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Marriage Equality, Take #2

Judge Walker’s ruling overturning California’s Proposition 8 was issued this past Wednesday, and I find myself relieved but underwhelmed. What I thought would be a major victory for my son and others like him turns out to be just one of the seemingly innumerable hurdles that must be overcome. I am more frightened and weary than celebratory.

This is in strong contrast to my experience a mere sixteen months ago, when Iowa moved into the ranks of states supporting marriage equality. I was an enthralled participant in local rallies and blogged about it in these pages: http://adrianakraft.com/2009/04/04/proud-to-be-an-iowan/.

The people and organizations that oppose marriage equality seem powerful and hate-driven. The rhetoric is so repulsive to me I can hardly stand to read it. Two days after the ruling, a Republican who lost the primary race for the Iowa gubernatorial nomination announced he would organize to unseat the three Iowa Supreme Court judges who are up for retention in this year’s election. “If the judges can do this to marriage, every one of your freedoms is up for grabs,” he said during a news conference Friday.

So I find myself of like mind with Diane Silver, one of the bloggers over at The Bilerico Project. As she so eloquently puts it, Judge Walker and the lawyers who argued the case for repeal of Prop 8 “can only move the ball down the field. They can’t actually save us. The only people who can save us is us and our straight allies.” There is work to be done.

 

Letting Go

It’s really hard to say goodbye! We’ve known this person for half a decade – laughed at her antics, thrilled to her triumphs, cried with her tender moments and agonized over whether she’d ever open herself up to true love. She always seemed so focused on everyone else, eager to help them embrace life and find a soul mate. Sometimes she seemed so wise about these things it was hard to believe she’d never fallen in love – but each time a relationship ended, it was easy to see why: she’s famous for pulling a disappearing act instead of hanging around for the heartfelt goodbye.

So now, nearly five years since she first came to life on our pages, Meg Keenan’s saga is ending, and hubby and I, who write together under the pen name Adriana Kraft, have to say goodbye to her! I’ll miss her, that’s for sure. When I finish the galley edits on her final episode (which I should be working on instead of writing this blog!) it’ll be the last time I plunge myself into her moment to find the precise word for what she’s feeling, or scan her surroundings to let the reader know what she’s seeing, or look into the eyes of her latest flame and try to get his (or her) grief on the page as Meg exits stage left. 

 

Meg’s Folly, Book #5 in the Meghan’s Playhouse series, will be released in print and e-book at Whiskey Creek Press Torrid on August 15. We’re thrilled with the cover we just received from artist Kendra Egert, who’s created so many fabulous covers for us. We’re excited for readers to finally see Meg find happiness of her own! Here’s a peek at what’s in store for her:

BLURB

When Meghan Keenan’s old flame Josh Hendricks unexpectedly shows up at the Summer Shakespeare Festival where she has a leading role, Meg has a brilliant inspiration: he’ll be perfect for Camila, the hot Latina who currently shares Meg’s bed. If Meg’s scheme works, she can continue to enjoy sexy escapades with both of them.

Josh has a different idea. He’s come to the Festival with one goal in mind: to marry Meg. Will Camila buy into the plan and help him spark Meg’s jealousy? Can Josh escape this tempting triangle unscathed? And if he does, can he claim his would-be bride before she flees in panic?

Here’s an excerpt from the opening scene:

 

 “My bed is already crowded.” Meg Keenan gave Josh Hendricks, her longtime friend and sometimes lover, a smile certain to perk his interest. That he’d arrived at the Sumer Shakespeare Festival wasn’t exactly a surprise—even though he wasn’t directing his contemporary comedy, he had written it. But it would’ve been good of him to let her know he was coming out. Last she’d heard, he was still ensconced in a theater guild in London. If she’d known, she might’ve planned a surprise or two. Meg always enjoyed surprising Josh. She inhaled sharply. Maybe she did have a surprise for him.

“I wouldn’t expect otherwise,” Josh said, his mouth widening into a grin. “I can’t remember you ever being without at least one partner. How many this time? What gender or genders?”

“I’ll always make room for you, Josh.” Meg sighed and squeezed Josh’s knee. They sat on the grass in the Green Show area where she’d been rehearsing a routine. Spying Josh leaning against a shade tree waiting for her had seemed quite natural. “It feels like you’ve hardly been away.”

“It’s been nearly eighteen months,” he said, taking her hand in his. “You could do better with e-mail.” Josh chuckled. “I was pleased to hear you had the lead here for the summer. Josette and Zach send their love. She tells me she’s trying to get you to join her theater workshop as a full partner. That’s quite the opportunity.”

“I know.” Meg winced. “I’m not sure I want to. That much responsibility might tie me down too much.”

Josh’s eyes sparkled. “When I was your pirate on the cruise ship, you didn’t mind being tied down.”

She dug her fingernails into his palm. “That was different. I wanted you to ravish me, and you didn’t disappoint. God, can you believe it, I’m nearly thirty and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life.”

Josh arched an eyebrow. “You could marry me and have a bunch of kids.”

Meg laughed easily. “I’m not joking. I like my life the way it is. I’ve been able to work on and off Broadway, Vegas, cruise ships, and summer theater like this. Yet,” she drew in a deep breath, “sometimes I feel like I’m just flitting about.”

“Spreading your good cheer,” Josh quipped. “I suppose you still revel in being matchmaker.”

“Of course. That’s my calling.” Meg flashed an eyebrow. “Maybe it’s your turn. You show up out of the blue, and I have just the girl for you.”

“No way.” Blood drained from Josh’s face.

“Why didn’t I think of this sooner? Camila was born for you.” Meg hurried on, ignoring Josh’s protest. “She’s a UCLA grad student doing a summer internship here. I rented her a room in the big old house I’ve leased for the summer. You and she have so much in common. Her goal is directing, but she’s a playwright and an actress.”

“I’m not interested.”

“She’s gorgeous. Her roots go back to the Spaniards who settled much of California. Camila is about a half a foot taller than I am with a body made for loving.”

“So she shares your bed.”

Meg smirked at Josh’s suddenly husky tone. He wasn’t totally disinterested. “Of course she does. I wouldn’t hook you up with someone I haven’t tried out. You’ll find her to be a lot of fun and very passionate. She often cries out in Spanish when she comes. I’ve threatened to get a Spanish/English dictionary.”

“I’m quite fluent in Spanish,” Josh volunteered, raking a hand through his dark brown hair.

“A perfect match,” Meg cooed. “You’ll love Camila. And if you and she become a couple, I’ll still be able to party with the two of you now and then.”

 

Swinging – The New Monogamy?

…so someone at work left it on the table in the lunch room, and when I saw the cover I just had to pick it up and read it: A wedding cake with three figurines gracing its top – one bride, and two grooms! It was the June/July issue of Psychotherapy Networker, and the lead article bore the title “The New Monogamy.” I’ve posted the cover – you can catch the article HERE.

Dr. Tammy Nelson, the article’s author, is a licensed psychotherapist and sexologist whose book, Getting the Sex you Want, is highly recommended. In this article she’s exploring the changing definitions of monogamy and infidelity.

Why would that matter to me as an author of erotic romance? Hubby and I are writing characters caught up in the excitement of the world counselors are just coming to recognize as possibly healthy and valid. Dr. Nelson has talked with a number of couples who confirm they get together with other couples for sex dates. The sample she describes is fairly young – couples whose children are now school age, and who want to “rekindle a youthful sense of adventure, sexual excitement, and desirability” while remaining committed to each other in their primary relationship.

Most of the swinging characters we’re writing are somewhat older – at mid life, their nests are emptying – but their purpose is much the same. We, too, have talked with a number of swinging couples, as part of the research for our Swinging Games series. The individuals we’ve spoken with range in age from mid twenties to just over seventy, though most are over forty. They’ve turned to swinging for a variety of reasons. Often, the female partner (like the lead character we invented for our series) has begun to realize she has bisexual interests, and swinging is a safe way to explore those that both partners can enjoy. Others, including many who remain het in orientation, love the thrill of the chase (and being chased).

The persons we’ve talked with report the same phenomena – they are surprised and gratified by how their mutual sexual adventures enliven and recharge all aspects of their relationship. Feeling desirable, knowing your partner is highly desired, watching your partner give and receive exciting sexual experiences, learning more nuances about giving and receiving pleasure, trying out new ideas and techniques, voyeurism (especially at clubs and parties) and the thrill of more than one pair of hands giving pleasure in threesomes or foursomes are just some of the benefits couples tell us about.

Of course we’re not saying couples should or shouldn’t try out swinging to spice up their relationship – but if you find these fantasies enticing, we do recommend reading together some of the available erotic romance novels centered on swinging. Enjoying an erotic romance together is a safe way to experiment and reap at least a few of the benefits reported by couples we’ve spoken with. Here are some links to get you started:

Swing, an anthology edited by Jolie Du Pre

Swing Pointe by Kissa Starling

The Big 4-Oh by Beth Wylde

Swinging Games by Adriana Kraft

An added bonus – the body jewelry vendor listed below just found me on Twitter and gave me her links. She carries some great Swinging jewelry – all of it non-piercing, not just for nipples:

Nipple Rings from NippleCharms.com
Non Piercing Body Jewelry. All the pleasure & no pain.

Use Code Adriana for 10% Discount!


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