Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Impact of Books at Different Times in Our Lives

Have you ever read a book at a young age and didn't like it, but then you re-read it later in life, and suddenly it resonated so powerfully that you couldn't imagine not liking it before?

This happened to me when I re-read Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

It impacted me so much as an adult that I integrated it briefly into my novel The Art House.

If you've never read The Awakening, it's about a woman who is constricted and conflicted by the societal roles placed on her as a female. She wants her freedom and wants to feed her soul, not just play a role that the world tells her she needs to play. In short, it's a feminist novel. This is a concept that I somewhat grasped as a teenager. I think I was 17 years old when I read it in high school, but the overall theme was still too deep for me to fully appreciate at such a young age. In fact, I skimmed the book, read the Cliff Notes, and didn't do well on the exam. It's funny because I fancied myself a rather mature 17-year-old; however, I see now that I was still pretty much an ignorant kid with so much left to learn.

Then, lo and behold, over a decade of life experience and some years as a married woman later, I picked the book up at the library. It was almost like it was calling to me from the shelf. So I gave it another shot. And wow. I totally got it the second time around. 

It was a really cool experience for me, and it made me wonder what other books I might have read in high school or college that I didn't care for, but that I might possibly really like now.

Has this ever happened to you before? If so, what book did the trick?


XoXo

SK


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Unicorns and Bisexual Monogamy: 'The Art House' Turns Two!

This month marks the second birthday (aka publishing anniversary) of my contemporary novel The Art House. In honor of this book's special day, I wanted to do a blog post about it and include one of my favorite unicorn images. This is from the cover of Heavy Metal Magazine, which I love:






The Art House is a contemporary novel, not a paranormal novel, but it does include lots of unicorn imagery. The main character, Janelle, used to have a recurring dream about a unicorn. This is due to seeing a sculpture years ago done by the mysterious artist (and main love interest in the story), Edgar. In the novel, she meets Edgar when she stays at his famous "Art House" to do a feature story on him, and those interesting unicorn dreams start happening again while she's there. The dreams ultimately end up having a deeper meaning, which you'll find out if you read the book (**wink, wink!**)

The other thing I wanted to have a quick chat about is the bisexuality of Janelle. In this story, she is a bisexual woman who has repressed her bisexuality all her adult years. The circumstances that happen in the tale encourage her to finally embrace it. This is in part due to the gentle nudging of her new friend and associate of Edgar's, the beautiful model Trixie.

But believe it or not, there is no threesome action in this book. No FFM scenes at all. The experiences that Janelle has with Trixie and Edgar are totally separate. This is an issue I wanted to bring up, concerning bisexuality, especially bisexual characters in fiction, and the assumptions people may have about them.

It seems like most erotic bisexual fiction involves threesomes. And it's true that some bisexual people are polyamorous and/or have threesomes and are perfectly happy with it. My character Trixie is in an open relationship. But there are plenty of bisexuals out there who are simply attracted to people of both (or all, if we're talking about pansexuality) genders. It does not mean that the person needs to be with multiple genders at one time. It simply means that the person is open to having a relationship with someone of either sex.

A lot of people who have read The Art House have told me they were surprised at the novel because it ended up being a very different book than they originally thought it would be. Not only is there no BDSM as one might assume from the sexy mask on the cover, it is a story about a monogamous bisexual rediscovering her soul, or in other words, a woman rediscovering what makes her heart truly sing. And it isn't just about rediscovering love and lust. There's also artistic passion and overall life's purpose. There's a lot more to the story than just sex.

Don't get me wrong. There is a lot of steamy sex in this novel... (**more winks**)...but it's not only a story about that.





If I have succeeded in piquing your curiosity, The Art House is available at multiple online retailers:


PAINTED HEARTS PUBLISHING 

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

BARNES & NOBLE NOOK

SMASHWORDS



Thanks for stopping by!


XoXo

Scarlett

Friday, March 2, 2018

Why We Should Make Time for Reading

Images from pexels.com


I remember when Borders went out of business years ago. It was one of my favorite stores ever, and I had many happy memories there. There was (and still is) something so relaxing about being able to go to a place that sells shiny new books and magazines, where you can go alone or with a friend and get a coffee and a pastry and walk around or sit and chill with all that wonderful art surrounding you. So losing it was definitely a bummer.

Luckily for me, I lived in a big city, so we at least still had Barnes & Noble. I preferred Borders, but B&N would do as an okay replacement, even if it was located at our busy mall.

Fast-forward to now, and it looks as if B&N is barely holding on. I'm getting more and more coupons in the mail from B&N, which is exactly what happened with Borders before they went kaput. I have also been following the news and have read about the mass lay-offs and the tacky way they have been done, and also how their most recent quarter was disappointing. Supposedly they're working on some ways to stay afloat, but who knows if they'll be able to last much longer.

The problem may be the price of their books. It seems almost everyone is purchasing cheaper books via Amazon these days. I have been guilty of shopping at B&N, only to get ideas for things to read and then buying them on Amazon later. I don't do that anymore because I am trying to support the store, as it seems their days are numbered, but I'm just one out of millions of people who probably buy primarily from Amazon.

Another reason the store might not be doing well: people don't seem to be reading as much anymore.

In an age of constant data overload where we compulsively spend all our free time reading articles and social media posts on our computers and phones, it's not surprising that people don't have time for books anymore. Also throw in Netflix, which releases a binge-worthy new show every five minutes, and everyone's free time runs out with no room for reading novels or short story collections.

But there are many reasons why we should resist the urge to spend all our spare time binge-watching shows or mindlessly scrolling the web, and why we should read a book instead. According to an article on inc.com, there are nine ways that reading fiction can actually make you a happier and more person - and who doesn't want to be happier in an age where stress is king? I'll list the ways below, but if you want more details on the studies that produced the results, you can read the article --> here <--

Okay, here they are:

1) Reading creates empathy and understanding in readers.

2) Reading is a great way to combat stress.

3) People who read regularly actually sleep better.

4) Readers see improved interpersonal relationships.

5) Older readers remain sharper mentally.

6) Reading creates open-mindedness.

7) Reading (specifically fiction) increases vocabulary.

8) Readers are more creative people.

9) Reading gives you pleasure.






I hope that bookstores don't completely go away because I love the physical experience of being in a bookstore; however, as technology advances, and we see more and more e-books, we may have to say goodbye to most of our old-fashioned bookstores. Does that mean e-books are evil? Actually, no, I don't think so at all.

I don't think there's anything wrong with reading e-books on electronic devices. In fact, if more readers could be open to the benefits of digital books, it might even help out the planet! E-books are super convenient (you don't even have to leave your couch to buy one), many are cheaper than physical books, and they aren't as destructive on the environment as paper books. As technology has advanced, the screens are easy on the eyes and battery life is a lot longer than it used to be. And one more thing: it saves space! You can carry an entire library on one tablet!






But whether you're a paper book reader, an e-book reader, or both, we should be mindful about making time for books in any format. If the studies are correct, (and I believe they are from personal experience as a daily reader), we will all be better off for it.



Do you still make time to read? Do you find it gives you any of the benefits mentioned above? As always, feel free to leave a comment!


-SK


Speaking of reading, have you browsed my books at www.scarlettknight.com? And thanks so much for stopping by!




Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Quickie Valentine's Day Post

I hope you've all had a sexy Valentine's Day. If nobody brought you chocolates, I hope you went out and got some to treat yourself because you deserve it.

If you're sad that it's almost over, remember that out here in my neck of the woods, it's always Valentine's Day. Because life's too short not to embrace love and sensuality every day of the year.

Art by Milo Manara



XoXo

SK



To browse my romantic adult fiction, please visit my website: www.scarlettknight.org


Friday, February 9, 2018

5 Out of the Box Ideas for Valentine's Day

Sometimes the same ol' same ol' gets boring, even on days like February 14. We all like novelty, so mixing things up can actually be great for a relationship. So if you're looking for something different to do this Valentine's Day instead of the traditional going out to dinner thing, here are five fun ideas. (And you can also do these things if you're single without feeling awkward!)

1) Take a painting class.

Photos by Pexels.com


Places like Painting with a Twist have step-by-step classes for adults, and the best thing about it is you don't have to even really know how to paint in order to create these paintings. The classes are led by enthusiastic, encouraging people with great personalities who keep the process fun and stress free. At the end, you have a painting associated with a happy memory to put up in your home, or you can give it away as a great gift to a loved one. Bonus: you can bring some V-Day wine and chocolates to enjoy as you paint!


2) Try cooking a new recipe.




How many times have you thought "I want to try that recipe sometime" but you never get around to it? Why not give a new recipe a try on Valentine's Day? If you're single, this would be a great opportunity to provide dinner for a family member who might be lonely on that day, or also other single friends. If you're coupled, cooking together can be a fun new way to bond that requires teamwork and a shared reward at the end.


3) Deliver baked goods to loved ones.




This one's similar to cooking a new recipe if your'e cooking the baked goods. On the other hand, going out and supporting a local bakery and then delivering the goodies to your loved ones benefits a multitude of people. This can be rewarding for singles and also a sweet activity to do with your significant other.


4) Go bowling.




Getting out of the house and away from packed restaurants on Valentine's Day can be a breath of fresh air. You don't have to dress up (unless you want to!), and you get to move your body and play a game. It's a great alternative to just sitting all evening and stuffing your face.


5) Go on a road trip to somewhere local you've never been.




If the weather's nice on Valentine's Day, it can be both romantic for couples or simply exciting for singles to take off and visit a new-to-you town within driving distance. We're all adventurers at heart, and visiting a new town and experiencing a meal, shopping, and/or sight-seeing is a greatly fulfilling way to spend the day. And who knows? You might discover one of your new favorite local getaways this way.


What about you? Do you have any ideas for Valentine's Day that are out of the box that you've tried or want to try? Please feel free to share in the comments!

And have a Happy Valentine's Day!

-SK



For erotic romance, Lesfic, and more, please take a moment to browse my official website if you are so inclined: www.scarlettknight.org


Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Why New Year's Eve Is One of My Favorite Days of the Year

Photo from Pexels.com



Christmas is winding down, and we are quickly approaching one of my favorite days of the year: New Year's Eve. As someone who is constantly analyzing herself and always trying to find ways to grow and be a better person, New Year's Eve is almost a sacred time for me. It's a time when I look back on the year, the highlights, the hard lessons, my relationships, my hobbies, my habits, my career, etc. And as I reflect, I pinpoint what plans, behaviors, and ways of thinking worked for me and what didn't. Being a goal-oriented person, I also really enjoy coming up with goals for the new year and writing them down on notebook paper.

I usually stay at home, although this year I'm toying with the idea of going out for a change. I'm also kind of quirky in that I feel like the movies and shows I watch on NYE, as well as the music I listen to and the books I read, have some sort of magical significance. Even the snacks I eat and the drinks I drink are carefully thought out. I often make home-made cheese-dip and then of course there's the obligatory champagne. I send my loved ones emails or texts, and many times they'll reply since they're staying up to ring in the new year as well, and I'll feel love and connection with them. I tend to remember all these details years later, and they remind me what frame of mind I was in at the time.

Even though this day is in essence, just another day of the year, it still feels sort of mystical to me - like the closing of another life chapter, and the spark of a fresh beginning filled with possibilities.

Although I haven't yet compiled my personal goal list for 2018, I'm starting to think about it because NYE is less than a week away. I of course have the typical weight-loss/better-health goals like most people do. I have some new writing goals, too. But one new thing that I'd like to apply to my daily life going into 2018 is to Appreciate More Than Complain.

It seems like whatever I focus on out of those two, I get more of. When I get into a bad habit of criticizing things, life somehow comes up with more things for me to criticize! It could be simply because I'm focused in that negative sort of way and because of that, I'm seeing more things that need complained about. But when I appreciate more, I all of a sudden start seeing more and more things in life to appreciate. I've gotten a good head start doing this the latter half of 2017, but I want it to really get into it as a daily way of life in 2018. I've noticed my days are just better days if I think in terms of appreciating rather than criticizing. I'm wondering if other people have had the same experience.

What about you? Do you have any new goals for the new year? Also, do you have any personal New Year's Eve traditions? Feel free to share in the comments!

And as always, I appreciate you for reading!


Love,

Scarlett


Monday, December 18, 2017

Godless: Diversity Done Right

It seems like books, TV, and movies these days are trying to promote more diversity in their stories, which is a very good thing. Unfortunately, many times the inclusion of diverse characters goes over like a led balloon because they are shallow and undeveloped. They come across more as "tokens" than as human beings we can relate to.

There is one new show, however, that I just watched, and it is doing diversity right. It doesn't tout itself as a diverse show, so I was pleasantly surprised to find it so diverse. It's a Western series on Netflix called Godless.




Now, obviously being a Western, one can imagine there will probably be Native Americans, and there are. And a couple of those characters are awesome. There are also African American characters that are a less typical of what you'd normally see in a lot of Westerns, which was cool. But what I found particularly surprising in a good way was the lesbian and bisexual characters.

These Les/Bi characters are not the main characters, but they are part of a very strong supporting cast. And their sexuality is done in such a way that they don't feel like tokens at all. It's truly part of who they are as people, not something that Hollywood sloppily painted on them for the sake of diversity. They aren't just thrown in there for titillating sex scenes either. These characters are strong, fascinating three-dimensional women. 

Another way Hollywood tries to do diversity these days is to make someone's sexuality ambiguous. Is she or isn't she? Is he or isn't he? Are they or are they not? Well, in Godless, it's sincere, and it's obvious, not subtle at all. You don't have to guess. These characters are who they are; it's clear, and they also totally own it and live it.

So if you don't mind some rated-R level Western violence, and you're looking for a diverse show, check out Godless on Netflix. It's a limited series, so it only has one season. I thought it was a really great story overall - and it has a satisfying ending! (My beef with Hollywood and their modern unsatisfying endings is something I'll save for another post!)

Have you found any shows or movies or books that have well-developed diverse characters and not just stereotypical token diverse characters? If so, share in the comments!


-SK