A Brutally Honest Review of Brutally Honest Review

We need to talk about a site called “Brutally Honest Review.” To be brutally honest, they’re brutal, but not that honest. I also want to talk about trash-reviews in general. It’s a misconception that every piece of negative criticism is accurate, and they’re trying to cash in on the fact that people love drama and negativity. I love my reviewers and my editors, and I treasure their constructive criticism even when I don’t want to hear it, but this website’s MO is ridiculous.

who reviews the reviewers meme

This website gets its jollies from tearing down other authors. Unfortunately, anyone can start a website and attempt to establish authority by reviewing books. Their criticism is mostly unconstructive, and they copy-and-paste sections of reviews. It’s like they only know three things to complain about, but they keep reiterating them like the apocryphal loudly rattling empty can. My book got off lightly compared to other people’s, and perhaps I should be glad of that. Generally, I don’t dignify shitty reviews with a response because I’m too lazy to care, but when I saw the reviews they had given to two of the best authors I know, I decided this was worth talking about. I’m a Gryffindor at heart, and it gets me into all sorts of trouble. Hold onto your knickers, because I give as good as I get.

This website is a scam. First off, their whole schtick is someone’s idea of a clever affiliate marketing business concept. There are so many websites out there which make bread-and-butter from mindlessly giving five star reviews to every book that comes their way, so why not go in the opposite direction? One star virtually everything! That’ll get readers. I would imagine most of their site’s hits come from the authors whose books they reviewed. I’m not linking to them here because I don’t want to improve their Google Page Rank (how high they come in search results; determined by how many people link to their site from other sites).

Something I never talk about on my author site is the fact I also run a successful beauty blog that uses Amazon Associates, a special Amazon scheme that lets you make a commission from pointing readers in the direction of products that you recommend. Beauty blogging is sorta like authoring only with a lot of fake-nice and more cutthroat bitchyness. It’s also highly competitive and oversaturated. To stand out in beauty blogging you have to work hard. It took me 2 years to get my blog to where it’s currently at, and most people quit beauty blogging after the first month, very few last more than 6 months. It’s not easy and making money off it is nearly impossible.

“I hate beauty products” is a concept that newbie, inexperienced beauty bloggers occasionally come up with. “I hate beauty so much, but everyone always tells me how beautiful I am, so I’m going to deign to tell you all about beauty. It’s such a chore. Sponsor me on Patreon or send me free products to review!!!” Funnily enough, they fail to understand that their biggest audience base are other beauty bloggers, and that by pissing them off,  and by dismissing the most important thing in most beauty bloggers’ lives, they’re dooming their business to fail.

This is exactly what Brutally Honest Book Review is doing. There are lots of websites like it out there. They also offer a manuscript appraisal service and, perhaps I’m cynical, but I would suspect that any glowing reviews on their website are written for authors who paid to use their services. It’s interesting that someone can put themselves in a position where they think they can establish authority by alienating any and all of their potential customer base. It’s a shame, because I’m always looking for ways to improve my writing and I work damn hard to make each book better than the last, but this person doesn’t know what they’re talking about when it came to other people’s books I’ve read.

A lot of their criticism seems to center around things that erotic romance readers don’t actually want. High plot tension is a no-no in sweet/light erotic romance Over-complicated plot is also a faux pas. They fail to understand the difference between light and dark ER, and how the tension and emotional journey of the reader are different in both cases. If they don’t understand that, how can they accurately appraise a manuscript?

From an educator’s point of view, it’s also bad teaching practice to critique something in such a destructive manner, without providing anything constructive, particularly when phrases of their reviews are simply copied and pasted. In particular, I don’t think publicly shaming people is the way to encourage customers to get their manuscripts appraised. I suspect that they trash-review books as padding for their otherwise dull website, because they don’t have enough people paying them for a manuscript appraisal, so they don’t have enough books to say nice things about. Also, when you’ve registered the name “brutally honest review . com” I would imagine that compels you to not see the positive in anything.

Tony Robbins has an interesting object lesson in this. He tells clients, “Look out of your window and pay attention to every single brown thing you can see. Really focus on all of the brown.” Then, a minute or two later, he asks people to name all the red things they saw. When you only look for brown, that’s what you see, to the exclusion of all else.

After reading their reviews of other people’s books (books I have read and enjoyed) I certainly won’t be sending them my work. Not that I need to, when I have a fantastic group of people around me who tell it like it is, and who don’t go out of their way to bring me down. I have three books currently in the bestseller charts, and one of my books has been in the top 5 on UK Amazon for 3 months. I wrote a number 1 bestseller in May. I’m not trying to be arrogant, I’m trying to explain why I don’t trust this reviewer’s opinion. They’re out of touch with what readers want and they don’t understand the erotic romance audience. And that doesn’t make me trust them to accurately appraise my manuscript with commercial acumen.

One particular thing they seem confused about is that they apply very over-simplified literary criticism (the sort reserved for undergrad essays on works such as The Great Gatsby, Ulysses, and Kafka) to genre fiction. It is incredibly rare for literary criticism to be a useful tool when reviewing erotic romance. I reviewed The Wild yesterday (the book that got banned from Amazon and Smashwords), and I remarked on how extremely unusual it is that literary criticism works for erotic romance. Of all the books I’ve ever reviewed, The Wild is the only one I’ve applied any heavy literary criticism to. Literary criticism is for the next Great American Novel. You know what doesn’t sell? The next Great American Novel. You know why? Most people don’t like it.

Here’s why: When you’re doing your weekly grocery shopping, are you more likely to buy orange juice and cheese or caviar and lobster? Even if those things were cheaper, would you want to eat them all the time? I wouldn’t. Give me the orange juice! And I’m okay with the fact that I usually write orange juice. I love it, in fact. It’s what I want to do. I want to write the best damn orange juice in town. I’d much rather write orange juice than caviar, because orange juice brings joy and happiness to so many more people, and nourishes their heart in a way those books with “layered, too-broken” type characters (who don’t have sex because it interferes with all the existential ennui) never will. These sort of reviews are as silly as someone complaining that orange juice doesn’t taste like caviar. If they want caviar, they’re in the wrong aisle of the supermarket. Orange juice sells more because it’s what people want. Even people who do enjoy caviar probably drink more orange juice than they eat caviar.

You know who I trust to know whether I’ve written something good? My publisher. It’s in their best interests to publish work that sells, and I know they’ll always tell me if I’ve written something that’s below par, and they’ll offer me constructive suggestions on how to improve it. My fantastic editors Jamie Miles and James Johnson at Stormy Night Publications have worked with me to develop and improve my books into the bestsellers that they are. My second book? They turned it down. It hurt like hell at the time because I really believed in that story. But that tells me they have high standards that are specific to erotic romance, and I trust their opinion.

Interestingly, “Brutally Honest Book Review” also provide Amazon affiliate links for every book they pour hate upon. They get a commission on anything you buy within 24 hours of clicking an Amazon link on their site. I’ve worked with Amazon Associates for long enough to know what those affiliate links look like. When I dislike a beauty product, and feel compelled to write a bad review (which I do when it’s true), I don’t provide a buy link, unless I feel people need to see the thing I’m talking about (placenta face masks, for example… that fell into the ‘OMG look at this gross thing’ category), at which point, if I hated a product or never tried it, I provide a non-affiliate Amazon link. This is because I want buyers to know that I only want to make a commission by helping them find something they will like, which I believe in, and which is worth selling.

Steve Jobs said “don’t sell crap” and that’s my entire philosophy both with authoring and beauty blogging, and when I worked for Avon that was my philosophy too. People trust me, buy from me, and work with me because I don’t abuse that trust. If you 1-star hate a book, why would you then try to sell it to people? The entire site is a money-making scam, and if I wanted a manuscript appraisal outside of my bubble, I’d rather get in touch with any of the amazing editors I’ve met on Facebook, because I’ve seen the books they’ve edited, and I know that they know what they’re talking about, than this vitriolic person who fundamentally doesn’t understand or seem to enjoy erotic romance.

The thing that gets me the most about intentionally bad reviews is that they negatively impact on good authors, and I’ve seen this before when I used to work in entertainment (yeah, all the bitchy games in the author world are NOTHING compared to working in the commercial entertainment industry). When reviewers, ticket holders, directors or stage managers treat performers like a mindless object with no feelings (and no need for sleep), it can leave performers at the point where they can’t actually perform any more. It breaks my heart to watch this happening to people and I hate that some people feel the need to hurt people like this. I suspect some people simply revel in doing this to other human beings. I would argue that those of us writing BDSM erotic romance get it more than other people, as I have a hunch that a lot of people make the assumption that we’re fair game because we write submissive women. Of course, fundamentally not understanding BDSM or spanking is not becoming in a reviewer of BDSM erotic spanking romance. Yes, that was a bastardization of a Gor quote. Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Authors, like performers, are necessarily more sensitive than other people, because to produce an authentic experience, we plunge into the entire spectrum of human emotions. If we don’t know how our characters will react to a situation, how can we write that? With the exception of people who have learned about human behavioural patterns such as psychologists, we have to empathize and emote with our characters. That makes us a little more sensitive to criticism, especially when we put our heart and soul into a book.

Some of my books get 1 star reviews and I don’t even care. It’s a fair cop. I learn to write as I go along, because I learn from doing. Other books get 3 star reviews and I’m ready to stab someone. Sometimes, I care too much about my work. I have to, to write better books. I take valid criticism on board, especially when it comes from my readers and from readers of other erotic spanking romance books, but I don’t see a problem with venting about ridiculous reviews because otherwise they fester. Not everyone who reads a book is qualified to write about it, even people who also write books or appraise manuscripts. Anyone can set up that as a business without needing qualifications or professional accreditation. Full disclosure: I haven’t taken an English class since I was sixteen.

My verdict on Brutally Honest Review? One star. Would not recommend. It’s a worse business model than the authors with fake Amazon accounts who dump shitty reviews on good books (waves at the haters at the back). If they want to do better, they should take a good hard look at their intended audience and adjust their business practice accordingly, potentially registering a grammatically correct domain name whilst they’re at it. Pissing off your client base isn’t the way to build a business.

That’s the end of my ranty clapback. I said it all because it needed saying and honestly I wouldn’t have cared if Brutally Honest Review hadn’t shat upon good authors I know. Imma stop bitching now and go back to adoring puppies and unicorns and stuff.

Now for a palate cleanser courtesy of Britney and Taylor Swift:

Once again, huge shoutout to all the people who provide useful criticism of my work, like my ARC readers and Jamie Miles and James Johnson at Stormy Night Publications!*

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

*Disclaimer: All thoughts in this opinion piece are my own and have no endorsement from my publishers.

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Katie Douglas Reviews The Wild by K Webster

After all the playground-like rumors, this book is not what you think, and it’s not what I expected. I bumped this to the top of my reading list because I thought I was going to want to delete it from my Kindle for iPhone after I finished it.

I want to try and keep this review as spoiler free as possible but there’s things in here that might lead you to guess what happens in the book. The biggest spoiler I have shared is on a separate webpage that I’ve linked to in this review. It’s still not the full story. So if you currently fully intend to read this book, go read it (you can get it here) first or instead of this review. But promise me something. Finish it. If you start this book, you have to finish it or you will be left with the wrong idea. Anyone who 1-star reviewed this book and didn’t actually finish it doesn’t know what they’re talking about. If you don’t plan to read the book, or you’re unsure, read the rest of my review. Especially if you’re one of the people who heard all the rumors about what’s in this book.

The Wild K Webster review

There’s some things that color my review, and if you’re American (or not me) you might feel differently about those same details in the book. The legal age of consent in my country is 16. I left school at 16. At the time, that was pretty normal. I went back again later, but post-16 education was the exception rather than the rule. In working class Scotland, you’re basically an adult at 16. 16 for us is 18 for Americans. Linguistically, “woman” refers to anyone over 16 in Scotland. We drink at 18, not 21, btw. If you’re brainy and go to university straight from school, you usually start at 17 not 18 (although you *can* start at 18 with the English qualifications, which are different to Scottish ones, and then you often skip the first year of uni). Everything’s different here. So the main character being 17? Wasn’t weird. She was well over our age of consent and I didn’t have a problem with that. Hell, most of the women I knew from school were a long way into their second single-parent pregnancy by 17, and on the waiting list for a bigger council house. If this book had BDSM in it, I’d feel differently, because I draw the line (in the sand) at 18 for BDSM. There’s probably all sorts of arguments that can be had about that, but at the end of the day BDSM requires a higher level of emotional maturity than regular sex, and BDSM is something a lot of much older people can’t cope with.

The second thing that colored my judgement is I’m at heart, an anthropologist (I missed my true calling in life because I’m never going to train/work as an anthropologist), and when they’re presented properly, other lifeways fascinate me.

Third, I never met my father until I was 16, he died when I was 27, and my mother (died the same year) was generally out of her head for one reason or another. I have no concept of what it would be like to have a male parent who you live your whole life with, let alone what a father’s love looks like to a child, or how that transitions into how people relate to their adult children; I only know it by its absence and by what I used to wonder about what it would be like to have a dad.

Last, I withheld judgement until I’d read the entire book. And, if you choose to read this book, so should you. This book is not for the narrow-minded.

When I picked up this book I didn’t know what was in it. Normally, I won’t read the specific things it seemed to be heading towards. However, this wasn’t written like an erotic fiction, and I personally didn’t find the sex scenes sexy (it didn’t have any BDSM to speak of; there was 1 spanking scene and it wasn’t framed in BDSM. Vanilla sex doesn’t do it for me at all). I think I was more interested in the way this relationship developed. This book strongly reminded me of Berkoff’s Kafka plays, Sophocles’ Elektra/Oedipus, and other dramatic works that only the graphic novels by Alan Moore and Warren Ellis have ever rivalled for me. Unvarnished reality of human nature, catharsis, that sort of thing. Not something I regularly find in romantic fiction and not something I necessarily often want to read but I occasionally like being stretched. I hate quoting from my own books but I think this quote from His Little Earthling kinda sums up how I feel about books like The Wild:

“…reading the book was like being hit in the face with a door[…]for some reason, she’d really enjoyed reading his story anyway.”

See, on one hand, it seems like you’re reading a story about a man who is willing to risk everything for love (like, even more everything than everything) and outside the cultural norms of our society that’s kinda sweet. And on the other hand you’ve got the internal destruction of a man who knows that what he’s doing is wrong.

Or does he?

And at the same time you’ve got this willing Lolita character who drives forward the story and single-mindedly goes after what she wants, consequences be damned. And she definitely fully believes that this isn’t right. My brain constantly shut down during the sex scenes and I sorta skimmed over them. I couldn’t quite reconcile the discord between what was happening on the page and my own feelings about people doing that.

There’s a type of BDSM scene that I tend not to partake in because it’s so hard to get it right. It’s called a “mind fuck” and usually it means that the dominant does something to make the submissive think/feel differently towards something than they would if they were in possession of all the facts. That’s what this book does. Very well. The last time I read a book which used information and character truths like this was Jodi Picoult’s Her Sister’s Keeper. See also: That’s not an erotic romance. But it left me with the same feeling at the big moment.

I also liked the author’s use of tension. This book had me turning the pages from page 1 and I stayed up late last night to finish reading it. I am going to have to go over specific scenes and pay more attention to how the tension was done because it wasn’t too tight (I hate when things are too tense with no payoff) but it was tight enough to keep the story moving. I wanted to know what would happen next, even when I didn’t want to look to find out what would happen next.

The other thing about this book is that it really sticks two fingers up at the pseudo-incest genre of erotica/erotic romance and draws attention to its hypocrisy. I don’t want to kink-shame, but I don’t find incest or pseudo-incest remotely sexy. I’ve never been a fan of all that, “No, wait, it’s okay, she’s my stepdaughter” stuff. Call an apple an apple. I’ve always been very uncomfortable with stories like that. I don’t like the way they try so hard to pretend it’s normal, and they never actually stand up and address the fact that they’re depicting a relationship between relations that, okay, aren’t blood relations, but are still relations. They justify it with meaningless titles that don’t actually settle it. I mean, for me personally, it’s too weird to imagine having sex with someone who fucked my mother. From the other side, I couldn’t imagine being in a three way with a mother and a daughter, either. It’s just goes beyond my limits. I think that’s what gets me more than anything about pseudo-incest or incest. I’m happy with the caregiver/little dynamic between consenting unrelated adults, but not double dipping. Why is that seen as okay culturally but some meaningless DNA thing suddenly makes that SAME situation unacceptable? I don’t think it’s okay to dress incest up and deny it and pretend that it’s not what it is, and there’s a whole subgenre of erotic fiction that does exactly that, and those pseudo-incest ones are really trying very hard to sexualise that relationship. And let’s be fair, “she’s 18” is often secret erotica code for, “she’s not 18” in many of those same stories.

Like, culturally, it’s okay to have sex with some guy who sexed your mom and who you lived your whole life with, because he’s your stepfather, but it’s not okay if their sperm made you. It’s a huge double standard. And The Wild seriously does tell this whole double standard to go fuck itself in the most beautiful way. These are things I’d never really thought about particularly deeply until I read this book, and I feel like I’ve gained an understanding of one of humanity’s nuances from reading it.

This book went the complete opposite way to those pseudo-incest books. It never even tried to pretend this was okay or normal, and I liked that it grabbed the main issue by the balls and squeezed. I think it’s an absolute joke that Amazon and Smashwords banned this book, especially when (spoiler that will ruin this whole book if you ever planned to read it).

See? This book is less risque and less taboo than A Song Of Ice and Fire (or Gor, there’s sex with a 14 year old in at least one of those books) but because it’s an erotic romance and because there’s no disclaimer at the beginning of The Wild explaining something that would spoil the whole book (and let’s be fair, the author is probably quietly reveling in the notoriety that this book had to go underground and free speech ‘n’ stuff), it got banned.

I don’t feel like this is so much of a free speech issue because what she wrote wasn’t actually as bad as it could have been, especially if you see the spoiler above. I mean, it’s sorta a free speech issue because the book was silenced before anyone could know the full story. More than that, it’s an issue to do with how books are marketed and how ebook authors are unfairly held to a higher standard than print authors. And that’s what I take issue with. Incest and underage sex SHOULDN’T be on Amazon according to their own rules. But they are on Amazon. They’re everywhere. Paedophilia? George R.R. Martin. Incest? George R.R. Martin. Rape? George R.R. Martin. The Wild is pretty tame by comparison. But that’s okay because GRRM’s a “real” author and we’re not. Westeros is a fantasy world and the middle of nowhere in Alaska, a place most people haven’t been, is somehow more real. Careful, people might start re-enacting this shit. That’s what Amazon seems to be saying by its actions.

By continually policing an arbitrary line between traditionally published and indie authors, they are reinforcing the idea that ebooks are not real books and that romance authors (mostly women) aren’t real authors and that we have to follow a tighter set of rules because we’re somehow less responsible than men. But, y’know, being mostly women, we’re all pretty used to double standards in what we can do versus what non-women can do, right?

Another wider issue that The Wild throws up is the fundamental meaninglessness of some trigger warnings. I have PTSD, so I know what it’s like to be triggered, to not be able to get something out of your head for days on end and to feel like you’ll never get far enough away from the thing you’re running from. Because it’s everywhere. I don’t think overly-specific trigger warnings are actually useful. They can end up being a ridiculous spoiler-laden laundry list that ruins the book for other people. I like trigger warnings to be vague, something that says, “If you only like soft fluffy stuff this is not for you,” or, “If you like it hard and scary, this is for you.” But The Wild sorta stuck its finger up at that and used the trigger warning as more of a challenge. The starting assumption was that you wouldn’t want to read this book because of all the stuff. I think it mostly delivered on that, but it didn’t necessarily go as far as I thought it would. I didn’t expect to finish this book but I did.

So overall, I did like this book, it was well-written and thought-provoking in a number of ways, and I liked the fact that it called out the entire pseudo-incest subgenre very eloquently. But I didn’t find it sexy, and the fact it got banned by Amazon AND Smashwords is kinda confusing and nothing short of hypocritical compared to some books. I’m glad this book exists.

Tl;dr: If you start The Wild you have to finish it. Don’t believe ANY reviews that didn’t read the entire book. They are not in possession of all the facts.

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A Strapping Excerpt from Reformed by the Scotsman!

It’s WIP it up Wednesday, the blog hop where we share works in progress or recently published! Here’s my contribution:

My latest story, Reformed by the Scotsman, came out on Saturday, and I’ve got another exciting excerpt for you here. It’s the morning after Adeline breaks a window (and cuts her hand on broken glass) trying to escape from Edward’s house in Edinburgh.

Beautiful cover art by Korey Mae Johnson.

***

After breakfast, Edward took Adeline into the drawing room and bade her stand before his desk.

“Do you know why you are being punished?” he prompted. It was bloody obvious, but he wanted to hear her say it.

“Yes. I damaged your window while I was trying to leave. I’m awfully sorry, you know.”

It was impossible to repress his laughter that time. “The bally idea that I gave a hoot about the pane of glass! You are being punished because you paid no mind to your own safety, both in breaking the glass and in attempting to climb out of a second floor window. Are you aware of the height of the ceilings in this house? They are fifteen feet! Including the height from the floor to the windowledge in the guestroom, that’s a thirty-three-foot drop to the ground. Do you know what happens if you fall from that height onto hard pavement?”

She shook her head.

“You would quite probably die.” He let that sink in. “Bend over my desk, I am going to use the tawse. It seemed to be moderately effective yesterday; I think you just need more of it.”

To his surprise, she got into the prescribed position without any argument, and once she was there, it was a simple matter to fold back the silk chemise before he slid her knickers down. She had a lovely, heart-shaped bottom, with cute dimples at the top.

He would love to spend hours caressing that delightful rear, teasing the white skin, and gently swatting her sit spots until she was writhing with desire and begging him to fill her with his manhood. He was already growing hard from considering the things he’d like to do with her while she was in this position.

Not today, however. Today was about her dangerous behavior. He picked up the two-tailed leather strap and walked around behind her. He lined it up on her bottom then drew it back and smartly spanked her sit-spot with a loud crack.

She drew a breath and he was pleased that her bottom seemed to take on a red stripe almost immediately. She was so resistant to showing him when she was in pain, but he saw her adamantly fighting her own responses. The swat had undoubtedly taken effect. He slowly counted to ten in his head, then brought the tawse down on her cheeks once more. She uttered a slight moan then stifled it. If he were to get past her pride so he might change her without breaking her, she was going to require careful handling.

Barely counting to three, he landed the tawse slightly above the last stroke, and she issued a strangled cry. He suspected that, in her case, there was a very fine line between what would be effective in improving her behavior and what would be too extreme, but eight strokes would suffice this time, he decided, as he aimed the fourth one over the crest of her buttocks, then waited again as she began to breathe more heavily. He heard the effort it was taking for her to stop herself from making a fuss, and decided now was a good time for a change of pace.

The next two were spaced out, slow, and he had time to appreciate the sight before him. Her glowing bottom had taken on a delightful shade of pink, contrasting wonderfully with her pale skin above and beneath. Between her legs, he eyed the little line, like a split peach, where her sex stood out between her sparse blonde fur. It seemed to glisten slightly with her juices, and he felt his own arousal rising harder as he contemplated her, positioned over his desk like this.

“Punishment becomes you,” he murmured, then brought the tawse down once more. She yelped this time, and again at the last stroke. He left her over his desk for a moment. He was pleased that she was responding to this treatment; yesterday she would have been trying to run away by this point in her correction.

***

And if you want to know more, you can get the book here

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

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Reformed by the Scotsman is Out Now!

I am super-duper-loop-the-looper-ally-ooper excited to announce that Reformed by the Scotsman is out now!
Here’s the beautiful cover by Korey Mae Johnson:

Here’s the blurb:
When her scandalous behavior finally forces her wealthy parents to take drastic action, twenty-two-year-old Adeline Hawthorne is sent to Edinburgh to live in the home of her father’s friend Edward Wolstanton. The stern Scotsman is tasked with correcting the recalcitrant young lady by any means necessary, and it isn’t long before Adeline is taken over Edward’s knee for a painful, embarrassing spanking.

Though she quickly discovers that her new guardian will not hesitate to punish her as thoroughly and shamefully as he sees fit–even stripping her completely and applying a leather tawse to her bare bottom when she attempts to escape his custody–Edward’s firm-handed dominance arouses Adeline deeply. She soon finds herself wondering what it would be like to have such a man as her husband, but will he ever see her as more than a wayward girl in need of reform?

Publisher’s Note: Reformed by the Scotsman includes spankings and sexual scenes. If such material offends you, please don’t buy this book.

You can find it here on Amazon.com or here on Amazon.co.uk

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A scorching excerpt from Reformed by the Scotsman

So I missed the deadline to participate in WipItUp Wednesday this week because of all the work I had to finish for my university course. Now it’s done, I have a scorching excerpt from Reformed by the Scotsman, my new book which is out Saturday (5th August). It’s the 1920s, it’s Edinburgh, and Adeline Hawthorne is getting spanked by Edward Wolstanton, to whom she was sent to be reformed:

***

Feeling furiously embarrassed and extremely hot, she turned her head away from him before she recovered her scathing sarcasm.

“Like what you see? Bet you collect magazine-pictures of girls in their underthings, don’t you?” she said.

Instead of wrong-footing him or provoking a series of denials, she seemed to have galvanized his will, for he chose that moment to sit in an overstuffed armchair and pull her over his knee. The position was not lost on her, and she inhaled sharply in horror because there was only one thing anybody did once they had a girl over their knee, bottom upturned, face and feet near the floor. Her black silky knickers almost completely protected her bottom cheeks, though, so even if he really was going to spank her like an errant schoolgirl, it couldn’t possibly hurt.

Telling herself there was no possibility that stuffy, proper Edward would really spank her, she yelped when his hand connected loudly with her bottom, resonating throughout the room with a loud clap. The sting was instant and seemed to cover most of her right cheek. He brought his hand down over and over in a brisk pace, raining hard swats of fire over her bottom cheeks before she opened her mouth to protest.

“How dare you? When my father hears about this, you’ll be sorry!” she protested, trying to avoid the spanks. She was infuriated. How dare he punish her like a naughty child? She shifted around on his knee hoping to escape, but he held her firmly. A warm glow flashed through her nether regions as she realized he had bested her.

“Your father gave me express permission to use any means necessary to improve your attitude, young lady, and that is what I’m doing.” Edward spoke calmly. His voice didn’t match with the flurry of sharp swats he was subjecting her sit-spot to.

“No! He wouldn’t! Not if he knew you were… doing this to me!” she retorted hotly.

“I don’t think he was especially interested in the details,” Edward said. She kicked and wriggled and generally made a nuisance of herself attempting to inconvenience him as much as possible during this spanking. Truly, she was unable to escape, and part of her liked being thoroughly helpless while someone held her to account, not because she had conceded to their pathetic protests, but because they had the guts to overpower her and compel her to obey. There was a strong sense of satisfaction that accompanied the feeling of helplessness. Her underwear grew wet and her nipples hardened in response to being forced to submit.

Horrified at her weakness, she buried her emotions and fought him with redoubled effort. It hurt, though, and despite the fact she didn’t stop fighting him, his swats gave her pause for thought. How long would he keep this up? Could she fight back for longer than he could spank her?

“If you continue resisting me while you are over my knee, and threatening to tattle to your father, I will give you some letter paper once this is over and I will stand beside you and make you write a letter to the Earl of Hathersedge detailing exactly what I am doing right now, including how you are dressed, how your bottom feels, the color it has turned—a tantalizing pink, if you care to know—and what, precisely, you did to earn the punishment, starting with the rummy business at the train station.” Edward paused spanking her and gently caressed her bottom. It burned so much that it even felt pink, especially when he touched her.

He continued outlining the potential future punishment as his fingers trailed along her skin. “I will then expect you to address it and take it to the post office where you will tell the postmistress that you are writing to your father to inform him that you are in disgrace, although you will kindly spare her the details as I wouldn’t want you to offend her sensibilities.”

He landed some particularly hard swats on the skin between the top of her thigh and her bottom cheeks and she growled in frustration. It was so undignified and she growled at the sharper sting as his hand connected with the sensitive skin there.

As if his threat of humiliation and enforced spanking weren’t bad enough, he leaned down to her ear and quietly murmured in a low voice, his Scottish vowels piercing his otherwise refined English accent, “Of course, when writing to your father, you can leave out the fact that your knickers are soaked through.”

***

Oooh I can’t WAIT to see what you all make of this story! I don’t write many one-on-ones (although there are more to come), so I really liked having more space within the story to explore the characters’ thoughts, feelings and backstory in greater depth than in Captured by the Highlanders. I’ll be sending copies to my ARC readers the MINUTE I get the files from the publisher, and the cover is being finalized as I write so I’ll post that tomorrow!

 

Reformed by the Scotsman Katie Douglas book advert coming soon

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Awakened with the Cane

I know I don’t talk about my relationship that often, but this past week I’ve sort of come out (in a few different ways) with the fact that I’m not in a scening BDSM relationship, I’m in a 24/7 one. Partly, I had to explain that my husband dragged me off the computer on Tuesday, I wasn’t allowed online for 2 days except to go on Google Scholar, and I now only have three hours on Facebook between Friday and Monday unless my thesis is finished before then, because I got in trouble for not focussing on my work. I brought it on myself. There’s a stopwatch beside my laptop telling me I have 2 hours, 8 minutes of that Facebook time left. Usually, however, my relationship isn’t this obvious.

I’m not supposed to wear my collar every day, and a lot of the time my life looks (mostly) like other people’s. If you visited my house, you might find it strange that I always kneel on the floor to eat meals, and a few other similar things, but to all intents and purposes we’re just two people.

Where it comes into the foreground is when I misbehave. My husband won’t do anything overt (e.g. spanking) in public because, obviously, the public haven’t consented to being part of anything, and they would quite probably be distressed if they saw me upended over his knee on a park bench (not that he hasn’t done that, just not while there was anyone around).

This week, however, I’ve been a complete and utter brat for no better reason than because I’m ridiculously stressed and, being a type A, I can’t let go of the work I’m trying to get done, but I can’t let go of all my day-to-day tasks, either. I had a meltdown yesterday because he had to take over making lunch after I’d started (I wrecked an egg, then I wrecked a second one immediately after).

On an intellectual level, I know it’s ridiculous, but I always feel like it’s a fundamental failure if I can’t get the submissive stuff done, because that should always be my number one priority. At the end of the day, it’s the permanent thing that underpins my entire existence and I feel like I’m having to let things go a little at a time when I need structure and discipline more than ever, because of the pressure I’m currently under.

The day before yesterday, I yelled at him to shut up when he was feeding the rabbits because it interrupted my train of thought while I was writing a paragraph of dense academic discourse. It’s not okay. I know I shouldn’t behave like this. I can do better. That was immediately before bed on Thursday and he was too tired to punish me. I told him that meant I’d gotten away with it because he *always* forgets if he doesn’t do it immediately. He told me he was going to do it first thing in the morning. I was like, “go on then,” but I was sure he would put it off again.

Friday morning, I awakened to the covers being hurriedly whipped off me. Then pain exploded across my bottom (I sleep on my front). I pulled my earplugs out in time to hear the second stroke of the cane landing on my bottom, and buried my face in my pillow so no-one heard me. He went for ten strokes, then told me there’d be another ten if I didn’t get up *right now*.

So I did.

For half the day this made me feel reassured and well-behaved. Then the incident with the eggs happened. To be fair, I did figure out much later that I’d gotten so upset because I was trying to make him lunch, trying to help him when he had a busy day fixing things in the garden before the new people move into our house, and I wanted to take some of that stress off him because I feel really bad about the fact my academic demands currently mean I can’t do any repairing or much cleaning. That’s on top of the fact I’m a DIY disaster. In hindsight, getting so upset that my cooked eggs went wrong, and running upstairs and crying in bed when I *know* I’m supposed to sit on the stairs when I’m too upset to do something wasn’t my best move. He was actually going to let me off all of that because I got back downstairs before he counted to 10. But later in the day, my emotions got the better of me again and I stupidly lost it over some gravy. So I got spanked on the spot then told he was going to do it later, as well.

Later came, he was too sleepy. This time, I *knew* what was coming in the morning but I actually dropped off to sleep easier. So, again, this morning, I got awoken with the covers being pulled off and the cane landing on my rear. It was twenty strokes today, of the big cane. Sitting is progressively getting harder.

Then, at lunchtime today, I managed to throw a cuddly unicorn at him. It was stupid, I know that. I’m not 6. My behavior seems to regress to it when I’m under a lot of stress, though, and so I’m currently flipping between asking his opinion on my interpretation of postmodernist feminist theory and throwing unicorns at him.

So I got spanked more at lunchtime. At least he’s been aware this week that what I really, really need is structure and certainty, and unlike other times in the past when I’ve been mentally falling apart, this time, he hasn’t backed off and avoided me, he’s challenging me every time, and I’m responding better to it. It’s defusing quickly, and after each spanking I have to apologise, explain what I am apologising for, and thank him.

I’m in a LOT more trouble this week than I have been for about a year, and it’s probably going to get worse before it gets better, but I’m feeling significantly less distressed than I usually do under extreme stress, and I feel like I’m making more effort to behave better, and more than that, I feel like I’m achieving it. I’m not behaving perfectly yet, and maybe I won’t until all this academic stuff is over, but at least I’m not falling apart, and I’m so grateful that he is facilitating this at the moment because otherwise I’d be crying under my desk and burning copies of Foucault whilst cursing the dumb pretentious philosophy dude in all my favorite French cuss words at this point (I know, irony).

Additionally, you should totally check out Jaye Elise’s blog; she’s started a series where she interviews erotica/erotic romance authors and I had the excitement of being featured on there this week! Thank-you Jaye! Find her blog here: https://jayeelisewrites.wordpress.com/2017/07/29/triple-play-qa-with-katie-douglas/

Also, here’s my latest YouTube video. I recorded it in May and saved it because I knew this month or last month would be too hectic to make a video. It’s an excerpt from His Naughty Little Housewife which is also sort of ironic, given my current situation.

What do you mean that’s not irony? Stop watching Castle already (sidenote: have you seen Castle? It’s great)!

Be still my heart.

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

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It won’t fit!

So we are immigrating to Asia soon, and our house has been a flurry of activity (which is why I’m not getting this blog updated as many times as I’d like), alongside my nearly-finished MSc thesis and the two books I’m editing before I send them in (you’re gonna LOVE these).

Anyway, one issue we’ve had is that we’ve been taking stock of our sex toys. Restraints, buzzy things, swishy things, hitty things (that feather on a stick that seemed like SUCH a great idea but only got used twice then hung up as a decoration)… we had about four big stacking crates, and a homemade cane stand the size of one of those umbrella stands.

Long story short… it won’t fit. We can’t put all of it into a suitcase and get it to the other end, even IF we didn’t want to wear clothes or shoes, or read real books written in English when we arrived. My suitcase is mostly books and shoes, as I suspect these are the things I’ll struggle to find (I have hulking great ginormous feet). On top of that, some of it was getting old, some of it was stuff he had before he got me, and some of it never quite did what it was supposed to. I know, domly doms aren’t supposed to buy sex toys that don’t do what they said on their online listing, but it happens to all of us from time to time, and sometimes you don’t find out until LONG after the returns date has passed.

I digress.

We have to get rid of all this stuff and pare down to the essentials. At this point, I could list on one hand the stuff we use more than once a week, and on two hands the stuff we use monthly. We’re at a point where we know what works best so we tend to gravitate towards that. I’ve already chucked out about 50 liters of defunct sex toys, old rope, out of date lube (I am chronically indecisive; when I want to try something new, if I can afford it, I tend to buy a selection then stick with my favorite FOREVER, and if I can’t afford it, I don’t buy any because the decision is too hard) etc. Unfortunately, we lost two canes already this year. He broke one when he hit me with it too hard and it snapped, and I broke one when I reached back and snapped it and I STILL DON’T KNOW WHY I DID IT. Then a third cane somehow got deformed in the place we keep them, and now it doesn’t cane so good. So we’re down to one cane. At the same time, our riding crop is showing serious signs of wear and the shiny leather surface has worn through in many places to that green-gray suede-like stuff underneath.

So, on our way back from a wedding, we found ourselves in a sex shop off the side of the A1(M) motorway last week (as one is wont to do). This place was huge, it had entire aisles of things.

While I was getting excited over the possibilities of getting one of those giant inflating butt plugs, my husband was weighing up the merits of the unanswerable question: Cane or crop? So he summoned me over and I was still holding a remote control vibe I’d found that looked like awesome fun, and he made me hold out my hand in the shop and SMACK! That riding crop was SERIOUS. I don’t know if ours has softened over the years or if it was ever as hard as that one but holy smokes, my hand had a red welt on it for ages after and driving the car the rest of the way home was entertaining to say the least (I mean, I was literally giggling). The lady behind the counter was highly amused, and I suspect we’re not the first people to try implements out in the shop. And I didn’t test that inflating butt plug.

Did I mention he was wearing a 3 piece suit with a waistcoat and I was in one of those wedding guest dresses (no hat. Fancy hats do NOT suit me)?

What did he buy? Both. Cane and crop. Brand new. Super-mean. And they fit in our suitcases.

I hope Asia has lots of soft squishy cushions to sit on.

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Captured by the Highlanders Hits the Top 50!

I am so pleased to announce that my latest book, Captured by the Highlanders, has steamed to number 48 on the Amazon top 100 for Scottish Historical Romance, and it’s still climbing! There isn’t a category for “historical fantasy BDSM menage” but if there was, that’s where this book would be!

captured by the highlanders katie douglas spanking romance novel

Check out what all the fuss is about here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073T4P1PT

A big thank-you goes out to everyone who has bought and read my book so far, and to all my reviewers, and to everyone at Stormy Night Publications for making this happen!

Lots of Love,
Katie xxxx

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A mouth watering excerpt from Captured by the Highlanders!

My new book, Captured by the Highlanders, came out on Saturday and I’m so excited to share a scorching excerpt with you for WipItUp Wednesday! In the last sneak peek, you met Kieran and Jacob, so in this one, I’d like to introduce you all to our third hunky Highlander (and all-round good egg): Callum. For background, they’re hiding out in a barn at night and a thunderstorm just began.

* * *

“It’s all right, lassie, it’s just a crack o’ thunder,” Callum said. Bridget hated thunder almost as much as she hated gunfire.

“The barn has hardly any roof,” she pointed out. “We might get hit by lightning.”

“No, the trees are just over there. It will hit them first,” he said. A bolt of glowing lightning flashed somewhere and lit up the inside of the barn. It was so close she smelled the static, and the men’s hair was beginning to stand on end.

“Please, I want to hide! I have to get out of here! You don’t understand, the lightning will hit us!” Bridget was so scared that she couldn’t even speak sense any more. She got to her feet and ran out of the barn as the pelting rain fell down.

Powerful hands wrapped around her waist and in her blind panic, she kicked and screamed in the storm as someone took her back into the barn. The walls were protecting them from some of the rain but mostly it was soaking through her dress and making her curly black hair relax, so it fell all the way to her bottom, weighed down by the rivulets of water.

She was undressed by whoever had brought her back in, and the second they had their hands full with her bodice, she ran back outside again, certain that the lightning would find the barn before the forest, as the crumbling structure was the tallest thing on the open land.

She wanted to hide under the trees where she thought she’d be safer. Someone tackled her to the ground and wrestled her over their knee. She was soaked and now her front was muddy, too. When the first swat landed on her bottom, she yelled and kicked and tried to get loose, but the man who had caught her was too strong for her.

“I told you, the lightning will hit the trees first!” Callum shouted above the sound of the storm and Bridget’s yelling.

He spanked her hard, and her wet skin stung even more than the last time he’d spanked her. Quickly, she had to stop kicking and fighting, and accept her punishment. “You are running into danger. The trees are not safe.”

As if God picked that moment to illustrate Callum’s point, a bolt of lightning hit a tree about a hundred feet away, ensconcing it in the white electricity with little jets of fire where the twigs were thinnest. Bridget screamed; it was the most fearsome sight she’d ever seen in her life, and it was directly in the path she’d been trying to run in. Her voice was drowned out by the angry growl from the sky, which seemed to be all around them before it receded.

Her bottom, already sore from being spanked earlier, as well as riding a horse, now had a deep ache. The surface tingled and burned, filling her body with warmth and making her little button throb. She began to cry as Callum continued spanking her, the smell of burning wood mingling with the static taste, and she realized he’d just saved her life.

“I’m sorry!” she shouted. “Please, Callum, I’m sorry!”

“Good. I will stop spanking you when I think you have learned the lesson, lass.” He brought his callused hand down on her bottom over and over, until every inch of her cheeks was stinging and she was sobbing uncontrollably, lying still over his lap and accepting her punishment. It stung, but at the same time, she felt cared for and protected. The twitching feeling between her legs turned into a needful ache. When he stopped, the fat drops of rain splattered on her punished behind, cooling it, before he flipped her upright.

In the last vestiges of light, she looked up at him as he towered above her, and before she knew it, they were kissing, deeply, while he was holding her head with one strong hand, and his other was pinching her freshly spanked bottom, making it tingle.

* * *

Want to know what happens next? Callum, Kieran and Jacob are waiting for you here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073T4P1PT

captured by the highlanders katie douglas spanking romance novel

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A sneaky preview of Captured by the Highlanders

It’s WipItUp Wednesday, the blog hop where writers share their works in progress or recently published work, and I’ve got an exciting excerpt to share with you!

Oooh this one is a ménage! 3 guys, one girl, and it’s all about her! Isn’t that the best sort of ménage? In case the title didn’t give it away, the 3 heroes in this story are all Highlanders, although the action takes place in the Lowlands.

Set in 1899, it’s the story of a sassy Irish girl who’s escaping an evil English duke who kidnapped her. When she meets three Highlanders, they think she’s part of the duke’s entourage, so they try to kidnap her to ransom back to the duke. Sparks, of course, fly, when they find out her true identity, and decide they need to rescue her… if only her smart mouth would just stay closed long enough to let them.

Here’s an artist’s impression (OK, I totes DIY’d it) of the three Highlanders:

Captured by the Highlanders Mastered by the Highlanders Katie Douglas

I can’t wait to see what the cover will look like! And here’s a steamy excerpt (play nice 😉 as I haven’t got the copy-edited version yet) from a scene with Bridget, Jacob and Kieran:

Kieran suddenly turned to the door, and Jacob followed his gaze. When he saw Bridget standing in the doorway, holding some folded sheets, he frowned. Had she heard their conversation?

 “The polite thing to do is to knock before entering someone’s room,” he chided her, semi-sternly.

She seemed to recover herself, then, and she cocked her head defiantly.

“Don’t get your knickers in a twist; I’ll be quiet as the grave. I only came to bring your fresh linens for you as the innkeeper forgot to change them afore we took the rooms. Now, are you going to let me change the bed or would you rather threaten to stick pins under my nails or some such?”

“Oh no, little lady. I’ve got a much better idea what we can do with a willful young lady who can’t be polite,” Kieran told her. Jacob caught his eye and saw it was twinkling with amusement. He’d been waiting for a reason to spank her, and Bridget had played straight into their hands.

“I think you can both go and whistle up a rope,” she retorted. In a moment, Jacob was across the room and closed his hands around her soft arms. Kieran swiftly joined him and took the sheets she held, placing them on the dresser, then closed the bedroom door.

“I think I saw a hairbrush in that drawer,” Jacob remarked, and Kieran grinned wickedly.

Jacob lifted Bridget off her feet and carried her to the bed, where he sat on the edge of it and arranged her over his knee. He slid her dress and petticoat up, and groaned softly when he saw the delicate white skin of her cheeks.

“I won’t let you do whatever you’re planning,” she blustered.

“You’re over my knee, your bottom is bared for me to see, and you cannae move. How do you plan to prevent me?” Jacob asked, as he gently caressed her bottom.

“Why are you doing this?” she demanded.

“Aye, it’s less of the ‘I won’t let you’ and more of the ‘why,’ now,” Kieran observed.

“We are doing this because you need to know who is in charge around here,” Jacob said. He admired her shapely curves as his hand trailed over her skin. He could feel his hardness pressing into her belly already.

“Ye dinnae have a very good attitude, lass, and we think it’s high time ye learn that we won’t stand for any nonsense,” Kieran added.

“Ye ken what this is, aye?” Jacob held the hairbrush in front of her face.

She nodded. “It’s for getting rid of tangles.”

“It’s got its other uses, too,” Kieran’s voice was filled with mirth. Jacob wondered how long they could keep this up before they just bent her over the nearest piece of furniture and filled her with their cocks. She was so hot, innocent, and feisty all at the same time, and he wanted her so much.

Jacob took the hairbrush from Kieran and swatted Bridget’s right bottom cheek with the back of it. It left a fine oval imprint that turned from white to red. She inhaled sharply and he watched her fists clench as she tried not to show how much this hurt. He wanted her to know she was his, just as much as she was Callum’s.

“You’re going to get six of these from me, then you’re going to thank me, then it’s Kieran’s turn to spank you,” Jacob told her conversationally. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kieran nodding emphatically.

Liking symmetry, Jacob brought the back of the hairbrush down on her left cheek, this time, and watched as it colored to match the other one. She gasped and squeezed her fists hard. Jacob landed the brush twice more, so there were four nice red marks on her white skin, then he paused for a moment and caressed her soft bottom with the tips of his fingers, lightly swirling them over the cool white and hot red areas. The contrast under his fingers was highly arousing. Before he’d been doing it for long, she moaned.

“This isn’t fair!” she complained.

“Are you not enjoying yourself down there?” Jacob asked.

She shook her head fervently and her black curls bounced on the wooden floor.

Suspecting she was lying, he put his hand between her legs and felt her sex. It was soaking wet and she cried out when he touched her most sensitive area.

“I think the next two swats should be extra hard because you’re not being very truthful, young lady.”

He brought the hairbrush down on the place where her thighs met her bottom cheeks, hard, and delighted when she whimpered in surprise.

“What do you have to say for yourself?” he prompted her.

“Thank-you.” Bridget said it through gritted teeth.

“Good girl. Now it’s Kieran’s turn.” Jacob tipped Bridget upright and got to his feet as her skirt tumbled back down to her ankles. Kieran gently led her to about three feet away from the window.

What’s Kieran going to do with Bridget? Find out on Saturday, when Captured by the Highlanders comes out!

Lots of love,
Katie xxxx

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