Facepalm Madness


My original artwork. More of a doodle, actually.

I’ve been an active member of National Novel Writing Month since 2007. I have even donated to the program because I think it’s important to support the arts. NaNo nurtures young writers, hopefully on the path of never writing Fan Fiction again. But I digress.

What I find increasingly disturbing on the site is in the forums. Specifically, The Reference Desk. Therein, you can find a wide range of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moments to make your eyes bleed. Now, quite frankly, first-hand experience from someone is a great thing to get for research. I have a document filled with information from a former drug user on the path to getting clean. All the horrid details seared into my brain so that I can method write the character into the shitstorm I’ve creating just for them.

First hand experience, however, only goes so far.

Every year we seem to see the proverbial thread about how human flesh smells.

Oh ,well, I just dragged a body deep in the woods but I burned it with gasoline so it has a different bouquet than if I would have used, say, 5w30 oil. I also experimented with wood infused with sage and lavender oil for a holistic approach. Is that what you’re looking for?

Good gravy, people. Use your imagination! It certainly doesn’t smell like peppermint drops.

I think my main issue with some of the things asked is it feels as if the writer doesn’t want to search the internet or library for some of the answers on their own. Of course I’m a freak and love to dig for research. Unless someone is citing where they got the information or they state–and you’ve got to taken them at their word–that they’ve personally experienced it, how do you know it’s fact not fiction? While I’m sure most writers would agree giving step by step instructions on how to build a bomb isn’t the best thing to do, you have to give a small hint that you know what you’re talking about.

I packed it with marbles and Kaopectate then lit it with a fart that had been brewing in my ass for two weeks. I blew that power plant to smithereens!

History is by far my favorite research point because it has so many applications. I have found countless articles online on certain subjects. I always look for more than one so that I have two sources stating the same thing. Wikipedia is a good start but references there have to be checked as well. I have a good book collection as well to thumb through when the internet fails me. Of course my local library has just expanded so I know they’ll have treats galore now.

I have even visited a library on vacation to get local lore for a potential story.

The best source of information is always going to be to visit a location, if you can. Want to know how a police station works? Call and get an appointment to talk to someone about it. Explain what you are writing about. Go to a local shooting range and ask questions. Don’t burrow yourself into the wealth of knowledge on the internet. Unless you’re a master at Google-Fu, some things are going to be hard to reference.

I read it on the internet, it must be true!

Get to it, aspiring writers. You get nothing by sitting and everything by doing.


The Submission of a Mafia Princess by Sandra Bunino

Time for a little taste of another sexy addition to Sandra’s Satin Rose Experience series.

Duty, Respect and Honor thy Family…

 As the only child of notorious mob boss, Tony “The Chief” Azzari, Antonietta lives her life by this mantra. Toni never questions the world where decisions are made for her, until she meets Harley-Davidson riding bad boy, Braxton Malone. Ever since their fiery first kiss all those years ago, she can’t deny the desire to submit to his control.

 Brax always knew he’d be walking a dangerous tightrope if he fell for Toni, but like a moth to a flame, he couldn’t stay away. Barely surviving the wrath of the mob within an inch of his life, a scorned Brax has vowed never again to allow a woman under his skin.

 Three years later, Brax is a top Dom at The Satin Rose Experience, New York’s posh BDSM club. When Toni shows up to fulfill her fantasy of submission before being forced into a loveless marriage, that vow is in just as much jeopardy as his life. Can they overcome the crimes of passion from their past and change Toni’s fate forever?

Be Warned: BDSM, sex toys, public exhibition


            Toni lay in darkness, left alone with her thoughts and listening to the air flowing in through her nose and out through her mouth as Mia had instructed. Candles were one of Toni’s demands, especially when she discovered the submissive pose would push her ass high in the air. She couldn’t handle a harsh spotlight on her full cheeks. Even though she didn’t want to admit it, the dim lights also served the purpose of keeping her Dom of choice, Mick, as anonymous as possible. Not that she needed candles for that; his last minute demand was to blindfold her. Something that they hadn’t talked about while reviewing her soft and hard limits.

            Toni wasn’t sure how much time had passed since Mia left the room after preparing her for the scene. She tested the restraints connected to her wrist bindings. Only an inch or two of slack allowed her to shift slightly on the sumptuous bed. Crisp linens cradled her shins, which were spread slightly. Deep breaths pushed her leather-covered breasts into the soft mattress. Her position of submission caused the leather strap between her backside cheeks to tighten against her sensitized folds.

            The click of the lock and slide of the door caused every nerve ending to stand at attention. Heavy footfalls sounded on the suite’s plush carpeting. Concentrating on her breathing, Toni willed her heart to stay within the confines of her chest.

            Inhale through her nose. Fingers caressed the back of her calf and eased her shoe off her right foot.

            Exhale through her mouth. Her other shoe slid from her foot and a single finger drew a slow line down the bottom of her foot.

            Inhale. The ticking of a zipper filled her ears.

            Exhale. Shit, the breathing thing wasn’t working.

            Inhale and hold. She squeezed her eyes shut. I can do this. I can do this.

            The floodgates opened with a sobbing exhale. “Fire! Fire. I’m sorry. I can’t. I just…can’t. I thought I could. I thought it would be like before. But it’s not.”

            “Before?” a low voice whispered. There was something about that voice.

            “Yes, before. With Brax. I’m sorry. I just can’t, not like this.” A sob wracked her chest and tears soaked her blindfold.

            “Shh, it’s okay,” Hands stroked her hair enveloping her into a comforting sensation that was as familiar as breathing. She picked her head up and perked her ears toward the source.


            “It’s me, Antonietta. You’re safe.”

            The bed dipped next to her and the blindfold slipped off her head. She blinked a few times to focus her eyes.

            “Hello, sunshine.”

            “What are you doing here?”

            “Come on, you know me a little better than to think I’d sit back idly and allow some random man have his way with you.”

            Toni sat up on her heels causing her tethered hands to rise awkwardly.

            “Here. Let’s get you out of these.” Brax unhooked the restraints from her bindings and took her hands into his. He untied the satin cords and slowly uncoiled them from her wrists. Rubbing them in between his hands, memories came flooding back. Back when she was his.

            “You look beautiful,” he said, surveying her body.

            She focused on his face, attempting to sear every feature of him into her memory: the planes and light stubble of his cheeks, his tousled hair, and his eyes that had always been able to read her like a book from the first day they met.

            There was so much she wanted to say, but it was pointless. “One night is all we have.”

            Brax took her chin between his thumb and index finger and pulled her close. “I know. Get up and get dressed.”

            “Where are we going?”

            “Your fantasy of submission starts now. No questions,” he said and playfully slapped her ass. Grabbed his jacket from the chair, he strode to the door before turning around.

            “You have ten minutes. Wear a dress and these.” He pulled a flash of red and lace from the jacket’s pocket and tossed it to Toni.


Evernight Publishing / Amazon / AllRomance eBooks / Bookstrand


Author Bio:

Sandra Bunino is a numbers crunching business professional by day who stays up past her bedtime thanks to her oh-so-sexy imagination. Who needs sleep, anyway? Sandra is constantly searching for different ways to achieve a heart-pumping, stomach-flipping, breath-catching reaction from her readers.

These days, Sandra lives on a wooded mountaintop not far from New York City with her family. She always looks forward to hearing from her readers and she may be contacted at sbunino@gmail.com. As a social media junkie in need of a ten-step program, you can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter (@sandrabunino).

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Character Flaws

This is my son's artwork. Just showing it off.

This is my son’s artwork. Just showing it off.

I am a big proponent of making sure that any character I create has a flaw. I’m not just talking a physical deformity here. It could be mental such as something along the lines of insecurity like Patricia in The Romance Novel Book Club or arrogance like Talbot in Talbot’s Ploy. I have done physical ailments as well but let’s face it, they are easier to project.

I recently watched a movie called Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I was surprised to find that it was a book published in 2005 by Jonathan Safran Foer. Shame on me as a writer for not knowing that. Still, I thought it exemplifies the type of character flaws I find endearing.

Oskar Schell is the main character of the book. He has a lot of fears some people would find a bit silly, such as never taking public transportation. Throughout the movie, when he’s on his quest, he has a tambourine that he shakes when he’s walking through New York City like it would ward off any bad things from happening. I chuckled everytime he used it. Him spewing out little facts and being open to total strangers about what his quest was also showed the little quirks in the character. He was far from normal and, for me, that’s what made the character outstanding.

I also enjoyed how Oskar learned to overcome some of his fears through his journey. I think it’s important to show growth in a character as well. They should still be perfectly flawed yet overcome what’s holding them back in their world.

Let’s face it. Without the character having some flaw in a book, it goes into the realm of unbelieveable to me. No one’s perfect in real life, and I don’t want to see that in my books either. Of course I also don’t want to see the character make the same mistake over and over or the flaw only to come in play to make another main character seemingly ‘save the day’. It’s lame and cliché to me. Enrich my reading experience, don’t debase my intelligence. That’s what alcohol’s for. 😉

So what are your views on character flaws?