A writer’s journey
through the BDSM Lifestyle
I can’t tell you how many times people ask me why so many of my books involve the BDSM lifestyle. I don’t think the answers I give them are quite what they are looking for. No, I was never in the lifestyle—exactly (damn it!). And I have limited personal experience. In fact, I knew very little about it when it first captured my attention. In 2006 I was fortunate enough to read two books by the incredible Joey W. Hill—The Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul. I was a fledgling author at the time but I thought to myself that this—this!—was the kind of book I wanted to write.
I began to research the subject, primarily on the Internet, and discovered a number of places where I could interact with people. Among them is Fetlife, where I found that as long as I was upfront with people about who I was and what I wanted, most people were great about answering my questions.
I was amazed at the things I discovered!
First and foremost is a very important truth about a D/s relationship—it’s the only one built completely on trust. In no other situation does one partner have to place one hundred percent trust in the other to make it work. D/s is about a lot more than the pain, the punishment, the submission. It’s about an exchange of power where each partner is willing to strip himself or herself bare for the other and believe that trust will not be abused.
That’s a powerful, powerful situation.
So when I began including BDSM in my books I focused on that aspect of the lifestyle. My Ellora’s Cave book, Rodeo Heat (which won The Romance Studio Award for Best BDSM Book of the Year), seemed the perfect place to launch this new phase of my writing. Grace, my heroine, is 42. She’s been a widow for 20 years. Her entire life has been in emotional lockdown as she raised her children and made a career for herself. Ben is ten years younger chronologically but years older emotionally. As a rodeo rider he’s lived a hard life. Grace touches him in a place he’s never opened to anyone before. He is also a dedicated Dom.
When he takes Grace on her journey of sexual awakening, he introduces her to the D/s lifestyle, one aspect at a time. And as Grace learns to trust him, whether he’s spanking her or feeding her with his hands, she is shocked to discover the fulfillment in domination. By the end of the book it is the firm foundation on which their future is built. You’ll find this same theme repeated in all my books built around BDSM.
I was curious about all aspects of a D/s relationship. How do you separate the good from the bad? Last year when I visited a local dungeon I was able to ask a lot of questions about that and the risks involved for a neophyte. The Doms in attendance were totally honest with me and freely answered all my questions. The material I gathered became the framework for a story about an initiated sub who is introduced to the lifestyle by a man who is essentially cruel. Not a true Dom.
Dangerous Addiction, a short Ellora’s Cave novella, is about a woman who was seduced into the lifestyle by a man who was both power-hungry and cruel. Not representative of an appropriate Dom at all. Did not believe in the power exchange and abused the trust of the neophyte sub. Trapped in the web he weaves for her, she is freed only with the help of a friend who sees the relationship as pure emotional abuse. She meets another Dom—experienced, loving, caring—all the things a Dom should be—and tentatively begins a relationship with him, although her prior situation still haunts her.
My wonderful editor, Kelli Collins, urged me to write a sequel to this, so early in 2014 EC will release the full-length Beyond Addiction. This book, with a great deal of input from the local BDSM community, explores all sides of a BDSM partnership. What each level means. The stimulation of pain and the pleasure of punishment when it’s administered properly. The willingness to submit when the sub understands the Dom\me truly cares for him\her.
In this book my heroine is thrown back into contact with the original Dom and is forced to take risks to fight the sick addiction to him she still feels. The book is often harsh because it shows what happens when the dominant partner ignores or refuses to acknowledge the cardinal rule: SSC—Safe, Sane, and Consensual.
Submission is a gift and should be appreciated.
In Beyond Addiction, Fallon, my heroine, is finally able to realize how unhealthy and brutal the situation really is. And what a good, loving D/s relationship is. She finally makes a conscious choice to reach out to the Dom who loves her.
Not everyone begins living the life at an early age. Many come to it later in life. I often worry that people who read about BDSM in my books will develop false illusions about the lifestyle and find themselves in dangerous situations. I wrote this book to show what can happen in a situation like that and to urge them to make the proper choices.
I want my readers to understand that BDSM is a complicated lifestyle, whether you enjoy it for an hour of playtime or as a routine for life. The emotion is intense, communication is essential, and respect is key. If you understand that, this is an extremely rewarding adventure.
Will I continue to write more about this? Absolutely. And I will continue to study it so I can bring you a true picture of it. I hope you’ll join me for the journey my many characters take.