This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. One randomly drawn winner from each blog will receive a Giving It Up Swag Pack, which includes romance trading cards, a signed cover flat, a signature soap bar for showers together handcrafted by AnaBanana Creations and a $10 Amazon gift card. One randomly drawn commenter on the tour will win an erotic romance prize pack, including paperback copies of Bared to You by Sylvia Day, Simply Carnal by Kate Pearce, Lessons in Letting Go by Cara McKenna (print combo of Willing Victim and Curio), Comfort Object by Annabel Joseph, a collection of signed Giving It Up swag AND a $50 Amazon Gift Card (BN.com or All Romance may be substituted).
Thanks for having me on Long and Short Reviews!
Every author wants to write a strong heroine, whether that’s a butt-kicking sword-wielding heroine in a paranormal or a classy lady with a core of steel in a category romance. Even submissive women in BDSM romances are often shown in high-powered positions or possessing a certain sassy attitude.
We—readers, authors, all of us—define strength differently.
My heroine Allie has a rough past. As the book opens, she is at a bar looking for a random hookup. She wants it rough, dirty, because that’s all sex can mean to her now.
At the beginning, her strength is in the form of survival. It’s raw and gritty but very real. Not everyone could survive what she has and still be a great mother, a hard worker, a functioning member of society with no self-pity. I could say I learned that from Allie: from survival takes strength, but I already knew that. From the first page, I admired her for it.
Despite that, she’s definitely wounded. I respect her for carrying the burden while recognizing its weight: the loneliness, the shame. Plenty of conflict, plenty of room to grow, which makes for good reading. (And writing!)
As she grows closer to Colin, the hero of Giving It Up, her strength takes a different form: submission. She allows herself to accept his help, she learns that he will not hurt her, and she begins to trust. That’s another thing I could have learned from Allie—that trust is an incredible form of strength—but the truth is I knew that one too.
Allie has survived her past, she lives in submission, but she has more to learn. More to grow, in the form of acceptance and happiness. Peace, even, but you’ll have to read the book to find the details about that.
Nowhere yet have I talked about independence or even fighting back. Actually she does achieve those things as well, but they are a side effect of her core journey, not the end goal.
I originally thought that when she fought back, that would be proof of her growth. And it was…. But also wasn’t, because fighting is a form of the original strength: survival. It was only when she felt it internally, the lifting of her shame, that she grew and thrive.
I think the crux of what makes this book controversial (okay, there is a list of things, but the main one) is that Allie finds her peace in submission. I know some readers say that submission is okay, but only if X, Y, and Z conditions are met, thus proving that she’s actually strong on her own. But if there has to be a caveat for submission to be acceptable, then it’s not really accepted.
I could have made cut off some criticisms of the book having Allie find her strength in something else: in her career, in her family. Then she could go to the guy, free and clear of her issues and everyone would live happily ever after. Except that wasn’t realistic. That wasn’t her story. And honestly, it would not have required nearly as much strength on her part.
That would have been the easy way out, for her and for me as the author. I thought about taking it. I actually thought about not publishing this book. But thankfully, Allie taught me that when things get hard, I can survive it. She taught me to put my trust in my friends, whatever form they come in. She taught me to accept that this book isn’t for everyone, and that’s okay.
I said all along that I already knew these lessons. After all, I wrote Allie’s story based on them. But, as they say in writing: show don’t tell. It’s one thing to know about strength and another to watch it in action. Allie didn’t teach me strength—she showed me how to be strong.
About the Author:Amber Lin loves to read angsty romance with plenty of sex, so it was no surprise that her debut book turned out to be erotic romance set against a dark urban landscape. She writes with one rule in mind: it has to get worse before it can get better. She lives with her husband, son and passel of puppy dogs in the great state of Texas.
Find Amber online at:
Allie prowls the club for a man who will use her hard and then ditch her. Hey, it's not rape if she wants it. Instead she finds Colin, who looks tough but treats her tenderly, despite her protests.
He tempts her, but kindness and a few mind-blowing orgasms aren't enough to put her back together again. Allie has no hope for a real relationship. Two years ago her best friend betrayed her in the worst possible way – she’d be stupid to trust a man again. Besides, she has her daughter to think of, the only good thing to have come from that dark night.
But when her rapist returns, threatening her sanity and custody of her daughter, Allie turns to Colin. Under his protection and patient touch, Allie begins to heal and learns to hope. Colin’s no saint, though, and his criminal past draws danger of its own. Allie must fight to protect her child and the man she loves, hoping her newfound power will be enough to save them all.