Today is another milestone in my endeavor to become a successful erotica/romance writer. I’ve been looking forward to this day since late last year when I announced that Totally Entwined Group, the same publisher who published “Passion Relapse,” agreed to publish another one of my novels.
That achievement, in and of itself, was pretty big. Just getting one novel published in “Passion Relapse” was tough enough. Some may even call that a fluke. One bit of success can be attributed to luck or circumstance. Just ask Trent Dilfer. Two published novels, however, is not a fluke. It may very well be the start of a trend.
That’s why I’m so excited to announce the official release of “Rescued Hearts,” my second published novel of Totally Entwined Group. If you liked “Passion Relapse,” you’ll probably enjoy this story too. However, this is a very different kind of story. It’s still a love story. It still has plenty of sexy elements. It’s just the application of those elements that’s different.
“Rescued Hearts” is the kind of story in which two people just finding each other isn’t enough. There are obstacles that will actively hinder their ability to be together and I’m not just talking about laundry habits. The obstacles here are serious and downright dangerous.
The love and passion in this story can’t just blossom on its own. It has to be earned. That’s why I believe it’ll strike the right chords with those who appreciate love, romance, and the sexy elements that make it so special. Winter isn’t over yet, but this sexy story will help guide you through.
Have you ever fallen in love with an angel? Candy Carter has. A self-proclaimed trailer-trash princess, she seems destined to live a life of quiet deviance in Haven Hill, a dying rural town overrun by drug dealers and criminals.
Then, in her darkest hour, EMT Ryan Roth saves her life when a forest fire ravages her town. That fateful encounter doesn’t just endear him to her heart. It inspires her to leave Haven Hill and build a better life, much to the dismay of her jealous ex-fiancé, Paul Reynolds. She runs away, enrolls in college and tries to become the kind of woman who was worth saving.
But just as that life seems to be taking shape, Candy crosses paths with the man who’d been her angel, only to find out that he’s divorced and miserable. As they reconnect, old dreams transform into new passions and hope for the future for them both. However, Candy’s old life comes back to haunt her. Her angel may not be able to save her this time, or they may both lose their lives.
As always, I encourage everyone to both read the book and provide feedback. I’m always open to discussing the sexy and non-sexy elements of the story. That kind of feedback helps me become a better writer and I want to keep writing more sexy stories, be they novels or the sexy short stories I occasionally share.
I also have plenty of other sexy stories I hope to get published. I consider “Rescued Hearts” just another step in the process. I hope to share more news about future novels, be they with Totally Entwined Group or some other publisher. Until then, please take the time to enjoy this sexy tale of romance, passion, and everything in between.
By now, I hope everyone has had enough time to recover from Valentine’s Day. Whether it’s from reminders of how much being lonely sucks or serious rug burns from excessive lovemaking, I hope everyone has healed up. If Hallmark wants more of our money, they’ll just have to wait until Mother’s Day.
I like to think I’ve gotten better at handling Valentine’s Day alone. Thanks largely to the loving support of my friends and family, especially my awesome mother, I don’t get as miserable or depressed as I used to. Don’t get me wrong. I still want to find love one day. Until that day comes, though, I’m content knowing that I can handle being single.
In the meantime, there are still plenty of other meaningful ways to celebrate love. As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I certainly intend to do my part. I’ve got plenty of sexy stories to tell, both with the upcoming release of “Rescued Hearts” and my sexy short stories.
That said, I totally understand if certain people are just plain burned out on love and romance right now. To those people, I say take all the time you need. Let this week’s edition of Sexy Sunday Thoughts get you back into a less Hallmark-driven mindset. Enjoy!
“There’s no polite way to ask a friend for money for the same reason there’s no polite way to ask a lover for anal.”
“A lover’s willingness to be intimate with their partner is directly proportional to their willingness to mix their laundry.”
“Sometimes using a vibrator during sex is akin to using cheat code. Other times, it’s more like having extra tools to make the job easier.”
“Pulling a muscle during sex is like getting a flat tire. You can still move forward, but you’re risking more damage by doing so.”
“A person who invents a better smartphone will never create as much joy as someone who invents better lube.”
“When you think about it, an orgy is just the sexual equivalent of binge-watching.”
“For some people, talking dirty during sex is the difference between a T-bone steak and an under-cooked hot dog.”
For those of us who are still single, take comfort. You’ve survived another Valentine’s Day. For those who are in relationships, take comfort as well. You also survived another Valentine’s Day. It can be an arduous effort for both, but it’s one that’s worth enduring. We all need to make time for love. If that means enriching executives at Hallmark once a year, so be it.
There are certain cultural phenomena that are difficult to defend. Things like big businesses, the NFL, or the current president come to mind. However, some of those things are attacked, denigrated, or hated for misguided reasons. It’s not always the case that they should be defended, but there are times when a little balance is needed.
When it comes to a topic that’s easy to criticize, hook-up culture has a bigger target than most and that target has only grown in recent years. It’s one of those issues that has fronts for both the unceasing war on horny women and the escalating war on horny men. To defend it means fighting a two-front war, which has historically been a bad idea.
I’m still going to try, though, and not because I think hook-up culture in its current state deserves to be defended. There are certain aspects about that state that I find flawed, some of which I’ve discussed before. Even so, I do believe some aspects of hook-up culture should be defended. I still intend to pick my battles very carefully, though.
At the moment, hook-up culture has been getting attacked on multiple fronts. It used to be that only cantankerous old people whined about young people having more sex than what priests, mullahs, rabbis, and monks deem appropriate. These people saw hook-up culture as antithetical to the idealized nuclear family model that was glorified in every 50s sitcom.
Most people, these days, don’t take that kind of whining seriously. However, a new attack on hook-up culture is actually coming from other young people and otherwise educated people that are smart enough to recognize why those idealized 50s sitcoms were pure fantasy. Instead, they’re attacking hook-up culture as some inherently toxic manifestation that’s destroying men and women alike.
Make no mistake. This attack isn’t restricted to extreme conservatives who see hook-up culture as an affront to traditional values or liberals who see it as a tool of oppression that’s inherently objectifying. It’s not even restricted to man-hating feminists who think cat-calling constitutes assault or women-hating men who see every woman is a gold-digger who wants to ruin his life.
The attack runs deeper than that. Taken all together, these attacks reflects a sentiment that isn’t always hostile to sex, but treats it the same way most people treat a phobia. Regardless of political or agenda affiliation, sex from the attackers is almost always in a context of anxiety, fear, and hyper-vigilance. That phobia manifests in different ways.
If you’re a conservative traditionalist, hook-up culture evokes a fear that anything other than the nuclear family will destroy society and hurt those who participate.
If you’re a liberal progressive, hook-up culture evokes the fear that men will exploit women, using them for their own selfish reasons and subsequently contributing to their continued oppression.
To some extent, I can understand those fears. However, like most phobias that don’t involve spiders, those fear are not justified. They also reflect some very unhealthy attitudes about sex, intimacy, and romance in general.
Some of those attitudes play out in the sensationalized headlines surrounding hook-up culture. In these stories, it’s often portrayed as callous, bland, and overtly hedonistic. People aren’t getting together to fall in love, get married, and make babies. They’re just having sex the same way they would scratch an itch.
For some people, that’s unnerving, especially if they have children above the age of consent. There may even be a twinge of jealousy in that these young people are enjoying the kind of fun that older people didn’t get to experience when they were that age. While I suspect that’s a factor, I don’t think it’s the root cause.
Beyond the cause, though, the attitudes feed the sex-phobic sentiments whenever there’s news that hook-up culture may be harmful. There has been research on the topic and while the American Psychological Association does not draw any sweeping conclusions, it does take the position that hook-up culture is often prone to complications.
Chief among those complications, which also provokes the sentiments of the liberal progressive crowd, are the instances in which people regret hooking up. This is especially sensitive for women. In one study, over 75 percent of the women who’d hooked up with someone regretted it.
For some, it was just an unsatisfying experience. For others, it was somewhat traumatizing. This has become especially taboo since the recent scandal with Aziz Ansari in which the line between regret and misconduct is difficult to see. If you have an agenda, though, confirmation bias will allow you to see these situations as either misogynistic assault or man-hating extortion.
That’s what I find particularly dangerous/revealing about these attacks on hook-up culture. It’s so easy to find instances where people have a bad experience with it or are negatively affected by it. By singling these instances out, whether it’s mental health issues or part of a major celebrity scandal, every side can point to hook-up culture to justify their various sexual anxieties.
It probably doesn’t help that these anxieties may very well contribute to the ongoing orgasm gap between men and women. It also doesn’t help that trends in social media have made hook-up culture even easier to pursue than ever before. By nearly every measure, hook-up culture has little way of defending itself.
This is where I come in and I’m already bracing myself for the criticism.
When I take a step back and look at the intent of hook-up culture instead of the anecdotes surrounding it, I do see something that’s worth defending. I’m not going to discount the negative impact it might have on some people, but I think the sentiment behind hook-up culture deserves more merit.
To highlight that merit, I need only ask a few questions. I doubt I’ll get honest answers from everyone, but at least consider them when contemplating hook-up culture.
Is it possible that hook-up culture reflects some of the inherent flaws with our traditional approaches towards seeking love and sex?
Is it possible that those engaged in hook-up culture are actually looking for some casual intimacy and NOT just hedonistic indulgence?
Is it possible that men prefer hook-up culture because they don’t want to jump through all the hoops of a relationship to get the intimacy and sexual release they desire?
Is it possible that women prefer hook-up culture because they just want to enjoy the toe-curling pleasure that comes with basic sexual intimacy?
Is it possible that some people just want to explore their sexuality without committing too much of their time, energy, and life to a relationship?
None of the questions above are rhetorical or factious in any way. They’re serious, honest questions that I think need to be asked when assessing the issues surrounding hook-up culture.
Regardless of whether or not hook-up culture exists, people are going to get horny. People are going to want to express their sexual desires. There’s no way to stop that. Religion, government, and culture has tried desperately over the years, some going to more extremes than others. All have failed.
This is what I think it hook-up culture’s best defense. It reflects and acknowledges the inherent need of people to express and explore their sexual desires without navigating the myriad of legal, social, and cultural rituals associated with it. In some respects, that reveals the inherent shortcomings in those rituals themselves.
I don’t doubt there are risks associated with hook-up culture. Disease and unwanted pregnancy are at the top of that list, along with instances of exploitation and assault. Focusing on those outcomes is like calling Eddie Murphy’s entire career a failure just because he stared in “Pluto Nash.”
There is a larger context to consider. Remember that study about people regretting their hook-ups? Well, science is rarely that definitive when it comes to matters of human psychology and sexuality. Later studies reveal that the extent of that regret isn’t very strong. It turns out that, like paying to see “Pluto Nash,” we tend to get over it. Most functioning human beings do.
Those same studies also make clear that the quality of the hook-up matters. If someone hooks up with someone for sex, but the sex isn’t satisfying, then of course there’s going to be some regret and anxiety later on. That’s what happens whenever our expectations aren’t met. Just ask anyone who got excited about the Jacksonville Jaguars’ failed Super Bowl guarantee.
This is where the extent of my defense of hook-up culture ends. While I think the various criticisms and anxieties about it are unwarranted, it does carry some baggage that makes all those unpleasant anecdotes so common.
Hook-up culture, in its current form, has all sorts of heavy expectations surrounding it. Whether it’s people actively engaged in it or those observing it from the outside, there’s this sense that hook-up culture is this non-stop party where everyone is enjoying the Caligula-style orgy and nobody leaves unsatisfied. That’s just not how human sexuality works.
Human beings are a passionate, social species. When hook-up culture becomes too dispassionate, which can happen, then it ceases to be a healthy expression of human sexuality. In that context, it’s basically glorified masturbation. As a romance fan and an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I can’t get behind that sort of callousness.
However, I think the attacks on hook-up culture are more misguided than hook-up culture itself. Men are seeing it as an agenda that beautiful women are exploiting. Women are seeing it as an agenda that misogynistic men are exploiting. Liberals and conservatives are seeing it as an affront to everything they deem good and moral. In attacking it, though, they all reveal their own sexual anxieties.
If our collective sexual attitudes are to improve, along with our overall satisfaction, we need to confront these anxieties. Hook-up culture isn’t going away because people wanting to enjoy sex with fewer strings is not going away. We can either learn from it or fight it, with the understanding that fighting it rarely ends well for either side.
Whenever there’s a major tragedy in the world, there’s only so much you can do. Unless you’re a rescue worker, a doctor, an EMT, a solider, a police officer, or someone who actively participates in providing aid and resources to those effected, all you can really do is mourn for those who suffered.
It’s not just sad. It’s heart-wrenching. Most people have a sense of empathy to their fellow human. When we see or hear about somebody suffering, a part of us feels it too. It’s one of those critical elements of our humanity that often brings out the best in us. It’s part of why I believe that most people are inherently good.
Then, a mass shooting happens and my faith in humanity gets tested/strained. As I write this, the story surrounding the Parkland mass shooting in Florida is still unfolding. So far, 17 people are confirmed dead and the shooter has been identified. However, I refuse to write or say his name. Assholes like him don’t deserve the attention and recognition.
This is a horrific event and it’s not the first one I’ve talked about on this blog. Usually, I make an effort to highlight the more hopeful elements hidden within these events. This latest shooting has them too. The heroic actions of Aaron Feis, who sacrificed his life to save others, are certainly worth noting.
However, there is one element to these mass shootings that is as predictable as it is frustrating. It seems to come moments after the news breaks of the carnage. As people are suffering and dying from these horrific crimes, there’s an outpouring of “thoughts and prayers” from the public. I put that in quotes because at this point, it’s less a sentiment and more an overplayed meme.
The Parkland shooting was no exception. Media figures and policymakers alike are already getting in line to send their “thoughts and prayers” to the community and the victims. I don’t doubt that some of that sentiment is sincere. However, when the response is that predictable, it just becomes empty rhetoric. It’s so empty, at this point, that even shows like “Bojack Horseman” joke about it.
I understand, to some extent, why people express these sentiments. The world is a big, chaotic place and there are 7.6 billion people living on it. When something terrible happens, there’s only so much anyone can do. In fact, most people aren’t really in a position to do anything and that’s a terrible feeling.
As I said earlier, human beings are empathetic creatures. Most people aren’t sociopaths who feel nothing when their fellow human suffers. They see someone suffering and that natural empathy that all social creatures feel compels us to do something. Not doing something is just untenable.
That leads us to resort to things like “thoughts and prayers.” It offers the same shallow sentiment as virtue signaling. Instead of actually doing something meaningful in the face of tragedy, it just gives us the illusion of contributing. “Thoughts and payers” don’t make for any meaningful effort. It’s just a quick and easy recourse that alleviates that untenable feeling.
Again, I don’t blame people for taking that recourse. Someone who uses that approach isn’t inherently a bad person. They’re just exercising their empathetic sentiment in the most convenient form possible. That’s understandable, even if it’s still empty.
There are, after all, more meaningful ways to show support. That includes donating to the Red Cross, who are usually first on the scene in such tragedies. It can also include donating to relief programs, like the one J. J. Watt created to help victims of Hurricane Harvey last year. Those efforts are small, but they do provide tangible help.
However, the whole “thoughts and prayers” mantra becomes a lot less genuine when people use it as an excuse to avoid more complicated issues. This often happens whenever political figures send their “thoughts and prayers” to victims of mass shootings.
Now, I don’t want to get into a protracted debate about gun control. That’s a debate that nobody wins in the long run. However, when people sending “thoughts and prayers” to shooting victims also happen to be getting huge contributions from the National Rifle Association, that really undermines the sentiment.
In that situation, “thoughts and prayers” aren’t just empty. It’s somewhat insulting. People in those positions, be they in government or in pop culture, are in a position to do much more than just offer meaningless gestures. It doesn’t have to involve gun control laws or condemning everyone who has ever owned a gun.
It can be something akin to promoting greater awareness of mental health for youth, which is a thing. It can involve paying off all the medical expenses of the victims. It can even involve something symbolic, like helping create a monument to the victims, as has been done with other mass shootings. Symbolic or not, a monument is more tangible than any amount of “thoughts and prayers.”
At a certain point, when someone has a level of power and influence that the vast majority of people don’t, the use of “thoughts and prayers” to respond to a tragedy becomes more of an excuse than a sentiment. It’s not just the least amount of effort anyone can do to create the impression that they’re doing something meaningful. It’s a means of avoiding actual, tangible effort.
That’s where the concept of “thoughts and prayers” really loses credibility. It’s a sentiment that seems to be losing favor with the public, who are less and less inclined to accept this tired excuse from those who are actually capable of doing more. It may not lead to gun control laws, but it may send the message that “thoughts and prayers” just aren’t going to cut it anymore.
At the end of the day, most people aren’t in a position to do much of anything about a horrific tragedy like the one in Parkland. They couldn’t have prevented it, predicted it, or fixed the situation completely after it happened. Most people can only take in the tragedy, process it in their own way, and hopefully learn from it to prevent future tragedies.
For others, especially those in positions of power and influence, “thoughts and prayers” can’t be an excuse. There’s still a place for that kind of sentiment, but only if there’s something tangible attached to it. We don’t know if the incident at Parkland will lead to meaningful change, but one thing is clear. That change will require much more than mere thoughts and prayers.