m glad I made the choice I did. I’m now a full time writer with a comfortable income and the free attention to start handling my health issues without the added stress of wondering how we’ll pay the rent or keep the lights on. For me, I couldn’t address my health, as complicated as it was, while also worrying about basic survival. I had to get past that first, and I have. We have.
Now we are living an incredible life that is better than I ever dreamed.
And now I can finally start handling those other back issues, like my health.
So, I get the message this meme was trying to send. And I get why people took it the way they did. Because ultimately, “What’s your excuse?” is a genuine question we should all be asking ourselves when it comes to something we desperately want but don’t have in our lives.
And ultimately, we have to prioritize and decide what we want most RIGHT NOW, and what will have to wait a little longer. We have to stop judging each other too, because that’s just silly. My choice to write and provide for my family isn’t better or worse than your choice to hit the gym everyday. Maybe you already have that financial stability. Maybe the health thing needed to happen first for you BEFORE you handled the other stuff. I don’t know, because I’m not you. I’m ME. And I made the best choice for MY LIFE, just like I assume you will do for YOUR LIFE. And that is OKAY.
We are all beautiful souls traveling this path of life, doing our best to make the right decisions. And life isn’t a multiple choice test. The right answer for me might be the wrong answer for you, and vice versa.
So instead of asking, “What’s your excuse?”, why don’t we instead focus inward and ask ourselves, “What am I willing to sacrifice for RIGHT NOW?” And instead of judging others by our own standards of what’s important (and attacking those who are trying to inspire others in their goals), why don’t we step back and give each other the benefit of the doubt that they are doing what’s right for them, just as we are.
I don’t think we need to storm at Maria Kang with pitch forks and torches. And I don’t think it’s wrong to question the bigger message either. But we do need to stop judging each other by arbitrary standards that don’t need to apply to everyone just because they apply to us.
October 16, 2013
[image error]This morning we read an article by Neil Gaiman (a beloved favorite author of ours), called Why our future depends on libraries, reading and daydreaming. We encourage you to read this article as well as it emphatically and enthusiastically shares the reasons why reading fiction is so very important, for children and adults and all of us, and why libraries should be treasured, built and protected in order to ensure our future.
“Albert Einstein was asked once how we could make our children intelligent. His reply was both simple and wise. “If you want your children to be intelligent,” he said, “read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” He understood the value of reading, and of imagining. I hope we can give our children a world in which they will read, and be read to, and imagine, and understand.”
THIS. This is the crux of the message, and what has inspired this post today. I often wonder what the role of the writer would be in the post-apocolyptic struggles we’re all fond of reading and watching. What would our roles be in The Walking Dead world of survival? Would there be a place for us anymore, when the most valued skills would be those of killing, healing and creating food and necessary supplies to survive?
My ex-husband often spoke of his work as a medic in the Army National Guard as more important than what I did as a writer and raiser of children. Not to begrudge his efforts, or those of any military personnel, but let’s think this through. If we lose the arts, the stories, the imagination of our culture, what then are we fighting for? This is the soul of our world’s body. The stories, the music, the words shaped into fantasy–this feeds our imagination, it allows us to dream of what could be, it inspires us to create, invent, change and innovate. It is what we are fighting always to save, or what we should be.
“I was in China in 2007, at the first party-approved science fiction and fantasy convention in Chinese history. And at one point I took a top official aside and asked him Why? SF had been disapproved of for a long time. What had changed?
It’s simple, he told me. The Chinese were brilliant at making things if other people brought them the plans. But they did not innovate and they did not invent. They did not imagine. So they sent a delegation to the US, to Apple, to Microsoft, to Google, and they asked the people there who were inventing the future about themselves. And they found that all of them had read science fiction when they were boys or girls.
Fiction can show you a different world. It can take you somewhere you’ve never been. Once you’ve visited other worlds, like those who ate fairy fruit, you can never be entirely content with the world that you grew up in. Discontent is a good thing: discontented people can modify and improve their worlds, leave them better, leave them different.”
Fiction breeds reality. Fiction is a lie that tells the truth, as Neil Gaiman says. In college, I went through a phase where I struggled with what was truly important work. I was studying theater and journalism, and had a discussion with my theater advisor about which was more important. Surely the TRUE news, covering that, writing about it, sharing it with the world, was more valuable than making up stories for stage or print, right?
Wrong. He knew what I eventually learned. That the telling of stories casts a mirror on society in a way that news stories never can. The telling of stories shows us ourselves, and shows us what could be, and in so doing, shapes us into something unexpected and new. Something greater than what we were.
This is why I’m a storyteller today and not a journalist. This is why I weave fiction for adults, teens and children. This is why I don’t stick to one genre or one age group, and why I have no qualms with writing fantasy, romance, contemporary, children’s books or sci-fi. This is why, as a mother of three little readers, I have the hardest time telling them to put their books away, turn out their lights and go to bed at night. This is why I can only smile when I catch them doing what I did as a child, sneaking their books under their covers because they just have to read the next chapter.
This is why each of my children’s teachers have given up having them record how many minutes they’ve read, and instead have to remind them that they must also get their other homework done.
Our middle daughter, Bella, might not be the reader she is if she wasn’t being raised by us. She’s not naturally inclined to read, as our other girls are. She’s more athletic and physical, more outwardly focused. But a few years ago I began a series just for them called The Three Lost Kids, and I wrote their worlds and their stories. As our youngest, Lexie, says, these aren’t fiction, they are true accounts of their adventures. Adventures to other worlds with magic and wonder and danger and important life lessons. There are dragons and unicorns and warring fairies and Christmas curses and dying Sugar Fairies and evil monsters who have captured Cupid. There are friendships made and lessons learned and growth in each child. There is imagination at work here, and they inspired it all. And they are all avid readers of more than the six book I wrote for them that they have since outgrown.
Books are keys that unlock other worlds and give us tools to survive well in this world. [image error]
Dmytry and I both grew up lost in other worlds as well. And now, as adults, we stay lost on a full time basis, making up worlds, making up stories and writing them down, telling our characters’ stories for them. And in each book we write, regardless of genre, there is truth to be found. There are words to be read and learned, journeys to be shared.
We have the best job in the world, and we never forget that. We created this life through the books that shaped us as children, and we wish the same for our children, that they will create the life of their dreams because they know how to dream, they know how to imagine, they know how to color their world outside the lines and create something entirely of their own making.
And that is what our world needs more of. More dreaming. More creating. More thinking outside the lines and making up stories. That is what we can give our children, and ourselves, that will save the future and save our humanity.
What book or author shaped you as a child?
October 14, 2013
[image error]We woke up this morning to discover that the entire Seduced Saga and Kiss Me in Paris have been pulled from Kobo during a company-wide sweep in which they unpublished all books that had been uploaded through Draft2Digital, among other places. At this point, we haven’t been told directly WHY Kobo unpublished EVERYTHING from EVERYWHERE, but we can surmise that it’s because of this article in The Kernel that went on the attack against Amazon and other retailers that published boundary pushing (but legal) erotica with titles that, we admit, we aren’t personally turned on by, but which make clear in the product description aren’t illegal.
According to an article on The Digital Reader,
The ebookstores are sweeping a wide broom in the process, with WH Smith even going so far as to shut down their website.”
What’s so alarming is that only self-published and indie authors are being targeted. They are going after content that potentially depicts incest, rape or bestiality in erotic fiction, but are conveniently leaving out traditionally published titles that have such content in them. As The Digital Reader points out:
“Curiously enough, B&N and Amazon have yet to remove The Bible, V.C. Andrews’ Flowers In The Attic , Alyssa Nutting’s Tampa , Judy Blume’s Forever , or Lolita . No, they’re just removing self-published erotica.”
This is a short list of titles. Another example is Game of Thrones, now a popular HBO series, which has sexually explicit sex scenes between a brother and sister.
Why aren’t these titles being pulled? And why would KOBO, WH Smith (and potentially B&N and Amazon) react so violently to one article about a few questionable titles? None of our books have anything remotely questionable in them in regards to these themes. There’s no incest, no one is underage, and there’s no bestiality or rape, yet all of our titles, regardless of genre, were pulled from KOBO. We, of course, are hoping it stops there or we’ll be explaining to our children why they have to leave their school, lose their house and stop eating (since we do this gig full-time and depend on our royalties to support our family.)
But this isn’t just about us. There’s a much bigger question posed here about what liberties we’re willing to lose in the guise of ‘protecting’ us from inappropriate content and material. Already schools are banning books for reasons that make no sense to us. Now we’re looking at books being banned from retail outlets because of the subject matter/title.
Let’s talk about the moral and ethical lines regarding censorship and discrimination. Is this censorship? As one friend/fellow author in a Facebook conversation on this post pointed out: This is a corporate decision. They can sell what they want. She argues it’s not censorship since authors are free to publish elsewhere.
Wikipedia defines censorship as this:
Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet or other controlling body. It can be done by governments and private organizations or by individuals who engage in self-censorship. It occurs in a variety of different contexts including speech, books, music, films, and other arts, the press, radio, television, and the Internet for a variety of reasons including national security, to control obscenity, child pornography, and hate speech, to protect children, to promote or restrict political or religious views, and to prevent slander and libel.
Does this qualify as censorship? It seems the argument could made either way. But we’re amending this post to suggest that if it’s not censorship, perhaps it’s discrimination against Indie authors, since larger publishers are not being targeted by this.
Case in point. Kobo still has Anne Rice’s The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty available. This is erotica that in the first sample chapter has the prince finding a beautiful 15-year-old girl asleep, and he rapes her to awaken her, then makes her his sexual slave. The series explores torture, rape and pedophilia and is erotic in nature. Yet it’s still published on Kobo, despite their reactionary banning of other titles that are not at all erotic.
What’s really going on here?
Should titles that use rape for titillation be allowed on virtual shelves? Should incest be allowed in books? If we answer no to that, what else are we willing to lose? Where do we draw the lines? And who gets to decide? We all have different sensibilities and what I find repulsive someone else might enjoy. And why are only Indie authors being targeted for this particular smack-down?
Sound off: Where do you stand on this? Do you think bookstores are overreacting? Is this censorship, discrimination or something else entirely?
October 7, 2013
We have a confession to make. We have sex. A lot of it. * hangs head in shame *
Oh, wait, we forgot, we’re not actually ashamed of this. You see, sex is a biological imperative of nearly every species on the planet. It’s how we survive. Also, let’s not kid ourselves, if done well it’s f&*#$ing amazing, am I right?
Unless you’re this living rock. In which case, you sex yourself for survival and what not. Which doesn’t really sound nearly as fun.
Do you think it has a come on it uses on itself?
Now, we’ve heard the saying that even bad sex is good. Well, no, that’s not true. At least not for women. A hot bath and a good book are better than bad sex (and most things in life, to be honest.) So, given that this is something we are going to do no matter what (unless you’re a nun or a priest or the kid still living in your mother’s basement, but even then, you’ve probably had some action at some point), we should know about it, right? And we should learn to do it well.
And we certainly shouldn’t be ashamed of it. That would just be silly. As silly as getting all crazy about a woman breastfeeding her child or banning a state representative from speaking on the House floor for using the totally appropriate medical word, vagina, when talking about women’s health.
Turns out, we in the U.S. of A. live in a culture that is simultaneously fascinated and shamed by the act of sex, and the body parts that go along with it. ESPECIALLY for the women.
Sex is dirty, naughty, bad. A girl who does it and enjoys it is a slut, or a bad girl. A whore. Or worse. It’s okay to do it if you’re married and you don’t really enjoy it, but the moment you actually take the power of your sexual pleasure into your own hands, watch out! The Madonna/Whore complex comes out in full tilt.
Society likes women to be in boxes. You can be the whore–fully empowered in your sexuality and not afraid to use it, or you can be the Madonna–good, kind, motherly and the kind of girl guys can bring home to mom.
You can’t be both.
Sex is used as a weapon, as a threat against women (particularly by asshole men on the internet who like to threaten rape against any woman who has a brain or expresses an opinion contrary to them. Or wins a tennis match against who they think is the prettier, sexier girl. Or wants a different person on a bank note. Or whatever.)
But it’s SEX. It’s what we all do, or will do, or have done, at one point in our lives (or many points.) It’s meant to be enjoyable. It’s not JUST a form of procreation, but a form of pleasure. And yet we are still so freaking terrified of the power it gives us, gives women, that it’s still shamed even as scantily clad women are used to sell everything from clothing (because nothing sells clothing like not wearing any) to hamburgers (because, well, I don’t even know. Certainly those models don’t actually eat that food.)
This is how we eat our hamburgers, obviously.
This week we watched the first three episodes of a new show on Showtime called “Masters of Sex” based loosely on the true story of a doctor in the 50s who conducted human studies of what happens to the body during sex.
The study, and the results, were scandalous! And the show is brilliant! This doctor argues that the very beginning of life, the most enjoyable act we can do together, is left in the shadows, in secret, in taboo, where few understand it. Why not study it? Give it to science to sort out and label? Learn what really happens when that incredible orgasm hits and our bodies cease to be ours to control and instead become primal, gripped in the uncontrollable plunge into ecstasy.
Just don’t poke your eye out with the giant, glowing, camera dildo. That would be bad.
We’re fascinated by this show, and by the still prevailing attitudes about sex, body parts and pleasure.
In our Seduced series, one of the criticisms it’s received is that Rose is too sweet and innocent to be that bold in the bedroom. Ironically, this is our very best selling series, and we think this is part of it. Rose is a smart, inexperienced young woman who’s lived a sheltered life because of a dark power that makes her dangerous to others. But she’s not naïve. She reads, she watches shows, she dreams. She knows what she wants, she’s just never been able to have it.
When she finally gets her chance, she doesn’t waste it. She goes after that shared bliss lustfully and playfully and confidently. And the doors stay open the whole time.
Perhaps this is also why 50 Shades is such a hit. It’s received numerous criticism for bad writing, bad plotting, bad characterization, bad representation of the BDSM lifestyle, bad everything. But it opens the doors to intelligent everyday people who get very naughty in bed. It gives us permission to wonder, to explore, to fantasize and try new things.
And why not? If it’s between consenting adults and everyone is having fun, then why not? Why must we labor under this delusion that we should feel shame about something that keeps our species going and gives us such pleasure?
What do you think? Sound off below. Should sex be hush hush and left behind closed doors? Or is it time to strip the taboos and labels off of this very natural act and start talking openly about it?
For your entertainment, here is a brilliant response from Amanda Palmer on how the Daily Mail focused on a nipple slip during one of her shows, instead of, you know, focusing on the art of her work. (Caution, there is nudity in this. FEMALE nudity!)
September 23, 2013
Two years ago we published Forbidden Mind, our first novel and the book that started EVERYTHING. This series led to the spin-off bestseller, the Seduced Saga, and is inspiring so many more books in this world. But it all started here. One year ago, we published the final book, Forbidden Life, and The Forbidden Trilogy omnibus edition. Today, this award-winning series is getting a makeover! New covers! To celebrate, in true KK style, we’re doing a giveaway! (With excessive exclamation points included!! Lol)
Click on the link below to enter to win a signed copy and signed poster of the original Forbidden Trilogy (US only) or the ebook of The Forbidden Trilogy (international). Also, you might notice a fourth cover there. That, dear friends, is the new Book ZERO of The Forbidden Trilogy. A prequel to those who have already read the series, or the new first book (or book zero) for those who will just be starting the series after Forbidden Memory launches next year. It can be read before or after the trilogy.
If you’re new to the Forbidden series, check them out on Amazon here.
ABOUT THE FORBIDDEN TRILOGY
[image error]Those inside are special, gifted with unique abilities, abilities that make them dangerous to the outside world. Since childhood, they’re trained to control their powers, to show restraint, and to defend themselves. For years they practice, honing their gifts for one purpose: to be rented out to the highest bidder as a spy, to be used as a weapon against others.
Sam never questions her role at the secret organization dubbed Rent-A-Kid.
Until she meets Drake.
She reads minds. He controls minds. Together, they might get out alive.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
“A thrilling, dark and deeply romantic read.” ~ Refracted Light Young Adult Book Reviews
“THE best trilogy I have read EVER since The Hunger Games!” ~ Sharon Hughes
“The plot is very ALIAS and DARK ANGEL-like with X-MEN as its backdrop (awesome combo!).” ~ Sour Skittles Book Blog
“Kinrade’s talent lies in weaving stories together, telling multiple points of view with clarity and precision while making you love her characters through their humanity and unwillingness to quit no matter what.” ~Patti Larsen, Author
” These characters are ones that will dig into your heart so deeply that you’ll find yourself sympathizing with each and every one of them. At times, you’ll even root for the bad guys because of the unique circumstances they find themselves. I definitely recommend this series for reading. It’s one you’ll end up reading time and time again.” ~ N. Medina
“I hope this trilogy will be made into movies, because I will make it a point to see all three of them! I’d love to see these beloved people come alive on the silver screen! As good as these books are, I don’t think I’ll have to wait that long for this to come true, either! Here’s my parting advice: dive into these books — you’ll find it very hard to come back to reality, and, in fact, may not want to come back at all!” ~TwilightDreamLover
Enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of The Forbidden Trilogy and poster (US only) or ebook of The Forbidden Trilogy (international). Click here to enter.
And TELL US! What do you think of the new covers?? Which one is your favorite? BONUS: Everyone who comments here will get a signed postcard of Hunter Riley or Sam Smith!
September 18, 2013
We know you all have been DYING for the next Seduced by Lies volume (based on the emails, tweets, FB comments and private messages–y’all sure do love your Seduced, and we love you!), and now you have it.
Get it on Amazon here.
And watch for it on B&N, Kobo and iBooks soon. (Days for B&N and Kobo, with iBooks, we just don’t know. They have a love/hate relationship with the Seduced Saga.)
Also the Forbidden Series is getting a makeover. ALL NEW COVERS, plus, there’s going to be a new pre-quel Forbidden book. Exciting, yes? And Monday our publicist is doing a HUGE reveal all over blogs and social media. There will be prizes for readers, and prizes for bloggers who sign up now to participate in sharing the news! Check it out here and sign up today! Blogger only prizes include two $10 Amazon gift cards. Don’t miss out!
Now, go get your copy of Lies 2 and let us know what you think. And don’t worry, there will be more coming soon!
About Seduced by Lies, Vol. 2- The Emzara
[image error]In Volume 2 of the wildly popular Seduced by Lies serial, Rose and Derek embark on a trip to Rome to make sure the man who killed their friends is convicted for his crimes, while Sam stays behind to fight for the life of the man she loves.
Packed with mystery, romance and paranormal intrigue, The Emzara-Seduced by Lies 2 picks up where Elysium-Seduced by Lies 1 left off.
This is the second volume in a stand-alone serial novel that will have 5-7 individual volumes. It is also a sequel to Seduced: Rose’s Story (or Seduced by Power), and in some ways, a sequel to The Forbidden Trilogy.
**Watch out for cliffhanger endings!**
New Adult Paranormal Mystery/Romance with adult content
Get it on Amazon here.
Add it (and SHARE it!) on Goodreads, here.
Need to get caught up? Here’s the order of recommended reading for this epically growing world.
Seduced by Lies is a serial novel sequel to both Seduced: Rose’s Story and The Forbidden Trilogy. It’s more directly related to Seduced, so we’d suggest starting there. If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to read Seduced by Lies, Vol. 1-Elysium first. These definitely need to be read in order!
You don’t have to have read Forbidden to enjoy the Seduced books, but it’s a great back story to Sam, Drake, Lucy and Luke, so check it out. Start with Forbidden Mind for only $2.99 or jump right into The Forbidden Trilogy and get all three.
And let us know what you think! There will be more Seduced and Forbidden, and more spin-off books in this world.
QUESTION: What do you think will happen in Vol. 2 of Lies? What do foresee for this serial?
August 26, 2013
[image error]So you wrote a book, or are currently working on it. That’s awesome!
But writing your book is only one part of the process. It’s a big part, don’t get me wrong, but if your goal is to actually make MONEY doing this, to make a living or, at least pay a few bills, then you need to take the marketing part of your novel seriously.
Most writers aren’t marketers. That’s where I come in.
I went from being a single mom on welfare after my divorce years ago, to an award-winning, bestselling author making a 6 figure income on ROYALTIES ALONE. That’s right, ALL of that comes from book sales.
I don’t say this to brag, not at all. I’m not a New York Times bestseller (yet), or a household name (yet), but I am a successful mid-list author who has hit a few bestseller lists and sells consistently, particularly the titles I published under my own imprint. (Why I believe SO MUCH in being your own publisher, but that’s a story for another post.)
While I have a lot of books out, the first 10 are with a publisher, and I have very little say over marketing, so they don’t sell a whole lot. My recent books starting this January were under my imprint, allowing me to control the marketing, and they TOOK OFF! I’m now having months where I make more in 30 days then I did in a whole freaking year before.
I’ve been a marketing director for a small press, worked for a publicity company, and owned my own marketing and design company, and through it all I’ve learned a lot about how to sell books, how to brand authors, what works and what doesn’t.
I don’t take clients anymore, but I recently got offered a chance to teach a class with the lovely and talented Rebecca T. Dickson on marketing basics for authors, and I jumped at the chance.
Why? Because I love marketing, and I want to share that love with you. I love writing too; I’m one of those weird hybrid freaks! lol My husband (Dmytry Karpov) and I are a team. We write and market together, this whole business is ours, and we love love love it!
And it’s not as hard as you think. In this class, the first thing you’ll get is instant access to a bonus tutorial where I’ll teach you one simple super secret trick that will help you improve your sales on Amazon. You’ll learn how to get your book listed on up to 7 bestseller lists (depending on how it’s selling), and how to use that to make more money! This is so ridiculously easy, but almost no one knows how to do it. I’m going to show you how as soon as you sign up for this class.
Then, next month on, September 14th from 1-4 p.m. EDT I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about how to build your platform and all the tools of social media to find your fans and sell your book (and get THEM helping you to sell your book.) These days, book sales are about word of mouth and tribe building, and by the end of this class you’ll have all the tools you need to do it like a pro and HAVE FUN while you do it.
Here’s a little intro video about the class:
Now head on over to the sign up page here and get an early bird discount if you register by September 7th! Go do it now, because you’re going to want in on this, I promise you that!
Also, if this goes well and people are excited, there will be more. I have lots of accumulated tricks, ideas and knowledge about marketing and publishing that I’m dying to share, so help me make this a success so I can keep offering these classes and teaching you what I know.
When it comes to writing and publishing and marketing, we have to work together. There’s no shortage of readers, and we as authors are NOT in competition with each other. We’re going to have a blast in this class, and I really want to see YOU there. So come on over and SIGN UP HERE, then invite a friend or two or four, because I’m also going to give you your first lesson in incentivized marketing when you sign up. See? Fun! I can’t wait to see you there!
What do you want to learn how to do when it comes to book marketing?