Thursday, December 12, 2019

Thursday, November 28, 2019

An Interview


1.     How did you get started as an author?

I’ve always written but I never shared. I was sitting in China and I watched Adam Lambert being protested in Malaysia because he would “make the children gay.” I realized I needed to share my writing and lend my voice to promote equality (and information). I believe understanding leads to acceptance.

2.     Do you have a favorite song or playlist you listen to while writing?


I usually have a kick off song. For my 1st book With Wings it was Fever by Adam Lambert (30 seconds into the video... and it's clear where inspiration for my 1st published work came from LOL) with my latest book Rocking Thin Ice it was watching Johnny Weir skate to Bad Romance. Music gets me into the head space of the characters. During Rocking Thin Ice Blaze skates to Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar and We Are The Champions by Queen which sums up his reaction to the negativity he received for being openly gay which I played over and over as I wrote and edited that chapter.

3.     What was your most frustrating plot bunny? And did you end up writing it?

As soon as a bunny bounces out of the hutch it’s a challenges. All of my characters seem to show up lost and are looking for me to help them find where they belong. I usually don’t have a name only a scene so then I must play Z. Allora detective at large as I sleuth who they are and who they want to belong to….

4.     Do you have a hobby or activity you enjoy during your down time?

Traveling with my love. We love spending our time with animals (at sanctuaries), museums, and shopping.If you are reading this and we're Facebook friends you know I TMI my trips!

5.     What is the one thing that impacted you most as a writer, be it good or bad?

Finding connections: Finding my love allowed me to believe in romance (included insta-love) and assembling my Pretty Ones (aka the people on my friends list on Facebook). They are lovely and supportive while making me laugh and think. I truly am a better person because of them.

6.     If you could change anything about your life, what would it be?

Death and illness. I’d spare everyone from it if I could… but that’s not realistic so I guess having a better handle on my anxiety.

7.     Now for a little fun: If you had unlimited resources, what would you be doing?

I’d create a writer and readers playhouse. Lots of tea and coffee and calorie free but deliciously magical treats… Writers could have an editor beside you to correct you as you type. (“No, Z. that’s not a word…” “Um, Z. that’s not a thing.” “Z. I need to stop you right there his cock cannot be that magical….).
Readers (aka that’s everyone) could sit and listen to writers tell the stories in their heads (the ones they don’t have time to write).



                     
                     

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Air Travel with BDSM equipment



Much of the items we use (rope, scissors, gags, bondage tape, handcuffs, etc.) can look like kidnapping equipment.

Always check the TSA allowances for checked bags. Double check on your airline’s website to make sure they don’t have any additional issues and regulations. And if you’re traveling outside your country know the laws of the country/countries you are entering.

How To Pack Equipment? 
Separate batteries from vibrating devices. This allows TSA to see what's what without searching your carry on. (Putting the batteries in your checked bag is best)

Clean all your items on arrival. I recommend bring your toy cleaner or something to sanitize your things with.

Lubrication should be stored with a bit of plastic wrap under the cap and in a plastic bag. If you put it in your carry-on make sure it's less than 3oz.

Rope and handcuffs must be packed in your checked bag. Put them on top of your stuff in a plastic bag because when your bag is inspected you want the agents to see them without ripping apart your bag to find it. You can also use the rope around your clothing to hold them together.

Paddles, whips or crops should be packed in checked baggage.  

Check e-stim devices (& make sure your airlines would allow them) because x-ray machines can read them as bombs. (Sometimes having an instruction manual or a printout identifying the item can assist.)

Remember in some countries porn is illegal. Please know the definition of pornography in the country/countries you’re traveling to so you can avoid issues.

Condoms should be kept a safe container that's not going to get poked with sharp things.

Getting through TSA without excessive delays
This section is quoted from How to fly with BDSM related gear (http://www.airsafe.com/issues/baggage/bdsm.htm)

  • Tell the truth: If a TSA screener or other security official asks you what is in your baggage just say what it is.
  • Turn items off: If you have any battery-powered items in your carry-on bags, make sure they are turned off before you go through your security screening.
  • Remove batteries from checked items: If you have any battery-powered items in your checked bags, remove the batteries before your flight.
  • Put sensitive items in separate clear plastic bags: Keeping items in Ziploc type bags keeps them from being contaminated by handling by TSA screeners or other security officials.
  • Don't pack banned items: Most sharp items, and liquid filled or gel filled items are typically banned from carry-on baggage, but can be packed in checked luggage.


This next part is not recommendations but some things I’ve done when I’ve experienced an agent who decides embarrassing a traveler is a fun thing to do.
I always respect the TSA (they keep us safe). But I’ll own my items and my joy of BDSM. I bat my eyelashes and ask if s/he wants a demonstration of the item in question… usually the offer mortifies the agent enough to make them stop harassing me.

If s/he's bold and calls my bluff: I simply show how a vibrator can take away migraines by massaging your sinuses and focusing on the pressure points. On occasion I gave big eyes and ask if s/he thought you used it to bring yourself to orgasm? Makes them sputter every time.

When you don’t speak the language: Using the word “medical” can help you move through quickly. Once in India, we landed in a smaller airport. I had items pulled out of my bags by several agents and they waved them around as if they were landing a plane. (It was like I watched a confused BDSM circus.) I uttered the words “medical” and if by magic the agents nodded and restored all my items.


Being Creative Can Avoid the Hassel

Simply find other items with dual purposes.
Shoes=paddles
Handcuffs=leather bracelet (See Etsy:  https://www.etsy.com/listing/289509367/bondage-cuffs-bdsm-leather-bracelet)
Predicament scenes can require not equipment
Or find items at your destination. (Finding sex shops at the destination can be educational because they show you a peek into what the country you’re visiting is into BDSM. BTW Germany Holy Hell those folks understand kink just saying.)


Always seek your own truth.

I’d love to hear from you so comment here or use the contact information to touch base with me privately.

Many hugs,
Z. Allora

To contact Z. Allora:
E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com
FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora
Twitter: @ZAllora
Dreamspinner: https://bit.ly/2Jv14r1

BIO: Z. Allora believes in happily ever after for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her the opportunity to open hearts and change minds.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Zombies Coming


I’m re-releasing Zombies Coming on my birthday because in many ways one of the main characters is like me: nonbinary. Erick McGarth is nonbinary of the transfeminine variety. I’m of the transmasculine meaning more boy in my brain than girl.

Pronouns for cisgender people usually match their anatomical sex. For transgender people their use pronouns that match their gender identity.

Now what about folks who look at the male – female boxes and shrug?

Nonbinary or genderqueer people don’t fit into those gender boxes so sometimes ask to be called by gender neutral pronouns.

Here are some options:
They/Them/Their
Ze/Sie/Hir
Ze/Sie/Zir
Xe/Xem.

At the time of this post neither he nor I claimed have claimed different pronouns than the ones bestowed on us at birth … as of yet.

Why not?

A number of reasons:
1)    We (Erick & I) “look” the gender we are clocked as (according to society’s norms)
2)     Explaining nonbinary to people on a day to day basis can be exhausting. I’ve had people simply say “it’s just grammatically incorrect to use they” >>> fighting society’s expectation of your assigned anatomical sex at birth is hard enough without someone telling you they don’t want to validate you because of grammar… yes it is pretty horrible.
3)    Asking for something and then having someone say no… Just gives people one more opportunity to kick us.
4)    Neither Erick or I like upsetting people. People become uncomfortable when they get things wrong… and we look like what society says we’re supposed to….

But I will say the Zombies Coming cover made me cry when I saw it. Erick looks exactly how I look to myself (before I look in the mirror).

Keep in mind everyone has a unique journey in life. Every nonbinary people expresses themselves differently, and in Zombies Coming this is only how one person has decided to live their truest self… at this time.



Zombies suck—but they’re not after brains! These zombies are young, hot, and looking for their mates.

Cassidy Frost, who writes everyone else’s happily ever after, has all but lost hope he’ll ever find his own. Every night he’s sucked until his jaw hurt, praying for his other half more out of habit than faith his mate is out there. Life has never been kind so he doesn’t dare hope fate will simply drop his mate into his lap.

Erick McGrath learned how cruel and short life could be when he lost his brother. Despite his parents’ toxic attitude, Erick decides to take steps in accepting his nonbinary gender identity. Going to Club Zombie’s Drag Night is his first attempt at embracing his new grasp at freedom. A stumble lands him into the arms of an angel, but he knows better than to believe in something that good.

Both of them seem to be each other’s dream come true, but Cassidy and Erick will have to take risks to have what they desire.

(Zombies Coming is part of the Club Zombie series but can be read as a standalone for a perfectly happy and satisfying ending.)

This is a sexy happily ever after with much lighthearted fun. Zombies suck but mine swallow.


Z. Allora believes in happily-ever-afters for everyone. Z. met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty-four countries with him. Z.’s lived in Singapore, Israel, and China. Now back home in the USA, Z.’s a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. Z. wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance that explores the spectrum within each letter of the LGBTQIA+ community allows Z. to validate and open hearts as well as bring a greater understanding of orientation and gender.

Contact Z. Allora:
Facebook: Z Allora Allora
Join Yaoified Love: https://bit.ly/2n0ZBCC
Twitter: @ZAllora


Thursday, October 31, 2019

Samhain

Merry meet and merry part and may we meet again.

I'm lazy so I'm going to quote an article on Samhain from the Huff Post 

1. Samhain typically celebrated from sunset on October 31 to sunset on November 1, almost halfway between the autumn equinox and the winter solstice.
2. Samhain is pronounced “sah-win” or “sow-in.”
3. Some modern pagans consider it the “witch’s new year,” and the end of the harvest season. It is a time of renewal and spiritual intention-setting.
4. Rituals surrounding Samhain include bonfires, dancing, feasting and building altars to honor deceased ancestors. Some pagans bake special loaves of Samhain bread and leave offerings to the spirits outside their homes.
5. Samhain is one of eight annual festivals commonly celebrated by pagans of various traditions, along with Yule, Imbolc, Ostara, Beltane, Midsummer, Lughnassad and Mabon.
6. It’s considered a liminal time, when the veil between life and death grows thin. Food is set aside for ancestors and protective spirits and rituals honoring the dead take place.
7. Samhain is believed to be one of the original festivals behind the holiday we know as Halloween. Some also associate it to the Christian All Saints’ Day on November 1.
8. Some of Halloween’s most common traditions are rooted in Samhain’s harvest festival roots, such as the carving of pumpkins and bobbing for apples.
9. The Yellow Book of Lecan, a medieval book of tales, reported that people referred to Samhain as the “Feast of Mongfind,” a legendary witch-queen who married the King of Tara in old Ireland and was central to ancient Samhain celebrations, Selena Fox of Circle Sanctuary writes.
10. Some celebrate Samhain with a ritual to guide the dead home by opening a western-facing door or window and placing a candle by the opening." 

Curious how Samhain became Halloween? Check out this interesting video.





Thursday, October 24, 2019

Sparking Joy With Marie Kondo


As some of you know I ADORE organization and cleaning. Ask any number of my characters who either love and get into all things tidying up (maybe a bit too much) or hide from me. LOL

Anyway, Marie Kondo came out with a Netflix show about Tidying Up. I watched all episodes. She inspired me to organize deeper and to simplify my life.

One unexpected side effects of doing the KonMari method is I started approaching my life differently.

DOES IT SPARK JOY?  >>>>> If it doesn't thank it and pass it on.

It's magical to give yourself permission to let go of things that don't bring you happiness.

Here's a summary video:


Enjoy!

Big hugs, Z.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Cleaning!!!!!

Sick truth is I watch cleaning videos to relax. I know it might some like a nightmare but it gives me new ideas, educates me, and inspires me.

Things I do every day:
1) Make my bed
2) Spot vacuum floors
3) Laundry 1 load of clothing 1 load of towels (smaller loads = less time folding & putting away)
4) Errands
5) Reset the room I'm leaving
6) One of the things from my cleaning schedule

*** Resetting a room means before I leave a room everything is returned to it's place. Resetting is probably the biggest habit I have that keeps my world calm.
But to reset everything has a place. If things don't have a home things can become cluttered.

**Decluttering your items is essential for your peace of mind and your calmness of space.**

My informal cleaning schedules:
Monday: Bathrooms
Tuesday: Dust & Vacuum 2nd floor (Review refrigerator: clean & toss & plan)
Wednesday: Dust & Vacuum 1st floor
Thursday: Clean car
Friday: Organize something
Saturday: LOL > nothing unless I have to
Sunday: LOL  > nothing unless I have to
or (if I have less time I use this schedule)
Monday: Dusting
Tuesday: Vacuuming & Mopping
Wednesday: Kitchen deep clean (everything off the counters)
Thursday: Organize something
Friday: Deep clean something/Errands
Saturday: LOL  > nothing unless I have to
Sunday: LOL  > nothing unless I have to

I'd be remiss not to include Zack and Andrew. Yes, cleaning & organizing is HOT! At least Zack thinks so... it's the control. When your environment is clean and organized it suggests you're in control of yourself and your world and sometimes NOTHING IS HOTTER.


Rejected. Heartbroken. Devastated.

Zack Davis wanted to serve only one man, Andrew Nikeman. He was denied because Andrew thought he was too young and because their brothers were together. So Zack crushed his submissive tendencies and focused on being the perfect Dom, giving every sub he played with something he couldn’t have.

After years of denying his submissive side, Entwined’s charity auction “Are you Dom Enough to be a sub?” gives Zack an excuse to get a little of what he’s always craved.

Andrew doesn’t know when his infatuation turned into more, but it kills him to see Zack with a constant parade of submissives. He’d refused to jeopardize his brother’s relationship or become Zack’s regret; however, Zack isn’t a kid anymore, and his brother’s relationship is unbreakable. Now Zack’s popularity and success as a Dom might ruin Andrew’s dreams of collaring him, but he can’t wait any longer to confess his feelings or he risks losing the man he loves forever.




Happy Cleaning!
Hugs, Z.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Heartbroken Characters... Meet Blaze Parker


My plots bunnies hop over to me with an emotionally wounded and scarred. Maybe it’s my Masters in Psychology but I feel the need to understand why they are acting a certain way. So when this entered into my brain:

Olympian Blaze Parker doesn't do relationship longer than twenty minutes until he brings home rock star Drake Keys.

I went crazy trying to find out why? How did Blaze get so hurt he didn’t want a relationship? (Note: I knew he wasn’t aromantic because he wanted love and companionship but wouldn’t allow himself to have it.) Why? Why! WHY!

Excerpt for Rocking Thin Ice:
It happened seven years ago, but every sharp and painful detail had etched itself into his brain like the drama went down yesterday. He had been such an idiot. 

He couldn’t believe he’d gotten his first invitation to a party thrown by the other skaters. Maybe they were finally accepting him. But even better, Trent would be there. 

During the party, Blaze had sat mostly by himself in a chair off to one corner as the others talked in little groups scattered around the room. 

He felt like an outsider, observing them, until Trent approached him. 

“You want to go someplace and... talk?”


Trent’s invitation had Blaze tripping up the stairs after him like an eager puppy.

There wasn’t much talking. Trent unzipped his pants and asked,
“So, Blaze, do you spit or swallow?”

“I gargle. Want to see?” Blaze tried to be bold yet graceful as he dropped to his knees. He was thrilled to have the guy he was half in love with offer him exactly what he wanted to do. 

Even now, mortification swamped him. He hadn’t had much experience, but he’d idolized Trent since he was ten, so he never even considered Trent didn’t feel the same way. 

Rooted in his brain was how calmly his older brother, Luke, took the fact that Blaze had become infamous at eighteen. Trent and his friends had posted the G-rated parts of the hidden video they had taken, ensuring Trent remained anonymous but Blaze’s stupid comment could be heard, and the bobbing of his head clearly implied everything that happened. As much as Blaze missed his parents, he was grateful they hadn’t been alive to see him humiliated in such a way. 

His coach had already been on him about being too gay. Blaze had tried being more masculine. He wanted to please his coach and the judges, he really did, but that simply wasn’t him. His scores suffered for his inability to pretend to be someone he wasn’t. 

The announcer broke into Blaze’s trip down Bullshit Lane.


So not only was Blaze betrayed by his crush in his mind he had lost everything. His hurt morphed into anger because rage is easier to vent then sadness. He was forever changed by those terrible events but as with many horrible things life can throw at us, there’s usually a silver lining. This path leads him however indirectly to something or someone he never expected.


Here’s Rocking Thin Ice’s Blurb:
Can a sexy rock star show a relationship-phobic ice skater that there’s more to life than gold medals?  

When ice-skating’s bad boy Blaze first glimpses Drake, every fantasy he’s ever had flares to life. Not only is rock star Drake sexy as sin, his songs awaken a longing in Blaze that he’s denied for years. But Blaze Parker doesn’t believe in relationships—at least not those that last more than twenty minutes. 

Drake Keys has dreamed about the sensual ice skater for years. When Drake is kicked out of his band because of his bisexuality, he drives across the country to finally see the man he’s had a crush on skate live.   

Though the attraction is instant and intense, both Blaze and Drake have baggage that puts any relationship on thin ice. Blaze is driven by a long-ago betrayal to prove himself a champion, and Drake, uncertain about the future, hopes to resurrect his music career. As they take a road trip together, Drake romances Blaze, hoping to melt his heart and show him that love is possible… but not without some tough decisions.


BUY LINKS
Dreamspinner:


Sooooooo even as heartbroken plot bunnies hop over to me I will happily ever end their sweet little asses whenever I can! 

Many hugs, Z. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Zombies Suck






As you know I've re-written, re-covered, and re-edited the entire series. Club Zombies 1-3 will be out by the end of 2019.
I'm currently working on Club Zombie #4:  Zombies Blow.
I've decided to put the series in Kindle Unlimited and on Amazon. I'm hoping folks who don't know me will give my zombies a chance.
Remember Z. Allora's zombies are hot & aching to find their mates!

Zombies suck... but mine swallow!



Here's the blurb: 



Forget undead corpses searching for brains. These zombies crave a different kind of head that keeps them young forever. Club Zombie offers a safe haven, providing sexy ways to extract what zombies need from patrons, and the opportunity to find their destined mate.

Alex Waterman lives in a desolate world of loneliness and suffering until discovering… it’s not his life. Suddenly he’s swept away to a place where his desires aren’t evil—they’re a mark of the dominant he’s born to be—and appreciative stares and aggressive flirting replace fear and self-loathing. But one-night stands aren’t on the menu: Alex seeks “the one” to complete the missing piece of his soul.

Boy-next-door Ulrich calls to Alex, as does the gorgeous but self-destructive Cutter, and an element of irresistible danger clings to bad boy Storm. How can Alex decide between three tempting possibilities?

Maybe he should keep them all…

This is a sexy happily ever after with much lighthearted fun. Zombies suck but mine swallow.




Thursday, September 19, 2019

Interview I did on Editing


 As I'm in the process of re-editing my Club Zombie series for the third time I can tell you I've learned the importance of a professional editor, copy editor, and proofer. 
(Also fascinating how much I've changed as a writing since these were first released by Stiff Rain 10 years ago)

The Interview on Editing
1)    Tell us a bit about you and your writing (e.g. what do you write, how did you get into it, are you with a small press or do you self-pub?)
I write rainbow romances involving BDSM, and contemporary about characters who are on the fringes and edges. I explore different orientations like demi-sexual, pansexual, BDSM-oriented, etc. as well as writing about people scattered along the gender spectrum. My goal is to validate everyone’s experience.

I partner with Dreamspinner Press on most of my work but I’ve done some self-publishing for the books that need more of a niche audience. Like I’ve just re-edited and re-covered my Club Zombie series polishing the book for their first release on Kindle Unlimited later this summer.

2)    What do you enjoy most about the editing process?
Polishing my words and stories so everyone can enjoy my Z. speak. Each round from rough draft to beta readers/critique partners to editors to proofing the manuscript becomes more of what is in my head. The process is thrilling. I’m so appreciative of all the wonderful people who spend time on my words to make sure I’m getting all my words on the page.

3)    What do you find hardest about the editing process?
Sometimes when someone finds something I’ve missed a thousand times or something I didn’t mean a certain way gets picked up I’m happy but I feel incredibly stupid for having missed that.

4)    What are your general thoughts on editing as part of the overall publishing process?
Authors should understand what their priorities are. Is it to write a best seller or to write your heart song. I define heart song as the story you long to tell but you don’t know if you’ll find the audience for it.
Yes, I know everyone wants to do both… awesome but only a handful of authors are able to do both. Everyone else needs to understand the consequences of their decision.
If you’re writing in a popular genre and sub-genre which is consistent to your brand chances are you will do as well as you do with your other such books in your backlist.
However, if you’re writing your heart song that may only be read by your core fans, then you need to be okay with that. Granted it might be a huge hit if so great but the reward to writing exactly what you want is just that: writing exactly what you wanted while not caring about the market or your intended audience.


5)    What are your top editing-related tips for authors?
A) Listen to your trusted beta/critique partner/editors. Take a day or a week to sit with the feedback given to you. See what makes sense. Ask them clarifying questions. (Keep in mind these are the people who don’t want you kicked in the teeth in reviews. Remember you trust them, that’s why you have asked them for feedback.)
B) Paint with paragraphs. Most readers don’t like long paragraphs with a ton of stuff happening. It’s difficult to keep it all straight, and skimming can result. (Keep in mind if you write romance, you want the readers come to with you on a journey of love and excitement so they need all the important parts.)
I love white space. It moves the reader and allows them a moment so the action or dialogue can have impact before moving to the next thing.
C) Sex scenes are about connection and love (usually if it’s a romance). This isn’t about you and what you do or don’t do in the bedroom. Allow the characters to be themselves.
D) Read dialogue out loud. (Keep in mind where they are from, where they live, their educational background all impacts their word choice and how they speak.)
E) Know your brand and your audience. No matter how awesome a hamburger joint is it’s not going to do well in a vegan town… It’s not about the burgers it’s the wrong audience.
Don’t try to force a romance reader to choke down non-happily ever after (unless you’re branding yourself as such). Fulfil your contract with the reader to the best of your ability. Brand yourself accurately.