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Erotic Romance, Feminism, Ireland, Romance, The Captain's Rebel

THE CAPTAIN’S REBEL IS NOW AVAILABLE!

Dear Readers,

I am so happy to share this book with you today. I will tell you, when I first started writing what would later become THE CAPTAIN’S REBEL, I was in one of those magical creative spaces that can only come from devastating artistic failure. I had been querying what would later become THROUGH THE VEIL, and I had an inbox full of rejections. I decided to change tack and write erotica, a little story I had always wanted to write based on one of my favorite traditional Irish songs, “The Maid That Sleeps in Love.” From the moment I started writing, I knew I had something special. The voice of Mary hit me like a tidal wave, and she wouldn’t let go until I wrote her entire story. Yes, this is a BDSM erotica and the scenes are hot. But the reviews are in, and readers are loving it:

5 Stars: “…by the end of the first few pages I was hooked, and I could not stop turning the pages until the end.” – Stacy Reid, author of Accidentally Compromising the Duke

4 Stars: “If you’re looking for a hot and spicy read, then grab this one!” – Jennifer Theriot, USA Today Bestselling Author

5 Stars: “The sex is HOT and delightfully plentiful, and even better, neither is ashamed of who they are and what they want. (Did I mention the sex is hot? Because oooh boy they have some fun…)” – Nicola Davidson, author of The Devil’s Submission

4 Stars: “Wow this book was hawt. I don’t think I was expecting that but never the less, I really enjoyed it.” – Taylor Bellitto, Goodreads

5 Stars: “Oooh la la!!! Very enjoyable read. Not only is The Captain’s Rebel a racy and saucy dish, it is well-written! Such a delightful change of pace from the dull bits between the hot scenes that you sometimes find in the “bodice ripper” category of romance novels.” – Sue Mendel, Goodreads

4 Stars: “…when I learned there was a cross-dressing heroine topped (ha!) with a sexual submissive plotline, I was sold!…It was total catnip for me, and I can’t wait for more from this author.” – Michaelene Malan, Goodreads

5 Stars: “I loved The Captain’s Rebel, and highly recommend it if you like action-packed adventure on the high seas with strong women, alpha males, heroes, traitors, and pirates mixed with some hot and steamy romance.” – JMH, Goodreads

4 Stars: “I was hooked instantly in this story…This book was not what I was expecting at all! This is 50 Shades of Pirates!” – Micheala, Goodreads

5 Stars: “With a heat level that would make E.L. James’ inner goddess blush and prose that took me away to another time, this was a fantastic read. Twists and turns aplenty.” – Anne Conley, author of the Pierce Securities series

4 Stars: “This is the first book by the author that I have read and it was fast paced, entertaining, and scorching hot! So hot, that I thought my kindle might melt from the heat at various points in the book!” – Kim Tran Kao, Goodreads

I’m pleased to present this book to you, but most of all, I’m excited to share this story of revolution and rebellion, of romanticism and redemption. As some of you know, I wrote my dissertation on the 1798 Irish Uprising, and there is a little piece of that in this book, the culmination of years of work funneled into a tiny, 5’4″ curly-haired, wisp of a woman who refuses to give up. Mary is the kind of heroine a lot of us need right now, and I know you will love her and her  incredible adventure across the sea in the arms of the sexy Captain Grant.

So here is where you can purchase it:

Amazon: https://goo.gl/5Wwpxe
B&N: https://goo.gl/ZRjqMx
iTunes: https://goo.gl/65KQN7
Kobo: https://goo.gl/BT0J1g
Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/0aUpSX
Amazon CA: https://goo.gl/U9o9e4

THE CAPTAIN’S REBEL Blog Tour Giveaway!

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To follow along with the blog tour, you can check the tour schedule HERE.

And make sure you enter the rafflecopter giveaway HERE for a chance to win THE CAPTAIN’S REBEL swag pack.

UPCOMING FACEBOOK TAKEOVERS!

Make sure to RSVP these amazing events…

April 3rd THE CAPTAIN’S REBEL Release Day Party

April 18th An Earl for Every Girl! A Scandalous Release Party

April 25th Brazen and Scorched Fan Club Spring Party!

May 14th at 9pm EST KinkyGirlsBookObsession *After Dark* Facebook Group

May 23rd Only a Viscount Will Do Release Party

Make sure you check out THE CAPTAIN’S REBEL play list, filled with great traditional Irish tunes, sea shanties, and more.

Enjoy!

Entangled Scorched, Erotic Romance, Feminism, Giveaway, Ireland, Release Party, Romance, Social Media, The Captain's Rebel

CAPTAIN’S REBEL RELEASE DAY PARTY!

You all know I love a good party, right?

Well.

It’s only five days (FIVE DAYS!) until the release of THE CAPTAIN’S REBEL, and I couldn’t be more excited! I love this book so much. To me, it has everything–adventure, sex, a strong heroine, a hot Captain, pirates, BDSM-loving lesbians, and sex. Haha! All the hot, kinky, stuck-in-the-Captain’s- cabin sexy times.

You can RSVP HERE!

I’ll be hosting a small party to celebrate on my Facebook author page. I’m going to have tons of giveaways. Jewelry from Silver Beach Sea Glass, free books, gift cards from Feminist Apparel, and a huge big box of hot historical romance paperbacks. If I can figure out Facebook live, I’ll also do a reading.

This event is more than just about THE CAPTAIN’S REBEL. It’s about celebrating all the strong woman in my life who have supported me and the female-centered businesses that keep me inspired. My friend Kathy is the artist behind Silver Beach Sea Glass, and the big box of paperbacks will feature some of my closest lady writer friends who write historical. If you enjoy Captain’s Rebel, you’ll really love their books.

Make sure to put the kiddies to bed beforehand and grab the wine. Can’t wait to see you there!

 

Feminism, Teaching, Uncategorized, women

The Killer in Me

I’ve heard this question a lot lately:

How do we reach Trump voters?

I hear it in my activist women’s group. I hear it over dinner with friends. I see it on Facebook and on Twitter. I read about it in New York Times think pieces. My reactions to this question are as predictable as you would expect.

Anger: Man, fuck those guys.

Philosophical: Let’s examine the existential crises of said Trump voters.

Buddhist: We need to have compassion for those suffering Trump voters.

Marxist: We need to examine the shifting socio-economic labor conditions that led to Trump voters.

And Back to Anger: No, seriously, fuck those guys.

One trend I’ve seen a lot in these think pieces is how threatened Trump voters feel by so-called “identity politics” that leave them feeling “left out” by progressive aims. Essentially, these are a call for BLM protestors to tone it down because, hey, guys, a suburban woman is starting to feel uncomfortable. In essence, placating butt hurt Trump voters is a re-centering of whiteness and white supremacy. Time and again, the “real” story here is why rural Trump voters feel so disenfranchised in Nowhere, Wisconsin…but not how many black voters were disenfranchised in Milwaukee by the voter ID law or purged from voter records in North Carolina. It’s hard to give a shit, honestly. Even as I sit here on my own little hill in Nowhere, Wisconsin and watch as factories close, as technology and robotics take over decent, middle class jobs, as heroin use rises to pandemic proportions, and the jobs that do exist are left to vastly underpaid, exploited, freelance undocumented workers. I need to care. I must care. As a community member, as a citizen, as a Marxist critic, as a Buddhist. And yet, when the question comes up in my women’s group, I have to resist rolling my eyes and heaving a heavy sigh because inside all I’m thinking to myself is…man, fuck those guys.

And it’s not because I’m a cruel, uncaring person. It’s because we circle this question over and over with no concrete answers. The only answers I am hearing is that black folks, LGBT folks, feminists need to chill the fuck out. And, well, I won’t be watering down my feminism any time soon, I can tell you that much.

I called up my BFF, a long-time practicing Buddhist and my personal spiritual advisor in all things Buddha-related. I asked her, “How can we have compassion for Trump voters but still want to dismantle the patriarchy and racism?”

She paused for a moment, and said, “That’s the ultimate question, isn’t it? How do you love a racist?”

She told me a story of a recent confrontation that had occurred in her life. Someone close to her had said something blatantly and unapologetically racist. My friend called her out in a calm way, clearly articulating why that utterance was racist, but the result was this person didn’t talk to her for weeks. It was painful, the tension between them. She finally sat this person down and said, “I told you this was racist not because I’m angry with you. I told you this was racist because I love you.”

Showing up to dismantle the oppressive systems of racism and sexism is the ultimate act of love and compassion. How many of us called off Thanksgiving because we couldn’t stand to be in the same room with our Trump-voting relatives? How many of us have unfriended and blocked people who voted for Trump? How many of us have ducked out of the break room and avoided conversations with our coworkers because we know they voted for Trump? I’ve done it all, and when I sit down and really think about why, it comes back to betrayal. Deep, soul-crushing betrayal. And I can only feel that way because of love. Love! Can you imagine?

Four years ago, I had developed a close and very cozy relationship to vodka. I don’t know how it started, but I can tell you how it ended—with my husband telling me I had a problem. That cocktail on Friday night had somehow crept into a nightly routine. And that nightly routine bloomed from one to four. It simply wasn’t healthy. Of course I lashed out, made excuses, accused him of trying to control me. But he said, “I’m not telling you this because I’m trying to control you. I’m telling you this because I love you.” Sexism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, et al. are sicknesses of the mind. As addictive and seductive as vodka. The cure for so many personal ills, but ultimately destructive. When we show up to directly dismantle these systems of oppression, it’s an incredible act of love. It’s a commitment to the best side of a person.

But how? How do we do this work? My friend recommended I return to bell hooks, a social critic who writes extensively on racism and sexism AND is practices a fluid Buddhist-Christian path. I sat down to reread Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope. I thought to myself, “Okay, here we go. I know bell hooks is going to give me some good strategies.” I dove into the chapter “Teaching Race and Racism,” and I was struck by the extent to which bell hooks works to dismantle her own internalized racism in this essay. She writes how she begins every workshop by working with students on their earliest memories of learning about race and racism. She writes, “I have found confronting racial biases, and more important, white-supremacist thinking, usually requires all of us take a critical look at what we learned early in life about the nature of race” (26). Note the phrase all of us. Teacher and students. Students and teachers. It’s what Freire calls critical pedagogy wherein students and teachers engage in a critical process of the interrogation of ideas. It requires the teacher position herself as the student…and the student position herself as teacher.

The question, “How do we reach these Trump voters?” suggests that teaching racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia are a list of talking points that we can, if gained access by Jedi mind tricks or some other sorcery, we can somehow “deposit” into our racist relatives. If we’re somehow nice, make cupcakes, talk in gentle tones and hypnotize them with a PowerPoint, we’ll somehow convince them to knock it off. But I think the work we need to do first is the kind of work bell hooks suggests. Before we can reach anyone and engage in this critical work, we have to dismantle the racism, misogyny, xenophobia, and homophobia in ourselves.

I was recently at a conference with a friend of mine—a woman of color. I watched as she folded her beautiful curls into a bun, and I felt this wild compulsion to touch her hair. Me. After years of reading, after writing a dissertation informed by postcolonial theory, I wanted to touch my friend’s hair. How many times had I taught Baldwin’s “Stranger in the Village” and pored over the passage wherein he discusses the pain of black objectification? And yet, here I was, standing in our hotel room and suddenly aware of the strange imperialist impulse running through me. It was there, inside of me as sure as my white DNA. Learned, internalized, systemic, and oppressive racism. And if I cannot overcome the racism in myself, how can I reach a Trump voter?

Buddhist master Thich Nhat Hanh famously wrote, “Peace is every step.” This means that peace can only begin within ourselves. We cannot work for peace when there is a war in our minds. If instead of turning outward, what if we started the work of dismantling oppression within ourselves? What if white people made a goal this month, this year (!) to read or reread bell hooks, Edward Said, Ta Nehisi Coates, Toni Morrison, Debbie Reese, John Lewis, Judith Butler, Maxine Hong Kingston, and Gloria Anzaldúa? What if we took a hard look at the ways in which we have learned systems of oppression and analyzed the ways in which they now play a role in our adult lives? What if the revolution we’re looking for is not “out there,” but in ourselves? And then, and only then, armed with love, we might be able to answer that question.

Feminism, Uncategorized, women

Stopping the Show

Trigger warning for sexual assault.

When I was fourteen, I started going to rock-n-roll shows. Sometimes dragging my older brother along, sometimes with my friends, and sometimes with whatever useless idiot I was dating at the time. They were loud, violent, glorious, intense. The distorted guitars, the grunge, the angst, the anger, the rage–it shattered something I desperately needed broken. In the dirty, smoky, crowded rooms with the lights flashing and the bass rolling through me, it felt like living. It felt important and necessary in a way I still can’t explain. In my converse and flannel, my hair sweaty and sticking to my face, I broke through the quiet, awkward thing I was and emerged on the other side someone braver, reckless even. Every generation has stories like these, every coming-of-age tale starts with this. Maybe not everyone’s starts with Gwar and Marilyn Manson, but I was a child of the 90s, so mine did.

But what I knew, and every girl who went to these shows knew, is that such freedom and abandonment came at a price. We knew at some point in the night, maybe multiple times over the course of the show, someone would grab our ass, our breasts, and yes, even our pussy. We would push and shove, knock those stray hands away, but inside we knew, at least I quietly assumed at the time, it was something we had to put up with. To exist in male spaces meant putting up with male nastiness. This was the message we had heard all our lives. If some man grabs your pussy at a rock-n-roll show, well, you shouldn’t have been there in the first place. That’s not where nice girls go.

You will recognize this as “rape culture,” but I didn’t know that term at the time. We didn’t have a language for it yet. I only knew that my body did not always belong to me, and at any moment it could shift into the collective entertainment of the objectifying male gaze. But when I look back at it now, I know I did have a right to stand in those smoky clubs and listen to rock-n-roll, to sway and dance, and jump and scream without being the victim of sexual assault. Those men were not entitled to my body just because I wanted to go to a show and listen to music. And yet, when it happened, it was a secret shame, something I felt on some level, was my fault. I’ve never talked about this, actually. Never told my brother when it happened, never told my boyfriends, and definitely never told my parents. It would have meant the end of the music, to that catharsis I so desperately needed in those formative years.

The tapes brought me back. I know it’s peak white feminism to speak out now after so many awful things that man has said about Muslims, about Mexicans, about veterans. But the tapes reminded me of another story. Not just a story of pussy grabbing, but a story when someone spoke out against it.

It was 1995 and I was at the Sunken Gardens amphitheater in San Antonio. I had saved up all my money for the show, and I was stoked. White Zombie was headlining and Melvin and Babes in Toyland were opening. I could barely breathe in the press of people in the crowd, but when Babes in Toyland came on, I was transcended. I had never seen an all-girl band before, and the echoes of their female voices as they ricocheted across the stone walls burned through me, igniting some incredible inner-fire. I was moshing and jumping with my friends, high as kites and getting even higher with each song. And then suddenly–the music stopped.

The mic screeched with feedback, and one of the band members (it must have been Maureen Herman because she had dark hair) screamed across the crowd. “Did you just grab her? Did you just fucking grab her?”

It was too faraway to hear the response, but she started screaming back. “Fuck you! Fucking apologize! You don’t fucking grab her!”

The other women gathered behind their band mate, frowning. There was a rumble of thick male voices, a lot of back and forth. Finally, the lead singer flipped the bird, and one by one, they left the stage.

The crowd grew quiet. No one knew what was happening. My friends and I stared at each other, trying to understand, to make sense of what we had just seen. Hushed whispers swept through the vast amphitheater and made our way to us. Apparently, Maureen Herman had seen a man sexually assault a girl. She told him to apologize and he refused, so they just…stopped the show. Think about that for a second. Babes in Toyland would rather not play at all than play in an unsafe space for women. What if all musicians did that? What if everyone made that promise–that we will not carry on with “business as usual” if this space is unsafe?

I think that night I experienced a profound shift in my post-adolescent self, a revelation that somehow the violence enacted on my person had nothing to do with the music I listened to, but with the assholes who dared to perpetuate it unchecked. But Babes in Toyland, in their own way, checked it. They stopped the show.

That memory came back to me this weekend in a rush as I saw women tweet by the millions, the millions, about their experiences with sexual assault. I wanted to share this story because this is where I see myself and my sisters now. I’m not fourteen anymore, and I’m not ashamed. Fuck rape culture. It’s time to stop the show. It’s time to speak up, to call out, to name names. And it’s time for men, our comrades in struggle, to do the same.