A Note:


I once told myself: IF I am accepted into grad school, this blog would no longer be updated. As it turns out, in April, I received news of my acceptance for the Fall 2013 semester, where I will attain a Master's degree of Science in Nutrition.

Running a blog, as many of you may already know, is a demanding side job once the excitement wears off. And once I fell out of the blogging community's loop (have you SEEN how many blogs there are now? Wow!), it was like the kiss of death. Despite my best efforts, I couldn't get into a blogging routine once this happened due to the disconnect I felt from the community.

So I took a break. I struggled with the loss and with missing my blog. And then I realized I didn't have to run Book Faery to still be a book reviewer; I could read my books and post reviews online. I'm still a book review blogger, just not in the traditional sense.

I'll still be online. You can chat with me on Twitter, where I'll be posting links to my reviews and talking books. I'll also be posting links to nutrition articles. And if you'd like to connect with me where I guarantee I will post reviews, just add me as a friend on Goodreads.

So that's all, folks! It's been a fun and amazing journey, and I thank you all for listening to my thoughts about books. I hope we all can keep in touch elsewhere :)


Monday, August 30, 2010

(Day 30) Guest Post: Dakota Banks

Click on the image to check out all other available/upcoming giveaways/events.

Are you a fan of the urban fantasy genre and thrillers?  If so, then stay tuned!  Today we've got the author of the Mortal Path series stopping by to chat!

"I have to believe that growing up in a converted turn-of-the-century funeral home, complete with blood gutters and a drain in the basement floor, warped my mind.

I set aside all those macabre thoughts spawned by reading books in the basement at night with a flashlight and undertook a relatively normal life. College, science fiction, husband, computers, Star Trek, mortgage, fantasy, Star Wars, kids, mysteries, writing, thrillers, horror, and cats. I'm not sure in which order all those things happened, but I haven't killed off enough gray cells yet that I've forgotten any of them. That brings me up to now, or at least the last decade.

I wrote short stories in high school and college, submitted them, and got rejection letters. I still have some of them. Writing was shelved while life ran amuck, and I came back to it in the 1990s. I published six books, all hard-edged suspense thrillers dealing with virtual reality, one of them set in a future world. None were written under the Dakota Banks name. I enjoyed these books because they were my first taste of the writing life, not to mention that they brought in some money and put 600,000 published words under my belt.

Something was missing, though, and it took me six books to find out what the missing piece was. Although my books were highly imaginative and extrapolated then-current trends in forensic science, computer simulation, and virtual reality, they didn't go far enough. I felt hemmed in by reality.
I needed to get back into the basement with a flashlight.

I took a deep breath and thought about what I really wanted to do with my writing career. I had an idea that had been playing around at the edge of my mind for a while, and I decided to see what I could make of it. Combining my love of archaeology with the freedom that comes from using mythological elements in a story, I came up with the basic concepts for the Mortal Path series. Developing that world and the characters who bring it to life has been tremendously rewarding for me, and I hope the books provide pleasurable reading for you.

I live on the western fringe of St. Louis, Missouri with my husband. Our two sons, one adopted from Peru and the other from Ethiopia, are in college. My cats Peanut and Marble sometimes ghostwrite my books. Good stuff, too, if you speak Cat.

I'm a member of Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, the Horror Writers Association, and Mystery Writers of America."

Bio courtesy of Dakota's website.

Connect with Dakota:
Website | Blog | Goodreads

Why is it okay for the male in the story to sleep with multiple partners, but the heroine has to be virginal?

Hi, I'm Dakota Banks. Thanks, Tori, for letting me guest post on your blog today. This question is a little ambiguous, so I'm going to break it down into two parts.

1. The male has slept with multiple partners before this current story even begins.
2. The male is sleeping with multiple partners during this story.

First, let's take YA of the table. Theoretically paranormal YA shouldn't be measured by the same standard as adult books, although these days those standards are shifting. With so many adults reading YA books, and with the target audience more aware of and struggling with sexual identity questions at an earlier age, it's hard to tell where this subgenre is going.

Let's talk about before the current story begins. There are a good number of paranormals based on an immortal male and a normal female who, in the process of the story, discovers her abilities, destiny, etc. So if a guy is three hundred years old, can we honestly expect him to be a virgin before page one given that today's men have their first sexual experience on average at age 16.9 years? Get real. If he is still virginal, he has a very serious mental or physical problem, and how often does that situation show up in the hero of the story? Maybe in the villain, but we're not rooting for the heroine and the villain to get together. He could be a creature that has a very slow development to adolescence, and that would work.

The heroine, generally speaking, is between twenty and thirty years old. She could be a virgin if she had been raised in an unusual situation, such as in a convent, and is just now stepping out into the world. That would be explained in the book to give her a believable background. Given a typical background, though, how likely is it that she's still a virgin? The Kinsey Institute says that 92% of women have had sex by ages 22-24. If the heroine is in her twenties and still a virgin, there has to be an explanation in the story. A strongly religious upbringing, extreme shyness, aversion to sex due to something horrible in her background. and so on. On the other hand, the woman might be a creature who is vastly older than she appears, which puts her in the same category as long-lived men: unlikely to be a virgin.

During the story, should the guy get to play around while the relationship with the heroine is developing? In reality, men usually do. The Kinsey Institute says that only 20% of men have had one sex partner in their lives, whether they are married or not (compared to 33% who have had 11-21+ partners). Do we want our fiction to mirror reality? I say no, because we're talking about paranormal stories. That means the author isn't bound to the behavior of a majority of men in real life. The author can decide whether the male lead is a player or not, and how that figures into the plot and the romantic relationship.

Now I want to take a step back and look at romantic relationships in paranormal books in general. What are we, the readers, looking for? To identify with the male or female lead and be swept up in the romance by putting ourselves in the story in place of the character. That's when the element of fantasy comes in, not only in the paranormal part of the story but in the romance. If I'm a guy reading the book, I want to put myself in the story as an experienced player, charming with women, and attractive. It doesn't hurt if I'm super-strong or immortal. This plays right into men's fantasies. A man's interest in the book might wane if his representative on the page is a loser in his eyes--I'm not a man, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I don't think too many men fantasize about being a virgin. If I'm a woman reading the book, I go straight for the fantasy of new love or first love, allowing myself to relive it or experience it. Women's fantasies tend to be more emotional and romantic than men's and that's what I'm looking for in the book--to escape into a romantic fantasy, something that--let's face it--probably doesn't closely resemble our current love lives.

Were there any actual conclusions buried in all that, or was it just a brain dump? I think that the age of the character is a strong factor, but it depends on how realistic vs. fantastical the author wants to make the relationship. It's possible to create any combination of experienced/virginal desired and mess with their individual characteristics. For example, let's invent a male lead a thousand years old to whom something bad will happen when he first has sex--he loses his powers, changes into a frog (!), or even dies. Understandably, he's going to be selective about choosing a partner. That's part of the fun of paranormal for authors--and if readers can form a bond with your characters, I think they'll stay with you through the end of the book no matter which combination you choose. At least, I hope so! My series features Maliha Crayne who, after 250 years of decadent living, is beginning to open her heart to love. She's certainly no virgin, and she hasn't quite gotten the whole relationship thing down yet. She's like some unmarried women today in that she'll have sex on her own terms, when it's meaningful for her.

Have I gotten your blood boiling yet because you disagree with me? Or are you glad someone said what you were thinking? Let me know. I'd love to read your responses.

Dakota is offering one lucky winner's choice of:
A copy of Dark Time (book 1) or Sacrifice (book 2; release: Tomorrow!)

Giveaway Guidelines:
  1. Open to everyone!
  2. Respond to Dakota's question in order to be entered.
  3. Include your email in the comment.
  4. Giveaway ends 9/4.  Be sure to check back after that and see if you've won!  I will not be emailing winners after they are announced on the blog.  Winners will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is picked.
Extra Entries:
  • [+1] Tweeting about this giveaway (include link in the comment)

Being a blog follower is not required, yet is extremely appreciated!


  1. I am so excited that you took on the question in the back of all readers minds. I really liked that you used a lot of facts and that you weren't being naive.


  2. I myself really like Daemon Sadi from the Black Jewels trilogy by Anne Bishop as a virginal hero. He's 1700 years old give or take and certainly not an innocent, but technically a virgin when he and Jaenelle get together.
    Otherwise I do not care about either the heroine or hero being virginal or not as long as they're not sleeping around on each other once it's clear to them they are (becoming) an item.

  3. I will say I completly agree, I like a lot of your statements:-)


  4. I have to say that this is one of the best answers to the question I've seen so far. Very well thought out with some excellent points. I'd agree with pretty much everything said. The one male character I have that is still a virgin at an older age has to do with what affect sex has on him because of his abilities. Not sure if I'll end up writing the novel but I've used it in a short story and he's quite an interesting character. But it does make sense as to why adult male and virginal wouldn't work for the most part.


  5. I actually wouldn't mind a male virgin, he might have his reasons. If written well, it should be just as if it were a woman's first time. I disagree that a man wouldn't want to read it.
    I really don't like some of the scenes that I have read about the first time the female character has sex. It is just so unrealistic that it throws me out of the story. It is a YA story, so it can't be that graphic, right?

  6. Hmm. I don't care too much whether the hero and heroine are virginal or not, it's just that for me it's hard to find a character likable if he or she sleeps around a lot. I'm apparently in a minority, but I think it's odd that people have to have an explanation if they are adults and still virgins.

    Anyway, your post was interesting and well thought out. :)


  7. Hi Dakota, I agree with your opinion. You have solid points. I'm looking forward to reading Sacrifice!

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  8. I tweeted:


    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  9. I agree, it's pretty ridiculous, double standards are never cool.


  10. Good post, a lot to think about and yes all makes sense. Even I think that when they are "old" and still a virgin then it's weird. And that's really silly really then I sure took my time

    blodeuedd1 at gmail dot com

  11. I agree completely. I don't want my guys in books to be players!

  12. I agree w/Dakota. I don't really care if their virgins or not in a story as long as it's a good story. I don't think I've read a book yet where the male is a virgin but he's also been really old in the story. I do like when they are finally together then it should be one on one, no one else. I start to dislike the character if they're not. Just my personal taste. I'm sure they're people out there who love to share =) Thanks for the contest.
    twittered about at www.twitter.com/Tanya1224

  13. I agree with you completely. The story, circumstances and all determine the characters promiscuity. And if the author has a reasonable explanation then I go along with it. Most UF books I've read haven't made a big deal about female vs male sex habits. I am reading Dark Time right now (about half-way through and loving it) The Watcher just showed up . Very curious to see what is going to happen.

    I will post this on the Supernatural Underground FB page.

  14. I agree with your points. Mostly, I don't care if they are virgins or not. A good story is a good story.

  15. I don't disagree with anything you've said. And I think mostly, unless it's part of the story (i.e. heroine has a problem with possible love interest being so slutty) that sexual histories should just be vague and maybe implied, or maybe not. Whoa, speaking of vague. What I'm trying to say is that in most stories there's no reason for it to come up. Unless it gives some insight into a character defect or psychiatry, our sexual histories don't make us who we are as people, and so I think largely tend to be irrelevant.
    tweeted- http://twitter.com/bcardoo79/status/22529402054
    (and I would choose Sacrifice, as Dark Time is sitting on my TBR shelf!)

  16. Thank you! That has always annoyed the crap out of me. That and it's okay for a male to kill people but the females usually have to feel bad about it (they're getting better at it these days though).


  17. I'm kind of annoyed with that too. Men can be very promiscuous with their sex lives but if a woman does the same than she gets called several nasty names. A guy? Nope. Well, not by men anyway!


  18. That facts were very intriguing! :D I'm usually willing to suspend disbelief when reading a paranormal romance. But sometimes I do shudder a bit at the stereotypes!

    mdwartistry at yahoo dot com

  19. I'd have to agree with what you said and with what Sullivan McPig said about characters like Daemon Sadi.

    It also depends on what you are reading at the time, if you want to read a book with some steamy love scenes on every page there are books like that and on the other hand there are books with no sex in them at all but they're still entertaining. So I think reading and the whole virgin vs non-virgin debate really depends on your mood and what you want to read about.


  20. You know I really liked this author POV on these types of character situations. That was some really good insight into the though behind these stories in the books. Sometimes I like me a book that is just plain hot with not a lot of brain, and sometime I want an conceptual mind f@ck that has some awesome new world or characters that are related to totally different problems than we face here.

  21. Sometimes the story calls for the male to promiscuous where the female is not supposed to be. But I definitely don't agree that it should be all the time. No matter the double standard is there in both books and real life.


  22. You made a lot of valid points and I completely agree with you!
    throuthehaze at gmail dot com

  23. I don't care how many sex partners the hero or the heroine has had, before they get together. However, once they are in a relationship, they better not stray. I don't want my hero or heroine to be a cheater.

  24. argh! forgot my e-mail

  25. Virginal doesn't matter to me. I think in our society now, virginity isn't that big of a deal any more. As to whether or not a hero is a player, I have no problem with that, as long as he isn't one as of when he and the heroine start sleeping together.
    Also, I completely agree on the age of the character. I've had some trouble reading some YA where some questionable things have taken place. If it was an adult book, I would have been fine with it, but I do think we have a responsibility in what we teach/show our kids.
    Great post!

    natasha AT likeminds DOT ca

  26. I agree, the day when heroines needed to be virginal are long since gone. Heroines, while extraordinary in some way, also need to be realistic. How many 20-35 year olds do you know that are virigins (outside the church, anyway)? The heroine has to be believable, even in a paranormal romance. As far as YA goes, I've read some where the protagonist is sexually activity, but the majority is, in my opinion, age appropriate. I especially like Rachel Vincent's Soul Screamer series because she addresses these issues, the pressure of having sex or a boyfriend not wanting to wait because he's never had to wait before, and the female lead sticks to her guns, knows what she's ready for and what she's not. Sexuality is a tricky subject, but I think it's been well addressed here.

    (No need to enter me, just stopping by to support Sacrifice) Tweeted. Good luck!! And Congrats Dakota!

    Dottie :)

  27. I dont know on this one, I can go either way. BUT as long as they stay faithful once in a relationship then I am good with that. :)


  28. I am a follower and email subscriber. I agree with your answer. It makes perfect sense. Please enter me in contest. Tore923@aol.com

  29. Great post. I agree that I want to see art imitate reality in some respect. Take the movie the 40 year old virgin...it is a comedy because it is impossible for that person to exist. I want UF to be believable. Ladies have the same right to be players as their male counterparts. :)


    +1 - tweeted - http://twitter.com/Heatwave316/status/22576084849

  30. Great post. You made a lot of really good points that when thinking about it I do agree with, just have to admit I never really thought about it before.

    tweet - http://twitter.com/DonnaS1/statuses/22579355375

    bacchus76 at myself dot com

  31. Excellent answers. I agree with everything you said.

    jellybelly82158 at gmail dot com

  32. Well I really don't care if the characters are virginal or not, I just want them to be faithful when they are in a relationship.

    Tweeted http://twitter.com/BookOwner/status/22590630633

    seriousreader at live dot com

  33. Thanks, everyone, for responding to my post. I hope it got you thinking about the standards some authors impose on their characters. Then again, it's all fiction. :-)


  34. I completely agree with the post. As an avid bibliophile, I've read examples of all character lines you used examples of- both good and bad versions, and I love them all. However, I do find myself with a fondness for female characters that aren't innocent little lambs. I think that expecting that the equation of virgin girl + experienced man = TEH BEST SEXXORS EVAH as a bit unrealistic (okay, in reality, every time I read that bit, I snort and roll my eyes) but hey, it's a FANTASY novel, right? lol.

  35. Great post! It really makes you stop and think about things and never realize what's been going on. It may have a been a brief distant thought, but now it's really on my mind.

  36. Great post! Sexual history is always one of those "things" in books. I don't always like it when the heroine is a virgin, but sometimes it works. I've even read a few where the hero was inexperienced, and that works every now and then too!

  37. I agree with you! It is the usual pattern that the heroine is either a virgin or is sexually quite inexperienced, while the man has always more experience.

    I can't really understand a virgin grown up man. I mean they have urges, instinct, sex is in the humans nature.

    Anod no, I'm romantic, so I can't really accept having the hero having sexual relationships with others while he's in a relationship with the heroine. No way.

    Thank you for the giveaway!

    +1 tweeted: http://twitter.com/Stella_ExLibris/status/22627076876

    stella.exlibris (at) gmail (dot) com

  38. I just love when someone speaks up or writes down what he or she realy thinks!


    I would love to follow but Google Friends isn't working.

  39. i've never been fond of the double standard myself - thank you dakota for bucking the trend!

    k_sunshine1977 at yahoo dot com

    i am a follower

  40. I like the male to have some sex life but not much and the woman to have hardy eny at all and she gets to explore out whit her new love that's in the book.

  41. I really dislike virginal heroines. It's such a double standard. This is one of the reasons I prefer UF to PNR. Heroines in UF are much more likely to be experienced (and even more important, unapologetic about it). I think this is finally loosening up in contemporary romance also, but that genre still has a tendency to want the heroines to be either virgins, or at least to have never experienced good sex until they meet the hero.

    jen at delux dot com

  42. This was a great post. Totally agree.

    linaramz at yahoo dot com

  43. I'm glad to be stirring things up with this topic. I encourage you to let your favorite authors know how you feel. I'll start the ball rolling by inviting feedback on my characters either here or by email to dakota@dakota-banks.com.


  44. A male virgin? Do they still exist? I guess I wouldn't mind a male virgin myself...at least I wouldn't have to worry about possessive exes as much. Although, there is something to be said about a man who knows what he is doing. :D I think it is smart to break out of the norm and do something unexpected...to shake things up. I am looking forward to reading this next book, even more now. I think that is the purpose of tours...so the authors can tease thier readers....cruel cruel cruel. Thanks for the opportunity to win this.



  45. I totally agree with Dakota! Virginity (or lack thereof) is not an issue if the story is really good. Although I have don't mind male virgins... :) But is there such a thing existing? Hm....
    You can reach me at luvpinkpanther@gmail.com