What got you interested in writing about BDSM?
What research, if any, have you done into BDSM to make your stories realistic?
What got you interested in writing about BDSM?
What research, if any, have you done into BDSM to make your stories realistic?
Join us as we interview L.M. Somerton.
What qualifies you to write BDSM?
I am lucky enough to be a previous winner of the Pauline Reage novel award from the National Leather Association: International. The NLA:I is a leading organization for activists in the pansexual SM/leather community and their annual awards are given for excellence in literary works in SM/leather/fetish writing.
It wasn’t until I entered the awards that I researched a little about Pauline Reage. Fifty years ago, an extraordinary pornographic novel appeared in Paris. Story of O is described by British journalist John de St Jorre as portraying “explicit scenes of bondage and violent penetration in spare, elegant prose, the purity of the writing making the novel seem reticent even as it dealt with demonic desire, with whips, masks and chains.”
I can only imagine the reaction seventy years ago to such work. Pauline Reage, the author, was a pseudonym, and was thought by many to have been a man. The writer’s true identity was only revealed in the 1990’s when intellectual Dominique Aury (born Anne Desclos) acknowledged that the fantasies in the Story of O were hers.
I am often asked what qualifies me to write MM BDSM. I think Pauline Reage helps to answer that question. It doesn’t matter what you look like on the outside, however demure and academic you might appear, there is no such thing as being ‘qualified’. As Pauline Reage recognized, the power of sex makes compelling reading and if I can get even a little of that power on to a page, I’ll be happy.
Can you tell us about your writing process; for example, do you write an outline first?
I carry a notepad around to scribble down plot ideas when they strike me. I rough out a plot line but don’t plan too rigidly because sometimes the story takes its own direction, but I usually have a firm ending in mind. I often write scenes several times before I’m happy with them and as a result, I’m painfully slow.
Do you write one novel at a time or do you move between works in progress?
I usually have two or three stories on the go and write where the mood takes me.
What motivates you to write?
It’s my relaxation and addiction. If I have a few spare minutes I can’t resist tapping out a few lines.
L M Somerton lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.
She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.
Join us for our interview with Renee Rose. Feel free to ask her a few of your own questions.
How did you begin writing BDSM?
As a lifelong spanko, I had hundreds of D/s fantasies rattling around in my head, but didn’t realize there was a market for it until I accidentally stumbled upon the genre three years ago. I knew immediately I’d found my calling.
Do you think there’s a difference between spanking romance and BDSM?
Yes and no. I think domestic discipline falls into the spectrum of D/s, but there are nuances that are different. Shame is a key element of the spanking kink, so spanking romance is looking for the real-life scenarios with real punishment, as opposed to considering it to be a bedroom activity. My characters do always acknowledge the sexual nature and appeal of it, too, though.
You write non-consensual spanking and punishment scenes, how do you make them palatable to your readers?
I love non-consent, because I think it makes the scene hotter, but it can be tricky. I write a lot of historical romance because it eases the issue. In times when corporal punishment was the norm, you have societal consent for a man to spank his wife or lover, so her consent is not necessary. In contemporary romances, I usually have him looking for signs of non-verbal consent, like erect nipples, lubrication, etc.
Do you consider D/s a practice or orientation?
I truly feel I was born this way, so an orientation.
Do you live it?
It was not until I published my first book that I told my husband how much submission meant to me. I am happy to say that he caught up quickly.
Renee Rose is a modern dance teacher, Feldenkrais Practitioner(R), energy worker and kinkster. Named Eroticon USA’s Next Top Erotic Author in 2013, her books are all centered around her favorite kink: spanking. With a B.A. in creative writing, she spent thirteen years in technical writing before she found a way to incorporate her deepest darkest spanking fantasies into fiction and express a part of her that longed to see the light. She is now passionate about supporting others in accepting and exploring their kink, whatever that may be. Please visit her blog and join the conversation!
Feel free to pose a few of your own questions for her below.
What is your aim when it comes to writing about BDSM? What do you hope people get out of reading your books?
I want to write a good story, and I hope readers get a ripping good read! I hope they enjoy the characters and the trouble they get into and the emotional and philosophical decisions they have to make. And I hope they like the fantasy world I created and enjoy imagining what it would be like to adventure in a world like that, whether they like the idea of being served or serving or just being the occasional bystander.
What are some popular misconceptions about people who participate in BDSM?
That we’re intrinsically or situationally damaged – either we’re born injured or handicapped or cursed by these desires, or that we are made kinky by bad experiences. Sadly, Fifty Shades of Grey does support the “only damaged people do SM” meme. But studies within the scene have revealed we are no more or less likely to be emotionally challenged or disabled than the rest of the human population. Which is sad because I really wanted the study to show we’re more creative, saner and smarter. Ahh, well.
What about this idea that you have to be damaged in some way to like it: do you think that’s true?
See the above question. That some kinky people have had bad sexual or emotional experiences only reflects that MANY people experience these things. Frankly, it’s very hard to admit past abuse issues when you’re into SM, because so many people leap to the conclusion, “Oh, that’s why you like to be tied up! Your father called you stupid when you were seven!” It’s nonsense. You might as well conclude that people like to play football because they drank milk as babies. Correlation does not imply causation. There are far too many variables.
But because so many people have experienced some form of abuse or neglect, they can sometimes find a sense of power and security in enacting consensual dramas as adults. They might not want to relive past pain, but instead find ways to create greater trust and intimacy by sharing what scared or hurt them and finding ways for their lovers to help them to feel safe, or powerful, cherished and respected. And there is nothing more empowering to a past abuse survivor than the feeling of negotiating exactly what they want and getting it, completely able to stop anything that isn’t working. It’s not therapy – people who need professional help should get it. But it can be very rewarding and pleasurable.
What about the 50 Shades of Grey phenomenon? Is it good that more people know about BDSM through that, or does it paint a very misguided view of BDSM by perpetuating that only those who are damaged in some way will enjoy it?
The main thing people need to realize about Fifty Shades of Grey is that it’s a romance. This is not a portrayal of the modern BDSM scene any more than a romance book about a sexy doctor is about the National Health Service. In fact, the kinky scene doesn’t even exist in those books – other than the damaged romantic hero commenting that she’d be amazed at what she could find on the internet, and suggesting Wikipedia for her research purposes. And this in Seattle, one of the most influential cities for the BDSM community in the US!
Don’t get me started.
Anyway! Most people who read those books have zero interest in doing anything kinky. They are romance readers! They read for escapism, not life modeling. If romance readers read and then ran out to find what they read about, the beaches and docks would be full of women waiting to be picked up by pirates.
And the damaged hero is nothing more than part of the standard romantic trope of “virginal woman secures the love of a bad boy through her virtue.” He is only bad because he had a dark past. Poor, poor billionaire Christian, with the 6-pack abs and the concert-level piano skills, flying his personal helicopter and buying his girlfriend cars and homes! He was abused and neglected as a child, and therefore beats women who look like his mum. But in the end, true love redeems him, and the kinky sex, which he once used to distance himself from women, becomes merely another way he and his wife – and mother of his children – can enjoy their frequent and mutually satisfying sex life. And they live happily ever after, assuming no more of his former girlfriends come after them with guns.
This is not good for people like me, who aren’t much into romance novels. But it means almost nothing to people who actually have kinky sex. Sure, a few people will read the books, goggle a few terms, and unlike Anastasia, they will find us! And some of them will come out, buy a sex toy, attend a workshop or a party, maybe even buy one of my books. And of them, a few will stay for a while. But we’re talking very small numbers.
The big change – the one that will count – is how many people will begin to see just how unthreatening the BDSM scene really is. Because right now, all over the world, people are telling their friends and family, “Oh, what I do is sort of like what’s in those books you just read in your book club. But without the stalking and we don’t use zip ties for bondage because they hurt too much.” And their friends are thinking, “Well, sheesh, what’s the big deal then?”
And that is all to the better. People will feel safer “coming out” as kinky when they know their grandma has those books on a shelf. And it will be harder to paint us as rare, dangerous deviants when everyone knows mum has those books on her kindle.
How does a book like 50 Shades differ from one of your books?
I do not write romances. My books are not about one couple, fated to get together and stay together forever in domestic bliss. Mine are about a larger cast of characters, with only a few staying from book to book – it’s more in the style of an old fashioned family saga. The setting is what matters, plus a few core characters and their arcs. There are romantic aspects to my books, but no happily ever afters. Just an occasional “happy for now.”
I also write for an audience that is more aware of sexuality and BDSM. Frankly, I find many of the sexual depictions in 50 Shades to be misleading at best or dangerous at worst. Hopefully, the type of people who look to fiction to teach them how to have sex have better examples to learn from. Of course anyone who thinks fiction is any way to learn anything is already operating from a handicap. You might as well read a Star Trek novel to learn jet propulsion.
Laura Antoniou’s publishing career began when she started writing gay men’s smut to promote safer sex practices during the early 90’s. Emboldened by getting paid to do this, she then edited the groundbreaking “Leatherwomen” series, highlighting tales of kinky women. This was rapidly followed by half a dozen other anthologies and the Marketplace series of erotic BDSM novels which never reached the sales level of the 50 Shades books, but she’s not bitter. Instead, she wrote the 6th, titled The Inheritor, due to come out in 2015.
In 2013, Laura turned her mind to mysteries and came out with the Rainbow Book Award for Best LGBT Mystery, The Killer Wore Leather. Now that she has achieved almost mainstream success with it, she plans a sequel, to be released via Cleis Press. She is also the editor for Best Lesbian Erotica 2015 and is planning many other writing and editing projects in order to fulfill a lifelong dream of actually making a living on this sort of thing. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter or check her out at www.lantoniou.com
Join us in welcoming Roz Lee. We had a few questions for Roz to help us get to know her better. Feel free to pose a few of your own below.
When you first started writing, what made you decide to write a novel?
Honestly? I never set out to be a writer, so it never occurred to me that I could write something else. I was a stay at home mom and an avid reader of romance. My daughters joked that I had read so many I could probably write my own. I took that as a challenge—and guess what? I found out that I could write one!
What research, if any, have you done into BDSM to make your stories realistic?
I’ve always been interested in the psychology of why people do what they do, so when I began doing research for writing sex scenes (yes, there is research involved!) my initial inquiries began with psychological texts. Not particularly fun, but interesting in a geeky sort of way. From there, I read non-fiction books on the lifestyle, and of course,
Dr. Charley’s book which is specifically for writers. That led me to virtual research via the internet. It’s truly amazing what you can find online. (When I die, please, someone erase my search history!)
Finally, I read every fiction book I could find that dealt with the lifestyle—everything from The Story of O and the Marquis de Sade to Anne Rice—and of course, I read contemporary romances too, since that was what I intended to write. Yes, I’m a geek. I admit it.
What differences or difficulties, if any, do you see in writing BDSM stories as opposed to your typical romance?
Everyone understands the basic human urge to have sex. That requires no explanation in a romance novel. However, not everyone understands the kinkier side of human sexuality. You can’t have your character whip out a flogger and go to town on another character without some explanation of why either one would be okay with that.
You don’t have to convert the reader to the lifestyle, but you have to convince them your character’s needs are valid and essential to their pleasure and happiness. If you can’t convince them of that, then you’ve lost them completely.
If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?
I’d be a Science teacher. I love science so you would think I’d write in the paranormal, sci-fi or even steampunk genres, wouldn’t you? LOL I’d probably get lost in the research and forget to write, so I’ll leave that to others.
Award winning author Roz Lee has penned over a dozen erotic romances. The first, The Lust Boat, was born of an idea acquired while on a Caribbean cruise with her family and soon blossomed into a five book series published by Red Sage. Following her love of baseball, she turned her attention to sexy athletes in tight pants, writing the critically acclaimed Mustangs Baseball series. When Roz isn’t writing, she’s reading, or traipsing around the country on one adventure or another. No trip is too small, no tourist trap too cheesy, and no road unworthy of travel.
Roz Lee was one of the Featured Authors of BDSM Writers Con 2014 and is returning for
BDSM Writers Con 2015
Here are a few questions we had for Alex Tempera
What got you interested in writing BDSM?
I like writing a variety of genres to challenge myself. I was inspired by the work of author Caethes Faron. She does not write BDSM but her work inspired me to attempt to write erotica. The minute I decided to try that, I knew I should involve BDSM as a sub-genre. It just seemed to fit the story I wanted to write.
What research have you done in regards to learning about BDSM and the lifestyle?
My friend, whom I have known for over 18 years, is a Dom and engaged to his submissive. I always knew about his lifestyle, which for years he kept hidden from most people, but always talked to it about me because he knew I would never judge him. I jetted him an email and asked if he would mind answering some questions. I told him what I wanted to do and he answered everything and gave me more information, such as websites like social media sites for those involved in the lifestyle. (not sure if I should list the site or not, but it’s fetlife.com)
Do you only write BDSM stories or have you ventured into other facets of erotica and romance?
I have written three books (2 of them not yet published) that have to do with BDSM and the lifestyle. I have also written a m/m erotica romance that does not have any BDSM within the storyline.
Do you think there is a difference between a BDSM romance versus a regular romance?
I think there are differences in the way the romance versus erotica stories are told because of how much detail and the language used, especially when describing sexual situations. In BDSM, it is not always about sex and romance, but the bond between the dominant and submissive. In my book, “Waiting for Superman”, the bond between the main character, Kylie (who was a submissive) and her late-husband, Ian, who was also her Master is still strong. The bonds and power between the two can be very strong if it’s there. If there is no sense of bond, the D/s relationship will not work.
Any current projects or series in connection with released books? Waiting for Superman does have a sequel, but it is too early to release it. Waiting for Superman does NOT have a cliffhanger ending. The sequel picks up a year later and it’s called “club Olympus”.
Alex Tempera is the alter ego of author Amy Shannon. In the quest for a new genre, Amy transformed into Alex to create a new depth of erotica and romance novels. The beauty of a well written erotica novel is that is contains a thoughtful and romantic storyline as well as beautifully written intimate scenes. Alex’s research into erotica genres, BDSM play and the lifestyle will continue to enter into her stories. Alex’s stories do not just revolve around romance sex, but there is always some form of conflict that allows the lovers to realize that they are meant for each other.
Join me in welcoming a new author,
Cara Downey as she debuts her kinky erotic poetry.
Why did you choose to write about BDSM?
I chose to write about BDSM, because it is important to me. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the lifestyle. So I wanted to write about how beautiful the lifestyle is and how deep the connection is between two people who live the life.
Who was your inspiration and contributed to your decision to take the plunge and publish your work?
My inspiration to write came from authors like Maya Banks and Beth Kery, to name a few.
Do you have plans to write a full length novel?
Yes, I do plan to write a full length novel at some point. Right now I am working on my next collection of poetry.
Why not BDSM??? BDSM is a deep connection between two people, who have amplified their love for one another. There is misconception and a negative view surrounding BDSM. With books like “Fifty Shades of Grey” etc…BDSM is now on the front burner. My hope is that my writing shows readers how amazing, how beautiful, and how fulfilling the lifestyle is… especially with the right person.
Cara Downey is from North Preston, Dartmouth Nova Scotia in Canada. She is an avid reader of erotic romances and thrillers. She loves to dish on twitter and via email with her favorite authors about their current and up coming novels. She loves to interact with readers on Facebook and Twitter. You can always find Cara on twitter @cara_downey and Facebook… just type in Cara Downey.
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.
Join us as we interview Jan Graham. Below are a few questions we had for her. I’m sure you have a few of your own. Feel free to ask her anything.
Why did you choose to write erotic romance?The choice was a natural one for me. I like to read erotic romance, so I chose to write what I like to read
Do you practice BDSM or just write about it? I’ve been a member of the kink community for over 15 years now, so including aspect of the lifestyle in my writing is something I love to do. I love showing readers that kink can be part of a “normal” persons everyday life.
Do you fall in love with the characters you write?Just like in real life, it often starts with falling in lust with my characters (mostly the male ones) and then moves to love. I have also been known to fall in love with my villains. I know, I know, they’re the bad guys. *slaps wrist*
Jan Graham describes herself in many ways. She is a full time writer, friend, submissive, orphan, widow, aunt, and sometimes, a wild child. Despite any hiccups the universe may throw at her, she believes in experiencing everything life has to offer and being the best person she can be. Jan lives in Newcastle, Australia, where she spends her time writing erotic romance. Her writing falls under a variety of genres including BDSM, contemporary romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance. Jan has often been quoted as saying:”I am glad to finally give the characters that swirl around my head on a constant basis, the opportunity to put themselves down on paper and I hope they entertain my readers as much as they amuse me.”
Join us in welcoming
Suzy Shearer a BDSM author from Down Under. Check out what she has to say about how she got started and her upcoming releases.
When and how did you start writing?
I had written the opening for a book about 6 years ago then put it aside. Last year, I was fiddling on my computer and found it. I expanded it, gave it to a few friends to read and when they told me it was good I submitted it to a publisher.
I was over the moon when they accepted it and have not looked back since. I have three books out now and four more due for release over the next few months.
Why erotic romance?
I discovered when I started writing that my descriptions were very graphic and explicit. In my youth, I had dabbled a little in bondage/waxplay/flogging, so I seemed to gravitate toward BDSM. I always think that women prefer to read ‘porn’ while men would rather watch it so my books are filled with enough heat to keep my readers in lust!
Do you concentrate on one book at a time?
Never! Sometimes you get stalled and I generally turn to another book when that happens. At the moment, I have five books demanding I write more on them and lots more clamouring for me to start.
What would surprise people to know about you?
I imagine most would be surprised to learn I am an introvert and a recluse. When I do venture out, I think most people are surprised to see a woman my age with tattoos and crazy colored hair.
Did you always want to be a writer?
No. My first love has always been Art. I have been painting since I was around 8 and since 2000 have done it full-time.
Suzy is single and lives in Sydney Australia’s Western Suburbs with one very spoiled dog and two equally spoiled cats to keep her company. Her books always feature older heroes and heroines; ranging from mid 40s to 60s. She believes that being older does not mean we are not intriguing, desirable, open to challenges or willing to experiment. Sexy isn’t just for the under 30s! When she is not writing, she is painting. An accomplished Artist, her passion is watercolors and her subject matter ranges from portraits and animals to nudes and seascapes. Oh yes … she also has a penchant for crazy colored hair – pinks, purples and even rainbowed – and for tattoos!