Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Special Holiday Release! "A Twist of Christmas Fate"




I'm excited to announce my new FF Christmas short, "A Twist of Christmas Fate"!


When inclement weather ruins Kate’s plans to fly out of state and spend Christmas with her family, she fears her holiday might be ruined. But out of the blue, a photographer friend calls to ask if Kate would be willing to play Mrs. Claus at the Christmas photo booth in the mall. Kate agrees to do it, and once she’s there, she meets a stunning beauty named Mickey who is playing an elf at the same booth. As sparks begin to fly between the two women, Kate realizes what she thought was bad luck might instead be a fortuitous twist of fate.


Get your copy for only $0.99!


Painted Hearts Publishing

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Nook

Monday, November 26, 2018

An LGBTQ Anti-Cyberbully Guide



If you have any sort of social media account, odds are, you've been harassed at some point. If you're LGBTQ and you have a social media account, you probably really know what I'm talking about. Most likely, you have not only been the recipient of unwanted attention, but you also probably have been cyberbullied in some way. According to vpnmentor.com, 73% of LGBTQ people have experienced abuse online. But you don't have to let this statistic scare you away from the fun and other positive benefits of having an online presence. 

A contact of mine pointed me to a guide that gives the basics on what you can do to protect yourself from online harassment, especially if you are LGBTQ. It also suggests a variety of support groups if you've been struggling with being bullied: --> Click Here <--

Almost every social media platform has a way of blocking people. The key is to be brave enough to do it! I remember when I started out promoting myself as an author, I put up with all sorts of unwanted attention, mostly in the form of online sexual harassment, because I was too afraid to ignore or block these people. I was worried that it would come across as rude (as if they weren't being rude in the first place) or that it would somehow negatively impact my book sales. Well, if you are an artist like myself and have this concern, let me assuage your fears.

The people out there in cyberspace who are trying to engage you in unwanted messages most likely have zero desire to purchase your product anyway. They're not online to support you; they're online to fulfill some desire they have, be it feeling powerful by bullying someone or getting off on trying to pursue someone sexually. Blocking and ignoring these people is the best thing to do because by giving them attention in an way, you are negatively affect your own state of mind. I've learned from lots of experience that the best thing to do is simply block (which the above guide can show you how to do) and refocus your attention on why you're online in the first place: to connect with people in your field, to make respectful new friends, and to share your art.


- Scarlett

www.scarlettknight.org


Monday, November 12, 2018

Thankful For You



During this month of Thanksgiving, I wanted to say thank you to...you!

Yes, you!

If you are reading this blog post, I am directing my heart-felt gratitude to you. Those of you who take the time out of your busy schedules to click on my blog posts, and those of you who go the extra step and purchase and read my novels and short stories, you make this writing thing even more fun!

So this year, my appreciation goes out to you. I send you a big hug from my warm, cozy desk in Texas to simply say THANKS!



XoXo

Scarlett


*****


COMING DECEMBER 4th, 2018!


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Classic Lesbian Film Review: IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK 2

Once again I want to start out by saying thanks to my good friend Vanessa Clark for mailing me the DVD of this film. (If you want to see my review of BOUND, --> click here! <--. )

***

And now for the second review in my series of 3 classic lesbian films!




If These Walls Could Talk 2 is a series of three short films that follow stories about different lesbian couples in separate decades. It is a sequel of sorts to If These Walls Could Talk, which is a series of short films about abortion. But other than the themes being "controversial," the two movies are not related in any way.

The first story in If These Walls Could Talk 2 is called "1961" and is the most heart-breaking of the three. It stars Vanessa Redgrave who is the surviving partner of her companion of 50 years.




Since the story takes place in 1961, Vanessa has virtually zero rights, from not being able to visit her partner in the hospital to not being able to inherit the home that she and her partner bought and lived in for many years. It was so painful to watch. It just broke my heart!

The second story is called "1972" and stars Michelle Williams and Chloe Sevigny. Williams's character is a strong feminist and out lesbian, and one night she and her lesbian friends decide to go to a gay bar they've never been to. There, Williams befriends Sevigny's character, a confident, lone-wolf butch lesbian sitting at the bar.


 

Williams's friends don't like the fact that Sevigny wears men's clothing. After all, being such strong feminists, they're against anything related to the patriarchy. The episode explores some political themes of the 1970s as well as themes of gender identity, and it also contains a very romantic love story. There is a pretty steamy sex scene in this one as well!

The last of the three shorts is called "2000." It takes place in modern day (although now it's almost 20 years old). Ellen Degeneres and her partner Sharon Stone are on a quest to find the right sperm donor so they can have a baby. This episode was the sweetest and funniest out of the three, and Ellen had me laughing out loud several times. After following Ellen's TV show for many years, it was certainly different to see her topless in a love scene with Sharon Stone! The two make an adorable on-screen couple, though.




All in all, this film is a must-see for fans of lesbian romance. Even though the first episode didn't have a happy ending, the other two make up for it. Each one tugged at my heartstrings in different ways. I wish Hollywood would come out with more sweet lesbian shorts like these! I'd be first in line to watch them!


XoXo

Scarlett

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Classic Lesbian Film Review: BOUND

First off, I want to say a big THANK YOU to my buddy Vanessa Clark (VC) for mailing me the DVD of this film, as well as two other films which I'm planning on reviewing here on the blog. Love ya, VC!

And secondly...holy shit, what a movie!




Are you old enough to remember the clout of Siskel and Ebert, and their coveted "Two Thumbs Up"? Well, this 1996 gem garnered two thumbs up, and I am old enough to respect the thumbs, so I was automatically intersted. And I should have known that this would be more than your typical lesbian fantasy thriller due to those thumbs.

And, oh, it was...

Right off the bat, we see Jennifer Tilly and Gina Gershon play the most delicious "we shouldn't be doing this" lesbian couple. At first, I thought I'd stumbled upon a soft porn with Gina playing the bad-girl plumber, and Jennifer playing the wanton housewife who "lost her earring down the drain." (I had actually heard of this moment that would lead into an infamous lesbian love scene before because it's on a bunch of Top 10 Hottest Lesbian Movie Sex Scene lists... BTW--it delivers!)

But this movie is so much more than hot FF moments!

Now, don't get me wrong, I loved the love scenes. The two leading ladies have great chemistry. I could listen to Gina Gershon dirty talk in her husky, sexy voice all day. But the real story starts when we realize Jennifer's character is hooked up with a member of the mob, played by Joe Pantoliano in one of my favorite performances by him ever. You think you know his character from the get-go, but that son of a bitch is clever... That's all I'll give you on that! I don't want to give away too much of the plot because I want you to watch this movie if you haven't seen it.

But a disclaimer: this film isn't for the squeamish! It is a serious nail-biter! There were a couple of bloody scenes I simply could not watch because I was so anxious! Instead I grabbed my iPhone and played on Instagram to distract me until the scene was over. As the movie went on, the tension just mounted and mounted, and the plot thickened and thickened, and as much as I wanted to hide in my phone, I was glued to the screen. It was a movie so well done that, frankly, I am shocked I hadn't seen it before now.

After a satisfying ending, as the credits rolled, I gave a cheer when I saw that the Wachowski (then brothers - now sisters) directed it! Well, of course they did!

If you haven't seen this classic lesbian film, do yourself a favor and check it out. It made my Wednesday night way more exciting than it normally would have been, in more ways than one!

Have you seen this movie? Are there any other classic FF movies you think I should check out?

Look for more reviews coming soon!


-Scarlett


***


Thanks for stopping by! Won't you consider checking out my romantic lesbian fiction at www.scarlettknight.org ??


Monday, September 17, 2018

Sarah Brightman Announces New Album/Tour

Oh. My. God. Sarah Brightman is coming out with a new album called HYMN on November 9. She just announced a world tour. And...




...yours truly is going to see her live in February!

I even splurged and got special tickets with VIP meet-and-greet because I love her so much. I am so stoked I can barely sit still!

For those of you not familiar with Sarah, let me introduce you! She was the original Christine in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. She was also married to Andrew Lloyd Webber, but the two divorced. She is, in my opinion, the best soprano performer in the world.

She's taken a lot of risks over the course of her career, not only with the songs she's recorded (from traditional opera to pop to rock to electronic) but also for being daring with her looks. She's used her sex appeal, dressing to please the eye, on album covers and onstage, which some critics have knocked, but I say, if you're drop dead gorgeous, why not play that up as much as your voice? She's also starred in films, such as Blind Mag in the edgy musical Repo! The Genetic Opera.




I first discovered Sarah when I was a teenager. I was browsing CDs in the classical section at my local book and music store when I discovered the Harem album.




I was not familiar with her before then, but that gorgeous cover caught my eye. (See, sex appeal can get people's attention...) I bought the album knowing nothing about her, or her voice, or her history on Broadway. Needless to say, I absolutely fell in love with her and have been a life-long fan ever since.

Another favorite album of mine is Symphony, which I highly recommend.




Five years ago, I got to see Sarah live when she went on tour for her Dreamchaser album. It was one of the most amazing concerts I have ever been to. I am not ashamed to admit I was moved to tears a number of times during the show. She was perfect!




Sarah is 58 years old and still has an outstanding voice. If you've never heard her sing, here is one of my favorite live performances of the famous song "Phantom of the Opera" from a concert in 2008 (duet with Chris Thompson):






I urge you to explore her discography. There are plenty of live and pre-recorded songs of hers on YouTube. And if you like what you hear, grab tickets for the HYMN tour and attend the concert nearest to you! I promise you won't be disappointed!

-SK

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

"Sex Tips" Guest Post on Moctezuma Johnson's Blog

Happy Hump Day!

This week I'm over at author Moctezuma Johnson's blog, sharing some personal sex tips to spice things up before you even get to the bedroom.

Curious? --> Click Here! <--

XoXo
Scarlett

Sunday, August 5, 2018

CSCH Spotlight #3: Dallas Museum of Art

Hello, and thank you for checking out the third "behind the scenes" of my contemporary lesbian romance CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART blog-post series. This one is about the Dallas Museum of Art, which is featured in the novel.


photo from dallasartsdistrict.org 


I've been to this museum twice, and both times I've gone, I've wished I had more time. I know the word "amazing" is overused, but this museum is amazing. So. Much. To See.

It's so much more than just an "art" museum to me because it not only features works from all around the world, but it features pieces from all across the timeline of humanity, from modern times to ancient history. It's like stepping into a time machine and connecting with each artist on an intimate level, giving you special insight into what it might have felt like, living in a specific time, in a specific country. That's something the history books will never be able to provide. It's something truly special.

You may be wondering, why put it in a romance novel? Well, I've always thought that museums were a romantic place to visit. Maybe it's because the art and history contained within museums are just such wonderful expressions of raw humanity, like love is. Human beings are unique in the animal kingdom in that we express ourselves with multiple types of art, and we are also unique in that we can fall in love and experience the thrill of romance. Also, it's fun to examine the pieces and to find those that we especially relate to, whether we can explain it or not, and it gives us something exciting and thought-provoking to talk about with a date.

In my novel, Macy and Sophia take a trip here on one of their first dates. Unlike Lamppost, TX, this museum actually does exist--it isn't just a product of my imagination--and you can visit it anytime in real life. I've actually been waiting for a chance to stick it in one of my stories. I took my memories from my most recent visit and used them to flesh out the details of certain pieces that spoke to me as I came across them and observed them. So when you're reading the novel, you're also getting a chance to focus on what I especially liked during my last trip over there!

Curious to see how this museum played a part in my novel? Check it out!




And as always, thanks for reading!


-Scarlett

P.S. If you missed the earlier CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART spotlights...

--> click here for #1 <--

and -->here for #2 <--


Sunday, July 29, 2018

Guest Post On Writing

Please join me over at Shelby Kent Stewart's blog to read my guest post on the transformative power of writing: On Being the Storytellers of Our Lives.

-SK

Sunday, July 22, 2018

CSCH Spotlight #2: The Magic of Horses

In my new contemporary lesbian romance, CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART, love interest and country girl Sophia takes main character and city girl Macy to visit her aunt's horses. I wanted to include horses in this book because of my limited but magical personal experience with these creatures when I lived in Bellevue, TX (For more on Bellevue's role in inspiring the fictional town of Lamppost, TX, --> click here <--).


Image from pexels.com


I was ten years old when I lived in Bellevue, and while there, I had the opportunity to take riding lessons from a young woman who lived in a trailer on some land across the highway. She taught me how to barrel race, which was fun, but I never had any interest in doing it at a rodeo or anything.

She also taught me the difference between a horse's walk, trot, lope, and run. A walk was nice and slow, and a trot felt like riding down a bumpy brick road. The lope was nice and smooth. But the first time the horse took off in a run through the pasture with me on her back, it felt like I was flying. It was truly one of the most exhilarating experiences of my existence.

Horses have intrigued me ever since. I've never owned one, but any chance I get to interact with them, I take. How we could have domesticated such majestic creatures is mind-blowing to me. Happy horses have such a powerful, peaceful aura. Just spending a few minutes in their presence can lift my mood. Feisty, frustrated horses are intimidating to be around; they have the potential to be deadly to humans. I was so happy I had the chance to put these animals in my latest book.


CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART is available now at the following retailers:







Thanks for stopping by! 


-SK

Sunday, July 15, 2018

CSCH Spotlight #1: What Inspired Lamppost, Texas?

A large portion of my newest contemporary lesbian romance novel CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART takes place in the fictional town of Lamppost, Texas. If you were to look for this town on a map, you wouldn't find it. But there are two real-life towns that inspired Lamppost.

After my parents divorced when I was a kid, I found myself moving around a lot with my mother and two younger brothers. One town that we ended up living in for about a year was Bellevue, Texas. I recently had the chance to stop by Bellevue (population 343, as of 2016), and I took some pictures for this post.

One of the town's noticeable features is its powder blue water tower. I parked at the closed post office and snapped this shot:




As a kid, I always wanted to climb up to the top of it, but I never had the guts to do it.

Another memorable feature of Bellevue is the fact that none of its roads are paved. They're all gravel, including the roads that go right by the school:




I have fond memories of walking up and down these gravel roads with my little brothers to kill time during the heat of summer. There wasn't much to walk to; at the time, there was only one gas station in operation, and only one restaurant. We used to amble down to the gas station in the afternoon and buy candy with the coins we'd earned for doing our chores. The gas station is still there, but the original restaurant closed down and is replaced by a newer one. Other than that, there are still a few churches, a post office, and (much to the disgust of most of the town) the out-of-place porn shop just down the highway. Needless to say, my brothers and I were never allowed to visit the sex store!

The second town I based Lamppost on is Jacksboro, Texas, where we also lived for a short time. It's larger than Bellevue (population 4,347 in 2016), and it has an actual town square with a courthouse. There's more to do in Jacksboro, but it's still got that small town vibe going on. I haven't been back to Jacksboro in years, so I don't have any pictures, but if you want to check out the city's web page, --> here's the link <--. 


CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART is available now at the following retailers:







Thursday, July 12, 2018

Now Available: CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART

It's live!





Oh, and by the way...

--> here's a link <-- to a little video I did on Instagram, talking about the release, and mostly thanking you all for your continued kind support. (My dog makes a surprise appearance at the end!)



Okay, now for the blurb!


CITY SPIRIT, COUNTRY HEART

When Macy gets expelled from school for putting the class bully in his place, she believes she’s done with Lamppost, Texas forever. And good riddance! She prefers the thriving diverse city of Dallas to that boring town anyway. Years later, however, Macy finds herself returning to Lamppost to do a favor for a family member. When she becomes reacquainted with one beautiful woman in particular, her feelings begin to change. Macy soon starts to discover that the very place she hoped to leave behind might secretly hold the key to her heart.



And here are the buy links! (Also, those of you who use Amazon, as you know, you can sample the first few pages for free!)


Amazon

Painted Hearts Publishing

Smashwords

Barnes & Noble



Much love!

XoXo

Scarlett

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Lesbian Film Review: Disobedience

**Warning! This review contains some spoilers!**

This weekend I was lucky enough to get to go see Disobedience, the new forbidden lesbian love movie starring Rachel McAdams and Rachel Wiesz. It was playing as part of the "Magnolia at the Modern" film series at The Modern Museum in Fort Worth.






If you're unfamiliar with the premise, here's what it's about in a nutshell (taken from the blurb on The Modern's website):


"A photographer (Rachel Weisz) returns to the community that shunned her decades earlier for her childhood attraction to a female friend (Rachel McAdams). Their reunion soon reignites their passion as they explore the boundaries of faith and sexuality."






The first thing that struck me as noticeable about this film was its dark, bleak tone. Rachel Wiesz's character, Ronit, receives notice that her father, a prominent religious figure in her Jewish home community, has died. She returns home to a mostly cold reception by her estranged family and friends. It quickly becomes painfully obvious that she was cast out, and as the film progresses, we discover it was due to a scandal involving Rachel McAdam's character, Esti. 

Fitting with the bleak tone are the colors of the film, or rather lack of colors. The director used neutrals both in setting and in costumes. Except for a few select scenes, it sticks with this colorless palette, but the scenes that do have splashes of color are those in which the Ronit and esti connect in a fiery way. Even the simple act of sharing a cigarette brings a little burst of literal and symbolic flame to the scene, and the two actresses pull it off so that it's effectively erotic. There are nice little artistic touch here and there like this throughout the movie.

As one would expect, it doesn't take too long for Ronit and Esti's total re-connection to happen, and boy does it happen, and on a deep, soulful level. Their performances are exquisite. I didn't just witness it distantly on screen; I could actually feel the passion between them. It was the kind of desire that we can only hope to experience in our short lives - that reckless sort of love that transcends all logic. But along with feeling their love comes a foreboding tension. Esti is married now, and so the two women must hide this rekindling of their affair. I was terrified from the get-go that they would get caught, which made a lot of the film uncomfortable for me.

We do get to experience a hell of a love scene though... Oh, that love scene! What a gorgeous, erotic physical consummation of these two women, who clearly desire one another above any other thing in the universe, and you can absolutely feel it. This moment in the film is also an amusing foil to a previous love scene between Esti and her husband, which clearly was just rote, passionless duty for her.

I won't give away the details of the ending, but I will say that I have mixed feelings about it. I both liked and disliked how things wrapped up. There was one powerful moment in particular, involving Esti's husband, Dovid, played by Allesandro Nivola, that brought me to tears. He, like the two leading women, gave Oscar-worthy performances in this film. This movie will leave you thinking about its characters long after you leave the theater.

Finally, I want to mention the soundtrack. It's a haunting, beautiful piece of work. It fits the forbidden love theme very well. 

If you get a chance to go see Disobedience, do so. It is a highly emotional, sometimes uncomfortably tense, yet ultimately powerful love story that I think will definitely get some attention during awards season. 


Thanks for reading!

-Scarlett


***

Do you love F/F romance stories? Please visit my official website: www.scarlettknight.org.

  

Monday, June 11, 2018

Good Relationships Need Good Soil

((Original post from June 2018 now with a new Oct. 2018 update at the bottom))

I've heard it said that relationships are like flowers.

Flowers need the right amount of sun and water in order to grow. Relationships similarly need love and attention in order to grow. But they also don't need too much sun or water. Otherwise, they wither and die.

I've seen troubled relationships transform into beautiful bonds when people simply pay more attention to each other and give one another the perfect amount of both space and care.

But what about the flowers that get the right amount of sun and water, and they still die?

What about those relationships in which we feel we've done everything right, but things still feel so wrong?

Perhaps it's just bad soil...

I've been living in my current house for the past 5 or so years, and I have had the worst time getting anything I plant to grow in the flowerbeds out back. Weeds grow, but I don't want weeds! I've tried planting all kinds of things I desire: hostas, zinnias, herbs of all kinds, even succulents. Nothing stays alive! I've had to plant things in separate planters with store-bought soil in order to grow anything. And it took me about 5 years to realize that it wasn't me -- I wasn't the one messing up. I wasn't the terrible gardener; I'd been doing everything right.

It was just bad soil.

And this realization also hit me. Relationships also need good soil in order for growth to happen. Sometimes, no matter what we do, certain relationships are just not going to work. It doesn't matter how much we love them or how much attention or space we give them. The flowers will always die. And it's not due to any fault of our own. Sometimes the other person simply doesn't have the fertile ground, or the foundation, for a healthy relationship to even take place. So what do you do?

You take all the wonderful things you have to offer another person, and you find better soil!



*****

Update, Oct. 29, 2018:

Since I have published the original above post, a funny thing has happened.

I planted my Rosemary months and months ago, and I didn't see growth. I'd planted it in the same soil that I'd planted the other plants, which didn't seem to be able to grow; however, rather than pull it up like I'd done the obviously-dead plants, I decided to simply leave it alone.

Then, the unlikely occurred...

It started to grow.

I'd given up on it, and it actually started to grow.

Watching this surprising turn of events made me think of those rare but special relationships that we have with certain people that are different from the rest. Sometimes in the most intense relationships, we have to give them up for a while. We have to do the most difficult thing and Let Go.

There are many reasons for this. Sometimes the timing for a relationship isn't right. Sometimes we need to separate to create space to do some inner work and mature as people in order to be more compatible. Whatever the reason, letting go is the magic ingredient. It takes courage. Sometimes you even believe that it's hopeless, and you have to, so that you can move on and hit the "reset" button and get on with what you need to do in your life.

But that doesn't necessarily mean that relationship is truly over yet...





-SK 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Pick Up Line Fail: "You're In the Top 40..."

Many years ago when I was still in college, I found myself in a bit of an awkward situation. I used to house-sit for extra cash, so I was staying at a client's house for about a week during the summer. One night while I was there, the client's college-aged son decided to stop by and throw a party for himself and his friends. By default, I was invited, awkward as it was, and before long, everyone had broken into the liquor cabinet.

The client's son, whom we will call "Chan," was friendly enough, even though I felt mildly wierded out by the whole situation. He seemed really into himself, bragging about this accomplishment in college and that. I can't say I liked him very much, but what could I do? I was kind of trapped. After several drinks, however, I was feeling more relaxed about everything, and Chan invited me to go out to dinner with him and his friends. At first I declined, but everyone insisted, so I gave in and went.

We went to a steak house, and it was rather nice. I had more to drink, so by then, I was finding myself on the verge of being hammered. When I reached into my purse to pay for my check, Chan intervened and covered my bill. I began to get slightly uncomfortable, but again, the booze was flowing, so I went with it.

About half an hour later, I found myself back at the house, sitting alone with Chan in his expensive new SUV, which he had earlier bragged about. He was playing some lame contemporary rock music for me, insisting these bands he liked were the best on the planet. After the third song or so, I started to realize that Chan's interest in me might be more than platonic, and I started to try and peacefully find a way out of this unfortunate situation. This was hard because I was house-sitting for his parents, and he technically had access to the house.

Somewhere along the conversation, he made his intentions with me obvious. Turning the music down, he turned to me in the SUV. I tensed up, preparing for the worst. Then, he proudly informed me, "You are one of the top 40 most attractive women I have ever met."

I already wasn't remotely interested in him romantically, but that line took my lack of interest to a whole new level. I remember staring at him, blinking, with an incredulous smile on my face. I remember saying, "Wow." Inside, I was thinking, "What the hell? Massive ego alert!!"



image from pexels.com



I mean, where exactly was I on this world renowned list? Was I number 31? Number 38? What requirements did I meet to somehow get on Chan's illustrious Top 40? Was it my hair? My boobs? My smile? What poor girls didn't make the cut, and why? What could I do to make the top 20 or top 10?

Okay, in all seriousness, please. Don't use this line on anyone. It's...it's...just, please, don't.

After his "compliment," I got pretty quiet and distant, which I hoped would be a cue for him to leave me alone. Alas, he didn't get the message. After going back into the house, he actually cornered me in one of the bedrooms and tried to kiss me. At that point, I promptly pushed him, ran out of the room, and told him over my shoulder that I was not interested in him like that in any way shape or form. Sorry! I barricaded myself in the master bedroom where I'd been sleeping and locked the door.

It wasn't soon after that that the party was over. Chan and friends left me to my house-sitting duties and to tend to what I already knew was going to be a massive hangover.

But despite the fog the next day, I never forgot that pick-up line!

Has anyone ever used a line on you that made you want to roll your eyes? Do share in the comments!

XoXo

Scarlett





Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Impact of Books at Different Times in Our Lives

Have you ever read a book at a young age and didn't like it, but then you re-read it later in life, and suddenly it resonated so powerfully that you couldn't imagine not liking it before?

This happened to me when I re-read Kate Chopin's The Awakening.

It impacted me so much as an adult that I integrated it briefly into my novel The Art House.

If you've never read The Awakening, it's about a woman who is constricted and conflicted by the societal roles placed on her as a female. She wants her freedom and wants to feed her soul, not just play a role that the world tells her she needs to play. In short, it's a feminist novel. This is a concept that I somewhat grasped as a teenager. I think I was 17 years old when I read it in high school, but the overall theme was still too deep for me to fully appreciate at such a young age. In fact, I skimmed the book, read the Cliff Notes, and didn't do well on the exam. It's funny because I fancied myself a rather mature 17-year-old; however, I see now that I was still pretty much an ignorant kid with so much left to learn.

Then, lo and behold, over a decade of life experience and some years as a married woman later, I picked the book up at the library. It was almost like it was calling to me from the shelf. So I gave it another shot. And wow. I totally got it the second time around. 

It was a really cool experience for me, and it made me wonder what other books I might have read in high school or college that I didn't care for, but that I might possibly really like now.

Has this ever happened to you before? If so, what book did the trick?


XoXo

SK


Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Unicorns and Bisexual Monogamy: 'The Art House' Turns Two!

This month marks the second birthday (aka publishing anniversary) of my contemporary novel The Art House. In honor of this book's special day, I wanted to do a blog post about it and include one of my favorite unicorn images. This is from the cover of Heavy Metal Magazine, which I love:






The Art House is a contemporary novel, not a paranormal novel, but it does include lots of unicorn imagery. The main character, Janelle, used to have a recurring dream about a unicorn. This is due to seeing a sculpture years ago done by the mysterious artist (and main love interest in the story), Edgar. In the novel, she meets Edgar when she stays at his famous "Art House" to do a feature story on him, and those interesting unicorn dreams start happening again while she's there. The dreams ultimately end up having a deeper meaning, which you'll find out if you read the book (**wink, wink!**)

The other thing I wanted to have a quick chat about is the bisexuality of Janelle. In this story, she is a bisexual woman who has repressed her bisexuality all her adult years. The circumstances that happen in the tale encourage her to finally embrace it. This is in part due to the gentle nudging of her new friend and associate of Edgar's, the beautiful model Trixie.

But believe it or not, there is no threesome action in this book. No FFM scenes at all. The experiences that Janelle has with Trixie and Edgar are totally separate. This is an issue I wanted to bring up, concerning bisexuality, especially bisexual characters in fiction, and the assumptions people may have about them.

It seems like most erotic bisexual fiction involves threesomes. And it's true that some bisexual people are polyamorous and/or have threesomes and are perfectly happy with it. My character Trixie is in an open relationship. But there are plenty of bisexuals out there who are simply attracted to people of both (or all, if we're talking about pansexuality) genders. It does not mean that the person needs to be with multiple genders at one time. It simply means that the person is open to having a relationship with someone of either sex.

A lot of people who have read The Art House have told me they were surprised at the novel because it ended up being a very different book than they originally thought it would be. Not only is there no BDSM as one might assume from the sexy mask on the cover, it is a story about a monogamous bisexual rediscovering her soul, or in other words, a woman rediscovering what makes her heart truly sing. And it isn't just about rediscovering love and lust. There's also artistic passion and overall life's purpose. There's a lot more to the story than just sex.

Don't get me wrong. There is a lot of steamy sex in this novel... (**more winks**)...but it's not only a story about that.





If I have succeeded in piquing your curiosity, The Art House is available at multiple online retailers:


PAINTED HEARTS PUBLISHING 

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

BARNES & NOBLE NOOK

SMASHWORDS



Thanks for stopping by!


XoXo

Scarlett

Friday, March 2, 2018

Why We Should Make Time for Reading

Images from pexels.com


I remember when Borders went out of business years ago. It was one of my favorite stores ever, and I had many happy memories there. There was (and still is) something so relaxing about being able to go to a place that sells shiny new books and magazines, where you can go alone or with a friend and get a coffee and a pastry and walk around or sit and chill with all that wonderful art surrounding you. So losing it was definitely a bummer.

Luckily for me, I lived in a big city, so we at least still had Barnes & Noble. I preferred Borders, but B&N would do as an okay replacement, even if it was located at our busy mall.

Fast-forward to now, and it looks as if B&N is barely holding on. I'm getting more and more coupons in the mail from B&N, which is exactly what happened with Borders before they went kaput. I have also been following the news and have read about the mass lay-offs and the tacky way they have been done, and also how their most recent quarter was disappointing. Supposedly they're working on some ways to stay afloat, but who knows if they'll be able to last much longer.

The problem may be the price of their books. It seems almost everyone is purchasing cheaper books via Amazon these days. I have been guilty of shopping at B&N, only to get ideas for things to read and then buying them on Amazon later. I don't do that anymore because I am trying to support the store, as it seems their days are numbered, but I'm just one out of millions of people who probably buy primarily from Amazon.

Another reason the store might not be doing well: people don't seem to be reading as much anymore.

In an age of constant data overload where we compulsively spend all our free time reading articles and social media posts on our computers and phones, it's not surprising that people don't have time for books anymore. Also throw in Netflix, which releases a binge-worthy new show every five minutes, and everyone's free time runs out with no room for reading novels or short story collections.

But there are many reasons why we should resist the urge to spend all our spare time binge-watching shows or mindlessly scrolling the web, and why we should read a book instead. According to an article on inc.com, there are nine ways that reading fiction can actually make you a happier and more person - and who doesn't want to be happier in an age where stress is king? I'll list the ways below, but if you want more details on the studies that produced the results, you can read the article --> here <--

Okay, here they are:

1) Reading creates empathy and understanding in readers.

2) Reading is a great way to combat stress.

3) People who read regularly actually sleep better.

4) Readers see improved interpersonal relationships.

5) Older readers remain sharper mentally.

6) Reading creates open-mindedness.

7) Reading (specifically fiction) increases vocabulary.

8) Readers are more creative people.

9) Reading gives you pleasure.






I hope that bookstores don't completely go away because I love the physical experience of being in a bookstore; however, as technology advances, and we see more and more e-books, we may have to say goodbye to most of our old-fashioned bookstores. Does that mean e-books are evil? Actually, no, I don't think so at all.

I don't think there's anything wrong with reading e-books on electronic devices. In fact, if more readers could be open to the benefits of digital books, it might even help out the planet! E-books are super convenient (you don't even have to leave your couch to buy one), many are cheaper than physical books, and they aren't as destructive on the environment as paper books. As technology has advanced, the screens are easy on the eyes and battery life is a lot longer than it used to be. And one more thing: it saves space! You can carry an entire library on one tablet!






But whether you're a paper book reader, an e-book reader, or both, we should be mindful about making time for books in any format. If the studies are correct, (and I believe they are from personal experience as a daily reader), we will all be better off for it.



Do you still make time to read? Do you find it gives you any of the benefits mentioned above? As always, feel free to leave a comment!


-SK


Speaking of reading, have you browsed my books at www.scarlettknight.com? And thanks so much for stopping by!




Friday, February 9, 2018

5 Out of the Box Ideas for Valentine's Day

Sometimes the same ol' same ol' gets boring, even on days like February 14. We all like novelty, so mixing things up can actually be great for a relationship. So if you're looking for something different to do this Valentine's Day instead of the traditional going out to dinner thing, here are five fun ideas. (And you can also do these things if you're single without feeling awkward!)

1) Take a painting class.

Photos by Pexels.com


Places like Painting with a Twist have step-by-step classes for adults, and the best thing about it is you don't have to even really know how to paint in order to create these paintings. The classes are led by enthusiastic, encouraging people with great personalities who keep the process fun and stress free. At the end, you have a painting associated with a happy memory to put up in your home, or you can give it away as a great gift to a loved one. Bonus: you can bring some V-Day wine and chocolates to enjoy as you paint!


2) Try cooking a new recipe.




How many times have you thought "I want to try that recipe sometime" but you never get around to it? Why not give a new recipe a try on Valentine's Day? If you're single, this would be a great opportunity to provide dinner for a family member who might be lonely on that day, or also other single friends. If you're coupled, cooking together can be a fun new way to bond that requires teamwork and a shared reward at the end.


3) Deliver baked goods to loved ones.




This one's similar to cooking a new recipe if your'e cooking the baked goods. On the other hand, going out and supporting a local bakery and then delivering the goodies to your loved ones benefits a multitude of people. This can be rewarding for singles and also a sweet activity to do with your significant other.


4) Go bowling.




Getting out of the house and away from packed restaurants on Valentine's Day can be a breath of fresh air. You don't have to dress up (unless you want to!), and you get to move your body and play a game. It's a great alternative to just sitting all evening and stuffing your face.


5) Go on a road trip to somewhere local you've never been.




If the weather's nice on Valentine's Day, it can be both romantic for couples or simply exciting for singles to take off and visit a new-to-you town within driving distance. We're all adventurers at heart, and visiting a new town and experiencing a meal, shopping, and/or sight-seeing is a greatly fulfilling way to spend the day. And who knows? You might discover one of your new favorite local getaways this way.


What about you? Do you have any ideas for Valentine's Day that are out of the box that you've tried or want to try? Please feel free to share in the comments!

And have a Happy Valentine's Day!

-SK