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Is Tonya Kinzer The Boss’s Pet?

I’d like to welcome Tonya Kinzer to A Hopeful Romantic today to tell us a little bit about herself and her hot new series, The Boss’s Pet. Welcome Tonya.

KD:  For the readers out there who might not know about you or your work, can you please tell them a little about yourself.

Tonya:  First, thank you so much for having me today so I can chat with your readers, too.  I’ve been writing for years, but only last year decided to put it ‘out there’.  I love that the erotic genre can go almost anywhere so the field is wide open and any topic is ‘up’ for discussion. I’m married and hubby and I have two Siamese cats who keep us entertained. That is, when we’re home long enough to spend time with them. We own our own business so that keeps us at the office, where I also write or take to the net when I’m not ‘working’ at my day job even though I’m AT my day job. Is that bad?? I’m a techie, love working with photo shop, creating covers, back grounds, book marks, etc…comes along with also knowing a bit about networks, servers and techie stuff.

KD:  Can you tell us a little about your current release?

Tonya:  I wrote The Boss’s Pet years ago for hubby because he IS my boss at the office, I suppose, and this just fit us so well. He also introduced me into the world of bondage, per se, and I learn a little more every day.  I’ve also learned, from listening to friends, that women tend to think of themselves last, whether it’s regarding family or their love life. They satisfy their partner, yet don’t get the same in return, nor do they ask to be satisfied when they are just as horny as their man! Why is this? If someone can enlighten me, I’d love to discuss this because I just don’t understand why they allow that to happen and end up frustrated. Now I’m off on a tangent….sorry!

KD:   The publishing industry is constantly changing; do you think that e-books will one day replace print?

Tonya:  I don’t think paperbacks will ever be non-existent but e-books are flooding the market because it’s another item we can have instantly and let’s face it, that is what our society has become accustomed to… ‘I want it NOW!’  So, as long as I can stay abreast of what’s happening out there and what our readers want, I plan to stay current with the needs of my readers and …. What we write is what they want!

KD:  Which do you prefer…e-books or print?

Tonya:  I prefer paperback but I do have to admit, the racy covers we produce are probably best downloaded to my Nook! Regarding the historical/contemporary romances, I prefer the good ol’ paperback!

KD:  How do you choose the topics for your stories?

Tonya:  I choose things that I like to read about and topics that curl my toes. Maybe some scenes are even things I’ve not experienced, but hope the research has provided me with enough information that the reader becomes part of the scene and hence, doesn’t realize that I’ve NOT experienced some of what I write.  If I may borrow a line…those who write murder mystery/thrillers have not killed, yet that is what THEY write about.

KD:  Tell us something readers might be surprised to know about you.

Tonya:  …….I’m your neighbor or the sweetheart next door that you’d NEVER suspect  would write erotic romance that makes you seep into your panties!

KD:  What do you think is most important in creating a character?

Tonya:  The more real we can make our characters, the more the reader will relate to them. They have to be so human-like that the reader would want to be their best friend, flaw or no flaw. Not all the characters are going to be size two because the majority of the world isn’t size two, although maybe it’d be nice to be that size for week just because…and I’m NOT a size two!  I like to show that my characters exercise and try to stay in shape, but they also like to eat and drink. Being in shape doesn’t just happen, one has to work at it; some are obsessive, another flaw, because they don’t want others to see them as not being in control. So, do the readers think being submissive is being in control? *wink*  If we weren’t actually in control, would our Masters be able to do what they do with us…because we are allowing it?  I’d call that being in control. That’s a post for another day!

KD:  What is the biggest misconception you think people have about erotic authors?

Tonya:  Those who have misconceptions don’t read erotic romance. Our readers don’t have misconceptions about us, other than to perhaps assume we’ve done EVERYTHING we write about. Not true! Then again, that may be the biggest turn on for some of having their fantasy that we’ve done it all.

KD:  What’s your guilty pleasure (if any)?

Tonya:  I LOVE dark chocolate, does that count? Dark chocolate truffles, Lindt, Godiva…mmmmm! Oh, and dark chocolate syrup! *wicked laugh*

KD:  What do you like best about being an author?

Tonya:  I love creating a world of pleasure, of characters that readers want to know more about and I hope I can make them beg for more of those characters. I like to make it possible for some to experience a new sexual act that they’ve not had a chance to try yet. When they get up the courage to discuss it with their partner then also ask for that to be done to them! Spreading chocolate syrup in places you were taught it doesn’t go…..is not all bad. Change your frame of mind. Be not afraid…how can you experience love when you’re afraid to take what you want. Perhaps your partner is dreaming of that day….make it happen!

KD:  What are you currently reading?

Tonya:  I recently finished Best Lover in Town by Brenda Woody and Steve Tindle, friends of mine that I met on the net and now we chat quite a bit. BLT is a hot read so be prepared. Their newest release, Temptation Triggers, is now out and I truly think it will be better than their first book. They write as a team and are fun to talk with. Currently, I’m reading Hour of the Lion by Cherise Sinclair, another fantastic author!

KD:  What do you think sets your stories apart from other authors?

Tonya:  I don’t think my books will be so much set apart from others, but will fit nicely in your library alongside books of the same type. I write about soft bondage, restraints, training, anal play, BDSM, but I don’t think you’ll ever find severe torture or needless pain in my books; I’m just not into that kind of thing.

KD:  Could you give us a little teaser of some of your work?

Tonya:  I’d love to share a few paragraphs of book one, The Boss’s Pet: The Contract, which is the ‘prequel’ to Office Training Goes Home. I wanted my readers to know more about Sondra and Nick if I expect them to continue reading the series I have planned for these two characters. Nick will be taking Sondra deeper into the world of a Dom/sub relationship so please stay tuned! I released book three, Sharing Among Friends, on June 22.

Book 1 – The Contract, BLURB:   Turning her in his arms, he wanted to see all of her. “You’re gorgeous, Sondra.” At the same time, she began to unbuckle his belt and loosen his slacks until they fell at his feet. His black thong matched hers but for the protrusion in the front. Sondra’s hand moved down his shaft and her nails lightly dug into the boys with a firm grip. “Be careful, woman, danger lies there.”

“I think I can handle danger…it’s the after effects that might be hard to deal with.”

“I think you might have a few tension knots in your back and shoulders that we need to tend to first. Spread out your towels at the edge of the bed and lay on your stomach for me.”

Watching her in the dim light churned his needs. Sensuous curves begged to be caressed. She pulled one of her pillows to place on the bed where her stomach would be then spread out the towels along the edge of the bed, twisted her hair and put in the clip, then seductively lay on her stomach for him. Immediately Nick thought of his tie in the other room. “Don’t move I’ll be right back, just close your eyes and relax.”

Back in her bedroom, Nick looped his tie around his neck then ran his hands up Sondra’s back, over her shoulders and down her arms. “Move your arms up over your head. I can get to the muscles better.”

Without hesitation, her arms rested on the bed above her head and Nick’s shaft hardened even more as he laid her wrists over one another then very lightly tied them together with his tie. A satisfied moan slipped from her throat letting him know she was okay with it. Visions of what he could do to her in the future filtered through his mind, seeing her tied and helpless while he explored her tender body. Taking it slow with her would gently introduce her to his lifestyle.

He grabbed the bottle of oil and straddled her thighs. Pouring oil into his palm, he pressed down the squirt tip, dropped it on the bed and rubbed his hands together over her back, allowing a few drops on her skin. The scent of eucalyptus and lavender filled his senses; he would forever associate this scent with Sondra. Lightly his hands touched her back then firmly moved up her spine to her shoulders, feeling for knots and smoothing them out one at a time. The softness of her skin tortured his senses; he wanted inside her so bad he could taste it. Tasting her would be his next move but knew he had to take his time. His fingers moved to her sides as his thumbs moved along her spine, massaging the firm muscles of her well toned back. The soft flesh of her breasts touched his finger tips and he pressed firmly there, too.

Then her back arched inward, pressing her pelvis into the pillows as she moaned again. A quick intake of breath filled Nick’s lungs. Her pleasure was in his hands and he was prepared to take her to the edge. Spreading the oil lower on her back, he rubbed it in along her hips before moving up and over her cheeks. The bottle of oil dribbled as he poured more in his palm, letting it drip into the crack of her ass and watched as the drops of oil slid lower toward her woman’s center. He dropped a few more as they slid to join the rest of the oil and imagined exactly where it was settling. Warming the rest of the oil in his hand, he then placed them directly on the cheeks, taking her flesh between his thumbs and fingers, massaging, swirling the oil over her skin, pressing up, then down. Nick moved her cheeks a bit wider apart then moved a thumb slowly through down the crack and back up, taking each cheek and massaging, pulling them apart  so he could peek then holding her open for a few seconds before continuing. Her pink rosebud winked at him more than once. He couldn’t resist holder her open with one hand while his fingers oiled the bud, barely touching as his fingers moved over her.

Sondra squirmed a bit but only to separate her legs which surprised and thrilled Nick. Never missing an offered opportunity, Nick touched her bud and pressed ever so slightly then pushed more, up to his first knuckle. Out came his finger for more oil and then he pressed in again.

“Oh Nick…..mmmm”

“It’s okay, pet….I’ll go slow but let me show you how much pleasure this will bring you. Trust me here…just relax…” Grabbing the oil again, he lifted the squirt tip and a few more drops landed directly on her bud and his finger push it in…ever so slowly…past his first knuckle and he swirled his fingertip around, feeling her tighten then relax. He pushed further and slowly swirled more before moving his finger in and out, getting a slow rhythm going. Kneeling beside her now, without removing his hand, his other fingers slipped lower and entered her through the silky juices there and her body responded. Her hips moved and squirmed as his fingers went deeper, swirling in both places until Sondra struggled to move her hands.

*****

KD:  As a writer, what is the best advice you were ever given?

Tonya:  The best advice came from one of my critique partners years ago…use all five senses, always. The reader needs to be able to smell what the character smells, feel what the character touches, taste what the character eats….or licks! *wink*

KD:  Any advice for new writers out there?

Tonya:  Your writing should not read like an instruction manual! It has to flow and be natural, not short choppy sentences. Read your work out loud. If the flow isn’t there, it won’t be for the reader either. Dialogue is not an enemy; allow your characters to communicate. Let the reader feel what your characters feel so the emotion is in the writing.

KD:  Where can readers find out more about you and your work?

Tonya:  M website is listed below; I love visitors and to hear from readers. Don’t be afraid to sign my guestbook! My day job at the office keeps me very busy but I do squeeze in time to write.  Please visit my Facebook, Twitter and now my Fan Page. My work is available for download at All Romance E-books (a great reader’s site!), Smashwords, on Nook at Barnes and Noble, and a few other sites out there.  I love doing techie stuff like my covers, websites, book marks, book trailers, formatting my work for various formats and I do self publish, but that’s not to say I won’t one day send a submission to a publisher.

Tonya’s Bio

 Tonya Kinzer writes erotic romance for readers who love to become a silent character within the story! You will be pulled into scenes to partake of the activities, to feel what her characters feel and taste what they taste…strong sexual desires! Be prepared to enter a world you’ll not want to leave and can’t wait to get back to. Their future holds new submissives and demanding Doms.

Her series, The Boss’s Pet, will take you on a journey alongside Nick and Sondra as they venture into a lifestyle that pulls them deeper into a world of sensuality and submission. You’ll not want to miss any of the books in this series so stay locked on her website to know when the next books get released.

B00k 1 – The Contract

B00k 2 – Office Training 

Book 3 – Sharing Among Friends

B00k 4 –  Out in Oct

 

Buy Links

B & N:  http://tinyurl.com/6cgprjf

Amazon:  http://tinyurl.com/3fetwfq

All Romance & OmniLit:  http://www.omnilit.com/category237.html

SmashWords:  http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/tonyakinzer

 

Site Links

Blog Site:  http://tonyakinzer.blogspot.com

Website:  http://tonyakinzer.com

FB Fan Page:  http://tinyurl.com/4sh37tk

FaceBook:  http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_163160073732655&ap=1

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/tonyakinzer

IAN:  http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/tonya-kinzer.html

Author’s Den:  http://www.authorsden.com/tonyakinzer

Manic Readers:  http://www.manicreaders.com/TonyaKinzer/

BookBuzzr:  http://www.freado.com/users/26001/tonya-kinzer (Read Ch 1 of each book here)

Book Trailer: YouTube:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HykMSl9FYvY

Thanks for stopping by A Hopeful Romantic, Tonya, and best of luck with The Boss’s Pet series.

 

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Mitzi Szereto Uncovers Hidden Lust

I’m very excited to have the fabulous Mitzi Szereto as my guest on A Hopeful Romantic.  I met Mitzi five years ago at one of her erotic writing courses on the Isle of Wight. That course and Mitzi’s enthusiasm for good erotica inspired me to put my work out there, so I feel especially honoured to talk with her about all things erotic, and especially her new novel, Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts.

KD: Even when I first met you, five years ago, you were all about improving the quality and respectability of erotica, bringing it down from the top shelf, as it were. Do you think quality has improved? In what ways? And if so, why do you think that is?

Mitzi: A lot of publishers have been jumping on the bandwagon, starting up erotic imprints, particularly in the area of romance, so this has definitely pushed the genre more into the mainstream. Having said that, although erotica per se has mostly come off the top shelf, a lot of it is still rather top shelf in spirit and still being geared toward the one-handed reader. It’s always been my view that this is very limiting to writers as well as to readers. When you are writing only in this way, you aren’t going to have a lot of substance in the work. The writing should engage a reader on many levels, not just one. You can write something erotic, yet still offer a satisfying and fully developed reading experience. The way I see it, if you’re going to the trouble to write, then write something that has some value to it, not some fluffy piece of nonsense that the reader won’t remember five seconds after they’ve finished reading it.

KD: You say that you don’t write ero­tica just for women, but that you write for both sexes. Is erotica becoming less gender-specific? Would you consciously write differently if you were writing erotica just for women, or just for men?

Mitzi: I don’t ever want to be labelled as writing for a single gender. I hate labels of any sort, as most people know. To answer your question, erotica is becoming more gender specific, not less. The women’s erotica market is and has been getting a big push from publishers, especially with the whole romance thing happening now. I guess they figure men aren’t interested in romance. As for my changing how I write, be it consciously or unconsciously, I very much doubt it would be any different. Besides, I don’t write in the same way all the time anyway. If I did, I’d bore myself, and probably my readers!

KD:  As erotica becomes more mainstream, have you noticed any major changes?

Mitzi: It’s sort of twofold really. At one point I thought we were finally moving toward a more literary direction, but that seems to have reversed itself. Having said that, the genre itself is, as you say, definitely going more mainstream. This is being helped by the fact that, as I mentioned earlier, a lot of romance publishers have started up erotic romance imprints. But the literary element seems to have become lost in the fray. The trend in a lot of erotica seems to be fluff rather than substance. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with light reading, but if it gets any lighter these books will float away on the slightest breeze.

KD: In our correspondence leading to this interview you said what you really wanted to emphasise is that your new novel Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts is not just some “sexed-up Austen.” That’s been done. You said the book is really a historical parody with lots of sex, and probably has more in common with the Zombies book. How could I not be totally intrigued by that statement? Tell us more.

Mitzi:  Well, it’s pretty self-explanatory really. I took the characters in all sorts of random and crazy directions, and created all manner of scenarios for them. There’s a lot of humour in the book, much as there is in the Zombies versions. I doubt you’ll find much humour in a straightforward sexed-up version of P&P or one of the romance versions. What I loved about the Zombies books is that they really take the Mick and have fun with the story, and that’s what I wanted to do – I wanted to go way over the top. But rather than do so with zombies, I’ve done it with sex. Jane Austen was a satirist, and I wanted to take her sense of satire and run with it. My naysayers (none of whom appear to have actually read my book) want to dismiss Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts as just some porn version of the Austen classic. Well, I dispute this criticism and find it laughable. For one thing, these people have never read any real porn, because if they had, they’d know my book is definitely not porn. Secondly, there are just so many other things going on that you get a far broader reading experience. Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts is pure entertainment: it’s outrageous. it’s funny, it’s quirky, and it’s got a lot of sex in it. What more can I say? I had a blast writing it, and I hope readers will have a blast reading it!

KD: Why Pride and Prejudice? What inspired you to choose that story over others?

Mitzi: It’s Jane Austen’s most popular novel, and the one that just about everyone is familiar with, even if they’ve never read it. There have been many film adaptations made of it, and the recent mashups featuring zombies have really put the book back on the map. It seemed like the most obvious way to go. Taking the familiar and reworking it into something new is good fun for a writer.

KD: Archetypal stories, fairy tales and myths lend themselves to sexy retellings, and you’ve definitely proved that in your book, In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales. Why do you think that is? Why do we want to sex up fairy tales and myths, and indeed, Jane Austen?

Mitzi: Well, as I just said, it’s great fun for a writer to take a work that everyone knows and create something new with it. That’s what I did with the fairy tales. And Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts is a continuation of this. Whether it’s adding a sexual element or any other kind of element – I don’t think it really matters. Many authors have taken pre-existing works and made something new out of them. However, if you want to focus specifically on the sexual element, then we should bear in mind that many fairy tales were morality tales used as a means to warn young girls away from sex. “Little Red Riding Hood” is the most obvious example. Sex was often a back story, albeit discreetly hidden. Same too, for myths (although the sexual element was less hidden). So writers who retell these pre-existing tales by incorporating sex into them are not necessarily corrupting them at all. I found that out when I researched and wrote the introductions for the tales I selected for In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed. You’d be surprised what was in the originals, not to mention just how far back these “originals” go. As for Jane Austen, hey, why not?

KD:  You discussed in an interview the fact that erotica is much more highly regulated than other genres. You went on to say that while there are warnings at the beginnings of erotic novels that readers should practice safe sex, no one would think of putting warnings inside an Ed McBain novel telling readers they shouldn’t murder anyone. Could you discuss how you see the relationship between the stringent regulation of erotica and its ‘dumbing down?’

Mitzi: I’ve only seen this kind of dumbing down from UK publishers. Not sure if any US ones do it as well (not to my knowledge anyway). The now-defunct Black Lace had a “practice safe sex” disclaimer in all their books, as have other UK imprints. It’s insulting to the reader, not to mention ridiculous and unnecessary. The problem lies in this whole ghetto-isation of “erotica,” in that it’s made to seem as if it somehow lies outside of literature, the genre from the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak. I suppose the problem also lies in the assumption that anything labelled “erotica” or “erotic fiction” is nothing but a sex aid and/or a masturbatory tool. (Okay, so perhaps some of it is, but some of it actually has some substance and intelligence to it, and is not aimed at one-handed readers.) Considering the explicitness of the sex scenes in a lot of so-called mainstream fiction, this is literary hypocrisy, indeed. You can get away with a slew of things in mainstream fiction, but any kind of suspect content is unlikely to see the light of day in anything labelled “erotica.” I guess readers of erotica are considered so brainless that they’re going to go out and commit all sorts of terrible sexual deeds or spread terrible sexual diseases because they read an “erotica” book. If that’s the case, then we need to label every book being published with a disclaimer, ie violence, crime, humour, romance, etc. I mean, too much romance reading might not be good for you and could cause you to go out and fall in love. And who knows where that might lead? Perhaps stalking, and then murder.

KD: From a literary point of view, and as a teacher of writing courses, in your opinion, how much does a well-written sex scene enhance a story? Does it enhance a story? If so, in what ways?

Mitzi: It enhances a story if it’s a necessary part of the story or an integral scene; it’s a way of bringing the human experience home to the reader. However, if there’s no rhyme or reason to have a sex scene, then there probably shouldn’t be one. The scene should be seamless with the other writing; it should not stick out or be out of place. And yes, it should be well written and written in the same style as the rest of the work. I mean, if you’re writing something highly literary, then for god’s sake, don’t write a sex scene that reads like cheap porn. Unfortunately, a lot of writers just can’t seem to manage this, which is why the Guardian has the Bad Sex in Fiction Award.

KD: Marketing and PR now play as much a part in my writing career as writing. I’m sure most of us struggling to get as much attention for our babies as possible would probably say that. As one of the goddesses of social media with Mitzi TV and with a huge online presence I’m sure we’d all love to hear any advice you have.

Mitzi: Well, be prepared to give up your life and put in a lot of hours. There are no shortcuts. Oh, you can always hire some publicity person to do the job (if you can afford it), but I bet you anything they aren’t going to put in all the effort and hard work that you would put in. After all, who cares more about your work than you do? Paying someone good money doesn’t mean you’ll get great results. You need to really work at this. And it’s not an overnight thing. You have to develop your following as well as develop your contacts – and keep at it every day. You need to live on the Internet 24/7. If you’re the sort of person who always needs to have others around or has to be out and about a lot, then you’d probably better forget it. And if you have a “day job,” your time will be even more limited. So you have to decide to spend those hours you’re not spending working for someone else working for you.

KD: With marketing and PR playing such a major role in your life, along with teaching, lecturing and doing readings, the obvious question becomes, when do you find time to write? Any suggestions for the rest of us on making the best of our writing time?

Mitzi: That’s the hard part, you got that right. It is quite difficult, but if I’m working to a deadline, I somehow manage to find the time. Unfortunately, when you’ve got several viable ideas that you’re trying to develop, it becomes quite difficult. I doubt I can offer much advice to others who are being pulled in a dozen different directions. I keep saying I need to clone myself. I think that’s the only option, at this point.

KD: What inspires you?

Mitzi: That’s hard to say. If you’re talking about my writing, there is no single thing that inspires me. My inspiration comes randomly and there’s no pattern to it.

KD:  What has been your most exciting moment in the history of Mitzi Szereto?

Mitzi: I honestly don’t know. Maybe it hasn’t happened yet.

KD: As one transplant from the US to another, do you think the general view of erotica is different in the UK than the US? If so how?

Mitzi: I think it is, yes. There still seems to be this wink wink, nudge nudge thing going on in the UK. I guess it’s because the majority of erotica published in the UK has traditionally been of the top-shelf mass-market variety, with those really over the top rude covers. They aren’t even trying to attract a more mainstream audience, ergo there’s more of a perception that anything labelled “erotica” is pretty much going to be porn. The US mentality is slightly different, which is probably due to the fact that many US publishers package their books with more mainstream appeal. And now with all the romance imprints jumping into the market (again, mostly US publishers), it’s moving more so away from that top-shelf mentality.

KD:After Pride and Prejudice, Hidden Lusts, What next?

Mitzi: I have another book coming out practically on the heels of PPHL — Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance. It’s an anthology inspired by the Gothic literary tradition. It features short stories from a number of authors, myself included. Think paranormal with a ton of atmosphere, sensuality and a bit of romance to add additional flavour. I also have several other projects in various stages of development. Other than that, I keep my blog going (Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog), along with my Web TV channel Mitzi TV, which covers the quirky side of London. I still do appearances at literature festivals, with the next one being at Warwick Words in October, where I’ll be teaching one of my erotic writing workshops.

Links:

Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts website: http://mitziszereto.com/prideandprejudicehiddenlusts/

Excerpt:http://mitziszereto.com/prideandprejudicehiddenlusts/excerpt/

Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog: http://mitziszereto.com/blog

Mitzi TV: http://mitziszereto.com/tv

Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mitzi-Szereto/24537936152

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/mitziszereto

Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance: http://mitziszereto.com/redvelvetandabsinthe/

 

Thank you, Mitzi! It was fantastic to have you as my guest on A Hopeful Romantic. Best of luck with Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts and with Red Velvet and Absinthe.

 

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Dr Dick Talks About Sexuality and Spirituality and His Eye-Opening New Book Part 2

 

Welcome to part two of my interview with the amazing Reverend Richard Wagner, better known to a lot of us as Dr Dick from Dr Dick’s Sex Advice With an Edge and his fabulous series of podcasts, ‘The Erotic Mind.’ Last week we talked about his gripping new book, ‘Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church.’  This week, we’ll be talking about the split between spirituality and sexuality. Welcome back, Dr Dick!

KD: The split between spirituality and sexuality that exists in most people who have grown up in a society influenced by the Judeo-Christian mindset is different from the split between spirituality and sexuality in religious institutions, the split that played a major role in the loss of your priesthood. Do you think that institutional split will ever heal? Do you think institutional spirituality, for lack of a better way of putting it, will ever be reconciled with human sexuality as the vibrant creative force that it is rather than seeing it as a danger to be controlled?

DD: No, I don’t think there is a fundamental difference between the cultural and the institutional split.  One reflects and supports the other.

Will the split ever heal?  Yes!  Every person who works to heal the needless and artificial divide in him/herself brings all of us that much closer to a cultural and religious rejuvenation.  In the end, this is the work of individuals.  It is not the work of institutions.

KD: On a personal level, I feel that my writing of erotica, and my blog are, in a lot of ways, my attempt to facilitate the healing of that split. I suspect your work as a sexologist and with your fabulous website and podcasts, among other things are your attempt to do the same. How has it helped? Where do you hope it will ultimately lead?

DD: It’s true; my websites and podcasts are vehicles for me to promote the “gospel” of the reintegration of sexuality and spirituality.  I firmly believe that promoting one without the other is not optimum.  It’s like trying to walk with one leg instead of using two.

I’d heard from numerous visitors to my sites over the years who have told me they finally get it.  This kind of feedback is both heartwarming and invigorating.

KD: You’ve been immersed in both theology and the study of human sexuality in a deeper, more intellectual way than most of us will ever be, and I’m curious to know, theologically and sexually, why do you think that split ultimately happened?

DD:  It happened because disjointed people are much easier to manipulate. Just like it’s easier to topple a man standing on one leg than it is to topple one standing firmly on both of his legs.

For the most part, organized religion and the popular culture are all about exploiting people. Religion tells us that it holds the only key to spiritual enlightenment.  Our culture tries to keep us sexuality frustrated so it can use sex to sell us products and services.  Both, I believe, are cynical means of control.

People who are whole; those who have an integrated sense of self, who have reconnected their sexuality and spirituality are not so easy manipulated.  Church leaders and cultural despots know this and so they try to keep us off balance and disoriented.

KD: It occurs to me that some people might find it a bit strange to discuss spirituality and sexuality together at all, let alone consider that the two are both halves of the same whole. How would you explain that false dichotomy to someone who has never considered how the two might fit together?

DD: A dichotomy only persists for those who’ve never tried to rejoin these two fundamental aspects of self.  The concept of reintegration is foreign to them.  And since there is precious little in organized religion or the popular culture that would support a quest to heal the disconnect; they think being disjointed is ‘normal”.  It’s like a caged animal who only knows the inside of its cage; in time that cage becomes all the world to the animal.

I contend that if these two aspects of ourselves didn’t belong together, there wouldn’t be such a virulent push back from the powers that be when we try to reassemble ourselves.  Wholeness, after all, is power.

KD: Ultimately, what do you hope your book, and the journey that led you to write it will lead to, for yourself and for others? Did you see it when you wrote it as a tool to help others or a warning, or something else entirely?

DD: It was cathartic for me to tell my story.  And I am so delighted that it has finally been published.  If it helps anyone else in his/her personal journey, that will be gravy.  That being said, my story does concern itself with at least one universal for us all — establishing and maintaining our personal integrity.  I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced at lest some of that in his/her life.

DD: The book feels like the closing of a long and painful chapter in your life. What’s next for all the people living inside Richard Wagner’s skin? Where do you think the journey will lead next? Where would you like it to lead?

A nap for sure!

Honestly, there’s no grand plan.  I’m happy to continue to put one foot in front of the other on my journey, and try to be aware of things as they reveal themselves to me.  Frankly, I have no idea where I’m going or what the fates have in store for me.   I guess not knowing is part of the adventure.  I’m trying to embrace that philosophy of life and make it my own.

That being said, I am working on a follow-up book detailing the sexual molestation I endured at the hands of my Oblate superior while a 14-year-old seminarian in Southern Illinois.  And how all the religious superiors I told about these incidences did nothing.  The book will investigate the psychological and emotional trauma of clergy sex abuse and its impact on the psychosexual development of abuse victims.

KD: What a pleasure to have you here on A Hopeful Romantic, Dr Dick! For every question I asked, and every answer you gave, I could have asked ten more. Best of luck with your book, and as always with you fabulous website, podcasts, counseling, and all of the many other things you do! You truly are an inspiration.

Places you can find Dr Dick/ Richard Wagner

 

 

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Dr Dick Talks About Sexuality and Spirituality and His Eye-Opening New Book Part 1

I’m very excited to have Rev. Richard Wagner with me today for the first in a two part interview. A lot of you out there will know him as Dr Dick from his fabulous website, Sex Advice with an Edge, but this man has more layers than a wedding cake and every one of them is totally fascinating. Welcome, Richard Wagner!

KD: I know you as Dr. Dick, who interviewed me on your fabulous Erotic Mind podcast series. When we did the podcasts, I was scared to death, having never done anything like that before, and you put me at ease and made it so much fun. I love your podcasts, and your website, and I’ve found several of your essays on the Catholic Church and sexuality to be fascinating. But I have to admit, it seems strange for me to think of you as Richard or Reverend Wagner, and I can’t imagine you as Father Wagner. You’ve worn lots of hats in your life, and as I read your book, Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church: The Systematic Destruction of an Oblate Priest, I am reminded just how different those hats are. Tell us about the people Richard Wagner is, and tell us how do all of those people you are live comfortably together in the same skin?

DD: Wait, are you telling me I don’t have multiple personality disorder after all?

I’m getting a lot of that same reaction from people who have known me as one or another of my “personalities”.  But the remarkable thing is that I’ve never experienced any disconnect between, Fr. Wagner, Richard Wagner, therapist and Dr Dick.  I suppose that’s a good thing.  Imagine if I had difficulty making room for all these personas in my skin.

The truth of the matter is that I am all these “personalities” and there is virtually no distinction between them.  I suppose they reflect, as you suggest, different hats I’ve worn over the years, but the hats fit on the same head.  Curiously enough, each “personality” compliments and infuses the others.  I honestly couldn’t be Dr Dick if I weren’t also Richard Wagner and Fr. Wagner.

Besides my sometimes biting humor when it comes to human sexuality, as evidenced daily on Dr Dick’s Sex Advice, there is also an abiding sense of reverence for our capacities to express ourselves sexually.  And I am painfully aware of how short a time we all actually have to explore this gift before our life is over.

KD: The events that ultimately led you from being an Oblate priest in the Roman Catholic Church to doing the wonderful, though extremely different work you do now are an astonishing example of the power of a religious institution to crush anything it considers harmful to itself, whether that threat is real or imagined. They are also the events that led ultimately to the publishing of your book. I know this is a bit like asking you to bring me the ocean in a teacup, but could you tell us briefly what happened.

DD: My book tells the story of my dismissal from The Oblates of Mary Immaculate; a Catholic missionary order based in Rome.  My association with the Oblates began at the age of fourteen as seminarian in 1963 and I was ordained an Oblate priest in Oakland, California in 1975.  In 1978, The Oblates formally assigned me to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical sexology at the Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality, a postgraduate school in San Francisco.  For my dissertation, I chose to study the behaviors and attitudes of gay Catholic priests in the active ministry.  The study, titled Gay Catholic Priests: A Study of Cognitive and Affective Dissonance, was completed in 1981. I was awarded my doctorate the same year.  With that I became the first Roman Catholic priest in the world to hold an advanced degree in clinical sexology.  To this day, I remain the only one.

To my great surprise, and then alarm, I became an overnight media sensation, attracting attention throughout the U.S. and even abroad. Instead of focusing on my research and its results, the sole object of interest became my own personal identity as a priest and gay man.  Nothing else mattered, all context was drowned out, all rational discussion quashed, and what had begun as a story about my work was instantly transformed into a full time red-meat scandal.  What followed was a shock that altered my entire life.  Within a matter of months, the Oblate Superior General in Rome contacted my provincial superior in Oakland and demanded my immediate resignation from the Oblates.  Either that, he warned, or dismissal proceedings would be brought against me.

 

KD:  I still find it difficult to know what to say in response to such an experience, other than how pleased I am that out of your ‘Dark Night of the Soul’ something as eye-opening and truly ground-breaking as your book could come. Could you tell us about your book, Secrecy, Sophistry and Gay Sex In The Catholic Church: The Systematic Destruction of an Oblate Priest, What inspired you, ultimately to write down everything that happened to you? I also know that it was a rough journey to actually get it published. What happened?

DD: The book is in two parts.

Since I wouldn’t resign my priesthood; I contend I did nothing wrong, my community moved to dismiss me.  The first part of my book narrates the dismissal process that lasted for an agonizing thirteen years, until the final decree of separation was issued on May 13, 1994.  What happened to me was unconscionable and I wanted my brother Oblates to know that.  So I wrote my defense as an open letter to them.

It is a lengthy letter reviewing the entire convoluted process leading up to my formal separation, and demanding from my brothers some form of acknowledgment and restitution for the hardships imposed on me.   The letter is a fully documented history based on the years of correspondence between me and the successive Oblate administrations with which I had to deal.

As such, it throws a unique light on the internal workings of the Catholic Church and on the typical methods that church officials employ to suppress compromising truths, to exonerate themselves of wrong-doing, and to punish anyone who dares to draw into the open the institution’s interior secrets.  It shows how the church silences and hustles out of sight anyone who dares to speak out.  It is a sad and disturbing account of corporate malfeasance, canonical corruption, and institutionalized homophobia on a massive scale.

The second part of the book is my complete doctoral dissertation. Soon after the controversy with the Oblates began I learned I was being silenced by Rome.  I realized that if I didn’t get at lest a few copies my dissertation out before the order from the Vatican arrived it would have never seen the light of day. So apart from a small run of photocopies made available in a hurried arrangement in 1981 very few people have ever seen my research.

So this is the first time that my thesis has been made available to the public at large.  It remains the only large-sample study ever conducted of the sexual behaviors and attitudes of Catholic priests in active ministry, and my sample were all gay men by design.  While some may consider the sample of fifty participants to be small, it is in fact quite large given the hiddenness of the target population.  As the narrative portion of my study makes plain, the tools of intimidation and control that church authorities routinely employ to keep gay clergy silent and invisible are extremely effective, even in the case of one as prepared as I was to fight against them.

Wardell Pomeroy, my doctoral supervisor, was astonished not only by the size of my sample but also by the candor, depth, and thoroughness of the participants’ responses.  During all the years that he worked with Alfred Kinsey on the monumental Kinsey Reports—a project that involved literally thousands of participants—only two or three priests were interviewed.  What’s more, the sexual behaviors of these men were not specifically linked to their vocations but were simply folded into the study’s general statistical results.

The only reason I was able to obtain my sample was because I was a gay priest and I had extensive contacts in the informal network of gay clergy that exists throughout the U.S.  My sample’s size and the insights it provides into the behaviors and attitudes of gay clergy are still without rival as a primary source on the subject.

And if you’ve just taken the time to read through all of that, you’ll understand why it was so difficult to find a publisher.  Some publishers wouldn’t touch the manuscript because they feared reprisals from the Catholic Church.  Other publishers thought the subject matter was presented in to scholarly form.

KD: When we skyped before we did The Erotic Mind podcasts, we discovered that we had a lot in common in that our spiritual journeys had led us in directions we never could have imagined. We both felt that our journeys were about healing the split between spirituality and sexuality. Do you feel writing a book documenting the events that led you to where you are now has helped to heal that split? Do you think it may help others?

DD: Yes to both your questions.

As you know, I believe there is a needless and a very artificial separation between sexuality and spirituality in western culture.  When I first came out as a gay priest I was absolutely convinced that I had something unique to add to the conversations we, as a culture and we as a church, were having about both of these fundamental human concerns.  I believed then, as I do now, that no one will ever find sexual and spiritual peace until he/she reunites these two concepts within themselves.  They should never have been rent asunder in the first place.

The publication of my book has helped me do that for myself, and it just might provide a template for others who are trying to reconnect sex and spirituality in their lives.

KD: Dr Dick and I will be discussing that fascinating and all-important link between spirituality and sexuality in more detail next week. Same time, same place. Don’t miss out on Part 2 of my interview with this multi-faceted, fascinating man. In the meantime, here’s where you can find Dr Dick/ Richard Wagner /Fr Wagner and buy his amazing book.

Places you can find Dr Dick/ Richard Wagner

 

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Poetry, Smut, and Humour: Interview with Mel Jones

KD: I have the pleasure of interviewing Poetess Extraordinaire, Mel Jones, today. Mel is a woman who not only writes bawdy, funny, sometimes moving and thought-provoking poems, but also performs them live. And the amazing thing about Mel – well, one of many amazing things – is that she discovered this passion later in life.

Mel, how did you come to poetry, and what took you so long to get there?

MEL: I am the youngest of four .There weren’t many roles left to fill. I became the helper. This followed me into adult life and I lived through helping others. Plus I had the usual female disease of discounting anything I did and any talents that I had. I didn’t know that making people laugh was a gift because it came so easily to me and it was the same with poetry. And although I’d written a lot of songs and lyrics for others, I always thought of poetry as something that very highbrow, serious writers did – i.e. not me. I just wrote funny little verses that were a bit embarrassing. I never showed them to anyone outside of work.
Also, I suffered from frequent and long bouts of depression, the kind where you can’t go out to buy milk, and this punctuated my life right up until my late thirties when, by way of a series of fortuitous events, I entered long-term, 3 times a week therapy. That went on for 5 years. It changed my life by changing my attitudes to myself and my potential. I stopped caring so much what other people thought. So really the answer is I was too fucked-up before. Now I’m just fucked-up enough.

KD: I think that probably describes a lot of us writer types. We have to be just fucked-up enough to do what we do.

Though I often read my work out loud to an audience, poetry seems to me to lend itself a lot more to live performance. How did you get involved in performing your poetry, and can you explain how the buzz you must get from performing poetry differs from the buzz of writing it. Is one more powerful than the other as an experience, and if so why?

MEL: I was listening to Radio 4 and they had a poetry slam on – something I’d never heard of. There were people doing comedy poems and I thought – I do that all the time. Everytime someone left work or got married they’d come to me for a funny poem, I just didn’t realise there were places where people wanted to hear this stuff.

I went to Bang Said The Gun at The Roebuck pub on Great Dover Street in Borough one Thursday night, did a poem I wrote when I was 15 and won the slam. The prize was to come back and do a 10 minute set, which went down a storm. I’ve never looked back.
I don’t think I’m the greatest performer – I find it difficult to learn poems and I’m not very physically slick on stage, but I am funny, and making a crowd of strangers laugh is a big fat thrill.

But when I’ve just written something and I know it’s right, there’s a unique pleasure to it, a sense of fulfilment and release. I stay excited for hours and it doesn’t matter whether it’s a funny poem or a serious one. Performing is the icing on the cake but writing takes me over like a drug and finishing, finally finishing a ‘perfect’ poem, is the greatest thrill of all, apart from intense clitoral stimulation, obviously.

Resurrection

We have eternal life
Just not as us, that’s all
That’s the thing
That really pisses us off
We become soil and trees
And worms and flowers and rain
And a thousand million
Trillion other living things
But never us,
Not us, ever again

But we’re only a mix
Of garbled memories
A reinvention
Of what’s gone long before
We were alive back then
And we’ll be alive again
Just not as us, that’s all
It’s nature’s best joke
Alive or dead
We are already ghosts

KD: As a writer, I hopped right into what I think we would both agree is the most important part of this interview; your writing. But since I know you personally I can do that. Since the people out there in Blog-o-land don’t, could you tell us a little bit about Mel Jones – what you think we should know about her?

MEL: Oh God – I reckon there’s at least a dozen people in here. I am an extrovert/introvert. At my best I am kind, generous, funny and reliable. I am also impatient, moody, snippy and quite capable of causing a scene if I don’t like something. I get frustrated easily by machines and bureaucracy and little things can still get me down, but I bounce back much quicker these days. I can be the life and soul of the party but I also need great swathes of time alone.
I sing jazz, cook curry, have 2 cats and 3 vibrators. Is that enough?

KD: That tells me everything I need to know, Mel, I’ve always said you can tell the measure of a woman by the number of cats and the number of vibrators she has!  Here comes the old stand-by for every interview of every writer; what inspires you? How does your best poetry happen?

MEL: Just comes – TV headlines, people talking on the bus, an ad in the paper, or things just pop into my head. I’ll usually get one line and then the rest will come. Sometimes the original idea ends up as an entirely different poem from the one you thought you were aiming for. Writing is a strange process. Sometimes it’s like trying to find the soap in the bath. You know it’s in there somewhere but it’s a slippery sod.

Later 
Later, under London’s stoic Eye
I slip aglisten from your knowing arms
A film star frame, our silhouetted kiss
Against the sleepy wheel’s ravishing blue
 
Then ragged as the river’s pitch and swell
I rattle down the urgent last train steps
To ride in hurtling light and thundering sound
Along the midnight city’s thrilling veins
 
An answering rush beneath new-bruising skin
My raging blood some fresh, miraculous brew
When slick across my neon-haloed mouth
Salt finger tips give up the taste of you

KD: You’ve been doing NaPoWriMo during the month of April, which is national poetry writing month. It sounds quite extreme to me, something that would make every writer of poetry’s pulse speed up a bit. Can you tell us about it and about your experience of it?

MEL: Jo Bell, a very highly successful and respected poet, check her out at http://www.bell-jar.co.uk/, suggested I do it and I saw a lot of other poets I admire were signing up. You write a poem a day and post it on Facebook or your blog or the NaPoWroMo website or whatever.

The idea is to explore the writing process, gain some insight into the discipline of writing to a deadline and to ‘dig deeper’ as a result. All those things happened. I’m not saying everyone was a gem and I’ll certainly be ditching some and honing others but overall, I’m glad I did it because some more serious poetry came out of which I am rather proud. Most of all I am happy I completed it because a lot of people dropped out. One a day for 30 days is pretty hardcore. I’m knackered.

KD: I bet you are! But I’ve had the pleasure of reading some of the poems you wrote during those thirty days, and I’d definitely say it was an effort that paid off very well indeed!
I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing some of your more bawdy, deliciously smutty poems. In that regard, I feel like we truly are kindred spirits. Can you tell us what inspired you, and clearly still inspires you, to write poems about sex?

MEL: We are indeed kin. I am extremely earthy. I love smut, sex, erotica, porn, boundary-pushing and always have although I didn’t always know it. It’s important to me to share that because I spent 40 years attempting/pretending to be ‘normal’, whatever that is. I also enjoy writing about things that have embarrassed me. A lot of women have told me they have been helped by my poems because I ‘tell it like it is’ and make them feel less guilty about thoughts and feelings they may have or better about incidents that have weighed on their minds. The comedy is the spoonful of sugar that makes the medicine go down. You can say things you wouldn’t get away with in straight prose. I write about fucking, masturbation, porn, being caught short in public, my love of bums, body image, aging, desire and lots more. You think you’re the only one and you never are – except for the one I did about shitting, not by design, during sex. Not had a lot of nodding heads in the audience for that one. Still, it happened to me, and the poem, and the performance of it, makes the incident funny instead of fearful, joyous instead of guilt-ridden.
My inspiration comes from what’s on my mind and most of the time sex in one form or another is on my mind. Expressing my demons rather than keeping them in and letting them fester is also a common starting point. Sometimes I’m just drunk. Go figure.

20th Floor
I’m raw and alone
I’ve rubbed and teased forever
But it’s not enough
Oh to have the balls to open my window wide
Lean right out
Tits swinging
Nipples hard as wood
And make a guttural sound to match this throb
To turn this molten ache into a thrumming
Fleshy growl
That makes the paved soil tremble
The natural earth respond
The alley-cats give tongue
Fluting through the high-rise sprawl
A siren, howling call to my arms
Come, come
Join me in my ancient song
Give this beat some base
Riff on me
Strum me till I break
Bang a stone-age drum
Till there’s no more noise to make
Mine cannot be the only roar
Someone
Anyone
Make me vibrate like those machines
Stashed in my bedroom drawer
Have never done
Come, come
Come to the 20th floor

KD:  I’m sure everyone is as anxious as I am to know where we can find you in cyber-space and, of course, in the real world performing your poetry live.

MEL: Facebook: Mel Jones

I’ve just started a blog for the NaPoWriMo event and I shall begin adding to it soon.
http://www.stuffwotiwrite.blogspot.com/

Mel’s Little Book of Mostly Filthy Verse is due out soon so anyone who FBs me will be the first to know

I’m on Rrrants Radio Live Recording Thursday 12th May at

The OVO Theatre 29a Chequer Street St Albans Herts AL1 3YJ

On at Velvet Tongue SPRING EDITION: A literary soiree dedicated to erotic writing and performance.

16 May • 19:00 – 22:30

Bar Kick (basement)
127 Shoreditch High Street, E1 6JE
London, United Kingdom

I’m featuring Saturday evening 28th May at the Meadowlands Festival

I have a spot at Comedy Slappers on Wednesday 1st June
The Cavendish Arms

128 Hartington Road, Stockwell, SW3 2HJ
London, United Kingdom

And featuring At The Camden Head, 202 Camden High Street on Tuesday 14th June

Have just been invited to take part in Bang Said the Gun Super Slam on Thursday 30th June, for those who have won 2 or more Bang Trophies ( I am proud to say I have 3!)

I am often to be found at Bang Said the Gun, fantastic poetry night every time, at the Roebuck, 50 Great Dover Street Borough on Thursday evenings.

I am of course available for poetry commissions, and have extensive experience in speech/presentation and CV writing.
Words is me thing.

You’re Sexy

I don’t try to keep up with the ladies
As they wax, colour, peel and curl
I don’t bother much with the feminine
Or the guff about being a girl
It seems such a waste of resources
All that suffering’s a terrible pity
Especially when you consider the thought
That, generally, men ain’t that picky
They like to suggest that they’d only
Consider a model or WAG
When actually there’s not a woman alive
That some bloke or other won’t shag
It’s a blatantly sexist assertion
But that doesn’t mean that it’s wrong
All that alpha male crap masks the obvious fact
That we’ve had the power all along
They’re desperate to stop women twigging
They’d fuck a frog if it stopped hopping
You don’t have to try to entice a straight guy
You’re sexy just doing the shopping
You’re sexy because you’re a woman
With, or without, teeth or hair
You’re the unconquered peak of the mountain
You’re sexy – because you are there
You’re sexy from every perspective
Each crevice and fold a delight
You’re sexy with scars, you’d be sexy with SARS
Men don’t put up much of a fight
So girls, ditch the worry and torment
Buy some cake and the next dress size up
You could be ninety-three, 30 stone, reek of pee
I guarantee – you’d get a fuck

KD: Thanks, Mel, for stopping in and sharing some of your fabulous, funny, poignant, naughty, glorious poetry with us. Best of luck in writing and in performing the amazing stuff wot you wrote.

 

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© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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