Jenna Byrnes speaks out about BDSM and her book series
What got you interested in writing BDSM?
Several years ago I met BDSM author Jude Mason online, and then in person, and we became fast friends. She had an extensive list of titles (Yes Ma’am, Dance of Submission, and dozens more.) The subject matter intrigued me. Before I dived in, she gave me lots of advice and resources to use for research, so my writing would be accurate as well as hot! Jude and I went on to co-author more than fifteen titles together, not specifically BDSM novels but many have a touch of D/s woven in.
I also admire my friend Lisabet Sarai’s writing style. Her spanking stories are top notch, and spanking has become one of my fun favorites to write about.
What genres are your favorite to write?
My absolute favorite is male/male, and most of my recent work is in that area. Ménage adding a woman is fun, and I’ve also added a third man. I like to mix it up and have tried many combinations, including several lesbian stories. I have thirty-nine books available at Totally Bound. I’m in six Coming Together charity volumes, and I have four boxed sets on Amazon which contain more than 28 novellas and short stories.
What elements of BDSM interest you the most?
As I mentioned, I enjoy writing spanking scenes. But my main focus is the D/s relationship and the complexities of it. While at first glance it might appear that the Master is looking out only for his/herself, in reality the well-being of his submissive should be first and foremost in the relationship. That knowledge allows the submissive to trust enough to put him/herself into the hands of another person. Fascinating!
Tell us a little about your BDSM titles.
My series is called Rose & Thorn Society. The first book is Switching Seth (m/m/f) about a man who desires to try his hand at domination so his Master allows him to bring a woman into their sex play, and ultimately, their lives.
The second book is Never Say Never (m/m/m) about a man whose longtime partner has left him and his new love is into D/s. When the old lover returns he tells him it’s too late, yet his master is intrigued and wants to bring a third into their bedroom.
Book three is Brooklyn Bound (m/f/m) about a couple adding another man into their role-play. It will be available in December from Totally Bound.
Book four is An Unexpected Win (m/m/m) about a Master who loses his submissive for one week in a poker game, and the aftermath of how that plays out. This one is coming in Jan. 2015 from Totally Bound.
Jenna Byrnes could use more cabinet space and more hours in a day. She’d fill the kitchen with gadgets her husband purchases off TV and let him cook for her to his heart’s content. She’d breeze through the days adding hours of sleep, and more time for writing the hot, erotic romance she loves to read. Jenna thinks everyone deserves a happy ending, and loves to provide as many of those as possible to her gay, lesbian and hetero characters. Her favorite quote, from a pro-gay billboard, is “Be careful who you hate. It may be someone you love.”
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!
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!
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
It’s a pleasure to introduce you to Lise Horton also writing as Lydia Hill. I first met Lise during last year’s BDSM for Writers 3-Day Intensive Workshop (the precursor of BDSM Writers Con.) With her fun playful nature, she was a pleasure to be around. She brings that same playful nature and wickedly devious mind to her novels.
Below are a few questions we have for Lise. You’re welcome to ask her a few of your own.
How did you get started writing erotica and erotic romance with BDSM and why do you enjoy this niche sub-genre so much?
I love this question because the genres were such a discovery for me as a reader and a writer! I love complex, dramatic stories and the heightened nature of ménage, BDSM and kink makes for great conflict and intense characters. The more I read of the kinkier romances, the more I found myself pushing the envelope of sex in my stories. Now I’m pretty much at the outer limits of heat and graphic and gritty – but I never lose sight of the fact that I want a happy ending (which just happens to sometimes include a paddling)! Under my pseudonym, Lydia Hill I write erotica, an equally enticing genre because it allows me to really explore human sexuality outside of the vanilla world. Sex is a powerful part of human life and kink has always been around. Taboo, but always there. Without the constraints of a happy ending, you can write stories of how far we’ll go to satisfy our darkest desires and cravings. Writing erotica allows me to fantasize on paper. So what could be bad?
What do you feel is the most important aspect of writing BDSM erotica and Erotic romance?
Super important to me is portraying the lifestyle as realistically as possible (it’s not fiction, after all!), Equipment. Terminology, etc. Whether it is an erotic short story, or an erotic romance novel, I want my characters in romance to be real people with honest hungers and desires. I want my readers to understand them and empathize with those carnal needs, even if the act in question is something a reader never considered. (For example, I’d never considered a breath play scene until I read a super hot one by Laurell K. Hamilton in Affliction).
I do everything I can to remind readers about the BDSM community creed of “safe, sane and consensual”. I also try to convey the subtly of power exchange, the levels of trust involved and that these activities are mutually enjoyable and desired by both (or all) parties. There’s no abuse, and it’s definitely a matter of “whatever blows your skirt up”. Erotica permits writers a bit more leeway as romance publishers have some hard and fast lines about acts they won’t permit. For example, Daddy/little girl role play, golden showers and other water sports and serious humiliation play are not accepted by romance publishers (I’d love to hear of exceptions!). Lucky for me erotica embraces all flavors of kink because I am still pushing that particular envelope and having a spanking good time at it.
How do you research such kinky activities?
All romance writers get asked this question sooner or later, and BDSM erotica authors probably more than most. This is where opportunities like BDSM WRITERS CONcomes in. Hands on research isn’t just invaluable – it’s a heck of a lot of fun. The community members who participate are awesome at sharing inside knowledge. But there is also a wonderful canon of non-fiction written about this lifestyle. I’ve read a number of books, including Dr. Charley’s “BDSM for Writers”, and they give great insight. There are also on-line organizations like FetLife, and in NYC we have The Eulenspiegel Society and Dom/sub Friends and our local BDSM club, Paddles. And I’m not embarrassed to admit that I have experimented myself (both with a willing partner, and on my own!). I have a lovely kinky toy box and there’s a lot a curious gal can do to find out what nipple clamps feel like, or a cane or flogger, since there are always pervertables to play with! I’m sure my local grocer wonders why I buy so many wooden clothespins…. and trust me, I don’t look at a zucchini quite the same way anymore.
Are there any “hard limits” that you, as an author, feel strongly about not putting in a book?
In erotic romance, I’m pretty much at the outer extremes these days. I use the raunchy words some might find off-putting, and I include D/s play in even my non-BDSM writing (Dominating Alpha males just make me want to bend over and drop my frilly panties!). But as mentioned, romance houses have hard and fast limits they won’t touch. In erotica I don’t believe I’ll ever get into knife or blood play or some other edgy practices, and I’m sure every erotica writer out there has come across some act that just made them scratch their heads and say “What’s sexy about that?” Nothing I feel strongly about from an ethical perspective, just stuff that doesn’t get me all hot and bothered. On the other hand, I’m a gal who’ll never say never.
Do you get turned on by your own writing?
Hell Yes! And I hope that all my readers do too! Whether it’s a couple experimenting with a hot Dominance and submission scene such as I wrote in my debut, Words of Lust, or the darker, edgier and more serious play that you can read in my Ravenous Romance anthologies, or my recently released Cleis Press anthology short story, “My Master’s Mark” in Slave Girls, this genre most definitely lights my fire. I’ve written a ton of short fiction for my blog, Lust in the Afternoon, and over time was drawn more and more to the dark and intense appeal of BDSM. I often see a submission call and my mind immediately conjures up all manner of nasty perversions to visit upon my characters. And fortunately for me they’re all exhibitionists and they let me watch! Feel free to drop on by and join in the naughty fun!
Lise Horton’s debut erotic (with a touch of kink) romance, Words of Lust, was released in September 2013 by Carina Press. Writing under her erotica pseudonym, Lydia Hill, her short story, “My Master’s Mark” was included in the May 2014 Cleis Press anthology “Slave Girls” edited by D. L. King. Prior to embarking on a career writing erotica and erotic romance, she was a theatrical performer and award winning cabaret vocalist. She is a past president of the NYC Chapter of Romance Writers of America, and frequent workshop presenter. She firmly believes that kinky love and romance can happily co-exist.
This is Lise’s second year attending BDSM Writers Con; what used to be known as BDSM for Writers 3-Day Intensive Workshop. Lise shows her dedication to her craft and her fans as she discovers more about the various nuances of Dominance and submission.
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 to you Sorcha Black one of our BDSM WRITERS CON workshop presenters. I don’t know about you, but I think she looks like a young Angelina Jolie. Maybe they’re related? Who knows? What I do know is that Sorcha is sharing her knowledge and co-hosting a workshop during BDSM Writers Con 2014. To learn more, read below.
Sorcha Black is the co-author of the Badass Brats series and writes about kinky bisexual women in poly relationships. Originally a fantasy writer, she started writing romance after meeting two nefarious authors on the internet. Sorcha enjoys tattoos and foul language.
How did you get into writing BDSM romance?
I’m not really sure. There I was one day, writing a fantasy novel that had some kink scenes, when suddenly I was smacked over the head by two romance authors who demanded I co-author a book with them. They were mean! Evil! Relentless! Poor, innocent fantasy writer that I was, I had no way of fending off their nefarious influence. They told me that if I wanted to maintain at least some of my innocence, I would do what they said. So I wrote the book with them, and did crits for them, and beta read for them. Leia and Cari call me their writing sub, but they didn’t give me a safeword. This writing thing is dub con, at best. 😉
What is your favorite book and why?
One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Seuss. I can recite most of it by heart, which is always a selling point in literature for me.
What is your writing process?
Well, I can’t drink coffee. That being said, usually I start by hiding – I have several children that I need to hide from if I’m going to write uninterrupted for even a few minutes. From there, I generally stare at the blank screen on my computer for a while, then switch to Facebook, where my friends entertain me, then I run out of time. I do that repeatedly, for a week or two, then suddenly I’ll write a 20 page sex scene over two days. It’s not the most effective way to get a book done, but it’s all I’ve got. I’ve also been known to write brilliant sentences on scraps of paper at red lights. Occasionally getting honked at makes me feel pretty.
Why do you write so many books with co-authors?
Writing is like sex to me, in that respect. It’s more fun with a partner. Oh wait! And they make me! Yeah. *blinks innocently.
What books do you have planned for the future?
Currently, I’m working on the next Badass Brats book, The Dom with the Sex Zombies. I’m also in edits for my first fantasy novel, Ein, which features a poly BDSM relationship. After those are done, I have several other projects clamoring for my attention.