Tag Archives: passion

Lessons In Fate, Power, And Passion (From An X-men Comic)

Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey (2017) #1

As kids, it seems as though everyone is trying to teach us morality lessons that’ll help us grow into functioning adults. Those lessons aren’t always effective, though. Just ask the potheads who sat through the DARE program in school.

As adults, we tend to pay less attention to those kinds of lessons because we arrogantly believe we’ve figured it out. We think we know enough about the human experience to determine what is right and what is wrong. People who think that way tend to be the arrogant assholes who refuse to admit that Dr. Oz is a quack and a fraud.

Truly functional people, be they kids, adults, or adults who still act like kids, never stop learning important life lessons. Life is a constantly changing, obstacle-filled struggle where you never see the finish line and are guaranteed to fall flat on your face at least once a week. That’s why lessons that really deliver a powerful message in a compelling way is a special, precious thing in this chaotic world we live in.

That brings me to comic books, superheroes, and the X-men. Yes, this is going to be another one of those posts. Yes, that means I’m about to extrapolate a major philosophical insight into the human condition from an X-men comic, most likely in a way that applies to love, sex, and everything in between. You’re welcome.

It’s not the first time I’ve gleaned such lessons from an X-men comic. A year ago, I singled out X-men 92 #5 as a testament to just how powerful a romance between equals can be. Chances are, I’ll single out more comics in the future and there’s a high possibility that they’ll involve the X-men, Deadpool, or Wonder Woman.

The comic in question today is Marvel Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1. It’s actually not part of any ongoing X-men series. It’s a single, self-contained story that’s part of an major promotional effort by Marvel called Marvel Generations.

The goal is as simple. Marvel seeks to bridge the gap between its older incarnations of iconic characters with the newer versions. While some of those newer versions have already caused controversy, the goal is always the same. Marvel hopes to appeal to their long-time fans while appealing to newer fans who are just getting into the world of Marvel.

Comic companies do this fairly often, trying to please old fans while creating new ones. Having followed comics for a good chunk of my life, I’ve seen more than my share of efforts. DC Comics, Marvel’s chief rival, did it last year with their DC Rebirth initiative. By most accounts, it was a success. Now, Marvel is attempting to achieve similar success.

There are many challenges to that effort, but for Jean Grey of the X-men, those challenges are more daunting than most. I’m not talking about the kind of daunting that involves dragons, killer robots, and Brett Ratner movies. I’m talking about convoluted complications involving time travel, evil clones, and cosmic forces. Trust me, it’s way more complicated than it sounds.

For this particular issue, though, you don’t need to know the fine print of those complications. You only need to know that Jean Grey’s story, after 50 years of X-men comics, got so crazy that one of her teammates, Beast, traveled back and time and brought her and the rest of the original five X-men to the future.

Now, since 2012, Jean Grey has basically been Marty McFly from “Back To The Future,” minus the incest sub-plot. She knows that her future sucks in that she ends up dead, and multiple times, no less. On top of that, she finds out she’s destined to become corrupted by a cosmic power known as the Phoenix Force, which will go onto cause all sorts of headaches, heartbreaks, and overall frustration.

That destiny is a huge part of the X-men mythos. That’s the part that “X-men: Dark Phoenix,” a movie I’ve talked about extensively, is going to try and capture. In this comic, Jean Grey has already read the spoilers to that story. She knows it doesn’t turn out well.

In fact, she has an ongoing solo series where the primary theme involves her preparing herself to face the Phoenix Force so that she doesn’t become that cute redheaded mutant who constantly dies and ends up on the wrong side of a bad love triangle. That’s entirely understandable and Marvel Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1 gives her the best opportunity she’s had to date to change her fate.

This is where the lesson that Marty McFly learned the hard way comes in. Through elaborate space-time machinations that would give Doc Brown a migraine, Jean Grey is transported to a critical moment in the history of her character. It’s a moment that puts her in a position to change a lot more than just her fate.

That’s because she’s plopped in the middle of the iconic Phoenix Saga, also known by fans as the greatest X-men story ever told. It’s after her older self gains the cosmic power of the Phoenix force, but before it corrupts her in a way that destroys an entire star system and dooms her to a life of death and resurrection. There’s no part of that last sentence that’s exaggerated.

It’s an understandably confusing situation, but it’s one that puts Jean Grey in a position that even Marty McFly never dealt with. She doesn’t just have a chance to change her fate or learn more about her older self, who she’s only really known through the memories of other X-men. She has a chance to learn more about the cosmic power that she knows will doom her.

It makes for a series of colorful interactions between her and her older self that will bring tears of joy to the eyes of X-men fans of any generation. It’s hopeful, sincere, dramatic, and impactful. It fits perfectly within the narrative of Jean’s ongoing story in other X-men comics, as well as the story of her past self.

There’s so much to love about this comic, but I’m not going to spoil the entire thing here. I’d much rather have people go out and buy the issue. It’s money well-spent. Even if you don’t know much about comics or only know the X-men through the movies, this comic will appeal to you.

Beyond that appeal, though, I want to highlight an important theme within this comic. It’s a theme that applies to stories beyond comics and is relevant to life, in general. It especially applies to matters of love, passion, and intimate connections, which are major topic of this blog and the novels I write.

Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey (2017) #1

At the heart of Jean Grey’s struggle in Marvel Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1 is a difficult decision that everybody who isn’t a psychotic dictator faces at some point in their lives. It has to do with having the power to effect a situation and choosing whether or not to exercise it.

In the comic, Jean Grey has a chance to tell her older self everything she knows about her fate. She could, in principle, warn her about how the events of the Phoenix Saga play out for her. As a result, she could ensure it turns out differently, preferably in a way that doesn’t leave her dead and subsequently cloned.

On the surface, it seems easy. We saw what Marty McFly chose. We saw what the entire cast of “Hot Tub Time Machine” chose. They chose the easiest, most obvious path. They understandably wanted to improve their situation. In doing so, they created a lot more problems that they had to solve. The stakes for Jean’s problems, though, are much higher.

The problems she could create by changing her fate might be far worse than simply ending up dead. She’s not dealing with incestuous infatuations here. She’s dealing with a cosmic force that eats entire stars just for the fun of it.

She already knows the consequences of not changing anything. That has been hard enough to deal with. However, she has no idea whether she’ll fix anything by choosing otherwise. Given the Phoenix Force’s mixed track record, the odds are not in her favor.

I won’t spoil the choice she makes or what goes into. Again, I’d rather people read this comic to appreciate the full weight of its message. I’ll just say that the decision Jean makes is one that we all indirectly make when we have any kind of power over someone and can affect the course of their life.

Whether you’re a parent, a spouse, or an authority figure of any kind, you have an ability to make choices that affect other peoples’ fate. This is especially true when you’re in a relationship with someone. Your love for them and their love for you effectively links your fate. That makes your ability to make the right choices for the right reasons so critical.

It happens all too often, people using their position of power over others to abuse them. We see it when police harass minorities. We see it in crimes of passion. We see it in cases of spousal abuse and child abuse. When someone else trusts us with authority, we impact their lives in so many ways, often in ways we can’t see.

It can bring out the best and the worst in people, as the Phoenix Saga famously demonstrated. Real life demonstrates it too. Power does corrupt people. Sometimes the hardest choice to make is to not exercise that power to avert the potential consequences it might incur. It’s a choice that a lot of crazy dictators fail to make.

It’s a choice ordinary people fail to make as well. Parents find this out the hard way when they try to make decisions for their children. Sure, it seems like the right thing to do at the time. They may see it as them just protecting their child, as every parent should. However, they don’t realize until it’s too late how much damage that can do.

When you’re in an intimate relationship with someone, it can be just as powerful. If someone loves you implicitly and is willing to trust you so completely, you have the power to guide their lives in profound ways. That guidance, though, can be detrimental to the both of you.

When you have the power to influence a person or a situation, it’s easy and tempting to bend it to what you think will be more beneficial. The problem is that, without the benefit of hindsight, it’s impossible to know whether you’ll actually make things better or much worse.

The hardest decision in that situation is to acknowledge the problems as you understand them, bear the burden of solving them, and focus on the future rather than agonizing over the past. It’s rarely a preferable decision because it means accepting a situation and your role in it. It may feel like a missed opportunity, but it can just as easily be an averted crisis. Hindsight may be painfully clear, but possibilities are painfully vague.

Jean Grey, who is a teenager, mind you, in the story that plays out in Marvel Generations: Phoenix & Jean Grey #1, has to make this decision in the face of impossibly high stakes. What she does is a testament to the kind of character she is and the values we cherish in our heroes.

It’s a short, but powerful story that teaches an important lesson to children, adults, comic fans, and non-comic fans alike. Whether you’re a comic book character, a celebrity, an authority figure, or just someone with the slightest bit of leverage over someone, it’s a lesson worth learning.

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A Disease-Free World: We’re More Ready Than You Think

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It’s such a frightening thought. It terrifies parents, priests, rabbis, mullahs, monks, and conservative republicans. People, especially young people, are having sex at this very moment. If that’s not horrifying enough, they’re having sex for fun.

They’re not doing it with their government-approved, religiously-sanctioned spouse. They’re not doing it to produce more babies that will grow into tax-paying, church-going citizens. They’re just doing it because they enjoy the wonderful, toe-curling pleasure that comes with sex.

The most horrifying thought of all, though, is that they’re doing it and they’re not facing any consequences for it. They’re not getting pregnant because of modern contraception. They’re not getting sick either because of modern medicine. There’s literally no legitimate reason other than stigma to dissuade people from having sex for fun. It’s such a horrifying thought.

Okay, that’s enough sarcasm for now. What I just described is an exaggerated extreme of the mentality of those who are opposed to a society that permits or does not punish sexual promiscuity. It’s a reverse of the thought experiment I pitched last year about a world where the diseases that used to scare people out of having sex are all cured.

I don’t think people realize just how much closer we are to that world than they think. Most people alive today don’t remember a world where the biggest dread wasn’t HIV. It was debilitating diseases like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia. To give you an idea of just how devastating they were, over 20,000 people died from syphilis alone in 1939.

Like small pox, these diseases ravaged generation after generation. Also like small pox, modern medicine eradicated it from our collective fears. In fact, the rise of antibiotics has been largely credited with kick-starting the sexual revolution of the 1960s, more so than contraception.

There are still some scary diseases out there, though. In some respects, those same parents, priests, rabbis, mullahs, monks, and conservative republicans can take a perverse comfort that diseases like HIV/AIDS provides a strong incentive to avoid excessive promiscuity. That comfort, however, won’t last.

 

In a previous post, I talked about an emerging medical tool called CRISPR and how it may hold the key to ending infectious disease as we know it. I also asked a question I’m sure the anti-promiscuity crowd dreads. Are we ready for a world where we don’t have to worry about sexually transmitted diseases?

There are people who believe that our society simply cannot function in a world where there aren’t any scary diseases to dissuade people from having more sex than the Catholic Church sanctions. On paper, their fears aren’t wholly unreasonable.

In a society with so much promiscuity, fewer people will get married. Fewer people will form the stable, nuclear family that every 50s sitcom championed. Without disease, why would anyone forge any stable family units? Then, there’s the children. How traumatic would it be for them if they grew up in a world where people just had sex for fun?

 

That’s not entirely sarcasm. That is a very real concern and I can empathize with it to some extent. A society without disease, but full of rampant promiscuity is just so different. Our society has always had to content with these horrible diseases. The idea that they would no longer be a factor just seems unnatural and uncharted for our species.

However, empathy or not, it’s also a sentiment that I believe is misguided. It’s rooted more in flawed assumptions about a specific cultural ideal than actual human biology. I would argue that human beings, as well as society in general, is more prepared for a disease-free world than the Vatican would have us believe.

I believe this because there is a precedent, sort of. In fact, this may be one of the few instances where caveman logic works in favor of our emerging future and not against it. To understand this, we have to go beyond the ways our hunter/gatherer ancestors functioned. We have to look at the practical aspects of these nasty diseases.

For a disease to be real nasty, it has to both spread easily and within a population of hosts that are able to infect as many potential hosts as possible. When you look at our modern infrastructure, or even our ancient trade routes, it’s easy to see why a nasty disease would choose humans.

It’s also easy to see why diseases would use sex to spread. Like eating, it’s a hardwired drive that built into every human being. The desire to mate is every bit as powerful as the desire to eat. Unlike foodborne disease, though, sex provides more opportunities to infect other hosts. On top of that, rubbing body parts together is a lot more direct than simply sneezing on someone.

However, while modern and even pre-modern infrastructure made sex an ideal mechanism for spreading disease, we have to remember that this situation is actually very recent. The ability to simply travel to other regions, meet other people, and possibly have sex with them is very new in the context of our evolutionary history. For most of that history, though, the story was very different.

That brings me back to the hunter/gatherer lifestyle from which all our ancestors evolved. Books like “Sex At Dawn,” which I’ve mentioned before, describe in great detail the particulars of this lifestyle. It’s a lifestyle that, ironically to some extent, makes sex a pretty lousy method for transmitting disease.

This is because during those hunter/gatherer days, we humans roamed and foraged in small bands of closely-knit tribes. These tribes rarely interacted with other tribes because most were spaced out over large areas. Naturally, roaming lands and foraging for food makes it hard to stay in one place, stake claim to a territory, and fight over it.

On top of that, these close-knit tribes had very low population density, a limited ability to travel long distances, and no elaborate trade networks. That means that within these tribes, a sexually transmitted disease is rightly screwed. Sure, it can infect a tribe, but not much else. If that disease is fatal, it may kill the tribe, but it also kills itself as well. So if a disease as nasty as AIDS did emerge, it never had a chance to spread.

If there were any diseases, they couldn’t be fatal and they couldn’t seriously affect fertility. Like the common cold or the flu, it could only ever be so nasty. Otherwise, it never would’ve survived into the modern era.

Keep in mind, also, that the hunter/gatherer lifestyle was the lifestyle of choice for our species for nearly 90 percent of its existence. Our evolution and biology emerged within this lifestyle. That lifestyle was also conducive to some fairly loose sexual practices, many of which would make the Rick Santorums of the world faint. That’s why it’s not unreasonable to say that our ancestors had better sex lives than we do.

Those sexual practices were rarely conducive to the world of white picket fence type families that is so idealized by western civilization. It’s also not conducive to the world of kings and his multiple wives/concubines/sex slaves. That kind of rigid structure or hierarchy just doesn’t work in in a hunter/gatherer society. That’s why many practice strong egalitarian traditions.

This makes sense in terms of sheer pragmatism. In a society of hunter/gatherers where you’re only working with small tribes, you can’t be too much of a bigot. Everyone has to pitch in. Everyone has to share. You can’t be too big an asshole because you won’t survive without your tribe, nor will you have a chance to have sex. From an evolutionary and society perspective, it’s a pretty good deal.

In this context, human beings are already well-wired for a more promiscuous society. In fact, as “Sex At Dawn” argues half-jokingly, it may be better for us overall. You need only look at the happy, sexy lives that Bonobo chimps live. They have a lot of sex. They rarely fight. Even by hippie standards, they’re pretty chill.

At the moment, we humans can’t live those lives. Our world is too developed, too connected, and too vast for our caveman brains to make sense of. Add nasty diseases that can now use sex to effectively spread and it just isn’t pragmatic anymore, even if our biology favors it.

That may change very soon though. Once tools like CRISPR and contraceptives like Vasalgel are refined, those barriers are gone. We can safely exercise the same libido that our ancestors got to enjoy. What will that do for society? What will that do for the dynamics between men and women? It’s hard to imagine, but it’s a damn sexy idea that’s worth imagining.

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What The NFL Draft Can Teach Us About Finding Romance

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It was an eventful weekend for NFL fans. The 2017 NFL Draft is complete. Many are still buzzing, hung over, or complaining about what they’re team did, what they didn’t do, and how closer or farther they are from winning the Super Bowl. Ask any fan outside of Cleveland and they’ll probably say they’ll be playing for a Super Bowl at the end of the year.

To those of you who don’t give a damn about the draft and don’t get the appeal, take a deep breath. It’s over now. You don’t have to hear about trades, mock drafts, or guys named Mike Mayock for at least another eight months. Trust me, those months will go by fast though.

As an ardent NFL fan, which I’ve made clear on this blog before, I’ve always had mixed feelings about the draft. It’s always been more style than substance for me. I see my favorite teams picking players and I know in the back of my head that few of these players are going to make a lick of difference. Getting worked up about it feels like energy that could be better used telling more sexy stories.

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That’s not to say it has no value. The NFL Draft is the raw ore from which the NFL’s players are forged. Whether they’re first round picks or undrafted, they become the iconic athletes that help make any sports league a success. Given the NFL’s $13 billion in revenue last year, it’s pretty damn clear that they’re doing something right.

In watching the NFL Draft, though, I found myself making some unusual connections between this bawdy spectacle and my own personal endeavors. Specifically, I saw a distinct parallel between the NFL Draft and it relates to our efforts at finding romance or telling kinky stories.

I know. That sounds like an odd collection of thoughts, especially from someone who talks a lot about sex robots on his blog. Bear with me. I promise there is some substance to these thoughts and it’s relevant to more than just aspiring erotica/romance writers.

The NFL Draft, at its core, is an elaborate job interview coupled with an investment opportunity. A finite number of teams looks at the vast pool of applicants and tries to determine which among them is worth development. That development costs time, money, and sometimes frustration. Any sport, be it football or jump rope, is going to involve wins and losses. It’s just part of the process.

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In that sense, there are some uncanny similarities with how we go about seeking romantic partners. It’s not like just hiring a prostitute or having a one night stand. That’s more akin to hiring a plumber for a service. Finding a romantic partner is like finding someone you’re willing to share a home, a bathroom, and bank account with. There’s a lot more at stake.

In seeking romantic partners, you can’t just look at someone and determine whether they’re worth the emotional investment. Even if someone has tits the size of basketballs or a dick the size of an elephant’s tusk, you need to know more about someone to determine whether you want more than a one night stand.

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NFL scouts, and the teams they work for, don’t get much value out of one night stands. They want to find players that will be part of their respective teams for the long haul, working hard for them and producing for them on the field. That’s why no scout will ever just look at a prospect on the service and decide on the spot whether they’re a fit for their team.

For those seeking meaningful romance, they need to be every bit as thorough as a competent NFL scout. They need to study a prospects measurables, immeasurables, and everything in between. It’s not enough to know whether someone is capable of loving you back, just like it’s not enough to know whether someone can physically play the game of football. You need to know that the chemistry is there.

It happens in the NFL all the time. Sometimes, a prospective player will have all the skills and intangibles to be a quality player. Unfortunately, they end up going to a team that doesn’t fit them. The chemistry isn’t there and they end up languishing, like someone caught in an unhealthy relationship.

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One well-documented example in the NFL was Steve Young, a Hall-of-Fame quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. Young was an undeniably talented player, but had the misfortune of being drafted by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at a time when they were among the worst teams in the league.

Then, after an overdue breakup, Young was traded the 49ers where he eventually took over after the team’s other Hall-of-Fame quarterback, Joe Montana, left for Kansas City. It turned out to be a great match. Young thrived in San Francisco, eventually culminating in a Super Bowl victory in 1994.

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Looking at Steve Young’s story, you can draw some similarities to someone who ended up with someone in a place where it just wasn’t going to work. It took some effort from both sides to come together and an investment of resources to make something productive out of it. Replace football with love, passion, and having to share a bathroom and you’ve got yourself a template for forging a meaningful romance.

It’s also highlights something that a lot of NFL fans mistakenly believe about the NFL Draft. They’ll say it’s entirely a crap shoot. Some very smart and sincere people might even agree with it. If you look at the numbers, it seems logical. Even for first round draft picks, nearly a third of them end up leaving the team. For any pick below the fifth round, the odds are even worse.

However, to say the NFL Draft is a crap shoot is like saying love is only an anomaly. The fact that the NFL is so successful and finding love is such a prominent part of our lives is a clear indicator that there’s more than just random chance at work.

I don’t deny that there is some element of luck involved with the NFL Draft. Who knew that a sixth round draft pick from Michigan would go onto win five Super Bowls or that a number one overall pick from LSU would be better known for loving “purple drank” than throwing touchdown passes? Like finding love, sometimes you do need a bit of luck to be in the right place at the right time.

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However, luck only goes so far. Players like Tom Brady and Joe Montana had legendary coaches like Bill Belichick and Bill Walsh teaching them. It goes both ways too. Those coaches are legendary because they could mold these players into the champions they eventually became. They need each other and together, they achieve their goals.

In meaningful love, it goes both ways. Whether you’re playing the role of a scout or a prospective player, you both need to make an investment. Those investments need to complement one another. They need to be part of a good situation with all the right emotions and all the right desires.

Like the NFL draft, there will be mistakes and poor decisions. There are romantic equivalents of draft busts who seem like potential super stars, but turn out to be toxic. I’ve already talked about Lawrence Phillips in a previous post. There are other big busts like Ryan Leaf, Tony Mandarich, and Tim Couch.

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These busts are akin to our misguided passions that lead us into relationships that are doomed to fail. There are NFL scouts who thought they could fix the flaws with players like Lawrence Phillips. There are just as many people who think they can fix the flaws in a prospective lover. Most of the time, those efforts fail.

Finding love and finding pro-bowl football players is hard, but the fact it’s so hard is part of what makes it so meaningful. That’s because when we find love or a pro-bowl player, the investments we make pay off in a big way. A football team has a player that can help them win. A lover can find someone who fulfills them on an intimate, emotional level.

It takes a lot of work. It often requires quite a few heartbreaks and draft busts. It can hurt. It can be costly. It can seem like you’ll never win that championship. Like sports, though, the hardship that comes with finding love is part of what makes it so meaningful when you win.

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Behind The Passion: What Inspired “Passion Relapse”

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Now that “Passion Relapse,” my first published erotica/romance novel by Totally Entwined Group, has been released, I can finally take a deep breath and reflect for a moment. I admit I’m still somewhat giddy. It’s my first release from a publisher. Like losing your virginity on your prom night, it’s an intense experience for all the right reasons.

I still intend to savor this moment and promote the hell out of my book. So if in my future posts, I keep sneaking in a mention of “Passion Relapse” and why you should buy it, you’ll know why. I’m not trying to get overly subliminal on my audience, but I do want this book to sell. I also want to grow my brand as an erotica/romance writer.

As part of that process, I thought I’d take some time to talk about gritty, sexy details of “Passion Relapse” and what inspired it. Like all novels, there was some inspiration behind this sexy story. It’s not just about two people coming together and sharing some sexy time. There are some serious themes that help heighten the passion. It’s a kind of passion you won’t find on any late-night Cinemax movie.

The first spark of inspiration for this novel came from discussions about sexual addiction. It’s actually a controversial topic and one that’s lacking in major substance. There’s even controversy over whether sexual addiction is really a thing because it doesn’t share some key qualities with other forms of addiction.

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Regardless of how real it is, I was more interested in the mentality of those who really felt addicted to sex. I do believe that addiction is more complex than anything Nancy Regan ever claimed. I believe it is possible for our faulty human brains to become wired in a way to that leaves people hopelessly addicted to this basic biological act.

What exactly goes through the minds of someone who’s addicted to sex? How do they see themselves and their addiction? What happens when that addiction becomes too much for them? That’s what I explore through the two main characters in “Passion Relapse,” Mary Williams and Peter Rogers.

Both of these characters struggle with sex addiction, but not in the comical way that bad porno movies joke about in between scenes. Their addictions really have ruined their lives and undermined their ability to function. They enter this story so broken, so devastated, and so utterly lost that finding love is the last thing on their mind.

That leads to the second major inspiration of “Passion Relapse,” which is somewhat related to the first. To highlight this, here’s a quick question that should put it into context.

Think back to your youth. Think of someone who had everything that others aspired to be. They were beautiful, charismatic, outgoing, loving, and affectionate. Everyone wanted to be around them. Everybody wanted to know them. They always had a lover. They were always the life of the party. They could enjoy every little pleasure with little effort. Getting sex for them was like getting a pizza.

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We’ve all known someone like that in our lives. I can remember a few from my youth. Now imagine that there’s a much darker undertone to that person’s charisma. Imagine there’s a problem gnawing at them internally, one they hide well, but never truly escape. It goes beyond addiction. It’s something more fundamental, something that addiction only makes worse.

Some people go their whole lives covering up this problem. Peter and Mary could’ve been one of them. In “Passion Relapse,” they were uniquely situated to basically mask every problem they ever had. They could’ve easily spent their whole lives never having to confront it.

That’s not how it plays out though. Like many addicts, Peter and Mary go through their own distinct “moment of clarity.” For them, however, the moment isn’t just difficult. It’s downright traumatic.

What happens to someone when they go through something so traumatic that it utterly breaks them. Psychological trauma is a very powerful force. It strains our brain’s ability to process our feelings, emotions, and everything in between. Add addiction to the mix and you’ve got a volatile cocktail of mental distress.

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That distress, however, can force us to become more honest with ourselves and others. It can also force us to see the world in a new way. For two people, like Mary and Peter, who once saw the world as an endless parade of pleasures, it’s sobering in the best and worst of ways.

It’s also through this distress that Mary and Peter connect. It’s not just an emotional connection either. It’s not just physical. How do two people who are struggling with addiction and mental trauma come together? What kind of passion does it take to forge such a connection? Just how powerful can that connection be?

I’ll stop teasing right there because that’s getting dangerously close to spoiler/foreplay for “Passion Relapse.” I’d much rather people actually buy it and see for themselves how these two characters come together through their pain. It’s a difficult journey, but one I do my best to make sexy as hell.

In the continued interest of promoting the hell out of my first book, I’ll leave you with a quick excerpt that should get the blood flowing in the right direction.

“As my needs became a full-blown addiction, things escalated pretty quickly,” Mary said. “To exercise my growing libido, I made it more challenging on myself. I fucked police officers, aspiring politicians, pastors and even a gym teacher who worked at a local elementary school.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” commented Peter.

“Oh, yeah? I once blew the pizza guy in exchange for extra toppings,” added Mary.

“Okay, I take it back. It does sound bad.”

Are you curious now? Want to see more? Well, head over to Totally Entwined Group or onto Amazon to buy “Passion Relapse.” Your heart, your libido, and various other parts of your body will thank you.

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“Passion Relapse” Release Just One Week Away!

This is just a friendly reminder that my first published book, “Passion Relapse,” is only one week away. That’s right! In just one week, I’ll be able to celebrate my first published book. I’m more excited than a fly in a shit factory. I hope to share that excitement with as many people as possible.

So please mark your calendar if you already haven’t. On April 18th, 2017, the first book by Jack Fisher will hit the stands. So stock up on clean panties, tissues, and lube. The wait is almost over!

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Romance And Reason: Can They Co-Exist?

God gave us a penis and a brain, but only enough blood to run one at a time. It’s a running joke among men, but it’s no laughing matter. We need our brains to function. We need our genitals to propagate. These are two important functions of life and they aren’t always on the same page.

Women aren’t immune from it either. Sure, they don’t need to worry about their pants getting too tight when they walk by a Victoria’s Secret, but they’re just as prone to other functions overriding their capacity for reason. That’s not a joke about periods either. Women, like men, have a nasty habit of not thinking things through while in an emotional state.

It happens all the time. It’s one of the bugs in the 1.0 beta version of nature that we’re all stuck in (for now). When we’re in an emotional and/or agitated state of mind, we don’t think clearly.

We’ve all been there. Ever go grocery shopping when you’re really hungry? It really does screw with your mind and your wallet. If you’re hungry enough, everything from stale cookies to expired milk seems appetizing.

I’ve certainly been there. Back when I was in college, there was this one winter where I was just really, really depressed for reasons that are too pathetic to describe. Then, some guy came around my dorm selling magazines and, because I was in a such a pathetic state of mind, I bought a subscript to Maxim magazine that I didn’t want, need, or care for.

My point is that we humans inherently suck at balancing reason with emotion. It’s the reason why Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock clashed so many times on Star Trek. Coincidentally, that’s also why there’s this huge fandom of them as gay lovers, but that’s a story for another post.

For me, an aspiring romance/erotica writer, I need to use both. I need to use reason when crafting a story, less my novels turn into one long incoherent string of rants, babble, and whining. I’ll leave that sort of thing to 4chan and Twilight message boards. For my brand of romance/erotica, I want to strike some kind of balance between heavy thoughts and hot loins.

That raises a fundamental question. Is it possible for romance and reason to co-exist? Are they even on the same length? Can they even exist isn’t the same universe? That’s an argument some would passionately debate. There’s an inherent irony in that debate, but it’s not entirely misguided. There is some science behind it even.

Anyone who has been on the wrong end of road rage or eaten an entire bucket of ice cream after a bad breakup understands the clash. On some levels, we know we do dumb shit when we’re in an emotional state. We even know how dumb it is. We still do it anyways. I’m sure there are times when my brain wanted to kick my ass.

However, I’m of the belief that since our passions and our higher thoughts both come from the same organ, namely our brain, they can coexist. That’s not to say it’s a perfect coexistence. That’s not even to say it’s all that peaceful. I’m just saying they can occupy the same space without the universe exploding.

Once again, this conflict is a byproduct of our caveman brains, which still don’t realize that we’re not living in caves and fighting off hungry tigers anymore. Those brains are wired in a way to prioritize certain things more than others. Survival and sex is at the top of that list. The capacity for reason isn’t even top five. Hell, for some it isn’t even top ten.

It’s still there though. Our capacity for reason is a vital tool. Some would argue it’s the most vital tool in our species’ arsenal. It allowed us to do more than just avoid tigers, make tools, and set up nicer caves for humping. It allowed us to understand our world, build cities, and forge assault rifles that ensure no hungry tigers dare mess with us.

There’s a lot of value with respect to reason. Unfortunately, not a lot of that value plays out in sex and romance. That seems to be a massive blind spot of sorts, one that leads to many wrecked relationships/marriages/drunken hook-ups.

It doesn’t help that using logic and reason in a relationship isn’t considered sexy. It doesn’t matter how skilled you are in the philosophy, engineering, or science. Brad Pitt is still going to get laid more than you. From an evolutionary standpoint, he wins big time.

From a logical stand point though, his recent divorce and past breakups show that even Brad Pitt has room for improvement. Could he have saved those relationships by employing more brain power and less sex appeal? It’s hard to say, but I’m of the belief that hindsight tends to remind us of just how many opportunities we tend to miss.

I’m also of the belief that we all need to step back and give a little extra scrutiny to how we organize our relationships. We’re still going to act erratically. We’re still going to make foolish decisions. I’ve had that play out in my novels, from “Skin Deep” to “Holiday Heat.” In those same novels, though, I also allow for moments of clarity.

This is where I think romance and reason can find some common ground. Clarity is something that both value. Reason values the clarity of facts and the logical paths around them. Romance values the clarity that comes with knowing how you feel about someone and how they feel about you. It is, in essence, the scotch tape that links these two forces.

Clarity is what sobers us up when we find out we’ve made a dumb decision while in an emotional state. If that decision takes place in a town like Las Vegas, it can have some major legal implications. Hell, there are entire movies built around that premise.

That same clarity also reveals to us when we know we’ve found someone we want to love with all our hearts and without reservation. It removes any uncertainty and hesitation when we feel the urge to make love to one another. In that sense, clarity is a damn good aphrodisiac.

This isn’t just something I believe. This is something I hope to demonstrate in my upcoming book, “Passion Relapse.” Since this is the book that finally got the attention of a publisher, I feel like now is as good a time as any to start building some hype around it. I’m no Don King, but I feel like I should get people excited/horny about it.

There are a lot of aspects to “Passion Relapse” that are built primarily on overwhelming emotions and a serious lack of forethought. The characters involved in this story struggle more than most to balance their reason with their loins, even more so than Brad Pitt. However, it’s only when clarity enters the equation that things get really heated.

By the end of this book, I hope to give readers a new appreciation for the value of clarity and just how much it can improve your love life. I’m not saying it’ll be scientific proof that reason and romance can form a harmonious union that leads to passionate lovemaking and a greater appreciation of higher thought. It will be damn sexy though. That much I can promise.

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Big News: “Passion Relapse” Accepted By Publisher!

I was going to look for another fun, sexy topic to discuss on this blog, but something big has come up. It’s so big that it may very well be a defining moment in my aspirations to become an erotica/romance writer. I hope I can look back on this day and say to myself, “It all began on that fateful day! Now why am I still wearing pants again?”

A while back, I got a promising email from a publisher that I had sent a manuscript to. This alone is a big deal. I have no fewer than four finished manuscripts gathering dust on my hard drive. I’ve sent out query letters to dozens upon dozens of publishers and agents. For the most part, I get a quick and brief rejection letter. So getting an email that was promising in any capacity is a big freakin’ deal for me.

With this particular publisher, it was not an outright rejection letter, nor was it a fat royalty check the likes of which would make Stephen King blush. Instead, this publisher informed me that the manuscript I pitched, “Passion Relapse,” had some potential. They were interested in developing that potential, but only if I was willing to make some edits.

I was definitely willing. I put aside nearly all of my other side-projects, stayed up late, and drank a few extra glasses of whiskey to do those edits. These were not simple grammar tweaks either. I actually had to rewrite the entire ending of the book.

Now I can understand how some writers may take that personally. Some writers see that as a knock on their talent. Seeing as how I’ve accomplished little outside self-publishing my novels and talking about sex-positive superheroes on my blog, I literally can’t afford that kind of ego. As such, I assume every manuscript I write is flawed and needs edits. This publisher gave me a chance and I seized the opportunity.

Those late nights and extra glasses of whiskey paid off. After sending the edited manuscript back to the publisher, I had to wait a while for them to review it. As always, that wait was pretty damn agonizing, but so worth it. This is the response I got:

Congratulations! We are going to offer you a contract for Passion Relapse. You did a superb job on your rewrite and we love your author voice. Bravo! I have to tell you that we don’t accept a lot of new authors without a proven track record, so you should be very pleased.

Naturally, I’m very pleased. I had to fight the urge to do a backflip when I got that email and not just because it probably would’ve ended with me falling flat on my face. Finally, someone is taking a chance on me. Finally, someone is giving me the opportunity to share my work with a larger audience.

It’s an opportunity I hope to seize. This novel, “Passion Relapse,” should make hearts race, pants tighten, and panties moisten. I will continue to work with this publisher, whose name I’ll keep private until everything is finalized, but I’ll definitely post updates here on this blog.

This is an exciting time in the world of Jack Fisher. I look forward to sharing that excitement with many others.

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