Dirty Thoughts and Stories – Romance Is NOT Porn

Two days ago, a news story surfaced from the murky dreck that is the state of Florida head-lining the continued banning of books there. This past week eight novels by BEST-SELLING Romance novelist Nora Roberts were removed from a high school library from a complaint made by ONE member of the Republican Bitch Squad, also known as the hate group Moms for Liberty.

First, here’s a couple of key definitions:

Pornography is strictly about sexual titillation and sexual arousal, no plot or character development at all.

Romance novels are about people (people of all genders and races) falling in love and navigating relationships to a healthy and hopeful conclusion (the happily ever after or happy for now)

For thirty-plus years I’ve been reading and writing romance and yes, I’ve heard all the shit slung at it including the ‘it’s all porn’ label. Yes, there are romance novels that do depict sex in graphic terms, though what’s graphic or not is a matter of opinion. Nora Roberts is not considered graphic or pornographic except to this stupid-ass bitch in Florida who has definitely made a huge mistake in going after the Mother of Dragons because Nora is what I call the Warrior Queen of Romance.

Since 2016, Romancelandia has broken its’ silence and we won’t take shit like this anymore. Before 2016, romance authors and readers would let shit like this slide because we believed we didn’t have the right to speak out against this shit and put these Republican Bitch Squads in their place. After 2016, when the Republican Bitch Squad and their billionaire donors put their puppet in the White House then spent the next four years fucking things up, Romancelandia saw the truth and decided to join the ass-kickers of this world and stand up to these twenty-first century Nazis.

Now if you’re thinking I’m making too much out of this and no, this Republican Bitch Squad isn’t going to get away with this: what the fuck makes you think you’re so damn special these bitches won’t come after you if you step out line with them? Because if you think they have the right to dictate everyone else’s life and you want to do the same, find your tits or balls and come right out and say it. And when people like me push back as hard we can against you, don’t act all shocked and shit and clutch your fucking pearls. Instead, how about trying to pull your head out of your ass once and for all and leave people alone?

And yes, this is personal for me as I know there is a possibility that if my writing ever really takes off I’ll have these Bitch Squads coming for me. But I’m not going to back down in the face of their bullshit. I will stand up to them and I will not give one single fuck as to their fake-ass hurt feelings when I tell them to take their shit and shove it up their ass. I know they won’t stop until myself and others put them back in their fucked-up little shithole where they belong. There is NO need for anyone to dictate terms of existence for the rest of us who are just minding our own business and doing our own thing and yes, trying to make the world a better place for all people.

No, I don’t enjoy engaging in ass-kicking sessions like I’m doing here. Frankly, I’ve got better things to do with my time, but I won’t be silent in the face of Republican Bitch Squad shit. I won’t be silent because if anyone reading this is leaning towards the Bitch Squad’s slick-ass sales tactics I’m here to tell you not to fall for their conformist, hate-driven, over-inflated sense of entitlement and ego, unless you’re already like them and if so, I’m not backing down in opposition to that shit. Because in the end, they’ve taken the fear they were raised on and turned it into hatred for others not exactly like them.

The worst thing about conservative ideology is that it has an extremely rigid definition of what it means to be happy and if you’re just a tad too happy, the shit comes down sending you to Hell. That’s the thing I’ve always hated about conservatives- they really can’t stand to see people happy because deep-down, they don’t feel like they have the right to be happy and for others to be happy, too. They worry way too damn much about what other people think of them. That is NOT a way to live at all and that is the most personal reason I will stand and fight these bastards in every non-violent way I can.

Because in the end, I believe in Love, not hate. And I’ve learned so much about love from my beloved romance novels. From my beloved romance novels, I’ve learned about how love can bring joy and happiness, and healing. That is the real defiant message of romance novels: love, joy, happiness, and healing.

Love will win. Always.

Conversations From the Road – Burn Out, De-Construct, Build Back Better

In the last seven years, one thought has been extremely persistent in my mind:

What if I burn every bridge from me to the rest of the world? What if I go a bridge too far?

I’m going to let you all in on a little something here: many times when I have a blog entry ready to go, my mouse pointer hovers over the ‘Publish’ button for a few seconds as my heart jack-hammers into my throat. Then I take a deep breath and click the button to publish. In all the time I’ve been doing this current blog for the last year or so, I  haven’t had anyone come at me for anything I’ve written. I haven’t had any angry, or ugly communication from anyone. Yet I have feared that for so long because in my past, when I tried to open up just a little, I got a hard shot across the chops sometimes in addition to very hard push-back. I internalized this for so many years as being my fault in some way, and that imprinted hard and deep into my mind. So in turn, I’ve been trying to de-construct that imprinting and create something better for myself.

But last night at around one-thirty in the morning as I laid awake in bed, this thought came to me:

What if the bridges I’ve always been so afraid of burning completely were never really there in the first place?

I’ve thought about this question since last night and what it means to me is this: the bridges I’ve been so afraid of burning never truly existed. They were bridges I wanted but have never had in my life. Now I know I put up barriers on any attempt by anyone to make a bridge to me but in explanation, I did that because my efforts at building bridges haven’t really gone that well. I used to blame myself for taking shots across the chops for trying to express my feelings and stand up for myself because I always thought I’d done something wrong. It’s taken me a long time to realize that although I am just as flawed and as fucked-up as anyone, wanting those bridges yet not truly building them wasn’t wrong either.

There’s a line from a book I recently re-read yet again, the book ‘Carnal Innocence’ by Nora Roberts:

“Sometimes we hurt more for what might have been than for what is.”

For the last seven years, I’ve had to work through what I now call a de-construction, a de-construction of a life I’d led that wasn’t sustainable, or good for me. I think this is more commonly known as ‘burn out’ but I like my term better because if you can de-construct something, then you can build it back better, stronger, and truly sustainable. It’s not easy to de-construct your life, your thoughts and feelings, your beliefs about yourself and work through the facades you created but in the end, it’s worth the knowledge that is gained because that knowledge can NEVER be taken away from you.

Seven years ago this month, my pain levels shot through the ceiling. I had two disks in my lower back there threatening to blow themselves out and my pain level was way off the charts, so much so I don’t quite remember everything from the month of April 2016. By the end of that month I realized one thing: I couldn’t go on like that anymore. And yes, I walked away from that job at the end of May 2016 to nothing and in the years since, I’ve been busted down to nothing. I know there might be people out there who would love to have a go at me and tell me I should have known better or done something else or some bullshit like that. I’ve been afraid I would retreat if that ever came to be, but I know this: I won’t retreat.

In the last seven years I’ve had to learn how to mourn not just for what was, but for what might have been, and what I wanted but never got. In this mourning process I’ve learned bridges that are built on perfectionism or never being good enough deserved to be burned to the ground because in reality, they were never truly there in the first place. They were one-way tickets to people and places that you can walk away from while doing just fine on your own.

To those reading this who have burned out and had to walk away from things in order to save your life, I understand exactly what you’re going through. I want you to know you can get through it, and you will come out better for it. I call this ‘de-construction’ and once you de-construct what you need to then you can build back better and create something that is stronger, and sustainable in the long run. And if anyone comes at you with any shit about what you’re doing or why, shrug your shoulders and give off your best Generation-X vibe like me and say, “Whatever.” Then follow it up with this: “Fuck off and work through your own fucking shit like I’ve worked through mine.”

Burn out, de-construct, then build back better.

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