First the admin stuff:
- KA Mitchell is still having a buddy read. We’re sliding slowly into book 3 (I’m still behind, but I’m catching up today). She’s still taking questions, and so are all her characters. We’ll start book 4 Tuesday when it releases!
- KA Mitchell is giving stuff away. A $10 certificate and a $25. One contest is fast, the other gives you some time to enter.
- There’s a Tough Love buddy read. Please come join those chatting. I’m staying out of it until they drag me in, which they did because they wanted to talk about Gordy, and fuck, I wanted to talk about Gordy.
- I extended the Special Delivery character interviews because I had a rough day yesterday and didn’t get to respond. They’ll be there through the weekend, so stop by and ask whatever you like.
- The blog tour has had some interviews and guests posts on it, including one where I talk about drag. Also tons more chances to win Tough Love. (Some of the links haven’t been updated yet—Dan does that, and he’s been working and taking care of me as I feel lousy. Sorry.)
Speaking of Tough Love…
I’ve been trying to think of how to say this, and I can’t ever find the way to climb on top of it gracefully, so pardon the sight of my slip here. What I want to address is the dichotomy of responses I’m getting from reviewers and readers. As always it’s a spectrum, but this time it’s really something amazing to behold, and it keeps bringing me to my knees, more easily probably because I’m tired and a bit sick again and all my emotions are on the surface.
Reactions to Tough Love so far seem to be somewhere on this line: readers either instinctively know they need to give this one a pass, but many are frustrated because they feel like they’re being left out of a party. Some of those then end up reading, and they merge with the next set, the ones who thought they’d read my kink before and would be fine and found…whoa, hey, there’s the edge of my comfort zone. Some of you went over, some of you kissed it. Beyond that are the readers who discovered a third wall beyond the edge of the boundaries they thought they knew, and they seem to be mixed on whether they’re excited or freaked out or both or IDEK, I need to lie down now.
A whole, huge pack of you flat-out loved it, maybe didn’t like some parts which is normal, but mostly yay, book, boys are back, new boys, YAY! A step further than these people are the hard-core kink lovers, who grunted and RAWR’d and called for more right now please, thanks. Some of you waxed poetic about your love for this kind of book, some of you just made incoherent noises. Loved all the responses, so thanks.
But then there is the last land of responses I’ve received, and they knock me over, make me shake. They’re actually the people I wanted to write for all along. I wanted a story for everybody, but what I really, really wanted, was to write to a group of people who aren’t usually heard, who are usually written off as freaks or bad guys or both. Who have to hide who they are and what they love. What I wanted to do above all was write for you, to show you that I love you too and you too deserve happily ever afters and fiction which represents you.
And the thing is, you sadists, you pain kink-ers, you edge play people–you keep writing me, you keep messaging me, and you make me so glad I went here.
This is the kind of moment that’s hard to explain to media when they ask me about what I write. Usually someone is trying to get at the titter-worthy angle, the nice little mom in Iowa writing erotica, and isn’t that funny—but sometimes media actually ask me about what my work means, and it sucks because I don’t know how to describe this. I do my best, but whenever I write to a group and they tell me they felt heard, I usually cry, and it’s like something in my soul eases into place.
I think it’s because when I was young, the age my daughter is now, I felt cripplingly alone, unheard, unloved, and lonely. I don’t feel that way now, but I will never forget what that pain and isolation felt like. And while it’s true that mostly what I want to do is write love stories and give readers a good time, a part of me is always reaching for another group or even single individuals who haven’t been asked to dance. Who would love to have a party and yet nobody ever comes or even sees them there with a basket of streamers and drinks. I have been that person, and I think I’m both trying to honor that pain and erase it by helping others not feel that lousy.
In Tough Love, several of you have had to give it a pass or say, “this one wasn’t for me,” and that’s totally, utterly okay. I hate that it’s your turn to feel left out, but for each one of you who’ve had that reaction, I’ve had at least one, sometimes two basically say, “You just heard me.” Sadists especially, they don’t get a ton of leading roles. Masochists some, but sadists usually don’t get to be–and if they do, they’re the bad guy or they’re cured. Pain kink is similar, but sadists, man–they don’t get a good shake almost ever.
The sad thing is I don’t know if I did it right. I did my best. I researched like all hell and had tons of smart people read and react, but I’ll still fall short even for those I most wanted to write for. It makes me so good, though, to hear that I did at least some of it right for some of the people. Those were hard places to go–not so much because this is or isn’t my kink. That has nothing to do with it. I mean, I’m not a 19th century gentleman, or a stammerer, but I wrote those people too. Nope, I’m not a sadist, or a masochist, or even in the Lifestyle. I’m not even really a tourist. But Tough Love challenged me because I knew how important it was to get it right, to not be another fuck up writing a sadist wrong. I didn’t want to accidentally further marginalize a group that gets too much flack as it is. Add in Gordy, who was supposed to be a sweet, sad puppy and then became a monster, and….yeah. I wrote most of that book thinking I’d throw up. So fucking nervous.
I love writing all my stories for you, but this one was extra special to me, and basically a whole bunch of you have told me you appreciate what I did. I wanted to acknowledge you, to thank you right back, and I wanted to share this too in an effort to further validate you, to let some of the frustrated/left out people see why I pushed so far this time.
I feel like I’m cycling now, so I’ll stop and just hug everybody, and let Ethan have the last word. Because this was his quote, to Chenco in Tough Love.