It all started with an email...
Excuse me. I'm sorry. This has never happened to me before. I liked your writing. I hated your main character.
I'm paraphrasing. But I believed them when they said it had never happened before. They said my book was well-written but the stars would be lower than they would usually give because of their very personal feelings against the protagonist.
They offered not to post the review at all. What did I want them to do?
After I cried - sobbing, weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth - and talked to a very supportive John Brownstone, I had a decision to make. How should I respond?
The soul searching began...
I waited more than 24 hours to respond. I needed to think. To process. To get over the fact that the reaction wasn't a reaction against me (although my character is a lot of me - thoughts, feelings, and emotions that I've experienced through two D/s relationships). To let myself be soothed by the calming words of friends. To figure out what I believe in and who I am.
I'm a writer.
I write because I love it. I'm obsessed with it. I have few regrets in life but I regret putting down the proverbial pen as a child and waiting until a few short years ago to pick it back up (this time in keyboard form). Stories play in my head nearly every moment of the day - waking or not. Walking down the sidewalk, I see a pair of shoes in the middle of the road. Were they thrown from the car window by an errant child? Were they tossed in the back of a pick-up truck and with one jerky bump, tossed aside and forgotten? Did someone cry at their loss? Did a stressed mother yell and scream about the unexpected expense of new shoes? What story do these ratty shoes hold? My mind makes up a million scenarios - that I never write down.
If I wrote every story line that came to mind, I'd do nothing else. I'm decidedly left-brained - logical, analytic, a rule-follower to the hilt. Left and right sides of my brain war constantly. Write about the wind against your cheeks - describe the cool, gentle brush. But I have to start dinner or we'll eat cereal again. Write about that decidedly sexual dream from last night - it's risque, but you could make it hot, you know you could. But I need to wash dishes or we won't have clean forks to eat our cereal.
My mind writes blog posts long before I type the first word. By the time I sit down to throw it down on the screen, the gentle musings and pithy statements are long gone. In their place is a shadow of the original thought - a plainspoken passage with a bit of quirky wit instead of the writing brilliance that came to mind in a quiet moment. (This particular post was pre-written while on my daily walk - a walk I cut short because I had to find my laptop, find my seat, immediately - so I could write it all down. It was more of a need than breath, food, or water.)
Together we are more.
But I don't just write. I share. I promote. I encourage (at least I hope I do).
When I sit down to write a post, I'm thinking of my readers.
John Brownstone and the pride on his face when I write something that moves him - even when he's lived the moment with me. I write for him.
Mynx and Tom Wolf - I know the look on their face when they're pleased about something. I write for that look.
Peep and her encouraging smiles. I write for her.
Every single submissive who hopes they've finally found the one. I write for them.
Every married submissive who is pulling themselves out of a mind-numbing marriage and reinventing their idea of sexual satisfaction with their spouse.
Every kinkster or sexual being willing to share their most intimate moments.
Every curious lurker and watcher who doesn't know what this whole BDSM thing is about - and maybe they don't care - but my words make them squirm.
And recently, every erotic author and sex blogger who wonders if all the work, blood, sweat, and tears they pour into their craft is worth it.
I believe that together we are better than apart. I believe in lifting up my fellow kinkster, my fellow blogger, my fellow writer, and my fellow hider of their true name on the internet. I shamelessly promote. I share super secret numbers. I encourage others to blog. I give people a place to share their writing. I am more than one writer. I'm part of a community.
I have dreams, goals, and aspirations.
I used to think the dream was to be a full-time novelist. And there's definitely some appeal to that. The expectation that I must write every trail of a story that comes to mind. The understanding that there will be no hot meal tonight kids, Mom is writing her novel. It's a nice dream.
But the new goal, the new aspiration, is to make my living as Kayla Lords, kinky, sexual writer extraordinaire.
Well, okay, maybe not that, exactly. But I want to write as this me instead of as my vanilla self. I think I write fairly well as my vanilla self, thankyouverymuch. But I don't love it the way I love the dark chocolate side of my world. I tell myself that if I can ever support myself with sex writing and let the vanilla writing be the icing on the cake (instead of the other way around) that I'll come out to people as Kayla Lords, that I'll let the two sides of my world marry and mingle.
This me is so much more of who I am than the public persona I wear.
That vanilla girl who cannot be named is sarcastic and shares all the funny mom blogs.
That girl remembers all the humorous things her kids say and posts them to social media.
That girl never enters conversations with her professional peers unless she's absolutely sure she's got the right answer.
That girl kind of annoys me.
But Kayla Lords?
I'm sarcastic, quirky, bold, sexual, and as open as I can be (ya know, minus the real name and all).
I'm not afraid to jump into a conversation and speak my opinion (as politely as possible).
I know what I know - and I'm not afraid to share it with anyone. Others might disagree, but the proof of what I know is evident in what I do.
At least, that's the picture I hope I present. Only you know for sure. It could just be another story line I've created in my head - but I don't think so.
By the end of the soul searching, several days after the email that started it all, I was on my walk - you know, the one that was cut short to write this post. And a song came on my iPhone - Macklemore's Make the Money. I listened to the lyrics, closely. And I smiled. Yeah, I want to make the money, but I won't let the money make me. I won't be driven by money and fame (giggle-snort, you know what I mean) and only the best reviews. I'll do what I do best. I'll be me to the fullest extent I can. I'll do what I believe is right for this industry, for my business, for those of you brave enough to follow along, and above of all, for me and the ones I love best.
Oh? And what did I do about the email?
I stayed true to my own philosophy - honest reviews are always welcome and encouraged. I told the reviewer to write what they felt and send it out as planned.
Oh, and no, I will not out the sender of the email. I will not link to their (very public) review. Not because I'm ashamed of it. But because I will always endeavor to be a professional. Every reader responds to a story differently, and I respect that. I respect this person and all reviewers. And, if I thought it wouldn't be weird, I'd thank that person. Without that email, I might not have searched my soul quite as deeply as I did.