Banned.Challenged. What does that mean? It means that someone somewhere thinks that
they know what's best for you. For your children. For your grandchildren. A
challenged or banned book has language, or a message, that some find controversial and they want it gone, regardless of views. So they go to a library or a bookstore and tell them, "Take that filth away! It shouldn't be where
children or impressionable people can see it."
But what's the filth that's so terrible? Communism? Fascism? Sexuality? Witchcraft?
Or could it be the Bible itself? The Communist Manifesto, Mein Kampf, 50 Shades
of Grey, Harry Potter and yes, even the Bible have been challenged and in some
cases removed from book stores or public and school libraries. But what's the
big deal? It's just book, right? Nope. It's not just a book.
Ray Bradbury made that plain in Fahrenheit 451. A fable about a society where firemen don't put out fires, they start
them. With books. The main character says...
"Last night I thought about all that kerosene I've used in the past ten years. And I
thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind
each one of the books. A man had to think them up. A man had to take a long
time to put them down on paper. And I'd never even thought that before." "It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around
at the world and life and then I come along in two minutes and boom! It's all
"Let me alone," said Mildred. "I didn't do anything."
"Let you alone! That's all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need to not
be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it
since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?"
Can you answer that question? I can. I get bothered every time I turn on the news
these days. I see far too many things that Bradbury suggested might happen in
his book. Far too many are painfully real now. So what's the point? The point
is memory. Each year, when Banned Books Week is celebrated, we're tasked to
remember. This annual event celebrating the freedom to read, highlights the
value of free and open access to information and condemns censorship.
It encourages readers to think. We should read that controversial book, because if we don't, someone may decide we
don't need to and then it will disappear.
Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians,
booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in
shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those ideas
that some consider unorthodox or unpopular. Even ideas that some consider...dangerous. Thus, this event is about
democracy and the importance of the first amendment to the Constitution.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books,
Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. This
special week was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of
challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Since 1982, more than
11,000 books have been challenged. And that's why this event is important to
In 2012, according to the Office of Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association, there were 464
challenges reported, yet many more go unreported.
The 10 most challenged titles of 2012 were:
1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Offensive language, unsuited for age group
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
Offensive language, sexually explicit
5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Unsuited for age group, violence
9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
Offensive language, sexually explicit
10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint,violence
Did you catch a theme? Or maybe even several. But the one that stuck out for me was
that lots of books indicated that they were challenged because they were
"unsuited to age group". Which means that someone wants to censor
books for children and young adults.
Now, I'm not saying an individual parent should be prevented from deciding what
his/her child reads. No, just the opposite. A good parent involves him or herself
in the child's reading choices. But just because you don't approve of a book for your child does not mean you should
tell your neighbor that their child can't read that book either. And that's what a challenge is about, right at the
base of it. I don't approve so you don't get the right to decide for yourself.
I don't know about you, but I want the right to evaluate a book or an idea for myself. I may agree with the person who labels a book "trash," or I might not. But it's up to me to decide and I like it that way. I want to think for myself. Read for myself and then conclude what I think, and not what I'm spoon-fed by others.
It comes down to democracy. Democratic ideals of one person, one vote. Of each of us determining the value of something for ourselves. And I'd like to close with one of the best definitions of democracy and free speech I've ever heard. It comes from an unlikely place, but good ideas often do. This definition was
passionately expressed by President Andrew Shepherd in the romantic comedy, The American President.
"America isn't easy. America is advanced citizenship. You gotta want it bad, 'cause it's gonna put up a fight. It's gonna say "You want free speech? Let's see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who's standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours. You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country can't just be a flag; the symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then, you can stand up and sing about the "land of the free".
And that's what Banned Books Week is all about. Exercising your freedom of speech
and your freedom to read. It's that simple.
Enjoy this recent release by Zenobia Renquist. The author has a book blast on May 17th so be sure to visit the other locations where her book info will be posted. Zenobia will be awarding a $25 Starbucks GC to both a randomly drawn commenter during the tour, and a randomly drawn host.The more you comment, the better your chances of winning!
She’s entered a world where blood, sex, and cash rules everything around her.
What do a four hundred-year-old vampire and a mid-level necromancer have in common? Money. Jeliyah needs it to pay off the people who trained her and Teaghan enjoys killing to get it. Together they hunt rogue vampires—assuming Teaghan can focus on something other than getting her in bed and Jeliyah doesn’t put a bullet in him first.
The uneasy partnership promises to be lucrative until Teaghan and Jeliyah get on the wrong side of a feud. Jeliyah is forced to use forbidden magic and finds herself bound to a man she should hate—but whom she can’t stop fantasizing about.
Every second they stay alive fuels a growing desire Jeliyah is unwilling to deny. Is it the magic? The danger? The only way to get the answers she craves is to outrun the enemy or kill them. She knows Teaghan’s preference but it’s Jeliyah who must put their mind-blowing sex aside and make the choice that will decide both their fates.
Teaghan kicked the room door shut behind him and then laid her on the nearest bed. “At least this time you’re not glowing. Let’s not make a habit of this.”
“I feel the same.”
“Then again…” His gaze wandered to her breasts.
Images of Teaghan running his hands over her breasts and teasing her nipples entered her mind. She reared up and smacked him at the same time she brought her other arm up to guard her chest.
Teaghan didn’t react except to grin at her. “You’re flushed, necromancer. Your heart rate jumped too. My little idea get you all hot and bothered?”
She glared at him.
“No? How about this one?”
A mental picture of Teaghan yanking off her panties so he could run his tongue over her clit invaded her mind. The detail was so vivid Jeliyah felt her pussy twitch in anticipation. Damn the man and this stupid mental connection. It might be one way, but she had access to his thoughts and now he wasn’t trying to hide them.
“You can’t do that without an invitation.”
“So invite me.”
“Shouldn’t you be going to sleep? The sun is up.”
“Sun’s got nothing to do with me.” He moved closer, planting his hands on either side of her legs and leaning into her. “Invite me.”
Jeliyah scooted back off the bed and away from him. Once on her feet, she said, “Don’t get all cocky just because I took some of your blood, vampire. I told you that was a one-time thing and not to get ideas.”
“Yeah, I heard you but,” he hopped the bed and crowded her against the wall, “here’s the thing. You could have gotten the same results by asking me to open a vein. A simple prick to the finger for a few drops of blood would have sufficed. You kissed me, necromancer.”
“It was a split-second decision. Back off.” She clutched the necrome at her throat and said, “Shield.”
Teaghan laughed as the shield expanded to include him. “Forget something important, did you? Your necromes recognize me now. I’m not a threat.”
Shit. She’d forgotten one of the major side effects of Recognize. Her necromes—and any others made from her blood—no longer worked against Teaghan. There was no way to deactivate Recognize either, just like an invitation once given.
She shoved at his chest but he kept leaning forward until his lips were close to hers.
He said, “Let’s talk about that kiss.”
“It was spur of the moment. It meant nothing.”
“Care to test that theory?”
“You can’t. I haven’t invited you.”
“Kissing is the one thing I don’t need an invitation to do.” He pushed his lips against hers as he forced her hands over her head and pressed his body closer.
Jeliyah couldn’t turn from the kiss, though she tried. This wasn’t fair. Vampires needed permission to enter a person’s body. Why didn’t that extend to kissing? And why was she giving in to his kiss?
First chapter online (link goes live 03 May): http://drb1stchp.com/2013/05/cream-by-zenobia-renquist/
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Zenobia Renquist lives in her imagination. When not traveling through her fantasy worlds, she can be found in Hawaii living with her husband and two cats.
She is an Air Force brat turned Air Force wife, which means she’s accustomed to travel and does it whenever possible (so long as she doesn’t have to fly). Her favorite pastime is torturing her characters on their way to happily-ever-after for the enjoyment of her readers.
On the few occasions her muse flees the scene of the crime, Zenobia likes to read (comics, manga, and romance), go to the movies, play a few levels of whichever puzzle game has hijacked her interest or experiment with a new chain maille weave.
The Greek gods of desire are skilled at satisfying the erotic needs of mortals who cross their path. But where do the gorgeous erotes turn for sexual healing when loneliness strikes at each eternal yet world-weary heart?
Together for the first time in one anthology collection, these three critically acclaimed novellas show that even the gods themselves are not immune from the influence of love.
A night of ménage a trois passion will change three lives forever. Jeannie and Jake's platinum anniversary becomes an unforgettable experience when Pothos, god of sexual yearning, steps in to save their twenty-year marriage.
A god of sexual desire on the edge of burnout meets a woman with a unique and secret past…In the arms of transsexual woman Gina, has Himeros finally discovered the one with whom even a god of love could find fulfillment?
Sex Club Secrets
Sometimes love can flourish in the most unexpected places. Ella and her bisexual best friend Kade meet the erotic god Anteros in a celebrated sex club—but the challenges facing these potential friends-to-lovers could prove too much for the god of requited and unrequited love.
Content suitable for adult readers only.
She wondered if there was anyone watching them right now, perhaps with a pair of binoculars. The thought of being watched ramped up the situation ten-fold. Maybe those at the reunion downstairs would hear her screams of release after all.
Maybe some of them were even now watching from one of those rooms across the street…
She tightened her butt, pushing her pelvis more firmly against him, rubbing on his hardness and using it to increase the pressure on her mound. Gina hoped they were watching, those bastards from her past. Watching, and wanting what she had between her legs right now. Not her own cock, anymore, but someone else's. Himeros, cocked, loaded, and ready to fuck. And he's going to fuck me.
"We do have a couple of onlookers."
His soft words, murmured into her hair, had her thighs tightening involuntarily around him as the burning excitement grew. Who was watching? And what show did they want to see? Straight sex between a man and a woman, or sex between two people who both had a penis?
Are you wondering if I really had the op? If there aren't actually two hard dicks here right now, hidden by my skirt, sliding up and down against each other and dampening my panties with all that leaking pre-cum?
A sudden flare of anger ignited inside of her toward the peeping Toms, whoever they were, and she dug one of her heels into the crease of his ass, rubbing it up and down with just enough pressure to elicit a moan of protest from Himeros.
She stopped. "Sorry."
"Ah, but I enjoy the lick of pain, Gina."
"Oh." She liked how her voice got all husky when she was aroused. When she was home alone with her vibrator there was no call to speak. She hadn't realized it would sound like this, all deep and throaty. "Really?"
She reached up and caressed his face, following that angled cheekbone with one finger. "Then it's a pity you're still wearing trousers, Him."
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Jennifer Lynne is multi-published in sensual and erotic romance and writes from her home in Melbourne, Australia. She has a degree in literature and media studies and has worked as a business writer and journalist for companies both large and small. She has even worked in an optical store! She lives in hope that readers will continue to enjoy her novella-length tales of love and lust.
My guest today is Avery Aster who will be discussing her new EC release, Undressed. Be sure to comment so you're including in the great prize that Avery is giving away to someone who attends her tour!
25 New Yorker Insights Learned in Undressed by Avery Aster
• Your vagina can take a guy’s shaft and nuts…at the same time.
• Always name your butt plug after Anderson Cooper.
• Pre-ejaculation while jetting a plane over Italy causes turbulence.
• Never let a dog sleep in your bed, especially three dogs. It’ll ruin your sex life.
• If he’s as hung as an Evian bottle, it’s best to look away.
• Always retain the legal services of female lawyers, particularly ones named; Sarah Goldbaum and Hannah Goldstein.
• Never allow your mother to spend your line of credit on a psychic from the Caribbean.
• Sexual frustration leads to good business practices, enough to earn three hundred million dollars.
• If Bergdorf’s, Barney’s and Saks Fifth Avenue reject your upcoming fashion collections try selling it to JCPenny’s.
• Use your American Express reward points wisely.
• Bellini cocktail consumption will induce foot fetishes.
• Swedish Fish, Now & Later, and Gummy Bears from Dylan’s Candy Bar are perfect for your fuck-it bucket.
• Everyone should be so lucky to have a best friend like Taddy Brill.
• Never drive a Ford Thunderbird off a cliff thinking you’re Thelma & Louise.
• Stay away from any woman named Scilla or Ottavia.
• Wearing Tory Burch ballet flats while racing a sports car may cause ones clitoris to hum.
• Think twice before sitting Lady Gaga and Madonna next to one another at your fashion show.
• Prada and a condom, when worn together, are known to make bisexual men go bonkbuster cra-cra.
• Altering a vintage Valentino dress, formerly worn by socialite Nati Abascal, may land you on the red carpet.
• We should all get fucked in Fendi.
• When in love, you can have as many orgasms as you like…in one day!
• Slow dancing to Giuseppe Verdi enhances one’s emotional state.
• Never argue with your lover in public, above all—never in front of Anna Wintour, Marc Jacobs, or Karl Lagerfeld.
• Playing Simon Says, in bed, may lead one to reveal their true feelings. So will strip dancing in front of him to the song Girls, Girls, Girls by Mötley Crüe.
• And finally, he must always say, “I love you,” first.
Avery will be awarding a 6-month membership to Dylan's Candy Bar Candy of the month Club to one randomly drawn commenter from the tour. In the novel, the heroine makes herself Fuck-it Buckets which are candy filled buckets from Dylan’s Candy bar (or any candy store) when she's stressed out.
Book 1 in The Manhattanites series. (78,000 words, M/F, HEA, Erotic Romance, Contemporary)
notorious playboy, Prince Tittoni, seems to have
everything—Lamborghinis, exotic women, palaces throughout Europe and
business success. Ramping up his fabric company to go global with a new
apparel brand, he ruthlessly stops supplying fabrics to the American
client who inspired the collection. But once they meet, what’s he
willing to give to get her in his bed?
Upper East Side
designer Lex Easton has already endured her fair share of hard knocks.
She’ll be damned if she’ll let an Italian stud muffin knock her down. So
what if she named her favorite vibrator after him? With Fashion Week
approaching, she’ll do whatever it takes to secure the fabrics she needs
to make her clothing line an international success—even sleep with her
Lex’s Louboutins are dug in deep to win this war. All’s fair in love and fashion!
Scoop: Though the hero and heroine remain monogamous, their
Prada-wearing friends indulge in a ménage a trois and other fashionable
sexual fun and games.
She gasped. He’d lost his mind. Lunacy swirled rampant around them today. “No way! I don’t need to ration a sellout to your subdivision for more than a second. I can tell you right now, the answer is no.” Hell to the no.
“Your quick ‘no’ is because I refused to say ‘yes’ to sex. They say men think with their dicks. I hope you do not run Easton with your—”
“Shut it!” I’m gonna punch you. Lex inhaled and fisted her hands. She reflected on what Taddy or Vive might say right now. She’d give him an earful sampled by second bestie “Viveca Farnworth” sarcasm style. Massimo deserved it. “You could have fucked me ’til your uncut, overexposed on the blogs, ‘too ginormous for my snatch’ pecker fell off. And I’d still no way never ever in a thousand years sell, loan, sample you my Easton. And to answer your question, I run my company with my pussy, and twenty-four other pussy-sporting employees. Easton girls do not allow dickheads or cocks in our fashion world. Period.” She recrossed her arms and quirked her jaw up to illustrate physical defiance coordinating with her ruthless words.
Massimo’s face remained impervious. She heard him jingle loose change in his pocket. He coughed, cleared his throat and said, “An acquisition is the solution viable for us both. Girasoli will acquire Easton. You will work for Girasoli and receive full benefits, health care, retirement, an expense account, you name it. Girasoli will give your entire team plenty of vacation time—whatever you want.”
“Come again?” Hell to the maaaybe.
“Today, watching what you did with the designs confermato my interest. Girasoli needs you. And Easton needs Girasoli. It is best for everyone. Think it over.”
“There is nothing to think over.” She bluffed. A regular paycheck with benefits versus her unstable startup and lack of cash, which flowed out, never in, made her pussy cream more than thinking about Massimo’s fat dick.
“When you are ready, I will have my attorneys draw up the paperwork, assuming you agree on the price. Would you care to know the prezzo I’m offering for Easton?”
“No, I would not. Easton is priceless. There isn’t enough money in the world for my baby.” Easton was her child. An all consuming, demanding, fulltime, pain in her ass child, but she loved her two-year-old Easton regardless.
“Girasoli will wage five times Easton’s annual gross,” Massimo enticed without hesitation.
“Last year’s gross? Or this year’s projected revenue?”
“This year,” he affirmed.
She did the calculations in her head and rounded up to the nearest million. “Three hundred flippin’ mil.” Hell to the Yaaah.
Avery Aster is an American novelist who pens erotic romance for Ellora’s Cave. As an Upper East Side resident and a graduate from New York University Avery is celebrated for giving readers an inside look at the city’s glitzy nightlife, socialite sexcapades, and tall tales of the über-rich and ultra-famous. “I write about what I see in my metropolis which never sleeps—Manhattanites on the quest for a passionate thrill,” Avery says. “By and large, my characters are drop-dead gorgeous, ripped straight from the headlines and on the hunt for their next conquest.”
Undressed, book one, launched The Manhattanites series exploring people’s forbidden desires of lust and longing. When Avery’s star-studded cast unites it always feels like forever and everyone has a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Log on to AveryAster.com for upcoming book releases or email Avery@AveryAster.com to join The Manhattanites fan club.