Wonkomance Interview with Carolyn Crane

I’m so excited because we have a really amazing guest on Wonkomance today. Carolyn Crane is the author of urban fantasy and also uber-wonky erotic romance writing as Annika Martin. She is here today to tell us how to get held up at gunpoint and then pleasured relentlessly, so let’s all listen carefully and take notes!

Amber: Hi Carolyn! In your Disillusionists series, the character’s biggest weakness is turned into a superpower. Can you describe briefly how that works and then more importantly HOW did you come up with that totally original awesomeness?

Carolyn: Hey! Thanks so much for having me here! And for that question, which is so kind and makes me sound way smarter than I am. Basically, my characters are debilitated by some neurotic quirk. My main character Justine, for example, is full of fear (about health issues). Luckily, Packard, the devious, tortured and totally hot mastermind, figures out a way for Justine and her basketcase cohorts to weaponize their weaknesses, zinging it into others.

The way I came up with it is just from real life. You know how people can kind of use emotions as weapons? (Like guilt?!?!) Or, have you even hung out with somebody who is paranoid or uptight, and it rubs off on you? Ever hung out with an energy vampire? Emotions are kind of weapons. That was partly the seed of it.

Amber: If you were on Packard’s dream team, what would your superpower be? And this one is crucial: what would mine be? (If you’re going to say “fails at blogging and interviewing thus leading to the total disintegration of the interwebs,” then you might be right.)

Carolyn: LOL. My superpower would be slight OCD tendencies. What criminal wouldn’t be thwarted by having to go back home and check if they left the oven on multiple times? Now, what would the Amber Lin power be? How about an overly vivid imagination, full of fabulously torrid plotlines. Why ever even leave the house? What do you even need with reality?

Amber: Annika Martin. Who is this girl and why is she so funny? Also when is the next book in the series coming out? Also, you WISH we were dead, motherfuckers. In Latin.

Carolyn: Okay, you totally made my day with mentioning that tattoo motto. Nobody has ever said anything about it, and it’s totally one of my favorite parts of the book. (For the audience at home, Annika Martin’s series is about hot bank robbers who kidnap this girl who then joins the gang. Basically, they have smutty ménage sex when they’re not out robbing banks. Anyway, they get matching tattoos. Later, they decide to add that saying in Latin.)

Amber: I would like a set of three hunky bank robbers of my very own, but I feel like, what are the odds? Mostly because I’m not a bank teller. What is an equivalent sexy-dangerous-foursome happening that might come upon an author and what would their god names be?

Carolyn: Amber, I’m picturing you in a coffee shop with your computer. You’re working away, minding your own business. It’s laundry day, which means you are wearing your most sexy underwear set underneath your writerly sweater and jeans. Not that that detail will become important later. Ahem. Anyways, some roguish fugitives come in, all scruffy and hot, but they are innocent fugitives who were wrongly framed. They want free coffee and donuts, but they’re not sure what to call what they’re doing. It’s not a stick-up, not a burglary. They need just the right word!!! They fight amongst themselves because they are SO manly and full of testosterone. One feels they should call it a robbery. Another feels that term is too extreme for what they are doing. They don’t notice hot Amber Lin in the corner. She stands, whipping off her glasses. “Hey, fellas, how about you just call it a situation?” They all can’t believe how hot and smart and good with words you are, Amber Lin! The cops are coming. They take you hostage…pulling you roughly along with their manly hands…oh, you wouldn’t have it any other way. You become a notorious gang, hitting coffee shops across the country. They choose the most decadent names: Pan, Dionysus, Bacchus, and you, Amber Lin, shall be Athena!

Amber: Mr. Real is the story of a spy character who comes to life and sexes up the woman like whoa. I made up that last part because I haven’t read it yet but I’m super hopeful that’s how it goes. I believe it is your wonkiest work to date? Please explain. Lists are acceptable; no, preferred.

Carolyn: You must be a psychic, because that is exactly how it goes! A woman brings a spy character to life. Except then the fighter from L.A. who plays the spy character on TV (and hates the character) comes along and is none too happy about him being magically brought to life for sex by some woman.

Top three wonkiness aspects of Mr. Real:

  1. Heroine and friend invoke a Star Trek episode and the tale Pinocchio in trying to decide if a character brought to life by magic is a valid life form with a right to exist.
  2. Villain consumed by existential questions and spends a good deal of time marveling over the veins of a leaf when not plotting to torture and kill the heroine.
  3. Vampires and werewolves? er, no…the paranormal powers of the villains in Mr. Real are based on E.M. Forster’s theory of homo fictus.

OMG, that totally sounds like I’m joking, doesn’t it? lol. Hey, thank you SO much for having me! You seriously ask the best questions. And I think you are fabulous and an awesome writer. Have fun with the roguish coffee shop guys!!

Amber: You see the way she flatters? I like it. Thank you again to Carolyn for joining us and for you fine readers who are following along at home. And now, the blurb and buy links for Mr. Real, which will warm your wonky hearts:

He finds the girl of his dreams…with the secret agent of his nightmares.

Alix Gordon is a woman who doesn’t take life too seriously. What’s the fun in that? So when she stumbles across occult software that can bring any computer image to life, she conjures up lots of awesome outfits and accessories. And then, on one drunken, horny night, she conjures up Sir Kendall, the sexy TV ad spy . . . who looks exactly like Paul Reinhardt, the super-sexy martial arts teacher who kicked her out of class three years ago.

Fighter Paul Reinhardt has good reason to hate Sir Kendall, the character he brought to life to land a part in a TV ad; he’d do anything to forget him. A cross country road trip seems just the thing . . . until Paul finds himself inexplicably drawn to Minnesota and is shocked to discover Sir Kendall – in the flesh – with the girl he’d once loved from afar. He barges into Alix and Sir Kendall’s love nest, determined to stop the madness – somehow.

But is superspy Sir Kendall transforming into something more dangerous anyone can imagine? And what will Sir Kendall do when Paul and Alix finally give into their mad lust for each other?

Carolyn Crane is the author of the Disillusionists trilogy and assorted novellas, and also writes erotic romance as Annika Martin. She lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two cats, and works a day job as a freelance writer. During rare moments when she’s not at her computer, she can be found reading in bed, running, or helping animals.

Stalk Carolyn! (You know you want to)
Twitter | Carolyn Crane’s Website | Annika Martin’s Website

Posted in Interviews | 20 Comments

Shaking Dogs: a Visual Feast of Representative Wonkery

Howdy all!

This is going to be a digression from my usual longwinded discussions of deep psychoanalysis in historical wonkomances, to bring you something a little lighter for the holidays. Pictures are copyrighted, so you’ll have to LOOK HERE to see what I’mma be talking about. Go ahead, look at them, take your time.

Okay, everyone back now? Everyone stopped snort-laughing tea and coffee on the screen but feeling vaguely guilty about it? Good!

You may be asking yourself, what do these poor stop-motion’d creatures have to do with wonkomance, Del? They have been caught at their most ignoble, through a means of study not found in nature. Surely these photographs, catching rare micro-moments we could never isolate with the naked eye, have nothing to do with the dogs’ noble natures and inherent animal beauty?

Do you know any dogs? Because if you were thinking any of that, you don’t really know dogs. But if you do, you already know that with those pictures, Carli Davidson has captured the true essence of the dog: full-on derp.  And she’s done it by slowing things down to a point where we can examine minute details we wouldn’t normally be able to see. She’s uncovered the constant inner derpiness of dog-ness by breaking it down into its hilarious component parts, moment by goofy moment. And what she has done visually, good wonkomance writers can do with words.

At the heart of wonkomance lies the fundamental idea that people are screwed up. All people are; if you applied high-speed photography to our psyches, even the most put-together individual doing the most natural thing in the world would have moments of such extreme WTFery that people would…well, go WTF? The good wonkomance is like that high-speed camera, capturing minutiae that would ordinarily get lost in the bigger picture, taking us into people’s lives and minds to get at the fundamentally ridiculous nature of us all. Catching people at their worst. And it’s delicious, as scrumptious as looking at barely recognizable flop-skinned hounds caught at their most ignominious.

He looks so sweet and innocent…but he likes to load up his jowls from the water bowl and then find somebody to slime.

Inside every dog you see, no matter how elegant they may look, there’s one of those train wrecks waiting to happen. Just add water and snap a photo at the critical moment. And inside every romance character there is wonk to be found.

Hope your holidays are filled with good cheer, great juicy reads, only the amusing kind of interpersonal wonkery, and (if you like them) happy, derpy dogs. I  know mine will be; I have a big-jowled lab mix myself (as well as an elegant old setter mix), and my sister has three Basset hounds who are hilarious just walking around. Good times for everyone!

Posted in Writing Wonkomance | 2 Comments

BDSM, Writing, and a Humiliation Kink

A guest post by Elyan Smith

Thank you for joining us on the O Come All Ye Kinky virtual book tour! Leave a comment on the post below by December 16 and you’ll be entered to win one heck of a stocking stuffer—a $100 gift card to The Stockroom, where kinky dreams come true!

I discovered kink when I was a kid. I remember the first fantasies I had after watching prison movies when I was about 10ish. I’d lie in bed afterwards and imagine being in prison and having things done to me. As I got older this progressed to using props from around the house like stacks of books to put myself on display for imaginary men. I discovered nifty archive in due time, read all of the authoritarian section (and there’s a lot of dirty stuff in there), and only through the years realized that I did, in fact, have a kink for humiliation and D/s, and what that meant compared to one for pain or S/M, and just how slim the line is from the best turn-on to the stronger turn-off when it comes to such emotionally-driven tightrope play.

Since then I’ve picked up and put down BDSM books because invariably they’ll be about slave fantasies (of which I enjoy certain parts), slavery universes, dungeons and paddles and whips and crops and handcuffs and torture, and meanwhile the things I like are always only the small, nearly accidental side effects of other play. Bondage leading to being exposed and having a bit of almost too cruel dirty talk makes it just right, cross-dressing with the make-up smudged just enough to play at being used and being used good, CBT with the dom pressing the guy’s legs down to the bed and telling him to keep them there as he taunts him about it, begging puppies, drinking piss, and plain standing in the corner naked. They all share the same underlying current of hot humiliation, but with the grand majority of them the moment of a cuddle afterwards, the end of a scene, or just the progression towards something more on the S/M side of the acronym happens all too quickly.

Humiliation in erotica appears fleeting and occasionally—probably not even intended most of the time. Finding well-written erotica that goes there and stays there and doesn’t retreat to the safety of taking it all back (there’s nothing worse than reading a humiliation scene, getting into it and then have it end in the dom apologizing) is really really hard.

I’m not sure if I just haven’t picked up the right books (recommendations always welcome), or if the aspect of BDSM I’m into just isn’t the most popular or most widely practised one. Or if, in fact, humiliation is still the dirty little secret on the heels of a bit of a paddling, sneaking into a hefty dose of dirty talk, and hiding under slivers of glittery make-up.

When I started writing “Open Return” for O Come All Ye Kinky I knew I’d write D/s and I knew I’d try to include at least a little humiliation and show it in the context of the acceptance and the love necessary to play happily and healthily in that kink sandbox. Without having to take it back.

I understand that if it’s not a kink you have it’s one of the bigger turn-offs in a sex scene. It can be harder to stomach than pain play, because that doesn’t challenge the emotional balance of the reader in quite the same way. But I hope that even readers who don’t share the kink won’t be put off by it in the context of the relationship portrayed in the story.

People talk quite openly about floggers or their slings and bondage gear. In the same way, I’m rather unapologetic about my kinks (even if they’re not quite as flashy—or expensive, it’s got to be said). Even if, at times, it’s a little hard to explain to people who see it as just another shade of abuse. Sex happens in your brain, and turn-ons happen in your brain, and humiliation is just one that’s probably far more in your brain and far less connected to physical sensations that some of the other play in the BDSM acronym. That’s all.

And I mean it, recommendations for things I should read very welcome.

Here’s the blurb for my story, “Open Return.”
Fifteen years ago, Zach left the small Midwestern town he grew up in, confused and scared and determined to figure out who he was. Now transformed, he’s drawn back by the memory and promise of the dominant couple he left behind. Laura and Scott are still together, and as the year draws to a close, they explore old feelings and new ones as they discover they’ve all been waiting for Zach to come home.

About Elyan Smith:
Elyan Smith lives in the southwest of England. Friends regularly accuse him of being an antisocial sod who spends too much of his free time looking at porn on the internet, when in truth he spends most of it writing—but the porn’s the easier excuse. He works as a researcher in psychology by day, and when he’s not writing, he’s probably in the theater, watching other people create magic. You can find Elyan at his website and on Twitter.

You can find out more about the anthology and all the stories here. 20% of all proceeds from O Come All Ye Kinky will be donated to the Domestic Violence Project of the National Leather Association–International. (If you buy the book, digital or print, from Riptide’s website, more money goes to the charity because we’re not paying third-party vendor fees.)

Posted in Life & Wonk | Tagged , , , , , , | 42 Comments