Sunday, May 29, 2016

Non-Consensual Trickery

I love my laptop. I still call it my "new" computer even though I've had it a year now. It's fast and it knows what I like and we get along great.

A while back I started to get little pop-ups asking me if I wanted to upgrade to Windows 10. First of all, pop-ups? One of the most annoying things in the world. Having come of age during the time of internet dial-up, pop-ups were my nemesis. Thankfully, there are pop-up blockers now and we barely have to deal with such annoyances. But no, my brand new computer started giving me pop ups.

Did I want to upgrade to Windows 10? I don't know. My computer is new. It needs upgrades? Why? I like it the way it is.

Fearing I was doing something catastrophically wrong, I consulted my tech department (aka Mr. McKay). He assured me that I did not need to upgrade my computer if I didn't want to. Because that's what he does. He listens to me and what I want and makes sure I'm not doing anything I don't want to. Because that's called consent. Along with respect and trust and just being a decent human being.

I'm not the most technologically advanced. Not that I can't be. I just don't care to be. The less time it takes me to do things, the better. I hate being confused and not knowing how to work something. To be honest, it took me a few months to figure out where things were on my new computer using Windows 8.1. But I know now, and I don't want to learn them all over again.

Occasionally I would still get these pop-ups. I paid them no mind. Most times I didn't even remember seeing them. I'd be in the middle of typing an email or opening up my latest WIP and the pop-up would flash in front of me. I'd more than often click out of it without reading it.

I didn't think this was a problem. I decided I didn't want Windows 10. I saw it was an option. I discussed it with my tech department and I made an informed decision not to upgrade.

My husband even warned me that these messages would get more persistent and they would contain trickier wording. They would try to make me think that I needed to upgrade now or I was missing out. My upgrade will only be free for a limited time and then I will wake up one day and regret my decision because now I will suddenly want Windows 10 and it is no longer free!!!

Yeah, no. Not going to happen. I know what I want.

So I ignored the messages. In fact, Microsoft, you seemed a bit desperate.

Then I woke up one morning and opened the lid of my laptop. I hadn't had my coffee yet, I was checking on the status of the world when I got a pop-up message that looked distinctly different from all of the others.

This one informed me that my upgrade to Windows 10 would be starting in 15 minutes and I should save all of my work to prepare. 

Umm, what?

No. I said no. Even if I didn't have a direct chance to check a box that said "no", I ignored and I evaded. I certainly never ever said yes. I never consented to this!

Was this another trick? Was this particular pop-up making me think my computer would just restart and begin this upgrade whether I liked it or not? I didn't know, I couldn't tell. I hadn't had coffee yet and I just wanted to check my facebook feed and maybe a few emails before I had to deal with something being forced upon me that I not only never consented to but totally and completely did not want. At all.

With a little research (again, done by my loving husband), we've come to discover that one of the pop-ups I clicked out of without reading actually scheduled me for the upgrade.

What the actual fuck?

Also, as far as we can tell, there is no way to unschedule it. I keep delaying it. I get new messages every day alerting me to my demise... er, upgrade. And even though I have scheduled it for four days out now, to give us some time to figure this out, I just got a new one this morning warning me it was happening soon. And apparently if I restart my computer at any moment it will just begin! There is no way to actually say "No, I don't want this. Unschedule me from your stupid upgrade bullshit."

So I would like to say to you, Microsoft, you are a class act. It's as if you stalked me in a bar all night. First, you approached me and I ignored you. You were persistent and I was steadfast in my disregard. But you decided that wasn't the answer you wanted, so you made up your own rules. You decided you were going to take some kind of unspoken, not agreed upon signal as my consent. 

Whatever you need to tell yourself so you can sleep at night. But I never consented to this. I never said yes. And I really don't want your upgrade now that it's being forced on me.

You've broken my trust and I will never feel the same way about you again.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Ultimate Bad Boy~ Guest Post by Ashe Barker

Ashe Barker has a new release out! She's one of my favorite writers, you should give yourself a treat and download her book! Thanks for stopping by my blog today, Ashe.

I’m really excited about Hardened. I’ve written quite a few M/f stories, and they mostly tend to start out with the male hero in a position of power or influence. Hardened is different. When we meet Jared and Molly he is a prisoner serving time for armed robbery and she’s a prison officer. The chemistry between them is off the scale sexy though, and even though it spells trouble for them both, but especially for her, they can’t keep their hands off each other. For a while I’ve been thinking about a story that starts out a bit different and this is it.

Jared is a bad lad (don’t we all just love one of those?) but he’s bright too, and talented, and can see where he’s gone wrong. He’s made some bad choices when he was younger but he’s determined to forge a different life for himself, though it’s not always that simple. I suspect the same is true for most ex-offenders – it can be hard to completely walk away from your old associates and as Jared discovers, the past has a habit of never being that far behind you.

“Pearson, you’re going to be late.” He has plenty of time, but I want to talk to North alone.
“No, miss. I’m fine for a bit yet.” Pearson seems quite content to continue shoving clothes into the steam press and slamming down the lid. I watch him for a couple of minutes before I try again.
“We’re short-staffed today, everything takes longer. Better get a move on, Pearson.”
“Is someone else coming, then?” Pearson switches off his laundry press and ambles over to where I’m stationed by the door. The regulations require at least two people to be present when the laundry is in use in case of accidents.
“Soon. I’ll let you out then I’ll stay with North until Jackson arrives.”
It’ll be at least half an hour before the next prisoner is detailed to come down and take over from Pearson, which should be ample time to ask Jared North about the camera. I precede the prisoner down to the gates at the end of the utility wing corridor and let him through. From there another officer will let Pearson back onto the wing, and onto the visitors’ suite. I relock the security gate and return to the laundry room.
North is still occupied with his task, though he does glance at me over his shoulder as I re-enter the huge room, then he switches his attention back to his work.
“I want my property back.” His curt remark is delivered without even looking at me. He straightens, flexes his muscles, and drags another wheeled bin of dirty laundry in the direction of an empty washing machine.
“You’re not supposed to have a camera in here. You know that.”
“Neither are you, Miss MacBride.” Now he does turn to regard me fully, one hip propped on the edge of the bin, his expression inscrutable. “Care to explain?”
I don’t. I don’t care to explain at all. I have nothing even vaguely resembling an explanation to offer, either to North or to myself.
“Where did you get it?” I try to inject a note of authority into my question.
He simply shakes his head.
I try again, piling on the officiousness as best I can. “Someone brought it in for you. I want to know who that was.”
More head-shaking.
“I could put you on report, you do realise that?”
Now he just chuckles. “But you won’t. You can’t.”
He continues as though I hadn’t spoken. “Because if you do, you’ll have to also explain why you didn’t report it yesterday. Why you hid it, and I assume took it home with you. And why you brought it back. I hope you did bring my camera back, Miss MacBride.”
“Why did you take pictures of me?” I blurt out the question, homing in on the one aspect of all this that makes me most uncomfortable. And most exhilarated.
He smiles and meets my gaze, though he appears rather calmer than I am right now.
“Because I like looking at you.”
“What do you mean? That’s, that’s…”
“You’re prettier than Mr. Drummond.”
“That’s not saying much.” Our wing supervisor is certainly no oil painting, I’m not sure I appreciate the comparison.
“Perhaps not. So, are you going to give it back to me?” He holds out his hand, one eyebrow raised in what could only be described as a direct challenge.
I tilt up my chin; assertiveness is everything in these confrontational situations between officers and prisoners. “No, North, I’m not. It’s a contraband item and it’s been confiscated.”
He appears quite unruffled. “I see. Very well, I’ll apply to the governor for it to be returned.”
“No! No, you can’t.” I take a step toward him, then pause, uncertain how best to proceed.
“Can I not? Oh, I understand, because then you’ll have to explain how it found its way into your pocket during the cell search. Yes, I can see that might be awkward. Still, that isn’t really my problem.” He starts to load the laundry into the machine. “Could you close the door as you leave, Miss MacBride?”
I stand, glaring at his muscled back, intensely aware of the camera nestling in my pocket. He has me, it’s as simple as that. I have no choice.
“Okay, you can have it back. But you have to delete the pictures of me.”
He turns to face me again. “Are you still here, Miss MacBride?”

Despite the fact that he is doing time for armed robbery, Molly MacBride is drawn to Jared North almost from the moment she sets eyes on him. Even behind bars his confidence and dominance are undeniable, and soon enough she is willingly baring her bottom and placing herself across his strong thighs, surrendering to both firm punishment and intense pleasure.

When all hell breaks loose during a prison riot, it is Jared who saves Molly’s life, but she is so shaken by the incident that she quits her job and does her best to put him out of her mind. As the years pass, however, Jared never relinquishes his place in her heart—or her fantasies—and when she learns that he has been released on parole Molly cannot resist seeking him out.

Through a combination of hard work and natural talent, Jared has forged a career for himself as a world-renowned photographer, yet in spite of his newfound sophistication and wealth he is no less dominant than he was when she first met him. It isn’t long before Molly finds herself submitting to both his stern discipline and his masterful lovemaking, but can she truly risk falling for a man whose criminal past could come back to haunt them both at any moment?

Publisher’s Note: Hardened is an erotic romance novel that includes spankings, sexual scenes, elements of BDSM, and more. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

Buy links:

About Ashe Barker

USA Today Bestselling author Ashe Barker writes erotic romance and spanking romance in a variety of genres including contemporary, BDSM, paranormal, historical. ménage, gay romance and time travel. She is a #1 Amazon Bestseller and all her stories feature hot alpha males and sassy submissives, often with a lot to learn. Kink abounds, and there’s enough dirty talk to satisfy the most demanding smut lover. However dark and dirty the setting, love always emerges triumphant, and her stories never fail to deliver a satisfying happy ever after.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Masters of Fetishes Box Set #menage #spanking #BDSM

A Nifty Box Set! Masters of Fetishes for a low price, this weekend only!

Get it before it ends. You can get the first three books in my Masters of Fetishes series for the low price of $6.99! (Each book retails for $3.99, so this is a steal!)

I've just completed the fourth in the series and it will be coming soon, but in the meantime, if you haven't read 1-3 you can grab them up now.

Here's a little something from Mastered:

"What is there to think about?" Adam crossed in front of the love seat she still shared with Tom. He leaned down, bracing his hand on the armrest, and looked into her eyes. "Are you into BDSM at all? Were you looking to be someone's submissive?"

She slumped down in her seat, his proximity making her uncomfortable. When she shifted to look at Tom, Adam put a finger on her cheek, stilling her movements. "No, don't look at him, I asked you a question. It's really a simple one. Do you like BDSM?"

"I, I..." her voice croaked as she stammered out a reply. Did she like BDSM? She couldn't lie that the prospect of the auction had seemed appealing when Serena suggested it. But her experience consisted of what she read in romance novels. And one boyfriend who tied her up, once, but that was less than spectacular. "Yes?" she finally replied. At least she thought she liked BDSM, although what she had witnessed in the club so far all seemed overwhelming.

"That's something, I guess," Adam said, taking his hand from her face and standing at his full height again.

"Are you done scaring her?" Tom asked.

"For now."

She allowed Tom to lead her from the room, fully aware of Adam's presence behind them. Not for the last time that evening she wondered what the hell she had gotten into.

Masters of Fetishes Box Set-- ON SALE now for $6.99

Fetishes. An exclusive BDSM club where all of your desires are satisfied. What better way to become acquainted than meeting the men who started it all? They are the Masters of Fetishes, and the women who love them.

Hailey lies about being a seasoned submissive on her application to get into Fetishes annual auction. She's looking to make some quick money, but she ends up with more than she bargained for. When Adam and Tom discover her misbehavior they decide to give her an introduction to the BDSM lifestyle. They intend to show her what it's like to be a trained submissive. Their trained submissive.

Serena's crushed when she learns her perfect relationship with a wealthy, powerful, and unrelenting Dom isn't perfect at all. She's still overcoming the embarrassment of her breakup and bad judgment when she meets Ethan. But Ethan comes with his own personal baggage in tow. Can Serena open her heart enough to let in this Master of the Club? Or are Ethan and Serena doomed to relive their mistakes of the past?


Melissa's been with her boyfriend, Martin, for ten years but she still isn't convinced that anything is permanent. Feeling the distance growing between them, Martin takes Melissa on the trip of a lifetime to a private island in the Caribbean. He tries to convince her to make things official by marrying him but Melissa worries that her past is too much for them to overcome. When Melissa's life is put in jeopardy, Martin becomes even more determined to make her officially his.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

What Makes an Alpha Male Alpha? #spankingromance

I had a friend of mine read over my latest book to see if there was anything I needed to change. Her main criticism? She didn't like that my alpha hero was a tea drinker. Her first comment was that she didn't know any American alpha males who drank hot tea.

I guess I didn't really think anything of it because first off, I read a lot of books by British authors and I am sure I have come across more than one alpha male who was a tea drinker. I never made the connection it was a normal British thing and not necessarily an alpha thing. And secondly, my very own real life alpha male is a tea drinker. He's never been a coffee drinker. He likes the smell of coffee and will occasionally have a small cup if we're in a diner or something. Otherwise, he loves tea. Flavored teas, regular teas, he really isn't a picky tea drinker.

He can also be quite bossy even while he's sipping hot tea. And while I could argue the fact that alpha males come in all shapes and sizes and drink preferences, as readers we probably do have some preconceived notions about what an alpha male does and what he likes to drink.

Found on Pinterest-- not sure of actual origin

Alpha males drink their coffee black (unless they're British, then they get to drink tea).

They probably drink beer and whiskey and eat steak (should I mention that my own alpha male will never turn down a good pina colada?).

They aren't afraid of spiders and will always be there to rescue you from them. (Although, Indiana Jones was afraid of snakes—is that an okay thing to be afraid of? I am just guessing that he was an alpha male. I mean, he carried a whip.)

They probably know how to ride a horse and fix a car. There's probably some innate skill about milking cows too.

I get it, as readers, we want to read about men who are completely capable and all around manly. I tweaked the tea bit in my book a little, my hero definitely prefers coffee and is spotted drinking a beer more than once. 

In real life, my alpha male drinks tea, can't fix cars, and enjoys the occasional musical with me. It definitely doesn't make him any less sexy, but maybe it doesn't exactly make him a romance hero. That's okay because I would be a pretty terrible book heroine. 

My dad is an all around Mr. Fix It. He's one of those guys that carries a Swiss Army knife in his pocket and can fix things with a piece of foil and a rubber band. But he's petrified of spiders. When I was younger, I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth. A spider ran into the sink and I shrieked. My dad came to the rescue, he pulled me out of the bathroom and slammed the door shut. We stood together in the hallway for a few seconds looking at each other. I think, even at six, I realized slamming the door in the spider's face probably wasn't going to do much. Dad's solution? "Let's go get your mother."

That might be a funny scene to put into a book and would probably be a forgivable flaw that a reader would enjoy. But it might also make the reader think that if the hero can't face down an eight-legged creepy crawly, maybe he'd run from other dangers as well. 

The thing is, while I am making the case that real life alpha males aren't all the same (and they shouldn't be, because life would be boring that way), I understand characterization. I get that it's important to portray a hero as the ideal, manliest man, swoon-worthy guy. My books aren't novel length. I write novellas. I have 40-50 thousand words to make you fall in love with my heroes. If he needs to drink coffee for you to love him, then he'll drink coffee.

I really don't care what my hero drinks as long as he can make me smile, respects his woman, and likes animals.

I mean even if he doesn't love animals he should still be nice to them. 

It does have me thinking though, what are some traits that turn you off to a hero?

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Life Lessons from My Cat

The void you feel after losing a pet is something only other pet owners get. And I use the term "pet owners" loosely. I am not exactly sure who's the boss in this house, most days it is not the humans. 

We lost one of our cats this week. Chester was our first baby and I think I had convinced myself he would live forever. I certainly did not expect to lose him before he ever reached a decade on this planet. I want to say he was one of my favorite people, and yes, I understand he wasn't a person, but you see, he was so much more than just a cat. 

He was my buddy. The little spoon to my big spoon. He shared my pillow, my cereal bowl and straight up stole my heart.

He could make you smile when you didn't want to. And he could make you like a cat even if you thought you weren't a "cat person" (just ask some of my friends).

I don't think he actually knew he was a cat. He waited for us at the door, yelled at us when he was unhappy, and followed us around the house. He was part puppy, part toddler and part grumpy old man.

When he started acting sick I thought he would get through it. When we took him to the Vet, I held onto hope that he'd perk up and live a few more years. When that only lasted two weeks and we had to put him down—my heart broke.

Most days I am fairly certain I will never feel whole again. That my house will never seem as happy, and my life will never seem as full.

In his nine years, Chester shared a lot with us, and he taught us things.

1. All you need to be happy in life is food, water, and someone to snuggle with. (Also, a moderately clean litter box, but that's neither here nor there.)

2. No matter how much you annoy the people you live with, you can probably get back into their good graces by rubbing up against them. Or in people terms, just admit you were a jerk and move on with life.

3. If the sun is streaming through the window, take the time to warm your belly. Everything else can wait.

4. When nothing's going right, find a blanket to sleep in and things will look better after a nap. 

5. Love with your whole heart.

My husband said, no matter how much this hurts and how much I am destroyed by his passing, I wouldn't trade a second of our time together. I'm reflecting on the good times.

I'm trying not to cry every single day and I'm snuggling my other two cats a little closer.

Sometimes I feel a little silly that I am this broken up about a cat. But to me he wasn't just a cat, he was a member of my family and a part of my life that I will never forget.

I'm actually sad for anyone who never got to meet him. 

For now, I'm waiting for life to get back to normal. For my heart to stop aching. It seems like it never will.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

"I'm Going to Spank You."~ Dancing With a Dom

I have Katherine Deane visiting today with a snippet from her latest release, Dancing With a Dom!

The head dude in charge loomed above me, for a few minutes. Waiting for me to make up my mind, I guess. Since I couldn’t go invisible, I had to face him. I straightened and acknowledged him with an embarrassed grimace.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what got into me. I’m not usually like this.” Why I pleaded my case before this stern-faced man I don’t know. But I did. Maybe I didn’t want him to think I was a bully. I certainly felt like one.
“When’s the last time you ate?”
Of all the questions he could have asked me—where are you from, why are you so angry, are you married, why did you make my dancer cry—this one caught me off guard.
“Have you taken a break since you started this morning?”
“No, sir.” Where did that come from? Great, I was falling for the big, stern daddy type. All right, spank my bottom like the naughty girl I am. Just please don’t send me to bed hungry.
The corner of his mouth quirked up. 
Oh God, did I say that out loud? I waited for the universe to swallow me whole, as my whole body overheated with embarrassment.
“Here’s what’s going to happen.” He took my hand, and propelled me toward the door. “We’re going to head over to the deli and get something in your stomach. Then we’re going to talk about what’s going on in your head. And then I’m going to turn you over my knee and spank you for being so mean to my favorite employee.”
Okay, we had a plan. A course of action for the day. A full list with everything laid out— “Wait, what did you say?”
Leaning in with a toothy grin, he pulled me closer to him. “You heard me the first time. I’m going to spank your ass, naughty girl.”
Well, that made my panties wet.

To this day, I’m still not sure which is more embarrassing.
Being left by your husband who says you are fat, overbearing, and frigid in bed.
Or having to change partners midway through a season of televised dancing—because your partner can’t lift you.
Both hurt. A lot. The first made me want to curl up into a little ball and hibernate. Since I had plenty of fat to store away for the winter, it didn’t sound like a bad idea.
The second left me so angry, I waltzed the man through his own set of moves—straight up to the full mirror. Then I lifted him. Luckily, he didn’t get hurt. And I didn’t get sued.
But that’s how I ended up over the knee of the hottest man I have ever met.
After he spanked me, he became my new partner.
We danced.
NOTE: This novella originally appeared in the USA TODAY BESTSELLER Bound, Spanked and Loved: Fourteen Kinky Valentine's Day Stories.
This story has been reedited. 10k words of hot new scenes!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A One Woman Mission~ Celebrating National Masturbation Month

Did you know May is masturbation month?? I wasn't aware this was a thing until a few years ago. Who doesn't like a little self-love? I, myself, am a huge fan. 

Writing is not my full time job, but it is my passion. And I happen to write some smutty stuff, and a lot of times it gets me pretty hot. 

Do not judge me. I'm calling it a hazard of the job, how on Earth can I write some hot spanky scenes without getting myself all hot and bothered? So yes, once I meet a writing goal, I let myself indulge. 

There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with masturbation and in fact, I believe I have been taking care of business before I even officially knew what I was doing. I'm not ashamed and I think it is natural and normal and don't mind admitting it.

But it still doesn't mean I want to get caught in the act.

One day a few weeks ago I was writing away and set up a little goal-oriented system. Get the word count done and then I would allot some time for myself. I'm a morning person and I get up early even on my days off so I can write when I am at my best. I'm also a morning horny person. Unfortunately, I married a night owl who doesn't even make coherent sentences until he's been awake for at least an hour, has had a shower, and maybe a bowl of cereal. Morning sex is never an option. Unless you consider 3am morning, which I don't, that's still nighttime.

Anyway, I thought I still had enough time in my morning to write and get down to business. I wasn't quite finished with the writing but I heard my sweet, unsuspecting husband get up and get into the shower. I made the executive decision to scrap my goals and hop on over to spankingtube.

So I save my work, click over, and find a video that might strike my fancy. I should note I have to put my earbuds in to hear any sound as my laptop is all wonky. I start to get, shall we say, involved? And I pop an earbud out to make sure the shower is still running. It isn't! I hear footsteps! I barely get my hand out of my pants and the window on my computer closed before he makes it to the bottom of the stairs. 

I say good morning and rush into the bathroom before he can question why I'm out of breath! 

I was embarrassed, even though I am fairly certain he had no idea what occurred. It's also not like he doesn't know that I masturbate.

I'm really trying to figure out why this did embarrass me so much. I've had all kinds of kinky sex with this man, I've admitted my deepest darkest secrets to him, and I love him with all of my entire being. He has never been anything but sweet and understanding and non-judgemental about my wants and needs.

So why did this send me scurrying out of the room?

Sure it's super hot for my husband to whisper "Touch yourself" while we are doing all kinds of illicit activities. But that's different.

This was... embarrassing.

But I can't help feeling a little bit ridiculous that I am embarrassed about it. I thought I was completely open and self-aware and just comfortable with everything, but suddenly I felt like a horny teenager holed up in my bedroom worrying that everyone in the house knew what I was up to and was judging me for it.

It's not like I thought he would shame me. If anything he probably would have laughed and asked what I was up to. I realize now that it didn't have anything to do with him. It came from somewhere inside. That what I was doing was shameful and dirty and I shouldn't have been doing it. 

And all this time I thought I didn't live my life by these stigmas anymore. And I think it is a stigma, it's something our society has deemed as dirty and illicit. Masturbation gets a bad wrap. Nevermind a woman masturbating AND watching porn. 

But why? It's good stress relief. It's healthy to stay in tune with your body. And I think setting goals is a very adult thing (I realize I may be one of the only people in the world who uses masturbation as a reward, but don't knock it til you try it). 

I'm still trying to wrap my mind around what made me so embarrassed. I've masturbated in front of my husband before. Sure, it was during sex, and probably at his request, but it's not like he's never seen me touch myself. I fessed up later on that day, mostly because my reaction was bothering me.

My husband was unmoved and not at all surprised to hear I was masturbating in the living room. Things that probably would have surprised him more: declaring I had become a vegetarian, telling him I folded all the laundry, asking him if he'd like to join me for a run.

In the six years we've been married, I don't think I could admit to anything that would shock this man. At least sexually speaking. I think he's always ready for something and he doesn't mind rolling with it, which might be why we work so well together. 

So I asked what he would have done if I hadn't stopped what I was doing and continued on until I had reached orgasm. "Well, obviously, I wouldn't have bothered you. You gotta do you," was his reply.

He makes me smile. 

But really, I've admitted so many things and asked him to spank me, tie me up, engage in anal sex, and push boundaries with me in every sense of the word. But a little Saturday morning masturbation has me blushing like a guilty schoolgirl?

I think we need to lose the shame. There is nothing shameful about masturbating. I'm not saying that everyone should just feel free to satisfy their own needs in a public setting. But in my own home, where the only person who might happen upon me is the person I am in a wholly committed relationship with? Where's the shame in that?

You gotta do you.