What got you interested in writing BDSM?
I actually resisted for a long time, as I didn’t even particularly enjoy reading BDSM stories. But the more I wrote, the more I wanted to experiment with different genres and sub-genres, so when I saw a call for submissions looking for BDSM stories, I gave it a go. The story was accepted, and I’ve never looked back!
What resource, if any, have you done into BDSM to make your stories realistic?
The beauty of writing fiction is there is no right or wrong – every single last person is different. What gets one person off doesn’t work for someone else. So, although I’ve done research – online and in books – it’s mainly all down to my fertile imagination.
What differences or difficulties, if any, do you see in writing D/s stories as opposed to your typical romance?
I don’t see difficulties. It’s just different, and that’s awesome. I like different – I write lots of different heat levels, pairings, genres, etc, and BDSM is just one of them. I sit down with a bunch of characters and see what story they want me to tell.
Which is your favorite out of all your BDSM books?
Ah, that would be Stately Pleasures. Mainly because it was the first full-length novel I wrote. For that reason it’ll always be special to me.
But it also encompasses lots of my favorite things – a curvy chick, sexy men, a country house, and turning everyday items into something kinky.
Lucy Felthouse is a very busy woman! She writes erotica and erotic romance in a variety of subgenres and pairings, and has over 100 publications to her name, with many more in the pipeline. These include several editions of Best Bondage Erotica, Best Women’s Erotica 2013 and Best Erotic Romance 2014. Another string to her bow is editing, and she has edited and co-edited a number of anthologies, and also edits for a small publishing house. She owns Erotica For All, is book editor for Cliterati, and is one eighth of The Brit Babes.
Laura Antonious talks frankly about BDSM and the vast misconceptions most individuals have about those who embrace this erotic lifestyle.
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
Below are a few questions to help you get to know author, Marie Tuhart. Please feel free to ask her a few of your own.
Why do you write erotic romance?
I’d been writing romance for a while, but I was finding it hard to have my alpha male heroes fit into some of the traditional romance roles. I’d take a class with an erotic romance author and found that I liked writing the spicier stuff. So I wrote my first erotic romance, it was years before it was published. And I do stay a little more toward the lighter side of BDSM, but I’m evolving as an author.
How did you come up for the idea for the Quick Silver Ranch series? It was just one of those story lines that evolved from me just sitting and pondering what I was going to write. I’d just signed a contract with The Wild Rose Press when they put out a call for books in a new line called “Cowboy Kink”. It wasn’t until several months later, after I finished the book under contract that I started to think about writing for “Cowboy Kink”.
I wanted something unique and different and thought about a ranch, but instead of a normal dude ranch, this one would be for consenting couples who are trying to spice up their love life with some kink. Quick Silver Ranch was born, a place for couples to take classes and explore their sexual lives. Originally there was just the first book: Roped & Ready, but my editor and senior editor asked me to write Jared’s story, which I did, and Saddle Up was born. I had lots of fun with both books.
Which characters have been the hardest to write?
That’s a hard one. Vicki, in In Plain Sight, was pretty difficult, I think because she was my first heroine to explore her kinky side.
Jared, in Saddle Up, was by far my hardest hero. I wanted him to be one way and he fought me after about 14,000 words I finally figured out who he was (why don’t men like to talk) and I had to throw out most of what I’d written and start all over.
Which characters have been the easiest to write?
Most of them. So far, Kasim, from Claimed by the Sheikh (Sybarite Seductions) he knew what he wanted and went after it. Although most my hero’s do.
As for my heroines, Cassie from His For The Weekend (The Wild Rose Press) was the most complicated to write, but also the easiest because I knew her story well.
Well, hopefully this year I’ll have several books. Claimed by the Sheikh (Sybarite Seductions) will be out this fall. I have The Red Club Project (The Wild Rose Press) in progress now. Then there’s Movie Magic (Sybarite Seductions) which has a character from Silver Screen Dom (Romancing the Stars – Sybarite Seductions), plus I have others planned to come out from The Wild Rose Press this year.
Marie Tuhart can’t remember a time when she didn’t like to make things up. Her overactive imagination comes in hand as an authors. At the age of sixteen she wrote her first short story and never looked back. At nineteen she wrote her first novel. Now she’s a published author of seven novels and 3 short stories. Born and raised in California, after 30 years in the corporate world she retired and moved to the Pacific Northwest to write full time. When not writing Marie loves to read, travel, and spend time with her family. Marie currently writes for The Wild Rose Press and Sybarite Seductions. Marie is an Amazon bestselling author
We had a few questions for Susan Arden. I’m sure you may have a few of your own.
Where is your interest drawn from to write romance?
The potent expression of love and resulting tension are volatile. Driven. The result captivates my imagination more so than any other plot point.
How do you define love?
The ultimate expression experienced between two, yet allows each to thrive to their fullest potential as individuals.
Why the interest in erotic romance?
As a past teacher of biology, the body has always hooked my desire to learn and consider. Becoming a yoga teacher, proxemics enthralled me and sensuality is a natural expression encompassing body, mind, and spirit.
When does one of your story’s take root?
As soon as I can imagine two individuals and their force of attraction and what is holding them apart.
Susan Arden grew up in Miami, attending bilingual schools which lends itself to her interest in writing multicultural stories. Previously a teacher in the field of special education and biology, she now writes romance fiction with several best sellers on Amazon. The type of books Susan writes: erotic romance within subgenres including contemporary, Western, fantasy/paranormal, and new adult fiction. She lives in TN with her husband and several pets (furry to scaled), and is also a mother to three college students. After having neurosurgery and complications, Susan found pain relief in yoga. So much she became an RYT200 (Yoga Alliance), specializing in vinyasa flow for those with health concerns. Catch Susan at: susanarden.blogspot.com
Since being unshackled from the EDJ, when not obsessing over whether her parents are getting enough to eat, obsessing that her kid is sexting the boyfriend, making coffee, drinking coffee, or feeding the three cats who allow her to live with them, VJ can be found reading or writing erotic romance – either solo as m/m author VJ Summers, or as the shorter, more quiet half of the “Violet Summers” writing team.
We had a few questions for Tessie Bradford about her writing and her life. Below are her answers. Feel free to ask a few of your own.
How do your characters enjoy their playtime? Rough? Playful? Tender? All of the above?
Definitely all of the above! When I decided to finally throw my hat into the ring of writing erotic romance, it was with a no holds barred attitude. A bit of pain combined with an interesting array of toys never fails to intrigue me. Humor is mandatory. If you can’t laugh and be playful with your partner or partners, then something very important is missing. Tender? Without a doubt! A loving, happily ever after conclusion is the payoff.
What’s the most challenging part of writing erotic romance?
When writing sex scenes, I not only have to be in a certain mind-set, but there can be nothing, and I mean nothing of a distracting nature going on around me. If my hubby and adult daughter are at home, I ‘announce’ my intent, and they know unless the police, a trip to the hospital, or fire extinguishers are involved, they’d best not disturb me!!
What is your writing process? Do you outline? Set specific hours?
No, I don’t outline or even jot down notes. I ponder/obsess and lose sleep over characters, plots, settings, conflicts etc. in my head until I feel ready to start typing. There’s no set schedule of when, or how much I write at any sitting; I just have to work it in around my full-time day job, family and life.
What role, if any, does your significant other play in your writing career?
My hubby of 27 years heads my Research and Development Department!!! Seriously, he is involved in every aspect of the process. Together we flesh out characters, plot, emotions, dialog and many times, physics. He listens patiently when I babble on about minutia, and talks me off the ledge when I experience my requisite meltdown over meeting a deadline and whether my work is worthy of publication.
How do you find ideas for your books? Real happenings? Dreams? A great imagination?
All of the above! I don’t know about the ‘greatness’ of my imagination, but it sure is active. Many of my heroes have come to me in dreams; very, very good dreams! A couple of my stories are based on real happenings and all of my heroines have varying degrees of me woven into their personalities.
Do you have any bad writing habits?
Yes – going for days without doing it, or getting into “the zone” and ignoring my family while I do it.
How has being published changed your life, if at all?
Being published has changed my life in a very profound way. I was 48 years old when I subbed my first book, Ageless Desires. I was both terrified and excited about putting myself “out there”. I never imagined the confidence and sense of self that would come with the experience.
Tessie Bradfordis a bestselling author of Erotic Romance who publishes with Resplendence Publishing and Ellora’s Cave. Megan’s Men, book #1 in her Fated Mates of Mesta series, stayed in Amazon’s Top 100 for erotic/sci-fi for over six months and a number of her titles have been bestsellers at ARe and other third party retailers. Her stories focus on journeys of sexual discovery. She loves creating strong independent women who, with the guidance and love of an alpha hero (or two or three), realize and embrace their submissive side. From the Coffee Time Review of Possessing Eleanor, “Ms. Bradford has taken a successful, independent woman and turned her into the perfect submissive without changing Ellie’s personality, something not many authors can manage so easily.”
It’s my pleasure to introduce Susan Wright a major advocate for our sexual freedom and founder of NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom). Susan is also an amazing writer. Below are just a few questions to help you get to know Susan and her work.
What are you writing now?
I’m focusing on New Adult romance novels right now that involve kink and power exchange. My first two are Role Play and Good Girl, with a 3rd novel in production now: The Exchange. I enjoy exploring the dynamics of a relationship that includes more to sex than physical passion – I like the emotional and psychological aspect where it can be full of laughter and fun, or it can make you question your own reason and make you discover uncomfortable things about yourself.
A lot of your books include BDSM and sexual themes, even the sci-fi and fantasy ones. Why do you like kinky sex so much?
I consider kink to be my sexual orientation. The gender of the person I’m intimate with is not as important as the power role they take on with me. Because I’ve explored this side of myself, and immersed myself in the BDSM communities, getting to know all sorts of kinks and relationships that people can have, I can’t help myself from including it in my novels. I managed to include it even a couple of my Star Trek novels – I wrote Dark Passions 1 & 2 for Pocket Books about the “bad girls” of Trek set in the mirror universe. I made Seven of Nine a lesbian and put her in a relationship with Kira Nerys. Also in the Best and the Brightest, I wrote about the first openly acknowledged gay couple in the Star Trek universe.
Why are you writing New Adult Romances instead of erotica or erotic romances?
I love New Adult romances because they focus on a life-changing moment in time for young people – when they’re falling in love with their partner and resolving issues from their past so they can move into adult life. It reminds me of when I moved to New York City when I was 23, and there was nothing but possibilities, and the only thing that stands between you and fulfillment is yourself. That’s why I set my romances in the city.
You’ve given hundreds of presentations on BDSM and the law and the media. Are you a lawyer?
No, I’m an activist with over 20 years experience with the kink communities. I started the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in 1997 while I was doing the NOW SM Policy Reform Project. I realized that our people really needed someone to speak up for them because we are discriminated against in our jobs, in child custody and in criminal settings We still have a long way to go, but books like 50 Shades of Grey have helped by exposing people to kink in a non-threatening way. Persecution has dropped in the past couple of years also due to the strides our country has made when it comes to gay marriage and gays in the military.
Why did you become a kink activist?
This goes back to my writing, actually. I was on the verge of getting my first publishing contract, when I was outed to my editor by another writer. My prospective editor took me to dinner and told me that since I was in a relationship with a couple and exploring kink that I should “date” him, too, while we worked on my book. I refused, and I decided then that I would be out about who I was so nobody could try to use it against me again. I went on to have an amazing career as published author, and I’ve been wonderfully supported by all of my editors and publishers since then.
Susan Wright founded the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom in 1997, a national advocacy organization for the BDSM, swing and polyamory communities, and currently serves as spokesperson for the organization. She chaired the successful DSM-5 Revision Project, and coordinated the SM Policy Reform Project for the National Organization for Women (NOW) which resulted in rescinding their anti-BDSM policy at their national conference in 1999. Susan has written kinky Contemporary Romance novels as well as Urban Fantasy, Fantasy, Science Fiction and Star Trek books. This USA Today Bestselling Author began her writing career in 1993, and has published more than 30 novels and nonfiction books on art and popular culture with Pocket Books, Penguin Group, St Martin’s Press and Kensington. www.susanwright.info
It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Scarlet this week. She’s been writing for several years and living the lifestyle with her Master (husband). Scarlet will be presenting a workshop on “creating contracts” in your D/s relationships. If she hasn’t answered your question below, be sure to ask her as she’ll be available for comments.
Scarlet, when you first started writing, did you have any idea you’d be writing BDSM/kinky books?Do you write in any other genre?
I wrote my first short story when I was eight, so I certainly didn’t then! When I began pursuing writing seriously as an adult, I didn’t even anticipate being a romance writer, let alone including BDSM in them. I had been working on a metaphysical novel, which – although it does contain a great deal of sex and some bondage – definitely is not a romance novel. I don’t want to be trapped in to always having to end with a “happily ever after.”
Was there something that happened to you in your life or career that made you want to begin thinking about writing BDSM/kinky themed erotica?
I just got tired of the negative portrayal of BDSM in the media, particularly in TV shows and movies. We aren’t perverts or freaks just because we are Doms or subs or whatever. Penn State covered up Sundusky’s pedophilia for years, and the Catholic Church played musical parishes with their priests for decades, if not longer. In one of those monolithic non-denom churches here in Louisiana, the (married) pastor had an affair with the church secretary, so the board sent her out of state with hush money. A new study found a correlation between BDSM and better mental health, but according to screenwriters, WE are the villains.
What is your favorite fetish? Why?
Being bound and blindfolded. I love surrendering complete control. During a scene, I escape all my responsibilities and focus only on the present; my worries fade from my consciousness. People not in the lifestyle don’t understand how liberating submission can be. I read once, “Sometimes not being in control is the most beautiful thing in the world,” and it’s true. There is freedom in submission!
Is there one area of BDSM that you tend to write about more? Why do you think that area creeps into your writing more than some others?
Bondage, discipline, Dominance and submission. I write what I know.
Do you do any “hands-on” research when you’re writing BDSM/kinky themed erotica?
Often for a scene, I will ask my husband (Master) to try it out with me to confirm it is logistically feasible. I don’t want readers rolling their eyes and thinking, “That’s not even possible!”
. Have you ever heard that a fan might have tried something from one of your stories and liked it?
Not yet, but I did include blindfolds in the goodie bags I gave out at a conference recently. I hope the ladies will take them home and try them out!
Scarlet Hawthorne loves including elements of BDSM in her erotic romances because, as a 24/7 submissive in a DD household, she hopes to reverse the misinformation and negative stereotypes promulgated in the media. She has also published mainstream romances in a variety of genres, from paranormal to romantic suspense, under other pen names. Scarlet’s upcoming release is DEADLINE – a romantic suspense thriller with plenty of bondage thrown in for good behavior. Her current project is the M/M Romance, BETWEEN THE NOTES. Visit her website for more information or find her on Facebook.