Thursday, March 31, 2016

Ella's Bookshelf - Cassie Corralled

This reviewer knows there are only 7 Wonders of the World.  But if there was an 8th, my vote would go to Cassie!  Especially because Cassie Corralled is the 8th book in the series by PK Corey.  May I have the envelope, please?  She is without a doubt my favorite ever heroine in the spanking romance category.  If Kindle books could have dog-eared pages, you could tell how well-loved my Cassie books are.  I have read all 8 books at least twice and some a third time.  My reviews of any of the Cassie books are not only a labor of love, but a real joy to write.

This time there is an extra bonus for all you devoted Cassie fans out there!  Both Tom and Cassie have directly contributed to my review.  Many thanks to PK for arranging the interviews!

Title:  Cassie Corralled 

Author:  PK Corey

Publisher: Blushing Books

Number of Pages: 199

Themes: Special Memories, Youthful Spirit,  Aging Gracefully,  Beware the JabberJanet

Main Characters: 

  • Cassie - the dear and funny woman in this love story.  She has been happily married to her husband, Tom, for over 40 years.  She met him at a time in her life when she was adrift and self-destructive.  "Tom was there to not only hold me...., but to put all the pieces together again so that everything made sense."  With Tom as her safety net, Cassie barrels through life with a zest and energy that endears her to everyone.  He, however, expects his wife to be a "southern lady" in every sense of the word.  That includes staying safe and being obedient  to him.  However, Cassie seems to land herself in hot water more times than not.  This usually comes with the consequence of Tom taking her in hand.

  • Tom - is the rock that gives Cassie her stability and unconditional love.  "Almost from the first time I saw Cassie, I loved her.  She captured my mind, my heart, my very being from the first moment I was aware of her."  He is a confident, old-fashioned, and dominant husband who loves to spoil Cassie with lavish gifts and vacations.  But Tom is adamant about his role as her protector.  Most times when Cassie pushes the envelope with Tom's rules, she ends up over his knee.  In this book Cassie thinks he has gone too far with his constant worries about her safety and rebels in a way that frightens her "family" to their core.  I have heard other readers say that they find Tom too strict or confining.  Not me.  I love this character just the way he is.

  • Sue and Annie - Cassie's oldest, dearest friends and at opposite ends of the personality spectrum.  Sue is a blunt and outspoken woman who often feels Tom is just too bossy.  Annie, on the other hand, is a sweet and easy-going friend that often provides both Cassie and Sue with a more level-headed and submissive point of view.  

  •  Ryan and Allie  - Ryan is Tom and Cassie's adopted son, and Allie is the "girl next door" he loves.  They have become the "family" Cassie always wanted.

  •  Lily - You will love Lily!  If you have ever wished that Cassie had a guardian angel to watch over her, your wish has been granted.  Lily is not a timid little spirit floating around and playing a harp, though.  She is a no-nonsense, loving woman who takes Cassie under her wing during a very dark time for our heroine.  This character soon becomes a valued member of the big family along the river.

  • Janet - a friend from Cassie's past who shows up much to Tom's chagrin.  While Cassie, Sue, and Annie blithely follow Janet's lead, Tom remains suspicious.  Soon Lily is distrustful as well.  Beware the tangled web this woman weaves.  I wanted to knock her into the middle of next week.

Setting: Tom and Cassie's home by the river.

Cassie Corralled starts with some reminisces from Cassie's past that are new to us.  Even Tom doesn't know all of these stories.  Straight out of the shoot, she shares my favorite quote of the whole book, "He's wrapped me in a cocoon of love for nearly forty years, despite his old-fashioned ways."  I do love it when Cassie talks about Tom this way.  There is love in every word.  (Insert big sigh)

While Cassie and Tom's adopted son, Ryan, is usually a model of responsibility and a young man with a caring heart, Cassie starts to worry about his strange, pensive mood.  Just when she is frantic and fearing the worst, Ryan shows his true blue goodness with a decision that brings his new mom great joy.

Cassie's dear friend, Annie, has a bigger presence in this book.  I really came to appreciate the way her calm and careful approach to life was a good counterpoint to Cassie and Sue's lack of common sense in certain situations.  She, too, has a happy surprise for Cassie.

We hear much more about Cassie's prowess with guns in this book.  Since I like to shoot out at the range with Sam as often as possible, I especially liked this attention to Cassie's skills with a gun.  I think she is a much better shot than I am, especially with skeet.  Anyway, the story she shares with the girls is a typical Cassie tale - not obeying Tom's directions to the letter and then putting herself and Sue in danger.  I will let you enjoy the hilarious details of this adventure on your own.  Will just jump to the part where the police become involved.  Cassie has the gun in her hand and is hauled off along with the wrong-doers.  Suffice to say Tom is not pleased when the police captain calls.  When he comes to fetch Cassie, he assures the captain that Cassie will NEVER do this again.

After a silent ride home, Cassie is indignant and swears there will be no spanking.  You can practically hear Tom say, "Ha" as he hauls his wife over his shoulder and up to the bedroom.  I so loved this part, I had to read it over  several times.  Tom can be so sexy, and my heart starts to flutter.  (Thanks to PK here!) He grabs the
legendary ivory hairbrush and warns her, "Cassie Jane ..... I'm about to wear you out and you don't need to make me any madder."  Once Tom begins to apply the brush to Cassie's bare bottom, her tone changes quickly from "accusing sarcasm to pleading."  Cassie finishes retelling this story by revealing that it was this incident that resulted in Tom taking her gun(s) away.

I must tell you that even when reading Cassie Corralled for the second time, I could not keep track of how many spankings Cassie
received.  Holy hell, Tom was on a roll!  There is a serious disciplining that follows Cassie foolishly meeting an Internet friend without anyone knowing about it.  As Tom's rules about her welfare get tighter, you see Cassie slowly reach a breaking point.  When she thinks Tom is hiring her a driver/babysitter, Cassie reacts in a way she hasn't done since their early marriage, and it is very scary.  You will say, "Thank goodness," when you finally meet Lily.  She is a savior.

Something I always appreciate about the Cassie stories are the cyclical structure the author gives each book.  We celebrate birthdays and holidays as the year and the seasons circle around and around.  Just like our year passes, so does Cassie's.  My favorite day of Cassie Corralled  is Valentine's Day.  Cassie shares that Tom doesn't celebrate this day, and since he is so generous to her the whole year round, she doesn't expect a gift.  But this particular Valentine's Day Tom surprises her with a present that hits Cassie like Cupid shot her with an arrow.  There is no box or paper, but it is something he makes himself just for her.  The scene where she discovers her gift was so beautifully written, I could even see Cassie's face.  Just a lovely passage.

There are so many little twists in this plot that you will enjoy.  When Janet enters the story you will climb toward a climax that lands like a sucker punch.  As always, I wish you "Happy Reading" and promise I have not spoiled any surprises.  When Cassie answered my interview questions, she said something so special that I had to share it with you in closing.  "....I'm most grateful for my Knight in shining armor - even though he's armed with an ivory hairbrush rather than a sword."  Oh, PK, thank you.  Cassie feels like a dear friend to me, and it's always so hard to wait for her next visit.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Weekend Adjustment

Throughout my work week, Monday - Friday, I usually stay on the straight and narrow ttwd path.  The days resemble one another somewhat, and I plow through the week adopting a certain routine.  Once in a great while, I do stumble mid-week.  It might be driving and I lose my temper.  It might forget to send my "PM Plans" to Sam before 4:00 pm.  But unless I get lazy or careless, I roll along pretty uneventfully.  I rarely get mouthy or bossy mid week.

Of course, this doesn't mean that a happy or silly spanking couldn't make an appearance.  Those are always welcome.  Teasing is my usual solution when I am feeling a bit peckish about having Sam pay some sweet attention to my backside.  Quickest way to land myself OTK is for me to make a snarky comment with a big grin on my face.  I have even done this with a visitor at the table.  Can usually count on paying the piper as soon as our guest bids farewell.  Life is sweet.  

But the focus of my post today is what Sam calls a "Weekend Adjustment."  I don't remember when this event earned that name, but it does always occur on a Friday night or a Saturday morning.  Once I hit the weekend, I kick into 

                            "Let's get everything done!" mode.  

I start making lists.  What needs to be done in the house?  What needs to be done outdoors?  What errands need to be run?  What kitchen tasks need to be accomplished so we are ahead for the following week?  Are there family events to host or attend?  Is the dreaded SIL coming over?  Basically I sometimes become driven, impatient, and bossy just in time for the weekend.  I prefer to think of it as being "efficient."  Sam just gets prickly about it.

Not only do I make lists for myself, I like to make lists for Sam.  And he does not like me to do that at all!  If he was going to make his own weekend list, it would look something like this.


  • Sleep late
  • Grocery store
  • Mess around with stuff in the shop/garage
  • Read
  • Watch a YouTube video on how to replace the firing pin spring on a Colt 1911
  • Take Ella to her favorite pub if she is not being a pain in the ass
  • Mess around with more stuff in the shop/garage
  • Have a few beers
  • Grill something - eat something
  • Watch a movie
  • Have sex

This is very different than my list for Sam.  So he instituted the "weekend adjustment" to address my sometimes maniacal moods.  Last Saturday, he slept late and I was showered, dressed, and almost out the door to tackle the world, when he turned with his coffee cup in his hand and said, "Um, we need to take care of something, don't we?"  This was not really a question.  Then, "Wait for me in the bedroom."

Since I usually know a weekend adjustment is coming, there is that Jekyll/Hyde reaction within me.  There is relief to know it will happen and that I will feel that re-connection.  There is also the panic that it will happen right now.

I went to the bedroom and saw that Sam had laid out the wooden spatula and the rice paddle on top of his dresser.  Mmmm...2
implements.  "He must have done that when he woke up," I thought.  He was along very soon.  Sometimes I hesitate to take down my pants and panties myself.  I would rather he did that, but he usually just says, "You know what to do."  A weekend adjustment is almost always over the bed.  It is not a happy or "just because" spanking.  More serious that that.  Some couples might call it a "maintenance" spanking or a reminder, or even role affirmation.  Sam positively hates the "maintenance" designation.  "Sounds like something we need to do to the truck."

He started with the spatula, and that thing is mean.  Sam talks.  I listen and answer or yelp.  "So let's focus on having a goooooood weekend.  What do we need to remember?"  

Between smacks, I tried to respond thoughtfully, but they came out as short staccato answers.  

"Ouch!  Yes, and no bossiness."

"Ow, damn it!  Also cheerful."

"Need to be patient.  Yessir!"

"No!  Yes, kind, too."

Sam says he wants me to think about nothing less than "stellar" driving.  

"OK, Yes!"

"No being bossy, either." (Did I already say that?)

At this point, there was a pause before he decided to finish up with the rice paddle.  "So let's think about staying focused."  Then that horrible paddle hit my sit spots, and I just started up off the bed.  Sam's left hand on my upper back moved me back down in position.

"Sam, this paddle should only be for really bad stuff!  It's too hard!"  Tears in my eyes now.

"Ella, who makes the decisions on implements?"

"You do!  Ouch!  OMG!"

He asked me to remember that.  As he finished with several more swats, there was a summing up.  "So, are we going to have a good weekend?"

"Ow, yessir, we will."

Sam touched my shoulder and then pulled me to him.  I melted into his chest and held tight.  He held me until I lifted my head off his shoulder to smile.  He knew that my mood meter for the weekend was set to "Patient, Calm, and Happy."  

                   It doesn't get much more "Ever After" for me.

Mood Meter

Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Music of My Life

Every once in a while, I hear a song that just captures my soul.  Sometimes it is a section of the lyrics.  Sometimes it is a string of notes.  Sometimes it is just the tone or the rhythm.  A pounding beat.  I like rock and classical.  Blues and gospel.  Jazz and country.  I love Sousa marches and the crooners of the 40's and the 50's.  Sound tracks from movies.  Love songs old and new.  No matter where I am or what I am doing, there is usually something playing in my world.

So when I hear something new that really grabs me, it's like a love affair.  I will buy it, download it, turn up the radio - and I will play it and play it until I know every note and have memorized all the words.  One such song for me right now is called "All of Me" by a vocal artist and musician named John Legend.  His voice just knocks me out.  At least in this song, there is a clear almost bell-like quality to it.

It seems that some songs also speak to something that is happening to me right now at this moment in my life.  "All of Me" is not a brand new song - just new to me.  The words convey an unconditional love, and he wrote it for his wife.

                                      "Cause all of me
                                       Loves all of you
                        Love your curves and all your edges
                            All your perfect imperfections"

The words remind me of the way I love Sam and the way he loves me.  Certainly we are not beautiful or perfect in any way.  But I think we do appreciate the "perfect imperfections" that make us so happy to be in love with each other.  For me, Sam is my perfect HOH.  If you would like to listen to this beautiful song, I have provided a link  HERE.

Sam and I have been talking a lot about songs lately.  We are coming up on a milestone anniversary, and Sam has organized a party (to my surprise!)  One night we came up with the idea of a compilation of our favorite songs to play at the party.  We've done that before for long car trips, and it's lots of fun.  However, those old CDs are kind of a split between Sam's favorites and mine.  This time the challenge is that we both have to love them.  Much tougher!  We only can agree on about 8 so far, but we are trying to cooperate and laughing a whole lot as we work toward this goal.
Several of our mutual choices are:  

  • Sweet Virginia - The Rolling Stones
  • Hit the Road, Jack - Ray Charles
  • Jackson - Johnny Cash

This list probably ages us, but never mind.  What has been so funny is turning up our noses when one says, "Well, how's this song?"

And the other answers, "No, no. A thousand times no."

If you think back and reflect on songs you have liked or loved over the years, you start to see you could almost tell the story of your life in songs.  Decade by decade, there were songs or music that
became a part of who you are.  I remember my dad's crazy lullabies and him playing Rachmaninoff on the piano.  Learning patriotic songs and Christmas carols at school.  Songs sung around a campfire.  Tunes we sang over and over on car trips.  Jump rope songs.

                                 "Do your ears hang low?
                               Do they wobble to and fro?"

Singers my parents loved - Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole.  Songs I listened to scores of times or sang with my dad while we drove to work.  I still listen to all of those.

                     "Two sleepy people by dawn's early light
                       And too much in love to say goodnight."

On we go to rock and folk music.  The Beatles and the Stones and Simon and Garfunkel.  My first "stereo" and my first "portable radio" and all that vinyl.  The top 10 countdown at 10:00 pm each night.  Falling in love with Sam and crying because a song was just so beautiful.  Having him hold me out on the dance floor, even though neither of us could dance.

                           "Moon River, off to see the world
                           There's such a lot of world to see."

Thinking of songs chosen for our wedding.  Songs we played for parties and holidays and birthdays.  Silly songs I sang with our boys or my kids at school.  A song, both happy and ever so sad, sung at my father's funeral.

Sound tracks from movies and TV shows.  So many!  Sam and the
boys always knew when I was in the grip of a cleaning frenzy.  I would jack up the volume of the music from the movie, Patton, so loud, and I would clean that house to within an inch of its life.  Just me and General George "advancing constantly" on Berlin. Marching right through the enemy          
                             " crap through a goose."

Epic westerns with music as big as the sky above.  Rawhide on the TV every Friday night.  

                     "Head 'em up, Move 'em out, Rawhide" 

Even as an adult I loved westerns.  Had an old set of Mattel pearl-handled toy cowboy pistols that I put on one day while I was ironing and watching Silverado for the hundredth time.  When the boys got home from school that day, I heard older son tell a friend that his mom always wore guns when she watched westerns.  The music during the gunfight scenes was so cool!  Ask Sunny.  I still have a thing for cowboys.

And love songs.  A lifetime of Sam and a lifetime of love songs.  That would not just be a post; that would be a thesis.  Music and love go hand in hand.  Lately I have been listening to an old album of songs by Jimmy Durante.

                                     "That's the Story of
                                  That's the Glory of Love."

           So, "Goodnight, Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are."

                    Tell us about a love song that speaks to you.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Insuring Domestic Tranquility - the Preamble According to Sam

I did not know ahead of time that March was Q & A Month.  I am still learning the unique calendar year in this corner of blogland.  Ella is almost one year old, so I expect her to be a bit more savvy sailing into Year 2.  When visiting other blogs lately, I saw a question come up several times that got me thinking.  The question seemed to assume that I already knew what I was getting out of a spanking relationship.  I think I do know that, even though it is always evolving.  But what about my partner?  What does Sam get out of our ttwd connection and the spanking?

Instead of a Man on the Street Interview, I decided on a Man at the Table Interview.  We sat down together at the end of our work day
like always.  I was tired, and Sam poured me a beer.  I explained to him where I had found the question and told him I wanted to write a post.  "So, what do you get from this spanking relationship of ours?"  The words were barely out of my mouth when he jumped on it.

"Ha! Domestic Tranquility," he smiled.

I laughed and asked, "What?  Like the Preamble to the Constitution?"

"Sure, I guess.  Spanking insures domestic tranquility around here."  And then he was off and running.

"When it's wrong between us, it's like soldiers being out of step while they are marching.  We need to be stepping along together."  He talked about how ttwd "cements" the relationship between us and brings us closer.  The love has always been there, but now it has become more intense.

I tried to shut up and just let his thoughts take him where he wanted to go.  I try to do this more, but it is still hard.  I feel like the only thing that will ever make me an excellent listener would be duct tape.

Sam continued by explaining he believes that for me, ttwd and the spanking are "internalized" - like the way I am wired.  Not so for him.  He doesn't need ttwd like I do, but he appreciates the mutual tenderness it brings.  He likes the respect and trust he feels I give him.  He said something else that I thought was strange.  He said if he really did want to spank me, it would scare him - like he might be an abusive husband.  I think that is silly, but that is what he said.  Sam could never be that way.

He went on, "The step wanted to take with ttwd says that you trust me inherently.  Ultimate trust - like life and death trust."  He told me how hurt he felt when I didn't give him my trust several weeks ago with a decision he made.  Thought about saying something here, but didn't.  He is right.  I did not support him, and it was wrong.

"I'm sorry," I said again.  Inside, I know the spanking over this incident put it behind us, but I still feel ashamed.

He kept talking.  He said the spanking is sexually arousing for him, too.  Sex is much more exciting and intense.  Sam smiled as he told me that it is wonderful that I dress for him now in the bedroom - just to please him.  Like I finally figured out that men are more visual.  This makes him very happy.

"It's reinforcing.  I'm more masculine, because you are more feminine," was a revealing comment.  And I really loved when Sam said that!  I had to stop writing for a couple of minutes and climb up in his lap.  He held me tight and went on.  He told me he feels more protective of me - likes the feeling that he gets from taking care of me.

"It makes me feel strong and tender at the same time," he said with a smile.

As hard as I try, I know I still try to take control.  I do know that it irritates him but, I was very surprised when Sam said, "When you do that, it creates a distance between us."  Revelation!  That doesn't just happen when I pull away; it happens when I am bossy, too.  

Sam finished with saying that he doesn't feel he has experienced a change in his self-image.  However, he thinks I have and for the better.  He also commented that while he truly sees how happy and fulfilled I am in our ttwd relationship, he also sees I am more "needy" of him.  I think he is right, but also that he likes feeling more needed.

So Sam's Preamble has many of the same components as the very cherished one I memorized back in 5th grade.

"I, the HOH in this household, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish ttwd Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Connection, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of a happy Marriage for us both, do ordain and establish this Constitution for myself and my Ella."

Hope none of the Founding Fathers are turning over in their graves.  Have never read anything biographical that would indicate an interest in ttwd, but you never know.  None of them was in favor of a king, but I'll wager at least some considered themselves "king" of their castle.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Mighty Walloping

It seems that a recurring struggle for many of us who have chosen ttwd is relinquishing control.  It certainly is for me.  Why, if I have asked Sam to be the dominant in this relationship and I want to be the submissive, is this so difficult?  Is it a sign of the times in which we live?  Is it a defect in my personality and emotional makeup? Is it because I was the oldest child in the family?  Is it something I was taught?  Is it something I developed out of need just to cope with a specific situation?  I do think of this often now.  However, what needs to happen is for the thinking to take place before I screw up instead of after.

There were many times during our marriage where I took on the role of running things, because Sam was not able to.  His long work
days with lengthy commute times.  His earning his master's degree in business and working full time, too.  Away from home on business.  I was the model of efficiency and nobody better get in my way.

Later as a teacher, being in control seemed to be just part of being good at my job.  Multi-tasking is an art form for teachers.  It's all
about how do you deliver quality curriculum, assess, revise, individualize, manage behavior positively and maintain a kind, safe, and caring environment for so many important little people.  Talk about being the boss!

Hand in hand with the control issue goes trust.  If I truly trust Sam, then shouldn't giving up control be easy?  As I have said, this is not the first time this has been a problem for me.  Sam should be able to tell me he is going to do something or not do something and know - 

                           I believe him and I believe in him.

The issue is different each time I fall short.  But the result is the same.  Seems to me that there is a pattern - whether it is how to drive to our destination, cooking Sunday dinner, or even with a big financial decision.  Sam will consult me on most of these, and the discussion is open.  Of course, it's easy if we totally agree on the decision or if Sam decides to leave a decision to me.  What is much harder is being able to say and mean 

                                "Whatever you think."  

               I even consciously try to smile when I say that.  
                          Even better is to add, "I trust you."

Lately there is a serious issue under discussion at our house.  It is one with which I know he needs my support.  But my first reaction hasn't been support as much as control.  I want to dictate the solution.  In this case this is not only irritating to Sam, but my control will actually work against him.  A ttwd conundrum, if you will.  As he became exasperated with my interference, he finally asked,                
                         "Have I ever lied to you before?"

                             I had to answer, "No, never."

           "And I am not lying to you now.  You need to trust me." 

But I did not.  When I finally backed off the control, I just turned silent and drew into my myself.  I even spoiled a special afternoon we had planned together.

"Ella, come here," Sam said gently.  I straddled his lap a good while but didn't talk and didn't connect.  Finally he stood.  He was not angry one bit.  Just took my hand and led me down the hallway. 

I was crying long before he even started.  First he unzipped my jeans and pulled them and my panties down to my knees.  Then he actually took me across one knee.  He has never done that in the bedroom before.  Our antique bed is so high that is is difficult.  And he started with his hand.  He never does that either.  I guess it is what others would call a warm up.  I do not know what to call it, but it was so much more personal, and it felt so right.  It lasted a long while.  He talked to me the whole time about trust and control.  He stood and gently pushed me over the bed.  I heard him open the drawer, and he started paddling in earnest.  Very hard.

There were times when I didn't think I could stand anymore.  He still talked about the situation and the pulling away.  No more of that.  No more sinking.  There was one more pause, and I could not believe he was reaching for something else.  He continued, and I knew that even though it was awful, I was coming back to him.  He did not pause again and seemed to know I really needed this.

When he was finally done, I was exhausted. Maybe he was, too.  The tears had been cathartic this time.  He was back in charge, and the connection was back, too. As he gathered me into his arms, he said, "That was one for the record books."  He was not being funny, just firm.  I don't know how to explain it, but that was the worst and the best spanking I have ever had.  

                                                       No exceptions.  
                                 I need to give up the control.  
                                       And I need to trust. 

I know it may sound corny and country, but there is a lot of truth to,
                                   "Stand by your man." 


Epilogue - Since I finished this post, the whole issue has been happily resolved.  Lesson Learned - I didn't need to worry or control or retreat.  I just needed to trust him.