Friday, November 1, 2013

Kate Richards Pushes My Buttons---Switch (The Trainer)

Blurb: Esme Stone’s marriage is on the rocks. Her husband, Rick, has Peter Pan Syndrome to the extreme, partying till all hours and spending every dime he makes. She cooks, cleans, earns the money for their expenses, and takes responsibility for paying the bills. In short, everything. How can she start a family when her husband is a big kid himself? Heart breaking, she considers divorce.
One step from walking out, she meets a woman online, then others, who swear a Domestic Discipline agreement saved their marriages. That putting their husbands in charge helped them grow up. In hopeful desperation, Esme approaches Rick with an ultimatum.
Take charge or take a hike. 
They jump in with both feet and then come up against a wall. Rick needs help with the discipline elements he must employ. Spank Esme?

My thoughts:
Usually the hero of a spanking romance is a man who turns me on and I fall a little bit in love with him. In this book, I thought the hero was a total douche bag and what kept me reading was waiting to see if he got what he deserved.
In many respects he does, but I am still not sure it’s enough.
I found this book so thought provoking that I asked Kate Richards a few questions about it for this post.

Celeste Jones: Where did you get the idea for this book?

Kate Richards: Truth…I know a guy like Rick. He’s married to someone I care about, who loves him dearly and when I see a great love in a less than perfect situation my brain goes into overdrive. How to make it work? 

Celeste Jones: The first time that Rick spanks Esme, he selects a switch and then proudly lays a basket weave pattern over her butt, after she had been spanked with a paddle by The Trainer. When they got home, instead of being proud of his wife’s willingness to go through so much in order to save their marriage, he practically jumps up and down and says “I did it, Esme. I spanked you, gave it to you good.” Seriously. How can I not think he’s a total a-hole?

Kate Richards: I don’t think you can. But at that point she was willing to do anything on earth to save her marriage, even if her husband was not quite ready to be the husband she needed.  And I do have faith in him, he’s starting to make changes, even if they aren’t enough yet, but he’s proven he can change and learn. And she loves him, even if he is a seriously flawed hero.

Celeste Jones: Esme says she loves Rick. Is this really love?

Kate Richards: Yep, she loves him. And she is willing to walk, but not unless she’s tried anything humanly possible first. I’ve been there, under different circumstances…I tried everything…and I walked. It broke my heart, but I did. And so would Esme have if her last great effort had failed.

Celeste Jones: Do you think that Rick and Esme are a more realistic couple than most couples in DD/Spanking romances?

Kate Richards: I think every couple is different, and that’s what makes things so interesting both in writing their stories and in life. All authors share our tales from our own perspectives. In some ways, it was fun to write a hero who is less than likeable, most of the guys in our stories are hot, sexy and sensitive. Rick is pretty sexy, but he has a lot to learn. And so does Esme. But that’s okay, I think.

Celeste Jones: What about The Trainer. Will we see more stories about him?

Kate Richards: Oh I certainly hope so! I’m very fond of him and have some ideas in mind. He intrigues me as well! 

  • What about the rest of you? Were you rooting for Esme to kick Rick to the curb or were you glad that things seem to have worked out for them? 

  • Is it a mistake for people to think that DD can save every relationship? Do some people enter into DD relationships with unrealistic expectations? 


  1. Well now you have me completely intrigued and I'll have to do some reading. I love most all spanking fiction, but many of the men are the same - in that we dream them into the perfect spankers and all knowing doms. I like the idea of a story with a different view.

    1. I'd love to hear what you think after you read the book. I wonder what Tom would say to a guy like Rick?

    2. I'd love to hear your thoughts when you do read it, Rick wasn't a typical hero for me to write for sure.

  2. I really, really liked this book. Good job Kate for writing such a thought provoking tale!
    Celeste- did you really think Rick was a douche? I thought he was terribly immature and could be a bit of a jerk, but I thought it was sweet how much he loved Esme, even if he couldn't get out of his own way sometimes.

    I wasn't rooting for Esme to kick him to the curb. I was wondering why she hadn't already- or why she even married him in the first place. And I also know a few couples like this in real life, where you stand back and go "How is this working?" But that is why I think Kate did such an excellent job, even though Esme was completely at the end of her rope, her love for Rick was still coming through and I think it was realistic, people aren't just in love one day and not in love the next, there are a lot more messy, grey areas.

    About people thinking DD is unrealistic, I am not sure. I think it is unrealistic to read a bunch of fiction romance books and think you should base your real life on them. Most DD books are really one sided, the husband is always mature and responsible and takes on being the HOH easily. I think that is very much not real life and like, Rick and Esme, probably different for everyone. We don't practice DD, so I am just guessing here, but I would say probably part of the reason why a lot of couples find DD to be successful is the communication aspect. There has to be a lot of talking to figure everything out. I think that would help any relationship, even if the couple ultimately decides DD is not for them, or they need to Switch it up like in the book, there is still that key communication piece.

    1. Thanks Casey! You were a good egg to buy the book after I announced this discussion and I'm glad you liked it.

      I think we all come into the stories we read (and the ones we write) w/our own life experiences and biases. I'm a fair bit older than Rick and Esme and I've been through a number of failed relationships where I kept hoping the guy would grow up and we know how that usually turns out. I see so many people (young and not so young) in relationships that are uneven and where they put up with behavior because that's what they are used to, think they deserve, or because they don't want to be alone and I think that's what I thought when I read about Esme and Rick. "Why is she putting up with this?"
      But, she wasn't willing to put up with it any more so that's why they went to The Trainer. I wonder if Rick really learned his lesson.

    2. Thanks for your thoughts, Casey, I really appreciate it. Rick was tricky to love, for sure. I think he was making steps in the right direction but he does have a long way to go. And it was as much about Esme's growth, learning how far you do need to go for love, and about going too far, too.

  3. This was a difficult book to read because it stirred so much anger. Like Celeste, I thought Rick was a douche bag. But I also got angry at Esme. At some point you have to wake up and smell the coffee. Unfortunately, I know RL women like Esme who will twist themselves into pretzels to "save" a bad relationship rather than end it as they should. Esme was absolutely nuts to think DD would save her marriage. She was just asking to be taken advantage of.If anything, she needed to be spanked to knock some sense into her head. *deep breath* I'm getting riled up again...

    1. Thanks Cara! It's not every day that 'douche bag' gets used so much on my blog. :)

      I know women like Esme and I just want to shake them and say "You're a wonderful, shiny star. Believe it. Now go find yourself a man worthy of you."

      Much as society attempts to be okay with women who are single, I still know plenty of women who are either afraid to strike out on their own or don't want a "failed" marriage or don't want to be single. Gets my hackles up.

    2. I know women like her, too, and unfortunately some of the men they 'love' are not worthy of ten seconds of their admiration. Or are abusive. But I also know that some of their guys do grow up, so I hold hope...

  4. This has got me so intrigued. I think I need to buy this book and take a look. Up until this, I thought it was about switching, where she would spank him and that kind of threw me. But the plot outlined here strikes me as very interesting. There are too few DD books written with flawed heroes and I think that sets us (as people who want discipline and spanking to be a part of our everyday lives) up for disappointment when it translates into the real world. Kudos to you, Kate, for creating something different! I'm adding it to my TBR.

  5. I haven't read Switch yet, but the blurb and all of your comments have me intrigued, so off to Amazon I go...

  6. It's a fantastic book, and it did stir up a lot of knee-jerk emotion. Kate has a talent for creating living, believable characters and making her readers invested in the story. I like how she isn't afraid to create a real character, rather than a perfect fantasy. Too often in DD-type books we see a perfect fantasy partner who never does anything wrong. Kate's stories have a raw appeal because she evokes a relationship that could happen in real life. I agree absolutely with Maren that the fantasies set us up for disappointment.

  7. For those of you who haven't read the book, I hope that if you do, you'll come back and let us know what you think. My blog is always open. :)

  8. I'll admit I haven't read this book, but it certainly does sound thought-provoking. Generally, when I read, I'm looking for "feel good fiction" and not something that has me tangled up in knots. However, once in a while, when the moon is full, I like to try out something that pulls me into the pages because I'm so darn pissed off that I absolutely have to find out if the "bad guy" gets it. Even when that "bad guy" is the hero of the story.

    Can DD save relationships? I don't think so. If there's too much water under the bridge, then saving a relationship takes mondo changes from all parties. One party cannot initiate it and truly expect to make the changes and reap the rewards. It takes two (or more) to make a partnership. Can DD *help* a relationship? Yes, if all parties are interested in trying to make a change, testing the DD waters to see if things improve. DD is a tool; it is not a panacea.

  9. I have the book but haven't gotten to it yet....started a new job...but I will. I love stories that explore a flawed character...even the hero! I cannot wait to have time!!!

  10. Like everyone else, I'm intrigued by this story, but had a little trouble with the whole "trainer" aspect and some of Rick's supposed "attitude" in the bits I did read. Looks like I'm going to have to give it another look.

    As for Rick being less than perfect, I like flawed heroes, but I'm a one man, one woman kind of girl, and though it's probably good that Rick had someone show him what to do and how to do it before he started spanking on his own, why did the trainer start with a paddle, then hand Rick a switch? Those are things you work up to, right? Starting with them just didn't seem "right" to me. It's like skipping the 101 course and going right into graduate school. However, there could be good reasons for this (like this was the one and only lesson, so the trainer needed to cover a lot of ground to make sure Rick knew what he was doing), so I'm going to buy it now and take a look.

  11. Celeste, after reading your post this morning, I bought the book and completely ignored the after-Halloween party cleaning that needed to be done.
    It was a large party, and a lot of cleaning that I did while ruminating on the story.
    To Kate: Excellently written!! Now please take the cameras and get out of my home! :) This book evoked strong emotions for me, and while I applaud the ending, I want to take Esme aside and warn her about (ack, I can't give the story away).
    I'm glad she's just a character. And I loved the trainer until the very end. 'See yourself out' had the feel of they weren't worth saving. And they may not be. I'm wondering how much is worth... how much.
    Again, very strong emotions for me, Kate! Congrats on making a fictional story feel very real.


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