Thursday, May 30, 2013

Sweet Sixteen

It is a grey day today, overcast and not quite as warm as one would expect for the thirtieth of May. Sixteen years ago, on Friday, 30 May, 1997, the weather in Gambier, Ohio, was just the same. I had spent the night in a hotel room with two other girls, Heather and Nancy. We had nothing to eat, of course, so I slipped out to the nearest store, a convenience store attached to a gas station. I got a bag of tiny, white, powdered donuts. The overcast sky did not dampen my mood, nor did the few drops of rain that landed on my hair. I had been waiting for this day my whole life, and it had finally arrived. A downpour would not have put me out of spirits.

This isn't the day of the wedding!

Heather drove us to the chapel at Kenyon College. I had just graduated university that Monday, but not from Kenyon. I had actually attended university one town over, but I went to church at Harcourt Parish, in the chapel on Kenyon's campus. That is where we were going that morning. 
We were joined at the chapel by my parents, who had flown in from Japan for my graduation, my sisters, my uncles and aunts, my grandparents, and some of my oldest friends. Several friends had already left after graduating, but some had stayed; and some had come in from other states to see me. 

To see us. My darling and I were getting married, and I could hardly contain my delight. I wore a beautiful gown, white and satin and tulle, designed like a ball gown, the dream-dress of any little girl. I had a lovely veil, which hung to my finger-tips, and white satin high heels. I was dressed and ready well before the ceremony. The church had a large basement for Sunday School lessons, and I sat in one with my five bridesmaids. It seemed to be taking far too long for the ceremony to begin. I could not wait! But I could not move around much, due to the petticoats under my dress, nor could I sit down without wrinkling my dress. So I put a tiny child's chair under my petticoat and sat down on it, letting my dress puff up around me—and played solitaire on my dress. I was, of course, not nervous. My five bridesmaids—my two sisters, my darling's two sisters, and a good friend from college—were all there, all ready and waiting to encourage me, should I need it. But I did not. How could I? My darling awaited.

Nervous bride? I think not!

The ceremony went smoothly, except for one groomsman who fainted in the midst of it all. His girlfriend soon had him put to rights, and we went on. My darling and I knit our souls together, mating ourselves for life. 

When the ceremony was over, we practically ran down the aisle and out of the church. We were both excited, both eager to begin our new life together.

It has been sixteen years since that day, and I would not change it at all. I rejoice to belong to my darling. As Solomon wrote, “I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine.”
All right, so I would change it. If I had it to do over, I would have married my darling the day we met. 

Now I look forward to our future anniversaries, especially the twenty-third, as that will mark the day when I will have been married longer than not.

Not a moment too soon.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Without Facebook

I quit Facebook the other day, and I'm not going to put the blame anywhere but on myself. I see all kinds of stuff out there about how Facebook is bad for you, how it's bad for relationships, how it's evil, etc.

I was starting to think of things in real life as "like" and "dislike". Not healthy.

Maybe. I'm not going to get into that, because I'm not everyone. I'm just me, so I'll just say what Facebook was doing to me.

It was turning me into a monster. I'm not blaming Facebook for this. I'm just saying that SNS doesn't mesh well with my personality or my character shortcomings. Facebook was bad for me, and it was making me a bad person, worse every day.

Actually I find it rather ironic that I used FB as a platform for shouting my love from the rooftops.

I liked to use Facebook to stay in contact with real peeps I know in real life, support and share with my fellow authors, and to reach out to my (very few) fans. And those are all great things! I also loved posting about love -- just little tidbits, little bites of pure gold, of my love life with my wonderful, beautiful wife. But all this was outweighed by what Facebook was doing to me.

Somewhere along the way, I realized that I no longer saw people as people. All I saw were avatars and handles, random picks in the News Feed which Facebook deemed worthy to show me. I'd like something and move on, never really taking the time to connect. I just had too many people on my friends' list.

But it was worse than that. I would argue with people and be more unkind to them than I'd ever be if I sat down face to face and talked to them in real life. I became something I refuse to be: uncharitable. It was easy, because, after all, Facebook users aren't real people, anymore than forum members.

That kind of thinking had to go!

That was my pitfall, and, again, the blame is all on me. I should be able to conduct myself online with the same dignity I live my life. But I can't. SNS dehumanizes (not to mean it degrades, but rather it takes the human user behind the computer on the other end out of the equation). I wasn't interacting with people but rather a collection of photo updates about the cool burrito shop down the street or invites to the latest book-signing event. My head was a whirl.

I also felt like I could never say what I really think about hot-button topics, and the few times I did, I got into nasty arguments. This would've never happened in real life. And so I've quit, for my own good.

I refuse to play that game; I refuse to be weak. And I refuse to stand on pride. I know my weaknesses and my faults, and I'll be the first to admit them.

Besides, Facebook was quickly becoming an addiction. It was time to kick the habit!

It's just the way I am: when I'm into something, I'm all in.

Stick around here, though, and you'll see more from us! We're not gone, just off Facebook. Thanks for all your support, friends and family! We love you all!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

You're Fat and Ugly -- Get Used To It

I rarely blog. I mean, sure we update this blog from time to time, and I used to write a weekly grammar blog. But I don't write anything about myself or about what I think. (Partially, of course, this is due to the fact that if most people knew how I really felt about things, I would have no friends -- or readers -- left.) Today is going to be an exception. These ideas have been weighing on me for some time, and I want to share them.
Lately, I have seen many articles, posts, and even "Facebook images" about how "Bigger is better", how the awkwardly-named "plus-size" women are actually even more beautiful than their thinner counterparts. I understand the sentiment; I appreciate the motivation. I do not think that those making the statements believe them. All of these posts and articles, or at least the ones I have seen, remind me of Queen Gertrude's words: "The lady doth protest too much, methinks." 

Women want to be beautiful. It is a natural desire, a longing to be thought attractive ... by men. (Lesbians want to be thought attractive by other women, but this seems to be only because their potential mate pool is women. It's not that they want their friends to find them attractive.) Women want to be found beautiful, and this continues to hold true even after they find mates.
This desire does not appear to be connected to a general desire to please other people or to care about what other people might, in general, think. A woman who prides herself on her maverick tendencies, on her wild opinions and unconventional attitudes, still wants to be beautiful. When praising a woman, saying that she is "beautiful" means more than saying that a man is "handsome". Though women at various times in history (now being one of them) have ogled men and made known their preferences about men's appearance, men do not seem to care so much. 

Part of this is because women do not care as much about men's appearance when it comes to finding a permanent partner. Yes, this is a cliché. Yes, you probably know a woman or two who seem shallow enough to make looks the priority in a mate. But really, by far most women -- and they would agree if you asked -- find other things more important, things such as conversation, kindness, personality, intelligence, and the ever-popular sense-of-humor. When years have passed, a woman is less likely to leave her mate over his looks. (Not less likely to leave in general, mind. I am aware that, for instance, in the USA over 70% of divorces are filed by women.) But a woman loves, or doesn't, based primarily on other criteria than looks. Men place a higher value on looks. Shakespeare pointed that out centuries ago and phrased it better than I could.

"For, boy, however we do praise ourselves,
Our fancies are more giddy and unfirm,
More longing, wavering, sooner lost and worn,
Than women's are."

Here we have a man admitting to a friend (ironically, a woman in disguise) that men's affections are less stable than women's. The friend is, understandably, saddened to hear this. Where does that leave women in the long run? They want something that will inevitably disappear--beauty according to the standards of their culture. 

But why does it seem that this ordinary preoccupation has ballooned out of all proportion? Why are women trying, through "Bigger is Better" posts and campaigns, to convince themselves that they are attractive? If they truly thought so, they would not bother posting. Men don't. 

There is a combination of factors that, I think, has brought the female body both into a sharper focus and into a more restrictive ideal. 

Up until recently, sociologically speaking, in most Western cultures, women were thought attractive when they had more meat on their bones. There were actually "weight gain" advertisements, encouraging women to gain weight to be thought beautiful. Though some of this weight, of course, was desired to be in the breasts, overall women were considered more attractive when their bones were not in any way visible. This was a boon to women, despite the fact that this larger size was attractive because weight was a symbol of wealth. As a woman ages, her body collects fat deposits, particularly around the waist and hips. This meant that an older woman was still able to compete physically with younger women, despite the disadvantages of age. Furthermore, due to the much lower rate of partner-change, the competition was much milder. Though a woman naturally wants to continue to be thought beautiful, in the past she was able to embrace the different beauties of her age.

This has changed. Partially, this is due to the shift in what symbolizes wealth. Now thin=wealthy, as the cheap foods are now the ones high in empty calories. Even more this is due to the ubiquity of a single type of beauty.
What do I mean by this? I mean that, due to television, movies, and magazines all promoting the same style of beauty, that same body type is considered beautiful everywhere by everyone. In the past, there could be more local variants of beauty. Though the attractions of a Southern belle and of a Yankee heiress were somewhat similiar--Godey's Lady's Book, anyone?--they did not have to be the same. Now the same movie will portray the same actress across the world. 

And this particular type of beauty is a more fleeting one than most. The flat hips and belly of a teenage girl are not something that a grown woman, even the thinnest, can naturally hope to retain. This "thin" obsession (usually partnered with a "youth" obsession for double the detriment) is everywhere.
If you are reading this, you are no doubt familiar with the Marilyn Monroe pictures, the ones that show one of the sexiest women of all time, and point out that she would be considered, by today's standards, fat. Though this is not quite true, as can be evidenced by looking at her clothes, she was certainly larger than would be considered "beautiful" or "sexy" now. Looking at the "sex symbols" of previous eras can show us how far this "thin" obsession has gone. Even Elizabeth Taylor is large in some of her films, and she was incredibly beautiful and sexy. 

Perhaps one of the easiest ways to illustrate this is to look at the two Uhuras. Nichelle Nichols was not, by any stretch of the imagination, fat. She was not plump. She was thin, athletic, voluptuous, and the most gorgeous woman they ever had on Star Trek. But the new Uhura was played by Zoe Saldana. She is pretty, yes, but she is much thinner than Nichelle Nichols was. 

And what is the point of all this meandering? What does it matter that Hollywood chooses unnaturally thin women to hold up as the ideal of beauty? What does it matter that airbrushed and Photoshopped pictures are plastered everywhere? What effect does that have on you or me? 

Women are now held--and hold themselves--to a standard of beauty that is more fleeting than most, for after her teens a woman will be forever fighting her body's shape, and this standard is both more inflexible and more ubiquitous than it has been in the past.
I have seen the effects of this in my personal life, and the frustration of it is much of what prompted this post. To explain, I will have to give a bit of background about myself. I am a US citizen, and I am Caucasian. I did not, however, grow up in the US. I grew up in various places around the world, but by my early teens my parents had settled in Japan. 

In Japan, the same standards of beauty are present as in the West, but they are even more stringent. The natural size of a Japanese female is smaller than that of a Caucasian female, thinner overall, and with smaller, flatter breasts, hips, and waist. Given the current standards of beauty, that is, unnaturally slim and with undeveloped hips, any Caucasian woman will be hugely disadvantaged. I have never known a Caucasian woman living in Japan to escape unscathed. Inevitably, she will grow to consider herself fat. I saw it in my family and myself. My two younger sisters both developed eating disorders, one anorexia and one bulimia. I myself did not bother with eating disorders. I simply accepted that it was my lot in life to be fat and unattractive. 

My sisters recovered, though I have no doubt that spending some time back in the West, where their size 3 figures were obviously slim, helped.
True confession time. I consider myself fat. I look in the mirror, and I see a fat woman looking back at me. I am, however, reasonable enough to admit that, were I to see another woman of my height and weight, that I would not consider her fat. I can still wear my wedding gown from 16 years ago. Nearly 40 and having had half a dozen children, I can still wear the dress I wore to my wedding reception. I “look good for my age”. 

And to say, “You look good for your age” is practically an insult to a woman. Why? Because women are not allowed to be their age. The competition for a woman is not other women her own age and stage of life. No, it is young teenage girls in the first blush of womanhood and women surgically altered to match teenagers. 

I once heard a man dear to me say, “Women can still be thin and beautiful in middle age.” He then proceeded to list off several Hollywood actresses as examples. Hollywood actresses, who have personal trainers and plastic surgeons, not to mention airbrushed photographs, to contribute to their beauty. How is that supposed to to say to me, an ordinary woman without a personal trainer or the money for plastic surgery, that I can be thin and beautiful? No, what it says to me is that I will always fail, always fall short. 

And what can we do? Reposting Facebook pictures of “Bigger is beautiful” does not help. The bitter and distressing answer is … nothing. There is nothing that any one person can do. The ideal of feminine beauty is now decided on a global scale, and we are left to dislike ourselves in the wake of it.
My husband has been, with varying degrees of success, trying to teach me that I am not ugly. I am a slow learner, but I have taken enough of his instruction to heart to write this. 
(mrs ad)


Just wanting to add my two cents: pornography is largely to blame, and as long as it is deemed acceptable and undamaging, this will continue to get worse. We have generations of men wanking to fantasies and ignoring the real women around them. Men are no longer men; we have become at best puerile boys and at worst ape-like beasts more content with our hands than with women. Real women cannot compete with this.
(mr ad)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Billionaire's Unwanted Virgin

(Yay, Doris is back! What a great author she is, a woman who really understands what love is...)

I am incredibly excited to be back here at Boundless as the Sea with my newest release The Billionaire's Unwanted Virgin

The media seems to be awash with stories lately of virgins selling their virginity. I was quite surprised when I did a recent Google search, because this idea first came to me back in October last year, when the first story hit the newsstands. It caused quite a stir here in the UK with everyone and their dog having an opinion on this young lady. I noticed not many wondered as to what sort of man would purchase such a virgin.

My muse, however, did wonder, and she pondered this for some time.

What sort of man would spend that amount of money for one night of sex? He had to have more money than sense, really. Or did he?

What if it wasn't him who did the purchasing, but his recently deceased and flighty younger brother? And what if said man was intensely private, couldn't afford any scandal to attach to his name, and needed to get married?

Well, my yummy, tortured half Sioux billionaire, Lakota is all of the above, and when he realizes that he has been gifted Alice—a young woman unlike any he's encountered before—all the bets are off. Locking her into marriage will remedy his need for a wife and slay his lust, for surely that's all he's feeling for his little Alice, right?


Yes, well—you know those Alphas—hot as hell and forever denying their feelings….

I had great fun writing Alice and Lakota's story. I laughed, I cried, and I may have needed to jump my own hubby a few times, after writing their scorching sex scenes.


I leave you with the blurb and excerpt.


Lay back and think of England, she could do this. It was only sex, after all. Auctioning off her virginity was the easy part—going through with it not so easy. When Alice realizes who has acquired her, keeping her emotions out of the deal seems an impossible task.

Self-made billionaire Lakota, Lance Kemnay has no time for women, let alone one, who would sell her virginity to the highest bidder. Ever practical, however, he sees in Alice a solution to his immediate need for a wife. The emotions she stirs in him are just lust, and lust can be dealt with. As they connect emotionally and physically, his resolve to keep his heart aloof is tested beyond limits.

Can he trust his tender feelings, or has he been taken for a fool by the one woman he thought he could trust?


He'd bound her to him with the ridiculous terms of their arrangement, and he had no idea how she really felt about him. That her body desired him, of that there was no doubt. Could there ever be more between them? Was the trust she exhibited in her submission to him enough to build a relationship on?

Would she want to stay with him once the arranged time was over? His little Alice was a romantic. Would she settle for a life with what little he had to offer, knowing full well that he was incapable of ever saying the words every woman wanted to hear?

"Lakota?" Her uncertain whisper shook him out his maudlin thoughts. This was here, and this was now. He would live in the moment and worry about all that later. Right now he had his woman where he wanted her.

"I'm here, my sweet. Relax."

She drew in a breath and another, in a visible effort to calm her nerves, and he bent down and kissed her again.

"Remember those candles you admired on that stall in Colombo, my sweet?"

She stilled completely and her breaths grew choppier, and he smiled.

"I see that you do… Now, feel their kiss, and fly for me."

He'd gone hard as nails in the middle of the crowded market at her innocent reaction to his whispered comment that these were far more than scented candles. He'd bought them on impulse, waiting for the right moment to introduce them. He knew her well enough by now to know how far he could push her, and he wanted to give her the pleasure this play brought.

She flinched at the first drop of wax hit her just below the collarbone, and he swiped the drop away, watching her closely for her reaction. Again and again he repeated the process, until she arched into the touch of the wax on her skin.

He drew patterns around her breasts, leaving the wax to settle, and letting the flame burn a little hotter each time. Her breathing changed to the slow, deep state of relaxed awareness he wanted her to be in as he scribed what was in his heart on her quivering tummy.

By the time he was done his dick was just about ready to explode, and Alice was so wet, the covers were stained under her ass. He smiled to himself at the face of housekeeping in the morning and poured one last heavy drop of wax over her hugely distended clit at the same time as he thrust his cock into the tight clasp of her body, with a growled, "Come for me, baby."


Alice came so hard and so fast she could barely catch her breath. The sensation of the hot wax dripping over her most sensitive flesh coupled with the feel of him sliding deep into her core, his weight pinning her in place proved too much.

She was dimly aware of Lakota reaching his own pinnacle in record time, and then she was free. Released from her bonds and held securely in his arms, she blinked to get her eyes to focus.

Her body was covered in multi-colored patters of wax, and he'd traced a word into her lower abdomen—Mine.

Alice bit back her tears, and Lakota's hands settled over her fingers tracing the word. She looked at him, and she held her breath at the emotion she glimpsed in his eyes, before he masked it.

"I will run you a bath, and you can soak it off. I'm not going near that beautiful skin of yours with a knife."

"Do we have to take it off?"

He grew very still at her husky question, and his voice was hoarse when he finally answered.

"I don't want you getting sore. This is your first time. We don't know how your skin will react."

Alice smiled at the protectiveness and concern behind those words.

"I seem to be having a lot of firsts around you, Mr. Kemnay."



Author Bio:

Glutton for punishment would be a good description for Doris... at least that's what she hears on an almost daily basis when people find out that she has a brood of nine children, ranging from adult to toddler and lives happily in a far too small house, cluttered with children, pets, dust bunnies, and one very understanding and supportive husband. Domestic goddess she is not.

There is always something better to do after all, like working on the latest manuscript and trying not to scare the locals even more than usual by talking out loud to the voices in her head. Her characters tend to be pretty insistent to get their stories told, and you will find Doris burning the midnight oil on a regular basis. Only time to get any peace and quiet and besides, sleep is for wimps.

She likes to spin sensual, sassy, and sexy tales involving alpha heroes to die for, and heroines who give as good as they get. From contemporary to paranormal, BDSM to F/F, and Ménage, haunting love stories are guaranteed.


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