In Defense of Styxx and Male Rape Victims

I'm finally inhaling Styxx, the 23rd book in the Dark-Hunter series. I knew it was going to be intense and dark. But wow. I still wasn't prepared for everything Styxx was put through.

But why am I blogging about it? One reason. Some of the reviews I've seen on Goodreads. 

Styxx was unfortunate enough to attract the attention of Apollo. In the Dark-Hunter world Apollo is a total ass who deserves to be gutted over and over and over, exactly the way he gutted Acheron. Heck, make it his never-ending punishment. We also learn just how twisted and depraved Styxx and Ash's uncle Estes was. His death was too easy on him. We already hated him for what he'd done to Ash.

In some ways Styxx's life was worse than Ash's. A lot of what was done to Ash he has no real memory of, and he at least had one person in his human family who kind of loved him. Styxx didn't even have that much. I wasn't a huge fan of Ryssa in Acheron, and seeing her in Styxx makes me want to slap her into another galaxy. She deserved to die in Apollymi's fit of rage.

Styxx is a soldier. A broken, wounded soldier suffering from PTSD. He's also a rape victim. This quote from a Goodreads review made me SO MAD.
On the GLBTQ fail--It was totally offensive to make the openly gay character Estes into the stereotyped depraved sex fiend. To make it worse, the god Apollo was just sadistic on top of his explicit attraction for Styxx. Both characters could have been handled in a more nuanced way, especially in light of the fact that not everyone wanted a piece of Styxx's ass (figuratively as well as literally)
Why did this piss me off? Estes and Apollo are NOT gay! It does come out in the book Estes prefers boys, but that doesn't make a man gay. This quoted reviewer is not alone in believing Sherri has done a disservice to the gay community.

She hasn't. This reviewer, and others like her, have done a disservice to male rape victims.

Estes and Apollo are users and abusers. They think every single being alive is beneath them and exists solely as a tool for their pleasure. Particularly Apollo. They are not gay. They are despicable creatures who deserve the rage of Apollymi and Bethany. And Ash too.

Male-on-male rape is NOT about someone being portrayed as gay. It's about power, control, and domination. It's about destroying the victim and making him feel worthless, helpless, and trapped. Just like Styxx feels.

This attitude I'm seeing in some of the reviews is a major major major contributor to male rape victims feeling like they have no voice. No one has any idea what the numbers are like for male rape victims, because most men never report. The few who do never get justice, are ostracized by those who find out, and become more lost than they were before.

And who are the people who are most vocal about it being impossible for a man to be raped and saying they're lying? Women, particularly of the feminist variety. Don't believe me? Check out some of the stuff at Toy Soldiers. Particularly the This Is What It Looks Like page. If what you see doesn't break your heart, you're as callous as Estes and Apollo.

Sherri made a bold move in portraying Styxx the way she did. And I applaud her for it. She used a massively popular series to showcase a pervasive problem in American society and give these wounded men a voice in fiction. What Styxx deals with is what male rape victims deal with. The shame, the not wanting anyone to know, the thoughts that if anyone ever found out they'd be mocked and ridiculed for not being able to protect themselves. And that's exactly what happens to far too many victims.

Thank you, Sherri, for writing Styxx. Thank you for giving a voice to these hurting men. Thank you for being brave enough to confront this evil head-on and show the world what it does to the victims.


My Name Is A'yen: Blog tour stops and giveaway!

A'yen has hit the real world! People are reading him, and I hope falling in love with him.

Here's all the buy links:

Barnes and Noble
Google Play

The blog tour kicks off this afternoon at 2 pm Central with a Coffee Time Romance release party. From there A'yen and I will be making eleven other stops.

There's a giveaway for a necklace, pictured below. The colors, blue and green, are important in the novel. Blue for A'yen's eyes, and green for his markings. I'll be talking more about the markings in the last stop on the blog tour.

And here's the pretty necklace. Made it myself. Yes, I'm multi-talented like that. I like it so much I'm going to make me one.

Here's the list of tour stops. You can bookmark it and come back every day, or watch my Facebook and Twitter feeds for the links.


Five Facts About Restless in Peaceville by Pippa Jay

I'm very happy to be hosting fellow SFR author Pippa Jay today, as she talks about her new release Restless in Peaceville. What's the book about you ask? Read on!

Welcome to Peaceville, population 2067 and rising...from the grave...Luke Chester has had enough. He’s the school geek, the girls laugh at him, he’s lost his dead-end job at the pizza place, and in the midst of the world’s messiest divorce his parents don’t even know he exists. An overdose of his mom’s tranquilizers and a stomach full of whiskey should solve all his problems...

But they don’t. Instead, Luke finds himself booted out of the afterlife for not dying a natural death, with nowhere to go but back to his recently vacated corpse and reality. How the hell is he going to pass for one of the living without someone trying to blow his brains out for being one of the undead?

And it just gets worse. He’s got to fight his own desperate craving to consume the living, evade the weird supernatural hunter who’s having a field day with the new undeads rising, and there’s this creepy black shadow following him around. Add to that the distraction of female fellow undead Annabelle burning to avenge her own murder, and clearly there’s no rest for the wicked. Jeez, all he wanted to do was R.I.P.

1. Peaceville is based on the real life Louisiana town of Arnaudville. When I first started researching a setting for RIP, I wanted a town with a population of about 2000, so not too big but enough that it would be possible for my two main characters not to have met or know everything about the place they live. Finding several towns ending in 'ville' also enabled me to come up with a suitable name to keep the original idea of RIP for the title.

2. It's the first time I've used Google maps to virtually explore a real life setting, instead of just making places up. I wandered along Route 31, checking out the local shops and houses, the road surface, what the surrounding landscape looked like etc. I almost felt like a film director checking out a location for a shoot! I also looked at a lot of the local businesses—restaurants, shops, the church and graveyard, even the undertakers and a care home.

3. My research involved Catholicism, voodoo, zombies, Cajun food and language, the price of a burger and fries, Louisiana real estate, luxury US cars, local wildlife and plants, holidays and zombie walks. I think I clocked up the most hours of research on this story, probably reading more than what I ended up writing, but I'm not convinced it's a complete replacement for actually going to a place and experiencing it. I'll be interested to see if anyone local or more knowledgeable picks me up on any flaws.

4. Luke was named after my eldest's boyfriend at the time of writing. Not deliberately - I just heard the name a lot, and it stuck. That, and possibly having a childhood crush on a certain Luke Skywalker. I chose Annabelle for my heroine mostly because I had Luke saying a line about her being trés belle (it mean 'very beautiful' in French, and in Cajun).

5. Restless In Peaceville was written as part of NaNoWriMo in November 2013...and if I hadn't had a request for the full after entering five pages in a Breathless Press critique, I would have put it away in a virtual drawer never to see the light of day! I had the idea over the summer, and resisted writing it because I just didn't think I could do zombies. But I couldn't move on to anything else either while it was in my head. So I did NaNoWriMo as a way to clear it out of my mind, never expecting it to be published. Just goes to show what I know about publishing...

So what's the strangest place you've ever had to research, or what was the weirdest thing you've ever found out in the process?

Rachel's answer: I think the strangest thing I've ever researched was when I was writing my historical romance and needed to know how a mule-powered cotton gin worked. I spent days combing through Google Books looking for descriptions, and finally found a video of a steam-powered one that had been restored. Man that sucker is loud! I've researched tons of random stuff for various writing projects, but this one stands out as one of the more memorable.

You can also buy the book at the following places:
Lycaon Press
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Add it to your Goodreads TBR here.

You can also sign up for Pippa's no-spam newsletter to get updated on the latest releases, giveaways and special offers. Exclusive snippets and stories coming soon! http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk/p/newsletter-signup.html

Keep scrolling for the giveaway! It's a $5 gift card for Lycaon Press and a super cute heart shaped zombie brain necklace.

Author Bio: After spending twelve years working as an Analytical Chemist in a Metals and Minerals laboratory, Pippa Jay is now a stay-at-home mum who writes scifi and the supernatural. Somewhere along the way a touch of romance crept into her work and refused to leave. In between torturing her plethora of characters, she spends the odd free moment playing guitar very badly, punishing herself with freestyle street dance, and studying the Dark Side of the Force. Although happily settled in the historical town of Colchester in the UK with her husband of 21 years and three little monsters, she continues to roam the rest of the Universe in her head.

Pippa Jay is a dedicated member of the Science Fiction Romance Brigade, blogging at Spacefreighters Lounge, Adventures in Scifi, and Romancing the Genres.

She’s also a double SFR Galaxy Award winner, been a finalist in the Heart of Denver RWA Aspen Gold Contest (3rd place), and the GCC RWA Silken Sands Star Awards (2nd place). You can stalk her at her website http://pippajay.co.uk, or at her blog http://pippajay.blogspot.co.uk, but without doubt her favorite place to hang around and chat is on Twitter as @pippajaygreen.

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