So How Do I Get Reviews?

One of the biggest questions I hear from other indie authors is how to get reviews on their novels. Amazon and Goodread reviews can be a huge selling point on their platform, as long as the ranking is high enough, but the vast majority of people who get books never leave a review. Because of that, some authors with have a book out for weeks, or even months, without ever seeing a review come in.

But I’ve figured out to get them. I’ve figured out to get them and I am going to share my secret.

You fear them.

Yup, fear. That’s the ticket right there. Ever since I got my first bad review, I stopped looking at the reviews on my book entirely. It seemed like the best way to go about it. No matter how tempted I was to go take a look, I didn’t. I didn’t because of the unabiding fear that my book would have 30 one star reviews calling me a hack and demanding their money back. I expected to go to my Amazon pages and see a large group of villagers with pitchforks and torches.

I live in such deep terror of reviews that I never go on my Amazon page and I actually have two Goodreads pages. One for my author name and one for my real name, so I never have to accidentally read a review. Well, this morning, I fucked up and signed into my author account on Goodreads. I was forced to confront my reviews head on.

To my surprise, they weren’t as bad as I expected. Most people who read my book loved it and most of them wrote some pretty good reviews. There was one on that made me laugh out loud. The reviewer really hated my male lead, Cole, to the point where she stated she wished Sal had lit him on fire and tossed him into a swamp in the Everglades.

I decided that review had two positives. One, I apparently made Cole real enough to inspire that much hatred, and two, she gave me an idea for the sequel. Truth be told, sometimes I hated Cole too.

With my curiosity fully inspired, I decided to go over to my Amazon page, expecting a corresponding number of reviews. Maybe two or three…

Fucking 19!

Murphy’s law right there. Because I was afraid of reviews, I got a ton of reviews. Meanwhile, people who want nothing more than a review or two find their pages empty month after month. To my surprise, nobody wants me dead. The bad review that originally made me go into hiding was still there, but there were a ton of good ones on top of it that actually made me feel good about what I wrote and told me I was on the right track.

Turns out, you can write a book about someone who takes advice from a Gary Busey hallucination and still get people to take you seriously as an author.

While I’m very glad I looked, because it was a definite confidence boost as I try to finish my sequel and a novella at the same time, I think I’m going to stand by my original decision to avoid my reviews and concentrate on my writing instead. As far as I’m concerned, reviews are for readers and there is no reason to torture myself by looking at them.

Plus, I don’t think my heart can take the stress. I’m kind of a wuss. So readers, review away.

I’ll be in my room, hiding under my bed if you need me.


No, Seriously, Fuck You

Recently, I wrote a Q & A about BDSM with one of my favorite bloggers, Alejandro De La Garza. To my delight, a sexy little site called “Slave for My Master” picked it up and reblogged. Anyone who wants to check it out, it’s pretty hot, I’ve linked the address to the name. It’s pretty much the diary of a submissive, and even if you aren’t a submissive, it’s a hell of a learning experience.

Anyway, when I noticed the reblog, I decided to head over to the site. I saw there was an active comment and decided to pop it open to see what it said. I, of course, couldn’t resist commenting, so you’ll see my response above. Cowards who post as ‘anonymous’ don’t get reply buttons.

Apparently, the poster, who I will now permanently refer to as Anonymous Idiot, is under some impression that a child seeing this picture would somehow be scarred for life. Viewing of this picture, according to Anonymous Idiot, will inevitably lead to a life of burying prostitutes in shallow graves.

Well, Anonymous Idiot, let me show you how exactly wrong you are. How? Well, I guess I’ll just have to use myself as a case study.

 

Little Essa was born in a small NH town. She was raised by parents who didn’t really do the whole censorship thing. Little Essa’s dad had a “Playmate of the Year” calendar in his garage. He swore regularly in French and English and chain smoked like a chimney. Sometimes, Little Essa and her dad would stay up until the dawn, watching a TV show on USA called “UP All Night” with Gilbert Gottfried. One of little Essa’s absolute favorites was called “Vice Academy.” It was actually a porno where all the pornographic bits had been cut out, but little Essa didn’t know this.

Little Essa’s mom loved George Carlin and Richard Prior. Her mother would play their comedy tapes for hours. Little Essa loved George Carlin and Richard Prior too because they were funny and they said the things she was thinking anyway. Some people said George Carlin and Richard Prior were bad, because of the dirty words they used. Little Essa didn’t think so. Instead, Little Essa thought they were brave to continue saying what they said, even when no one agreed with them.

Here’s a part that’s going to be hard to stomach. Little Essa’s uncle Timmy was addicted to pornography. It played on the television at his house constantly. Little Essa leaned about Ginger Lynn and Ron Jeremy. Little Essa thought they were slightly ridiculous and super funny. She also thought the script writing could use work. Uncle Timmy was not a child molester. He was just a weirdo who couldn’t be bothered to change the channel when family came over.

Little Essa never wore a helmet when she rode her bike. She didn’t wash her hands 16 times a day and she didn’t cry to her mommy every time someone said something mean to her. Little Essa was a latchkey kid who enjoyed the time alone she got at home. It gave her time to think, time to dream…time to write.

So what happened?

Well, Little Essa eventually just became Essa. She grew up and experimented. She smoked a little weed, had a little fun and did a few things wrong. She joined the Army and did a few things right.

She had a baby, but she didn’t really love the baby’s father. Instead of staying and becoming a punching bag for his failures, she went out on her own; confident she could make a better life for her baby.

Then, she did.

She got a Masters Degree and never had a job where she made less than 30k a year and she was never on welfare. She didn’t date, because she knew, deep down, that when a single mother dates, her boyfriends are always competing with her kids. As far as Essa was concerned, there was no competition. Her son would always win.

Because Essa’s evil, censorship free family taught her a valuable lesson; Family comes first.

Essa is height weight appropriate. She doesn’t abuse drugs and she’s never been to rehab. She’s written a successful novel and believes she has more than one or two left in her. She has a large circle of friends. She does not back down from a fight and is not afraid to take a risk or go all in. Her risks always pan out, because Essa has faith in herself and knows she doesn’t need to depend on anyone to get things done.

Essa has no body issues. She is comfortable with what she sees in the mirror…even naked. She has never starved herself or made herself throw up, because she does not believe in a ‘perfect’ weight. She knows that the perfect weight is the one she is comfortable with and thinks she is beautiful at any size.

 

So, Anonymous Idiot, let me tell you what my censorship free upbringing taught me. It taught me that the female body, in all its forms, is beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of. It taught me that the ability to laugh is power. Like how I’m laughing at you now. It taught me to develop my own opinions, come up with my own ideas and to be an independent being whose every thought has not been planned. I make my own decisions. I adjust and adapt. And I do it all because my parents taught me the right way to live.

Truth be told, you want to know the most dangerous thing you can do to your kids? You can be a judgmental asshole. You can make them feel like they’ll never be good enough or do anything right. You can make them feel that their thoughts or feelings are shameful. You can make them doubt themselves and take away their ability to think for themselves. That creates the problem, not your kid viewing a nude picture on a site they shouldn’t have been on anyway.

So anonymous idiot, I challenge you. I challenge you to come to my site and give me a reason why your view of the world is somehow better than my own. If you don’t want to take the challenge, that’s fine. Feel free to come back to my site 20 years from now when my kid is an astrophysicist and yours is a neurotic basket case living in your basement.

I’ll reserve the “I told you so” until then.


How to Shop in The Grocery Store Without Being a Complete Prick

So today, after we finally had so little food left that my son got the delightful experience of eating chocolate pie for breakfast, I finally broke down and went grocery shopping.

I generally hate grocery shopping. As a mater of rule, I am an incredibly disorganized person. Because of this, I never make a list. I simply zip through the isles in no particular order, tossing things into my cart at random. Honestly, it’s always been a pretty decent system. I’ve discovered all kinds of new and interesting products, like jalapeño flavored Pringles and Depends (way better than tampons, once you get used to the bulkiness).

Anyway, today I ran into some issues while grocery shopping that could easily be fixed if people just adhered to a few simple rules.

  1. If your kid is an asshole, leave him in the car. Listen, I understand. Your little brat isn’t hyperactive because of anything you did wrong. He just has ADD, or ADHD or ADHD with a shot of PCP. Regardless of his medical disability, if he’s racing around the store, breaking shit and treating it like it’s his god damn playground, he is not yet fit to be around normal people. May I suggest electroshock therapy instead of Ritalin?
  2.  Grocery shopping is not a social experience. If you want to stop and chat with your friends, do it somewhere else. Not in the middle of the damn isle. Yeah, it’s super awesome that your 8 best friend showed up at Publix at the same time as you. Now move on to somewhere else to discuss this amazing fucking coincidence, and get out of the way of the Hamburger Helper.
  3. Unless you are a surgeon coaching someone through open heart surgery, get off your god damn cell phone. If you really need to conference in four of your friends to tell you if you should buy pinto beans or kidney beans, your not ready from grocery shopping yet. Come back when you’ve gotten your borderline personality disorder under control, and can make your own damn decisions.
  4. Lets make this clear right now. No, you may not cut in front of me. Seriously, who even asks this? WTF is wrong with people? I don’t care if you have one item or 47. I got here first and I have popsicles melting.
  5. Men twice my age, half my age, triple my weight or more than 4% alcohol by volume; I don’t care what the magazine tells you. The grocery store is NOT a great place to pick up chicks. We’re stressed out, trying to remember what we need and worrying that we left the stove on at home. We don’t need your lame ass attempts at flirtation to distract us further. This isn’t a night club. It’s a fucking war zone and the rule here is every man for himself. That means I will not hesitate to punch you in the throat if you get in the way of the peanut butter again.

If everyone would take note, I’d really appreciate it. Now, if your excuse me, I have to go unpack my mango, banana canned chicken livers…I’m almost positive we needed those for some reason.


A Very Sexy Halloween

I have been invited to a costume party. I will tell all of you straight off, costume parties just aren’t my thing. The last costume party I went to was a dismal failure. It was a theme party. The theme? Dress as your favorite historical figure. My friend Karen went as Mary Antoinette. My ex went as Earnest Hemingway.

I went as a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Most didn’t get the joke.

Anyway, as I am apparently the only girl on the planet who doesn’t use Halloween as an excuse to dress like a prostitute, I find costume shopping incredibly frustrating. Every women’s costume is required by law to have the word ‘sexy’ before it. Sexy angel, sexy devil, sexy witch, sexy … zombie? Are you fucking kidding me?

When I was a kid, my costume was always comprised of one thing. A cardboard box. See, we didn’t have a lot of money, but both my brother and my mother are pretty artistically gifted. So, whatever they could make a box into, that’s what I was. I was a dice, an alien, a television and one year when they got particularly creative, a box of popcorn. None of those costumes required the use of garters or fishnet panty hose.

But now that I am an adult, apparently, the cardboard box costumes of the past are no longer an option. So I headed over to one of the ‘Spirit of Halloween’s’ that pop up every year this time of year. The following is an actual transcript of what happened there.

Me: Hmmmm, (rustling through a rack of costumes). Sexy pumpkin? Sexy librarian? Sexy cop? Sexy chicken? Oh, look! This one comes with its own tube of anal bleach. (eye roll)

Helpful Sales Clerk: Can I help you with something?

Me: Yeah, where do you keep the regular costumes?

Helpful Sales Clerk: (clearly perplexed) Regular costumes?

Me: Well, yes. Apparently, I wandered into the section reserved for call girls whose clients have very erotic tastes, as all these outfits either display my breasts and/or vagina. Do you have anything that doesn’t prominently feature my clit?

Helpful Sales Clerk: (still clearly confused) Hmmm? Well, you could go as a pizza delivery girl. (she holds up an outfit the approximate size of a napkin).

Me: That’s just a bikini and a hat that says “Domino’s” on it.

Helpful Sales Clerk: It’s actually more of a sports bra with some lycra boy shorts. (she excitedly holds up a tube) It also includes anal bleach!

Me: I hate you.

Seriously, dudes get some pretty cool costumes. They get Batman, Spider man, Michael Myers. Hell, they can even be a keg of beer with the tap strategically placed over their penis! Hilarious! Me? I get a god damn lycra thong and nipple tassels. I picture the designers of these costumes as a large group of teenage boys with too much time on their hands.

Anyway, looks like just like in the good old days, I’m going to have to make my costume. So I am off to find a cardboard box and trying to come up with a good idea.

I’m thinking I’ll go as a sexy cardboard box. Thank god I have the anal bleach for it!


Yes, Sometimes You Need Profanity

So lately, instead of working like I’m supposed to, I’ve spent a lot of times in the fiction and Goodreads forums. One thing I’ve noticed a lot of people complaining about it the use of profanity in novels.

Now, sometimes I get it. If the writer is just trying to be shocking, and just loading the page up with unnecessary swears, then it gets annoying and at the same time, takes you out of the story. However, the same can be said for lack of profanity.

This past weekend, one of my favorite movies of all time came on. The Last Boyscout.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for movies where Bruce Willis beats the shit out of everyone while dropping deadpan one-liners.

Unfortunately, this particularly awesome movie was played on a network channel. You know what that means. Tons of censorship. You know what sucks about censorship? Besides everything? It frequently ruins jokes.

For example, when bad ass Joe Hallenbeck wakes up after passing out in his car, he finds a dead squirrel laying on his chest. Following this, he has this exchange with his former partner.

Mike Matthews: What’d you do last night?
Joe Hallenbeck: I think I fucked a squirrel to death, and don’t remember.

That is the original quote as I know it. Unfortunately, this is what the network did to it.

Mike Matthews: What’d you do last night?
Joe Hallenbeck: I don’t remember.

The joke is completely gone! WTF!

They seriously ruined so many Hallenbeck classic moments, like

“You couldn’t nail a two dollar whore.”
“I forgot to tell you. “Bom” means “fuck you” in Polish”
“Eat shit you fucking redneck!” (Extra funny, because it was shrieked by a kid)

Sometimes, swearing is necessary. Why? Because it’s realistic! If you punch someone in the face, they’re not going to be like “oh, darn! You punched me in the face you jerk!” It’s far more likely to come out like this. “Ow, fuck! Fuck you motherfucker!”

So, to those out there who are profanity adverse, I completely understand. Now stop ruining my movies.

Also, I would like to announce an extra special milestone today. This is my ’100th f-bomb dropped post’.


Establishing a Brand Guest Posting

This week, for my guest post on the Film Annex, I wrote an article about establishing a brand in social media. I mainly did this because I’ve been thinking about creating an internet presence since my internet troll experience mentioned in my earlier post today. Made me wonder if this guy is trying to establish a brand as a famous internet troll, like that guy on Reddit who got busted out on Gawker.

Props out to Gawker by the way. Yup, I believe in free speech but if you’re going to demand it, you need to have the guts to stand behind your words and show your face to the world, not hide behind the anonymity of the internet.

Anyway, this weeks film annex post includes a video from the site founder who gives ideas on creating an internet presence (a non annoying one), with a blog written by your truly with some ideas of her own.

http://www.filmannex.com/posts/blog_show_post/establishing-a-brand-in-social-media/57137

All of my Web TV videos can be seen here.

http://www.filmannex.com/webtv/EssaAlroc


Forum Wars; An Exercise in Idiocy

Good morning/early afternoon everyone. Essa is up with laryngitis from chain smoking and a deep feeling of shame over what I did last night.

Nope, there isn’t a hot dude passed out in my bed. If that were the case, I think we all know I would just take a picture and post it online, no shame involved.

Nope, what I did was so much worse than sex with a random stranger. I got involved in a forum war. It was in the kindle direct forum, where a lot of self published authors go to get advice, share sales numbers, ect. I went to get some advice on increasing British market sales for my book, which are almost non existent. I got a lot of great tips and a couple of people in the forum even bought my book.

As I was wandering out the forum door, glowing from the unexpectedly pleasant experience, I saw a thread that was clearly designed to be, for lack of a better word, ‘flame bait’. The only purpose of this thread was to start an argument. I clicked on it with only the intention of reading the post and enjoying the drama.

But suddenly, 4 beers in, responding seemed like a great idea. For anyone who has ever been in a flame war, you know that, like the Mafia, once your in, its very difficult to get out. Long story short, I was up until 3 am trading drunken barbs with a stranger. Really bad drunken barbs. I might have called his mother a prostitute several times. He might have accused me of giving myself an abortion with a coat hanger (or suggested I do…but that wouldn’t really make sense because I’m not pregnant) From there, the conversation deteriorated pretty quickly.

Here’s the thing. They guy I was arguing with is known for his flame wars. He generally has 2 or 3 going on at the same time and he always does it with the intention of starting a fight. Which makes we wonder why? Is he just attention seeking? Or is there a method to his madness?

To explain, let me bring up the case study of one “Honey Boo Boo”. As many might know, Honey Boo Boo is currently famous for being famous. She’s a pageant baby with an overweight mom, pregnant teen sister and some serious redneck routes. Right now, she has one of the most popular shows on (snort) the Learning Channel. Why? It’s not because people like her and her family and want them to succeed. It’s because people like making fun of them.

But who’s really laughing? Everyone who wants to point and laugh at the yokels? Or the yokels themselves who are easily making 6 figures just to be the subject of some ridicule?

Is any publicity good publicity? I will tell you, when I was participating in the flame war shenanigans, I did see a moderate bump in my book sales. Was is a coincidence or was my bad behavior being rewarded by increased name recognition? Despite the fact that this ‘flame king’ is an indie author whose book is priced on par with those of trade publications, he still manages to stay in the top 100k. It might not sound like an impressive number, but he’s selling at least one or two books every other day. That ain’t bad for a high priced book.

But is it really worth it? Is he getting sales because he’s a great writer, or is he getting sales because he’s infamous? In the time I spent sucked into this guy’s vortex of crazy, I could have been working on my sequel. If I keep going at this rate, I’ll have no choice but the spam the boards with my own flame bait posts and hope that psychotic sells.

But psychotic is generally short lived. Honey Boo Boo isn’t going to be around in 10 years. She probably won’t even be around in 2. People will be tired of her shenanigans because she’s not building something that will last. She’s a joke and eventually, any joke, no matter how funny, won’t be funny anymore.

So I’ve decided not to go the trashy route. I’m not going to lurk in forums and participate in flame wars and I’m a bit annoyed at myself for getting sucked in at all. I have little enough free time as it is and I don’t need to spend it insulting someone I don’t even know, playing along and bumping his numbers for his own crazy ends. Instead, I’m going back to working on my book and reminding myself that just because I’m an indie author doesn’t mean I shouldn’t still be a professional.

Also, I would like everyone to note that I managed to get the word ‘shenanigans’ into this post three times. It’s going to be a good day.


Everything You Wanted to Know About BDSM…But Were Afraid to Ask

So, thanks to the recent popularity of a certain novel that we all know I hate, some myths have been created regarding a certain sexual culture that I believe need to be dispelled.

You might be surprised to hear me say this, being Essa on Everything, but sometimes, even Ms. Everything doesn’t actually know, well…everything. That is why I have enlisted the help of one of my favorite bloggers to answer some questions regarding BDSM, or as it is frequently referred to, the Leather Culture.

You all may know Alejandro De Le Garza as one of our resident experts on politics and news. However, this sexy, flag wearing, mustached man is also an student of something a little darker and a lot more interesting. The Leather Culture, AKA BDSM.  Recently, he has been kind enough to help me answer some questions I’ve had regarding a whole underground sexual culture that has been recently brought to light thanks to 50 Shades…regardless of how inaccurate.

 

 

First off, can you tell us a little background about your experience in the leather culture? How did you first get introduced to it?

I have to be honest and tell you that I’m not too steeped in the leather / BDSM lifestyle.  But, I got introduced pretty much on my own.  I just saw some erotic magazines and adult films where it was displayed prominently.  It’s interesting, but the leather lifestyle often is linked to 2 subsets of American society: the gay/lesbian/bisexual community and pornography.  I think this is why some people have an aversion to it; they view it as perverted and obscene.  In reality, the leather culture just allows for sexual freedom.  The primary rule is safe, sane and consensual.  Safe in that no one’s physical, mental or emotional health is placed in jeopardy.  Sane in that everyone involved knows exactly what they’re doing and understands what’s going on in that relationship or setting.  If they’re a novice, it is up to the veteran to explain matters to that person.  Consensual in that everyone is an able-minded adult who gives full and total consent to the situation.  No one is forced into it or forced to stay in it, and no one is forced to do anything where they don’t feel comfortable.  Trust is the essential element in the leather culture.  But, it’s actually essential to any relationship; it’s what stabilizes that union – whether it’s a friendship, a romance, or a business interaction.  Trust is always paramount.  But, I think the outlandish appearance of the leather culture pushes the element of trust to the forefront.  People assume a level of trust in other relationships; sometimes to a fault.  But, because leather is such a fringe lifestyle, people involved in it want to assure newcomers that they can be trusted.

Trust, of course, is also tied in with respect.  And, respect is mutual.  You have to show respect, if you want to receive it.  No one rightfully can expect someone to respect them, if they’re not willing to respect others as well.  As with trust, if that level of respect is violated, then the relationship is compromised.

Is there a structure to the lifestyle? Do submissive always stay submissive, dominants always stay dominant?

This depends on the individual, or the individual couple.  Many people retain their respective dominant or submissive roles simply because they feel comfortable with it.  You’d be surprised, though, who’s either dominant or submissive in their private lives.  Someone can be very meek and humble outwardly, but assume the dominant role in more personal settings.  The opposite is true for a submissive.  Some are actually very powerful public figures, but they may relish giving control to someone else in their private lives because they’re tired of having to make decisions all the time.  This is true for many people across the spectrum; whether or not they’re into the leather lifestyle.  But, once again, the BDSM leather lifestyle allows people extensive personal freedom.

In gatherings of people involved in the leather life, there are, indeed, certain rules.  If you know of a couple who is in a dominant/submissive relationship, you address the dominant first when speaking to them.  If a couple is involved in a “scene” during a play party, you don’t interject yourself into it unless invited.  You don’t mock or laugh at someone involved in a scene.  If you don’t understand what’s going on, ask someone.  If you don’t like it, remove yourself from the area.  During any setting, you don’t physically touch someone, unless invited.  If someone prefers to be called by a certain name, you address them by that name.

What do you think leather offers that the vanilla world of relationships is lacking?

As I stated above, leather offers people more personal and sexual freedom.  It allows them to step outside the boundaries society often imposes upon them.  They can experiment with all kinds of physical or psychological pleasure, although not necessarily sexual.  Much of the leather / BDSM experience is more mental or psychological.  Many people don’t realize the brain is the biggest and most sensitive sexual organ in the human body.  BDSM sex isn’t always physical; meaning intercourse or masturbation.  Many people enter into role-playing games.  The frisky cheerleader / bashful quarterback, naughty schoolteacher, etc. roles may seem comical up front.  But, many people play games of this nature to enhance the sex in their relationships.  It can be healthy and fun.

The leather accoutrements people possess and / or wear are just individual pieces of expression.  They signify boldness or personal freedom.  Leather is really just refined animal skin, which gets interesting if you have BDSM / leather aficionados who also claim to be vegetarians.  But, leather has always been a prime source of clothing among humans for eons.  Even now, leather invokes a certain mystique; people rarely wear leather clothing outside of social settings, with the exception, of course, of jackets, coats, shoes or boots.  Leather slacks or skirts, for example, aren’t considered proper business attire and may even be banned in some work places.  But, people can enter that same space carrying a leather-bound briefcase or purse.

Some people often wear or carry certain mementoes that indicate their ties to the leather community.  It can be a piece of jewelry or a lucky charm-type item.  A while back I knew a woman who was an attorney and heavily into the leather lifestyle with her then-fiancée.  Often she would practice in front of a judge who banned most forms of jewelry from the courtroom so as not to prejudice the jury.  She carried a heart-shaped locket made of red leather laid into silver in her purse, which signified her ties to her partner and their involvement in the leather culture.  No one else knew she had it on her person, of course, but she carried it merely as a private and personal statement.  That’s what the leather / BDSM lifestyle often signifies: personal freedom and personal relationships.

The recent popularity of 50 Shades has made the sales of sex toys and bondage equipment skyrocket. Do you think it’s as fad, or do you think bondage is going mainstream?

First, the “Fifty Shades” phenomenon has been met with disdain from the leather / BDSM community.  Its author clearly didn’t do much research into the lifestyle, or if she did, failed to include actual specifics into it.  For example, in the first novel the dominant male takes a flogger to the abdomen of his submissive female.  Any leather veteran knows this is wrong on 2 levels.  A flogger has suede or leather tails, often capped with beads of metal or plastic.  These produce a stinging sensation when flung against the skin.  But, it’s very dangerous to flog someone’s abdomen, which has less muscle than the upper back or buttocks where a flogger is traditionally used.

Second, I feel that “Fifty Shades” is more of a fad.  I can’t say that the leather / BDSM lifestyle is becoming more mainstream because of it, or in spite of it.  I would hope it’s the latter.  But, I don’t think the leather / BDSM lifestyle will become mainstream anytime soon; it still exists in the pantheon of fetishism, which encompasses a lot.

Explain some of the precautions you put in place to make sure BDSM play doesn’t go too far (i.e. from BDSM to snuff film)

For the record, snuff films, like pedophilia and bestiality, have absolutely nothing to do with the leather / BDSM lifestyle.  Pedophilia and bestiality are psychological perversions; they both violate the safe, sane and consensual edict.  Children and animals obviously can’t give consent to anything sexually imposed upon them by an adult.  People still link them all together, which is why true leather aficionados are more than willing to clarify and explain their lifestyle to anyone.  They always want to eliminate any misconceptions.  On a side note, the alleged snuff film thing sprang from rumors that the Charles Manson gang photographed their brutal crimes.  No evidence has surfaced to substantiate this.

BDSM play can go too far if the participants aren’t careful.  In most settings, one person (usually the submissive) will call out a designated or predetermined “safe word,” which is simply a term an individual used to signify when that person feels uncomfortable.  This all goes back to safe, sane and consensual.  One person may say, ‘I want [X] done to me.’  If the other person is a veteran, they will explain what happens when [X] is done.  If the other person is a novice, they should ask questions.  But, if the submissive is the veteran, they must explain what will or should happen.  For example, with flogging the submissive has to understand that the tassels could generate a sting and leave red marks on the back, shoulders, or buttocks.  Veteran BDSM people always should realize their role is not just as practitioner or dominant, but as educator and, to some extent, caretaker.

Do you think that people outgrow BDSM or is it a lifestyle that really lasts a lifetime? Why or why not?

I think once people get into and understand the lifestyle, it becomes part of their psyche or personality.  In a way, you could say they become addicted to it; mainly because it grants a certain level of personal freedom and expression they may find nowhere else.  But, someone may grow tired or frustrated with it for a number of reasons.  They simply weren’t “into” it from the start.  Their personality may change, and they no longer find any pleasure in it.  That presumed level of trust and respect may have been breached by the other person in the relationship.  People change their lifestyles for a variety of personal reasons.  Part of the freedom inherent with the BDSM / leather life is the freedom to leave it altogether; once more – safe, sane and consensual.

I have to say I’ve never met anyone who’s an ex-leather person.  I suppose it has to do with the personal freedom and respect that often goes with it.  It’s unlike, say, the military, which is more of a career and a particular means to a particular end; people join the military to get away from their families, or earn money for college.  It’s definitely unlike most religions, which often preach blind loyalty and command respect and trust from an individual without allowing that person to demand the same in return.

Can couples who share this alternative lifestyle still have the same family experience as those who don’t? Is it a healthy environment for children?

I’ve never met or known anyone involved in BDSM who also has children.  I think it’s possible, though, since people generally like to keep their leather / BDSM predilections private.  No, I don’t feel it’s a healthy environment for children, in that I don’t believe people should let their children know about it.  It’s such a specialized lifestyle, which requires too much emotional and psychological involvement and understanding.  Many adults can’t even comprehend that level of human interaction.  But, I’m quite certain most adults involved in BDSM who also happen to have children would be able to keep their children away from it in the same manner most parents keep their children away from alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs, firearms, etc.  Most people in the BDSM lifestyle are more responsible with their personal behavior.

You’re pretty open about your lifestyle in the blogging community. Are you open about it in your daily life as well and if so, how do people usually react?

Yes, I’m pretty open, but I don’t shove it in people’s faces.  If people don’t like something I write on my blog, they’re welcome to make a comment, as long as it’s not threatening.  Once people understand what my blog is about, they pretty much know what to expect.  If they decide they don’t like it, they can then choose to stop following it, or just not read a particular piece.  Since I’m very opinionated, I’ll often speak out about certain subjects that I feel passionate about, such as religion or animal abuse.  I have a great deal of animosity towards religion, for example, since I feel it’s too restrictive and judgmental.  As an animal lover, I hate anyone who abuses an animal.  I don’t just despise them – I hate them.  I’ve revealed these feelings to people in conversations, as well as on my blog.

In your time in the culture, what are the most common fetishism you’ve seen? For example, I’ve heard that spanking is one of the more popular fetishes. Why do you think that appeals to people?

I don’t think spanking is as popular in the leather culture as some people believe.  It certainly happens, but not as much as flogging, which is the most common fetish I’ve seen.  Spanking and flogging may be popular from a submissive standpoint because the recipient receives some kind of physical or emotional pleasure in being struck in such a manner.  Spanking is usually associated with child discipline, so some people may have an emotional or psychological connection to it.  I don’t know why, since I don’t like either practices.  I become very angry if someone I don’t know pops me on the butt as a greeting or form of flirtation and I’ve often reacted harshly.  I can play a dominant or submissive role, but my primary demand is that people ask to touch me.  The leather / BDSM lifestyle generally allows for that.  Some people don’t understand that mentality because they figure, if you’re in a bar or nightclub dressed in a certain way, you’re inviting physical attention.  One of the most popular fetishes I’ve noticed actually is role-playing.  As I mentioned previously, people engage in this type of activity for personal or emotional satisfaction.

What was one of your more unusual experiences? What did you like or dislike about it?

The most unusual fetish experience I had was a sounding rod or dilator inserted into my urethra.  An older man who was experienced in that practice performed it on me at a play party several years ago.  He also attached the other end of it to an electrolysis device, which looked like a CB radio and generated electrical pulses into the metal rod and therefore, into my body.  I had asked him to do that.  Since I was new, he slowly inserted the rod, asking me constantly if I was okay.  When he started up the electrolysis device, he let me control the amps – again because I was new.  I enjoyed it because of the intense physical sensations it generated throughout my body and because I was ultimately in control.  I did not have a physical orgasm, but I had something of a mental orgasm, which is difficult for many people to understand.  As I stated above, many people often think the leather / BDSM lifestyle involves strictly physical sexual activity.  But, the physical attributes are merely bridges or conduits to the mental or emotional aspects of a person’s overall well-being.  The human mind is very powerful, and people still often underestimate its capacity.

I want to thank Alejandro for participating in my interview…I also want to thank the entire BSDM community for hating 50 Shade of Grey as much as I did.

If your looking for more info regarding the subject, please see these recent articles and the website for the National Leather Association.

http://lil.nla-i.com/

http://www.dallasobserver.com/content/printVersion/2292804/

http://www.dallasvoice.com/controversial-bdsm-themed-bestseller-fifty-shades-meh-10116353.html

If your looking to cyber stalk Alejandro (like me) you can find his web page here:          http://chiefwritingwolf.com/


Wait…Romney Won?

This weeks guest post on the Film Annex is regarding Romney being declared the winner of the recent presidential debate. I watched the debate myself, and thought they both made some good points, but as usual, the world disagreed with me.

I was looking for someone to blame and I found the perfect scapegoat. Social media. Damn you Twitter.

http://www.filmannex.com/posts/blog_show_post/how-did-romney-win-the-debate/56810


Getting Away With Murder – Take 2

Ugh, its like people never learn.

A couple of weeks ago, I did a column designed to help potential killers out there get away with their crimes. I thought I included a lot of useful information. I thought I was doing the world a favor. I mean, we have police officers out there putting their lives on the line for a whopping 10.50 an hour. Make them work for that mind boggling paycheck people.

So just when I thought I helped everyone out, I spend the day watching a show called “The First 48”. This is a true life police procedural show. The premise is that if a crime doesn’t get solved within the first forty eight hours of discovery, then the chances that it will ever be solved go down astronomically.

Seriously guys. All you really have to do is get away with it for 48 fucking hours and your still getting caught? Do I have to spoon feed this shit to you?

Apparently, I do. So in order to make sure my true crime shows get a little bit more interesting, here are some tips and tricks to getting away with murder. Literally.

Number 1. Lawyer up. Why are people walking into police stations to “answer a few questions” without the assistance of an attorney? Especially when they are guilty as sin. Stop being a cocky motherfucker, thinking that you’re smarter than the cops. You’re not. You’re only one guy. The police department has forensic teams, computers, technology and cops with more experience than years you’ve been alive. Your correspondence certificate in welding is no match for this shit. Demand an attorney and try not to get a public defender. They don’t give a fuck if you go to jail. Instead, opt for private. If you don’t have the money, see if your baby’s mama can cover it.

Next, stop fucking bragging! When I worked for a police department, I saw a guy get arrested for murder because a friend of a friend, told a friend of a friend…of a friend, that this guy said he did it. Here’s the thing. You can tell you buddy Manuel not to say anything all you want. He might hold up to his end of the deal for a couple of days. Then, his buddy Leo gets a couple beers into him and it’s all over fucking town. Murder is interesting. People are going to gossip. That’s just human nature. You have a choice. Everyone can think you’re the badass on the block, or you can get away with the crime. It’s one or the other. Lips only stay sealed for so long.

Practice this sentence; “No I do not give my consent to a search of my residence/car/person”. If you know your car has a bloody knife in the trunk, why are you letting the cops search it? Do you think their going to just miss the knife somehow? That they’re going to say, “oh, there’s nothing here but a spare tire and a butchers knife covered in something that looks like ketchup.” Yes, a cop can search anything based on something called “probable cause” but probable cause is messy. A decent lawyer can get evidence in a probable cause search tossed in seconds. If you consent, you’ve just thrown that probable cause argument out the window. I hope you can get a decent plea bargain.

Also, get rid of the fucking body! Don’t just leave it there, expecting it to disappear on their own. You know why we have so many unsolved murders in Florida? The Everglades. Every decent killer knows that an alligator is a murderer’s best friend. If you’re not lucky enough to have a swamp nearby, then stock up on Lyme. I don’t mean go buy it the night of the murder. Nothing arouses suspicion more than a 3 am security tape of you traipsing the isles of your local Home Depot with a cart full of Lyme, garbage bags and shovels.

Finally, I really can’t believe I have to say this but do not send an email, text or have a phone conversation regarding the murder with anyone…ever. Shit doesn’t disappear once it heads out into cyberspace. It stays forever and it will be found. It will be found and put into a power point presentation for the jurors to see. Resist the urge to talk and it will pay off in the end.

It’s actually pretty simple to get away with murder. Clean up after yourself, get a decent lawyer and above all, keep your fucking mouth shut. I really don’t understand why it’s so hard. If you all will follow my advice, then I’m sure my true crime shows will get a lot more interesting. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go. I’m off to Home Depot to pick up Lyme and shovels for completely unrelated reasons.


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