Let’s get creative on the subject of 50 Shades of Grey

I have written 50 Shades of Grey fanfiction. I know, I know. But it’s for a good cause. Cosmopolitan is running a contest on Wattpad.com. They’re looking for the very best 50SoG fanfic Wattpad writers can supply for their “Fifty Days of Fifty Shades” celebration, and I feel like, you know, we have a lot of really talented people here in Trout Nation. Surely, surely we can help Cosmo out.

Here’s the deal: you write a Fifty Shades of Grey inspired fanfic, you post it on Wattpad and you tag it CosmoFiftyShades. It’s that easy.

Here’s my offering. Why not write your own little drabble, use Cosmo’s handy tag, and let your righteous fury shine? When you’re done, post a link in the comment, so you can share with the rest of the class. You have until February 3rd to enter the contest, though I’m pretty sure none of us can provide what Cosmo is looking for.


Merlin Club S04E12-13, “The Sword In The Stone” or “Why isn’t anybody supervising that dragon?”


Merlin club is a weekly feature in which Jessica Jarman, Bronwyn Green, and myself gather at 8pm EST to watch an episode of the amazing BBC series Merlin, starring Colin Morgan and literally nobody else I care about except Colin Morgan.

Okay, I lie. A lot of other really cool people are in it, too.

Anyway, we watch the show, we tweet to the hashtag #MerlinClub, and on Fridays we share our thoughts about the episode we watched earlier in the week.

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The Big Damn Buffy Rewatch S02E14: “Innocence”

In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone is considering moving to a country that doesn’t celebrate Christmas. She will also recap every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer with an eye to the following themes:

  1. Sex is the real villain of the Buffy The Vampire Slayer universe.
  2. Giles is totally in love with Buffy.
  3. Joyce is a fucking terrible parent.
  4. Willow’s magic is utterly useless (this one won’t be an issue until season 2, when she gets a chance to become a witch)
  5. Xander is a textbook Nice Guy.
  6. The show isn’t as feminist as people claim.
  7. All the monsters look like wieners.
  8. If ambivalence to possible danger were an Olympic sport, Team Sunnydale would take the gold.
  9. Angel is a dick.
  10. Harmony is the strongest female character on the show.
  11. Team sports are portrayed in an extremely negative light.
  12. Some of this shit is racist as fuck.
  13. Science and technology are not to be trusted.
  14. Mental illness is stigmatized.
  15. Only Willow can use a computer.
  16. Buffy’s strength is flexible at the plot’s convenience.
  17. Cheap laughs and desperate grabs at plot plausibility are made through Xenophobia.
  18. Oz is the Anti-Xander
  19. Spike is capable of love despite his lack of soul
  20. Don’t freaking tell me the vampires don’t need to breathe because they’re constantly out of frickin’ breath.
  21. The foreshadowing on this show is freaking amazing.
  22. Smoking is evil.

Have I missed any that were added in past recaps? Let me know in the comments.  Even though I might forget that you mentioned it.

WARNING: Some people have mentioned they’re watching along with me, and that’s awesome, but I’ve seen the entire series already and I’ll probably mention things that happen in later seasons. So… you know, take that under consideration, if you’re a person who can’t enjoy something if you know future details about it. 

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50 Shades Tie-In (Tie-Up?) Merchandise Blowout

Remember 2014? It was a shitty year for a lot of things, but one big positive came out of it: we got a break in the 50 Shades of Grey mania. The title was barely on the radar for all of 2014. News about the film trickled out the way it does for any highly anticipated book-to-movie adaptation, and the trailer came out, but between those brief flashes, blessed radio silence. There were no thinkpieces on women’s sexuality and how positive the books were for it. Nobody made jokes about spankings on morning news shows. Everything was generally calm, and 50 Shades of Grey barely flitted through the consciousness of anyone trying to avoid it.

Brace yourselves. Bullshit is coming.

The 50 Shades of Grey movie is on its way to ruin your Valentine’s Day like a bad breakup on February 13th. The movie premiers on that most romantic of the commercially-driven gift-giving holidays, which makes sense because it is undisputedly the greatest love story of all time. Who doesn’t swoon when they imagine being trapped into a relationship that stresses them out, chained to a person they’re terrified of but unable to leave because that person has enough money to track them down no matter where they may flee?

Dreamy. Sigh.

In addition to all the magazine and gossip page articles we’re going to be subjected to–”Dakota and Jamie! Such Sexy! Much Hot!”–we’re also going to get shat upon by the commercial machine that is movie tie-in merchandising.

There’s already been a dustup about Target’s rather iffy placement of sexy 50 Shades merchandise, and one big giant crybaby started a change.org petition back in December to urge the superstore to stop selling copies of the novel, lest men who feel oppressed by the impossibly high sexual standards set forth in the book become, I shit you not, violent when they can’t satisfy a woman (but don’t, you know, stop selling the book because it promotes violence toward women in a more blatant and totally obvious sense. Do it to protect the male fee-fees). But the first actual movie tie-in product to come to my attention ahead of the landslide of cheap plastic shit that will no doubt flood shelves anew this February is OPI’s underwhelming nail color collection.

fifty shades of gross

Finally, nail polish that goes well with my dislocated shoulder.

OPI is a brand known for splashy gimmick collections based on movies and celebrities. They’re basically the MAC of the nail polish world in that regard. If you’ve got a movie coming out and your target demographic is females ages 18 – 50, OPI is going to be a part of your merchandising. As you would expect, the 50 Shades of Grey line has four gray polishes, a red that they didn’t even bother to name Red Room of Pain, and some kind of multi-dimensional creme/gray frost. If you go to the OPI site, you’ll find the collection, with names like, “Shine For Me,” and “Embrace the Gray,” but strangely no, “It Takes Two to Charlie Tango” which I personally thought was a shoe-in considering the fucking awful puns OPI’s marketing department comes up with already.

Since the polish names don’t match, I took the liberty of fixing them:

50 Shades nailpolish


If OPI’s dilution of their own brand with endless repeats of the same colors repackaged every time Gwen Stefani wants to sneeze out a collection hadn’t already driven me far, far from their products already, I would stop buying them. If you’re looking to vote with your wallet out of the mean satisfaction you’ll get (because let’s be honest, there are more idiots in this world than not, and they’d snap up an actual, human turd if someone put it in a box that had Jamie Dornan on it, so boycotting won’t do a damn thing), then I suggest you do the same.

In the meantime, if you find a 50 Shades of Grey movie tie-in product (not the book-related tie-ins that are already out there, like the godawful swill they’re selling as wine or the laughably shoddy sex toys they’re slinging), let me know. I’d like to make fun of it.

Inspired by a Melody: “I Messed Up,” Ed Sheeran (SPOILERS THROUGH THE EX)


Bronwyn Green • Jenny Trout • Kellie St. James • Gwendolyn Cease • Jessica De La Rosa
Jessica Jarman • Kris Norris • Kayleigh Jones

A couple times a month (but I’ll probably miss a few), I’ll be posting fiction inspired by either a song or a picture. I’m doing this in conjunction with some of the Wednesday Bloggers listed above (if their names are links, they’re participating in the prompt). I thought I would kick it off with something from the Bossverse. This isn’t necessarily anything that will show up in anything published. And it hasn’t been edited or beta read, either, so this gives you a chance to see what my writing looks like before my wizard friends throw their editing magic at it.

This month’s song was Ed Sheeran’s “I Messed Up.” Which I hadn’t heard before, and I don’t really “get” it, so I just went with the mopey vibe of thing.

BEFORE YOU GO FURTHER: spoilers through The Ex!

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Merlin Club S04E11: “A Hunter’s Heart,” or, “The One I Forgot To Give An Alternate Title To”


Merlin club is a weekly feature in which Jessica Jarman, Bronwyn Green, and myself gather at 8pm EST to watch an episode of the amazing BBC series Merlin, starring Colin Morgan and literally nobody else I care about except Colin Morgan.

Okay, I lie. A lot of other really cool people are in it, too.

Anyway, we watch the show, we tweet to the hashtag #MerlinClub, and on Fridays we share our thoughts about the episode we watched earlier in the week.

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State of The Trout: “Stuff that’s happening” edition


Ahem. Speaking of Outlander, I received this awesome box just before Christmas:


I won it through a twitter contest and I’m fucking stoked about it, but I don’t think there’s been a State of The Trout post where I could share it. There is a kilt in the box. I’m going to see Mr. Jen in a kilt. ROWR.

Chapter eleven of The Afflicted is up. You can read it here.

Speaking of favorite fandoms: This is my very new tattoo, moments after the artist (Katrina Kateri, Old Anchor Tattoos, Portage, MI) finished it:


D-Rock took that picture. She said, “Dude, you look so tough now.” I think the puppy on my stripey sweater agrees. Doctor Who tattoos make you look hard as fuck.

Want another free read? My New Adult novella, Choosing You, is free on Amazon until January 17th. This story was originally included in the If Ever I Would Leave You anthology from last year.

My next book release, you ask? I’ll have a contemporary romance novella, Bad Boy, Good Man, in the Bad Boy Next Door digital box set. More details to come.

More writing in general? As part of a blogging thing, expect to see occasional posts inspired by songs and photographs. The Wednesday Bloggers came up with the idea. I’ll basically be writing fanfic of my own stuff, so you’ll be getting micro-stories about characters that are already out there.

I was quoted in the NYT! In an absolute first for me, I was quoted in a major national publication. The article is about Meghan Trainor, and the author references my objections to the cultural appropriation in the video.

That’s all the news that’s fit to print!


Wednesday Blogging: My Anti-Bucket List

I haven’t Wednesday blogged in a long time, because I’m lazy. But also, because I have all sorts of other stuff I like to do on the blog (like update links pages…which never, ever happens. Not ever), a lot of which I’d like to do on the weekly. When I found out this week that  the topic is “your anti-bucket list” I was like, “Bitch, what is an anti-bucket list?” And Bronwyn Green was like, “It’s a list of things you don’t want to do before you die.” I immediately thought of about five thousand really grim things, like “experience surgical awareness,” “get cancer,” or “have one of my kids die.” And then Bronwyn was like, “Cool your jets, it doesn’t have to be like that.” And I thought of some much better ones that aren’t, you know. Common fears.

So here is my anti-bucket list:

Meet Anthony Stewart Head. So many well-intentioned Trout Nation citizens have tried to convince me to go to a con and meet him, because it would be funny and make a good blog post. They’ve tried to entice me with details like, “He smells so good,” and “He’ll totally hug you,” and “He’s really nice, honest.” I’m sure he’s super duper nice, and while my knees go positively weak at the thought of knowing what he smells like… dudes. Come on. I’ve written four books of graphic sex with a main character who looks and sounds nearly exactly like him in my head. There is no way I could be comfortable being in the same building as this person, let alone actually speaking to and having a picture taken with him.

Have to use pepper spray on anyone. I mean, I don’t carry pepper spray, but I’m really afraid that sometime, somehow, I’m going to have to pepper spray someone. I can see this going down one of two ways:

1. I am in a horribly scary, life threatening situation in which the use of force is necessary to prevent injury and/or death to my person.

2. I am not in a scary, life threatening situation in which the use of force is necessary to prevent injury and/or death to my person, and I have just maced somebody on accident.

Neither of these scenarios appeal to me, so I’m just gonna make like Bartleby in this situation and prefer the fuck not to.

Go into space. I realize that I’m already in space, flying around on a little hunk of rock in an infinite, mysterious void. I don’t want to leave this little hunk of rock, because fuck that. Space is scary as hell. If The Doctor showed up in fifteen minutes and was like, “You wanna?” I would be like, “yeah!” But he’s the only person I would trust to take me into space. And I don’t care how brave Katrina was, I’m not blowing myself out an airlock for him. Space is out there. But back to my original point: space is freaky and I don’t like knowing it’s out there, so I’m not going to go there.

Swim next to a whale. What the fuck is wrong with you people? Do you not see how big that thing is? Why would you? Why?

Age gracefully. Because that’s just bullshit. It’s bullshit to expect women to not take advantage of the miracles medical science has provided us, while at the same time torturing us in a culture that prizes our beauty and youth above all. And then we deride women when they try to fulfill that cultural expectation through surgical means. That’s bullshit. I speculate that by the time I am seventy, I will look something like this:


You know why? Because with all the tattoos I’ve put on my body, and all the holes I’ve punched in it (though I don’t wear my piercings anymore), I cannot be morally above becoming a bitchy trampoline in my golden years.

Have any kind of dangerous, life changing adventure. You know what? If a bunch of dwarves start showing up at your house? You don’t have to let them in. You can sit in your safe, cozy hole, smoke your pipe leaf, and put your hairy little feet up. Which is exactly what I would do. Fuck you Bilbo. This ain’t amateur hour.

Tell me what you’d put on your anti-bucket list, and check out the lists from these Wednesday bloggers:

Bronwyn Green • Jessica Jarman • Kris Norris • Gwendolyn Cease • Kellie St. James

One of these things is not like the other. TW: Rape

I’m not going to make this long, and I’m not going to call out anybody or name names or anything. I just feel like this needs to be said, and I don’t want to add fuel to the fire that resulted in me needing to make this post, and I want it to come across as sensitively as it possibly can. I keep feeling like it reads like a scolding, and it’s not meant to be one. It’s just bursting to get out.

In 2001, I went on a date with someone. Somebody I thought I could trust, because he was friends with someone I trusted. He was really nice and sweet and we’d talked on the phone a couple of times, and we decided to meet for drinks. We hit it off, and at some point, I got up to go to the bathroom and I left my drink on the table.

I probably don’t need to go into anything further than that. You get it. And it wasn’t even the first time a guy did this to me. Almost every woman I know has had this happen to her. If this has happened to you, I don’t care if you’re my worst fucking enemy in the world, I don’t care if you hit my dog with your car, if you lived through this, I’m so sorry that it happened to you. But I read something in which someone described a situation they were currently in, an intensely emotional and fraught situation, as feeling similar to when they were raped. And while I don’t want to police the feelings of other people on the subject of their own experiences, it struck me as an inappropriate comparison. But it happens all the time. I know I’ve done it in the past, before I realized that it’s impossible to separate what happened to me from what’s happened to lots of other people. Before I realized that survivors can victimize each other, no matter their intentions.

This is one of those rare occasions where I debated whether or not to post, because I’m so afraid of what will be said to/about me about something this personal. But no one seems to be talking about this. Even people I admire, whom I know must have noticed. And I know for a fact that there are other people who were similarly triggered by this comparison. So I had to get it off my chest.

There’s a potential for emotional injury here, so that’s why the comments are closed. This isn’t for gossip, it isn’t for discussion. It’s just something I had to say. No matter who you are, no matter what your experience was, no matter what you’re feeling, or how similar it feels to your experience, remember that you’re not the only person who has had that thing happen to them. When you compare something to rape, you’re comparing it to someone else’s rape, too, minimizing and trivializing their trauma. And if you accidentally compare someone to your rapist, you might be comparing them to their rapist. The psychological harm that causes a person… I can’t even imagine how I would feel if someone did that to me.

So, that’s it. Just please don’t compare stuff that isn’t rape to rape. And I’m sorry that it happened to you, too.

Merlin Club S04E10, “A Herald of The New Age” or “I feel like I’ve seen dripping children before.”


Merlin club is a weekly feature in which Jessica Jarman, Bronwyn Green, and myself gather at 8pm EST to watch an episode of the amazing BBC series Merlin, starring Colin Morgan and literally nobody else I care about except Colin Morgan.

Okay, I lie. A lot of other really cool people are in it, too.

Anyway, we watch the show, we tweet to the hashtag #MerlinClub, and on Fridays we share our thoughts about the episode we watched earlier in the week.

Continue reading