Monday, June 20, 2016

Whole Lotta Sexy Going On

First, BUY MY BOOK. Er, Story.

Y'all don't know how long I've been dying to be the one to say that. If I had a dollar, for all the Tweets and blog posts and FB ads I've read... But let's turn the page on that, shall we?

My short story, The Dog Days of Summer, will be included in the upcoming anthology Summer Sizzle. Hopefully on sale July 1, if the idiots in charge of it get it together.

Idiots in charge of it being, primarily, ME. *hangs head in shame*

It's been something of a journey, learning how to self-pub an anthology - and FWIW, I will not be making any actual money off this one. All stories have been donated to benefit LARA, the Los Angeles Romance Authors Chapter of RWA, a non-for-profit  organization that has given me and many other writers a big boost and support in our writing careers.

I enjoyed writing Dog Days, I threw some things in it that aren't typically found in many romance stories, like a hero who's shorter than the heroine, a ridiculously ugly and bad-mannered dog, and discussion of a common STI.

I hope you'll enjoy reading it, and the other stories, which are amazing.  (Maybe even leaving us a review? Pretty please with sugar on it?)

Second, I'm Giving an Online Workshop

INSTRUCTOR: Beverly Diehl
DATES: August 8 – 21 (2 weeks)
COST: $30 (LARA members: $20)
CLASS DESCRIPTION: Most writers would rather enjoy a root canal than talk about business. And yet, sometimes both are necessary (and with a little humor, both can be made less painful).
In this six-part, two & a half week online workshop, participants will learn the essentials of running their writing business successfully:
  • A Douchebag By Any Other Name (why/how to choose a pen name)
  • To Incorporate or Not to Incorporate (overview of different organization structures & the pros & cons of each)
  • Poindexter, Your New BFF (Accountants – what they do that writers need, how to choose a good one)
  • Avoiding the Death of a Thousand Paper Cuts (What forms need to be filed)
  • Separate Ways (Basic principles of business record-keeping)
  • It’s Never As Easy As It Looks On TV (How to choose an accounting software package)
  • And more!
INSTRUCTOR BIO: Beverly Diehl has been supplementing her passion for writing romance and smutty women’s fiction with day jobs in the bookkeeping and accounting field for decades more years than she likes to admit. Since 2005 she’s been working in business management for a mid-size accounting firm in the San Fernando Valley, and serving as a QuickBooks Proadvisor©. She knows where the mistakes are made, since, lucky her, she gets to find and fix them. She's also past Treasurer for the non-profit Words on Wheels (a children’s literacy program) and volunteers for the LARA Chapter of RWA.
I gave this class last year, and people really enjoyed it. I am refreshing and updating it, and look forward to sharing what I know about the business end that so many writers need to know.

Thirdly, I'm moderating two panels at this thing:

CatalystCon is a conference created to inspire exceptional conversations about sexuality. It is about reaching out and stimulating those who attend to create those important conversations in their own communities, changing how we as a society talk about and treat sexuality.  It is about stimulating the activist that is within all of us and sparking transformation in the way our friends, neighbors, children and even politicians discuss one of the most important aspects of humanity.
Each panel I'm moderating and participating in includes medical doctors, psychologists/sexological body workers, and other sur-thrivers.
1) Beyond Surviving: Enjoying a Vibrant and Joyous Sex Life After Rape

Session Description:

They say that at least one in four women, and one in six men, either already has been, or will be, raped or sexually assaulted in their lifetime. Yet talking about rape often seems taboo, even in sex positive communities, - who likes the “victim” label?  In association with Sex Positive World, we’ll explore creating a safe space so that sexual assault can be talked about like other unpleasant, but certainly not “life-ruining” experiences. How intentional communities can help with shame or guilt. What are the kinds of things that a rape sur-thriver wants to hear from their therapist, families and loved ones?

We’ll discuss that one size does NOT fit all when it comes to rape and sexual assault. Those terms cover a very broad spectrum of experiences, from ongoing childhood sexual molestation, to longer term abusive relationships, to date rape and stranger rape, and each may need different approaches for healing. We’ll talk about making space to discuss rape or coercion of transpeople, of men by women, women by women, men by men, and to support those sur-thrivers. We’ll talk about the pain, guilt and frustration experienced by partners, and how we can support them through the experience.

We’ll share ideas, tools, and tips for reframing the experience to reclaim the genitals as beautiful and sexy and fun, including masturbation, self-compassion, therapy, BDSM, and reclaiming/rewriting the experience through rape reenactment.

2) Sex After (or During) Cancer Treatment? Hell, Yes!
Session Description:

While (too many!) people are still dying of cancer, more and more people are being diagnosed with cancer and LIVING. According to, almost 40% of American men and women will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetimes, and the number of people living beyond a cancer diagnosis reached almost 14.5 million in 2014.

In association with Sex Positive World, this session looks to embrace enjoying a healthy, vibrant, and satisfying sex life, despite the bodily changes and challenges of a cancer diagnosis. We’ll debunk the myth that sex has to mean PIV (Penis-in-Vagina) or PIA (Penis-in-Anus), and explore the MANY ways to have very satisfying sex that don’t require an erection or penetration. We’ll touch on the role and benefits of masturbation for self-compassion, body-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-knowledge. We’ll discuss toys, cushions, slings, lube, and sexual work-arounds. We’ll talk about the important role of loving partner(s) and friends, both during the initial crisis, and afterward, in helping to reclaim body image and sexual satisfaction. We’ll explore the role of humor, music, sexy photography, and other tips and tricks for being joyful before, during, or after treatment. We’ll also talk about the role of BDSM for sexual satisfaction.

“Surviving” cancer isn’t good enough. We want to thrive and enjoy our bodies, including sexually!

If you're in or can get to Los Angeles in September for Catalyst, I would love to see you there. Early bird registration ends June 30.

And the last thing I'm doing...

Besides the day job, and girlfriend dates, and boyfriend dates, and trying to keep the cats from falling out windows, is I'm working on my cancer memoir.  I've decided on the title:
Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n Roll and a Tiara: How I Celebrated Life While Kicking Cancer’s Ass
I've outlined most of it and written some of it, and plan to use this photo, modified and cropped a bit, for the cover.

On June 15 I celebrated my one-year lumpectomy anniversary. I am feeling fabulous, happy, strong, healthy, and sexy, and so far, all my medical check-ups back that up.
People look at me like I'm a little insane when I tell them the year of having cancer has been the BEST of my life. But it's true. My therapist tells me she has never seen anyone go through a cancer journey with a better attitude than me, so I decided to write it all out, and share it with the world, in the hopes that maybe there are a few nuggets or tips that will make someone else's cancer journey a little easier. Even though sometimes I have doubts about "Who the hell do you think you are, anyway?" Or that I think it's not that much to be proud of, since I only had Cancer Lite.
To that end, I am doing The Thing That All Authors Are Supposed To Do: I am starting signups for a newsletter.  See the top right corner of this page. You will notice and appreciate, I hope, that I did NOT subject you to one of those thrice-cursed pop-up subscribe boxes that never fricken go AWAY even after you've subscribed to the bloody thing.
After I get Summer Sizzle out, and get through the online class, and the memoir, and the Catalyst panels, I have a whole slew of sexy stories niggling at the corners of my brain. I can't wait to flesh them out and share them with you.
If you're a regular reader of this blog and want to read and review a .pdf of Summer Sizzle,
please leave a comment.
Your thoughts?

Monday, June 13, 2016

Hate Is A Four Letter Word

This last week or so has been filled with emotionally exhausting events, at least, I have found them so.

The Stanford Rapist

If you've been living in a cave, perhaps you were not aware there was a young rapist at Stanford University who sexually assaulted an incapacitated young woman behind a dumpster. He was stopped by two young men on bicycles, arrested and convicted of three felonies, and then the judge decided his bright future shouldn't be marred by too much time behind bars.

The young woman - extraordinarily bright and articulate and brave. The rapist, who may have also taken photos of her breasts during the assault to send to his friends, using a third party app so they could be deleted, because who doesn't? seems to be an entitled sociopath who also swims real fast. The douchebag father of the rapist - also an entitled prick.

I've been pleased with most of the discussion on the subject, which puts the blame squarely on the rapist, with some on the father, and a generous helping for Judge Aaron Persky, who didn't feel the lad's bright future should be tarnished by excessive punishment. (You can support the recall campaign here.)

But one troubling note for me is the level of hate some have for this young man. Even if he IS a worthless excuse for a human being, IMO, he does not deserve "street justice" in the form of being repeatedly raped in jail. NOBODY deserves to be raped. And as angry as I am with his actions and attitudes, I am also puzzled by them as well. I want to understand why some men and women grow up to think they can take whatever they want.

Hillary Clinton Becoming Presumptive Nominee of the Democratic Party

Last Tuesday, California voted, and to the disappointment and in some cases, denial, by many vocal supporters of Bernie Sanders, Hillary Rodham Clinton won the state and became the presumptive nominee of the Democratic party.  No, it's not because all votes for Bernie weren't counted. Yes, it's an historic moment even if women from minor parties have run for President in the past, or been candidates in major parties, like Shirley Chisholm and Elizabeth Dole.

I "get" that some people dislike and/or fear Hillary Clinton. Some  have genuine issues with her policies and actions. Others have fallen for the lies and propaganda spread by certain political factions for years, on the grounds that if something is repeated enough times, it must be true. And still others (including some women) are afraid of a strong powerful woman, because, well, she's a WOMAN. For many of us, watching criticism of HRC be based on her wardrobe, her hair, her voice - while no male candidate has been subject to the same criticisms, it is obvious that misogyny is still alive and well.

I don't know what the answer is, except to hope that some people will come to see that their fear and hate isn't helping anyone, not even themselves.

Pulse, Orlando

A young Muslim man armed with a semi-automatic rifle entered an LGBT nightclub and began shooting people on June 11. As of right now, 50 are dead, more than 50 additional people wounded. Why? Hate, fear. Terrorism is looking less and less likely, homophobia more and more likely. Closeted homosexual feelings and self-loathing, perhaps?

It feels to me almost like there is an epidemic of hate, of angry, shouting people who don't want to hear or acknowledge the humanity of others. Like it's influenza, or an alien entity, it's as if people don't feel safe unless they hate anyone or anything that is different or new or whatever, this miasmic THING is traveling around the United States, maybe the whole world, all red-faced and pointy-fingered at those people, over there, who are ruining it for the rest of us.

Surely we can do better. Surely we can look for our shared humanity, for ways to help one another, for ways to understand one another. Call me a sentimental sap, but I still believe.

Do you believe?
Do you have any thoughts on the raging anger?
What can we do to spread love instead of hate?