Archive | Interview RSS feed for this section

Heart-Clenching Male/Male Love Stories: Q&A with Kindle Alexander

31 Jul

Click to buy….

Kris Michaels: When Lady Smut asked me to do a series of interviews highlighting the dynamic authors of gay romance, my first thought was Kindle Alexander. If you love a well written, heart-clenching love story, this author duo is for you. I was fortunate to meet the dynamic duo of Kindle Alexander early on in my writing career. The ladies that comprise this team are fabulous people who are kind, giving, and so much fun.

Full Disclosure: my disclosure, not their book by the same name, which by the way is freaking amazing…anyway, my favorite ugly cry book, the one that had me purchasing stock in a popular tissue company, is Always, by Kindle Alexander. The book wrecked me in the best possible way. Welcome Kindle Alexander!

Kindle Alexander: Thank you for letting us be here today. Big hugs.

Kris Michaels: What people may not realize is that Kindle Alexander is the pen name for a writing duo. How did you meet?

Kindle Alexander: We were cheerleading moms. Our daughters were competitive cheerleaders. We became close friends after an accident that involved my middle daughter. My writing partner was very sweet to me at that time. I call her the sympathy whispers, she’s really good at being there for people. I can say that she’s less sweet to me now. (I can’t wait for her to read this. 😊 )

Kris Michaels: What was the impetus to say, “Hey, let’s write a book?”

Kindle Alexander: It started after my daughter’s accident. It was in the Twilight craze time-frame. That’s when we found adult vampires through JR Ward. We couldn’t read fast enough to get our fill. About that time, Facebook opened to the public. We found Role Playing/fanfiction of JR Wards characters and we somehow got involved. I weirdly became Blay, she was Saxton on Facebook. We fell in love with MM Romance. Loved it. The stories in my head turned to guy on guy. It was actually a little shocking how completely all of the girls in my head and in the stories I was reading turned to guys.

Click to buy

It was right about the time the e-reader was invented. We didn’t know about the MM Romance world so we started writing these scenes online in fanfiction and developed a following. I remember the day I was in my writing partner’s kitchen and I said, “I think we should take these scenes and write a book.” She looked at me shocked and appalled and said, “But I failed English.” (We believed authors were a gift from a higher power, we weren’t worthy. We still believe that and still believe we’re not worthy.)

Kris Michaels: Do you write full time?

Kindle Alexander: Yes, even though we’re very slow. As an Indie Author, there is so much work outside of the writing process. It takes a lot to keep our books in front of people.

Kris Michaels: How many books do you currently have on your backlist?

Kindle Alexander: 8, 9, or 10. Something like that. I’m excited to say that Painted On My Heart won the Gold award in both the LGBT category and the Romance category for the eLit Awards. We’re proud of that accomplishment. No other LGBT book has ever won the Romance award.

Kris Michaels: Tell me what the process is for writing together. Do you swap scenes or do you each write a main character? Do you physically meet to write together or do you write separately and marry the efforts on line?

Click to buy.

Kindle Alexander: Yes. We write all over each other and send the file back and forth. She’s a diva. She likes Word, so we don’t use a shared online version, its one file shared back and worth, broken up into sections. The best thing about writing together is the pre-planning. We talk about guys kissing all of the time. Its great fun.

Kris Michaels: I know authors hate to say one character is their favorite, but if you two had to pick one character each (and don’t worry, we won’t tell your other guys) who would you pick and why?

Kindle Alexander: She picks Aaron from Full Domain. Aaron is a lot like her, they share the same personality. I pick Kane from Always. I connect with his personality. Always was a healing book for me, and Kane is a lot like I see myself.

Kris Michaels: What story was the absolute hardest to write? Was an emotional or technical difficulty?

Kindle Alexander: Well, that’s hard. Always was healing but the whole book was written nine months before I could actually finish the last few chapters. I cried and cried and cried and cried. So I appreciate that book.

Full Domain really took us to the next level of writing. Pulling the mystery and intrigue together as new writers was a challenge to get right.

Click to Buy

Painted On My Heart is probably the one story that helped in my understanding of the true world of a gay man, especially ones with any age on them. We touched on things we thought we understood and learned quickly that we didn’t. In return, we met some of the very best people in the world because of that story. The research alone put us in a situation that’s changed the way we see life. Spoiler alert – Painted touches on HIV. We spent days talking to the Department of Health, then taking that knowledge out to gay men with this disease. Some of those men are now close personal friends. My life is far better off because of their willingness to get involved with our story before and after it was written. Painted kind of turned into a statement book. I’m not sure we’ll ever get as much out of a book as we did that one.

Kris Michaels: What story flew off your fingertips and took you both by surprise?

Kindle Alexander: Double Full. It was written insanely fast for us. Such a letdown to learn it was an anomaly. We’re painfully slow writers deleting at least as many words as we write. I just chopped 35,000 words off this story we’re working on.

Kris Michaels: If you had a walk on song, you know the song that baseball players have blaring from speakers when they come up to bat, what would the songs be for you?

Kindle Alexander: What’s a song with lots of pain and crying?

Interviewer Note: Bon Jovi anything is what I hear when I imagine the Kindles walking toward home plate

Kris Michaels: Do you write full time?

Yee-ha! Click to buy.

Kindle Alexander: Is this some sort of preconceived question based on the answers you think we’ll give? Are you suggesting I should stop and get a day job? 😊

Interviewer Note: I may have written these questions after my second whiskey for the evening, but I loved the answer!

Kris Michaels: If I stranded you on a mountain top and only allowed you access to three books to read until the spring thaw (three total, not each…shakes finger at Kindle, I’m watching you) what three books would they be?

Kindle Alexander: A heavy book to kill bugs and mosquitoes. Another should be how to cook in the wilderness and probably another on how to construct a house with only rocks and my girlie attitude as tools. If I get a fourth one, something that teaches me how to make vodka out of pine trees.

Kris Michaels: What is your favorite thing about writing in the M/M genre?

Kindle Alexander: At different times I’ve had different answers, but my honest answer is everything. I love guy with guy. I tend to watch shows with MM involvement, I volunteer my time and money for LGBT causes, I’ve transitioned all my real-life friends into people that agree with equality for all, I love this world. I love the open mindedness that so many readers have who read gay fiction. My life is better on so many levels than ever before. We’ve gotten lots of hate from both inside and outside the genre, but even factoring that in, nothing is as good being a part of this world.

Kris Michaels: Tell us about the latest book you are working on. Date of anticipated release? Is it part of a series or the beginning of a series?

Kindle Alexander: We’ve stopped doing series. We have a huge cast of characters. We’ve decided to let our characters work together as needed. This next book is tentatively called Reservations, and will be out sometime late fall. Arik and Kellus as well as Tristan and Dylan are involved in this story. I believe we have names for our characters. This time it was hard to come up with both their names. Wanna know? I haven’t said this before. Levi and Thane. Thane’s name has special meaning. You’ll have to read the story to learn why. 😊

Kris Michaels: Do you still get butterflies before you hit publish?

Kindle Alexander: Oh my god -sick as a dog. We get an insane amount of hate when we publish – lots and lots of love and friendship and community, but hate too. It’s the anticipation of it all, but I can say, our friends and readers are great at building us up and standing beside us. For that, I sincerely thank each one. Kris is really good at that for us. So we’re blessed and that has to remain the focus.

Kris Michaels: If each of you had a magic wand and could change only one thing each about the world today to make it a better place, what would you change?

Kindle Alexander: For both of us, it’s the level of discord and hate spewing so freely in today’s world. It’s too much. Our world has gotten sincerely mean. Next would be healthcare.

Want to try a Kindle Alexander book? LINKS!!!

Double Full   Nice Guys series–1

For any who have not started Kindle Alexander’s Stories or will go back for a Re-read binge- you will want to use this order to get the full progression of the read:

1-Current Between Us

2-Double Full

3-Full Disclosure

4-Secret Prequel in Night Shift 2 — [Ask Kindle nicely to send you this novella.  Email: kindle@kindlealexander.com]

5-Secret

6- Closet Confession (novella from Night Shift 1)

7- Full Domain

8- Painted On My Heart

9- Reservations — coming Fall 2017

Kindle Alexander   ‪#‎top20bestsellingAuthor ‪#‎SinIsBack #loveislove

Kris Michaels believes in meeting life head on…as long as there is an ample supply of coffee, whiskey and wine! She believes love makes this crazy life worthwhile. When she isn’t writing Kris enjoys a busy life with her husband, the cop, and her two wonderful sons. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter and check out her webpage. Her latest book, Jared is available now at all major outlets. Find your copy on AmazonB&N, iBooks and Kobo.

 

Alexa J. Day Opens Up About Femdom and Her New Release

26 Jul

 

By Alexa Day

In just a few short days, an expanded version of my novella Passing Through will be released with Blushing Books. To celebrate the upcoming release, Lady Smut presents three days of femdom festivities in keeping with the alpha heroine’s personal proclivities.

For my part, I’m contributing an interview with author Alexa J. Day. We took a moment in both our intensely busy schedules to discuss the new Passing Through, femdom, and why a touch of the inappropriate can be a very good thing.

(Yes, I did interview myself. I do it fairly often. I suspect I’m not the only one here doing that, but that’s a story for another day. For right now, just go with it, okay?)

Coming soon: shirtlessness at work!

Alexa: So I read the original Passing Through, in last year’s Hero to Obey box set. Should I pick up the re-release when it comes out, too?

Also Alexa: Absolutely.

Alexa: Any particular reason?

Also Alexa: The best reason is that the new version is about 50% longer than the last version, which is no longer available for sale. So in the new edition, we get to spend more time with all the characters — out of bed and in bed as well. Seriously, I really enjoyed drawing the hero and heroine a little more out of their shells. Former Army Ranger and Superman of barbacks Noah Monroe and his employer, alpha female business owner Gigi Dean, spend more time center stage, revealing more of their histories and the facets of their personalities that bind them together. In a way, I feel like I’ve always known them, but this expansion made me want them together even more.

Alexa: There’s more sex in the new version, too, right?

Also Alexa: Indeed there is.

Alexa: What’s up with the femdom?

Also Alexa: So the heroine, Gigi, enjoys taking charge in bed, and Noah turns out to be an ideal partner for her. He’s all about delaying gratification, testing his body to its limits, and making sure Gigi gets everything she wants. I

All that, and a dominant black heroine, too? Click and get it today.

think romance fiction has any number of alpha male submissives. Joey W. Hill and Megan Hart write those characters brilliantly, and those guys match up incredibly well with their heroines. I’ve often said that Hill’s Natural Law is a seminal work, and her new book Truly Helpless is super hot. I wrote about Megan Hart’s Beg For It back when Passing Through first released, and I still think that heroine’s desire for genuine service for the sake of service from her partner echoes the desires of many a modern alpha woman. I do think that many readers are inclined to think that the male submissive can’t be alpha, which is unfortunate. I mean, if we think a man is reduced by his desire to meet a woman’s needs — to the letter — then I think we must examine the level of importance we assign to our own needs. Gigi’s desires are so important to her that she entrusts them to her most capable employee and leaves nothing open to interpretation. To me, the best part is that Noah agrees. Of course, that leads to more problems, but that’s what makes romance awesome.

Alexa: Gigi is Noah’s boss at work, too, which is kind of a complication for her. Is the notion of office romance still taboo?

Also Alexa: I think it is for Gigi. Her business has been in the family for a long time, and she’s still worried that

Another workplace inappropro romance. Click to see that guy in the suit on his knees.

she’ll let her family down if she makes a mistake. Something like this is a big risk for her. If office romance was universally accepted, and it’s kind of close these days, Gigi would probably still feel the same way. It’ll probably always be a taboo for her.

Alexa: So when can we get hold of your book?

Also Alexa: Passing Through will drop this Friday, July 28. The easiest way to keep track of it and future releases is to subscribe to my newsletter. You’ll get a short story for free, and I’ll let you know whenever something is out and ready for you. I’ll also have exclusive stuff you cannot get anywhere else.

Alexa: Thanks so much for joining me on Lady Smut!

Also Alexa: You bet. Thanks for having me.

Alexa J. Day is the USA Today bestselling author of erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent. In her fictional worlds, strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and licensed attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

 

Lord of the Ropes

12 Jul

Shibari

Dear lovely people–A.C. Rose is with us again. Today she has an interview to share with us that she did with Morpheous aka Lord of the Ropes.

By A.C. Rose

What is it about ropes?

Some people think it is a little cray-cray to want to be willingly tied up. Others are anxious to try it. And there are those who attest to the sensual power of being tied up and vulnerable.

It’s fascinating to see how ropes are not just an integral part of BDSM play, and at-home sexy times, but have been elevated to an art form.

I reached out to Morpheous – that’s Lord Morpheous, to you – a sex educator, photographer, and kinkster based in New York and Toronto who knows the ropes when it comes to ropes. He is author of the new book, HOW TO BE KNOTTY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MODERN ROPE BONDAGE. 

His book is a beautifully executed collection of images with how-to instructions that illustrate many creative ways to tie one on.

He also teaches rope safety in the book.

Morpheous has taught workshops and performed rope bondage around the world and is the founder of Morpheous’ Bondage Extravaganza, reportedly the world’s largest public rope bondage event.  His work is included in academic collections and museums, as well as published in a human sexuality textbook. He is also author of How to be Kinky: A Beginner’s Guide to BDSM and How to be Kinkier: More Adventures in Adult Playtime.

If you’ve ever wondered why ropes are such a big part of BDSM, read on.

A.C. ROSE: For those readers unfamiliar, what is rope bondage?

MORPHEOUS: Rope bondage is the practice of tying another person for the purposes of art, or sex, or sensuality; in fact, for whatever reason you and your partner do it! It comes under the umbrella as BDSM and is most often used as a communication between partners, a way of connecting in a sensual manner, of one partner handing control over to another. There is an artistic side though, and one that’s central to how most people do bondage.

A.C. ROSE: Do you have to be a professional to play with ropes or is there a safety course one should take before trying?

MORPHEOUS: You absolutely don’t need to be a professional to start exploring rope bondage, and while I’d always encourage people to have basic first aid training if they’re going to get into bondage (and, in fact, even if they’re not), you can learn everything you need to learn about safety as you learn the basics of bondage. I’ve written several books and each one of them covers bondage basics and basic bondage safety to a different extent. It’s all about communicating well, checking in often and having certain important bits of safety hardware on hand at all times.

A.C. ROSE: Why do you consider modern bondage both art and eroticism?

MORPHEOUS: The rope bondage that we know today is most often a fusion of both the Eastern and Western styles, and one has a more artistic bent while the other is more about restraint. My personal style is certainly a fusion of these two styles—with a creative twist of my own. While modern bondage is very much about restraint for sexual or sensory purposes, the shapes of the body, the shapes of the rope and the different materials used means that there’s an incredible art to it—not to mention to the process of tying itself. Watching a talented rigger tie their submissive is almost as sexual as being tied yourself. The fluidity of the movement, the lines, the patterns, the almost visible chemistry between the two…it’s nothing short of art.

A.C. ROSE: Many people find the idea of being tied up a scary because of the connotation of being tied up, yet some are drawn to it, and find it exciting.  What is the draw to those who like it?

MORPHEOUS: The draw is, I think, that very vulnerability that some people find scary. To hand yourself over completely to another person is very intense, and it’s that intensity that is at the heart of all BDSM play. Whether you’re being tied or being spanked or letting someone mess with your head, its all based on the trust that you have in that other person—which is why it’s also so important to only play with people who you can trust and who have proven themselves to be trustworthy.A.C. ROSE: When you are working with ropes, are you a master, artist, or hedonist?

MORPHEOUS: I’m all three! The hedonism comes from the thrill of the connection and of the process of bondage; at no point does your desire for sexual contact or the drive to master someone else overcome your consideration for their wellbeing. A good rigger (the person who ties someone else) always, always has safety and security at the forefront of their mind. But then domination of your partner and artistic creativity are also in there too.

A.C. ROSE: There are many different examples in How to Be Knotty. Do you have a favorite technique? And why.

MORPHEOUS: It would be impossible for me to pick a favorite tie or type of tie. My favorite knots and binds change according to who I’m tying and for what purpose. Sometimes you don’t want to engage in intense sex play but you want to feel connected to your partner; the ties that I choose at that point will be very different to the ties I choose for a hot and heavy session. It also changes according to the body type and limitations of your partner. For instance, some people are more flexible than others; some have larger muscles or body parts in certain places, and some just don’t like to have rope across their chests or between their legs or around their hands. The beauty of bondage is that it is so adaptable—and it’s so fun to play with!

A.C. ROSE: Can you explain what ‘sub space’ is and how people get there?

MORPHEOUS: Subspace is the mental space that some submissives reach when they are tied (or when they are otherwise engaged in BDSM play). In subspace you’re consumed by your immediate sensory experience; everything else seems to drop away, and you become serene in the space you’re in, your connection with your rigger front and center of your being. It’s a glorious place to be—although, much like with orgasm, some people find it much easier to reach than others and some might never achieve it.

A.C. ROSE: Once someone is tied, what are some of the pleasures that are administered? Anything goes?

MORPHEOUS: Absolutely not. “Anything goes” isn’t something that should ever be said of anyone engaged in BDSM play of any type. Everyone has boundaries, both physical and mental, and this is a conversation that should ALWAYS be had before you engage in any type of BDSM, especially bondage, and you should also both check in throughout play. You can be very much attracted to the idea of something in theory and then not that into it in reality, and in that case, play should always be stopped.

However, the range of potential pleasures is almost endless! Penetrative sex, non-penetrative sex, sensation play — spanking, playing with pegs, wax, ice, etc.—whatever your partner is into is likely to be heightened when they’re tied. And it’s always fun to find out what they like best!

A.C. ROSE: Is expert rope play one of the more sophisticated aspects of modern BDSM? Or is it just a normal part of the lifestyle?

MORPHEOUS: BDSM term is an umbrella term for many different types of play, and a lot of kinky folks aren’t into rope play at all. However, when you’re at expert level of anything, I would say you’re moving towards the more intense end of the spectrum. You don’t get to be a master at rope without putting in a lot of time, effort, learning and most likely budget too, and you wouldn’t do anything of that if you weren’t hugely passionate about it.

A.C. ROSE: What is it about rope … that makes it so erotic?

MORPHEOUS: Everything! For me, it’s the smell, it’s the feel, it’s the look of it, it’s the marks that rope leaves on skin, it’s the flexibility and malleability of the material, it’s the colour… and it’s what you get to do with it. There are lots of different types of rope and different materials that rope can be made from, and each one has a whole different atmosphere to it. Personally, I love the traditional textures of hemp and hessian, as these look incredibly retro and hardcore.

A.C. ROSE: Does your local hardware proprietor know what you use it for?

MORPHEOUS: I like to buy from particular artisans and local producers who definitely know what I’m using their wares for. However, I’ve been known to buy emergency gear at my local hardware store and I’ve been there enough and said enough things loudly that if he doesn’t know by now, I’d be surprised!

A.C. ROSE: Do you also like, and partake in, vanilla sex?

MORPHEOUS: Of course! You can’t be kink 24/7, and sometimes after a long week all I want to do is cuddle with my incredible wife and eat ice cream and watch movies and have “nice” sex. However that never lasts too long. J

Thank you to A.C. Rose and to Morpheous for sharing their thoughts on this delicious topic with us today. Here’s a link where you can order HOW TO BE KNOTTY: THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO MODERN ROPE BONDAGE. 

Click to buy.

A.C. Rose is a love, romance, and entertainment columnist and author of steamy romance books. Her Latest book is STAY AFTER CLASS

A super hot professor.
A beautiful student ready to swipe her V-card.
A gorgeous, naked art model.
The sketch that links them all.

Amanda Slade has a major crush on her sexy art professor and wants his help with an important extracurricular activity—losing her virginity.

Professor Jem Nichols knows falling for his beautiful student is a bad idea but he just can’t say goodbye as the semester ends. But the professor refuses to hastily take her virtue. Instead, he wants to slowly teach her the most important lessons of lovemaking.

By the time they’re done, he’ll know every inch of her body. But with the pressure building around his upcoming art show and her sexual debut, will Jem be the one to take her all the way?

School’s out, but the love affair is just beginning.

Find A.C. Rose on the web:

Website
http://acroseauthor.net/

Hot Romance column:  http://thethreetomatoes.com/category/love-sex/hot-romance

What if you misdialed a stranger–and kept talking? An interview with the creator of Jules and James

30 Jun

by G.G. Andrew

One of the most fun discoveries I’ve had this year is learning about the Jules & James podcast, a fictional podcast that tells the story of two strangers who meet through a misdialed phone call and keep talking, and, eventually, fall for each other. I listened to the first few episodes and loved the awkwardness and artistic bent of the dialogue.

As a fan, I had questions, and the creator and writer of Jules & James, Jennifer Schwed, generously agreed to answer a few for me.  Here’s what Jennifer had to say about the podcast–how it came about, when these two strangers will finally meet, and who’s more into a possible romance with the other early on…

How did the idea of Jules & James originate?
After our company, Through the 4th Wall, finished a run of an enormous live production last fall, I wanted to create something very small and intimate—as if it was designed for one person, one audience member. I wrote out lots of ideas that combined the personal and voyeuristic and I landed on the concept of listening to a relationship grow and evolve over time via an ongoing phone call. Ideally, I wanted Jules & James to be both an escape and something relatable.

Having listened to the first few episodes of the podcast, I’ve been surprised by how natural the actors sound. I feel like I’m actually overhearing a real conversation. How much of the dialogue is scripted?
The dialogue is 100% scripted and the actors are 100% brilliant. Both Jules and James have backgrounds in improv and they have such a natural chemistry that they sound completely authentic. And I should say they do add in their own asides from time to time, which I love and highly encourage!

On your website, the podcast is referred to as similar to Before Sunrise, a movie I love. What aspects of that film were you were trying to capture in Jules & James?
The beauty of Before Sunrise is the simplicity of story. It moves the way life does; it flows. That’s what I was trying to capture with Jules & James. That unexpected ease you find with a stranger that opens the door to a million possibilities: will this person become the great love of my life…my best friend…or will I never see them again? For the viewer, Before Sunrise feels both startlingly intimate and completely unknown—and you want to go along on the ride with Celine and Jesse. That’s what I want to capture with Jules & James. I want the listener to be engaged enough to go along for a ride that maybe feels both foreign and familiar.

In the first episode especially, I felt like Jules sets some boundaries with James–by stopping him from interrupting her, resisting the idea that their meeting is a romantic “meet-cute,” and being the one who has his number (and not vice versa). Was this intentional? What part do their genders and backgrounds play in their communication styles and behavior?
Jules was definitely setting boundaries! You’ll learn (a lot) more about her throughout the series and the role of their genders and past relationships comes into play. I think also, for Jules, she’s a writer and director. It’s her natural inclination to guide ‘scenes’—even in real life.

I know this is a romance podcast, but so far in the first few episodes, Jules and James haven’t moved beyond friendship. But I’m guessing there’s more there. Can you tell us who’s more interested in a romantic connection earlier on, Jules or James?
I think there’s a peculiar and shifting line between friendship and romance. Jules and James are truly getting to know each other and revealing bits and pieces of themselves along the way. Plus, they both have lives that preceded the phone call and may prove a hindrance to an immediate romantic involvement. James may seem more outwardly smitten, but Jules is definitely sticking with something that is probably not her natural inclination. I like to think they both felt an immediate connection and each shows their feelings in very, very different ways.

James and Jules both talk about their lives, but a lot of it revolves around their art. Are artists the primary intended audience for this podcast?
I didn’t intend for this to appeal strictly to artists. Ideally, I wanted the story to be multi-faceted and appeal to a broader audience. The romance of a chance encounter, living the life you dreamed of, the self-doubts we all face whether we’re an artist or not…there are a lot of themes and I hope those themes speak to people from entirely different walks of life. There’s a lot of “what if” that runs through Jules & James. I suspect a lot of us play that game with ourselves sub-consciously and this story is a kind of manifestation and meditation on the ideas that surround “what if.”

I know from your website that we’ll eventually not only be able to hear the podcast, but interact with these characters online. Can you tell us more about that? Which social platforms will they be on? Will we get to peek at James’s paintings or see clips of Jules’s films?
Yes and yes! We’ll get to see both James’ paintings and Jules’ films. Jules will have both an Instagram and Twitter account and James will have a portfolio of his artwork online. Listeners will be able to engage in conversation with them through these platforms, but we’re also planning more events for season two—fingers crossed!

Can you give us a hint of how, and when, Jules and James will finally meet in person?
Here’s what I’ll tell you: they set a date to meet towards the end of season one. The date is based on a specific event and it will be their first in-person meeting which occurs around episode #34 or #35…

~

Thanks so much to Jennifer for answering my burning questions about this new podcast! If you’re a fan of podcasts, or films like Before Sunrise, I’d definitely recommend you give it a listen!

Sign up for the Lady Smut newsletter to get some upcoming holiday fun straight to your inbox!

Booked author Leandra Vane on BDSM romance, writing male/male sex scenes and #ownvoices

16 Jun

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

As soon as I heard about the new BDSM romance novel Booked by Leandra Vane, I knew I wanted to read it. Actually, as soon as I saw the sexy cover with a man’s wrists handcuffed and the words “Detectives Were His Ultimate Fantasy” at the top, I knew. Isn’t that a wonderful feeling? I don’t know if there’s a specific word for it besides “anticipation,” but I get tingly when I see a book and immediately know: You’re going to be mine.

Isn’t this a HOT cover?

I’m pleased to report that Booked was every bit as sexy and fascinating as my initial inkling indicated it would be. Vane, a prominent sexuality blogger and author, has spun a small town romance that’s kinky, smart and edgy, with a fast pace that kept me turning the pages as fast as I could (it’s for sale in print and ebook, but I’m a sucker for print). There are many layers to this romance novel, which features a kinky bisexual male protagonist, Nate, a writer who volunteers at the local library and also suffers from nerve damage. He has a BDSM mistress, Charlotte, who’s just started dating the also kinky Ian, but then Nate also falls for his town’s hunky new librarian, James. All that, and there’s even a happily ever after!

I wanted to learn more about the process of writing Booked, which seemed extra fitting for Pride month, so I emailed Leandra Vane and here’s what she had to say about writing male/male romance, #ownvoices, the mental side of kink and BDSM, self-publishing and much more. You can follow her on @Leandra_Vane on Twitter to find out what she’s up to next, and she also has an original tale, “A Stolen Story,” forthcoming in my November anthology Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 3.

Booked author Leandra Vane

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: How long have you been writing erotica and how did you get involved with it? How is writing erotic fiction different for you than writing nonfiction about sex and kink?

LEANDRA VANE: I’ve been a reader of erotic fiction since I was a teenager. It has been a constant and important aspect of my sexuality for my entire sexual life. But I didn’t start writing erotica until I was 25 years old. I had been surrounded by a lot of sex negative attitudes growing up and had the basic impression that romance and erotica wasn’t “Real Writing.” But in 2013 I launched my sexuality blog The Unlaced Librarian where I reviewed non-fiction sexuality books that had been really helpful in my life. This bolstered some confidence so I started writing erotic stories and submitting them to anthologies. At first I just wanted to experiment and see how it felt to write in the genre. What I discovered was the kind of writing that suited me so well I could grow and thrive as a writer. June marks my four year anniversary as a sex writer and I’ve genuinely never been happier.

I think writing erotic fiction is interesting because it lets me explore certain topics from the perspective of different characters as well as exploring how the setting is infused into the sexual aspects of the story. For example, a lot of my stories take place in small Midwestern towns and that flavor certainly impacts how my characters work through their relationships and kinks. Writing non-fiction is more focused. I tend to take one viewpoint and keep it as concise as I can. It’s more structured in order to be effective as sex education and help people work through aspects of their sexualities without becoming overwhelmed.

Both types of writing are rewarding. But I love the ability to see different perspectives around a topic and explore the harsh and painful aspects in a creative way. There are some aspects of sex, disability, and embodiment that are difficult for me to write in non-fiction. But I dive right in with these themes in fiction because I’m more emotionally connected and my characters can serve as an outlet for all the different ways I feel about things, even when these feelings conflict.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: You’ve written that while the idea for Nate and James came to you easily, you almost didn’t write Booked because you weren’t sure you could do justice to a male/male plotline. What made you push past that initial resistance?

LEANDRA VANE: Ultimately I just loved my characters so much I couldn’t not write them. At first I felt like I was somehow “stealing” an experience that was not mine – being a gay man. But when I looked at certain characteristics and qualities of my characters, I saw that I was bringing a lot of my own experiences into the story and the characters. I asked friends and readers of an array of sexual orientations and body identities if they would like to read a story about a librarian and a tattooed novelist exploring kinky role play together and the answer was a resounding yes. I’m now open to writing a lot of different pairings I haven’t been in the past. I’m a romantic erotica writer and readers need and want interesting characters in a variety of pairings. So I’m going to write the ones that interest me. I’m easily seduced by my characters so this breakthrough has been really freeing.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Since this was your first time writing a male/male romance, I’m curious about how the experience was similar and different from the pairings you’ve written in the past. Were there aspects of it that you struggled with more than when writing female characters?

LEANDRA VANE: At first I was a little caught up on trying to do things the “right” way and doing justice to my masculine characters. I asked both gay and straight guys in my life how they felt during and about sex. I learned a lot, but I was mostly struck with how their experiences with sex and romance were not so different from mine. I certainly kept some things in mind but ultimately I focused on making unique and complete characters. Once I got rolling, I was led by their unique pasts, motivations, and desires. Confronting this challenge has made me more aware and able to write well-rounded characters no matter what body or sexual orientation they possess, which is invaluable for me as a writer and an experience I’m so grateful to have had.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: There’s a gradual education about BDSM that unfolds for James, who’s had kinky fantasies but has never acted upon them until he gets together with Nate. Nate and Charlotte recommend books for James to read and they have plenty of detailed discussions before they actually try anything kinky together. Why was this important to both the story and to you as an author to have this slow buildup?

LEANDRA VANE: I personally think it’s important to bring a more varied level of sexual experience to erotic stories. One of the reasons I didn’t try to write erotica myself for so long was because I felt I was sexually inexperienced or not kinky enough. But there are way more people I know who are curious about or just beginning to explore aspects of sexuality than people who have had loads of hardcore, creative, kinky sex. I started wondering, why can’t I have characters who haven’t been sexual with a lot of partners? Why can’t I have a main character in a BDSM story who had fantasized about BDSM but had not tried anything yet? These were more interesting stories to me and ones I connected to.

Also, I feel like talking about sex and desires is intimate and vulnerable. I’ve read a lot of erotic stories where the action happens so fast and the characters go into the sexual situation nervous and sort of looking at each other from the corner of their eye and then things just happen. It’s exciting and all, but I don’t think the tension or excitement is lost when characters talk about things first. In a way, some of the dialogue scenes in Booked felt very erotic to me.

Communication and understanding yourself as well as your partner is a high value for me as a sex educator so I try to infuse this into my fiction when I can.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Something that stood out to me is how much attention is paid in the book to making sure there’s both consent and participation from both tops and bottoms in the BDSM scenes. At a play party, Charlotte asks Nate, “What is it you want out of this scene before you’re at the mercy of my hand and mood?” This struck me as different than a lot of the dominants I’ve read about. What does this level of care toward the submissives from dominants in the book signify about their relationships?

LEANDRA VANE: I personally find it erotic and enticing when the top is fully engaged with the bottom and the scene. It’s a personal preference but I often get turned off if there’s not at least a hint in an erotic story that all partners are consenting. When I play in kink scenes with my current top, I still always ask things like if I can touch him or if it’s okay that we do certain things in a scene and he does the same for me. We’ve been playing together for over a year.

I feel this reiterates the underlying friendship that the characters have for each other outside the dungeon. Sometimes I feel sexual or kink relationships somehow fall outside of parameters of being supportive friends toward each other and I wanted my characters to have a foundation beneath their power dynamics.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Another aspect of BDSM that I really liked was that you explore the psychological aspect of kink as much as (if not more) than the physical side of it, which is often the main image vanilla people have of BDSM. During their first time playing together, Nate tells James that he likes being blindfolded even though it’s “its own special kind of torture” because “It forces me to really give up control.” For Nate, what makes that giving up of control so arousing?

LEANDRA VANE: The psychological aspect of BDSM was really important for me in the book. I wanted it to be just as prominent as the physical aspects in the story.

For Nate specifically, giving up control is a complete matter of trust. Since he can’t feel half of his body, being blindfolded means he will not know if he accidentally gets hurt or even where the top is touching him. As a disabled person with nerve damage, I can say giving your partner complete control over your body like this takes an astounding amount of trust. Call me a vulnerability slut, but when you trust your partner that much, I find it really hot. Considering Nate had a very bad relationship based on lies and mistrust in his past, this is a personal development aspect of his character that shows he is moving on, investing in healthy aspects of his new relationship, and growing as a person.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Nate also compares the physical pain he suffers because of his nerve damage to the kind he craves in kink as a submissive, the main difference being he has control over the latter and can stop it at any point. Can you elaborate on that connection between unwanted and wanted pain?

LEANDRA VANE: Unwanted pain is terrible and for many people is a non-negotiable part of life. Not having a choice is perhaps one of the most difficult things to cope with in life. BDSM is all about choice, negotiation, and consent. When elements of pain feel good, it can be empowering to play with it and help you cope with the times in your life that you have no choice but to endure the pain.

I also know that certain aspects of pain can be very pleasurable but physical pain from sickness, chronic conditions, or illnesses can frighten people away from harnessing pain for pleasure. Having a character that goes through both experiences was important to me to include in the ongoing conversation about BDSM, which I feel I can contribute to through fiction.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: While the heart of Booked is the romance between Nate and James, Nate is also bisexual and a submissive to Charlotte, something that James takes very much in stride and is even interested in learning more about. Was it tricky to navigate the various relationships among the three of them as well as Charlotte’s other partners?

LEANDRA VANE: This aspect was not tricky in the sense that this is how I see things and how I experience sexual attraction. I get into a bad habit of thinking everyone is a bisexual polyamorous person and my friends have to remind me that isn’t how it works. (I can still dream!) Early feedback I received warned me that perhaps the aspect with Charlotte would not be believable or that James wouldn’t be okay with Nate having a Domme. I took a chance and developed this aspect of my characters anyway. I hope that in exploring the motivations and attitudes of my characters that the relationships feel natural and genuine. I’m toying with writing a sequel in which Nate, James, Charlotte, and her partner Ian have formed a loose BDSM-based Polycule. We shall see.

But, just like writing sexually inexperienced characters, I decided there was nothing wrong with writing sexually fluid characters too. It reflects my own experience of my sexuality and of some of my friends so I feel the representation in fiction is important.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Since the library where James and Charlotte work, and Nate volunteers, plays such a central role in Booked, I’m curious about the connection between books (and reading and writing) and romance in the novel. Clearly, all three are huge book lovers, and books play a central role in both entertaining and educating them, so I’m curious what you see as the role of books in Booked.

LEANDRA VANE: In the story both Charlotte and James first stumble upon their kinks in books: Charlotte in history books and James in a book about detectives and crime. Nate is also a novelist who uses his writing to explore some themes in BDSM. All three are indeed book lovers and though each character possesses their kinks for different reasons, it is the element of books that binds all three of them together.

My idea initially was to have the library serve as a metaphorical symbol for a church. It’s an historical building that becomes a sanctuary for my characters. Through the stories and information in books my characters transcend the mundane aspects of their sexuality to engage with their bodies and their fantasies in a deeper, more textural (and enjoyable) way.

It’s also a blatant relay of some of my experiences working at a library in the past. Whether it was the cute white haired lady who checked out mountains of “bodice-rippers” or stories of romance, sex, and violence that I read in the microfilm reels of my local newspaper, the library was and is a well of human experience. Sexuality is part of that experience I wanted to bring forth.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Booked is an #ownvoices novel, meaning that you, like your protagonist, Nate, share certain elements in common, such as having nerve damage. Can you share how your experiences with nerve damage relate to Nate’s, and why the ownvoices element is important to you, and to readers?

LEANDRA VANE: I used to think I shouldn’t write about disability in my fiction because people would call me a self-absorbed “Mary Sue.” But I learned that most of us carry around shame and never grow because we guard our secrets and experiences from each other. I believe by sharing our stories we can all learn and grow together. So I started mining the experiences living with a disability has given me and putting them into some of my stories. All my life I’ve turned to books to have the conversations with me that people in the real world were unwilling or unable to have. So I encourage all writers to share their experiences. You don’t have to be disabled to learn things from disabled characters. And if you do share the experience of disability, there might be pieces of your own puzzle you find in the story. So now I don’t shy away from writing about disability in my fiction.

As for Nate and I, one of the most amazing things I’ve found in experimenting and playing with BDSM scenes is how I experience sensation play and pain when I literally cannot feel over half my body. Exploring this through another character was not only fun but nurturing to me in validating my experience of sex.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Along the same lines, James has to overcome some of his preconceived ideas about BDSM as he learns what it’s like in real life for Nate and Charlotte. Did you have any stereotypes or misconceptions about BDSM that you had to unpack when you started getting involved with it?

LEANDRA VANE: I had always viewed my kinks as a “dirty little secret.” This bit of my soul I kept wrapped up in a shoe box in a dark corner that I only took out every once in a while. I thought if I let it out my whole identity would be dictated by the fact that I was a fetishist who had kinky thoughts.

Becoming involved with the BDSM community and the fantastically supportive world of erotica writers has changed all of that. Imagine, well-rounded, kind, creative people who are also kinky as fuck. Amazing!

I believed in a stereotype that if you’re kinky, it infiltrates every part of your life until you’re just a sex-crazed drone intent on only one thing no matter who you hurt to get it. (Did I mention earlier I was surrounded by a lot of sex negativity growing up? Yeaaahhh.) But now I know the complexity and deeply human aspects of kink and BDSM and I’ve brought it into my life in a healthy way, embracing my kinks and unleashing my creativity as an erotica writer.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: You self-published Booked, as well as several other books, such as your memoir Trophy Wife and fiction A Bloom in Cursive and Cast From the Earth. Why did you choose self-publishing, and do you have any advice for new authors looking into self-publishing?

LEANDRA VANE: I honestly chose self-publishing because of the combination of things I write about. BDSM/Multiple pairing and disability? Yeah, that’s probably a Venn Diagram not many publishers want to see in a pitch. But just because there aren’t oodles of people wanting to read what I write, they are out there. I’m more interested in getting my work to the readers that need to read it or appreciate it the most rather than going the traditional route right now. And I’ve found the small or independent publishers that publish really unique erotica anthologies are a great fit for my work and are the stories I want to consume as a reader. I’ve found a wonderful home for my work this way and I love it.

Of course this did not happen overnight. Before I became a sex writer, I published books under two different pen names, submitted work to lots and lots of lit journals, and launched and folded two blogs. My books and stories were half-baked and my platform was unorganized. I made mistakes. But I learned from them.

As far as advice, I would say work on becoming a better writer first and foremost. Don’t focus on things like awards or accolades. Read, read, read then write, write, write. Find a book that makes you think “how can I make readers feel the same way as I did when I read that last word?” Practice.

Also, even if you self-publish some work, do submit stories to outside publishers. It helps you network, keeps you writing, and builds your CV. It also gives you practice for coping with the business of writing when your work is declined (and it will be declined). But write new things. Try again. Listen to feedback.

Finally, I say this as a joke, but really, you might also want to convert to Buddhism. Your ego is your worst enemy once you start putting work out there. Managing it well will help along the way.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: This week we’re celebrating luck here at Lady Smut in honor of the release of Lucky by Elizabeth SaFleur. Does luck play a role in Booked for any of the characters?

LEANDRA VANE: Every time I pick up an erotica book or write a sex scene, I truly feel lucky to be living in a time and place where we can read and write about sex and relationships. A little over 100 years ago things like the Comstock laws prohibited the sending and receiving of “obscene” materials including books and sex education writing. So I feel lucky to be living in a time and place where technology allows me to not just write but also self-publish my work.

My characters comment in places how lucky they feel to have met each other. Also, there is an historical undertone of the small town they live in with buildings from the 1800’s and the tragic stories of people that lived before them. My characters definitely feel lucky that they were able to work through their kinks in time to still have plenty of life left to enjoy them.

Booked by Leandra Vane is available now in print and as an ebook.

——————————————————————————————————-

This post is part of our Lucky week at Lady Smut, celebrating the release of the latest Elite Doms of Washington erotic romance novel, Lucky, by Elizabeth SaFleur! If you like hot , hunky dominant heroes, you don’t want to miss this book.

Lucky by Elizabeth SaFleur

Billionaire, entertainment investor and resolute bachelor Derek Damon Wright and dance studio owner Samantha Rose are unprepared for their mutual attraction to one another. She desperately wants to have a baby, and family doesn’t match Derek’s sophisticated life of private jets, vacations in the Caribbean and his BDSM activities. Yet a magnetic passion draws them closer—at least until their past mistakes arise and threaten all hope of a real future.

——————————————————————————————————-

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and 2, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Begging for It, Fast Girls, The Big Book of Orgasms and more. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and teaches erotica writing classes around the country and online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and find out more about her classes and consulting at eroticawriting101.com. You can follow Rachel on BookBub to get notified about new releases and ebook sales.

Blown Up & Ice Bound: Q & A with Male Romance Author C.M.Moore

25 May

Click to buy…

by Madeline Iva

MADELINE IVA: You’re really one-half of a whole.  Who’s your other half?
 
C.M. MOORE: I do rely on my wife Monica. She is my editor, my muse, my battle buddy, and my best friend. She tells me when something isn’t “sexy” and she is my brain when my Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) gets the better of me. I will be the first to say that without her none of my books would be possible.
 
MADELINE IVA: You’re a former soldier, right? Tell us about that — how long were you soldiering? Where were you stationed? And you saw action — what happened? I get the feeling you were blown up.
 

C.M. MOORE: Yes, I am. I joined the military just out of high school. I spent my first seven years as a 13 Foxtrot, Fire Support Specialist. An FO’s (forward observer) job is to aim indirect fire and air support. I deployed twice under that occupation. After my second tour, in Iraq, I decided to reclass my career choice. I went with the craziest job imaginable. I joined the ranks of 12 Bravos, the Combat Engineers.       When I was pitched the idea of engineer work I was told: “You will breach obstacles by the use of explosive force”. That sounded awesome! What they didn’t tell me was I wouldn’t be placing explosive, but finding what is hidden along the road. Yuck. My first two tours were a cake walk, but the third one damn near killed me, ten times. I was the lead security gun truck commander. I have been mortared, shot at, and blown up nine times. The ninth I.E.D. (improvise explosive device) awarded me the Purple Heart. I retired from my military career not long after. I sustained a compressed spine, six bulging discs, left shoulder and right knee are shot, and a traumatic brain injury. Which all lead to my writing career.

Connor Moore

 

MADELINE IVA: How’d a nice guy like you come to hang out with a bunch of romance women like us?
 
C.M. MOORE: My wife loves to read. We both own a little bookstore in the middle of nowhere Minnesota. I’m a fan of authors like Robert Ludlum, and their stories of espionage. I have fancied the idea of writing my own series under the same genre. Monica came to me one day and told me she ran out of books to read. Seriously? We own a bookstore.  How do you run out of things to read for fun? With this new found information I told my wife, Monica, I wanted to write a story. When I was about page two into it, my wife pitched to me adding a love story. She pulled on my heart strings to accommodate her. Surprisingly, I had a great time merging the two stories. I haven’t looked back ever since. 
 
MADELINE IVA: Your first book 1:05 a.m. is a (Fill in the blank here.) Hint: I’m looking for a genre…
 
C.M. MOORE: 1:05 a.m. is a futuristic romance. Set after the fall of the U.S. government and the dawn of a new ice era. 
 
MADELINE IVA: What’s the heat level of 1:05 a.m.?
 
C.M. MOORE: I would say a 3.5 out of a 5. It does have some hot sex, but it has some story too.

In a dystopian future, an assassin must choose to fulfill a final contract or keep the love of her life alive.

Yearning for a normal life, assassin Karmen-Marie has had enough of of the post-apocalyptic world. Forced to take one last assassin’s job, Karma sets out across the frozen landscape of Earth.

Rea MacBain’s job is to ensure the safety of Earth’s precious few water purification plants. He believes his abusive past must stay buried under the snow that encases his domain.

Ice cold assassin’s blood drives the woman sent to kill him, yet it ignites the fire which thaws Rea’s heart.

MADELINE IVA: What I really really really really want to ask is this: So many women’s jaws fall open when it comes to military men in romances.  Are we doing something really screwed up when we objectify military men as sex objects?
 
C.M. MOORE: I don’t have a problem with romance novels objectifying and glamorizing men in uniform… what I don’t like is when the story doesn’t properly review what happens to those men after they come home.
 
No one is the same after they return from a deployment and as long as a writer shows a character’s real struggle and their growth, I’m happy to see them writing about the men (or women) who fight for our country. 
 
Look, in the end, I understand that this is a fantasy… that’s okay and what’s more, it’s fun. Read for fun! Read hot sexy firefighters, and cops, and soldiers with muscles, who can bench press you into the bed. (For the record, I used to be able to do that. You can ask Monica if you don’t believe me.)
 
MADELINE IVA: Then what the hell? Why aren’t you writing military romances, Connor?
 
C.M. MOORE: I find writing contemporary romances not as entertaining for me as writing the future in the way I envision it. However, there is a definite military feel in my books that does come from my background. I hope no one holds that against me. ; >
 
MADELINE IVA: And Monica! We can’t forget Monica. She was a soldier too — can you answer #2 for her as well?
 
C.M. MOORE: Monica wants to answer that for herself, so… perspective change. 
 
MONICA: I joined the service after high school. I was in the service for eight years, most of that time as a 38A (Civil Affairs Specialist). I deployed to Afganistan as a Civil Affairs Specialist. CA was an interesting job. I had an officer who liked to say that they hand out “hugs and lollipops” to foreign countries to get them to like the United States a little better. I did things like help build wells, taught English classes at an orphanage, and helped build schools and hospitals.
MADELINE IVA: So, like, did you guys meet in uniform? If you DID then you know I’m totally expecting you to twist/distort the story, however, necessary to make it — pick one: romantic/sweet/hot/fraught with romantic tension.
 
C.M. MOORE: Monica and I did not meet in uniform. I am sorry to disappoint! Actually, as the story goes, It was my senior year of high school and I had a friend named John who claimed he had met this “hot” girl in the next town over and was dating her. I didn’t believe him, so one night I drove to said “hot” girl’s house and knocked. Monica appeared and I was tongue tied. She was about to slam the door in my face, but she recognized another friend (Richard)  who’d tagged along. I told her why I was there (to prove she didn’t exist) and she didn’t take that too well. So to help my poor pounding heart and sweat soaked shirt, I invited her to a party at my house. 
 
At the party (I threw together), I thought I would show off and I challenged a tiny elf-sized woman to a drinking game. What I didn’t know at the time was she wasn’t a light weight. I could bearly keep up with her and before long I was blitzed. While stumbling around I noticed that Monica was leaving with Rich so I thought I would ride along and make my move. I wanted to sing her sonnets and maybe pet her hair while I fed her grapes, but honestly, I could bearly sit up straight. 
 
I had claimed a seat next to her in the backseat of Rich’s car when my friend made a vicious u-turn at the end of the street. My hand flew to my mouth to stop the alcohol that had decided to exit my stomach, but it was no use. I threw up all over Monica, part of the backseat, and finally, I got the door open and colored the pavement.
 
So yeah, after I vomited all over Monica she became mine forever! We’ve been together 17 years and married for fifteen. Monica is strong, smart, kind, and most of all… forgiving. Any woman you can throw up and stays with you is a keeper.
 
MADELINE IVA: Let’s go back to talking about your experiences in the army when it comes to gender. What’s the proportion of men to women in the units you served in?
 
C.M. MOORE: I served mostly in male-dominated units. Only a few headquarter units I was assigned to had females. Monica was in more blended units.
 
MADELINE IVA: How does having women around affect things–if you have any insight into that?
 
C.M. MOORE: In my experience, I know the female perspective is needed on and off the battlefield. Women soldiers bring certain aspects to the table that men don’t think about. For example, compassion. Compassion for the civilians caught in a war-stricken country. 
 
MADELINE IVA: How does being in the middle of soldiering affect the way men think of women?
 
C.M. MOORE: Speaking for just myself, and what I saw, I know that the men had no problem if the female pulled her own weight in her duties. I also noticed women who pushed and sustained themselves to the male standards were held in higher regard.
 
MADELINE IVA: What do we need to know about the whole world building in your novel — it’s post-apocalyptic.  So what are the fundamental big issue they face? Water? Cold?
 
C.M. MOORE: A meteor has struck the pacific, causing massive climate change. Earth begins another ice era. After the U.S. lost the Oil Wars, the remnants of the population are either migrating to the Equator for warmth or burrowing deeper into the Earth’s crust. However, the cold brings its own issues. Issues that create a new rare precious commodity. 
 
MADELINE IVA: Why are the titles certain times of the day?
 
C.M. MOORE: The title starts with Karma and her story in 1:05 A.M. She is tasked with completing her mission by 1:05 A.M. I didn’t want the cover to blend in with all the hot half naked dudes on the cover. Plus, I am a little jealous of their abs.
 
MADELINE IVA: You know I have to ask the next question—so what comes after 1:05 A.M.? 1:10A.M.? ; >
 

C.M. MOORE:  My fans fell in love with a secondary character nicknamed Gears. So, naturally,  Gears got his own Novella. It’s called “Grinding My Gears, An Off the Rails Ice Era Chronicle “. That will be released next month. It will be free for my newsletter subscribers. You can sign up at www.authorcmmoore.com

Click and subscribe to C.M. Moore’s newsletter, and get this free story…

 
In August/September 2:05 A.M. will be released. We will follow Gears’ daughter on her own romance adventure.  
 
MADELINE IVA: Thanks so much for being with us today, Connor! Ladies (and gents?) if you want more of Connor, you can find him cracking wise on facebook here:
 
Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

“Up On the Hog Babe, Let’s Go For a Ride”: The Hot Men & Sexy Voices of Male Audio Narrators

27 Mar

HOT MEN, SEXY VOICES: Last Saturday was #VALoveFest at Virginia Festival of the Book 2017.  Among the excellent panels during the day by far the most popular was THE MEN OF ROMANCE panel where audio narrators shared their experiences about the work, a bit about their backgrounds, and their appreciation for the romance genre.  Below is a video that you must watch/listen to if–like me– you twitch involuntarily at any real man who is into romance.

Andi Arndt was the fabulous moderator. She spoke with David Brenin, Luke Daniels, Will Damron, Derek Perkins and Aiden Snow. Jennifer Dodde Conner captured this video of the event. (Caution! It looks like the video goes sideways for a second–but it’s just for a moment and then gets righted again.)

Details of note:

Luke Daniels has done audio for Heather Graham and Sylvia Day among many, many, others.

When Will Damron does the really sexy stuff he uses the name Jeremy York.

Aiden Snow mostly does military romances, but he likes romances that play out deep gender and relational dynamics.  Most of the time, however, he said “it’s like: ‘Up on the hog babe, let’s go for a ride.'” And all the women in the room about fainted.

Speaking of Aiden Snow —  I saw him walking across the lobby at the festival — and having been converted by my friend Adriana Anders to beardy hot goodness, I said to myself ‘Damn, who is *that* guy?’ (Shoulda stopped him and gotten a picture.  I’m just kicking myself now. Oh well!)

Derek Perkins is British and does a mean Scottish Accent.

I, for one, find a man’s voice at the top of the list for the sexiness factor.  I think that romances often neglect the serious ear appeal of the right voice.  There are men who I find reasonably attractive, but when they speak and their voice is like low thunder, I’m suddenly riveted by their whole being.  I want to chitter like a cat at the window watching birds fluttering around outside.

Perhaps it’s because there is something fundamentally right and reassuring to me about a relaxed, warm male voice.  It’s a verbal embrace, a reassuring caress in my ears that everything is going to be all right.

I’m so curious to find out if any of you listen to audio books and if you do listen to audio books, are you aware of who the audio narrator is? I know Richard Armitage narrated two Georgette Heyer book, but do you actively seek certain narrators?

Are you like me? Does the right male voice send you?

If you want to listen to more of the panels from Love Fest, including HEROINES OF DESTINY — which is the panel that I moderated–go here on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1905127766399699/permalink/1909010616011414/

Kiersten Hallie Krum will be back next week — and I’ll be blogging more on Thursday about other fascinating & fun parts of Love Fest.

Meanwhile, get on the hog, babe, and follow us at Lady Smut. ; >

Madeline Iva writes fantasy and paranormal romance.  Her fantasy romance, WICKED APPRENTICE, featuring a magic geek heroine, is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleKobo, and through iTunes.  Sign up for Madeline Iva news & give aways.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BDSM Newbies and Erotic Romance: Q&A with The Discipline author Jade A. Waters

17 Mar

by Rachel Kramer Bussel

Author Jade A. Waters has made a name for herself with her sexy approach to erotica writing. I have published her work in several of my anthologies and have always been impressed with the way it draws the reader in, whether she’s writing about a flogger (in The Big Book of Orgasms) or Shakespeare and theater and love (in Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1).

After publishing numerous short stories, the San Francisco Bay Area-based author landed a three-book deal with Carina Press for her Lessons in Control trilogy, which follows Maya and Dean, both relative newcomers to the world of BDSM, on an exciting erotic journey. The series started with The Assignment, which featured the pair starting to date, with Dean giving Maya a series of increasingly risqué assignments, involving everything from public sex to bondage to sex clubs. Now, it continues with newly published The Discipline, as they take their sexual fantasies to a new level,  and the third book in the series, The Reward, will be published on June 12.

What especially drew me to her series is that while many kinky erotic novels are set in the world of dungeons with confirmed Masters and submissives, everyone fully aware of their BDSM identities from the start, both Maya and Dean are navigating those exciting but often confusing paths together. She has to figure out how much she can share with him about her past, which includes an abusive ex, and he has to figure out how far he can go with his kinky fantasies, especially as they ease into becoming reality. In Maya, Waters has created a heroine who is starting to tiptoe out from the shadow of her troubling history and into a future where she can crave roughness and tenderness from the same person. In our interview, I asked her about her writing career, choosing ebooks over print, BDSM and consent and what we can expect from this exciting literary love affair.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: How and why did you get started writing erotica and erotic romance?

Well, I’ve been writing fiction and poetry since I was a young girl, but I was also on the precocious side growing up…which eventually translated into a thing for provocatively reading synonyms from a thesaurus to my high school sweetheart over the phone. (For some reason, me reading the word “smoldering” often resulted in his squeaky voiced “Can you come over, maybe?”) Around the same time I discovered Anaïs Nin and The Best American Erotica 1993, and I realized I wanted to give sexy fiction a try. My first attempt was a story about a Russian princess trapped in a tower; her king father was attempting to marry her off to a bunch of disappointing courters, and she was supposed to be saved by a seductive stranger…but I never did finish that story. After that, I penned the occasional ditty every few years. The truth is that I fought the idea of writing erotica for a long time for too many reasons, but once I finally decided to up and go for it, it was on. I wrote two stories that I tried to submit to a small call (one of which ended up appearing later in Coming Together: Among the Stars), and then when I decided I was really serious in early 2013, I submitted “The Flogger” to you. That ended up being my first publication in The Big Book of Orgasms later that year!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: When did you first get the idea for the romance between Maya and Dean, and was there a specific inspiration for it? Did you always plan for it to be three books?

JADE A. WATERS: Maya and Dean’s story was one part my own experience, and about three parts “what if?” The initial idea was sparked because I had a short-lived relationship with a man who playfully gave me an assignment on date one. I thought it was fun (my turn-ons are “playing” and “trying things”), but it wasn’t my thing in the long run, nor would we have ever worked out in a serious way. Pair with that my own history of having been in an abusive relationship in college, and the “what if” arose as I toyed with the idea of how the assignments and power dynamic would play out long term for someone who liked the submission, but who had only experienced it in a negative context. Maya’s independence is a mix of sass and survival—safety and control are imperative to her daily life, so I wanted to explore how that would work if she desired something considerably contrary. When I started book 1 I had some faint ideas of what could happen as they explored and their relationship continued to develop—so I imagined it could be a series, but I didn’t have much beyond an overall arc when I wrote The Assignment.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: There are some very vivid descriptions of things like sex clubs and rope bondage. Did you do any research for the books?

JADE A. WATERS: I do like to do my research. 🙂 It was a mix of memories of a few trips to sex clubs in the past, knowledge from a friend who studied shibari, and a lot of scouring the internet for alternate ideas. Also, reading is key. You pick up a lot from other stories and supplement with research as needed.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Can you tell me about your writing process? For the trilogy, did you write at a set time every day? Did you outline?

JADE A. WATERS: My “process” has morphed like crazy throughout this series. Book 1 was a breeze; it just popped right out. Book 2 had a lot of life and health issues throwing everything off, and required significant time and rewrites. Book 3 happened pretty quickly but needed a solid tweak between the manuscript turned in and what readers will see. The one thing that definitely held true throughout was that I’m a morning writer. It’s my most creative, calm time. I get up at 4 most days to get an hour or so of work in before I go to my day job. Weekends, I’ll start at 6 or so and go until the lunch hour.

I’m pretty simple when it comes to the how—it’s just me and a Word doc—but I like my coconut milk lattes and water in hand and to just go at it. Editing I seem to be able to do later into the day, which is helpful—but any big overhauls need morning light. As for outlining, that’s a big yes for novels. I use a combination of the Hero’s Journey, a 9-step outline process I picked up at a conference a while back, and then a method posted by Glen C. Strathy that I love. I merge these three styles together in a giant document that I print and keep on hand complete with character sketches and floor plans of characters’ houses as I work.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: How did you decide on e-publisher Carina Press, an imprint of Harlequin, as the publisher for your series?

JADE A. WATERS: My agent, Jessica Alvarez, and I shopped The Assignment around for a few months. Some publishers weren’t sure on a series. When the offer came in, we had two—one was for print for a single book, and the other was for the whole series with Carina. While I loved the idea of print, I’ve been fortunate to have been in print in several anthologies and I knew there was time for a print novel later. Carina was enthusiastic about the whole series, which excited me! So, after talking it around with Jessica, it was an easy yes.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Both Maya and Dean are intrigued by BDSM, but are both new at exploring it. Why did you decide to have them both be inexperienced? What was it like to write about a dom who has to act in control but is also, at times, unsure of what he’s doing when it comes to their power dynamics?

JADE A. WATERS: Ultimately, everyone has to be new at BDSM before they’re into BDSM. The desires can be part instinct, but we don’t just wake up one day knowing we like to be spanked or whatever without giving it a whirl. There are a bounty of books out there right now with a super experienced dom and inexperienced (and oft virginal) sub, and it drives me nuts. I wanted to explore two people who had a little exposure and interest in trying more, so that they could develop and cater to their own needs, but together. I find that exploration concept really sexy, which is why it was such an integral part of Maya and Dean’s relationship. However, it definitely posed some challenges in portraying Dean. He had to be in control, and yet he had to make rookie mistakes (he does in The Assignment, after all). It’s maddening to read and watch, but life is all about learning, and that’s what they do. Maya and Dean’s flubs allow them to figure out how to communicate and negotiate their boundaries—something I don’t think ever stops, in reality, in BDSM or any relationship. So they continue navigating that throughout the series.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Maya is intrigued by BDSM and submitting to Dean, but very wary based on abuse in a past relationship that had included some elements of BDSM, and she is also works with abused women at her job, which complicates her perspective. Was it challenging to incorporate the subject of domestic violence into a book of kinky erotic romance?

JADE A. WATERS: In some ways, yes, but not completely. I remember that when I told a non-erotica writer pal about Maya’s background early on, as well as some of what happens in the book, she’d said, “Wait, you’re basically giving her PTSD and having her trigger in an erotic romance book?” I’d found the question rather curious. I think we as a society have a tendency to gloss over the fact that real people have real histories and that can impact one’s choices and experiences. Maya is a fictional character, sure, but I like my characters to be real people. As someone who actually lives with PTSD—which does flare for most PTSD sufferers randomly throughout life—and yet someone who is also extremely sexual, I didn’t find the combination all that strange; I know what that feels like. It doesn’t saturate every moment but there are periods when it’s active. In the same way, making sure that past experience didn’t oversaturate the relationship was a challenge I enjoyed. To me, Maya’s story is about finally coming to terms with her past throughout the course of the series while she finds not only love and lust but herself in her relationship with Dean.

 One of the biggest themes of The Assignment is safety, which is what allows Maya to indulge the side of her that wants to have sexual adventures ranging from bondage to public sex to visiting a sex club. What about Dean makes her feel safe, and what, if anything, about Dean makes her feel unsafe?

JADE A. WATERS: Dean is naturally dominant, but he’s also a playful, compassionate guy. Maya is playful too, which is why they respond so well to one another. His openness allows her to feel safe, as does all his checking in—he may be giving assignments, but they really cater their dynamic together, and flesh it out through the series. We learn more about Dean in The Discipline, and some of his experiences have given him his own reticence that he [foolishly] tries to cover up. But as their relationship grows, it’s got to come out. I’m really into the pieces unfolding in time with people much like peeling back an onion, and yet, that lends to the challenges these two face. Maya’s questioning of safety comes from her background, pure and simple. It’s hard for her to place her trust entirely in someone else’s hands, but she wants to with Dean. Later, when she’s found her confidence in submission, she’s able to use that to call Dean out when he’s holding back. I wouldn’t say she feels unsafe then; in fact she feels safe enough to make the call and draw him out to meet her, too.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: If Maya had not met Dean, do you think she would have found other ways to explore her interest in BDSM?

JADE A. WATERS: Maybe? Frankly, I think she was too busy avoiding. If—and I mean if—she did find it later, I think it would have taken her a long time, because she was mighty happy with her fancy free love and sex life. There’s something about Dean that pushes that button for her in the perfect combo of dominant, charming, and sweet.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: The San Francisco Bay Area, the setting for the series and your home, is very prominent in the series. What’s so sexy about the area? Do you think people are more open to exploring BDSM there than in other parts of the United States?

JADE A. WATERS: I didn’t realize how into the area I was until I started writing erotica, honestly. Someone pointed out that I had a water motif and I had to pause before I realized, um, hello, I’ve been writing watery motifs for a while. I lived in Nevada until I was a teen, and from there I was in Sonoma, Marin, all over the East Bay…this place is just so incredibly lovely. (A 12-year-old me protested becoming a California girl and I now proudly tote that badge.) There’s water everywhere, be it moderate rains or on the coast. And waves…they’re so sexy to me. It’s that soothing but rhythmic one-two punch. I’d read a few erotica books set in other highly populated areas and none seemed to be here, so I felt like it was high time the Bay Area got some quality love! As for BDSM here…San Francisco is such a far cry from many places in our country. There’s a lot of open-mindedness (never mind several BDSM and sex club options), so, if there aren’t more people exploring it here there are at least more aware of and open to it here, I think. 

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Was your focus on safety and consent a response to the perceptions in popular culture of BDSM? Were you trying to address any cultural myths about kinky relationships?

JADE A. WATERS: YES!!! (Sorry, was I shouting?) I have read and heard about far too many misconceptions that BDSM is actually abuse. This is dead wrong. A consensual BDSM relationship is a beautiful thing. A nonconsensual relationship of any type is abuse. But BDSM is not a synonym for abuse, and many people still believe this is the case because unfortunately in real life and in fiction some do treat it as an excuse to abuse. That’s a no-no. Also, I think consent is an extremely important topic. I need to preface this with the fact that I under no circumstances believe it is a fiction writer’s job to educate the public on consent or to only write consensual scenes—and it drives me crazy that people say otherwise. However, if one is writing a BDSM story and they don’t intend for the dom to be an abusive character, then one does have to be a responsible writer and make sure the consent, communication, and negation is there in a healthy way. For Maya and Dean’s story, consent and safety was imperative, both because I wanted them to have a real and healthy BDSM relationship, and because Maya’s backstory requires safety in her relationships. Period.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: What were your favorite and least favorite parts of writing this trilogy?

JADE A. WATERS: This is strangely the hardest question you’ve given me, Rachel! 🙂 Favorite…man, all of it? The way the story morphed over time, and at the same time challenged me and exorcised some of my own demons. I really loved Maya’s growth throughout the series (just you wait until book 3), and it felt good to watch her develop. Same for Dean. Hardest? Mmmm…my life, like, completely blew up at the start of drafting book 2. So I think it would be cool to try writing a series not under so much life stress! (You hear that, Universe? Eh-hm.) Part of that was the pace, and part was just all that was going on. But, I think it worked out all right!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Can you give us a hint at what happens in The Discipline, which was just published, and the third book, The Reward?

Jade A. Waters: Happy to! The Discipline sees Maya and Dean learning the discipline of having a serious relationship while also exploring more sexual discipline, which means more play, and several really hot fantasies that will definitely challenge them. A. Lot. By The Reward, they’re not only more stable but stronger…however, some past challenges will confront them, hard. We will see tremendous growth in both characters…as well as in their relationship. It’s a mighty reward!

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: What have the responses been like from readers to the series?

JADE A. WATERS: Fairly positive, I think! Some people seemed to really like their dynamic and the story, which is amazing to hear. Some wanted more Dean in book 1, which I knew would show up in book 2 because The Assignment was more about Maya’s growth…so I’m hoping they find what they’re seeking when they read on. I try not to read reviews too closely and when I do I just figure to each her own, but so far it seems people are enjoying, which is such a compliment.

RACHEL KRAMER BUSSEL: Anything else to add?

JADE A. WATERS: Yes…a giant thank you for having me over!!

Click here to read a sexy free excerpt from The Discipline, which is available for purchase for Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

——————————————————————————————————-

Rachel Kramer Bussel (rachelkramerbussel.com) has edited over 60 anthologies, including Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 1 and 2, Come Again: Sex Toy Erotica, Begging for It, Fast Girls, The Big Book of Orgasms and more. She writes widely about sex, dating, books and pop culture and teaches erotica writing classes around the country and online. Follow her @raquelita on Twitter and find out more about her classes and consulting at eroticawriting101.com.

Meet An Owned, Collared and Well-Educated Feminist

24 Feb

by Elizabeth SaFleur

A few years ago I met the very lovely, very real BDSM lifestyler, AJ Renard, at the BDSM Writers Con in New York. An owned and collared submissive, AJ is an artist, model, executive and many other things — and she loves dispelling misconceptions about kink, as well as making sure people stay safe as they enter and explore the lifestyle. Her shoe and lingerie collection is to die for. And, look! A special jewelry giveaway from AJ below.

February is known as “love month.” It’s also when a certain movie came out.What a perfect time to sit down with AJ and set the record straight on BDSM and all things kinky — especially if you’re ready to go there.

The lovely AJ Renard, who also models!

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: AJ! It’s so great you’re here. Can you tell our readers about your BDSM/Kink lifestyle experience?
AJ RENARD: I have been in the lifestyle since my late teens, although I have always been strongly aware of my inclinations. It’s difficult to pinpoint one aspect of the lifestyle that draws me. I am a 24/7 submissive (the bottom in a Power Exchange relationship, where the submissive partner has willingly and consensually handed over some or all decision-making power in their life to their Dominant), which fulfills a deep need in me to serve and please another, and allows me the freedom to trust someone enough to put my life in their hands. I am also fundamentally a bottom (someone who receives the action during a BDSM scene vs. a Top who does the action to someone) in play and sexual encounters; it is intrinsically a part of me, and something I have never not had in my life.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: So you’re “all in.” I imagine that surprises people when they meet you.
AJ RENARD: I think one of the things that surprises most people is simply to learn that I am a submissive. There is a broad misconception that being a submissive makes you weak, or a doormat, when, in reality, most Dominants value submissives who have a mind of their own and use it. Being submissive does not mean that I can’t have a great career as an executive, or that I can’t voice my opinion, or that I can’t allow my sassy and rambunctious personality to shine through. It simply means that I live by a set of rules to please my Dominant, and I trust him to make decisions for my benefit and growth, as well as for the health of our relationship.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Is there anything in the BDSM world that the vanilla world gets wrong, consistently?
AJ RENARD: That the lifestyle is sexually-focused. There are absolutely people, myself included, who express their sexuality through kink, but there are also many people who find satisfaction, sanctuary, healing, love, safety, and security in the lifestyle without it being sexual for them.

One of the things that bugs me the most (besides all the other things I’ve been ranting about!) is the impression many people have that BDSM is in direct conflict with feminism. There is a perception that BDSM is all about men controlling and hurting women, or women being docile and submissive (in a pejorative sense of the word). While there are many PE dynamics with a man in the D/ role and a woman in the /s role, those roles, and their activities, are consented to by both parties.

I consider myself a feminist, and I strongly encourage women to choose the path in life that makes them happy and fulfilled. For some, that might be owning a company or it might mean being a stay at home mom. It might mean being a Dominant, and taking on that D/ role yourself. It might mean handing over your power to another. Regardless, to me, being a feminist means finding what makes you feel good and having the freedom to pursue it, and not judging or condemning other women for how or where they find their own happiness. The BDSM lifestyle is where many people find their freedom, and it allows people to explore desires and parts of themselves that they may have been told they should be ashamed of.  I think that is very positive, empowering, and feminist.

dreamstime_l_49695676

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: My next question could fill a book, but I’m asking anyway! What do you wish people knew about BDSM, in general? There seems to be so much misinformation…
AJ RENARD: Ohhhh my gosh… There’s so much…! One of the biggest things I wish people truly understood is that everything in the lifestyle is based on consent. Consent is discussed, informed, enthusiastic, and can be withdrawn at any time by either partner.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Anytime?
AJ RENARD: Yes. One of the questions I see asked a lot by newcomers (especially by young, inexperienced submissives) is “can my Dominant do X?” My first question back is almost always “did you discuss it and consent to it?” Because that’s what it boils down to. Both parties must consent to what is happening within a relationship or scene.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: A certain book (clears throat before saying it includes the words “Fifty” and “Shades”) opened the door to many to the world of BDSM. Yet, many real-world BDSM community members were upset about how BDSM was characterized. What would you tell someone whose only exposure was that movie or series?
AJ RENARD: If someone discovers their kinky side through a work of fiction, I think that’s great! The important thing to remember is that it’s fantasy. Real life is always different, and especially in BDSM (or any other “culture” steeped in protocols and traditions), if you don’t live the lifestyle day to day, it’s difficult to portray it accurately.

A lot of what rubbed the BDSM community the wrong way with that particular book goes back to one of the misconceptions I spoke about earlier – the idea that consent is paramount in this lifestyle. The main character was uninformed about the lifestyle in general, the dynamic she was entering into, and even the types of play they would engage in. How can you consent to something you don’t know will happen? She didn’t consent to the amount of control he took over her life, and when there isn’t consent, what is left is a violation.

I think that erotic fiction and the BDSM genre has made some conversations about sexuality and kinks slightly more acceptable (I say slightly because many of the people I know in the lifestyle would still lose their jobs, friends, and even their family if they were outed- there is still a tremendous amount of fear and bias surrounding the BDSM community), but it has also created a desire for many people to learn about and participate in kink, even when they’re not sure where to start.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: So how should someone start?
AJ RENARD: If someone finds their interest piqued by something they read in a BDSM novel and they want to explore more, I would encourage them to start by reading nonfiction. There are some great books and websites out there that will help you get a better idea of what the lifestyle is about, and what you might be interested in.

Editorial Note: SM 101: A Realistic Introduction by Jay Wiseman and Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns by Phillip Miller and Molly Devon are two staples of BDSM education.

For many people, fantasizing and reading is as far as they want to go, and that’s perfectly fine! For those who want to experiment, I always always always encourage them to find in-person education. Most medium cities have a local scene, and you usually don’t have to look very far away to find an event, class, party, or munch.

Munches are low-pressure social gatherings, usually in a private space at a restaurant or other non-kink venue. There is no play, or kinky activity. From the outside it looks like any other social gathering, and it’s an opportunity for kinksters to meet, socialize, and be amongst like-minded people. Many munches have an appointed person who greets and introduces newcomers to people, so you don’t feel so alone or out of place! You don’t have to be intimidated even if you’re not sure what you’ll talk about, a lot of the time most of the conversations have nothing to do with kink!

Another great way to meet people and dip your toe into the scene is through classes. Many clubs and groups (especially TNG groups- “The Next Generation” groups, for people under 35) will offer skills classes like BDSM 101, intro to impact play, etc. and those are another way to educate yourself and meet new people. Fetlife.com and FindAMunch.com can help you find a local munch, and classes in your area.

47544101_l

“To play safely, you must be informed, about yourself, your partner, and the play in which you are engaging.” ~AJ Renard

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Since BDSM has come out of the closet, so to speak, education seems very important right now.
AJ RENARD: I always believe in the power of education! Traditions, skills, safety practices, and knowledge are all highly regarded in the BDSM community, and most of these are not learned overnight, and not instilled in someone without effort.

BDSM education, in my opinion, is incredibly important for two main reasons: Safety and Respect.

The first, and most obvious, is safety. As a bottom, you are often putting your physical and emotional safety in someone else’s hands, as a Top, you are often responsible for them. That is not something to be taken lightly, and even deceptively simple types of play (how hard can it be to tie someone’s hands with some clothesline you have lying around, right?) can often carry risk that you don’t know about. To play safely, you must be informed, about yourself, your partner, and the play in which you are engaging.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: So true, so true. I’ve seen some “live experimentation” on a person before and it made me cringe.
AJ RENARD: Many skills also require practice and are techniques that must be learned. If you can’t aim that flogger and hit the spot you intend to, every time, with the intensity and force you want, you need more practice before aiming it at a human being. Additionally, you need to learn how to vet your potential partners, keep yourself safe, asses their skill level, negotiate and set limits for scenes, etc. If you’re completely new to kink, those are things that you will need to learn- in classes, from experienced kinksters, from a mentor, etc.

image7

AJ in rope suspension.

The second biggest reason I think education is important is respect. I often compare it to moving to a foreign country. There is a new culture, language, customs, way of relating, and to respect and honor it you must understand it. I see many newcomers complain (mostly in online groups) that they don’t feel as immediately welcomed as they thought they should have been. What many people fail to realize is that to people who are deeply into the lifestyle, new people can present a potential threat.

To people in the community, newcomers can often mean someone who wants to pass by all the education, safety knowledge, and wisdom experienced players have to offer, and get right to the “exciting (i.e. dangerous) stuff.” It can mean that someone may not take the time to learn the traditions and culture of the community, and may deeply offend someone because they haven’t made the effort to understand the lifestyle, even if they don’t practice it in the same way. There is also the very real danger that someone who doesn’t understand the need for privacy and discretion, who is caught up in the excitement of getting involved in kink, may inadvertently “out” someone- as I mentioned earlier, while some aspects of kink are becoming more socially acceptable, there are serious, real world consequences if some people were to be outed.

dreamstime_l_50620849

“With BDSM being more widely discussed, many more people are trying kink, and many people are doing it dangerously. Unfortunately, those people are the ones who often end up in the news, representing the BDSM community when something goes horribly wrong in their play.” ~AJ Renard

When you enter this community, you will come across people who live their lives in ways you might have never imagined. The kink community is an accepting place where they have found a home, and educating yourself about different lifestyles, types of play and relationships will help you navigate the waters and remain respectful.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Is there anything that erotic fiction authors “get wrong” a lot…or a little?
AJ RENARD: One of my biggest peeves with a lot of BDSM fiction is that most scenes seem to be foreplay for sex. For a huge swath of kinksters, the majority of their scenes do not involve intercourse, and many scenes are not even sexual in nature. It may be a rope scene that is much more about the ties and positions and suspension. It might be fireplay for the sensation and relaxation, it might be a bootblacking scene for the appreciation of the leather and the act of service, and there are PE dynamics that are service-based, with no sexual interaction. Now, I understand the space between a rock and a hard place in which authors find themselves. Yes, they want to accurately portray the lifestyle, but their readers also want to pick up something sexy to read!

The other issue I usually have is the sped up timeline. BDSM takes time. Skills take time to learn, it takes time to build trust, it takes time to vet someone and negotiate. Again, I understand that these are vastly less exciting to read about than someone jumping in and discovering themselves through hot, kinky sex with someone who they instinctively know is safe and skilled and knowledgeable.

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Do you believe BDSM is “coming into its own” in the world now? Like we’ve reached a critical mass and there’s greater understanding and acceptance than in decades past? (Is this a stupid question? LOL)
AJ RENARD: Kink, as far as the more generic perception of kink (maybe some leather cuffs, a blindfold, running an ice cube over the body, spanking, maybe some butt stuff), is getting slightly more acceptable. In the same way that Kinsey’s studies found evidence that homosexual acts and behavior were too prevalent in the general population to be considered truly “abnormal,” people are starting to realize that the desire for some level of kink in the bedroom is far more common than we used to think.

However, many kinks, things like ageplay, more extreme Sadism and masochism, consensual slavery, CNC (consensual non-consent, like rape and kidnapping play), and even D/s relationships like the one I have, amongst many, many others, are still looked at with suspicion and derision. People can lose their jobs, custody of their children, and rape cases because of their lifestyle, plus facing discrimination and potential loss of friends, family, and community. Someone might understand giving your spouse a spanking, but it’s still a far leap for many of those people to understand that I truly like being hurt and terrified, to the point that I am sobbing and begging, or that a rape victim can find catharsis and comfort in CNC scenes where they might be able to feel as if they’re rewriting their attack under their own power and control.

12965818_251925155153398_1762563922_n

“It takes a lot of understanding and education for many people to understand those, or that someone can need to be in a little headspace to feel protection and love, or that sometimes it feels really, really good to just be objectified and used as a footstool.” ~AJ Renard

BDSM was only recently removed from the DSM (in the DSM V, published in 2013), and the law has not yet caught up- many activities in BDSM are considered illegal (in the United States you cannot consent to your own bodily harm). De-stigmatizing kink, and no longer classifying it as a mental illness is a start, but there is still a long and difficult road ahead before most of us might be able to live without fear of the consequences of how we express our need to serve, our sexuality, and our love.

(The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom, NCSFreedom.org, has been instrumental in many of these advancements. It is a great organization to be involved with or donate to!)

ELIZABETH SAFLEUR: Thanks, AJ. You certainly have given us a lot to think about!

~~~~~~ GIVEAWAY~~~~~~

Ooo, look at the pretties! Four people will be randomly selected from the comments section below for one of the beautiful pieces below. Or, you can go like our Facebook page and be entered to win, too.

15978682_374019502950465_433210544_n 15970219_374019499617132_816519170_n 15941956_374019496283799_1962733580_n 15941847_374019506283798_1114190960_n

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Elizabeth SaFleur writes contemporary erotic romance and she’s not afraid to get graphic about it  — “it” being the sex, the BDSM or Washington, DC society, which she regularly features in her series, the Elite Doms of Washington. Join her Sexy, Saucy, Sometimes Naughty exclusive reader’s group or follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

Real Life Christian Grey Talks BDSM & Fifty Shades

15 Feb

Hello readers!  We have a guest post for you today from A.C. Rose–an interview republished TheThreeTomatoes.com. Find out more about A.C. Rose’s writing and her book about 50 Shades at her website. Check out her facebook group 50 Shades of Grey Fans.unnamed

Shades of Al Daltrey: Talking About BDSM with a Real Life Christian Grey

As “Fifty Shades Darker” plays in theaters around the world women are once again thinking of Christian Grey, BDSM and sexually dominant males. I felt it my journalistic duty to bring you an interview with a man who knows about it all, first hand.

Al Daltrey is a real life Dom who lives the lifestyle and also writes strong BDSM erotica. His books come with a warning label and are not traditional erotic romances, yet he has gained a following of female fans that appreciate his unapologetic peek into the world of BDSM. You might even say it brings some of them to their knees.

By day, Daltrey dons a suit and tie, and works in marketing. In 2014 he opened his laptop and somewhat accidentally launched a second career as an erotica author, penning his first book, Testing the Submissive. He admits it is “more extreme” than anything he would ever consider doing with a real life submissive, yet readers say the story makes them tingle in all the right places.

There is a line in that book that, to my mind, sums up why women love to read about powerful Alphas. “Experienced and mature dominants always have an understated confidence,” he writes. “There is no need to flaunt their power.” There is something very sexy about men, real and fictional, who own their power.

His second novel, A Condo With Two Views, is written from the point-of-view of both the Dom and the Sub. His most recent books are, Pain, Pleasure, and Purpose: Pleasure (Book One) Pleasure) and Pleasure, Pain or Purpose: Pain (Book Two).They tell the story of three best friends who help each other navigate life, loss and love…and lots of kinky sex. “I poured everything I had into this story,” says the author.

It’s not often you get to pull up a chair and talk to a real life, happily married, sexually dominant male, so we appreciate Al taking the time to answer some of our burning questions.

AC ROSE: What exactly is a male dominant?

AL DALTREY: First, let me say: definitions are not always universal.  Ask 25 people the difference between a liberal and a conservative and you will get 25 different answers. All my answers in this interview are my personal opinion based on my personal experiences. Others in the BDSM lifestyle may disagree, and that is fair.  For this question, I assume you mean a sexual dominant. The simple definition is: a person, male or female, who takes control during consensual sex. The submissive of course, relinquishes that control.

And what is exactly vanilla sex?

Vanilla sex is simply regular, normal, healthy non-BDSM sex.  Or, even more simply…non-kinky sex. It is a term that became popular within the BDSM lifestyle to describe sex between those who are not in the lifestyle.

So from your perspective, can a sexually dominant male enjoy both?

Absolutely.  Personally, I have always loved great vanilla sex. I may practice BDSM, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy vanilla sex too. BDSM became the icing on the cake.  In a good healthy sexual relationship, there are nights where a couple wants the lovemaking to be soft, tender and romantic.  Another night, for kinky fun, they might employ bondage and spanking.  The point is, it’s not all or none. There is room for both.

How did you find yourself on this path, personally? And are you currently in a power exchange relationship?

I was born with it. I know that for a fact. Growing up, the fantasies and inclinations were there. That said, for me, consent is key. I do not believe in force, and do not find force arousing in any way.  Today I am very happily married to my beautiful wife.

Female sexual submission is a controversial topic. Some see female submission as a weakness yet many women find role play satisfying and they obviously like reading about it too.

During my lifetime I’ve been lucky enough to meet my fair share of submissive women. And don’t for a minute think these women were weak. Outside the bedroom they were confident, opinionated, gregarious and self-assured. In fact, many of them were successful executives or professionals. At the workplace, they kicked butt. However, inside the bedroom (so to speak) they wanted to feel the strong firm hand of a dominant man taking complete control.

What got you started writing erotic books?

I started writing because of an interest in BDSM, not because of an interest in writing. One day, I flipped open my laptop and starting writing a kinky BDSM story, not really thinking about where it would lead. Soon I had 20 pages, then 40, then 60 and I knew I was on my way to my first novel.  I heard about self-publishing, so cleaned it up and uploaded it onto Amazon. The reaction seemed positive, and soon I had a Street Team on Facebook helping me promote the book.

Erotic romance is a huge now. Do you find as many readers who just want to read about kinky sex for arousal?

In my view, the market for erotic romance novels is far bigger than the “kinky sex for arousal” market.  The latter market scours the internet for sites such as Literotica to get their fix.  There are exceptions of course.  Some novels do well.  But generally, I believe the kinky sex market is remarkably small.

Since you are writing as a sexually dominant male, what do think women hope to learn from your books, and from you?

I worry about that. My books are not intended to “teach” anything about the BDSM lifestyle. They are intended simply as fiction. A story. I worry when people read my books hoping for a glimpse into the real BDSM lifestyle.  My books have a lot of stuff that I don’t condone.  Just like action movies are exaggerated, so are BDSM novels.  People should read my books for fun, not for education.

Is the sex in your novels rough because that is what your readers want?

It’s not that I’m trying to cater to what the reader wants but in storytelling almost everything is exaggerated for dramatic effect. In a cop story we see these wildly spectacular car chases where 10 Police cars chase a car through crowded streets at speeds of 200 mph. In a medical drama the Doctor heroically saves countless lives.  In a sports movie the athlete scores the winning goal with two seconds left.  Think of every single Hollywood movie you know. So, with a BDSM novel, the same applies. The tasks that the submissive must perform are exaggerated for dramatic effect. It’s fantasy. So, in my books, the sex scenes are intensified as is the case in every other genre.

Your reading audience is primarily women. Some would like to turn their vanilla mates into dominant males, or at least get them to experiment. Any advice on getting guys to try new things?

To answer a question like that would take pages, and even then, it varies by person/couple.  I’m not sure I can provide a succinct answer.  There is some information on my blog.  As I say in my blog: not all men are born with a dominant gene. With those men, I’m not sure that there’s any hope.  Those men who have the underlying qualities – at least there’s hope. Someone could probably write an entire book on this, lol.

Do people call you master?

As mentioned, I am happily married and have been for some time. My wife does not call me “Master” no. Nor do we discuss our personal lives in any kind of detail. I can tell you that I have been called “Master,” and it’s actually a lovely feeling. Obviously it is commonly used in a scene, but also it can be a nice endearment among two people who live the lifestyle.  He might say, “Sleep well my little pet,” and she might say, “Goodnight Master.”  Like anything, if terms of endearment are overused they become goofy.  We’ve all been around couples who make us gag because they are so lovey-dovey.  But used properly “Master” can be a great word. I’m not sure if your question was poking fun at the term…but I hold it in high regard.

Learn more about Al Daltrey.

Find Al Daltrey books.

Visit Al Daltrey’s Erotica BDSM virtual community.

A.C. Rose is a love, romance, and entertainment columnist and author of steamy romance books. Her Latest book is AROUSAL

unnamed-1

Only .99. Click to buy.

 

Allison Monroe just got kissed on an elevator.

But she has no time to be distracted by this gorgeous man, with his panty-melting glances and sexy accent. She’s headed to the most important event of her career—a launch party for the new “My Fantasy e-Reader” at Club Kismet, high atop a Manhattan Skyscraper.

She’s determined to forget about the amatory elevator ride.

But Nicolai Petre has other ideas. That kiss confirmed what his grandmother’s vision had already told him—that Allison is his destiny.

He’s determined win her love but has only six days to prove they are meant to be. So he must keep her in a state of… AROUSAL.

%d bloggers like this: