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Anna Takes Over - Ponderi…

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I love how everything to do with Solitude sounds very dramatic. Even the title of this post.

It’s been a few weeks now since Solitude was released and I’ve had chance to sit back, look at what people have been saying about it, and generally just reflect on what is a very non-standard romance novel.

I think when we were writing it, Tia and I knew that we’d possibly ruffle some feathers with this book. Liam and Gael are potentially controversial characters with unusual jobs and fairly progressive attitudes. We didn’t hold back with the plot and threw everything at those boys.

The main problems people seem to have are around the HIV storyline and Liam’s hooking, which is pretty much exactly what I expected! I wanted to address these points, if I may.

I don’t think either of the boys’ attitude towards HIV infection is blasé. Liam is very aware of the implications of a positive test result – it would impact his life, his career, his main source of income. It was this fear, for his livelihood, that provoked Liam into running away from LA and his life there. So he knows the risks.

There’s a scene in the book where the boys engage in ‘docking’ – a sexual practice where an uncircumcised man slides his foreskin over the head of a circumcised man’s cock. There’s a brief discussion around this as to whether Gael is at any risk of HIV infection from this activity, since Liam’s status is technically unknown at this time, and they decide to do it anyway.

I did a lot of research into HIV for this novel, including whether there was any chance Gael could contract the disease from this. (This article has more, if you’re interested http://www.thebody.com/h/docking-risk-of-getting-HIV.html) The views of the professionals are, the risks are negligible. Even if Liam were positive (and he isn’t) there’s absolutely no recorded evidence of someone contracting HIV this way. Now, I know for some readers, the fact that there’s any risk at all means they shouldn’t do it.

But I can’t help but think that the boys put themselves at far greater risk by their day jobs than by this one act.

Which leads me neatly on to Liam hooking.

One of the main things that changes for Liam over the course of the novel is he realizes that sex and making love are two different things. Though he has had a lot of sex in his life – a LOT – he’s never been with a partner and made love. Gael changes that for him.

By the end of the novel Liam knows he can fuck and be fucked by other guys, and still go home to his partner and make love. The physical act might be the same, but the intention behind it is completely different. Sex isn’t just sex any more.

I’m proud that I can say I was part of a novel that opens up these kinds of discussions. HIV isn’t a death sentence for people in the western world today, and we need to start breaking down some of the stigma around people who are positive, who can and do live full and happy lives regardless of their status. Of course porn studios and prostitutes need to ensure sex workers are protected against the risk of infection – it’s still a serious disease – but the only way we can start to address the issue of HIV is to talk about it.

If I could go back and change anything about the novel, would I? No. Not at all. I know there are things people don’t like about it and I’m okay with that. But Solitude has a message, and watering it down for the sake of popularity just isn’t the Anna Martin way. ;)


Contest Winners!

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I promised to post about who won the contest I held at the Dreamspinner Blog.

I’ve contacted the winners and they’ve selected their prizes. :) If you didn’t get an email, sorry, you didn’t win this time.

BUT! There will be other contest this summer and in the autumn, so don’t worry, you’ll have your chance!

Thank you so much, everyone who participated. I loved to read your answers. :)

Once again, congratulations Jessie, Monica, Judi and Sabrina, I hope you enjoy your prizes!

Have a nice springtime!


My only comment about Fif…

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Today I’m reblogging a post. This is from a good friend of mine and she put my thoughts into words better than I ever could.

Fifty Shades & The “Philadelphia Incident” (as originally posted by hidingfromsome1)
I’m not really sure if this is the best place to voice these opinions and concerns. And I’m not really sure if it’s my place to be voicing them at all. This whole topic isn’t easy for me to discuss (it’s very personal) but I’ve never been very good at keeping my mouth shut when I think I have a point to make. 
So – I’ve found over recent weeks two different hot topics that I’ve been paying attention to have apparently dovetailed.
I’m talking about the Fifty Shades of Grey series, an adapted Twilight- fan fiction which has been published and hit the New York Times Bestsellers list, and what people in the BDSM community have been calling the “Philadelphia Incident”.
To briefly bring those not familiar with either topic up to date; Fifty Shades of Grey is a story that deals with a young, naive virgin who enters into a domination and submission relationship with an older, powerful, controlling man. Eventually she manages to bring out his softer side and the two fall in love.
The “Philadelphia Incident” concerns a younger, inexperienced female submissive who entered into a domination and submission relationship with an older dominant man. Her limits were violated and she was forced to enter into oral sex with the man against her will. Some people in the BDSM community are calling this rape. Some people have suggested that the submissive woman consented. Others have criticised the submissive woman for not fully understanding what she was getting herself into. The young woman has now been run out of her home due to the criticism, publicity and notoriety she has faced.
Hopefully my point is already becoming clear.
In her novels E L James romanticizes the BDSM community, takes elements of ‘play’ out of context and dramatises what many would consider to be extremely unsafe D/s practice. The female in the story enters into ‘scenes’ which she is unsure about, where limits have not been pre-discussed or agreed, and where she is abandoned post-scene on more than one occasion with no after care or conversation about what had happened during the session.
The novel completely ignores elements of safe play that those familiar with the BDSM community would immediately recognise. RACK stands for Risk Aware Consensual Kink. SSC stands for Safe, Sane and Consensual. (Note the repeated word in both anagrams). This topic is completely ignored or glossed over in James’ novels and, considering the reaction they have amassed, this is a concern.
Safe BDSM play can be amazing. I can say this as someone who has both dominated others and submitted to others in a range of situations. It is something that I rarely discuss other than with those in the community for fear of repercussions – BDSM is fairly misunderstood by the wider public. In the right circumstances, with the right forethought, planning, and discussion then there are still hundreds of ways a session can go wrong. I have been mid-session with someone who I love very much, in a safe place, when we were both fully aware of each other’s limits. And I panicked. And ended up vomiting into the toilet and crying into his chest. This was an isolated incident, and we weren’t doing anything particularly risky at the time. But I still panicked. Fortunately my partner was fantastic at releasing me quickly and soothing me afterwards. Even with the best of intentions things can still go very wrong.
Although I have not followed reaction to James’ novel closely, one article I recently read criticising the BDSM elements in the story was met with comments from a reader expressing that the story is fantasy, not unlike the Harry Potter stories or Twilight, and not as a how-to guide of BDSM.
Firstly, thank God this isn’t a how-to guide of BDSM because James clearly has little, if any experience of D/s relationships. Secondly, this point in particular scared me more than any other I read.
If one was to dress in a cloak and wand and pretend to be a wizard, short of poking an eye out there is a limited amount of danger that could occur.
If a young woman with no experience of BDSM was to make her way into the community and play with an older man when she herself was unaware of her own limits, very terrible things can happen, as demonstrated recently in Philadelphia. Comparing Fifty Shades to Harry Potter is simply ludicrous, on many levels. There are many different layers and elements to BDSM, starting at fluffy handcuffs and ending in blood, tears and rape. Someone pretending to be a wizard will not experience these things.
The second point made by the same commenter was that James never intended for the novel to be so popular, it was released for a very small audience only and she was surprised at the reaction it has received. I don’t think this argument holds much weight either. I’m writing this article for the consumption of a very small audience too. I do not expect many people to read or react to it. Does that excuse me from factual accuracy? Not at all. If my article goes viral and thousands of people read it then I am still responsible for the words that I have put out there.
Finally, I want to reiterate that a huge majority of people in the BDSM community recognise our vulnerability (BDSM is actually illegal in the United States – yes, illegal – I’m fortunate to live in the UK) and as such, instances such as the “Philadelphia Incident” are rare. Most people play by the rules of RACK. Most people are responsible for themselves, for their partners, and there is a strong sense of ‘mentoring’ to ensure that newbies to the community are watched and are able to learn from those with more experience. Despite all this, it’s too easy for things to be taken just that one step too far with disastrous results.
I feel like it is my responsibility as one of the people who bridges the gap between the BDSM community and the Fifty Shades readership to speak out against the practices shown in the series. Please, please – if you are a single woman who has read these stories and wants to explore the topics contained therein, do everything you can to not follow in the footsteps of both E L James’ characters and the young girl in Philadelphia. Take your time. Find someone you can trust. Be safe. 

(Please feel free to re-blog, re-post, re-tweet, link, copy, plagiarize, do whatever the hell you want with the above. It would be nice if you credited it back to me but in truth, if you want to stick this somewhere else where it might be seen by more people, please, do it. I’m not precious. Spread the word.)


Latest News!

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I’ve been doing some promo-stuff and I’ve been featured in two lovely blogs and there’s more to come too.

Here’s the first one, the lovely Sue Brown had me over at her blog, and here’s another one, First Timer Friday at Naughty in the Backseat-blog.

Oh and I also got the blurb for my cowboy-novella and I LOVED it… I’ll share it with you guys later when I have a cover and a release date.


I forgot this one...

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So, despite knowing that I’d given this flash fiction-story to Celia to post on the Piece of Tales-blog, I forgot it completely… Luckily I just remembered it, eh?

The story is thousand words, it’s from the point of view of Quentin, an owner of a gay club, who spots a good looking young guy, Milo, in the security cameras… You read the rest.

Also, there’s a Milo’s point of view, from earlier that day, that will be one of the stories in Fandom Fights Tsunami, a tsunami relief story-compilation. You can find information here, in case you’re interested. I gave Milo’s story for the compilation of stories that you can receive by donating to the cause. There isn’t much we can do when these things happen so far from us, but I still wanted to do something for Japan.

I’m also happy to report, that my first novel has been sent to the publisher and I’m hoping to get a contract soon… I’ll have details for you later this well, I hope.

I have some promo-dates too, but I’ll get to those closer to the actual dates.

It’s springtime where I live, and I’m relieved to see the snow finally gone (except from the places where it was piled up…). That does mean a ton of yardwork though, getting the whole large yard to look good after the winter…not that easy of a task.

I’m also selling my horse, my beloved stallion who has been with me for practically since he was weaned from his mother when he was 7 months old. I first met him when he was a couple of weeks old. He’s turning 5 years old in a few days. It hurts to even think about selling him, but I will if I can find a good home for him. He’s of a rare breed, so I won’t sell him to just anyone, not that I would if he was your average mutt of a horse either. :) Why am I selling him? Because he goes to waste with me. He deserves more of his life than being a yard ornament. I love him enough to let him go.

Anyway, random Tia is random… ;) More news as I get them!

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