Tag: Holly is Going to Straight to Hell

Retro-Post: Pushing the Envelope (way) Too Far?

Posted August 15, 2017 by Holly in Discussions | 25 Comments

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews and posts that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Rowena: Are you in need of a laugh this fine morning? Well, let us revisit an old post that Holly wrote about authors who push the envelope…too far? Haha, trust me. It’s well worth the read. This is a post that only Holly could write.

This post was originally posted on July 25, 2011.
Warning: The following post is graphic and not for the faint of heart. Read on at your own risk.

Sometimes I wonder what the people at Barnes and Noble think of me and my reading because I get some seriously strange recommendations from them. One of the most recent ones was Stroke It by Cassandra Curtis, which I believe is a self-published…I hesitate to call it a novella, since it’s so short, so I’ll just say story. It’s currently free for the Nook, and after reading the blurb I figured why not?

Exhausted after a coast to coast book tour, Laris needs serious R and R. The luxury resort along the Baja coast provides their guests with everything they could desire, including their own personal masseur. Former special ops agent Alejandro Maranta loves his job as an on-call masseur for the resort hotel. Using his unique gift for easing tension, he gives Laris a massage she’ll never forget.

I was surprised when I opened the book to find that it’s only 31 pages – and that includes the copyright, etc. I think the actual story is about 21 pages. Still, it was free and the blurb was intriguing.

Chick is stressed so she books a weekend at a luxury spa to relax. She requests a masseur to give her a “special” massage (it’s implied that there was a bit of matchmaking going on w/ the choice of masseuse) and dude shows up to make it happen.

A guest with a sore neck and lots of tension had requested a personal massage. Nothing unusual about that, except Enrique also used the code words – special services. He grinned, knowing it meant the guest was a woman who needed extra handling. Perhaps she’d heard of the enhanced techniques he’d developed for releasing feminine stress.

He shows up prepared to get her to relax. He starts by warming up her muscles and twenty minutes later the ache has left her neck. He stops and she begs him not to.

“Please don’t stop.”

“You want more?”


“How much more?”

“I-I don’t understand.” She tried to turn onto her side but he placed a warm palm on the small of her back, stopping her.

“I have developed a special technique for easing stress. Inside and out. But it takes much longer than a thirty minute session, and it would require you to take your clothes off.”

“You mean sex?” Was he serious? Oh my…maybe dreams do come true.

“Much more than sex, a special stroke that massages more than muscles.”

“Oh.” Please let this be real..and my royalties cover whatever it costs. She made a fervent prayer. “Yes.”

So far I’m thinking..eh. Chick is willing to pay for sex? With a total stranger? Maybe I watch too much Cops, but I’m thinking hello prostitution sting. Anyway…

She lets him pull her clothes off and before she knows it she’s on the brink of orgasm. Then he tells her he’s ready to give her his “special stroke”. He started to enter her and she feels a pressure at her anus. Then he’s fully inside her front..and he’s sliding into her rear. She figures he’s got some kind of toy and thinks it’s pretty hot.

She has a pretty amazing orgasm and she rolls onto the bed, sated and happy. They start snuggling and she’s pressing against him. Oh, but what’s this? She feels not one, but two erections.

“I thought when I saw you pull something from your case, that you had a sex toy of some kind, maybe one that fit around your penis..”

“Ah..no. I took only condom from my case.”

“Then how…?”

“I am Were.”

Uh..what? I didn’t see that coming. But ok, whatever. The author is trying something different. Except the chick’s reaction? Yeah, that doesn’t work for me. She’s heard rumors about this type of thing existing, but she didn’t believe it.

“Do not be afraid. I would not harm you…or perhaps you are horrified, si?”

“No! I just thought your people were a myth. Do..do you shift?”

He got up from the bed and proceeded to show her, only allowing the transformation to reach halfway, before returning to his human form.

“What are you?” She touched his abdomen with her shaky fingers.

“Half Were-Rhino, Half Were-Panther. I can take both forms or I can take a hybrid form.”

I just hit a wall. I’m pretty sure my head might have exploded. Were-RHINO??? Were-PANTHER??? HYBRID?!?! Then he asks her to dinner and the story is over. There’s no description of him in any form (Rhino, Panther or Hybrid), no reaction from the chick except to accept his invitation to dinner. Nothing. The story just ends.

Look, I understand pushing the envelope. But there comes a point where you’re pushing it way too far. This is it. I spent a good amount of time trying to imagine what this would look like. A huge rhino head on a panther body? A tiny panther head on a rhino body? A panther head with a rhino nose?

Tracy came over this weekend and we got to talking about the book. And naturally – because we’re immature like that – the penis came up. My husband and I were recently watching some program on tv (to my eternal shame I’m pretty sure it was MANswers) and they were talking about an elephant penis. Which is 6 feet long. SIX FEET LONG. So I’m thinking, if an elephant penis is 6 feet and a rhino isn’t that much smaller than an elephant and dude has a rhino penis..how big is it? And how, exactly, would that fit inside her?

My husband heard us speculating about this and took it upon himself to look up the size of a rhino penis. 2.5 feet. TWO AND A HALF FEET. Holy Mary Mother. Can you imagine? I couldn’t either. Luckily for me, Tracy – being the curious sort, you understand – Googled it. And what did she find? Oh look, a video.

So dude whips out one of those? But wait..there’s more. Because he didn’t just have a 2.5 FOOT rhino penis. He also had a panther penis. Can you imagine the logistics? Take a minute. Think it over. I’ll wait.

Are you horrified yet? Oh good, welcome to my world.

The moral of this story? Authors, feel free to push the envelope. As a reader, I want to read about new things. But, for the love of all things holy, think before you do it.

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When Authors Cross the Line

Posted August 6, 2010 by Holly in Discussions | 12 Comments

Today author Jacquelyn Frank put up an..interesting..blog post. Apparently she’s having some personal problems and felt the need to share her side of it with the interwebs. Fair enough. She’s an adult and can post whatever she wants on her blog, right? Right.

Her mother never thanks me. In fact, she treats the whole thing like…I don’t know. Like her kid’s a whore and has to earn her keep by pimping herself out to me. Like I’m her sugar daddy.

But then, I’m an adult and I can post whatever I want on my blog, too. And I have to say, Shame on you, Jacquelyn Frank. Shame on you. Calling a 10 year old child a whore seems a little over the top. So does saying she’ll be a mother by 16 and dead of a drug overdose by 18. Saying you “failed” as a parent, when you obviously aren’t one, then going on to say it’s not really your fault, but the real mother’s, well…Shame on you again.

And now, when it comes down to it, the person who is going to pay for it is B. I let her down. I’ve failed as a parent. She’ll be pregnant at 16 and dead of a drug overdose at 18. All this time I was fighting to keep sugar and dye out of her diet, I should have been fighting for…I don’t know. Something else. I just don’t know.

Look, I’m sorry that Jacquelyn Frank is going through a rough time. I’m sorry she’s in a position where someone might be taking advantage of her. I’m sorry, too, that a young girl is being put in the middle of something she shouldn’t be.

But even more? I’m sorry Jacquelyn Frank felt the need to share this with the world on her blog. Because really, some things should be kept private. Especially things having to do with a 10year old child.

Authors, please. As I recently said on twitter: There’s a line between sharing and sharing too much. Don’t cross it.

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Facebook Fan Pages

Posted November 11, 2009 by Holly in Discussions | 19 Comments

This is something that’s been on my mind for quite awhile. I have a personal Facebook page and we have one for Book Binge. We use the site to network, keep up with publishing trends and stay in touch with friends and family. Or I should say I do (I don’t know what Casee and Rowena use their personal Facebook accounts for, so I won’t speak for them.). I don’t care for the apps and games that are available there, and other than the occasional (ehem) game of Scrabble or Bejeweled, I don’t really do much other than read status updates and cyber-stalk people through their pictures.

Lately we’ve been receiving an increasing number of “suggestions” via Facebook to become “fans” of authors. Personally, I hate these requests. Look, there are many authors I consider myself to be a fan of, but I don’t feel the need to prove it by clicking a button on Facebook. I didn’t realize this until recently, but apparently authors use their fan pages to update their readers about upcoming releases, book promo information and things like that, as opposed to just annoying me like I originally thought. But..I kind of thought that’s what websites are for. And blogs. And Twitter accounts. I don’t feel like I need to become your “fan” on Facebook just to keep abreast of what’s going on in your writerly life. If I do, I think you have a problem, because seriously? I doubt the bulk of your fanbase or readership is on Facebook.

Not only that, but the actual wording of the requests drives me batshit crazy:

Author X became a fan of Author X on Facebook and suggested you become a fan too.

As I said on Twitter the other day (slightly modified because I no longer have the 140 character restriction):

Dear Facebook Authors: Please stop suggesting I become your fan just b/c you did. As long as you love yourself that’s all that matters. You don’t need me.

I realize the wording isn’t the author’s doing. They don’t have control over what Facebook sends in their email. But the whole thing screams, “ATTENTION WHORE” to me. If you feel the need to have a fan page on Facebook, by all means, go for it. But stop asking me to join it. If I want to become your fan, I will. Simple as that. I don’t need you suggesting I do so.

As if that isn’t bad enough, I’ve noticed an increasing number of bloggers creating fan pages for their blogs lately. Why? Why do you do this? I honestly don’t understand why you need a FAN PAGE for your BLOG. If I like your blog, if I’m a true fan of it, I’ll visit it and comment on it. I won’t add myself to a list on Facebook to prove it. Seriously, WHY DO YOU NEED A FACEBOOK FAN PAGE FOR YOUR BLOG?!?!?!

I’ve also been getting an increasing number of “book recommendations” on Goodreads. Another question I posed on Twitter:

Authors, why do you “suggest” your books to me on Goodreads? B/c you think I’ll like them, or just to be a Spammy McSpammer?

To be honest, I doubt the bulk of the authors who “suggest” their books to me know my reading tastes enough to think I’ll like them. Therefore it seems much more likely that they’re just spamming me.

And, ok, I understand authors are often in charge of their own promo. I’ll also freely admit I’ve found many new authors via recommendations, both from other readers and sites like Amazon and Goodreads. But..well, I guess I feel like it’s different if an author recs his/her own book to me. Just like it’s different if an author suggests I become a fan of them.

To be honest, more often than not I want to delete authors from my friend list completely when they start sending me suggestions to become their fan or start recommending their book to me. Sames goes for bloggers who ask me to become a fan of their blog.

What are your thoughts on fan pages and book recommendations? Does it bother you when authors become fans of themselves and then suggest you do the same? How about when an author recommends his/her own book to you? And what about bloggers creating fan pages for their blogs? Does that seem like overkill to you?

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Why I Buy from Amazon.com

Posted May 28, 2009 by Holly in Discussions | 20 Comments

For several months blogland has been in an uproar over various things that Amazon.com has (or hasn’t) done. Last month there was some kind of glitch (according to Amazon it was a glitch, many others have a hard time believing that was actually the case) in their system that caused almost all romance and romantica titles to be removed from their main search. To be completely honest, I missed almost the entire thing. I had just started back at work when everything went down and I didn’t even hear about it until almost a week later. By then things had cooled off and, from what I understand, the situation had been remedied by Amazon.(If you, like me, were living under a rock and have no idea what I’m talking about, you can visit Dear Author and read the posts Jane did about it here, here, here and here.).

There have also been debates about the Kindle cornering the eBook market and many other complaints. But you know what? Even though Amazon is a big, bad evil corporation, I still do 90% of my print book shopping through them.

Yes, I admit it, I am an Amazon junkie. Why? Because they offer me what I need. Reasonably priced books in a quick, convenient manner. As you all know from my previous rants posts, I live in the middle of nowhere. If I want new books I have the option of WalMart or whatever happens to be stocked at my local grocery store. There are no independent booksellers in my area, and the closest chain store (B&N and Borders) is 50 miles away. Which is fine if I want to make a day of book shopping (something I love to do). But with a full time job, two kids, three dogs and one husband, those day trips are few and far between. So what are my options? Online shopping or no books at all.

About 90% of all my book purchases are now made in e-format. As I’ve said many times before, I love the convenience of eBooks and, when possible, prefer the instant gratification I receive when I download one.

If I can’t find a book in e-format, however, the first place I go is Amazon. You can say what you want about Amazon being evil and awful and terrible, but they offer me, as a customer, something no other online seller does.

I’m not talking about the Kindle, either. I personally think the Kindle is a waste of money. Perhaps I’m just miserly, but the idea of paying almost $400 for a dedicated e-Reader makes me mildly ill.

But let’s look at what Amazon has to offer me that no other major online bookseller does:

Fast, free shipping. For $80 a year I was able to get a Prime Account at Amazon, which offers me free 2-day shipping on almost any item sold by Amazon (from books to jewelry) or overnight shipping for $3.99. That means my wait time for the books I ordered is practically nothing.

If I want free shipping from Barnes and Noble I have to spend a minimum of $25. Which is fine if I plan to buy several books at a time. But then the books are shipped regular ground mail, which can take up to 14 days to arrive. Not to mention that I mostly buy books one or two at a time. Because I’m greedy and want them now. I don’t want to wait until I have $25 worth of books in my cart.

Not only that, but in my experience, B&N’s shipping times aren’t very regular. Their shipping policy says, “Books usually ship within 24 hours – 2-3 days”, but I’ve found it often takes upwards of 5 days for their books to ship. So not only do I have to wait 2 weeks once it leaves their warehouse, I may have to wait several days for them to even send it out.

The average mass market paperback is $7.99. According to B&N their shipping charges for regular domestic shipping are $3.00 per book plus a $.99 per item charge. So that’s $3.99 for shipping, per book. To have it arrive in 7-21 days. Or I could pay $3.99 at Amazon and get the book overnight.

2 day free shipping at Amazon no matter how much I spend or a minimum purchase of $25 at Barnes and Noble to receive the book in about 2 weeks? Obviously I don’t do a lot of shopping at B&N.

I realize the reason Amazon can offer such great benefits to its customers is because they don’t have overhead costs from actual brick-and-mortar stores like B&N does. But..well, I honestly don’t care what the reason is. I don’t care that Amazon is “taking over the world”. What I care about is getting the books I love at a reasonable price in the least amount of time possible.

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