Editorial board by Anastasia Vitsky ~ Review by Alexis


Title: Editorial Board

Author: Anastasia Vitsky

Publisher: Blushing Book Publishing

My Rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the Publisher:

Award–winning author Spring Meadows and newspaper–turned–literary editor Rachel Templeton have one thing in common: they can’t stand each other! Spring is sure that her bestselling talents single–handedly keep her publishing company afloat, while Rachel would like nothing better than to take this smart–mouthed, button–pushing prima donna down a peg or two. When Spring makes the fatal mistake of accusing Rachel of sexual misconduct, Rachel decides to teach her a lesson. 

”What is an author to an editor?” Spring asks herself. If only she had been prepared for Rachel’s answer…

My View

The romp, I think, is a difficult genre as it has to be plausible enough for its implausibilities to slip unchallenged through the reader’s brain. Obviously this is entirely subjective, and based primarily on your personal level of engagement with the text. Editorial Board – a lighthearted lesbian spankfic involving a flighty author and her editor – only partially succeeded for me. Although I very much suspect mileage may vary.

Spring Meadows is a bestselling author working for what appears to be an extraordinarily small press. In response to her prima donna ways, and inability to hit a deadline, her publisher has hired a new editor for her, the cool and collected Rachel Templeton. Spring behaves incredibly unprofessionally, essentially involving them both in a power game, which Rachel finally concludes by repeated applications of the “Editorial Board” (i.e. a paddle) to Spring’s frankly entirely deserving arse. Spring’s developing disciplinarian relationship with Rachel helps her with various professional and personal issues, and while there’s no sex or a HEA type ending here, Spring definitely finishes the story in a more positive place than she began it.

Editorial Board is quite self-consciously ramped up to eleven. Nothing about it makes any real world sense at all: not how Spring managed to become a bestselling author working for a press that seems to employ only one human, not how she appears to be paid both a salary and royalties, not how she has a contract with her publisher despite the fact she hasn’t even produced a synopsis for the book she’s supposed to be writing, not her profoundly unprofessional behaviour regarding every single aspect of the publishing process, why she’s using Word on her Mac for heck’s sake, or the … y’know … spanking. But there’s an extent to which I don’t think it’s meant to make sense. It’s meant to be the context that allows for some spanky f/f fun, and it’s probably part of the reason I’m not the best reviewer for this kind of book because, while I’m sure most writers have felt spanked by the editor at some point, I spent too long going “hang on a second” instead of “oh, hee hee.”

This became increasingly problematic when the book was actually openly wrong, as opposed to merely deliberately reality-averse, because it severs that delicate “let’s pretend” contract between author and reader. For example, at one point Spring dispatches her young niece, Eden, to play World of Warcraft. Later Eden returns, with the following complaint:

“Spring!” Eden bellowed, bounding into the room. “My thingy got stuck and the computer froze and I lost my whole entire game and I’d just gotten to the next level!”

Forgive me, but WoW is an MMO which means, your progress is saved dynamically as you play, so even if you suffer a technical hitch, you wouldn’t lose anything, let alone the “whole entire game”, which is, in fact, owned by a third party and lives on a bunch of servers that might well be in a different state, or indeed a different country. I know this is rampant nerdhattery, but these things matter in that suspension of disbelief is fragile, all readers have their breaking points, and when you’re already asking someone to do a lot of suspending in the name of fantasy, it seems only polite to me to make it as straight forward and simple as possible. World of Warcraft inaccuracy was my personal snap, but it’s only one example among several.

However, I think what Editorial Board does balance very well is some sense of emotional authenticity alongside all the absurdity. A lot of Spring’s anxieties, and slightly destructive behaviours, felt both understandable and, err, recognisable to me:

I put down a few words on my synopsis only to discover that the grout in the bathroom absolutely needed scrubbing at that very minute. Dissatisfied with the toothbrush and Softscrub, I searched online for various treatments for the icky dark stuff that appeared in the lines between the shower tiles. I added a Tilex grout pen to my shopping cart, clicked it through the checkout, and decided that the shower cleaning would have to wait until I could do it properly.

I sat in front of the computer again, this time only to realize that the window blinds were crooked.

Equally, Spring’s relationships with her large-ish family are nuanced and detailed, and serve as an effective emotional bedrock for Spring’s less sympathetic behaviour, and crazy spanking shenanigans:

 I was eight years old again, chasing Autumn and Summer and telling them that the biggest dandelion was mine, that Ma would like mine best. And no matter how much we argued amongst ourselves, she would put our three dandelions in the glass and tell us that all three were the best. Just like us.

Slightly more problematically for me was Rachel’s relatively minor role in the text. She’s everything Spring isn’t: calm, rational, professional, consistent. And while that makes her an effective disciplinarian (and presumably an effective editor), it doesn’t make her much of a character. She’s a rather abstract force of betterment and spanking, which meant there wasn’t much emotional connection between the women, other than Spring desperately needing Rachel to sort her out, and Rachel randomly believing that Spring is a genius who has a deep ability to feel and express things, despite the fact that nothing in Spring’s actual behaviour suggests this. Again, I’m probably not the ideal reviewer for this one because I’ve never … err … particularly been into spanking without sensuality, but while I definitely don’t think a sexual or romantic relationship was required here, I would have liked some deeper spark or emotional reciprocity between them. The other thing that mildly isn’t, um, in my wheelhouse is spanking-for-therapy just in general, but given this book’s commitment to that idea, it perhaps makes a degree of sense that Rachel is narratively distant – in the same way that a teacher or counsellor would be.

I would personally give Editorial Board three stars, partially because of personal taste, but also because it kept breaking my suspension disbelief when I was already having a hard time maintaining it. However, it is engaging and well-written, so if you’re more into spanking generally, and spanking-as-therapy in particular, add an extra star.

Buy Links:

Blushing Books
Amazon UK

I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.

Farewell Giveaway
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.

Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,

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