Game of No: Why Rape is Not the Answer to Your Story Question

Writing a sexual assault into your canon? Take a look at this handy-dandy checklist first:

When is it Okay to Use Rape as a Plot Device?

And, yet, it persists. So many television shows, both daytime and primetime, revert to rape as a “deep” or “edgy” stunt to move a story forward, reveal a piece of characterization, etc. The latest being HBO’s Game of Thrones. Sonia Saraiya at the AV Club wrote a brilliant takedown of the show’s insistence on changing consensual sex scenes to rape scenes here and there’s not much I can add to that but my anger. And my exhaustion.

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Get the Book Outta Here: March Reads

March put me back on track in terms of reading early and often, and a bigger haul means a bigger selection of gems.


Flying, by Megan Hart (out 4/29, erotic romance)
Three Weeks With Lady X, by Eloisa James (out 3/25, historical romance)
House of Glass, by Sophie Littlefield (out 2/25, mainstream/thriller)
The Lumberfox, by Ava Lovelace (erotic romance, e-book)
Hard Time, by Cara McKenna (out 4/15, erotic contemporary romance, e-book)
Beyond Jealousy, Kit Rocha (erotic romance, e-book)


dreamsandshadowsThe Pals’ Pile (aka “Books I liked by friends of mine!”)
The Submission Gift, by Solace Ames (erotic BDSM romance, e-book)
Sweet to the Taste, by Alyssa Cole (erotic romance, e-short)
Dreams & Shadows: Prelude, by Mary B. Rodgers (contemporary romance, e-novella)
Once Upon a Tiger, by Kat Simons (paranormal romance, e-novella)

For my adventures in backlists, I finished Delirium by Lauren Oliver and the Iron Seas novella Wrecked, by Meljean Brook. Both were excellent, and I’m definitely going back to those universes sooner rather than later. I also finished Courtney Milan’s Brothers Sinisters story The Heiress Effect, which was so wonderful and well written. And the secondary story features a Bengali lawyer with the last name “Bhattacharya.” !!!!

Quit Being a Twit: a Social Media Tip Sheet

I have been on the Internet for 18 years, used everything from IRC to AOL chatrooms to EGroups to Twitter, and probably made every rookie mistake you can think of in that time. Thus, I figured I would impart some of my hard-won wisdom about engaging on social media. This primarily applies to Twitter, because that’s where I live, but can just as easily be common sense for Facebook, Tumblr, etc.

1. Decide whether you are a company or a person, because those accounts should be approached differently. A business account is solely to promote a company, a brand identity and a product. That is not where you want to post cat videos and bitch about your co-workers. A personal account is more suited to talking about your work in general terms, your fannish peccadillos, grievances and how wasted you got last night.


2. Be yourself. If you don’t know who you are, Twitter is not the place to figure it out. Go for a walk. Journal. Make some “RL” friends. But don’t have a journey of self-discovery entirely on the Internet. Because it will be awkward, and the Internet never forgets.

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Soap on a Trope: Love Romance? Try Daytime!

I’ve loved soaps and romance for as long as I can remember. Honestly, they go together like peanut butter and chocolate, strawberries and cream, Jeremy Renner and me…wait, where was I? Ahem. Yes. With only four daytime soap operas currently on air (sniffle!), it’s easier than ever to find the one that works for you. If you’re a fan of women’s fiction, romance novels and erotic romance, then here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet to hook you up with an appropriate daytime drama!



The Italian Billionaire’s Pregnant Mistress

If you devour category romances by the armful, then Days of our Lives is the show for you. Salem has both Harlequin Presents’ alphaholes and tycoons and honorable blue-collar heroes lifted straight from the pages of a Harlequin SuperRomance. And secret babies. ALL the secret babies.



A Shot in the Dark

Love pulse-pounding romantic suspense, dark and dangerous men, skullduggery and a flash of humor? Pair up with Port Charles, where General Hospital excels in both bullets and blade-sharp wit. Fans of J.M. Darhower or Karina Halle might love Sonny Corinthos.



Beautifully Broken

If steamy billionaire erotica is your bag, then you can’t go wrong with The Bold and the Beautiful, where Dollar Bill Spencer burns up the sheets with half the ladies of Los Angeles. This is also where you’ll find some angsty New Adult storylines akin to J. Lynn, Abbi Glines, etc.



Small Town, Big Business

Virgin River. Fool’s Gold. Genoa City. If you like a charming small town brimming with drama, The Young and the Restless is where it’s at. High school sweethearts still carry torches, boardrooms are as hot as bedrooms and Victor Newman makes Mr. Potter from It’s a Wonderful Life look like a saint.

Just One Book: February Reads

This short month was mostly about playing catch-up!

meredithduranFMTI read Jill Sorenson’s excellent, dark and evocative romantic suspense The Edge of Night and Vivian Arend’s sexy paranormal Black Gold, and reread Meredith Duran’s That Scandalous Summer in preparation for Fool Me Twice. And I FINALLY finished George R.R. Martin’s fifth A Song of Ice and Fire book, A Dance With Dragons. Oh my God. It took forever. I felt like I walked from King’s Landing to the Wall. I also dipped into Maggie Shayne’s paranormal backlist and read Twilight Phantasies.

So, my only fabulous 2014 finish for the month was Duran’s Fool Me Twice (out 3/25, historical romance)

I hope March puts me ahead again. I’ve already got two new books in-progress!


Book Who’s Talking: January Reads

I kicked the year off with a nice variety of brand-new reads — and almost forgot to post the rundown. Oops?

JadeTemptressBitter Spirits, by Jenn Bennett (paranormal romance)
Tempered, by Karina Cooper (out 2/10, steampunk/romance, e-book)
Marked, by Lauren Dane, Vivian Arend and Kit Rocha (out 2/10, erotic romance anthology)
A Gentleman ‘Til Midnight, by Alison DeLaine (historical romance)
The Undead Pool, by Kim Harrison (out 2/25, urban fantasy)*
The Jade Temptress, by Jeannie Lin (out 3/1, historical romance, e-book)
Misbehaving, by Tiffany Reisz (out 2/11, erotic romance, e-book)

My backlist adventures this month included the much-touted Nightfall, by Anne Stuart, and I’m now 71% into GRRM’s A Dance With Dragons. Yay! ::throws confetti::

*Be sure to pick up the April issue of RT Book Reviews for my chat with Kim Harrison.


How Do You Solve a Problem Like EJ DiMera?



I’ve recently come back to Days of our Lives after a several-year hiatus. In a sea of new faces, there are still the familiar characters. Jennifer Horton. Hope Brady. Marlena. Sami. My geriatric Greek tycoon boyfriend, Victor Kiriakis. And Elvis “EJ” DiMera. To my dismay, it appears absence has made my heart grow fonder…because I’m having a difficult time holding onto the giant grudge I have against the character.

Make no mistake: I have successfully hated EJ for seven years. Ever since his introduction as a race-car driver/shady character in 2006. It did not matter to me one whit that actor James Scott is tall, dark and handsome. And when EJ raped Sami in a car in exchange for saving Lucas Horton’s life — and then still left Sami and Lucas to die — I was done with him. Of course, the Powers That Be at DAYS were not. And they continued to develop him as the son of legendary villain Stefano DiMera and a leading man…going so far as to have his rape of Sami hand-waved away so the characters could fall in love.

Hell. To. The. No. I’ve said it before: Falling in love with your rapist is a one-trick pony, a gun you only fire once, and daytime’s been there and done that. General Hospital’s Luke and Laura. There is no need to try and recreate that “magic.” EJ and Sami’s “rapemance” is as deplorable as that of OLTL’s Todd and Marty in 2009 and GH’s Carly currently falling in love with the man who engineered her son’s rape and raped her best friend’s wife.  There are some things no amount of retconning (aka “retroactive continuity”) will fix, because viewers don’t forget. You can erase it from the timeline, but you can’t wipe a mind.

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