Monday, November 3, 2008

New Reviews for October

Practical Purposes by Yeva Wiest
My Very Special Agent by Betty Ann Harris
The Mating of Rebekah by Dakota Trace
Djinn by Kathleen Brandt
A Gargoyle for the Hotel Gothica by Ellie Moonwater
Killer Curves by Regina Carlysle
More Bark Than Bite by Melissa Hosak
Angel Land by Victor j. Banis
Practical Purpose by Yeva Wiest
Diamond Wolf by Kat Haeske
Woman in Chains by Bridget Midway

To read these and all the other great reviews on our site, http://www.darkdivareviews.webs.com


Unknown said...

Thank you so much to Jennifer Campbell for reviewing my latest release, WOMAN IN CHAINS through Loose Id. And thanks so much for the great review rating. I do have to clear up some items that Ms. Campbell had issues with within my novel.

First of all, let me start by saying that I am an African-American woman. And I do associate with a local BDSM group and have participated in play parties, demonstrations and munches.

I'm not sure how a BDSM rescue group is in any way, shape or form P.C. It's so not P.C. that it's not even talked about within the BDSM community. The group is essentially dictating what they deem as acceptable levels of abuse for a Dom/Domme's sub or slave, which is like a marriage counselor coming to a couple's house and telling them that there's something wrong with their marriage. I found out about the group through a Dom at Collarme.com.

And I was completely shocked that the reviewer did not even know about the TRUE story of a young African-American woman that was beaten, raped and tortured by 6 white people (men and women) in West Virginia. At the time I wrote WOMAN IN CHAINS, I caught the then breaking news story on CNN and MSNBC and was shocked and horrified. Because this happened, there was no way I could not not make mention of it in my book. Also at the time, the "Horror Dad" incident happened as well. If you don't know about that incident, you really need to look it up. It was like all at once, back-to-back capture-and-bondage cases were happening all over the WORLD, not just in the States.

Here are some videos from the West Virginia case:




So no, I didn't make the story up. As an African-American author with a controversial topic in my book, I didn't think it would be responsible to not acknowledge this story. And also, I DID NOT relate the true West Virginia story as being in any way related to BDSM. I want to make that distinction very, very clear. My hero's anguish over the situation stemmed from the fact that he had her, seemingly, against her will. He hadn't beaten her (spanking is not the same), he hadn't tortured her, and up to that point, he hadn't touched her sexually.

Readers who've read my past work know that what I'm most known for as a writer is writing interracial romances where race is not the issue. When I initially wrote WOMAN IN CHAINS, I did just that. Then my new editor advised that I should acknowledge the racial differences in the book. I fought against the idea because it's not who I am as a writer. However, when I really analyzed the book and remembered the fact that my heroine/sub is a S.A.M. (a smart-ass masochist) and prompts her Doms for abuse, then the only "weapon" she is able to use for both of her Doms (one African-American and the other white) is race. HOWEVER, and it shocks me that the reviewer didn't acknowledge this at all, neither Doms fall for her tricks on using race as an issue, because for neither one of them, it's not an issue. When I made the changes as an author, I became aware of the fact that sometimes you can't bury your head in the sand on certain issues. Whether you think it or say it, it's there.

"This reviewer saw two plot faux pas in the story. One occurs near the beginning as Dak is rescuing Brea from Master Blade and he finds her locked in a wooden drawer under Master Blade’s bed, subjecting her to being burnt alive should there have been a house fire while her Master is away. Dak is outraged at the slave’s exposure to this danger, but Dak himself later leaves his home with Brea locked in a downstairs cell, and this reviewer fails to see the difference between the incidents. If Blade’s actions are wrong, and they are, so too are Dak(')s."

My hero acknowledges his mistake in keeping her locked up when he went out to the store once. Actually, several times in the book, my heroine compares the hero's action to her former Dom, so not sure why this would be an issue to the reviewer. I didn't ignore the similarities. I did point it out myself in the book.

"The second faux pas in this reviewer’s opinion is the tossing in of marriage at the end of the story. In my opinion, Ms. Midway betrayed the BDSM lifestyle and the image of a simple collaring of Brea by Dak, in favor of the more vanilla, but HEA ending. Does she really believe in the principles and practices of D/s relationships, or are they only important as they relates to the vanilla world?"

Potential subs and slaves, marriage can happen within the confines of a BDSM relationship. I've witnessed it personally, a Domme and her sub who have been together for years get married. It is not so out of the norm as the reviewer makes it seem. There is absolutely nothing wrong with tradition within an nontraditional relationship. You can have both. There are lots and lots of Dom/Domme and sub/submissive marriages out there. Either they started as married and decided to explore BDSM or they came together in a BDSM environment and got married for the same reason people in the vanilla world get married: love.

Although I was looking to write a titillating book, one that sparked conversation and debate, I certainly wasn't looking to "...enrage." Again, I do thank you for the review and hope you review my other works.


Jennifer Campbell said...

Okay, clearly we are dancing around the same thing here from widely differing points of view. First of all, I had not heard of the incident, but in truth whether or not it was true or not was not my objection to it being in the book. My objection was that as a reader, and especially a reader not experienced with BDSM as both of us are, the impression one casts by using this incident in a book about the experiences of an African-American sub cannot help but draw the readers mind to the incident so that without actually saying anything you are creating a racial subtone which tends to identify the incident with BDSM in general. I believe I even noted that you did try to keep it as backgound, and I understand that was your intended use, but quite frankly I believe that a large percentage of readers would come away with a wrong impression.

As for your heroine's use of race to bait her Doms, I did not mention it because I did not see it as effecting the main undertone you had already created. In essence, I felt that the two Doms not taking her bait was fairly insignificant in the light of the racial undertone that had already been introduced, almost as if you closed the barn door because you knew the horse was out already.

As far as the safety issue between the two Doms, again I was looking at the impression this behavior would make on a reader inexperienced but curious about BDSM. It again leaves the reader with the impression these things are commonplace in BDSM, which I don't believe to be the case.

I debated a long time whether or not to mention or discuss the marriage issue, and I will say it may have been a mistake to do so, not because I don't believe what I said, but because in doing so I at least partially revealed the book's ending.

Personally, I go out of my way to avoid HEA endings to my stories, as I do not see them as realistic to the lifestyle. I am completely aware that marriages exist within the lifestyle, but in getting into the lifestyle a sub needs to accept the principles of submission, and align oneself to the service of a Master or Dom, before one moves to marriage. This is why I felt your ending was a bit of an HEA grab, because your action pertaining to punishments was gritty and real.

Was "enrage" too strong a word? Perhaps, but my teeth were gritting at times, however, I didn't put it down which is a good thing. It is a good story, which I would have loved without the sensationalism.

I hope I have given you some inkling of my thought process and reasons for say what I did. I don't expect you to agree with me, just understand my point of view.

Jen Campbell

Jade Twilight said...

Bridget & Jen- Thank you both for posting your views. I think you've stated your cases very well and now we need to let the readers decide.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Jade.

Yes, readers, please read the book and judge for yourself. A reviewer who proclaims she stays away from books, in general, with Happily Ever After endings clearly should have NOT reviewed an erotic ROMANCE, which is what my book is and how I presented it, BDSM or not. It's like a reviewer not liking historicals, reviewing one and in the review say, "It was a good story. I just wished it was more contemporary."

And, Jennifer, I do understand your point of view. This is why I felt the need to clarify several things you said that were not accurate or even fair.