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text 2017-12-08 22:34
Release Day! Dragon Guardian (Immortal Dragons #5) by Ophelia Bell ~ Excerpt/Giveaway

 

Dragon Guardian
by Ophelia Bell
(Immortal Dragons, #5)
Publication date: December 8th 2017
Genres: Adult, Paranormal, Romance

 

 

Time isn’t on Aodh’s side when he gets trapped in a magical prison on an island thousands of years in the past. The only people who can save him are an old lover he didn’t exactly part on good terms with, and the innocent ursa female whose true power has yet to be unleashed as long as she remains a virgin.

 

Aodh’s Fated Mates, Neph and Vrishti, have never met. When the ancient satyr and ursa princess finally do, they aren’t quite sure they can trust each other. Will they be able to overcome their misgivings enough to pool their powers and rescue the man they both love?

 

But even reunited, their journey isn’t over. Their mortal enemy is on the loose, and her hunger for power threatens to tear their entire world apart.

 

 

Purchase: Amazon – Nook – Kobo – iTunes – Google Play 

 

Vrishti took another long swallow of wine, her eyes wide and intense. “What if I told you I could give you a link to the Source? I know an ursa spell that lets me access that power.”

The hesitance in her voice was the only thing that kept him from jumping up and demanding that she show him now. He spread his fingers and pressed his palms flat on the surface of the table, staring across at her.

 “If you have a spell that does that, I want to see it. Then we can decide if I can reach Aodh.”

“I can’t,” she said. “Not yet. I haven’t reached my estrous yet, and I won’t have enough power for the spell until I do.”

“The spell is tied to your fertility, isn’t it?” he asked, beginning to understand her fear of divulging all the details. If she hadn’t reached her estrous, there was a strong chance she was a virgin. More than strong, judging from her behavior. The power wasn’t just the simple command of the life energy that permeated the world and all living things—a power even a male ursa like Cade could access at will, if they were trained for it.

“I have to … um,” she began, then shot a fearful look at them both as though she’d just realized she was sitting in a room alone with two very virile males.

Cade was the first to break the silence, and he did so with a loud laugh. “Kiddo, you’ve dug yourself into a nice little hole here, haven’t you? I’ll help you out, since you’re very new to the whole ursa gig. All that sweet power that builds up inside females before their estrous comes straight from the Source. That’s why it’s so damn dangerous. But the only way to let it out is for you to have an orgasm. Or even better, a whole lot of orgasms. I never knew it could be harnessed and reused … Mostly us males just channel it back to Gaia. So you’re telling us that you have a spell that lets you do that?”

Cade’s clinical explanation did nothing to cool Neph’s rising lust. Vrishti had come to him with this request, one that she knew required her to give herself to him. Or did she know?

“You understand this means we’ll have to fuck?”

Gaia’s tears, simply saying the words made his cock painfully hard.

Cade cursed. “Let the kid get her bearings, for fuck’s sake. Nobody’s fucking anybody.”

“It’s all right, Cade,” Vrishti said. “I … I’m aware of how I access the power. I only had an idea of how youwould access it, but now I know. If it means rescuing Aodh, then I’m prepared.”

Neph let out a sardonic chuckle. “I don’t think you are.” He stood up from the table. “Let me show you exactly what you need to be prepared for, because the only way for me to use my full power is in my primal form.” He swiftly unbuttoned his shirt, then his jeans, stripping deliberately out of each item of clothing, ignoring Cade’s fountain of profanity. She had to see.

Vrishti sat stock still, her mouth slightly open and her eyes growing wider.

“You don’t have to …” she started. “I mean, I get it …” She raised a hand when he stood naked in front of her after walking around the table.

“This isn’t what I need to show you,” he said, then summoned his primal shape and shifted. In a smooth flow of magic, his body grew. Giant horns sprouted from his head, curving back from his temples in coiling ram’s horns, and his lower body spawned a coat of thick, black fleece. “This is.”

Even in his human shape, it’d been impossible not to be aroused by her. His simple nakedness a moment earlier had heightened her reaction to the point that he could easily scent her desire. But now his cock had grown in both size and need with the surge of his primal instincts. The thick length protruded from its nest of fleece at his groin, massive shaft curving up in a smooth arc that pointed directly at Vrishti.

“Are you prepared for this, girl?” he asked, voice dripping with every ounce of lust that filled him. He gripped his shaft and gave it a long stroke, enjoying how she licked her lips. He’d happily bend her over the table and fuck her now, but despite that wild craving, he still knew better—though he would have tormented her more with his satyr shape if Cade hadn’t stepped between them and shoved Neph backward.

“You fucking son of a bitch! Get yourself under control, man. I said, nobody is fucking anyone in this house. Not tonight. Not after all that goddamn wine, and especially not without her saying she’s good and goddamn ready for it.” He turned to look at Vrishti, and in a more comforting tone said, “He is right, though, kiddo. You are far from prepared for his crazy ass.” 

 

 

A signed copy of Dragon Guardian, swag, and a $25 Amazon gift card

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

 

Ophelia Bell loves a good bad-boy and especially strong women in her stories. Women who aren’t apologetic about enjoying sex and bad boys who don’t mind being with a woman who’s in charge, at least on the surface, because pretty much anything goes in the bedroom.

 

Ophelia grew up on a rural farm in North Carolina and now lives in Los Angeles with her own tattooed bad-boy husband and four attention-whoring cats.

 

If you’d like to receive regular updates on Ophelia’s publications, freebies, and discounts, please subscribe to her mailing list: http://opheliabell.com/subscribe/

 

 

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/12/dragon-guardian-immortal-dragons-5-by-ophelia-bell-excerpt-giveaway
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text 2017-12-07 15:30
Interview: Shyla Colt (Witch for Hire) ~ Giveaway/Excerpt

 

Hello and Welcome All!

 

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing the Author for a Witch for Hire, Shyla Colt.

 

Welcome Shyla. 

 

How did you come up with the idea for this story? It started with the two characters, Louella & Cristobal and the question, What happens if a witch and a vampire fall in love despite the way society looks down on their union? From there it grew until I had a complete universe.

 

Please share a few fun facts about this book… The main couple are a witch and vampire in love, when then they aren’t in like. It features some of my favorite historical figures suspected of being vampires.

 

Please share the opening lines from a Witch for Hire…. I’ll be eating crow until I’m shitting black feathers. The space that had once been alive with bright, colorful bobbles, herbal remedies, and homemade beauty supplies, is now a sad, barren wasteland. Bright yellow ‘Everything Must Go’ signs mock me.

 

Tell us all about your main characters — Who are they? What makes them tick?

 

Louella Eschete is a modern day witch, bound by the rules, restrictions, and responsibilities that come with her magical family. Heir to the magical throne, a position she never wanted, the sassy, smart-mouthed-witch is determined to pull her family out of the dark ages and prepare them for the storm brewing among the supernatural community.

 

Cristobal Cortez is the worst kind of dangerous. Beautiful and charming, he hides the savagery that comes so easily to him. The 15th century Spaniard has fast become a power house among the vampire community. His hasty actions nearly cost him his boundmate. Only a rash of murders that need solving have them orbiting the same universe once more. He’ll have to prove himself as they come together for the greater good. Loyal, ruthless when it comes to protection , Cristobal is an mix of Old Warm Charm and calculated moves.

 

If you could have given your characters one piece of advice before the opening pages of this book, what would it be and why? Get your heads out of your behinds, be open with one another, and be realistic about what the future holds.

 

Tell us a little about yourself? I love a good story, nice scotch, music of all kind, and most things crafty. When I’m not writing, you can find me spending time with my family, traveling any time I can fit it in, and baking , especially now that it’s fall.

 

What do you do when you are not writing? Anything crafty, travel, keep my house from burning down, lol. You know how the mom life can be.

 

What types of scenes are your most favorite to write? I really enjoy writing scenes laced with humor, and the romantic scenes where the characters are just starting to fall for once another.

 

What are your current projects? I’m working on the follow up to Witch for Hire, and a Contemporary Romance called Ring of Fire.

 

If you could swap lives with the heroine of any urban fantasy book, which book would you choose? Kitty Norville from the Kitty Norville series. She’s a midnight DJ which I’d love to be, and I found her to be hilarious and relatable.

 

Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.

 

 

 

Witch for Hire

 

Shyla Colt 

 

Genre: Urban Fantasy

 

Publisher: Vamptasy

 

Date of Publication:  11-27-2017

 

ASIN: B075GN5Q68

 

Number of pages: 300

 

Word Count: 85,000

 

Cover Artist: Dreams 2 Media

 

Tagline: Against the approaching darkness, I am the light.

 

Book Description:

 

Young, terrified, and bound to a vampire, Louella Eschete fled the bayou and swore off magic. Years later, she’s returned to the tiny town of Cypress, Louisiana to take her rightful place as head of her magical family, whether she likes it or not.

 

In order to keep the tentative peace formed between the various races of powerful beings who rule side by side, she must face her own demons. Mainly one, Cristobal Cortez.

 

Now a master vampire, and lord of the seven cities surrounding New Orleans, her former lover has moved up in the world. Their relationship gets way more complicated when his court is framed for a rash of murders they didn’t commit.

 

Forced to play her role as his bond mate, and launch an investigation into the darkness threatening to overturn truces, she may be in over her head.

 

 

Amazon

 

 

I spot his form on the outskirts. Though, I’m loathe to admit it, my night vision is better than a human’s. Energy crackles on my fingertips. Bright green sparks break the inky blackness of night. My stomach sours. Being in the same space works as an amplifier for us. I’m manifesting new powers. He’s turned me into something foreign. Physical manifestation of magic is rare and left to the most powerful.

 

I curl my hands into fists. He foresaw this all those years ago in that graveyard. He recognized the potential of the two of us could create together. My chest aches. Some wounds cut too deep to ever fully heal. Angers pools in my belly. I wanted love. I got lies and manipulation instead. A pulsing ball of energy forms in front of me. I’m hypnotized by the technic-color glow. How could this come from me?

 

I shake under the strain of maintaining it. What was created in anger is burning off my reserves.

 

“Let. It. Go.”

 

The command given in a dulcet tone snaps my hold on the newly discovered power. The ball hurtles toward him. I resend the magic, knowing the back lash of the abrupt interruption of signal flow is going to be a bitch. Lifted off my feet by a form of magical feedback, I’m pitched back violently. My stomach drops, and then I’m caught in a strong pair of arms. The gravity of seeing him in person so close up presses down on me as I drown in his chocolate colored gaze. My tongue sticks to the rough of my mouth. All thought flees as my barriers buckle like the compromised hull of a ship. The high, well-sculpted cheek bones lead down to a strong, diamond shaped jaw rounded out by a dimpled chin. His button nose gives an eternal boyish quality to his rugged good lucks. He swallows and my gaze is drawn to his throat as my mind his worked over by years of memories.

 

We’re exchanging information like two computers updating. He cups my face. “Louella.” I twitch as I ride the wave of power being exchanged between us. 

 

 

 

Tour Giveaway 

Kindle Fire (US and Canada Only for the giveaway)

$25 Amazon GC

$25 Amazon GC

$10 Amazon GC

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Shyla Colt is the sassy international bestseller of the popular series Kings of Chaos and Dueling Devils M.C. This genre-hoppers stories feature three of her favorite things: strong females, pop culture, and alternate routes to happy ever after. Listening to her Romani soul, she pens from the heart, allowing the dynamic characters, eccentric interests, and travels as a former flight attendant to take her down untraveled roads. 

 

Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, this mid-west girl is proud of her roots. She used her hometown and the surrounding areas as a backdrop for a number of books. So, if you’re a Buckeye, keep an eye out for familiar places. 

 

As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household.

 

She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company.

 

You can interact with Shyla Colt online via her website, TwitterFacebook, & Goodreads.

 

 

Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/12/interview-shyla-colt-witch-for-hire-giveawayexcerpt
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text 2017-12-06 15:30
Winter Is Coming Giveaway Hop ~ Dec. 6th – 21st

Hosted by The Kids Did It & The Mommy Island

 

What better way to stay warm. Then to hang out at home and enter some giveaways. Plus curl up with a good book. How about a few winter themed books for your pleasure! These are featured in snowy cold places or during the Holiday Season.

 

     

 

One winner will receive a $15 Amazon eGift Card. (Open INT)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

Check out all the stops on this hop!

 

Click on each blog title below to enter another great giveaway! 
Don't miss the Grand Prize Giveaways at The Mommy Island and The Kids Did It!
Be sure to come back daily for bonus entries too. 
1.  (Host) The Kids Did It   26.  Drop The Spotlight - WW   51.  Comeback Momma - US/CAN   76.  Everyday Gizmos Sweeps & Views - US    
2.  (Host) The Mommy Island   27.  Literary Winner - US   52.  Mom Does Reviews - WW   77.  CouponWAHM - US    
3.  (VIP) Still Blonde after all these YEARS - $25 PayPal Cash - US   28.  Here We Go Again....Ready? - US   53.  The Homespun Chics - US   78.  #2 Finding Sanity In Our Crazy Life - US    
4.  (VIP) Coupons and Freebies Mom - $10 Amazon Gift Card - US   29.  icefairy's Treasure Chest - US   54.  Wishful Endings - WW   79.  #3 Finding Sanity In Our Crazy Life - US    
5.  (VIP) Broken Teepee - Cat Toy Prize Pkg From Hartz Pets - US   30.  Finding Sanity In Our Crazy Life - US   55.  Freesocial2011 - US   80.  Candid Mama - US    
6.  (VIP) Beautiful Touches - $100 Peach Skin Sheets - US   31.  Miss Molly Says - US   56.  Author J.D. Wright - WW   81.  deal sharing aunt - US    
7.  (VIP) Aging Like A Fine Wine - $25 Amazon Gift Card - WW   32.  Angel's Guilty Pleasures - WW   57.  Mysterious Ramblings - US   82.  3 partners in shopping - US    
8.  (VIP) FROG Reviews and Ramblings - $10 Amazon Gift Card - US   33.  Mommy's Playbook - US   58.  Queens NYC Mom - US   83.  Style on Main - US    
9.  (VIP) Woven by Words - $150 World Vision Gift Basket - US   34.  Mom To Grandma - US   59.  Parenting Healthy - US   84.  of Learning and Nesting - US    
10.  (VIP) Beauty Info Zone - $25 Ulta Gift Card - US   35.  On Honeysuckle Hill - US   60.  Jenny At Dapperhouse - US   85.  Three Boys and an Old Lady - US/CAN    
11.  (VIP) Chatty Patty's Place - $250 Luxury Bedding Package - US   36.  Celebrate Woman Today - US   61.  Gypsy Road - US   86.  This Roller Coaster Called Life - US    
12.  (VIP) Way 2 Good Life - $70 HURDY-GURDY 3D PUZZLE - US   37.  Reading Reality - US   62.  Chronically Content - US/CAN   87.  Bookroom Reviews    
13.  (VIP) Fun With A Message - $30 Custom DiG Print - US   38.  Doodles, doodles everywhere - WW   63.  Angie's Angle - US   88.  Practical Frugality    
14.  (VIP) Rockin' Book Reviews   39.  Nanny to Mommy - US   64.  How Was Your Day? - US   89.  Elitemama    
15.  (VIP) Simply Sherryl   40.  Imperfect Women - WW   65.  Lindsey Blogs at SEBG - US   90.  Lynchburg Mama    
16.  Zombie Parenting   41.  Laurali's Blog - US   66.  A Modern Day Fairy Tale - US   91.  Oh My Mommy    
17.  Tizzy Says - WW   42.  Christy's Cozy Corners - US   67.  Heck Of A Bunch - US   92.  Mommy Scene    
18.  Lenore Harper - US   43.  Mommy Knows What's Best - US   68.  Bottles & Banter - US/CAN   93.  Leahsay's Views    
19.  Freebies Deals & Steals - WW   44.  JeanBookNerd - US   69.  Home Jobs by MOM - US   94.  Erica Ever After    
20.  My Silly Little Gang - US   45.  It's Free At Last - WW   70.  Bargnhtress - WW   95.  Chrisy Beason's World    
21.  Batch of Books - US   46.  Utterly Amazing - US   71.  Diva's News & Reviews - WW   96.  In The Know With JoJo    
22.  Savings in Seconds - US   47.  Kerrific Online - US   72.  Tammie's Reviews, Giveaways and More - US   97.  MyStyleSpot    
23.  Readeropolis - WW   48.  Says Me Says Mom - WW   73.  Java John Z's - US   98.  Leettle House In KY    
24.  The Monarch Mommy - CAN   49.  Confessions of a Frugal Mind - WW   74.  Daisy Day Designs - US      
25.  Parenting In Progress - US   50.  Echoes of Joy - US/CAN   75.  B is 4 - WW    
Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2017/12/winter-is-coming-giveaway-hop-dec-6th-21st
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text 2017-12-06 12:35
Blog Tour: An Unstill Life by Kate Larkindale With Excerpt and Giveaway

Today’s stop is for Kate Larkindale’s An Unstill Life. We will have info about the book and author, and a great excerpt from the book, plus a great giveaway. Make sure to check everything out and enter the giveaway. Happy Reading :) 


When your whole world is falling apart, what are the chances you’ll find love in the most unexpected of places?   Livvie feels like she’s losing everything: her two best friends have abandoned her for their boyfriends, her mother continues to ignore her, while her sister, Jules, is sick again and getting worse by the day. Add in the request Jules has made of her and Livvie feels like she’s losing her mind, too.   Her only escape is in the art room, where she discovers not only a refuge from her life, but also a kindred soul in Bianca, the school “freak”. Livvie’s always felt invisible, at school and at home, but with Bianca, she finally feels like someone sees the real Livvie. As the relationship deepens and it comes time to take the romance public, will Livvie be able to take that step?   Livvie’s about to find out if she has what it takes to make the tough decisions and stand up for herself—for the first time in her life.

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Buy Links

Amazon *** B&N *** Kobo

 

Bianca pulled up in front of my house, which sat in darkness, not even the porch light on to guide me. I must be late. Mom always switched off the light at midnight, whether we were home or not, letting us know she was aware we’d missed curfew. I’d hear about it tomorrow. Or maybe not.

“Thanks for the ride,” I said. “And … thanks. Again. Like I said, you’re always rescuing me.”

“Maybe I think you’re worth saving.” Bianca wasn’t looking at me. Her eyes were turned to the open window. The words sounded simple, but they weren’t. They lay across the seat between us, pulsing in shades of pink and red.

“Thanks?” The word felt awkward in my mouth. Would she still think I was worth saving if she knew I was thinking of ways to kill my sister? I shoved the thought away as I climbed out of the car. “See you in school.”

“Yeah. See you.” Bianca turned, her eyes glittering under the streetlights. “Hey, Livvie?”

“Yeah?” I ducked my head back through the door.

“I really like your painting.”

I jerked back in surprise, knocking the back of my head on the door. “My painting? You mean the still life?”

She nodded. “Yeah. It’s really good. It’s like everyone else is painting the surface of the things, but you’re painting what’s underneath. The real apple. The real flowers. It’s got—” She stopped, searching around as if she’d find the word she was looking for hanging in the air, ripe for plucking. “Well, it sounds totally corny, but it’s got soul.”

My face grew warm. “Thanks,” I mumbled. “But yours is way better.”

She waved her hand in a dismissive gesture. “No. Mine’s clever. It’s thought out. But there’s no passion in it. Yours has that.”

I giggled. “Passion? For a bunch of fruit and flowers? I hope not.”

She smiled, too, the flicker of movement so small I could have missed it. “Well, yeah. It’s not the most exciting subject. But if you can inject that much life into something so stupid, just think what you could do with something you really care about. Like that thing you did with the song. That’s something special.”

I sank back into the seat, the springs wheezing beneath me. My ears blazed, and I knew my cheeks were just as red. No one had ever said anything like that to me before. Even Mrs. DeWinter dismissed my music pictures as irrelevant swirls of color, while Mom considered all painting and drawing to be a frivolous waste of time.

“Thanks.” I stammered again.

“No, thank you.” Bianca lit another cigarette, the fiery end punching a hole in the darkness.

“What for?” Smoke burned my eyes, making them tear. At least, I thought it was the smoke. I couldn’t remember the last time someone complimented me or made me feel special. I brushed at a wet spot on my cheek.

She took a long drag and turned to her open window before exhaling into the night. “I’ve always been the best at art. I never had to work hard to be the best either. Now I have something to work for.”

“Oh.” I admired the ease with which she admitted to being the best. “Okay.”

Silence filled the car, but it was a warm, comforting silence.

“I have to go.” The reluctance in my voice surprised me, and I realized I didn’t want to leave. And not just because Bianca’s words flattered me. I recognized the truth in them. “I have a curfew. And I’m late.”

“Sure. Wouldn’t want to get you in trouble.” She turned the key and let the engine struggle to life again.

I watched the way the light gleamed off her shiny red lips. Surprised, I realized I wanted to lean over and kiss them, wanted to see if she tasted of the raspberries I always tasted while in her presence. I scrambled out of the car, putting distance between us as fast as I could. My heart raced in my chest.

 

Having spent a lifetime travelling the globe, Kate Larkindale is currently residing in Wellington, New Zealand. A marketing executive, film reviewer and mother, she’s surprised she finds any time to write, but doesn’t sleep much. As a result, she can usually be found hanging out near the espresso machine.   Her short stories have appeared in Halfway Down The Stairs, A Fly in Amber, Daily Flash Anthology, The Barrier Islands Review, Everyday Fiction, Death Rattle, Drastic Measures, Cutlass & Musket and Residential Aliens, among others.   She has written fourteen contemporary YA novels, a few of which other people are allowed to see. She has also written one very bad historical romance. She is currently working on a new YA novel and ghostwriting an autobiography.

Links 

Website *** Facebook *** Twitter *** Amazon *** Goodreads

 

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Follow the tour HERE for exclusive excerpts and a giveaway!

 

Source: snoopydoosbookreviews.com/blog-tour-unstill-life-kate-larkindale-excerpt-giveaway
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text 2017-12-05 15:07
Mark A. Rayner about his newest novel The Fatness + Giveaway [A guest post]

 

Many of you already know Mark A. Rayner aka Dilettante (you can follow Mark's blog on BookLikes here). Now it's time to know Mark's story a little bit better. With his new release The Fatness Mark also reveals a look behind the scenes of his newest book!

 

If you're hungry of great stories, make sure to request The Fatness copy in here. Enjoy and bon appetite

 

 

-- a guest post by Mark A. Rayner

 

 

The Fatness – a novel of epic portions

 

Canadian author Mark A. Rayner’s timely new book, The Fatness, is a satirical take on how not to deal with the so-called obesity “epidemic”. The novel posits a world in which the government gives those who are obese a simple choice: relinquish their publicly funded healthcare or go to a special Calorie Reduction Center (CRC) to lose the weight.

Mark is offering three copies as a giveaway here.

 

 

Behind the scenes:

why The Fatness was a difficult book to write

by Mark A. Rayner

 

It was personal.

 

Writers might say that of any book, true, but this novel was a particular challenge. I’ve struggled with weight issues most of my life, so I found it quite difficult to write a humorous account of what it would be like to be imprisoned for your weight.

 

Really difficult.

 

Like many of my novels, the idea for The Fatness first came to me in a dream. I’d been reading The Obesity Myth, by Paul Campos. It’s an eye-opening non-fiction about the bad science surrounding the idea of the obesity “epidemic”. That was sometime in 2005, the year ENC Press published my first book, The Amadeus Net.

 

In the nightmare, I was imprisoned in a Calorie Reduction Center, a concentration camp for the obese. When I awoke, I thought, so that’s a horrible notion. Terrifying. And strangely compelling. Should I even put this terrible idea out in the world? I wondered. Would readers know it was meant to be a satire?

 

I’m an optimist, so I wrote four chapters. They were bad. There was nothing funny about the book. It wasn’t biting satire, it was just bitter.

 

I made several other attempts, all failures. Six years ago I even got as far as completing an outline and a large chunk of a draft. But it wasn’t really what I wanted the book to be. It was strained and really not funny in a way that was compassionate for the inmates of the Calorie Reduction Centers.

 

Then five years ago I got serious about my own weight issues. I worked with two wonderful personal trainers and got my BMI – my body mass index – down below the dreaded 30 BMI for the first time in years. For some reason, that gave me the ability to write the book. I think I needed to understand the process of losing weight so that I could communicate its challenges properly. Within the course of a year, I wrote a completely new draft of the book.

Giveaway 

Ends December 18, 2017

REQUEST YOUR COPY ->

 

The biggest task, from a writing perspective, was to get the tone right. I didn’t want this to be an exercise in telling fat jokes. That is part of the problem, as far as I see it – we tolerate jokes about somebody’s weight in a way that we wouldn’t allow for other characteristics, such as race or sexuality. So pitching the humor in a compassionate way was important to me.

 

I think I learned how to do it by reading the work of Kurt Vonnegut, one of my literary heroes. I share his take on humanity. We are flawed, but we’re not worthless. It’s the opposite, really. Our flaws make us different, and our differences make us valuable.

 

A satire also has to be critical. Another way in which my writing is similar to Vonnegut’s is that we make fun of pretension and large-scale human systems. We’re suspicious of both. Pretension is a symptom of hypocrisy. This pitfall is only possible when we humans start believing our own lies.

 

The other major target, as far as I can see, has to be the way that humans are terrible at taking good ideas and turning them into governing principles. The human component seems to get lost as soon as we scale things up to the level of large systems.

 

Obesity is a complicated problem, and it’s not realistic to think we’re going to find simple solutions. There’s a genetic component to obesity – recent studies indicate it may be caused by a single gene. There are societal, financial and emotional components to it as well. Until we understand how all of these things fit together, it’s going to be a difficult issue to address. Blaming people for their weight issues is certainly not going to help.

 

After I got my own weight problems under control (for a little while) and finished the rough draft of the book, the following year I worked with my editor and produced two more drafts. Then my life got really complicated. My long-term relationship ended, my dog died, and I started a new and extremely challenging work position. (Sounds like a bad country and western song, doesn’t it?) So it took a few more years until I was ready to start the publishing process. Yeah, sometimes it takes that long.

 

This twelve-year project, from idea to publication, is the longest gestation period for a book I’ve written. By comparison, my first novel, The Amadeus Net, was a breeze – it only took ten years from start to finish.

 

But I think The Fatness is the best book I’ve written (so far), and the positive reviews seem to back up that feeling. I’m particularly pleased that readers feel the book is satirical, yet has a big heart that is compassionate for people struggling with obesity.

 

As the reading and writing process taught me, there are no easy answers.

 

Mark’s favourite writing space: in the garden.

 

 

The Fatness is a metaphor

 

I hope this is a story that can be read on many levels and enjoyed in different ways. I don’t think this is a spoiler, but it’s fair to say that there is a metaphor at the heart of this book.

 

If you buy into the notion of duality, you accept the idea that you are a consciousness riding around in a body. I think many fat people experience this every time they look in the mirror. I know I do. I don’t feel overweight, but there’s the proof of it right there in front of me. The idea that you might be physically incarcerated because of your body is a metaphor for how an obese person might feel every day: a thin person looking out at a fat one. That’s a paraphrase of the Cyril Connolly quotation: “Imprisoned in every fat man a thin one is wildly signaling to be let out.”

 

There’s some truth to it, in the same way that as we get older, we may experience the truth of Terry Pratchett’s observation: “Inside every old person is a young person wondering what the hell happened.”

 

But the thing is, that thin person, that young person, is a reflection of societal values. If you engage with any media, it’s impossible to avoid the idea that what matters is being thin, being young, being beautiful, being successful, and being famous. We see ourselves that way – we judge ourselves that way – even when these ideas have nothing to do with our worth as human beings.

 

The Fatness is an attempt to get people to recognize how media can have an impact on how we see ourselves and each other.

 

So my hope is that readers will be affected by the book. My hope, if they’re fat, is for them to feel less alone, to feel less guilty about their physicality. For the non-obese, I hope they get an understanding that nobody wants to be fat. It’s not a choice. And it’s not just laziness. Many fat people spend their entire lives trying not to be fat. I know that I have.

 

On a lighter note (pun intended), my goal is to make readers laugh. There are lots of things the book spoofs, and your political affiliations really don’t matter. Every reader will find something to enjoy. It makes fun of socialism. It makes fun of capitalism. And it makes fun of human foibles.

 

If nothing else, readers should come away with a sense of how absurd our bureaucracies can be, and how even the best intentions can go wildly astray. Even science.

 

 

Discovering more about medical science

 

I learned quite a bit while I was penning this novel. While the facts, myths, and quotes between the chapters – I call them ‘interstitials’ – are meant to be fun, they actually helped me discover more about obesity, body image, and the research process. I learned, for example, that science is very much a human process, prone to error and flaws. What we “know” today could easily turn out to be “wrong” the next. A tragic example of this is what happened in the ’50s and ’60s, when the medical profession decided that dietary fat was the enemy.

 

Ironically, I think this is one of the major contributing factors to the increase of obesity in society. This is terribly simplistic, but we substituted carbs for fat in our diets – and not just good carbs, like vegetables and fruits. We added in highly processed carbs, which are probably okay for us in limited amounts, but not if they make up the bulk of our diet.

 

I also learned how the food industry works. (It’s kind of shocking, in some cases.) I certainly didn’t realize that corporations were actively pushing unhealthy food at us to fatten up their bottom line. That probably makes me seem naive, but until I started digging into the subject, I really hadn’t thought about it much.

 

I learned about the importance of body image – on both sides of the BMI. I learned how damaging it is to shame people for being either too fat or too thin. Even if the intention is to help people become healthier, shame is actually counterproductive when it comes to weight management.

 

Finally, I discovered that keeping the weight off is just as hard as losing it. But that’s a topic for a sequel. (And maybe a psychotherapist.)

 

About Mark A. Rayner

 

Mark A. Rayner. Author. Mustache twirler. Photo by David Redding Photography, 2013.

 

Human-shaped, simian-obsessed, robot-fighting, pirate-hearted, storytelling junkie Mark A. Rayner is an award-winning writer of satirical and speculative fiction.

 

By day, Mark teaches his bemused students at the Faculty of Information and Media Studies (at Western University) how to construct social media campaigns and viable information architectures that will not become self-aware and destroy all humans. By night he is a writer of short stories, novels, squibs and other drivel. (Some pure, and some quite tainted with meaning.)

 

Many cheeseburgers were harmed in the making of this novel.

 

Mark A. Rayner's books:

 

The Fatness - Mark A. Rayner The Amadeus Net - Mark A. Rayner The Fridgularity - Mark A. Rayner

Marvellous Hairy - Mark A. Rayner Pirate Therapy and Other Cures - Mark A. Rayner The Meanderings of the Emily Chesley Reading Circle - Mark A. Rayner 

 

 

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