top of page

October 2019

October 31st

Things We Love

Applebee’s Dollar Vampire Drink


By Lori Perkins

Today is the last day you can imbibe this Tiki-rum drink with set of take-home fangs and a cherry on top, but it’s worth it. The new dollar Vampire drink is made with rum, strawberry, passion fruit, dragon fruit, and pineapple juice. Mwahahaha!


As you may have guessed by now, I love these kitschy Halloween treats, and I managed to make it into my local Applebee’s during happy hour.  I was afraid the drink would taste like the purple Kool-Aid it resembled, but the pineapple, passion fruit, cherry and lime flavors with a generous helping of rum was surprisingly tasty.  So tasty, in fact, that I had two.

So after a strenuous afternoon of trick or treating (or maybe in anticipation for the trick or treaters to come by), treat yourself to one of these (instead of all that candy).

Not only is Farrow’s book Catch and Kill # 1 on every bestseller list, but the man who stood by his side when he was spurned by NBC, and digging through the dirt and conspiracy of the Harvey Weinstein story, said yes when he proposed to him.


Farrow, 31, tells the story of having Lovett, 37, read an early draft of his working manuscript and asking in its pages “will you marry me?” to which Lovett replied, “sure.” 


In a recent episode of Lovett’s Pod Save America, Farrow explained how much Lovett’s support meant to him at the time.  "You can imagine at a time when I'm losing my job, when I am getting lawsuit threats that are coming – not at a news organization, because I was abandoned by a news organization, but at me personally – and when I'm increasingly suspicious about a conspiracy to surveil me... what a ball of stress I was and what a pain in the (butt) I was to be in a relationship with," said Farrow.

"He, before many people did, and as many people, including those executives were saying, 'This is not a story. It will never be a story. Do we care about it all?' Jon Lovett was saying, because he is apparently from the future, 'This is a huge story, and it is hugely important for social justice,' " Farrow explained. "And, if I hadn't had him and the brave sources who were taking such huge risks, in my ear saying, 'Hey, this matters, this matters, we matter,' and people like Rich McHugh my producer... things might've been very different, and those stories might not have broken."


Farrow and Lovett met in 2011 after Lovett left his job as a met a presidential speechwriter.

October 29th

Guest Post

Open Letter to the Independent Media: Rethink Your Links


By The Editorial Staff of Ugly Duckling Presse

RDN Note: We thought this was important enough to reprint this previously-published Medium article here, with the authors’’ permission).

This is a call from within the small press community, entreating all reviewers of small press books to rethink your links!

Magazines, journals, and other independent media resources that review and write about small press books share a common cause with small presses. We are all doing the hard, joyful work of connecting writers and readers with urgent, risk-taking intellectual material that has no other home. Despite our shared goals, however, many independent media outlets still link to Amazon as the primary, or only, retailer for small press books. Directing readers to buy their books from Amazon is harmful to the authors, and the publishers, whose work you are trying to support.

Amazon has a gruesome list of flaws — from worker’s rights, environmental impact, enabling xenophobic government agencies, and predatory pricing on all types of products, to the more literary concerns of their overt antagonism towards book shops and indifference towards counterfeit materials — but they still overwhelm us with extreme convenience and occasional posturing as a champion of consumer freedom. Amazon frequently lists titles distributed by Small Press Distribution as out of stock even when they are in print; at the same time, Amazon negotiates aggressively for wholesale discounts, underselling the bookstores that are so important to literary life and cutting into the tiny profit margins that keep small presses afloat. We know that you are not indifferent to these issues and therefore we hope that when you review small press titles you will consider linking to publishers’ websites or to the book’s page on the distributor’s site or at an online bookseller that supports independent publishing.

We’d like to add that linking your articles and reviews directly to the publisher gives readers the most trustworthy, thorough, and knowledgeable information about the book in question, with up-to-date info, live appearances, and links to reviews and interviews which bring the reader back to you, the independent media. Furthermore, the publisher’s website helps readers purchase the book in the ways that most benefit them and, thereby, the authors they support. And, more importantly, directing readers to the publisher’s website encourages a culture of thinking deliberately about what we read, where it comes from, and what it is connected to. This is a moment of deep global uncertainty, where we are all struggling for connection; one way we can meaningfully support each other is by strengthening the links between the independent media and small presses. Many book reviewing sites are already doing it and to them we say thank you.

We hope you hear this comradely call to action.


Sandra Doller, 1913 Press

Mary Marge Locker, 3 Hole Press

Rachel Kauder Nalebuff, 3 Hole Press

Kate Kremer, 53rd State Press

Karinne Keithley Syers, 53rd State Press

Rachel Gontijo Araujo, A Bolha Editora

William Mazza, Belladonna*

Stephanie Sauer, Copilot Press & A Bolha Editora

Dan Machlin, Futurepoem

Brandon Brown, Krupskaya Books

Jocelyn Saidenberg, Krupskaya Books

Stephanie Young, Krupskaya Books

Teresa Carmody, Les Figues Press

E. Tracy Grinnell, Litmus Press, O Books & The Post Apollo Press

erica kaufman, Litmus Press

m/ryan murphy, Litmus Press, O Books & The Post Apollo Press

James Hoff, Primary Information

Anne de Marcken, The 3rd Thing

Ben Fama, Wonder

Katherine Bogden, Ugly Duckling Presse

chuck kuan, Ugly Duckling Presse

Sarah Lawson, Ugly Duckling Presse

Silvina López Medin, Ugly Duckling Presse

Michael Newton, Ugly Duckling Presse

Lee Norton, Ugly Duckling Presse

Daniel Owen, Ugly Duckling Presse

Kyra Simone, Ugly Duckling Presse

Rebekah Smith, Ugly Duckling Presse

Matvei Yankelevich, Ugly Duckling Presse

October 28th

Image by David Menidrey

By David T. Valentin 

Just as we gather around our televisions and phones to judge celebrities for their extravagant and not so extravagant outfits as if we can do better, we also load up social media after Halloween to judge the costumes of famous celebrities. Like their dresses and suits during, say, the Met Gala, the Emmy’s, Grammys, their costumes can also be really scary, really funny, or really bad! So, let’s take a look through this year’s Hallow-weekend celebrity costumes!

halloween 1.jpg
halloween 2.jpg
halloween 3.PNG
halloween 8.jpg


halloween 4.jpg
halloween 5.jpg
halloween 6.jpg
halloween 7.PNG

October 25th

Ten Simple Costumes for You and Your Boo to Rock On Hallow-Weekend

Image by David Menidrey

By David T. Valentin 

Alright, readers, listen up. We know Hallow-Weekend is upon us, and you may or may not be one of the lucky couples who have been invited to a party on any of the days. If you are one of those lucky ones, keep reading. If you’re not one of those lucky ones, head on over to our article archives and read any of our other selections of articles. 


This is for those who are attending a party for this weekend. So you probably said about a month ago, “I’m going to find the BEST costume and I’m going to the BEST looking at the party!” But now it’s Friday, your party’s Saturday or Sunday (or both, you party animals), so you’re clutching your head and thinking, “What am I going to do?!” 


Well, I’m going to tell you what you can do. Here at RDN we prepared a quick little list of fast, easy to put together costumes that you can buy Saturday morning for you and your significant other, and pretend at the party you had it planned all along. And, the best part, no one will ever know you didn’t. 

The sexy nurse and doctor duo, ready to give an examination wherever they may go. And I mean, wherever. This costume idea isn’t the most original, obviously, but it is fairly simple. It also has enough opportunity that you can spice up the look however you and your significant want to. Want to be sexy? Add a skimpy skirt and a tight blouse while your man wears some low V neck scrubs. It may not be according to dress policy, but who’s checking? Want the look a little scarier? Get some fake blood down at party city and just blot it in. Whatever works for you! It’s a classic and always fun. Speaking of classics…


The classic Pitcher and Catcher. Honestly, I love this one because it attracts some pretty funny jokes throughout the night. It’s simple for gay couples too, and it might be a subtle way of asserting your dominance over your significant other in a subtle sexy way. It’s also funny because you might be surprised to find out who’s the top and who’s the bottom in your friend’s relationship. Sometimes it’s not always the big, beefy bear as the top. You’d be surprised.

Next up we have another classic of the mixed drink, in this example of Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola. It’s not the most creative of costumes, but it’ll get you a few laughs throughout the night. Moving on.

Now, this one is an inventive funny one that I did not expect: the Monopoly Man and his board game. This one’s not as quick and easy as the others to put together, but it’s a fun one if you’re a planner. I love this idea because it shows that with some creative thinking literally anything can be a costume. Anyyyythiiiiiing. 

Next up we have a Buzz and Woody duo. Who said you had to conform to the gender of the character? Switch it up as much as you’d like, no one’s going to care so long as you’re not cultural appropriating and black facing! Although I’d say this costume duo is cute, I’d recommend it for a chiller party; the kind where you’re bobbing for apples with a beer in hand instead of the one you’re throwing down shots and chasing it with “Dracula’s jungle juice blood.”

halloween 1.jpg
halloween 10.jpg
halloween 4.jpg
halloween 5.jpg
halloween 2.jpg











And while we’re on the topic of gender bending, why not some Tarzan and Jane? Again, another costume for a more relaxed kind of night. With Tarzan and Jane, you can do any Disney prince and princess, really, and it doesn’t matter at all what the genders of these characters because its Halloween 2019 and you’re just trying to look cute with your boo.













And speaking of gender bending, why not speculative LGBT+ characters like Velma and Daphne? Yes, yes. I know, everyone is probably saying, “But Fred is with Daphne and Velma gets with Shaggy!” But there is some pretty convincing evidence that may suggest there’s just a little something something going on between the two gals in the contemporary versions of Scooby Doo. Plus, like I said before: you’re trying to look cute with your boo and everyone’s going to say so anyway. So why not do it? You can also do Fred and Shaggy, Fred Flintstone and Barney, SpongeBob and Patrick, because why not? 













Why just stick to American cartoons when you can also get into anime, like this Ash Ketchum and Pikachu? It’s cute, fun, and easy. Other ideas might include Naruto and Hinata, Naruto and Sasuke because why not, Sakura and Sasuke (why would you do that?), Light Yagami and Misa, and so many more. 













This one is an idea that will get any millennial excited: the Kim possible and Ron Stoppable duo. It’s cute, can be sexy, and simple enough where you can probably get all the things you need at any clothes store or thrift shop. This one could be nice for a college party where you’re looking for something goofy to make everyone laugh. You can even get the Kim Possible ringtone for your phone just for the night! And if you’re not into Kim Possible, you can do any sidekick duo.

Speaking of sidekick duos, why not two superhero hunks like Batman and Superman? There are so many variations of the two, that you and your significant other can find a costume that fits your personality. I’ve also seen the classic Clark Kent look; a basic white button up, with a superman shirt underneath, and some cheap jeans. It’s easy, cute looking, and a good chance to show off your muscles. You can also do Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy; Wiccan and Hulkling; Cyclops and Jean Grey; the list goes on and on. BUT NOT HARLEY QUINN AND THE JOKER. That’s just wrong.

And there you have it; ten simple costumes that you can rock with your boo this Hallow-Weekend. Sure, they may be simple and might not be the best costumes at the party, but at least you’re dressing up and having fun, instead of being those boring adults who complain about teenagers trick-or-treating on Halloween! So, have fun, be safe, and eat lots of treats!

halloween 8.jpg
halloween 6.jpg
halloween 9.jpg
halloween 3.jpg
halloween 7.jpg

October 24th

Nicki Minaj Marries Childhood Boyfriend Kenneth Petty


By Lilli McHale

Nicki Minaj is no longer single. The rapper officially married her 41-year old bae Kenneth “Zoo” Petty this Monday, but she has long been calling him her husband. 


The 36-year-old rapper posted the news to her Instagram Monday using a video recording of matching “Mr. and Mrs.” mugs and “Bride” and “Groom” baseball caps. 

The caption was simply, “👰🏽🤵🏽😢🙏🏽🎀 Onika Tanya Maraj-Petty 10•21•19.”


In August, Minaj had spoken about filing for a marriage license for the two and claimed on her Queen Radio show that the two would tie the knot in around “80 days.” She explains that the marriage license was what was holding the wedding up.  “We still had to pick it up and I was traveling, by the time I came back, we had to renew it again…From that time, you have 90 days to get married. That was about a week ago, so now I have about 80 days…I have to work on my album and I have a lot to focus on that I don’t want to do the big wedding now… We’ll do the big wedding later.”


Minaj also talked about her boyfriend, at the time, stating, “I’m very happy about that because my baby makes me so happy.”



The two had been together since December 2018, but the two dated long before Minaj got her chance with Young Money Records. She told her radio audience that she has known Petty since she was 14.

The rapper hinted heavily that the two were destined for a wedding in March telling a radio station that, “Every night when I get out of the shower, my husband takes this really good lotion that we just bought, and he massages my feet, and rubs them, and he rubs each toe individually, and the heel, and the ball of my foot, and he does it all.” 


On her radio show she said, “We did get our marriage license…I think I have what I was striving for, just happiness. It was so hard to get to a happy place. Now that I’m there, I don’t want to compromise that for anyone or anything.”

Minaj even had Petty star in her “Megatron” music video, which features the lines, “I f— him like I miss him / He just came out of prison.” Petty is a registered sex offender and spent time in prison for manslaughter. Minaj keeps ignoring and waiving off those who bring up Petty’s criminal tendencies.  

October 23rd

JLaw Weds and It’s All About the Gown


By Lilli McHale

This weekend Jennifer Lawrence got married to art dealer Cooke Maroney, sporting a custom Dior gown for her New England nuptials. When it came to the dress, Lawrence was extremely protective, giving the gown its own security protocol. The dress got its own room at the Hotel Viking in Newport, Rhode Island.


People Magazine reported, “’the whole design team’ flew in the day before the wedding and ‘held her dress in a private guest room at the Hotel Viking’…The entire Dior team loaded the dress in the car the morning of the wedding.” 


The 29 year-old actress wedded her fiancé, age 34, with over 150 guests in attendance. Adele, Kris Jenner, and Amy Schumer were among some of the celebrity guests stationed at the Belcourt of Newport, the venue. Lawrence reflects on picking the spot saying, “I saw a venue and I was like, ‘Cool, we got the venue.’” The Rhode Island mansion, built in 1894, is currently one of Carolyn Rafaelian’s homes, the CEO of Alex and Ani. 


The wedding celebration lasted into the early morning, with Boston’s Baddest Food Truck and Maine-ly Lobstah providing late night snacks around 12:30 a.m. for the hungry guests. 

People Magazine talked to Kevin Tortorella, one of the food truck owners, who said, “People were really nice…We were serving guests until quarter after 3:00 a.m., and then serving security.”

The last guests left the party around 5:30 a.m., leaving Lawrence and Maroney the last two at their own wedding.  “It was an all-night party. Jen and Cooke where the last people to leave at 5:30 a.m.,” a source communicated to People. “They waited until all the guests were gone so they could personally say goodbye. When they left, Jen looked happy, but also a bit tired. She also looked stunning in a jeweled dress.”


Lawrence didn’t have much trouble with the wedding planning or finding a perfect dress, claiming, “I haven’t been neurotic about it. I’m, like, too lazy to be neurotic,” in an interview with Catt Sadler. “I saw a dress I liked, and I was like, ‘That’s the dress.’”


Lawrence also spoke to Sadler about how she felt about her new husband, “I don’t know, I started with the basics. How do I feel? Is he nice? Is he kind? It’s just — this is the one, I know that sounds really stupid but he’s just, he’s — you know. He’s the greatest person I’ve ever met, so I feel very honored to become a Maroney.”


The pair tied the knot after an eight-month engagement, and dating for around a year.

October 22nd

Message in a Bottle: Boyfriend Makes ‘Love Pills’

To Help His Girlfriend Deal with Anxiety 


By David T. Valentin 

Let’s just put it out there: dating when you have anxiety is hard. You overthink every little thing. Thoughts of not being good enough arise, even when your significant other tells you constantly that they love you and they prove it. Small shifts in tone spike up your heart rate. Even a simple text like “I’m here” without an emoji makes you think there’s something wrong with your relationship. 


But when your significant other is dedicated to making you feel loved, ensuring your love languages and their needs are met, suddenly that anxiety gets a little easier to bear. That’s what Riley Rankin did when he came up with a special gift for his girlfriend, Denisha Bracey, for their two-year anniversary. 


The couple has been happily dating for the past two years, but the last few weeks before their anniversary Denisha had been struggling with her anxiety and panic attacks. So, Riley did what any good boyfriend would do; he wrote 60 tiny messages, stuffed them into little plastic capsules, and shoved them into a Walmart-bought prescription pill bottle. 

Denisha, commenting on Riley’s gift to her, said that in previous relationships, she was not completely honest about her mental illness. Dedicated to finding someone who would understand her struggles, she told Riley right off the bat even if she was nervous. Clearly it paid off. 


When asked for advice for those trying to help loved ones with mental health issues, Riley said: “If you have any problems, you should focus on them. Not to the point where you ignore your partner but make sure you’re okay first. When you’re good then you can help more. And second, just be really compassionate. I forget that a lot too, it’s hard to remember because sometimes it’s hidden, you don’t notice – somebody can be smiling but they’re really not feeling good inside. It’s important to just remember that and be compassionate.”


Riley’s message of love shows that both communication AND comprehension are needed to creating a healthy, honest and loving relationship where both parties are happy.

October 21st

The Pope Just Made Cardinal Newman a Saint – 

But Was He Actually Gay?


By David T. Valentin 

On October 13th, 2019, tens of thousands of people gathered in a service at the Vatican led by Pope Francis to name British Cardinal John Henry Newman a saint. The twist? Historians have debated whether the Cardinal Newman was gay. The Cardinal was buried, at his request, in the same grave as his “friend” Ambrose St John, who he had lived with for 30 years. The question is, did Pope Francis ignore this, like the Vatican has done for centuries, or does he acknowledge this fact? 


As human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell reminds us, “The Vatican is guilty of historical revisionism. It has erased from the official record all recognition of Cardinal Newman’s love for Ambrose St. John and his wish to remain buried alongside him.” 

“Newman and St. John were mentally and spiritually in love; sharing a long-term same-sex relationship. They were inseparable. They lived together for over 30 years, like a married husband and wife,” Tatchell added.

The outlook is less positive for the newly named saint, however, given the excavation of his grave back in 2008. As PinkNews notes, “the Vatican decided to dig up Newman’s remains and move them out of the grave he shared with his ‘priest friend’ in preparation for sainthood. The plot was excavated but no body was found – the wooden coffin containing Newman’s remains had rotted, leaving nothing behind.”


Tatchell went on to say: “digging up Newman’s grave and separating the two men was an act of sacrilege, betrayal, disrespect and homophobia.”

October 20th 

Mike Johnson’s Awkward Dating Faux Pas

on Good Morning America 


By Lilli McHale

Mike Johnson of The Bachelorette has his eyes on Hustlers star Keke Palmer after going out with Demi Lovato. Johnson and Lovato went out following his recent stint on Hannah Brown’s season of the hit show. The two were flirty online and then kicked it up a notch with some dates. However, Johnson was seen on a recent Good Morning America show, and made his interest in Keke known saying,  “I made a mistake, I don’t like dating in public,” Johnson told the Palmer and Michael Strahan before adding to Keke, “But, if I were to ask you, if we could go on a date…?”

A shocked Palmer asked her co-hosts Strahan and Sara Haines, “What’s the next question…Michael, you’ve got the next question!” 

To which Strahan replied, “What’s that? I didn’t hear nothing. He lost me when he asked you out for a date. What did you say? Yes or no?”

When Palmer didn’t answer, Strahan told Johnson, “Mike, I’m going to tell you something, right. Demi is my girl, I love this one here, too. Now, you mess up, I’m coming for you.”

Palmer rebutted, “You guys are embarrassing me,” before Haines retorted, “We approve, Keke.”

Despite the audiences seeming approval, Palmer didn’t answer the question claiming,  “Ladies, I’m at work. I’m at work, guys.” Strahan’s final comment, “Okay, at the commercial break, you’ll get her number.”

But later Palmer told People Magazine that she turned down Johnson’s proposition because she felt “ambushed.”


She explained further, “Well, first of all, I get real spooked about entertainers or reality [stars] … I don’t know, it really scares me to date people in the industry. That’s number one.” 

She added. “Number two, he asked me in front of everybody,” which she admitted made her feel “ambushed.”

“I felt like it was a big ol’ gag,” she said of Johnson’s unexpected dating offer.

October 19th

To Celebrate Barbie’s 60th BD

Airbnb is Renting Out Her Malibu Dreamhouse

By Lori Perkins

I LOVED Barbie when I was a kid (although I dressed her up as a sexy evil scientist to bewitch my brother’s GI Joes).  I now collect Barbie super heroes and super villains (which may be why I’m still single), so you know I’ll be entering the Airbnb contest to rent her three-story Malibu Dreamhouse for $60 a night at the end of this month.


The one-of-a-kind rental goes “live” at 11:00 a.m. PST on October 23rd and for a two-night stay October 27th through 29th. 


The house rental includes a pink waterslide from the balcony to the outdoor pool, an infinity pool, a private cinema and a live-in chef, as well as fencing lessons. There is an arts and crafts room and a walk-in closet stocked with life-size Barbie outfits, such as that of a female astronaut. The Dreamhouse seems to sleep quite a few, so this would definitely be a girls’ night in.

The Dreamhouse is located in the heart of Malibu, California and has three floors with ocean views and open spaces for friends and family to hang. According to the Airbnb website, when you arrive, one of Barbie’s friends will meet you at the door to hand off the keys and show you around, and then the house is yours for two days. 

To celebrate this once in a lifetime stay, Airbnb will make a donation to one of the charities involved in The Barbie Dream Gap Project on your behalf. This is not a contest.

You can view the website here,

October 18th

Kate’s Naughty Corner: 

Inside the Private World of BDSM

trends 2.jpg

By Kate Allure

Last month, I wrote about real-life, posh sex clubs. Places that are uber ritzy and out of sight for most of us. But if you enjoy peeking into this world, check out my post here. The real-life clubs I describe are just like the one in my next book, Seduced, a London Sex Club novel. 


This month, I return to talk about some less stratospheric options for the kink curious who want to explore their sensuality but aren’t comfortable going to your average, run-of-the-mill public BDSM club. 


If you chuckled, or snorted, that’s understandable, since no place where people, both strangers and friends, get together to play — with whips, crops, electricity, and more — could ever be described as mundane or boring. But for many of us, it’s too much of a leap to go from the privacy of our bedroom to public sex play. And you don’t have to. There are options for the novice to live out Fifty Shades or Eyes Wide Shut fantasies with just your lover and you.


Bed & Breakfast & Bondage


All around the world and sporadically across the United States, there are B&B’s that come with dungeons. Unlike the ones in someone’s home, these places tend to rent out the entire apartment, because, really, who wants to get down and dirty — and kinky — with your host sitting in the living room watching TV. Here follows two places I can personally recommend. Both are very private, very wicked, and very romantic. They’re also not particularly cheap, but at least the price of entrance is not $10,000.


Hoxton Dungeon Suite—Madame Caramel is the proprietress, and this fully equipped BDSM apartment can be yours for a naughty night or two, while you spend your days exploring the amazing city of London. Madame is available for mentorship hire and offers everything from hen parties to BDSM introduction to Domme training. She says, “I love to share my experience with others to help everyone achieve their kinky dreams!”


Madame welcomes guests, provides sparkling wine, shows you around, and answers any questions you may have about the equipment. Then she leaves you alone to enjoy all the suite has to offer. It’s private, romantic, and oh, so, wicked as you can see from these photos. 


Located in the trendy Hoxton neighborhood, the flat (that’s British for apartment) consists of two playrooms, a romantic white bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom. The space is compact—it is London after all—but nearly every kind of wicked furniture and toy you might want is available, including such standards as a throne, cage, and, of course, a St. Andrews Cross. For hotel amenities you’ll find Champneys toiletries, fresh linens, bathrobes, hair-dryer, Wi-Fi, and daily cleaning of suite and toys. As for cleanliness, she previously worked in the hospitality and cleaning industry for 10 years, so her standards are meticulous. 


Monterey Stay and Play — After our first successful BDSM stay, we were delighted to find another nearby us in the US. Described as a “fetish room and board,” this erotic getaway is also uber romantic. The owners, Jim and Cat, are active in the kink communities and will take time to explain and demonstrate the use of all their equipment. In addition to coffee, soft drinks, and snacks, the “board” part of the stay is a delicious breakfast prepared fresh every morning and delivered to your suite.


One caveat, this is a two-story cottage and the stairs are steep. Because it’s rural, a car is required to get there. It’s seven miles from the Pacific Coast and 20 minutes from the fine dining, beaches, parks, and sightseeing of the Monterey Peninsula. Just two hours from San Francisco, it’s perfect for tacking onto a trip to this world famous city.


The Monterey Stay and Play has everything as the suite above in terms of kink equipment and hotel amenities. It differs in that it’s located in a secluded rural setting and you get your own separate cottage behind the main house, which gives you complete privacy. It’s spacious with a full dungeon downstairs and living quarters (and more wicked equipment) upstairs. There are some wonderfully romantic features, including a four-poster bed, outdoor patio and balcony, outdoor hot tub, and, my favorite, a large clawfoot tub that’s, get this, outside under the stars. It’s secluded, and what can be dreamier than a bubble bath with bubbly under the stars.


Before moving onto something a little more public but also educational, I’ll note that Bed & Breakfast & Bondage is also the name of my fictional series set in St. Helena wine country. Just like the above B&Bs, there’s a lovely overnight stay, but on the same property, down the lane, in a one hundred year old wine house, is a private dungeon for hire. Sigh. I just wish this place were real!


Besides naughty B&Bs, there are also dungeons for hire in many big cities. Try searching online or join FetLife for recommendations.


Weekend Symposiums of Sex 

Dark Odyssey — This professional organization runs kink conventions across the US from Washington DC to San Francisco. Dark Odyssey is very much as described on their website:


“Imagine a vacation where you can explore the many facets of sexuality in a private, intimate community of like-minded people. A wholly unique immersive experience which brings together sexuality, spirituality, education, and play in a fun, supportive, non-judgmental, diverse environment where fantasy becomes reality.”


“By day, learn sexual tips and techniques to create, maintain, or revive the erotic spark in your relationship. Explore a multitude of partnering possibilities, from swinging and open relationships to threesomes and polyamory. Brush up on the basics, or get hands-on experience at new BDSM skills like bondage, flogging, sensory deprivation and Dominant/submissive dynamics. Delve into a world of spiritual journeys and teachings on Earth-based spirituality, Tantra, and paganism. Find all this and more in a series of dynamic workshops from top-notch sex educators, relationship experts, BDSM masters, and spiritual teachers.”


It’s more fun to go with a partner but not required. Rules for safety and respectful behavior are strictly enforced, so even the single lady could go and learn a lot. They really do have fabulous experts leading the classes. I learned about my sexual power from renowned sex-educator and author Amy Jo Goddard, tried my hand at impact play with Graydancer, and was box-tied by my DH under the careful tutelage of another fine teacher. At the bar we chatted with lots of interesting folks and alone in our hotel room we tried out some of what we’d learned.


Fetish Fair Fleamarket® — Run by the New England Leather Alliance (NELA), this yearly three-day winter event is the largest leather/fetish event in New England. This is a welcoming accessible con with large print programs, American Sign Language interpreters, even fragrance-free soap in the bathrooms. Rules for safety and respect are enforced here too and NELA follows Risk Aware, Consensual Kink (RACK) — this is similar to Safe, Sane and Consensual (SSC) and you can look them both up on the web.


The Fetish Fair Fleamarket was founded by my friend and fellow erotic romance author Cecilia Tan. She says, "I started the FFF in 1993 because I wanted there to be something easily accessible to everyone. So it’s always held in a hotel, it’s not a secret where it is, and there’s no registration or secret handshakes. Pay cash at the door and just check it out for a day. There are usually around 100 vendors & crafters and over 100 classes, events, and meetups. So there’s something for just about everyone. And the money raised goes to support the nonprofit community programs of the New England Leather Alliance.”


The FFF has the added fun of shopping! Who doesn’t like that?


From the FFF’s website: “We bring together about a hundred top vendors and craftspeople, from our local area and from as far away as San Francisco, Arizona, Chicago, and Canada, with over 3000 attendees from many states. Over the last decade, tens of thousands of people have attended the FFFs to enjoy the unmatched opportunity to shop, attend workshops, and meet people at the best economical price of any event of this type.”


ALL of the good cons will enforce safety rules and no one should be touched without permission. Honestly, you’ll be safer and less harassed than in most bars on a Friday night. Check out the con’s rules before you sign up—they should be strict almost unwelcomingly so (as in “no means no”). Anything less than that and you should steer clear.


Lastly, a word of caution. Do research and don’t try anything beyond the basics without training. If the proprietor offers you a tour of the equipment, take advantage of it. Learning from an expert how it’s supposed to work will ensure your safety and definitely enhance your experience. And remember to follow SSC—safe, sane and consensual. 


Join us next month when we’ll begin erotic romance author interviews. First up will be Sierra Simone, author of the wicked and delicious, Priest.


~ Kate

author, Seduced, a London Sex Club novel


Photo Credit:

In the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

Legs and Heels by Jean-Christophe Destailleur

October 17th

A Little Romance in Little Monsters

By Lori Perkins

Little Monsters starts out really slow taking place in Australia as we meet a loser white dude and his single mom sister.  I had to make sure I was watching the right movie, because the trailer I had seen led me to expect this movie was going to be a black Mary Poppins in Zombieland.  But I am glad I stayed because the movie turned out to be more than just the story of a black kindergarten teacher saving her charges from zombies, with a good dash of romance troupes added as seasoning (which I was not expecting – but then what did I think the hot Australian guy was for if not love interest eye candy?).


The premise is that Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o is a kindergarten teacher of hot Australian guy’s nephew and he has the hots for her (as apparently do all the dads).  When he overhears that one of the class moms can’t make a field trip to the petting zoo/amusement park, he offers to chaperone, hoping that the all-day-long proximity will make her fall for him. 

Unbeknownst to the school, there’s a military facility down the road from the zoo, where a zombie soldier experiment has gone awry and, of course,  the zombies have escaped.


The Australian musician’s nephew is fascinated by tractors, so when the school kids need to be saved by tractor rescue, it’s the 5 year-old who ultimately saves the day (and teaches his uncle how to drive one and how to adult).  In the process, teacher and musician find themselves, and each other, and all is right with their world as they kiss.


This is the movie to see if your significant other likes horror (or zombie films) and you don’t.  It has a good deal of charm and a nice interracial HEA, and the zombies aren’t that scary.

October 16th

Gay Wedding Flash Mob to Beyoncé, Lil Nas X Goes Viral 

By David T. Valentin 

Let’s be real, who doesn’t love a good flash mob? For those of you who might not have traveled down the YouTube-rabbit-hole trend and don’t know what a flash mob is, allow me to explain. A flash mob is, simply, a choreographed dance routine done mostly in large public forums. The twist? It starts with a single person, and carefully placed dancers join in. The end result is a bunch of random bystanders looking confused while dancers just pop off. 


Newlyweds Isaiah and Taylor Green-Jones decided to spice up flash mobs and their wedding by joining the two together, something usually not done with flash mobs. Months before their wedding, the grooms worked with a choreographer on planning a routine that they and their guests began rehearsing. 


“Everyone was surprised at the wedding,” Isaiah Green-Jones. “No one knew, so there was a lot of cheering, a lot of yelling. It was great.” 


The grooms chose the songs “Before I Let Go” and Lil Nas X’s mega-hit “Old Town Road.” The pair told Good Morning America that the Lil Nas X’s hit is an impactful song to them “because it is sung by an openly gay Black male artist.” 

The couple went on to say that the most important take-away from their flash mob celebration is that it shows, “the importance of supporting folks and celebrating love, no matter what that looks like.” 


Isaiah said, “online, there was a lot of support. I think people felt inspired… because this video showed a little piece of light in the midst of a lot of negative energy out there.” 


And indeed they showed us a new and fun way of celebrating weddings, which are usually, for some, stiff and boring. 


Maybe after seeing their wedding celebration flash mob, the sushi, mac & cheese, loaded potato, taco, ramen buffets my boyfriend and I joked about having at our eventual wedding could actually be a thing?

October 15th 

Gay Man’s Hidden Stash of ‘Beefcake’ Photos Found by Dad


By David T. Valentin 

Let’s be honest, the internet has dramatically changed how we hide our dirty laundry. For instance, back in the day you had to either purchase dirty magazines, pile them in a hidden stash, and hope the family never found them out. And yes, dad’s dirty porn stash is not just a thing in comedy shows.


 Then the internet came along and it was a little easier to stash your dirty stash on a desktop folder, stuffed away or disguised as something entirely different. Of course, hiding your dirty stash on a folder on your FAMILY desktop goes just as well as you’d think it would, as Grant Ginder would tell you. 


“When I was 13, I began collecting pictures of hot men that I found on AOL,” Grant Ginder explained. “I kept them on my family’s computer, in a file called ‘downloads’ I thought no one looked at, and I labelled them with the one word I knew to describe hot men: beefcake.”


For six months, he carefully curated his collection, with specific labels for each. “I don’t know where I learned the word, but at night when everyone was asleep and I was at the computer I used it heavily: ‘Beefcake in a speedo,’ ‘beefcake on the beach,’ ‘beefcake standing under a waterfall’ (a personal favorite), “ Ginder remembered.


And then exactly what you’d expect happened: his father discovered the folder. 


Ginder recalled that one day when he and his dad were driving, his father and him pulled up to a stoplight, his dad asked, “Who’s been downloading all the pictures of the beefcakes?” 


And, like any reasonable closeted gay 13-year old would do, he said, “Dad, I think it was mom.”


His father, surprised by the news, said, “Mom? Huh. You think I should talk to her?” He suggested his mom might be embarrassed, and told his dad to just let it go.



After that,  Ginder and his Beefcakes were never mentioned by either of his parents. Ginder commented that, “he doesn’t know if his dad ever spoke to his mom about the ‘beefcakes folder – but if he did, it was likely so they could have a laugh about it as it was incredibly obvious who had really created the folder.” 

When Ginder was writing up this story, he said he wrote to his mom on Twitter.  “Mea culpa! I panicked, and I’m sorry about that! A braver kid would’ve said ‘f**k it, those beefcakes are MINE.’ But alas, I was 13. I wasn’t ready. Coming out is hard, and it’s something that as LGBTQ+ people we have to do every day, in a million different ways.”

The author’s Twitter thread ended with this note to his parents. “I am 36 now. I’m out, happy, and in love, and that’s in no small part because of you.”

After he shared the story on Twitter, his mother called and said: “There was one of a man on a motorcycle. You had excellent taste.”

The thing I find so amusing about Ginder’s story is that we can all relate, whether you’re gay, lesbian, bi, or straight. I know I had my own collection of attractive looking guys that I had collected on my first ever-flip phone that I wasn’t using for a good year or so. That was until my mom’s phone broke and she took it. 


I remember she commented and said, “Yeah, it’s like brand new, but it had a bunch of weird photos on it.” 


And, similarly to Ginder, I simply contorted my face in a fake confusion and said, “I don’t know. I haven’t used it a long while, so I don’t know.”  She never brought it up since. Though, a few weeks ago my sister, my mom, and I were all having a personal talk, and my sister turned around and said, “I didn’t even know he was gay.” My mom just smirked and did a subtle laugh out her nose. 


I suspect she knew. 

October 14th

Famous Las Vegas Little White Wedding Chapel for Sale


By Lori Perkins

If you truly love love, you might want to consider purchasing the legendary Little White Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, which has just been put on the market for a meager $12 million.


After 60 years and more than 50,000 weddings, chapel owner Charlotte Richards, 86, says she’d like to retire. Ms. Richards says she works seven days a week and the chapel is open 24 hours a day.  She remembers that Britney Spears came in to marry her childhood friend Jason Alexander at 5:00 a.m.


In addition to the infamous 55-hour Brittany Spears wedding, the chapel has been the site of “I do’s” from Michael Jordan, Judy Collins, Bruce Willis and Frank Sinatra. Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner held one of their weddings here this past year.



It even has a “tunnel of love” which is for drive through weddings, as well as a flower shop, tux and gown rental and a limo fleet.


If you’re thinking you might want to get married at the Little White Wedding Chapel before it changes hands (or renew your vows), all you need to get married at the chapel, or anywhere in Las Vegas, is $77 and a photo ID that proves you are 18 years old. Blood tests and marriage licenses, de rigueur in other parts of the country, are unnecessary here due to Great Depression-era legislation that was passed to allow for the wildly-in-love to get married within a matter of hours.

October 13th

The 10th Annual Rainbow Book Fair

trends 1.jfif

By David T. Valentin

For book lovers across New York City, you might know that yesterday was the tenth annual Rainbow Book Fair, held in the LGBT Center in downtown Manhattan. And for those who didn’t know about it, then next year you have something to do on mid-October your weekend in New York City. 


For a first timer like me, when I had heard of the Rainbow Book Fair I expected to be in a massive venue space like the Javits Center with hordes of LGBT book lovers, writers and readers alike, along with extravagant drag queens parading the floor. However, I got something smaller, more intimate, and more personable. While the space was smaller than previous years, as many long-time attendees of the book fair noted, I enjoyed that space was smaller. It allowed for people to stop and actually look at the books they were interested in. And at some booths, such as Riverdale Avenue Books’ booth, you could even stop and talk to some editors and writers. 


I also thought it fitting for the Rainbow Book Fair to take place in the LGBT center. The space created such a friendly and open environment for everyone to feel safe and comfortable in. It actually reminded me of being at a Lady Gaga concert, in the sense that it was safe to assume everyone there was of some LGBT identity and the straights had to come out. 



Although I didn’t get to walk around and check out the books on the show floors (mainly because I have too many books as it is and I would hate to have another untouched pile of books cluttering the corners of my bedroom), I enjoyed attending the reading panels by authors and editors. One of the many reasons I love readings (good readings that is, which these were), is that hearing an author read in person with such personality and life that it brings their words out of the page, is just inspiring. It gets the creative juices, flowing and it gets your brain to say, “Hey, I can do that too.” 


I even got to pick writer and editor Laura Antoniou’s brain a bit about pantsing, plotting, marketing tips, and just about her personal life. To anyone who has never met Antoniou or has never seen her read, definitely check her out. She has such an inspirational and funny personality that just leaves you with your cheeks hurting from smiling and wanting more. 


Put the Rainbow Book Fair in your calendar for next year!

October 12th

What National Coming Out Day Means


By David T. Valentin

Sitting down to write this article was hard for me. How could I possibly capture how it feels to come out to people when it’s so different for everyone, and in just a few sentences, and especially since I had come out to mostly everyone I knew four years ago? I’m in a more hopeful place than I was before, and those old feelings feel ages ago. 


Turning to my friend who had just come out only half a year ago, I admitted to her that I couldn’t find the words to start such an important conversation. And she told me to write, “For most couples, introducing your significant other to people is just a stress free thing. But for those who are LGBT+, we have to continually come out.” 


For those who are straight, introducing a significant other is just as simple as “we met here and we started dating so and so time ago.” But for LGBT+ people, the questions never stop. “You’re gay? When did you know? Why didn’t you tell me?” The questions go on and on. 


For me, it was pretty easy to come out. I had decided at a young age that if I was coming out, I would just simply introduce my boyfriend as my boyfriend because I wanted to portray it as just an ordinary thing, like telling someone your favorite color. And for the most part that’s worked. Luckily, I have people in my life who love me for me and not for who they want me to be. But that’s not the case for everyone.


For many other LGBT+ people in the country, coming out is a frightening experience. They’re unsure of whether or not they’ll be rejected, humiliated and mocked just for loving someone. And when enough is enough, sometimes those who are afraid to come out because they know whoever sticks by their side will love them unconditionally.



A few months ago I had a conversation with a conservative friend who asked me, “why do gay people have to make such a big deal about being gay?” And I responded, of course after doing that blinking man gif that was trending everywhere on social media, “you’re saying that because you don’t know how it feels to be gay. But when you’re afraid to introduce your loving, genuine boyfriend to your parents because they’re afraid they might see you differently, then you’ll understand. When you’re afraid of walking down the block while holding your significant other’s hand because you’re scared someone might hurt you, then you’ll understand. When you’re afraid to cuddle your boyfriend in the privacy of your own bedroom with no one around and you feel as though people are observing you like some exotic bird, then you’ll understand.”


Regardless of circumstances, and what others might think of coming out, it’s not a grab for attention and it’s not a phase. Coming out is a statement, a statement that says a person is sick of pretending to be something they’re not. A statement that says a person is sick of looking at themselves in the mirror and hating themselves because they love different than what’s considered the norm. A statement that says a person is sick of belittling themselves, shoving themselves in a box, and disallowing themselves to experience the world to its fullest potential because they’re afraid of something as simple as cuddling their partner IN PRIVATE. Coming out is saying “I’m me, unapologetically me, and I love me.” Coming out is saying “I know some people are going to think it’s wrong, but fuck’em. I’m me.” Coming out is saying “I’m coming out because some kid is scared, lying to themselves about who they are, lying to others about who they are and hating themselves because of it, and I need to come out because I need to show them that it’s okay.” Coming out means being yourself, allowing yourself to experience the world according to your own rules and what makes you, you.


So, Happy National Coming Out Day! 

October 11th

Rainbow Book Fair Celebrates 10-Year Anniversary


By Lori Perkins

The Rainbow Book Fair, the country’s largest LGBTQ+ book fair, will celebrate its 10 year-anniversary in New York City on October 12 at the LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13thSt., from noon until 6:00 p.m.

Every year more than a thousand book-lovers come to see the full range of LGBTQ books on sale, to hear panels and featured readings, and attend the fabulous, all-day Poetry Salon curated by Nathaniel Segal and Regie Cabico and featuring 25 poets this year.

Riverdale Avenue Books is a gold sponsor of the event and will feature four of their authors for readings including Maitland McDonagh the editor of Riverdale’s 120 Days imprint, which republishes vintage gay and lesbian fiction form the 60’s and 70s; Cecilia Tan the founder of Circlet Press, a 25 year-old science fiction and fantasy erotic press; S. Chris Shirley is an award-winning writer/director and former President of the Board of Lambda Literary and Laura Antoniou,  the author of The Killer Wore Leather (which won the Pauline Reage Novel Award and the Rainbow Award, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award) and the creator of the ground-breaking, bestselling (over 400,000 books sold) "Marketplace" series of books about an underground BDSM society.



Other sponsors this year include Sibling Rivalry Press, Bold Strokes Books, Harrington and Park Press as well as CLAGS, the Center for Lesbian and Gay Culture; Pat Parker/Vito Russo Library at The Center; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Community Center and the Bureau of General Services, Queer Division@ the LGBTQ Community Center.

 “The Rainbow Book Fair is a joyous celebration of books and authors with something for everyone,” said Publisher Lori Perkins. “It is one of my favorite literary events of the year.”

October 10th

Birds of a Feather Flock Together: 

Harley Quinn Takes on a Gay Villain

in the first ‘Birds of Prey’ trailer 

By David T. Valentin

With the disaster of Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad, and the okay reception of Justice League, the DCEU is scrambling to create movies that fans will flock to like their rival Marvel. Of course, when you try to replicate the superhero cross-over of the Avengers that took a decade to build in only two years, you’re going to have problems. But that’s a story for another time. After all, it’s not like fans want the DCEU films to flop. We very much want them to succeed, but they just don’t have that oomph. 


But it seems those at DC at least know what fans want. Despite the flop that was Suicide Squad, it seemed many fans enjoyed Margot Robbie’s portrayal of the infamous Harley Quinn, Joker’s now ex-girlfriend.


Birds of Prey will pick up years later, after Quinn and the Joker have parted ways, something that has been a thing for quite some time in recent comic iterations of the clown couple. After splitting with the Joker, Quinn finds herself with a new set of friends, namely, Huntress (played by Mary Elizabeth Winestead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) who will go up against the villainous gangster, Black Mask (Ewan McGregor). 


Recently, producers have announced that Black man will be portrayed as a gay man, a move that has received mixed reception. I personally am excited to see more gay villains represented in media so that we can deconstruct the “angel gay” character trope. 



For those who don’t know what the angel gay character trope is, it means that because an LGBT character is a minority that they cannot do wrong. They will always choose the morally good choice, the choice that works for the greater good. The trope is harmful because there are LGBT people who do shitty things, but those things are mostly brushed under the rug because critics may feel afraid to criticize due to the potential backlash of their criticism. 

Additionally, Renee Montoya in the comics is also a well-known queer woman, though there has been no word that she will be portrayed as such in the film. 


Personally, based off the trailer I’m excited for Birds of Prey. If it’s anything like Gail Simone’s run of Birds of Prey, it’s going to be character-driven, funny, and emotional. Most importantly, it’s going to show super villains dealing with human problems, which is always a thrill. After all, character should come first. 


Hopefully if Birds of Prey is successful then we’ll be seeing more of Harley Quinn, which will also lead to some positive representation of bisexual characters through Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy; a fan favorite couple ever since it officially began in the DC Comic’s: Bombshells #79

October 9th

Star Wars Already Has a Gay Couple


By David T. Valentin

One of the things that Star Wars has always lacked is a diverse cast of people. And no, people of color playing aliens covered in green body paint do not count. And Yes, we have characters like Princess Leia and, I guess, Padme Amidala for female main characters, but that’s about it. On the LGBTQ+ spectrum, fans have been speculating about Poe Dameron and Finn, but with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, our hopes kind of got squashed with the introduction of Rose as Finn’s love interest. 


Luckily, the cartoons have more excitement when it comes to expressing their diverse cast. With strong female characters like, Ahsoka Tano, Asajj Ventress and more screen time for Padme Amidala, it gives women (and men) more kick-ass females to root for and relate to. 

Turns out the animated show Star Wars Resistance has beaten the movies with representation of an LGBTQ+ couple. When the show first premiered last year many viewers speculated that Orka and Flix are a long-term couple. 


Now, executive producers Justin Ridge and Brandon Human have confirmed the two are an item. 


“I think it’s safe to say they’re an item,” said Justin Ridge. 


“They’re absolutely a gay couple and we’re proud of that,” added Brandon Human. 

This marks the very first canonical queer representation for people in the on-screen Star Wars universe, a Star Wars show geared mostly towards kids. 


Turns out that this wasn’t just a spur of the moment thing, an off-screen confirmed representation. The idea was actually something discussed behind the scenes and with the actors voicing the characters. 


“Oh, I’m so happy we’re allowed to say it,” said Bobby Moynihan, the voice of Orka, after the interview. “I have had a sentence prepared for a year and a half if someone would finally ask me [if they’re together]. I would say, ‘All I can say is when Flix says ‘I love you,’ Orca says ‘I know.’” 

It’s amazing to see children’s shows, such as Steven Universe, Star vs the Forces of Evil, and now Star Wars, begin to normalize LGBTQ+ people in their shows. Now, we can only hope that the decision will push LucasFilms to star an LGBTQ+ main character in future Star Wars films.

October 8th

Miley Cyrus Single Again…But Not for Long?


By Lilli McHale

After Miley Cyrus went off to defend her right to date on Twitter, the pop-star has been seen out with fellow singer Cody Simpson.  Apparently, their romance has spawned some new song writing for Simpson who wrote a short poem about making love in the morning and posted it to his poetry Instagram. The 22-year-old is apparently Cyrus’ type as she posted about his Australian abs on her Instagram this weekend before he wrote a poem about her, “the moon’s souvenir, the boulevardier, a ballerina on the promenade,” Simpson wrote. “we open our curtains to the domesticated world for a natural hour, spinning Elvis records and making love in the soft jeweled morning.”

Simpson revealed that Cyrus was his celebrity crush during his star childhood years, claiming that he knew all the words to her songs. This Sunday the pair were seen having a movie date where they watched Blue Hawaii. Simpson also posted the two singing to Elvis Presley’s “Ku-U-I-Po” on his Instagram story. The two both looked happy and were all smiles for the camera. 

While Cyrus has just been through two break-ups, she seems quite happy with Simpson,  “Can a girl not get a f—ing açai bowl and a morning make out session in peace?!?!” she asked on her Twitter. The casualness was quickly removed when she had to respond to critics who criticized her ability to move on so quickly, saying, “I know the public feels invested in my past relationship because they felt like they saw it thru from the beginning,” Cyrus started. “I think that’s why people have always felt so entitled over my life and how I live it because they’ve watched me grow up… But I am grown now and make choices as an adult knowing the truth/details/reality.” 

Cyrus dated Liam Hemsworth for a good portion of her teens and 20’s and is finally exploring dating in Hollywood. “With the exception of a few breaks, which usually in those times I was working my ass off with not much R&R…. and meeting/trusting people in my position is really tuff,” she said. “Don’t f—ing pity me, that’s not what I’m asking for. I have a great life I wouldn’t trade for ‘privacy’ but PLEASE don’t make this awkward for me!”

October 7th

Hot Felon Update

By Lori Perkins

If you are like me (and half the world), you were immediately mesmerized by the “Hot Felon” mug shot of Jeremy Meeks that went viral in 2016.  Those eyes just melted us all.


Turns out that women from all over the world (some as far away as Japan) thought the same thing.  Once Meeks’ mug shot went online, women were sending thousands of dollars a day to his prison account every day.  This revelation was just made on Chelsea Grayson’s “What’s Your Water” podcast where I learned that Meeks, who left his wife a year ago for Topshop heiress Chloe Green (with whom he had a child) is now single!  The split happened in August and Green has already moved on to the Monte Carlo’s polo captain!

In the podcast, Meeks tells his story about growing up in a “heroin household” (his parents were both junkies), joining the Crips gang as a teenager and doing a total of 10 and half years in jail by the time he was 32.  He says, looking back, he had a lifetime of bad decisions until his mug shot went viral and he became a sought-after male model upon his release. He also mentioned that when he was in jail in California, he was next door to Charles Manson for months in solitary confinement.

October 6th

Mattel Launches a Gender Neutral Doll


By Lori Perkins

A national television ad campaign for a brand of women’s underwear that absorbs menstrual flow is set to run in mid-October on 18 TV networks. It is sure to get people talking as it asks whether everyone would be more comfortable with periods if men had them too.


As Mattel, the company that brought us the Barbie doll, which is currently celebrating her 60th birthday, has just announced a gender neutral doll with moving parts (but NOT those parts) and changing outfits that arrives in one handy box—just in time for Christmas 2019.  


The doll is part of their new Creatable World™, a customizable doll line offering endless combinations all in one box. Creatable World invites kids to create their own characters with extensive wardrobe options, accessories and wigs to style the doll with short or long hair, or in a skirt, pants, or both.  This is a doll that can play on RuPaul’s runway!


“Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels,” said Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design. “Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms. This line allows all kids to express themselves freely which is why it resonates so strongly with them. We’re hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play.”

Mattel worked alongside a dedicated team of experts, parents, physicians and most importantly, kids, to create this one-of-a-kind play experience. 


The Creatable World doll line consists of six different doll kits that are available in a variety of skin tones. Each kit includes one doll, two hairstyle options and endless styling possibilities. The product has a suggested retail price of $30 and can be purchased at major retailers online including Amazon, Target and Walmart. For more information, please visit


Maybe it IS a brave new world.

October 5th

Ad Premiers Asking “What If Men Got Their Periods?”

By Lori Perkins

A national television ad campaign for a brand of women’s underwear that absorbs menstrual flow is set to run in mid-October on 18 TV networks. It is sure to get people talking as it asks whether everyone would be more comfortable with periods if men had them too.


The 90 second ad shows men in different but common situations that women face during their periods, Some of those scenes include a dad who has “the talk” with his son, men asking each other if they have an extra tampon and a man telling a woman that “it’s that time of the month,” and she says, “me too.”

The ad is for Thinx underwear which bills itself as “period-proof.” The “MENstruation” ad, was created by the New York agency BBDO New York and was directed by a woman. The ads are set to run online and across 18 TV networks beginning Oct. 9.

October 4th

Riverdale Avenue Books Launches First Title

In New Binge Watchers Guide Series on Female Doctor Who


By David T. Valentin 

Have you ever sat alone in your living room, binge watching a show but being completely and utterly confused? Or do you have that one annoying friend who asks questions throughout the entirety of a show? Or are you that annoying friend? Got a significant other who’s OBSESSED with a show and you want to impress them with your knowledge of their favorite show?


Well, Riverdale Avenue Books has just launched the first book in their new Binge Watchers Guide series, which will cover TV and film that we love, now that binge watching has become such an important element of modern contemporary life.


Publisher Lori Perkins conceived the idea after working in book industry on many other pop culture titles such as The Science of Star Wars and the Stephen King Universe.  “I’ve always felt we should do more books about nonfiction pop culture,” she explained. The Binge Watcher’s Guide imprint is the first of it’s kind and will publish a title a month.


The series hopes to reach three core audiences. The first, for someone becoming familiar with the series because someone in their life loves it and they want to be able to participate in conversations about the show. Second, for those rewatching the series before the new season is about to be released. And third, introducing the beloved series to a new generation and making it relevant. 


As editor and head of the new imprint of The Binge Watchers Guide series, Ryan Charles, says, “The Binge Watchers’ guide is your little companion to tell you about production history, Easter eggs, and trivia about your favorite shows.” 

The first book in this new line is The Binge Watcher’s Guide to Doctor Who, Season 11 with noted Whovian Mackenzie Flohr as its writer. Shockingly, this is the first fancentric book about this popular 56 year-running television show that has riveted science fiction audiences for three generations. And if Jody Whittaker is not your favorite Doctor, then you’ll be happy to hear that there will be a book for each of the other 12 Doctors. 


Riverdale Avenue Books is a running a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a massive advertising campaign.  If the goal is reached, they have planned a Doctor Who tea party in a Doctor Who themed restaurant and a time travel cosplay ball in a Manhattan Mansion, so pledge now (you can get the book two weeks before it goes on sale to the rest of the world.)


And if Doctor Who is not your cup of tea either, The Binge Watchers Guide series will be covering TV and films series such as Harry Potter, Friends, Avatar the Last Airbender, Parks and Rec, and so much more! 


You can check out the whole project here where you’ll be taken to the specific parts of the book that, once brought together, will create an entirely new commentary on your favorite TV series, and situate them in the larger scheme of pop culture!

October 3rd

Justin Bieber/Hailey Baldwin Throw Lavish

Second Wedding in South Carolina


By Lilli McHale

Hailey Baldwin and Justin Bieber remarried this Monday in South Carolina around the one-year anniversary of their previous wedding. The two had secretly wed in a NYC courthouse on September 13th of 2018. For their second wedding, they rented out a large part of Montage Palmetto Bluff, a S.C. 5-start hotel. According to TMZ, the pair had a star-studded guest list which included Kendal and Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott, Usher, Ed Sheeran, Jaden Smith and Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun. 

The Somerset Chapel held 150 guests who watched the couple say “I do” for the second time before enjoying a ballroom party, dinner and cocktail hour. It is said that Daniel Caeser sang to the couple who, according to E!, “wanted to get married out in nature.”  

E! reported, "Decor is going to be very chic and neutral. Hailey wants all white and champagne-colored decor with beautiful green foliage. It's going to be classy…Guests will be family and close friends/close church friends only. It's going to be very intimate. They don't want a huge to-do and want it to be very religion-focused and spiritual."

The pair first met in 2009 when Alec Baldwin, Hailey’s uncle, got her tickets to see Bieber on the Today Show. The two grew close over the years and claimed to be best friends until becoming an item when Bieber and former beau Selena Gomez went on a break. In the spring of 2018, the two were seen at a church conference and Bieber asked for her hand in marriage. 

Baldwin recalled Bieber’s proposal to Vogue saying, "We were on a trip to the Bahamas and we were alone in a house, just the two of us…It was very special."

October 2nd

Romance Authors Come

Together for Open Table Conversation

on Love and Feminism over Wine and Cheese


By Lori Perkins

In a glass townhouse in Jersey City, NJ, nine best-selling romance authors gathered to talk about romance and feminism.  In attendance were Alyssa Day, Pintip Dunn , Avery Flynn, Helen Hardt,  Amalie Howard, Lisa Renee Jones, Cindi Madsen, Abigail Owen and Rebecca Yarros, as well as Entangled Publisher Liz Pelletier.


In an amusing and sweeping conversation, the authors discussed the sisterhood of the romance writing community and how the message of romance is one of lifting women up.  This lead to a discussion of how romance should not be just for women readers, but for everyone, and how the romance writing field had expanded recently to include different types of main characters.  Pintip Dunn, a YA author, told about how she had wanted to write since she was six years old, but that she thought she would have to write about white characters, and how she was thrilled to publish her first novel with Entangled which did not have a white main character.  She added, “I just never thought I would be able to publish those kinds of books.  We have a book coming out with a Thai hero with blue hair.”

The women then addressed the #MeToo movement saying that they felt that romance was at the forefront of the movement because romance novels are about female agency.  Lisa Renee Jones said that romance novels can allow the reader to address the darker side of the #MeToo stories and see a way out.  She told her own personal story about being in an abusive relationship and watching Farrah Fawcett in The Burning Bed and crying through the whole thing but that it enabled her to leave her relationship two weeks later.


Other authors told how readers had written to them saying, “your book saved me.” Renee Jones added, “It’s empowering to showcase that you are not alone and that you have your own agency.”  The group echoed her thoughts and stated that romance is about joy and hope.

October 1st

Princess Beatrice Announces Engagement

And Future Royal Wedding in 2020


By Lilli McHale

Despite this year seemingly being all about Prince Archie and Princess Eugenie of England, Princess Eugenie’s sister, Beatrice, is set to have a royal wedding of her own. On September 16th Prince Andrew’s daughter released news that her boyfriend, Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi had proposed to her. 


Edo and Beatrice have been dating for about a year. People Magazine has reported that the two knew each other for some time, despite only dating for roughly a year. Mozzi’s stepfather was close with Beatrice’s parents, before his death in 2011. Beatrice attended the funeral before becoming close to the family last fall. The Sun reported earlier this year, “Beatrice and Edo have the same circle of friends and were introduced through a mutual chum ... They hit it off instantly and have a real laugh together. They’ve been on holiday together and Beatrice introduced him to Fergie and her dad. Things are moving very quickly and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if they got engaged within a short period of time."


The two were dating for quite a while before allowing themselves to be photographed together in public. It was only January that the two were seen together in Kenya before taking on NYC on St. Patrick’s Day. In July, Beatrice was seen with a bracelet sporting Edo’s initials. The two even attended Ellie Goulding’s wedding together in August. 

Edo finally proposed while the pair was in Italy on the 16th of September. Town and Country reported that the two, "are extremely happy to be able to share the news of our recent engagement. We are both so excited to be embarking on this life adventure together and can’t wait to be married," the happy couple said in an official announcement. "We share so many similar interests and values and we know this will stand us in great stead for the years ahead, full of love and happiness."


While the date and details are not known, the pair are set to wed in 2020. So we’ll have another royal wedding to look forward to shortly.

bottom of page