I am the world’s worst wrapper of presents.

It’s time to come clean. With the Festivus “Airing of Grievances” yesterday, I’m in the spirit of honesty, and I need to get something off my chest.

I’m terrible at wrapping presents.

I used to think this was because I was buying the shitty wrapping paper that tears every time you look at it wrong, but even the expensive high-quality Hallmark stuff with the grid on the back is not immune to my abysmal wrapping skills.

When I was a wee lass, my parents taught me to wrap presents. Both my mother and father were adept present-wrappers. My father, an artist, used to fold ribbon into these beautiful, elaborate bows that were more gorgeous than any you could buy at the store. My mother had hospital corners on her packages. (Her natural gifts are heightened to dangerous levels when she ships gifts by mail, because she wraps them so thoroughly that they would withstand any natural disaster or terrorist attack.) My parents showed me how to cut the right amount of paper and how to fold the corners so the ends would come out nice, but no matter what I did, my ends came out lumpy and uneven.

Many of my skills have developed over time, but present-wrapping is not one of them. Okay, I know the general theory, and my presents come out looking slightly better than if I’d had a raccoon do it. The only thing that has changed is the amount I care. Meaning: I used to care, and now I don’t. I am an excellent buyer of presents. I have a file on my phone all year and I update it as the people in my life express their desire for gifts, and then at Christmastime, BAM, I have given them the perfect present that they don’t even remember wanting but still do. But the wrapping of those presents is still a task I dread. I’ve tried to turn it into a drinking game, but that did not improve the quality of my gift-wrapping.

It’s gotten to the point where I don’t even put bows on things anymore. Well, the cats eat them, so that’s been the excuse I use when asked.

My husband is an amazing present-wrapper. He’s doing it right now as I type this blog post: he has the paper all spread out, and his nice left-handed scissors because he’s one of those backwards leftie people (by the way, I GOT him those scissors, because like I said, I’m an excellent buyer of presents) and he’s making little ribbon curls and being just completely perfect with his present wrapping while I sit here on the couch and watch in awe. He even wrapped the gift cards. THE GIFT CARDS. Don’t you buy the gift cards so you don’t have to wrap them?

I’m not a hypocrite, either. I don’t particularly care if my presents are wrapped poorly. I’m always at a party where someone says, “Ooh, it’s almost too pretty to open!” 1) I guarantee they aren’t talking about my gift, and 2) It’s fucking not too pretty to open. It’s paper. Just tear into it! Don’t do that awful thing where you untape one corner and slide the gift out… what, are you going to fold the paper and save it for next year? Is this the Great Depression? Throw that shit away.

I just had this conversation with my husband, who is taking a break from making fucking decorative curlicues. I said, “I’m writing a blog post called, ‘I am the world’s worst wrapper of presents.'”

Him: “You really are, though!”

Me: *laughing* “Hey! You aren’t supposed to agree.”

Him: *Goes under tree and starts pulling out gifts* “This one’s not too bad, but you didn’t even put a bow on it. And this one, you’ve got too much paper at one end so you couldn’t tuck it all inside. You have to cut off the excess paper. And this one… you can feel the book sliding around in there. You’ve got to make this tight!”

Me: “But I just didn’t care.”

Him: *Goes back to making decorative curlicues with ribbon*

I’m a huge fan of gift bags, because tissue paper is supposed to look messy. When people start wrapping the gifts and then putting them in gift bags, though, that’s some next-level Matrix shit and you’re making the rest of us look bad. STOP IT.

So please ignore my terrible wrapping job, you ingrates. Remember, it’s what’s inside that counts.

Categories: Holiday, Reflections | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

PLAYING KNOTTY Pre-Order Links are Live!

I just got the best early Christmas present ever! (Well, aside from Misha Collins wrapped in a bow. That would supersede all other early Christmas gifts.) But since it’s not a gift-wrapped celebrity, whatever can it be?

Playing Knotty pre-order links!

That’s right. You, too, can preorder Playing Knotty and have it delivered to your digital device of choice as soon as it releases on March 16th.

I’m so excited!

Preorder now:

ss3 ibooks kindle nook

Playing Knotty
Bondage meets bookworm in this sizzling erotic romance about a shy bookshop owner who discovers an exciting new side to herself when an old friend opens a bondage workshop in the back of her store!

Emma Green has never been very confident. When Ian Cooper, an old friend, asks to rent out the back room of her bookstore for a bondage workshop, she agrees because she needs the money. She isn’t expecting to participate, and she definitely isn’t expecting to enjoy it. But all of Emma’s expectations fly out the window when she tentatively agrees to be Ian’s bondage model for workshops and exhibitions—and her success in the role upends all previous notions she had about her body and her desirability.

Now, Emma must learn to reconcile these conflicting images of herself while dealing with another conflict: Is Ian just another playboy, or everything she’s been looking for?


Categories: Bondage, Playing Knotty, Writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cover Reveal: Playing Knotty

It’s here! I’m pleased to show you the absolutely gorgeous cover for Playing Knotty, coming March 6th from Pocket Star.

Playing Knotty

A little bit about Playing Knotty:

Emma Green isn’t used to fitting in with the popular crowd: back in school, she was always a little too geeky, too chubby, too unfashionable, and now as an adult, she still feels inadequate next to her beautiful friends. When Ian Cooper, an old friend from high school, asks to rent the back room of her bookshop for a bondage workshop, she says yes because she needs the money.

Ian isn’t expecting Emma to participate in the workshop, but when his model comes down with the flu at the last minute, she’s willing to step in. They’re both surprised when she turns out to be a natural. Soon, Ian finds himself with a new bondage model… and a frequent partner in bed. Emma’s success as a bondage model means she must confront her own insecurities and her feelings for Ian, and Ian must decide if he’s willing to risk what he has for what he really wants.

Stay tuned for information about pre-ordering! In the meantime, swing by my Blog Tour starting next week. Can’t wait to see you all on the internets!

Categories: Cover Reveal, Playing Knotty | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Knot of the Day: Karada Rope Harness

In preparation for the Playing Knotty Cover Reveal on Monday, I bring you your third and final Knot of the Day! This is more than a knot, though: it’s a full harness.

Karada Rope Harness


I’ve added two videos here: the first has turned an image (found here and elsewhere) into a video, and the second walks you through the steps, but that was more complicated for me than just looking at the cartoon. Note: the first links to a website that I haven’t vetted and do not necessarily endorse.

The Karada is fun for wearing under clothing, as long as you’re wearing a turtleneck and nothing too snug. It’s wonderful for self-bondage, too. With a little dexterity, you can tie it yourself, and because it’s not binding your hands, you’re unlikely to get yourself into a “can’t get out” predicament like with other kinds of self bondage. Tie a few carefully-placed knots for added stimulation, and enjoy doing your household chores a lot more.

I’ll see you all back here tomorrow for the Playing Knotty Cover Reveal!

Categories: Bondage, Kink, Playing Knotty | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Knot of the Day: Cat’s Paw

In preparation for the Playing Knotty Cover Reveal on Monday, I bring you your second Knot of the Day!

Cat’s Paw

I love that I’m embedding a video from a channel called GunsKnivesSurvival. And yes, the Cat’s Paw is a great hitch for tying stuff to other stuff… and for tying people to stuff. When you watch this video, imagine the string is much bigger… a rope, for instance, and the allen wrench is actually a wrist. Or an ankle. This isn’t a tie you use to tie someone’s hands together; rather, you use this to tie a limb to a stationary object. The Cat’s Paw is lovely because it’s not really a knot – it’s just a bunch of twists. It’s easy to loosen or untie (if you’re not the one currently tied up!) and a great tie for some spread-eagle fun.

Go enjoy the Cat’s Paw, and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Knot of the Day: Handcuff Knot

In preparation for the Playing Knotty Cover Reveal this Monday, I bring you your first Knot of the Day!

The Handcuff Knot:

Now, this knot may be used by firefighters, but that’s not what we’re here for. The Handcuff Knot is a simple, fun knot to use in light bondage. It’s one of my favorites for self-bondage, since it’s not hard to untie and it has all the sensation of being bound with minimal effort. You can accidentally tighten this too tight, but a little work with the teeth loosens it right up.

Remember, with self-bondage, safety first: stick with simple ties that you can get out of, always have scissors nearby for emergency rescues, and never obstruct your breathing in conjunction with your bondage.

Now go have fun with the Handcuff Knot!

Categories: Bondage, Kink, Playing Knotty | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Playing Knotty Cover Reveal on Monday 12/1

This Monday, I’ll be revealing the cover for my novel Playing Knotty!

To celebrate this cover reveal, each day between now and then, I’ll be releasing a new post about a bondage tie that you can use at home. That’s right, you’re getting the Knot of the Day. Have fun, be safe, and I’ll see you on Monday!

A little bit about Playing Knotty:

Emma Green isn’t used to fitting in with the popular crowd: back in school, she was always a little too geeky, too chubby, too unfashionable, and now as an adult, she still feels inadequate next to her beautiful friends. When Ian Cooper, an old friend from high school, asks to rent the back room of her bookshop for a bondage workshop, she says yes because she needs the money.

Ian isn’t expecting Emma to participate in the workshop, but when his model comes down with the flu at the last minute, she’s willing to step in. They’re both surprised when she turns out to be a natural. Soon, Ian finds himself with a new bondage model… and a frequent partner in bed. Emma’s success as a bondage model means she must confront her own insecurities and her feelings for Ian, and Ian must decide if he’s willing to risk what he has for what he really wants.

Playing Knotty comes out on March 6th, 2015 from Pocket Star eBooks, a division of Simon & Schuster.

Categories: Bondage, Cover Reveal, Playing Knotty | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

We’re going on a blog tour!

NBtM_PurelyProfessional_Banner

I’m excited to be going on a blog tour over the next few months. I’ll be posting each Monday starting on December 8th. You should follow me for a couple of reasons:

  • I’m hilarious and witty. Seriously, I’m a bucket of joy.
  • Mondays are crappy and my posts will make them better.
  • You can win stuff. I’m giving away a $25 Amazon gift certificate to a randomly selected winner during the tour.

Here is the master list of all my upcoming stops. Come by, say hello, and maybe win something. I can’t wait to meet you.

December 8: Long and Short Reviews
December 8: Coffee, Books and Art
December 15: Mia Downing
December 29: Aly’s Miscellany
December 29: Books and Other Spells
January 5: Archaeolibrarian – I dig good books!
January 12: Flirting with Romance
January 12: Erotica For All
January 19: Unabridged Andra’s
January 26: All I Want and More
February 2: Harlie’s Books
February 9: Bunny’s Review
February 16: Jen’s Reading Obsession
February 16: Paranormal Romance and Authors That Rock
February 23: Booklover Sue
March 2: Harps Romance Book Review
March 9: Dena Garson – Real… Hot… Romance
March 16: Underneath the Covers
March 23: A Book Addict’s Delight
March 30: We Love Kink

Categories: Appearances, Blog Tour, Purely Professional | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

NaNoWriMo and Trusting “Future You”

NaNoWriMo Begins!

Year 14 of National Novel Writing Month for me started yesterday. Well, NaNoWriMo started for everyone yesterday, but it’s year 14 for me. (Starting in 2001 should have made it easy to figure out, but I seem to forget every year which year it is for me.)

I’m part of a NaNoWriMo facebook group, and people have been asking questions about silencing one’s “inner editor,” and what to do when you can’t seem to stop deleting your work. Well, after many years of novel-in-a-month Novembers, and some Octobers, Aprils, and Julys (Julies?) as well, I’ve got some experience in that area. Here are my thoughts.

Ignoring your inner editor isn’t simply a matter of removing your delete key. It’s about changing your entire psychology around writing. All your life, you’ve probably had to do things well, if not the first time, then pretty soon after. Over time, you probably learned that if you didn’t do something well, you probably shouldn’t do it at all, and that other, talented people don’t have these same problems.

To put it briefly: that’s all a lie.

Anne Lamott put it more eloquently in her magnificent novel Bird by Bird, which you should go buy right now. (Go ahead. I’ll wait. You can even get it digitally and read it without ever leaving your couch.) The gist is that in order to create something beautiful, you have to first create something shitty. You can get beauty later, but shitty comes first.

In order to trust the process, you have to trust Future You. You may not know what you’re doing yet, but Future You will be able to figure it out and fix your problems. You cannot successfully edit a novel that isn’t finished yet. You have to create the entire arc, beginning to end, and write every terrible bit. Then and only then can you go back and make it beautiful. Well, beautiful eventually. First it will be decidedly mediocre, and then a little better, and someday wonderful.

As you write more and more novels, you’ll get better at trusting Future You. But the first time is all blind faith. So trust me. Leap and the net will appear, and all those platitudes. Just keep writing drivel, trust the process, and trust Future You.

Day one is done. Bring on the rest of November.

Categories: nanowrimo, Uncategorized, Writing | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Another White Woman Talks About Fall

My name is Elia Winters, and I’m a cliché.

I love the shit out of Fall.

Tomorrow is the first day of October. The nights are cool, temperatures dropping easily into the 40s at night, and the Hilltowns have already experienced their first frost of the season. The leaves are changing, because it’s New England and that’s what they do, and there’s this one tree on my drive home that’s completely gorgeous, a gradient of orange, red, and even purple. Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks are selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes. It’s not just lattes, either: everything is pumpkin.

You cannot escape the pumpkin.

Pumpkin donuts, pumpkin ice cream, pumpkin pie, these are normal. We expect these. But I just saw pumpkin spice marshmallows today, which I don’t even know how to process.

Pumpkin Spice Mallows

Do you toast them or eat them straight out of the bag?
You eat them straight out of the bag, right? That’s what I’d do.

And then there are Pumpkin Spice Oreos, which just don’t sound all that good. Why would you mess with Oreos? Aren’t they the perfect food already?

Do you dunk these in your Pumpkin Spice Latte?

There’s more, of course. Lip balm, body lotion, air fresheners, dog shampoo… Pumpkin Spice is something we do well here. It’s like the marketing department of every company just throws up their collective hands and says, “Fuck it! Just make everything pumpkin this month. Let’s all go get wasted.”

I want to be cynical about the whole thing, but I just can’t do it. I love Fall! I love the crisp mornings, the changing leaves, the pumpkin spice flavored everything. I love trading in my T-shirts for sweaters. I love buying and carving pumpkins and do not get me started on how much I love Halloween.

I guess I just have to accept that I’m a cliché.

I don’t own any yoga pants, though, so maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Categories: Reflections | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment