Stealing Beauty

Bullied for a 1-Star Book Review… That I didn’t Write!

Hello loves, and Happy November! Boy, do I have a doozy for you.

I’d heard stories. I’d seen other’s make Facebook posts. I’d read articles. I guess, somewhere in the back of my mind, like the teenager who drives too fast all the time, I thought it would never happen to me.

And it did. BOY it did.

An author saw a 1 star review, did some searching, found me, and direct messaged me with the sole intent of berating me and telling me to change “my” review.

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

No, I’m not joking. I wish I were. So, sit down boys and girls while I tell you a story…

I met this “author” on Facebook. For the purposes of this blog, let’s call him Charlie. He started a website for indie authors in which you can post your book and your links with the goal of reaching others who like to support indie writers. Cool concept. I accepted his friend request and added Stealing Beauty onto his site. Awesome.

Then, I noticed Charlie always seemed to write posts intended to… “stir the pot”, so to speak – political, religious, sexist, you name it. He had a lot of comments from people who didn’t agree with him, and were pretty open in their dislike for what he had to say. Added to that, Charlie never seemed to have anything of note to back up his opinion. He’s one of those Facebook arguers – we’ve all seen them – who thinks just because he says it, it’s true. If you disagree, well, hell… YOU are wrong.

One day, Charlie made an outrageous claim about men and women, and their inability to ever be friends. He wrote a book in the same vein, using “sources” and “science” and arguing men NEVER read romance novels, and if so, it’s only to get into women’s panties, as well as argued women who WRITE romance novels have no idea about the “reality” of men.

He then went on to say – get ready (I’m paraphrasing) ALL men have a desire to rape women, and would do so if not for the consequences. In fact, ALL men see women as nothing other than a sexual conquest. He was adamant on the ALL factor here.

I kid you not. He then listed his book link saying to read it first, and then comment.

Well, boys and girls, a lot of us did. His “science” and “sources” were from places such as Wikipedia, as well as research studies proven to be invalid. He actually used a Vice Magazine article as a “source”.

I had a conversation with him, ignoring the blatant cry for attention in his post, to say some of his content was accurate, some truth, and he cannot use magazines as valid sources. I also argued the book was an opinion, not fact, and did not apply to all men. He disagreed, using the argument being a woman, I have no idea about men, he was completely right and I am wrong.

Whatever. I pulled up my big girl panties and moved on. I don’t have time for that. In retrospect, I should have blocked him. Alas, I generally give people the benefit of the doubt. You have to be a special kind of jerk to make it to my block list.

Anyway, here comes the good part. (Mind you, I’m leaving out a little bit of info to not bring his identity into this, as well as to paraphrase. If you want to see the full convo, it’s posted on my Facebook page here. ) A few days later, I have Facebook open while I’m writing my next novel (shame, I know. This is why it takes me forever!), and a message pops up, from him, accusing me of leaving a 1 star review on two of his books. Mind you, 1.) I didn’t leave a review. 2.) I didn’t know he wrote more than one book. I tell him it wasn’t me, and he proceeds to tell me how he linked it back to “my author page” based on what this other person liked. So – someone, who “liked” my Amazon author page, read his book (I checked, it was a verified purchase), left a 1 star review, and to him, the only possibility is me. I mean, who else BUT me would like my Amazon author page? Amirite?

I tell him again, sorry, wasn’t me. It may have possibly been a family member as I did tell my sister-in-law about the book (Personal Opinion – the book was poorly written, poorly researched, full of complete BS shrouded as truth, makes outrageous claims, and is offensive, and I told her in a “dude-you-need-to-read-this-shit” way). As we share an Amazon/Kindle log in, she could have read it. He then proceeds to tell me he gets 100 downloads a day, has over 10,000 likes, and obviously that means that he is right and the 1 star review is wrong. Mind you, he has 2 reviews on the one book I did read. TWO. And about 30 on this other book, which I had to search to see what it was even about.

He then tells me the review was “out of spite” and it needs to be changed. And if it wasn’t my “sister-in-law” – yes, he kept using quotations – it was me and I need to change it. He then went on to insult my intelligence as well as my writing – which hysterically hypocritically, he didn’t read.

Loves…. my mind is officially blown. Let’s ignore his inaccurate accusation for a second. Here is an author who had gone out of their way to search for, find, and message a reviewer with the sole purpose of telling them they are wrong and to change it.

No! Just no!

How can anyone promote them self to be an ethical author, and do this to reviewers? It is NEVER ok to berate a reviewer for a poor review. In fact, one of the first bits of advice I was given once my book was published was never to argue with a negative review, and never to praise a positive one.

I’ve had a few 3-star reviews on my book, and you know what? They were INCREDIBLY helpful. They were well written, insightful, and quite honestly, brought up issues which I missed. I am so thankful for those reviews!

I’ve never received a 1-star review. Although, based on his responses to me, I wouldn’t be surprised if he actually tries to leave one for my book. Or asks his “100 downloads a day” and “over 10,000 followers” to follow suit.  I’ll have you know at the time of this post, on Amazon my book rating is a 4.9 and in Goodreads a 4.8 – not bragging, just protecting myself! Lol. (But seriously, based on some of his comments, I can actually see this happening).

Just to be sure it wasn’t me having an off day, I posted the conversation. I did warn him, multiple times, I was going to – so in that sense I don’t feel I did anything wrong. The comments about the conversation were all in line with my train of thought. As an author, what he did was wrong. No two ways around it.

Now, you may be asking yourselves why did I write about this, especially after admitting I posted this on Facebook? Am I just being passive aggressive?

Well – maybe I am. I am a Scorpio and all.

My astrological bitchiness aside, I cannot believe someone, who is the “most humble person on the planet” – direct quote – thinks this behavior is alright.

So, here’s my bit of advice for aspiring authors. Do NOT do this. No. Never. No. If you see a 1 or 2 star review, leave it alone. Don’t comment, don’t get into a conversation “explaining” your point of view… just move on.

Reviewers – if an author EVER does this to you, you should put them on blast. Seriously. I’m not saying to be childish, and get into an argument, I’m telling you to tell them you’re going to post their comments for the public to decide. This type of “bullying” (I hate using that word when it’s not the true definition, but I honestly can’t think of another word right this second) is not ok. It’s NEVER ok, and they need to be made responsible. We cannot continue to allow people to think it’s ok to “bully” others for their opinions.

I can get REALLY meta on this topic, but I’ll save that for another time.

So before I go, I want to know if this has ever happened to you. Do you agree or disagree and why? Leave comments – I do love them. You know, as long as you don’t tell me to change my post 🙂

~XoXo

Jessica

As always, if you’d like to check out my AWARD WINNING BOOK (no, seriously! Best Erotic Romance by the Romance Writers of America – New Jersey Division and Best Fairy Tale Retelling by Reality Bites Magazine) click the links below.

STEALING BEAUTY - FINAL [EBOOK] - WEB (2)
Stealing Beauty – A Fairy Tales After Dark Novel
She wants him. He needs her. This time, it’s the Beast who’s going to attempt to tame the Beauty. Desire… danger… a whole lotta heat – this isn’t your childhood fairy tale.

A stubborn beauty….
Anabelle Lehala just wants to spend time with her best friend, finish law school, and provide a good life for her and her father. Her world is knocked upside down when she meets a mysterious, captivating stranger who tempts her like no one before. Refusing to be just another notch in his belt, Belle forces herself to stay away from him at all costs.

An egotistical beast….
Rich, powerful, and handsome, Aleksandr Wolfe has been accustomed to getting whatever he desires. That is, until he meets Belle. Immediately captivated by her, Aleks can’t understand why she won’t give in to the obvious mutual desire between them. Helpless to stay away from her, Aleks wonders if she’ll be the one thing he can never have.

The fight for her life….
When Anabelle finds herself in danger after refusing the advances of Gabriel Avenant, a man who believes she is his and his alone, Aleksandr vows to protect her. As their attraction grows, they each must decide if they are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice—their hearts.

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Author Spotlight – Gemma Stone

Hello lovelies!

Today I have the opportunity to showcase not just an amazing author of some seriously steamy stories, but someone I’ve met through my publishing company, Deep Desires Press

I’ve talked about DDP before and how amazing they are – they have not only gone above and beyond with guiding me through the publishing process, but they truly care about all their authors. They’ve created this wonderful little community of us which is where I met Ms. Gemma Stone.

And lovelies – Good. God. She knows how to write about sex! Today she’s featuring her Stephanie Spicer series, and is on the fourth novella, Love Plus One. So, before we get into the novella, Gemma, tell us a little about your journey into writing.

I began writing short stories based on the world of marketing and business when I was a marketing copywriter for a travel company in London. It was something to do in my lunch breaks and they were just for my own amusement. But they captured some of the more unusual, sometimes romantic, and even erotic, events that seemed to go on in the world of corporate business. I decided to try putting some of those ideas into a novella, and created a character called Stephanie Spicer to carry the storyline. The first of my novellas was called Pitch Perfect, and it was published last year by Deep Desires Press. I planned from the word ‘go’ to continue the storyline through a further nineteen novellas, and here we are already at book number four called Love Plus One. I love working with the character of Stephanie, and readers seem to have taken her to their hearts too, so I am delighted at how things are developing.

Nineteen! Holy cow, I didn’t realize you had so many planned out! Where do you draw your inspirations from?

Inspiration comes from so many places, and there is not just one source. For my Stephanie Spicer novellas, the inspiration came from working in a large, London-based organization where I was one of a team of marketing copywriters. Many of the situations I have written about in the novellas are real, or have a basis in reality from that time in my life. Certainly a lot of the characters are based on real people. Stephanie herself is my interpretation of a beautiful woman I used to work with, whilst her nemesis, Diane Martin, is based on a former boss of mine who was the least likeable person I’ve ever met. I used to watch and listen to her, knowing that one day I would be able to use the experience in a creative way in a book.

My coffee shop novellas (yet to be published) were inspired by a small coffee shop in Brighton that was going through hard times financially, with a lot of competition from the larger chains. It got me thinking about what they would have to do in order to survive. Being aware of the world around you is where inspirations come from. The Beatles used inspiration from newspaper stories and their own childhood backgrounds to create the musical masterpiece that is Sgt Pepper, so we all do it.

The characters for the coffee shop novella came from me travelling on a train from London to Brighton. In the seats opposite were three young women who were returning from a corporate ‘engagement day’. They were hilarious, and gelled so well as a team. I just listened to them for about an hour, and even got a notebook out to write down some of their expressions, physical descriptions and tone of voice. All three ended up as key players in the novella. If I’d been in my own world with headphones on, I’d have missed one of the best inspirations I’ve ever had as a writer.

That’s definitely one thing I’ve learned as an author – inspiration comes from everywhere, so be sure to keep your eyes, and from what you’ve realized too – your ears, open. Who are some of your favorite authors?

There are so many, but here are just a few: Stan Barstow, who wrote A Kind of Loving amongst many classic works in British literature; Anita Brookner, who wrote Hotel du Lac, one of my favourite books of all time. Roald Dahl is best known now for his children’s books, but it is his supremely dark and chilling short stories that float my boat. Try ‘Lamb to the slaughter’ from Someone Like You, but maybe not last thing at night! Another favourite of mine is Tove Jansson, widely acclaimed for her Moomintroll books, but a supremely gifted writer of adult novels and stories. The craft of her writing in books like The True Deceiver is breathtaking – so light and effortless.

Was there any particular book which gave you the writing bug?

Yes. As a child it was The Midnight Folk by John Masefield. It is a fantasy story about the adventures of a boy called Kay Harker. Reading it left me filled with awe at the mastery of the writing, which transported me into a magical world and showed me the power of the creative mind. John Masefield was Poet Laureate in Britain from the 1930s to late 1960s, so he clearly had a gift with words. His inspiration made me want to be a writer myself and have the power to take readers into a make-believe world where anything was possible.

In your make-believe world, which fictional character would you like to have a drink with, and why?

That’s easy – it would be Reggie Perrin, the fictional character created by English comedy writer, David Nobbs. The first of his trilogy of Perrin books is called The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and was also made into a wonderful TV series starring Leonard Rossiter. It set a landmark for British sitcom comedy in the 1970s, but it is the quality of Nobb’s writing that is peerless. Reggie finds the business world he is a part of totally ridiculous, and he rebels against it, but he eventually becomes successful in the very world he is trying to kick against. I have a lot of empathy with Reggie, as I found myself working within big businesses for a while, and I could experience his frustrations.

With your corporate background, I imagine writing is a total 180, even using people you know as inspiration. What was the first story you ever wrote, and what became of it?

It was a very short science fiction story I was coerced into writing for a school magazine because I had told my English teacher I wanted to be a writer one day. It sank without a trace…

That particular one may have, but, oh – if your teacher could see you now. Since you have published works, when you sold your first piece of writing, how did you celebrate?

It was a fashion and lifestyle feature I wrote for a British magazine, and I was so pleased I was grinning stupidly for days. My boyfriend took me out for a meal and I just hoped that I could get a repeat commission. The magazine editor changed shortly afterwards, and my freelance career hit a bump in the road. It was a reality check at the time. Who said being a writer was an easy profession?

Lol. Literally no one. Speaking on the difficulties, what’s the hardest part of being an author for you?

You tend to get used to working on your own, so I wouldn’t say that’s the hardest part, though many authors do as you have to live in your own little bubble whilst crafting stories. Personally, I think the hardest part is putting up with non-authors saying things like “writing – oh, I could do that. It must be so easy”. My response is always the same – “So do it”. Rarely do those involved ever take up the challenge when they find out it’s not quite the simple task they expected.

I even dumped a former boyfriend who thought one day I should get a ‘real’ job instead of sitting at a computer typing and trying to achieve my ambition of become a writer.

You were too nice by just dumping him then. Tell me more about your real job… how do you describe your writing style?

It is light touch, and dialogue-driven and it has a humour to it that stems from me being English, I think. My editor at Deep Desires Press loves the almost comic phraseology that I manage to get into some of the scenes in each novella. It just comes naturally, and I certainly don’t force it. There are some darker moments too, as you’ll see in Love Plus One. Even though I wrote it, I still get sad at one of the scenes in the book where Stephanie can feel her future happiness slipping away. It would be lovely for each book to have a happy ever after ending, but that’s not true to life. The best Stephanie can hope for is happy for now, and I love it when she finds the passion and romance she so desperately craves.

Most of my books are written in the third person, with pairings being M/F, F/F or F/M/F. So far, they have been erotic romance novellas, but I’m certainly not averse to writing in other styles or genres. I’m just working on a series of short stories featuring a ‘rock chick’ on the road with a hard-working band. It’s a very different concept from the business world of Stephanie Spicer, and it’s fun to be working with an entirely new set of characters. The inspiration came from seeing a concert by a singer called Mollie Marriott, and wondering what life on the road would be like for her and the other female backing singer in an otherwise all-male band.

What’s the strangest thing you had to research for your writings?

Technical faults on audio equipment mixing desks – strange, but true! It was for a rock band short story called What goes on Tour.

I admit I’m a bit obsessed with the Stephanie Spicer series. Can you talk a bit about the current novella?

Love Plus One is part of a series, so it was not a standalone piece of writing, although all the Stephanie Spicer novellas can be read individually. In this novella it would have been very easy to have Stephanie loved up over her new romance with Rick Martin. However, I wanted to make it more true to life. Things don’t always go as expected, and Stephanie is put into a terrible situation where she has to make a decision that will forever affect her life. She comes into conflict with Rick’s suspicious wife, and finds out just who holds the cards in the world of big business.

Ugh. The angst is just… so… perfect. Lol. Tell me a fun fact about this book.

The character of air stewardess, Asha Aman, came about after I saw a poster advertising an airline on the London Underground. There was a beautiful woman in a red stewardess uniform, and I thought she would be great in one of my books. Asha will appear in several future Stephanie Spicer novellas, so that poster was a great inspiration. It always reminds me that authors draw their ideas from a multitude of places, so keeping your eyes open is very important.

Also, one of the most intense erotic scenes between Asha and Stephanie was a scene cut from an earlier novella, but using a different character with Stephanie. The golden rule is never discard a scene, even if you cut it. Put it in a ‘deleted’ file and see if it will fit better somewhere else in the future

That’s one of my big pieces of advice too. Other than the stewardess-model, who would portray the lead characters of your book?

Wow – that’s a hard one! To play the part of Stephanie Spicer would be quite a challenge. An actress like Ashley Benson would certainly have the right looks physically to match my vision of Stephanie, but could she get the accent right? Stephanie’s British through and through. Maybe I should just leave that decision to a casting director, if the opportunity ever came up to make a film or TV adaptation of the books.

It’s interesting you mention her being British, even though I’m aware of it I can’t help but read it in English. I picture all American actors! I imagine we all do it though – read from our frame of reference, which is why people get annoyed when books are turned into movies. It’s never how exactly we picture it. What’s one movie adaption of a book which absolutely drives you bonkers, and why.

I can’t think of one that particularly irritates me, but there is one that vastly improves on the original book, and that’s the James Bond movie ‘You only Live Twice’. The Ian Fleming novel is a good book, but its storyline could never have made a great movie. The screenplay for the film, which largely discards the Fleming story, is by Roald Dahl, adding disappearing space capsules, a super villain (Blofeld) and exotic scenery, which lifts it into another realm altogether.

What is your writing Kryptonite?

There are two things that keep me going. The first is tea (well, I’m English…), and the other is dance music. This often surprises people, but listening to this style of music gives me a beat that drives the writing forward without too many words to distract you. I’m a huge fan of Dreadzone, who I have seen live many times, and I also listen to Leftfield.

I’ll have to check them out. Is there anything you’re currently working on now?

I’m working on several projects. A further Stephanie Spicer novella; a follow-up coffee-shop novella to my first story that will appear in a Deep Desire Press anthology early next year, and further outings for my rock chick, Trixxi Powers, in a short story series of rock band romances.

Hmm… that coffee anthology sounds familiar, haha! What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer?

Trying to be like someone else style-wise when writing. I wasn’t being true to myself, and it just didn’t work. I abandoned that idea early on and now just do my own thing. Writing has to be natural or it will come across as being stilted. I have now found a voice that I’m very happy with.

Great advice. Anything else you’d suggest for aspiring authors?

Read a lot; work hard and don’t give up!

Gemma thank you so, so much for stopping by today. One last thing – can we get a little excerpt from Love Plus One?

Of course!

Excerpt from Love Plus One

“It’s a beautiful view, isn’t it? London at night … all those pretty lights.”

“Not as beautiful as the one I’m looking at right in front of me,” came the quick reply.

Rick Martin, the Group Sales and Operations Director at Sports Gear Worldwide, slid his arms around Stephanie Spicer’s waist and kissed her cheek in the low light of his hotel room. Still looking out the window, Stephanie tilted her head back and rested it on his shoulder so it pressed against his. It was what the Creative Director of branding agency Conway Creative had waited a long time for.

“I just knew you’d be at the event tonight, Steph. Last time we were at an event together we didn’t have the luxury of time on our side. Now, we’ve got all night,” whispered Rick as he nuzzled even closer to Stephanie’s curvy body.

Stephanie turned in his arms to face him, her ample breasts pressing against his firm chest. Her revealing black evening dress for the sports awards ceremony had been daring, even by her standards, though she had never anticipated it would net her a prize like this. She smiled to herself at the thought of the media frenzy she and young tennis starlet Kelly Finch had caused as they arrived at the event. Although she had arrived with Kelly, she had left with Rick and now, in the muted light of his hotel room, she focussed on Rick’s face. His Italian-type good looks belied the fact he was American, a little older than Stephanie, yet he was the man she desired with all her heart.

Reaching up with her hands, she pushed her fingers through his grey-streaked hair and pulled him towards her.

“We may have all night, but we’ve got to start somewhere,” she teased.

“How about here…?”

Without another word, Rick locked his mouth onto Stephanie’s rosebud lips and kissed her with an intensity that immediately lit a fire within her, and she could feel a tingle of anticipation growing between her thighs. Stephanie’s face flushed as she felt Rick’s tongue exploring and caressing her mouth, tangling with her own.

“I’d almost forgotten how good you taste, Steph.”

“I’ve never forgotten anything about you, Rick,” said Stephanie with a moan of contentment. “Especially that cock of yours. I’m hoping you haven’t forgotten what you did with it last time.”

Releasing herself from Rick’s embrace, Stephanie moved towards the bed, knowing Rick’s eyes were following her every move. As she turned to face him, she could see and feel his eyes drinking in the sight of her womanly shape poured into the figure-hugging dress.

“Is this what you remember?” whispered Stephanie, as she released the fastenings and let the dress fall to the floor. She was completely naked, apart from a tiny black G-string that just covered her pussy.

“God, Steph, that’s better than I remember.”

“Well, let’s see what else we can improve on,” cooed Stephanie.

Rick slipped off his suit jacket, tie and shirt, kicked off his shoes and dropped his trousers. With just his boxer shorts still in place, he walked towards Stephanie, flashed his broad grin and picked her up in his arms before taking her to the bed and laying her on top of it.

“My, my. What strong muscles you have, Rick.”

“All the better to hold you with, Stephanie.”

“And what else are you going to do to impress me?”

Ugh! It ended too soon, lol. Ok, so if you want to read more of Love Plus One, or any of the other Stephanie Spicer novellas, check out the following links. You can also read more about Gemma below on her site as well as on the Deep Desires Press website. 

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Website
Amazon author page

Love Plus One:

When beautiful business woman, Stephanie Spicer, finally gets together with hand

love-plus-one

some American lover, Rick Martin, a senior manager at the UK office of her biggest client, her life seems complete. But her life is thrown into turmoil when her boss, Katrina, sends her to Los Angeles to work on an important branding promotion for the company.

Feeling alone in the very office where Rick’s overpowering wife, Diane, is also a senior manager, Stephanie seeks friendship with Asha, the attractive airline stewardess she’s met on her flight over. Taking Stephanie into her home, her heart and her bed, Asha takes her under her wing and keeps her passions high.

When the success of the project is sealed at a high-profile company event by her impromptu presentation together with her old flame, tennis star Kelly Finch, Stephanie prepares to fly home and pick up her life and passionate affair with Rick. But a revelation about Diane’s “love plus one” forces Stephanie to make a decision that will forever change her life.

Can Stephanie keep her new-found love as she also tries to manage the challenges of delivering her client’s branding account in America? Or will his suspicious wife try and change the ground rules and bring her back to earth?

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I want you to want me.

Dear Jessica,

Help! I feel like I’m driving myself crazy. My husband and I are no longer intimate – at least not very intimate at all. We’ve been married almost 7 years now. If we have sex once a month I’m lucky.  I often wonder if he’s cheating, just because he has no real drive to be intimate with me.  Emotionally, we still have a great relationship – we laugh, go on dates, go out together with friends and separate. I don’t understand why he doesn’t want a more sexual relationship.

~Worried

Dear Worried,

Firstly, take a deep breath. No need to go right to the “cheating” wagon just because there’s been a change in the bedroom.

I’m not sure why this is the go-to response, “s/he’ cheating”, but it simply isn’t always the case. In fact, I would argue if you have those little moments of intimacy – laughing, spending time with each other, a “great” relationship – then it’s more than likely NOT the case.

Let’s start with: When did it become a problem, and how did it get there? This is a very important question to answer. Typically, you don’t go from daily sex to less than monthly overnight. Things begin to get in the way – fighting, finances, work, home, school, in-laws, cutting the grass, the fight about the sock on the ground – any and everything can contribute. In order to truly fix the issue, you need to know the problem, not the symptom.

How did you and your husband’s sex live begin to decline? Can you pinpoint when you first noticed the shift?

How intimate you are without sex? Do you hug? Kiss? Hold hands? When we’ve been with our partners for a while it’s easy to forget how important these are to our partners, and our relationship. Men and women are very similar in this sense – if they aren’t feeling wanted, they aren’t going to want sex.

If you can’t pinpoint the shift, and intimacy outside is not a problem, let’s look for some common issues regarding lack of sex. A huge one is tied into emotional health. I’m talking about stress. While for many sex is a stress reliever, if you are in a constant state of worry about a multitude of issues, it’s harder to get “in the mood” to begin with. Stress can lead to lack of sleep, lack of energy, physical sickness, headaches, intestinal issues, irritability, and more. Just going over the short list, with any of those symptoms it’s harder to want to get it on. If your husband is experiencing multiple symptoms? No way.

Another potential culprit is age. More specifically, the “sexual peak”. Men tend to hit theirs in their 20s. Women – late 30s. That’s almost a 20 year gap (the cougar phenomenon makes sense now, huh?) Your husband’s sex drive may be on decline while yours is skyrocketing. He may not need it every day, while all you think about is your next orgasm.

There’s the saying, when it comes to foreplay, men are like microwaves, and women are like stoves. Perhaps you need to treat your husband like the stove. Don’t jump right into sex – make it *sexy* again. Cook him a nice dinner. Wear sexy lingerie. Give him a massage. (Before I get yelled at about being misogynistic – this is a woman talking about her husband. If the question was from the opposite sex, I would say the same). Talk to him about his day. You may find the issue with your lack of sex has nothing to do with sex at all.

If the above doesn’t work, my rule of thumb – open communication – also applies here. You can discuss with your husband exactly how he – and more importantly, you – feel. I suggest having a frank conversation with him. Ask him if something is bothering him, if there’s something you can do. Let him know you’ve noticed a shift and find it difficult not to personalize it.

Finally, and this may be embarrassing, he may not be able to *ahem* preform, quite as well. Perhaps he wants sex, but his body isn’t complying. He may need to visit a doctor – so suggest a check up where he can bring up potential physical issues.

It may be embarrassing, and hard to discuss, but this is your husband. If you can’t be open and honest with each other, sex is the least of your problems. Counseling may be beneficial.

Good luck,

~Jessica

 

***Jessica is a Licensed Therapist and Romance Author. Answers are meant for entertainment purposes and should not be used in place of actively seeking therapy for love, sex, or intimacy issues.***

 

Who wants a free book?

I mean… who doesn’t want a free book, amiright?

Here’s your chance though to win a paperback copy of Stealing Beauty. Simply click the link below to enter the Goodreads contest.

Enter to Win here!

Stealing Beauty
Fairy Tales After Dark Series

She wants him. He needs her. This time, it’s the Beast who’s going to attempt to STEALING BEAUTY - FINAL [EBOOK] - WEB (2)tame the Beauty. Desire… danger… a whole lotta heat – this isn’t your childhood fairy tale.

A stubborn beauty….
Anabelle Lehala just wants to spend time with her best friend, finish law school, and provide a good life for her and her father. Her world is knocked upside down when she meets a mysterious, captivating stranger who tempts her like no one before. Refusing to be just another notch in his belt, Belle forces herself to stay away from him at all costs.

An egotistical beast….
Rich, powerful, and handsome, Aleksandr Wolfe has been accustomed to getting whatever he desires. That is, until he meets Belle. Immediately captivated by her, Aleks can’t understand why she won’t give in to the obvious mutual desire between them. Helpless to stay away from her, Aleks wonders if she’ll be the one thing he can never have.

The fight for her life….
When Anabelle finds herself in danger after refusing the advances of Gabriel Avenant, a man who believes she is his and his alone, Aleksandr vows to protect her. As their attraction grows, they each must decide if they are willing to give the ultimate sacrifice—their hearts.

Excerpt

               He looked at her for a moment before continuing, voice low. “Let’s be honest for a moment, shall we? I’ve been fantasizing about you since the first night we met, and I can feel your eyes on me whenever I’m near you.” He paused a moment, tongue darting out briefly to lick his bottom lip. “We should just fuck and get it out of the way.”
Belle stopped breathing. She wanted to take him up on his offer — she had never wanted to sleep with a man as badly as she wanted him.
“Mr. Wolfe, let me make one thing perfectly clear. I own a club. I deal in attraction. You wouldn’t get a call back.” Belle narrowed her eyes back in a challenge. Ok, so she lied a little, yet he needed to know there wouldn’t be anything between them, no matter how often she thought about it.
“It that so?”
“Yes,” she huffed out a breath, proud of herself for staying strong against his attempts at her.
He stared at her for another moment, his penetrating gaze holding her in place. He stood, walking around the desk towards her, fingers on his left hand grazing the edge of the dark wood.
His face remained impassive, but his eyes, his eyes looked — calculating.
               Oh, no. I know that look. I created that look. Belle moved to stand but Aleks was too quick. He leaned forward, a hand on each side of her chair, entrapping her in the small space. The earthy scent she was beginning to grow fond of flooded her nostrils. The muscles in his forearms flexed as he gripped the chair, and the heat from his body warmed her as he leaned forward, dangerously close into her personal space, forcing her head back against the leather.
“Women have pretended to say no to me before. Seems I always change their mind.”
His arrogance was the cold water she needed to focus. She wasn’t about to let him intimidate her. “Pretended? You’re such a prick. I’m not other women.
Belle held his gaze as his look darkened, blue turning cerulean, a slow smile forming on his face.
“Mm hm,” he uttered, not convinced. His voice dropped as he continued, “Tell me, did you think about it the other night? Me fucking you against the wall? Or perhaps you’re thinking about it now — being bent over my desk as I take you from behind?” He wouldn’t release her gaze, pupils dilating as he spoke. His facial expression, his voice, his sheer intensity, all mixed with his words; he was devastating.
                “The only reason those thoughts cross my mind is because I have to listen to you talk about them.” She hated feeling the blush creep across her cheeks. He reached with one hand to stroke her cheek with his thumb, his fingers wrapping towards the back of her head.
“Your cheeks turn such a pretty shade of pink when you lie to me, Belle.” The touch sent a jolt through her body as a breath caught in her throat. She knew he heard, being so close to her. He leaned down into her, close enough she could almost feel his chest on hers. He placed his lips next to the ear opposite his hand and she felt his warm breath on her. His masculine scent engulfed her.
“Consider your challenge accepted. You will say ‘yes’ to me, Belle. In fact, you will beg for it.”
“I — I don’t recall offering you a challenge, Mr. Wolfe.” Her voice had sounded raspier than she had intended. She resisted the temptation to lean her face into his.
“You saying no is the challenge. You can tell yourself you won’t give in. You can try to resist me all you want, but it won’t work. I always win.”

 

Taking it… deep.

Dear Jessica,

Help! I have the WORST gag reflex. When giving my S/O oral sex, I just can’t seem to get him in. He’s on the large/average size length and girth, so it’s not that I’m with one of my book boyfriends with porn cock. I just don’t know what to do. He enjoys what I’m able to do with my mouth and tongue, but I want to be able to surprise him with more skills. What can I do to make it easier on me?

~Gagging

Dear Gagging,

Women and men over the world have been asking this question for years. When I worked selling sex toys, one of the most popular buys was a throat (and anal, but that’s another post) numbing gel so the ladies could get their men in deeper.

I’m not being sexist. I never had a man at my parties!

I’ll let you in on a secret. Those. Gels. Do. Not. Work.

They (normally) taste awful, and while they make your mouth numb, they don’t fix the cause of the problem.

It all comes down to that pesky little gag reflex. For most women (about 70%), the gag reflex is triggered by an object touching either the back of your throat, roof of your mouth, tonsils, and back of your tongue. Basically, anything past the molars can trigger it.

If you have a gag reflex, you can just jump in and make it disappear. You need to train your body not to gag. This takes time and some patience, but eventually it will work (and by work, I mean you may still have the initial reaction, yet you can push past it).

Firstly, learn where your “tipping” point is and how its triggered. I’ve read lots of sites that mention trying with a toothbrush – but let’s face it: Men aren’t toothbrushes. Or fingers. Or Popsicle sticks. They’re much thicker, and using a thin, flat, instrument isn’t going to give you the best, fastest, results.

Use something phallic-shaped – a small banana, a cucumber, a dildo, and – you guessed it – stick it in your mouth. Let it explore… move it around in circles, press it up to the roof of your mouth and down towards your throat, hit your tonsils, everything. You want to get a good measure for where your “weaknesses” are. You may notice some parts of your mouth have less of a reflex than others. Start there.

If the roof of your mouth and throat is less sensitive, practice by placing the (I’m going to use this example going forward) dildo in your mouth, and angle it towards the least-sensitive area. Allow it to go as far as possible until your gag reflex sets in.  Once it does – leave the dildo there for 5-10 seconds, or as long as you can stand. Don’t move it in or out, keep it steady.

Yes, this will be uncomfortable. You’re body is going to react. You may start to cry. That’s ok. What you’re doing is training your body to “relax” when it’s triggered. You’re throat will stop spazzing, but it needs to know nothing is wrong.

Practice this a few times a week, each time trying to push the dildo in a bit further. Over time, you’ll notice a major difference. Once you feel you’ve gotten “far enough”, you can practice hitting your gag reflex while moving the dildo in and out, now mimicking oral sex.

The last, almost most important part, is your breathing. Long, slow, breaths will always calm your central nervous system. It’s science. As you’re practicing, try to breathe through your nose… for two reasons.

One – it’s easier. People naturally breathe through our noses without thinking about it. When doing something uncomfortable or new, the more you can work with your body instead of against it, the faster you’ll learn the task.

Two – your man’s going to be in your mouth! It’s not always easy to gulp in large amounts of air while your tongue and throat are otherwise occupied. Especially while sucking – it’s impossible. If you can practice breathing while simultaneously suppressing your gag reflex, you’ll be more relaxed and in turn, can take him deeper.

Then… surprise your man by swallowing that dick!

Remember, it does take time. I’m also going to warn you – it’s harder to deep throat in the morning. Even though you’re relaxed while waking up, you’re muscles haven’t had the time to stretch. It can make it more difficult. Also, and this should be self-explanatory but we sometimes forget – if you get him down your throat, at some points, you won’t be able to breathe. This is why practicing helps. You’ll train your body not to go into “panic mode” and rather, go with the… flow (hahaha I love puns).

There’s something incredibly sexy and empowering about giving oral. Their sighs, moans, the sweet little “oh, fuck”, mmmmm. Regardless of how deep you can go, have fun. Show enthusiasm. That counts for more than anything else.

Enjoy!

~Jessica

 

***Jessica is a Licensed Therapist and Romance Author. Answers are meant for entertainment purposes and should not be used in place of actively seeking therapy for love, sex, or intimacy issues.***

Keeping her in the “friend zone”.

Jessica,

I’m not sure what to do. My best friend (female) has hinted recently she wants to move our relationship from friends to potentially more. I’ve told her in the past I thought I was bisexual, and she’s seen me hook up with other women – when drunk. The problem is, I’m just not attracted to her. I don’t want to hurt her feelings. How do I let her down gently?

~Worried

Dear Worried,

There are a few points here to discuss.

Firstly, you mentioned you “think” you’re bisexual and you’ve hooked up with other women – when drunk. By your wording, I’m not sure if you agree you’re bisexual, or are like many women who can appreciate another great looking woman – and sometimes kiss them.

Are you interested in having a relationship in women, just not her, or does the idea of kissing a woman sound fun, but not a full-on sexual relationship? This seems to be the first question you really need to answer for yourself.

Regardless if you are questioning your sexuality or not, the simple answer here is again the truth: You’re trying to discover yourself, and don’t know what you want.

Now, if she doesn’t accept that answer (and if she is you’re best friend, then she should accept any answer which isn’t cruel or degrading), you can take it a step further. Let her know you appreciate her friendship too much for the possibility of a relationship coming between you.

Because that’s what it ultimately comes down to. If you didn’t want to risk losing the friendship, you would have already told her you’re simply not attracted to her. The fact you want to “let her down easy” indicates she is incredibly important to you.

Whichever way you choose, be prepared for her taking it hard. As your best friend, she’s probably aware you’re “undecided”. It probably took her a lot to bring the topic up with you, and being turned down, no matter how gently, sucks. Do not – no matter how drunk you get – hook up with her! This would only be leading her on, and would be unnecessarily cruel considering you already know she’s not the one for you.

 

***Jessica is a Licensed Therapist and Romance Author. Answers are meant for entertainment purposes and should not be used in place of actively seeking therapy for love, sex, or intimacy issues.***

Author Spotlight: Brickley Jules

Hello darlings! 

Today I’m featuring the talented Brickley Jules, who has a new MC novel out, Vested In Her. Have a thing for MC books? Don’t we all. Here’s a blurb to whet your appetite:

Small town biker princess Haven Mercedes Johnson wants to live a normal life, but she’s relentlessly protected by her father and his crazy right-hand man who will do anythingBrickley to keep her under his thumb. With the help of an ex, Haven escapes the confines of the club, and after one last wild night, she eagerly sets off to start a new life. After being on the run for days, she’s taken under the wing of a kind woman named Ruby, and with her help, Haven disappears.

Riker Davis will do anything to earn a vest and become a member in Chrome Thunder, a prestigious motorcycle club. His chances are bleak until Haven, the club leader’s daughter, runs away. As a prospect, Riker is tasked to finding her, and he agrees, determined to do anything to earn a vest, including finding a woman who doesn’t want to be brought home.

Haven thinks she’s in the clear until Riker walks into the diner where she works, and her old life boomerangs back at her. Now she must choose, go back to her old life and give Riker what he wants, a vest in her father’s club, or give him up and keep the life she’s always dreamed of.

Thanks for the blurb, Brickley! Tell us a little bit about yourself as an author. How did you get involved in writing?

I had joined a book club which morphed into a review website. One of the ladies commented on my reviews and told me I should be a writer. Three months later I started writing my first novel which isn’t published.

Wow. That must have made you feel confident, hearing the positive feedback from others. Any particular authors you consider favorites?

The historical writer, Eloisa James, Lindsay J. Pryor, Jamie Farrell…I could go on and on with my all time favorites. Vania Rheault, Lexi Miles, Charlotte Cowan, Renee Stanley, and Renee Linda are some of my newer favorites.

It’s hard to pick favorites, trust me, I get it. What about a particular book – anything help push your writing bug along?

I would have to say no but every great one I read makes me want to write tighter.

You mentioned the first novel you wrote isn’t published yet, where is it now?

The very first story I ever wrote is tucked away in my Grans drawer somewhere. But the first story I wrote after the book club is still being edited and considered for publishing. It’s a romantic paranormal story about two hearts from different worlds trying to make it in one.

Can you tell us a bit more about your novels? What’s your writing style, generally?

Formally blunt and unashamedly realistic!

Vested In Her is in my illicit romance category of writing, it features a third person point of view that falls in the M/F subcategory. While it’s a biker romance, it focuses more on the unspoken side of the MC community, the ladies.  It is a stand alone biker romance with a HEA ending.

Her Unexpected Life is in my passionate category of writing, it also features a third person POV and falls into the M/F subcategory. I would consider it Women’s Fiction. This one is a stand alone chick lit romance with a HEA ending.

It sounds like your comfortable with different genres of writing. Where does your inspiration come from?

A lot of my ideas come from vivid dreams that come to me at night and stick with me the next day. Both Vested In Her and Her Unexpected Life came to me this way.

Good for you, remembering your dreams! I have vivid book/movie dreams and then forget them. Just the other week I was reading a book I wrote, and woke up completely forgetting everything!! With such vivid dreams, I imagine you have a great visual for yourself of your characters – which celebrity would you choose as the lead?

Haven, from Vested In Her, could be played by Kat Dennings and Valerie, From Her Unexpected Life, could be played by Reece Witherspoon.

Great inspirations. If you could meet any fictional character for a drink, who would it be and why?

If I could choose any fictional character I think I would choose Deadpool. I really enjoy honest humor with a side of whit.

The Ryan Reynolds factor helps too. (A total aside – I’m a bit obsessed with Deadpool. Love the comics and Ryan plays him perfectly!) What’s the oddest thing you’ve had to research for writing?

Myths and legends about water people. There are some out there that make you wonder.

With the release of Vested In Her, did you jump right into additional novels or  did you take some time off?

I took some time away to enjoy my accomplishment and then delved back into writing. I have more unpublished manuscripts than one person should. I’m good at completing NANOWRIMO but bad at picking the works back up to edit them.

I have finished writing book two in the Treasures of Briarton (the book after Her Unexpected Life) series but it needs editing. And I have started writing book two in the Chrome Thunder series (the book after Vested In Her) but the main character refuses to talk to me right now.

I hate when that happens. My drunken slut of a muse up and left me a few weeks ago, lol! What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as an author?

Jumping into picking an editor. I needed a line editor to help me with plot but I picked more of a copy editor. I also needed that but I needed plot and scene help right after I jumped back into writing.

Any advice for novice writers?

Write. Write. And then write some more. A finished manuscript will always wait on you to edit it but an unfinished story will just hang over your head.

Thank you so much Brickley for stopping by!

If you’re interested in picking up Vested In Her, an MC novel by Brickley Jones, you can purchase themby visiting:

Amazon
Smashwords

And be sure to visit Brickley’s on Goodreads

Until next time, loves

~Happy Reading

Jessica