Category Archives: Promoting Others

Gift Inspiration Driftwood Deeds

If you’re anything like me, two weeks before Christmas you’re probably not exactly done with your Christmas gifts. For me, that is because my family is made up of die-hard pragmatists when it comes to material things, who almost impossible to find presents for. So I researched gifts for people who appreciate such things in a series of book inspired gift ideas.

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My Breaking in Waves series is set by the seaside, full of ocean treasures, long lost stories and love.

Etsy: Sea Glass Necklace, by lacylauragray — $7.50

In the first book, Paul takes Iris on a walk by the sea-side, to an abandoned beach where he finds all the raw materials for his work-work: driftwood and rope, sea-glass and rusty fishing gear. They walk around the place in wellington boots, searching for treasure and forging a very first connection.  They find little glittering fishing lures, and pieces of sea-glass glittering in the sand.

 

“So you think I like broken things?” I asked after a long time, voice warm and tinged in this quiet, restful moment. Paul Archer looked at me over the rim of his cup, which he held in both hands to drink as though it was an Asian bowl.

Etsy: Asian Bowl with Chopsticks Holder by SwampFires, $25.00

“I think you understand them, notice them,” he corrected, then tilted his head, put the cup down and pulled his glasses from his face. He wiped the hot water condensation from the lenses before resetting the glasses on his nose in that charming gesture. “And maybe, you feel drawn to them, too.” (Driftwood Deeds, Chapter 3)

Although primarily a screen-writer, Paul likes to work with his hands. He makes beautiful things out of driftwood: furniture and decorative objects. Later in Trading Tides, she makes a bed-side table for Iris because she needs somewhere to rest her books when she’s asleep. He likes the stories he imagines in old wood, long cut from its tree.

Driftwood Dock for iPad and iPhone, by Docksmith — $120.00

It has history embedded in its markings, a history of growth, and then another long story of getting lost and found by the beach. Driftwood inspires him to write, and — in a way — driftwood inspires him to be the person he wants to be, the person he grows into throughout the series.

Paul is like a knotted, washed out piece of wood, Iris finds on her day at the beach. A piece of driftwood that compels, inspires her with its beauty and its history, with the soft sheen of its form. And she takes it with her, slowly working new life into a man who long thought the most exciting parts of his life were in the past.

Handmade Leather Paddle, by ThePaddleman — $40.28

Instead, they start their tumultuous love story – and of course it’s not simple. Great passion never comes easy. But then Iris doesn’t like easy. She likes pain and the test of endurance. She likes the way Paul reaches for a leather strap to spank her rear.

“You didn’t want to wear any of them,” he says after a while. I pause, try to gather my thoughts. Then I shake my head.

“But you want to be mine?”

HIS & HER’S Leather Infinity Cuff Bracelets, by MemorylaneJewelry — $80.00

“Yes!” There’s a sharp, hot knot in my stomach and I reach for his hand on the wall, cover it with mine. “Of course I do. I am. And I want… I want to wear something of yours. I want to be reminded all the time. Just…”

“Just what, baby girl?”

“I think maybe I want something of yours. Something that’s you. Or me. Something that’s about us. (Trading Tides, Epilogue)

Leather Journal, by CLWorkshop — $40.00

And, of course, in the very last book – Saltwater Skin, which will be released in January – Paul has given Iris more than a leather cuff, and a collar. He also gave her a diary, he bound from the same piece of leather. A diary for her to him, to write in her thoughts and her feelings, to express everything she finds hard to say out loud — like all of us should.

 

 

Lastly, there are still the books – ebooks for now, although there will be a print edition of the full collection in the new year! But then, who doesn’t love a book appearing on their eReader, a new one a friend enjoyed before us?

Driftwood Deeds, Breaking in Waves #1, Laila Blake goodreads-badge

Trading Tides, Breaking in Waves #2, Laila Blake goodreads-badge

Detail of female hands tied up with rope goodreads-badge

Pre-order on Amazon

Release date: Jan 6th 2014

 

 

Feminism & The Adult Industry

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For years some of the most well-educated, scholarly individuals have dedicated a portion of their studies to a subject that could make the rest of us blush: Porn. It’s been evaluated for insight into human sexuality, relationships, culture, societal standards of beauty, and recently, it’s infiltrated the discussion of feminism.

feminismSex-positive feminist writer Wendy McElroy, wrote an educational article for Free Inquiry Magazine where she discussed feminist views on pornography. She claimed that most feminist opinions on pornography can be broken down into three basic categories. The first are those who oppose pornography, with a large portion believing that it’s misogynistic. The second category take an agnostic approach, believing a woman is entitled to do whatever she wants with her own body. Members in the third group refer to themselves as being sex-positive or believing in the idea of sexual freedom. Those in the third group are the ones most likely to also point out the potential benefits that porn can provide women with, and are believed to have formed in opposition to the anti-pornography feminists within the first category.

However, personally speaking as a feminist, I find that I most relate to Adam and Eve contributor/blogger Dr. Kat. For those unfamiliar with Dr. Kat—her doctorate is in Human Sexuality/Clinical Sexology—she frequently discusses the need for society take away the stigma of sex, make it less shameful, and embrace it for the beautiful act that it is.

Although she works to empower women by helping them have more satisfying relationships and sex lives, she’s also sympathetic to the idea of some being turned off by pornography. It’s part of the reason why she’s also quick to mention that no matter where you stand on the subject, the adult industry has been listening to all sides of the feminist argument, and it has been making changes to the types of porn being produced.

Today, more companies are choosing to make pornography that either caters towards a female audience or shows an equal share in pleasure by both parities invovled. The Guardian quoted female pornography director Anna Arrowsmith, who (although she doesn’t overtly say so) sounds like a feminist herself by saying, “I have fought long and hard for women’s right to sexual expression and consumption, as well as for freedom of speech.” Arrowsmith focuses her films far away from the overtly fantasized if not cliched “narratives” of horny school girls and nymphomaniac nannies in order to tell stories of love and passion that women can relate to. With films such as hers growing prevalent in the industry, feminists can feel comfortable in enjoying them because those involved are being treated as equals, not as objects or toys in a misogynistic fantasy.

A feminist group has even taken it upon themselves to reward those like Arrowsmith who are taking part in the movement, creating the Good For Her Feminist Porn Awards—better known simply as the Feminist Porn Awards, according to The Week.

With the wide range of pornography available, it’s likely that there will be something within the industry that you don’t prefer. But at least it’s a step in the right direction to create a portion that isn’t demeaning. Whether you enjoy watching pornography or not, the question remains: Are female porn stars or those that enjoy pornography (even slightly) performing a feminist act? Since there’s no rules on what type of feminist you have to be, you’ll have to decide for yourself.

Does feminism have a place in pornography?

L.C. Spoering talks about her latest release!

Today, I have a little treat for you. My friend and publishing partner L.C. Spoering is releasing a brilliant new YA novel, and I interviewed her so you can learn more about her work!

So, Lorrie, obviously, I know you really well – we write novels together, we geek out on skype together and support each other. That’s why I want the people who read my blog to get to know you, too. You’re such a great writer and such a generous person and they should all know that! You have book coming out, called At the Edge of the World. I’ve read it in more than one stage of development and was always a great fan of the detail and the atmosphere you created.

What drew you to write about a street kid on Venice Beach?

One of the first rules of writing thrown around is “write what you know.” Outside the obviously problematic nature of such a recommendation, I simply like to write things that require me to research, and really dig deep into character and setting. Given I’ve never lived on the street, and, in fact, have never lived in Venice Beach, either, the fascination was easy, and large. I like the lore of Venice, and the notion of an outside/insider moving within it.

YA is really big right now. How you do account for its success and where do you think YA should go as a genre?

I think people are interested in youth and, in particular, the youth they didn’t or don’t have. There’s definitely something fascinating about, say, a teenager dying of cancer, or one thrown into a death match. Few (if any, in the case of a death match) live this kind of life. Putting kids and teenagers into these situations is relatable because, hey, we’ve all been teenagers.

I’d like if YA allowed for more nuance, and more subtly of both story and emotion. I was once told my work was “too lit fic” for YA, which confused (and amused!) me: what’s too lit fic for teens? They care about emotions, and the smaller stories, too. It seems strange to decree a genre unable to process human complexity.

I know you have more ongoing YA projects and plans for the future – how would you define your style in this area?

As I said above, I’m “lit fic” in almost everything I do: I like a close character study, as well as a sort of particular structure to the story, so that the way it’s told is as important as the story itself. I’m totally unable to be completely straight-forward: I like to have to work in a story, and have people think.

Do your children influence your writing, especially when you write for an age group they are just now growing into?

Yes and no. My kids have interests that are WILDLY different from my own, and so I’m not totally capable of writing what they might like. I do, however, ponder themes a lot, in relation to things I would approve of, and endorse, them reading – I want both of them to see a variety of characters, male and female, in all the ways people appear in the world. I want them to have feminist books to reach for, and ones that contain a diversity they see in their lives.

Who you do you think is your core audience? Who will enjoy At the Edge of the World?

I tried to write a book I would have enjoyed reading at 16 years old, but one that also would interest my 70 year old mother. It’s not that drastic a goal, I’ve found: most people, despite their more focused interests, can come together over a story with compelling characters.

I think those who enjoy an element of fantasy to their grit, sweet love in the rough, and a bit of mystery to a story, will enjoy At the Edge of the World.

At the Edge of the World will be on August 26th, and you should definitely check it out!

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Blurb:

Lost in the chaos of Venice Beach, among the homegrown freaks and weirdos, the tourists and life’s forgotten people, one runaway is just another face in the crowd—and this is just how Shane likes it. Torn between the home he left behind and lure of the ocean he ran to, something has tied his fates to the beach, and he is not the only one.

She is a famous mystery: the Venice Skater Chick. Shane has loved her since his first night on the beach. Others are watching her, too—and at least one wants her dead.

A mystery unfolds between the famed boardwalk, a dusty record store, a cramped apartment and a hidden cave. Under the gathering storms, Shane makes a desperate attempt to protect the girl he loves, and the life waiting for him on the other side.