‘Author Showcase’ Featured Genre for June ‘Children’s Books’ Featured author Maretha Botha.

Hello and welcome to Author Showcase! I will be featuring different authors & genres each month. I interview each author, and showcase their featured work.

WHY? Simply because I enjoy supporting other Indie Authors every chance I get.

This Month, “Children’s Books” are being featured.

Please welcome my guest, Maretha Botha.

AUTHOR SHOWCASE CARD MARETHA BOTHA

MEET AUTHOR MARETHA BOTHA.

Maretha Botha 2013

AUTHOR BIO

Proud grandmother, happily married for 37 years, retired librarian who writes and illustrates children’s books most suited to readers between 9-13 years; confirmed bookworm, chocoholic and unapologetic coffee drinker, keen gardener and bird watcher, who occasionally walks on the moors, joints permitting.

INTERVIEW WITH MARETHA BOTHA

1.     What motivated you to write books for children?

This is a difficult question with no quick answer, but I like to see children happy. When I read to them, their imagination often takes flight.  The why’s, how’s and what happens next, make for lively discussions, building more stories. I experienced this with my niece and nephew, and then my own children, as well as at work, having planned reading activities at the school library.

Then too, I carried a lot of stories around in my head, but only after my post as librarian was localised, did I find the time to gather these thoughts together into proper stories.

2.     Most children’s books are written to impart life’s lessons to children. Was this your goal?

No, I seldom consider a specific life’s lesson when writing anything for children, but often the character’s choice or actions highlight an important lesson.  For example, the working-dog hero in “Flame and Hope” forgets his promise to open the red gate for the goats.  He learns a valuable, but painful lesson when a stubborn old goat picks him up with his horns and throws him down on the “WELCOME” rug.  Early the next morning, he apologises for barking rudely at an older animal and remembers that, “A PROMISE IS A PROMISE”, no matter what – restoring peace in Fauna Park.

3.     What life’s lessons does your work contain?

Apart from the one above, Fauna Park Tales is about living in peace – rescued animals and birds who would not normally be together, live up to their promise to protect helpless or vulnerable ones, often doing so at their own risk.  Many of the stories are based on fact – martial eagles’ fledglings removed from their nest, or large birds flying into moving trains at night, how drought effects the lives of everyone living on the savannah – yet both animals, birds and humans learn how to protect the environment, caring for each other – and they always have hope for the next day as their first little motto assures us.

‘HOPE REMAINS ALIVE AND KEEPS OUR FEARS AT BAY.

‘LET’S KEEP OUR HOPE ALIVE FOR MANY A DAY,

‘WHILE IN THE DARKEST NIGHT, OUR HOPE WILL LEAD THE WAY.

4.     What was for you the most challenging part of writing for children?

Writing a “true” story within the imaginative world which I created, doing so in language which is clear and understandable, age appropriate, yet enough to still be a challenge – not talking down to them – think of Beatrice Potter describing Squirrel Nutkin as “impertinent”.  So, I don’t mind occasionally using words like, ‘Are you a pachyderm?” The word has a nice memorable ring to it as does “conspicuous”, but the challenge is to explain it via the text without changing the story into a grammar lesson.

5.     All authors are aware of the need for reviews, yet I imagine an author of books written for children would face an even more challenging time, simply because these are children.  Have you found it challenging?

Yes, it has not been easy to persuade adults to write reviews for children’s books.  Then too, the way an adult looks at a children’s book might be quite different to how children would view the story.  When I review a children’s book, which is more difficult than you might imagine, I always get input from my grandchildren and based on their views, I’ve often changed my review to rather highlight their thoughts and ratings.  However, I mention that I read and discussed the story with them.

6.     Are you currently working on anything new?

Yes and no.  I’m writing the follow-up to book 4 – “Trails and Trials: An African Adventure” which is called, “The Bird Mission”.  This will probably tie up everything for the whole of the series, but I might keep the backdoor open and let the villainous poacher, Tall Leader escape . . .

Then too, I’m involved via my blog, researching and writing short stories about small, often lesser-known, wild animals and birds in Southern Africa – especially those who are on the threatened and/or endangered list.  I intend to compile an anthology of about twelve short stories when everything is written after a year – definitely a long-term project with illustrations.

TRAILS AND TRIALS: An AFRICAN ADVENTURE (book 4) in Fauna Park Tales Series –

Category: Children’s books>Action and Adventure>Survival Stories (ages 9-13 with illustrations). On pre-order till 18th July 2017

 

Book Blurb:

Four trails – one destination – the waterhole closest to the best place to cross the Tukani River into a neighbouring country. This adventure takes Flame and his furry friends on a thrilling, dangerous quest, but they always have hope. Were it not for the help of a meerkat clan, a gripe of sandgrouse and other feathered friends such as Mars, a martial eagle and Vera, an eagle owl, their trail might have had a different outcome. This fast-paced adventure takes place for one week and is told from four different viewpoints, because friends as well as foes race to get to the waterhole, and in striving to do so, experience their own personal adversities and trials.

These illustrated adventure stories will provide endless hours of reading pleasure to better readers who also enjoy seeing some illustrations of the characters, increasing overall reading pleasure. Book Three and Four should ideally be read in sequence and are most suited to readers 9-13 (Middle Grade), but younger listeners will enjoy being read to just as much.

·        Book 3.  The Orphans’ Plight: An African Adventure Purchase ‘The ORPHANS’ PLIGHT’ On Amazon– Category children’s books>Science, Nature & How it works>Nature>Environment and Animals>Birds This book is discounted to 99p to be bought and read before book 4.

BOOK COVER ORPHANS PLIGHT

·

Book Blurb:

Bad humans are disturbing the peace in Molodi valley, and two small orphans are in danger. One of them, Larita, speaks the bush creatures’ language – Faunalang – a rare and wonderful talent that they want to use. Alone in the desert, who will help them? Young and old will enjoy reading about the furry and feathered friends’ latest thrilling adventures, when Molodi’s bush creatures meet friends and foes in their quest to stick to The Promise to protect helpless ones in Fauna Park. Plump-Grump, the stubborn goat, and his harem do their bit, but what will happen at the farm while Flame and his friends are on a dangerous mission? His Handsomeness, King Rat returns, but is he a friend or foe?

REVIEW:Of The Orphans’ Plight.

Furry and Feathered Friends – Delightful!

5.0 out of 5 stars Furry and Feathered Friends – Delightful! 19 Feb. 2017

By Gracie Bradford, Author on February 18, 2017

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

The illustrations are different than you see in most children books but effective and very well done. This story is suitable for all ages but primarily written for elementary school age children. Looking forward to book 4 of the series.
Pets take on humans. A delightful story of furry and feathered animals who listen to the strange conversations of people. Everyone, people as well as the furry and feathered friends, join in the search to find the orphans. I haven’t read book 1 and 2 yet but book 3 is definitely a good read.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Flame and Hope on FACEBOOK U.K
The Author on FACEBOOK

https://marethabotha2013.com

The Author on TWITTER

Thank you for joining me here and meeting my featured author today.

My featured Genre for JULY will be, Mystery/Thriller/Suspense. Are you interested in being featured here in July? Send me an email at Email link

Please include links to the book you would like featured. I will respond with the details of your author interview and other requirements. Each Showcase will run for one month. Beginning the 12th of each month.

 

 

 

 

What Mother’s Day means to me: “Mothers In The ‘Hood.” #RRBC

The ABSOLUTE Privilege of Motherhood.

‘Mothers in the ‘Hood!’

HER child.

Yes, I did say privilege. Why? … Because it must be so!  Motherhood must be regarded as the greatest joy of your combined life experiences.

We hand out special licenses to folks wishing to drive a car. A car is a potentially lethal weapon.

A child created and raised by unfit parents is also … a potentially lethal weapon.

I have written much about the woman that gave birth to me. For that is all she ever was. I spent many, many, soulless, and empty years hoping to find a different, a more palatable and convenient truth. For I so badly needed to believe, that She was damaged, and accordingly had no control over what she caused to come into being.

That thought kept me reasonably sane, in a violent, pain-filled world … that hated world, that world that made no sense to me at all.

But the years have peeled back the blinders that I used for safety, and I have come unwillingly to believe, that rather than an illness that caused her to inflict pain, I was instead her living sacrifice, to be punished upon the ‘altar’ of the train-wreck of her own life.

In order to accept that, I needed to lose the hate. Whilst I’ll never be indifferent, to even the mere mention of her name …  that bitter bile of hatred has been tempered over time. Not ever fully understanding what caused her to inflict such vile pain, is simply now just something I have learned to bear. Losing the hate I have accomplished. Forgiving her is a whole other journey I have at last been at least willing to begin.

My Child.

Amanda and MUM together ashfield
My daughter and I at the outset of our new adventure together.

The joy of giving birth will never leave my mind. Into my freshly awakening soul, a precious girl-child was permitted entry. I have yet to feel a more all-encompassing need to protect another living being. For the very first time in my life I was grateful to have been born a woman.

The greatest love I’ve ever known erupted into my unprepared world.

Her laughter and that boundless lust for life colored my planet with sunshine … as did the never ending fear that I would somehow let her down. That reflected in much darker corners in sombre tones.

My husband and I created ‘Magic’ for her newly awakened self. Her fathers’ loving parents, his brothers and sisters, nieces and nephews all became our willing accomplices, as they fell captive to her joyous laughter. We reconstructed ‘Neverland’ and housed her as the reigning princess within its seemingly impenetrable walls.

All those marvelous days we’d celebrate with the ‘Magic’ element firmly in its place.

Christmas, and Birthdays, Easter egg-hunts, and Halloween. We never granted any excuse to miss a single one.

We sheltered her like a fragrant Frangipani, never allowing even a hint of the cold touch of frost to damage those tender flowers.

And when unheralded, the end of the reign of the King and Queen ruling together united …  stormed into her life, at the as yet untested age of eighteen; that precious ivory tower melted like chocolate into  untried sands.

She staggered into a world she was unprepared for, for we’d never handed her the weapons or the skill with which to use them.

We lost some years she and I, whilst each of us learned to both grow, and let go. Time was an ally then, and softly the healing leaves were sown.

Please know we’ve journeyed far in those intervening years, and know too, that life is joyous now, and we share our tears  our truths and fears.

She asked me to be there, in that precious, priceless, unforgettable time as she gave birth to her son. How lucky am I to be so loved.

My Child’s Child.

Jacob Birthday
My Grandson on his 3rd Birthday.

He came screaming into his world two weeks earlier than expected. My child’s child … my grandson. I had the utter joy of seeing that look on her face as she craned to see and experience that ageless ‘falling in love with your first child’ moment.

We live together now, my daughter, my grandson and I. She has done me the great honor of asking me to assist her to raise her son.

Wise beyond her years she knew that living with my grandson’s daddy would only end badly for all three of them.

I’ve watched on proudly as she works tirelessly with the little ones’ father to be as utterly fair to each other as is humanly possible.

You will never hear one negative word about him. NOT in the house where his son lives, and grows. The young one loves his daddy unconditionally, which is as it should be for now. My child, grants, to her child, the right to ask questions, and she answers them with as much honesty as an almost five year old can handle. She gives him the ‘fairy tales’ with a hefty dose of magic …. but she also reads to him the darker ones, age appropriate to him.

Which does he prefer? I’m smiling here. For as long as there is no blood shown, or discussed, he’ll choose the dark stuff, every time. He’s relentless in the joy that he sheds when he’s just being a boy.

My daughter yesterday repeated something she says on occasion, which I will never tire of hearing. “Mom, I had the happiest childhood of any kid ever.”

She gives to me freely the greatest compliment I have ever heard.

Her way of parenting is uniquely her own, she teaches and creates using magic, and world truths tempered by her own life experiences, and above all things her all encompassing and unconditional ability to show and give love.

We’ll make quite the proud trio on Sunday Mothers Day May 14th  …. My Child … Her Child … and I.

I’m here and overjoyed to be so.  I have so many marvelous reasons to celebrate.

I wish you happiness, and the ability to share it with people that you love, on that special day. I am,  and will remain, forever grateful for the privilege of being graced with the title of  “Mother”.

It is possibly the hardest earned and most rewarding of any title you may have been granted.

Happy Mothers Day roses

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Book Review: “Paper in The Wind” by Olivia Mason-Charles.

Book REVIEW Paper in the wind by Olivia Mason Charles.

book-cover-paper-in-the-wind-olivia-mason-charles

Blurb

Paper in the Wind is a compassionate and riveting story depicting a single father’s dedication to his daughter. In the midst of the overwhelming struggles that accompanied autism, he continues to persevere. Her father’s love enabled her to overcome insurmountable obstacles, discovered the power of love and embraced the gift of life.

MY REVIEW. 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 Read, learn and be inspired. An amazing journey.

This book is written with a deep understanding of Autism, and a thought provoking, and inspirational message of hope. It is not written blindly … it is not written without great thought and the exploration of human failings and tribulations, for it truly encompasses all that and much more.

It is written with all the damage exposed of a couple coping the best way they know how with their autistic daughter. They fail and they falter in the face of all the pain, stress, and worry for the future of their beloved Alexa. In short, the author makes them very human, so human in fact that I caught myself nodding my head in sad tears of understanding. Life throws such massive challenges in the path of these parents. The author permits us to see how constant stress and unrelenting concern for their child rips apart the fabric of a love once a towering wall and now forced to crumble into ruin … exhausted by circumstances.

Olivia Mason -Charles doesn’t ease you into this story, you are confronted and challenged every step of the way. The length of the book should not to be judged by the number of its pages, but rather for the incredibly powerful messages imparted within each page. How many of us would not turn to something, anything to help deal with the unrelenting stress? Whether that something is a spiritual guide to support strong held beliefs, or a substance that gives temporary relief, such as alcohol, we are not asked to make judgement here … we are invited to try and understand.

This author invites you into the world of an Autistic child, in all its complexity. She shows the debilitating effects and the incredible and naive cruelty of those that do not, and cannot, even begin to understand.

Alexa is wonderfully characterized with all the intricacy of learning to comprehend a world that she perceives differently to others.

We are invited to cry for her, and rejoice with her, and cheer her on from the sidelines!

Yet despite the confrontations these marvelous characters face, the overwhelming message within these pages is hope. Hope that exists because of the unrelenting love of a father, a human man, a man with all the imperfections that simply being human can bring. Take this journey Olivia Mason-Charles invites you on with her inspiring words; I believe you will find it a truly memorable one.

Paper in The Wind on Amazon here.

The Author On TWITTER:

@omasoncharles

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RRBC Holiday Train “Book Trailer’ BLOCK PARTY!

rrbc-trailer-block-party-1-badge

Hi and “WELCOME” to Rave Reviews Book Club’s HOLIDAY TRAIN “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY at Welcome to the World of Suzanne Burke in Sydney: AUSTRALIA.

 quotes-jessie-jackson-empty-chairs

 This is a celebration. I am here, living, loving and laughing each precious day. I look forward to every sunrise, for it is a gift to be treasured. I could never have done this alone. My capacity to survive would never have been enough on its own. At times it only took the smile of a stranger to help me through another day.

My memoir is written under my pen-name of Stacey Danson.

My memoir “Empty Chairs ” is not an easy book to read. The subject of ‘Child Abuse’ will never be an easy topic to discuss. But, if we, as caring, loving, human beings are ever going to have a hope of making a difference, we all need to stop hiding ourselves away from what is undoubtedly a painful and confronting issue.

I have lived it. I ran and hid from it for too many years. It took the love and understanding of people just like you to help me confront and deal with my demons.

YOU … yes …YOU, CAN make a difference, but first you need to remove the shield you hold to your eyes and the protective layer you hold to your heart, and take a look.

Help the children, by helping yourself to understand.

I’d like to introduce you to my book trailer and I do hope that you will take the time to check out my book.

To be eligible to win one of the many prizes on offer please leave a comment on the BOOK TRAILER site.

VIEW BOOK TRAILER HERE

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Stacey Danson, lived through and beyond horrific child abuse. This book tells of her brutal beginnings, the streets of Sydney at the age of eleven were preferable to the hell she endured at home. She ran, and those streets became her home for five years. She was alone, ill, and afraid. Stacey also had an unshakeable belief that she would do more than just survive her life. She would not allow her future to be determined by the horrors of her childhood. She reached out for something different; there had to be more to life; if she could only find it. She had a dream of a life where pain and humiliation had no place. She was determined to find that life. Empty Chairs is the beginning of the journey. Now she is living the dream.

Once again, thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to share your thoughts and comments on my trailer and also, at the bottom of this post if you have a moment.  Good luck on winning my giveaways!  I’ll see you at the next stop of this awesome “BOOK TRAILER” BLOCK PARTY!

EMPTY CHAIRS on AMAZON

Purchase Empty Chairs on Amazon U.K

Purchase Empty Chairs on Amazon.com.au

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Preparing the Listeners for my spot on RRBC Tag Team 2* 4* 5 Blog Talk Radio!

G’DAY! … I am so excited to have been invited to take part in the upcoming edition of RRBC TAG TEAM 2* 4* 5. Airing on Saturday 22nd October at 12.00 Midday CT in the USA. (It will be 4:00 am Sunday 23rd here in OZ)

In the spirit of forever being helpful (Plus the fact that I’m just really strange) I decided that you lovely folks may need a little bit of assistance in translating  “Aussie Speak.”  (Hell I’d never even heard of some of these myself!) The word ‘CRIKEY’ is missing from the list…’cause not many people apart from the late Steve Irwin (Croc Hunter) ever use it.

rrbc-kangaroo-funny

I’m sending a copy to the hosts of the program Bill Ward and John Howell so they are well prepared for the utter confusion talking to me about anything, anywhere, and at any time often brings.

(Disclaimer) If I DO actually sound like this … PLEASE ignore! I’ll send a translator before I ever do a Radio Interview again. I kid you not.

 

Ace! : Excellent! Very good!

Arvo : afternoon
Amber fluid : beer
Aussie : Australian
Beaut, beauty : great, fantastic
Big Mobs : loads, a lot of
Bloody : very
Bloody oath! : that’s certainly true
Blue : argument/mistake
Bodgy : poor quality
Bonzer : great, ripper
Bottler : something excellent
Bottling :
his blood’s worth:
he’s an excellent, helpful bloke
Buckley’s chance :
(you’ve got)
no chance
Bull dust : rubbish
Cactus : dead, broken
Cark it : to die, stop working
Chocka : full up
Click : kilometre – “it’s 20 clicks away”
Come a gutser : a bad mistake or have an accident
Come good : turn out ok
Cooee, not within : figuratively a long way away
Cost big bikkies : expensive
Crack a fat : get an erection
Cream, to : defeat by a large margin
Cut snake :
(mad as a)
very angry
Dead dingo’s donger :
(as dry as a)
dry
Deadset : true / the truth
Dingo’s breakfast : no breakfast
Dinkum / fair dinkum : true, real, genuine
Dinky-di : the real thing, genuine
Docket : a bill, receipt
Doco : documentary
Drink with the flies : to drink alone
Dunny rat :
(cunning as a)
very cunning
Exy : expensive
Fair dinkum : true, genuine
Fair go : a chance / break
Fair suck of the sav! : exclamation of wonder, awe, disbelief
Furphy : rumour
G’Day : hello!
Give it a burl : try it, have a go
Give it away : give up
Going off : good fun
Good oil : useful information, a good idea, the truth
Good onya : well done
Grouse : great, terrific
Heaps : a lot
Iffy : dodgy
It’s gone walkabout : it’s lost, can’t be found
Kangaroos loose
in the top paddock :
Intellectually inadequate
Kick the bucket : to die
Knock back : refuse
London to a brick : absolute certainty
Lunch :
(who opened their?)
OK, who farted?
Mate’s rate : cheaper than usual for a friend
Mate’s discount : cheaper than usual for a friend
No worries! : no problem / its okay
Nun’s nasty :
(as dry as a)
very dry
Piece of piss : easy task
Pig’s arse! : I don’t agree
Plate, bring a : Instruction to bring a plate of food to a party
Pozzy : position
Quid, make a : earn a living
Rack off : get lost! get out of here!
Reckon! : for sure
Ridgy-didge : original, genuine
Right : okay
Ripper : Great
Rooted : ruined, broken
She’ll be apples : It’ll be all right
She’ll be right : it’ll be okay
Sparrows fart : dawn
Strewth : exclamation
Stoked : very pleased
Stuffed, I’ll be : expression of surprise
Too right : definitely
Turps, hit the : go on a drinking binge
Zack, not worth a : not worth anything

Discussion: ‘The Relevance of Sex in Literature in 2016.’ Guest Eden Baylee.

I’m delighted to welcome Author Eden Baylee to the discussion. This is the final post in the month long series, thanks to all of you for participating.

   The discussion from the original post in 2011.

As sex exists today as it has since the beginning of time, I’d say it’s absolutely relevant in literature. If I didn’t think it was, I wouldn’t be writing contemporary erotica.

We all know that sex sells, but even in the genre I write, more sex does not necessarily make the story better. Given this, I’d like to approach the question a bit differently and ask “To what extent should sexual content be included in literature?”

What guides me in answering this question is simple. Does sex contribute to the story? If it’s included to develop the characters, then it’s relevant. If it’s a gratuitous scene that adds nothing to advance the plot, then it should be edited out. Sex without context is meaningless. Not only does it detract from the story, but it could also turn the reader off. Why? Readers are not fools, and they don’t like to be treated as such.

I’ll illustrate this point by using the medium of film.

Let’s start with car chases as representative of sex in literature.

Everyone loves a good car chase scene. It’s exciting, gets your heart racing, and should move the plot forward (even if only metaphorically). Some of the best car chases I’ve seen are from movies such as: Ronin; The Bourne Identity; The French Connection; and the classic—Bullitt.

Why did I like these films? Because they had a plot and characters I cared about. There was an intricate storyline that involved more than just a speeding car, but when the car chase did happen, it was integral to the plot. I didn’t feel as if the director added it as an afterthought or filler to make the movie more “saleable.”

That’s exactly how I view sex in literature. Page after page of sex is like watching a two-hour car chase on the big screen. Though it may be exciting for a little while, it quickly becomes tedious if you can’t answer some basic questions: Who are these people? What have they done? Why are they being chased?

In a well-made film, the requirement for car chases is balanced with the need to advance the story. This is the same balance needed for sex within literature. If you can’t answer the questions: Who are these people? Why are they having sex? Why are they having this type of sex? Then my prediction is you really won’t give a damn why they’re having sex at all.

The second point is realism. Any work of fiction is only successful to the extent that the audience can willfully suspend their disbelief. When the filmmaker pushes too far, the work fails—the same goes for authors, especially when it comes to writing sex. Most adults have experienced sex. For this reason alone, it’s essential to keep it real. The challenge is to write it in a way that is creative and yet sensual. Maintaining believability means characters are not engaging in acrobatic moves that even a contortionist could not muster. It’s sex, not gymnastics! Unless your writing involves the paranormal or shape-shifters, characters should not possess superhuman powers when having sex. That includes the frequency, type, and amount of sex they have.

The third comparison to film is genre. If you watch a comedy, you expect to laugh. If you watch a horror movie, you expect to be scared. The same expectations are inherent in literature. No matter what genre you write in, there is opportunity to include sex in your story—if it’s appropriate. Expanding on the car chase analogy, inclusion of one in a “heist” film would be expected, but not so for a mystery or science fiction film unless it makes sense to the story.

Erotica is a genre that obviously contains sexual content. Often misunderstood, some equate it to pornography, thereby discrediting it as nothing more than “just” sex. Because of this negative association, some writers of erotica have taken to calling themselves romance or erotica/romance authors—myself included. It’s not that I think romance is more credible or respected as a genre, but it does give me a wider audience. Some readers want more sex than is provided in the “happily ever after” romance novels. Good erotica delivers more sex—along with a strong storyline, riveting plot, and interesting characters.

It’s important to know what you’re getting when you buy something, and perhaps that’s the main reason to define the genres. At the heart of it though, does it matter if you call yourself a romance author, erotica author, or author of fiction who writes with strong erotic elements? I think not. Call yourself what you like, but if you are writing sex in literature today—do it for the right reasons: To draw your readers into the plot of the story; to arouse them to connect to your characters; and finally, to have them fully commit to your book, awaiting the next one with bated breath.

Eden’s update. 2016.

 

When the lovely Suzanna Burke, asked me to pen an update to an article I wrote for her series, “The Relevance of Sex In Literature in 2011,” I was shocked to realize how much time had passed.

I don’t usually re-read my old blogs because they tend to sound dated. Either my writing style has changed, or new information has come to light since its writing. In this case, I re-read the article only to provide myself with context. In the process, I made an interesting discovery. It was as if I were reading my words for the very first time. The post still resonated with me—five years later!

Of course, much has changed since I wrote that piece, both in the world of literature and in my own writing. What did not surprise me though, is that “sex is still relevant in literature,” and I’d wager that if Suzanna asked me to update my thoughts again in five years, I would give the same answer.

As long as we live, serious literature must at least acknowledge that sex exists. How this acknowledgment insinuates itself into the pages of a book is up to the author. Not all writing about sex will be good. For example, when I wrote my first article, Fifty Shades of Gray had not yet been released. Since then, opinions on the book have run the gamut. It’s been called:

The best thing for the erotica industry

A book that will get women in touch with their sexuality

A misogynist tale that has turned back the women’s movement

A dangerous and inaccurate representation of the BDSM lifestyle

The worst thing for the erotica industry

 

Confession time.

I never read past page 98 of the first book, so I won’t speak to the merits of the story. What I can say is the book came along at a time when people were open to a dialogue about sexuality. Social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook made it possible for everyone to voice their opinions. Good or bad, the book allowed for conversation about sexuality, and denial that it existed was futile. Everyone was talking about it. It may have taken a popular (if not a great) book to kick-start the conversation, but it was a conversation, nonetheless.

I’m a firm believer that myths can only be debunked when we talk about them. This is especially true on the topic of sexuality, which is still a taboo subject for many. An open dialogue goes a long way to creating understanding and stamping out ignorance. Even if we agree to disagree, we can no longer remain in the dark.

My hope is the conversation continues.

 

+++

Eden’s updated bio:

Since penning several books of erotica, Eden Baylee has expanded her writing to the mystery and suspense genres.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her trilogy with Dr. Kate Hampton—a psychological mystery/suspense called STRANGER AT SUNSET. She is now working on the next two books in the series.

Eden still writes erotica when given the opportunity, and many of her stories, regardless of genre, will continue to explore the basic human characteristics of love, hate, and sexuality.

Connect to her via her: Website | Twitter @edenbaylee | Facebook

 

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Discussion: ‘The Relevance of Sex in Literature in 2016.’

My guest today is Zelda Jones.

Relevance of Sex in Literature

 

I have mixed feelings about the relevance of sex in literature. I think I was first made aware of it when I was in years 11 and 12 at high school. I had an English Literature teacher who seemed almost obsessed with sex and sexuality in literature. Miss T was probably one of the first people to dress in a kind of steam punk/ goth fashion. She had long, naturally black hair, big brown eyes, wore lots of thick, black eye make up, and dressed flamboyantly; often wearing a dead fox with beads for eyes, around her neck.

 

She got us to read books like D.H.Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers and Lady Chatterly’s Lover. She would then give us lengthy questionaires to answer; the majority were about the sexual symbolism and connotations in each book. She would then encourage class discussions about these topics. Although I respected and looked up to Miss T in other ways, these questions and discussions made me feel really embarrassed and squirmy. At the tender ages of 16 and 17,  in the mid 70’s, I don’t think I was really ready to engage in discussions about sex and sexuality in literature yet.

 

The year I left school, I encountered Miss T in the local gym one day. She was wearing nothing but a skimpy little tank top and a pair of extremely revealing leopard skin g strings. It was something I could not unsee. I guess she just had no shame.

 

Personally, I prefer sex in literature to be merely hinted at and not explicit or graphic. I prefer romance, kissing, hand holding, heart beating and emotional scenes. I find it quite dismaying that so many women these days seem to be right into erotica; where it pretty much seems like anything goes. I was once asked to review an audible historic erotic novel. I only got part way through, and simply could not go on. There was very little actual story line. Every single scene just concentrated mainly on graphic, explicit, no holds barred sexual activity. People’s sexual organs and what they were doing with them were described, again and again and again. It actually made me feel physically ill, and also bored, from the very repetitiveness of it all.

 

Another popular theme these days seems to be the covers of erotica novels, and even some romance books. A lot of these covers depict so called sexy men with bare chests and exaggerated“six packs”plus scantily clad, buxom ladies swooning around them. I feel like these covers are an insult to people’s intelligence. When I see a cover like that, I just cannot take the book seriously, and think that it’s probably trashy and not worth reading.

 

I worry about how seemingly intelligent women get pulled in by the Fifty Shades Of Grey novels; which promote male dominance and violence towards women. Have women come so far, only to go backwards again?

 

So to sum up my thoughts and feelings about sex in literature: I don’t feel comfortable reading novels that read like soft porn; full of graphic and sometimes violent sex scenes. I prefer there to be an actual story line, where relationships develop naturally, and sex scenes are more subtle and not graphic. For me, this creates a more finer, delicate balance.