Monday, May 22, 2017

Inviting Desire with Walker Thornton - Giveaway!

I am so pleased to be hosting sexpert Walker Thornton on my blog this month, and to be giving away a copy of one of my favorite books, Inviting Desire. While aimed at older women, it's really applicable to women of any age who've lost their spark, perhaps after childbirth, perhaps after getting into a rut with a longtime partner, perhaps after a toxic relationship. *raises hand*

And she was kind enough to agree to a mini-interview, because Walker is awesome that way.

1) For some women, our desire has not simply died, it's a memory that's long buried, with the grass grown over it and a nice headstone. Why shouldn't it simply remain there, and we can bring it fresh flowers from time to time? Especially for women who are not currently partnered, what good does it do, to reawaken our desire? 

I think feeling desire is great fun…Don’t you? And, from a sexual health perspective, sexual desire—leading to some form of sexual activity is important in keeping vaginas and pelvic floor muscles toned and healthy. Vaginal stimulation leads to arousal, which brings blood flow to vaginal tissue, which in turn helps cells stay healthy, which can prevent, or lessen, thinning and tearing of vaginal tissue. But, really—why would we want to give up the pleasure that comes from sexual stimulation? Sexual activity stimulates oxytocin, the ‘feel good’ hormone and it’s associated with pain reduction as well.  So I think it’s a good thing. Besides, who says we need a partner to get sexual?

2) Chapter 13 is titled, "What Is An Orgasm?" Doesn't everyone already know this? [Side Note: 13 has always been my lucky number.]

Yes, I think everyone knows what an orgasm is…Not all women have orgasms and therefore don’t really understand more than the basics. So I went a bit farther, talking about pleasure and the pressure women are under to become orgasmic. I want women to suspend judgment and focus on pleasure.

3) Chapter 25 is titled, "It's Not About the Orgasm." Wait, what? Do we want orgasms, or not want orgasms?

 I think too often women feel as if the orgasm is the ONLY product of sex—so they fake it or feel bad when it doesn’t happen. There is so much pleasure in connecting sexually with a partner that can get overlooked if we’re obsessing about our orgasms. I want to offer an alternative to the constant barrage of advice on orgasms—how many, which kind, did you squirt, etc…. Pleasure is much more than just having an orgasm. The goal of this chapter is to encourage women to explore pleasure for its own sake.

4) In the months since this book has been released, what response or question has surprised you the most?

Well, aside from my mother questioning my sexual activity; she assumes I’m not having sex so therefore I’m not qualified to talk about it!

More than a few women have indicated that their husbands would be excited about the book—I didn’t write the book as a guide for how to have better sex and I didn’t write it for partners. We already have enough pressure to be the good partner. I want women to learn to embrace their own sexuality for themselves. I do think that everyone around us benefits when we tap into our own sexuality and learn to ask for what we want.

Walker Thornton is an educator, public speaker and the author of  Inviting Desire, A Guide for Women Who Want to Enhance Their Sex Life.  She is a strong advocate for women’s sexuality, encouraging women to ‘step into their desire.’ Walker is the Sexual Health columnist for Midlife Boulevard and writes about sex and the older adult for and other sites.

Connect with Walker:
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Leave a comment, and you'll be entered in a random drawing to win a copy of Inviting Desire!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Curvy Girl Sex Giveaway!

Photo of April Flores by Nick Holmes
Lots more sexy and juicy photos in the book

So because I am a generous soul, I am GIVING AWAY an autographed copy of my new favorite sex book by sexologist Elle Chase.

This book is AMAZING, and despite the title, you don't have to be a "girl" or curvy to use this book. It works for men, women, and genderfluid people, of ALL shapes and sizes.

It also includes tips for accommodating bad backs, shoulders, gimpy knees... The drawings are wonderful, and the names of the sexytimes positions had me laughing out loud.

Also, I got out a pencil to check off the ones I've tried. Quite a few in the rear view, but with 101 positions, (yes, you sexy beast, that's one-hundred-and-one!) I found many I hadn't. #sexgoals

Curvy Girl Sex delves into anatomy, toys, and many aspects of getting into a sexy mindset. Sometimes we give up on sex, or love, because we think that our [insert bodily imperfection here] means we don't DESERVE sex, or love. No. Lies, damned lies!

We all deserve those things (if we want them). We don't have to give up sex because some parts are extra-large or don't work the way they used to, we just need to know how to accommodate them, and this book shows us how.

^^^ All the this. Being sexy is about being in the moment. Savoring the moment. Instead of worrying that your body doesn't match your porn star fantasy (trust me, I've seen 'em, even THEY don't match that porn fantasy without makeup and lighting and very careful editing), enjoy being with your partners - including yourself.

I know you want this delicious and helpful book. So leave me a comment, and I will pick one commenter at random to receive a copy. (I know, I know, I could use one of those raffle thingies that make you Follow my Twitterfeed and newsletter, but those always annoy the crap outta me, so I'm not doing it to you.)

If you want to sign up for my mailing list, just because I'm nice and you're nice, that would be cool. Link is toward the top right of this page. Because very soon, my Kicking Cancer's Ass memoir is launching, and I know you want to score a copy of that, right?

Note: Will be picking a winner after Friday, April 28, so you still have time. 

Happy sexytimes!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Why Talk About Rape... Again?

Doesn't talking about rape normalize it? Yes, I've heard people ask that.

Well, we've tried not talking about rape and sexual assault for quite some time. And yet, rape and sexual assault didn't magically go away.

I believe that talking about our experiences with rape and sexual assault can be empowering, help lift the stigma, and help us see that we're not alone. Almost every woman I know, and many men, have experienced sexual assault of some kind. Yet somehow, the shame is projected onto the person who was attacked, while the attackers often stroll away, free.

I think that's something we need to change.

So to that end, I was interviewed on the #TakeBackYourSEX podcast, linked here, with two sexy women who've also experienced rape. Megan and Tanya and I had a wonderful conversation about this - with NO shame!!

And have you seen this queen reclaiming her power? Doing a photo shoot at the frat house where she was raped, that takes ovaries.

You can listen to our discussion here.

We're talking about doing a follow-up podcast, so if you have questions or issues we didn't cover, please leave a comment, below.  Thanks!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Million to One: Tony Faggioli

Tony Faggioli is an up-and-coming writer who recently released his first trilogy, a set of action-packed thrillers with a big supernatural component running through them. And, I am proud to say, a personal friend. I'm so happy to welcome him here for the second part of a ten question interview.

6) Writing a trilogy - how do you make the pacing work so that each book works as a standalone and within the series? 

Honestly? I have no idea. I know, I know...I'm supposed to sound all cool, like I planned it all out that way, but the truth is that the story literally took on a life of its own. There were some days that my fingers simply couldn’t keep up with my brain. I was waking up at 3am or 4:30am. It was nuts. But I did have my outlines to try and mesh together. After I was done my editor cleaned up some rough patches but for the most part, it just wrote itself.

7) Critique groups and beta readers. Tell us a little about how those have helped you be a better writer - if they have. 

Each person comes to a critique group with a skill level. From there, if the group is good, that skill level will elevate. I mean, without fail. It has to. Because a good critique group is really an extension of any good writing professor you’ve ever had in your life…they keep you honest. They call you on your bullshit. They flag a character who is weak (as my group did with Tamara at first) and before long you see the reason why (she was destined to be one of the strongest characters, and as a male writer, I was struggling with how to give her a voice).

8) You auditioned several content editors for the series. Tell us how and why you selected the editor you did. 

I’d used Stephen King’s first editor to go over my prior book (The Snow Globe) so I’d already experienced an older editor who was inflexible. As such, I knew I needed something different this time. I searched and searched, and it paid off. She was young, but experienced. I wanted an editor who had spunk. Who wasn’t going to take my shit but who was also calm, cool and collected. Almost like a female Spock to my Captain Kirk. We Skype’d and she was perfect. A quick example? The ending of Book 2 used to be the opening to Book 3. She didn’t like that. She saw immediately that if I ended Book 2 the way it is now I wouldn’t just hook the reader, I would practically stick them with a fishing gaff. I went all crazy about it, ranting and raving about why I disagreed and her reply was the equivalent of, “Well Captain. That. Is. Illogical.” Except she has a British accent. I mean, can you imagine a British Female Spock? I didn't stand a chance. But guess which scene has had the most visceral reaction to date? Yep. Especially with my female readers. Most have tripped out (in a good way) but a few have been really pissed, and they DM me with anger, curse my name, cry foul…and then tell me they just bought Book 3 J

9) Every author has to balance marketing for the book(s) already released, with creating new work, while editing and revising other work. Besides coffee, what tools or mindset help you do this?

Tues-Thurs I’ve gone with a “split-day” approach. 8am-Noon I create (currently that means writing the first book of my new trilogy). Then I break for a one hour lunch. Then from 1-3pm I edit/revise (currently I’m working on The Snow Globe rewrite). From 3-5pm I monitor and check on my promos, internet stats, sales, etc. and setup TweetDeck for my next day’s content. I’m on Facebook here or there each day, so I track/post/reply as needed. Mon and Fri I can only dedicate half a day to my Indie Author cause, so I spend the afternoons editing/revising, writing my blog, putting together my newsletter and doing awesome blog interviews J

10) What question have you not yet been asked - and what's your answer? Hmmm. I guess the question would be, “How did you balance the spiritual/Christian elements of the story while targeting the mainstream, commercial thriller market?” 

Because I worked SO hard that. And my answer, “By relying on the fact that the topic of the story – the pain and consequences of love betrayed – affects Christians, Buddhists (etc) and atheists alike. The vast majority of us have this reverence for the concept of love and an innate need for it. As such, regardless of the spiritual base from which you may read the story, you can appreciate what the characters are going through."

Tony Faggioli was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the University of Southern California, where he majored in Public Administration and interned in Washington, D.C. at The White House. After college, he transitioned to corporate America before deciding to start his own business. One day, he realized that nothing brought him anywhere near the amount of joy as the writing he did from grade school through high school. So, at age 35, he decided to rekindle his passion. Since then he's written four novels and begun his fifth. He's a happily married father of two kids, two dogs and a pretty awesome goldfish. 


Catch him in person at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, California on Sunday, January 8 at 4 pm.  

Click HERE for Part I of this ten question interview.

Got more questions for Tony?
Ask them, below.

Monday, January 2, 2017

One In a Million: Tony Faggioli

One of the best things about being a writer is getting to meet, read, and become friends with other writers, aspiring or established. Tony Faggioli is an up-and-coming writer who recently released his first trilogy, a set of action-packed horror novels with a big supernatural component. And, I am proud to say, a personal friend. I'm so happy to welcome Tony here for a ten question interview.

1) Kyle. Napoleon. Tamara. Parker. The Grey Man. Which character was the most fun to write - and which was the most challenging? Which character surprised you the most, as you came to know them, and why?

Napoleon was the most fun to write, hands down. He allowed me to vibe with my inner Ed McBain, which was cool. Police procedurals have always been my thing, so the scenes and dialogue came natural to me. In so many ways, though, his struggle transcends the crime genre, so that gave me room to play in the sandbox and dig for new toys (ideas). Kyle was the most challenging. He's the most human and therefore the least transparent, both to the reader and to me as the writer. It makes sense, right? If a friend calls you to tell you that they've cheated on their spouse/significant other and they need to talk? The conversation is going to be tough sledding. Tamara did nothing bad to Kyle, nothing that comes anywhere near his being able to justify his actions. So right away you have a lead character that the reader is going to think is a douche how in the world do you get them to root for the guy? That was tough. My answer, in the end, was to remind the reader (and myself) how much they have in common with Kyle. Temptation is a bitch. In the right set of circumstance? Any of us could struggle. Some of us badly.
2) Your series features recurring appearances by angels - and demons. Who's your favorite demon (in these works, not in general), and why? 

That's a hard question. Hm. Across the whole series? Man. I liked Bonespur in Book 1 - she freaks people out even though she only has one scene. But...I think The Lantern Man wins out. He has…a lasting effect on people. At my book signing party my wife displayed this really cool lantern that she found...and people who’d already read the books? They literally steered clear of it. I kid you not. That lantern is in my living room now. I've had three different people come to my house to visit and they want nothing to do with it when they walk in and catch sight of it. The Lantern Man is just so evil. I mean, how bad do you have to be to qualify as The Bread Man's superior? It's nearly beyond comprehension. 
3) Which writers have had the most influence on you? I can see Proust and Stephen King - who else? 

I already mentioned McBain. I also have to add Robert B. Parker. I love, love, love the Spenser for Hire series. In truth, here's a little secret for your readers: Napoleon's partner, Detective Evan Parker? That's from marrying Ed McBain's real name (Evan Hunter) with Robert B. Parker. It was a nod from a no name like me to two giants in their field, both sadly gone now, who filled so many hours of my reading days. Besides them? I gotta go with Hemingway and Chekov. When I find myself trying to avoid telling the truth about a particular character? Ernest is there to slap me. When I get way too wordy and think I need twenty words to say something that can be said in five? Anton is there to point out how. 
4) You do some pretty disturbing things to many of your female characters. Does your wife read your work and give you the side eye? How about your pastor and members of your church? Has it sparked any interesting discussions from people who never saw this side of you?  

I'll never forget when my beloved cousin (my muse) was midway through Book 2. She was in town, visiting from Pittsburgh, and she looks at my wife and says, "Okay. Um. Ya gotta tell me: how do you sleep next to him at night?" I was knocked speechless (no small feat) and my wife just kinda laughed nervously...and made NO comment!  lololol I mean...really? After twenty years of marriage my wife pretty much knew I was half nuts to begin with. Her bigger problem was with the sexual content of Book 1 in its original form. It was pretty graphic. I think I was trying to visually justify Kyle's actions to the reader (i.e. if you were titillated, then how could you blame him for being titillated?). Then came the day that I gave out a half dozen copies to some of our friends from church! Oh man. My wife was not pleased. One of the women from church said she had to "stop and scrub out her eyes" after reading a few sections. Sigh. Anyway, it was a misguided manipulation of the reader and luckily my editor called me out on it straight away. So I changed it. It has definitely sparked some interesting discussions, from both male and female readers. But my main theme stayed intact. Here are all these female characters in the books being victimized...but did you notice (spoiler alert) that none of them are saved by men? Not one. Go back and look. They each kick ass and stick up for themselves.  Except for The Bread Man's mother, maybe, and even she goes down trying to do the right thing (not willing to cover up the death of her abusive husband, who she probably loathed). 

5) Building on that, you have children who are proud of your writing career, but, I presume, are not allowed to read this series yet. At what age would you allow them to read it - and what is your plan if they sneak a peek before then? 

My son turns sixteen next spring. He will get to read them then. If for no other reason than the fact that I want him to see that the objectification of women comes at a cost. A married man committing adultery. A psychopathic killer. They’re miles apart…but both are murderers. The latter is killing life. The former? Love. Yes, I know, women cheat too. But that’s someone else’s story to tell. 

Tony Faggioli was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and raised in Los Angeles, California. He graduated from the University of Southern California, where he majored in Public Administration and interned in Washington, D.C. at The White House. After college, he transitioned to corporate America before deciding to start his own business. One day, he realized that nothing brought him anywhere near the amount of joy as the writing he did from grade school through high school. So, at age 35, he decided to rekindle his passion. Since then he's written four novels and begun his fifth. He's a happily married father of two kids, two dogs and a pretty awesome goldfish. 

Catch him in person at Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena, California on Sunday, January 8 at 4 pm.  

Tune in tomorrow for Part II of this ten question interview.

Got questions for Tony?
Ask them, below.