It’s time to get up close and personal with Shannon West. Discover why she writers M/M romances and her personal feelings about Dominance and submission as well as much more. Feel free to ask questions and leave your comments. We’ll be selecting a winner or two for a few ebook.
Do you use a pen name? If yes (or no), why?
Yes. In the beginning I was still working at a day job and one where my love for M/M and BDSM wouldn’t have been appreciated. So I found a pen name.
At what point did you decide you wanted to write BDSM/kinky-themed erotica?
After I’d read a few books on the subject. I found it really appealing but didn’t completely understand. I kept reading and studying to find the answers I was looking for and only when I felt ready did I venture to write anything. This was only after reading a HUGE amount of books and watching videos and doing research.
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?
Truthfully, there’s always been an interest, but I didn’t know what to call it. Since I was very young, I had this, but didn’t know what to do with it. I had a partner who was also interested, and we explored some areas of it, but neither of us knew much about it.
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 and control, more than anything. No idea why, but it definitely appeals to me. Humiliation play is also a huge turn-on for me, but balanced with care and love.
What have you written in the past that you think your BDSM/kink fans might find interesting?
Taken in Hand, and Taken Firmly in Hand. The Education of Nicholas. And the latest is Love Taps, my current release.
What is your favorite fetish? Why?
Spanking. It combines a lot of my hot buttons—control, submission and humiliation play. My latest novel Love Taps explores that a bit.
Do you attend BDSM, kink, or fetish conferences? Or do you attend any other “vanilla” type of conferences? Attending any in the near future you want to mention?
I’ll be in New York in August 2014 at the BDSM Writer’s Conference there. I attend other conferences like GayRomLit in October of each year and the upcoming Rainbow Conference in Tampa.
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.
I was asked to do a blog post for the conference and of course, as with me…I’m late with it. Not because I didn’t have time, but because being asked to tell readers and others four to five things about myself stumped me. What things would you find interesting? What would you want to know that I have not shared on some sort of social media yet? I’ll start with three quick things-random facts about myself and then tell you why I write what I write.
Okay, first things first- Three random facts- I hate heights, I have a fear of bridges-have since I was sixteen and I am not sure exactly why- but anytime I have to drive over them-long ones that is- I am petrified. Lastly, I am crazy. LOL- just ask my editor! Okay…now on to the meat of the blog post.
My first series, Devoured Club Series, focuses on the world of kink, a BDSM club facing issues of one’s desires, pasts, and futures. It is not an uncommon topic for this conference or for my fellow authors, presenters and hosts. I have been interested in the BDSM lifestyle for a few years, not as many as some that I share this honor with, but nonetheless I have dedicated countless hours to research and practice–leaving me more and more to discover. I have made it a point–hopefully one my readers and potential readers will see–to focus on the emotional aspects of the lifestyle, not just the kink. Don’t get me wrong the kink is fun but from my experiences and research I know there is a deeper connection–an emotional one between Dominant and submissive. It is that emotional response and relationship that I focus on and explore within my novels. The current novel I am working on takes my exploration further as I dive into bisexual, poly relationships looking at the connection between a Dominant and his submissives.
I am a practicing submissive although with time constraints not as much as I want to be. The reasons behind the desire–my need for emotional connection–for the trust that is instilled within my partner–my Dominant and the freedom that I feel with the adrenaline rush. The lifestyle is different for everyone and that is what it is for me. I crave the connection, maybe because my childhood was wrought with isolation of my own doing. Maybe because it makes me feel alive. I want to share that with my readers and bring a different view of the lifestyle to the market although I am surrounded by amazing authors and storytellers. The genre is filled with amazing stories that share the connection, plot and lifestyles, all the intricacies.
I am proud to be part of the genre with these amazing authors. I hope that my intentions shine through my work. I look forward to talking with anyone that wants to talk. I am always available through my social media sites and email.
Meet Leya Wolfgang who’s joining us from Canada. Below are a few questions we had for her. Please feel free to ask her a few of your own.
What’s with the crazy profile pic?
What can I say? I’m an animal, a beast. Okay, so I’m really a pussy cat. The truth is that I have a pretty conservative job, and, until book royalties start flooding in, I want to keep a low profile. Leya Wolfgang is my mask, a pseudonym that grants me the liberty to explore secret desires and dark visions and to share them with you openly.
Oh, and the other reason is because I also have a spiritual self-help book published under my own name. While I don’t have any difficulty reconciling the two different markets, I like to keep my written works separate for those who might not see the connection. I believe our sexuality and spirituality are closely linked, and our comfort with each aspect enhances the other. I challenge you, “Admit it. Haven’t you ever yelled, ‘Oh God, Oh God, Oh God!’ when you’re having an orgasm? In that moment of letting go, haven’t you ever felt at one with a reality larger than the confines of your body?”
Tell us a bit more about yourself and why you write. Writing was one of my joys as a kid, but it seemed such an indulgence to “waste” time on flights of fantasy when there was the serious business of getting on with a real life. In 2011, I took the NaNoWriMo challenge and discovered how screwed up that thinking was. I finished National Novel Writing Month with 50,000 words, a very good start to a novel, and a renewed love of telling stories. Life is fun again, and I think that writing is one of the most important things I do now.
What have you written to date?
That book from NaNo is still perking away, along with a couple of other half-finished novels, because Erin Piper and Jerry Vaughn grabbed me at the beginning of 2013 and wouldn’t let me go until Velvet Purrs In Paradise was published. Of course, their story is not really over. There is much more to tell about their new life together, and the other members of Devil You Know Kink Club™ (DYKKC) are clamoring to have their stories told; tales of dark desires and consuming cravings, freaky fetishes and carnal lust, demanding Doms and obedient submissives, corruption of innocence and indulgence of perversion, and pleasure wrapped in pain. Oh, and lots of hot, juicy, steamy romance!
What inspires you to write erotic fiction?
I simply have no choice. I woke up one morning with Erin and Jerry dancing in my dreams and having a very hot and heavy scene together. Everything seemed so real, like I was a voyeur lurking in the corner of Erin’s bedroom instead of my own. I hurried to get the scene written down before I forgot the rawness of their interaction. However, forgetting has not turned out to be a problem; because that scene is burned into my brain, and the characters never leave my head. All I have to do is ask the players questions, and they are more than happy to fill me in on the details of their lives.
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?
For me, it’s all about the relationship, the Dominant and submissive dynamic, the depth of connection between two souls, the journey of becoming who we really are, no matter what road we take to get there. Sex without context just doesn’t do it for me. My first heroine, Velvet, isn’t into pain, but she puts up with a bit of it for the Doms who capture her attention. She is really excited when she finds a Master of her own who thinks she’s precious and should be worshiped instead of battered and bruised. She falls fast, and hard, and deep. Honestly, who wouldn’t want to be someone’s precious?
Tell us about how you write.
Of course, my goal is to be able to write full-time, all day, every day. The sad reality is that with only one novel published so far, I still rely on my corporate day job to pay the bills. With my schedule, this means that I write in fits and starts. Sometimes the characters really push me, or pull me, and the words gush and my fingers fly over the keyboard trying to keep up. This usually happens when I really should be sleeping and resting up for work. Instead, I light a candle or two, pour a glass of sherry, and don a pair of headphones to listen to internet radio. I don’t use any fancy software, just open up a Word doc and get it down.
Are you an outliner or a seat of the pants writer? Do you create character sketches before or during your writing?
My stories are exclusively character driven. That means that I’m a panster. As I said, for Velvet Purrs In Paradise, the first book in the DYKKC BDSM Erotica Romance series, I began with a single scene. I hadn’t intended to write a novel, but my characters just keep whispering in my ear and flashing me. Once the characters have introduced themselves to me, I do sit down and open up another Word doc that is my master reference. I get to know them intimately and write a profile for them so I can understand their backstory and motivation. Then I can help gently guide them along their journey. I have my own secret recipe for how I do this, and I think it helps me reveal very complex characters. My role in writing, as I see it, is deciding how much to reveal and when so that the reader has a juicy and satisfying experience.
Have you ever heard that a fan might have tried something from one of your stories and liked it?
I haven’t gotten that feedback yet, but it would be wicked cool to hear. Or even to hear that someone had a really hot self-pleasuring session while reading my book. I have, however, heard many times how much my characters are adored. I certainly love them all but have to admit to a fiction-crush on one of the Dominants at DYKKC. But I’m not saying which one.
What’s next on your publishing schedule?
The Saint, Dillon St. Laurent, has been breathing down my neck, threatening to punish me if I don’t tell His story of redemption next. The Saint is going to have me on my knees and at His mercy because Jerry muscled His way into the lineup with a few things to say about the challenges He faces bringing his Velvet into the BDSM lifestyle full time and what He’s going to do to keep her when she learns about His past life as Master Snapper. Regis Rules the Lion’s Den, DYKKC Book 1.1 (a novella), will be available in May 2014, if Snapper cracks His whip just right for me. Grrr!
Oh no! Mistress Raidne, bossy Domme that She is, wasn’t happy to hear that I had interrupted my writing of Dillon’s story to give more time and attention to Her old pal, Snapper. Mistress thinks that if anyone deserves “Top” priority, it’s Her. She strutted up to me and commanded me to start from the beginning to tell a bit of Her story and how DYKKC came to be. I didn’t like the way She was twitching the Cat ’o Nine Tails in Her hand, so I got on board with Her plan. Devil You Know Kink Club will be available April 2014.
Please join me in welcoming Leia Shaw. She will have several of her books available for sell during the conference. She will also sign autographs, taking pictures, and answer your questions.
Below are a few questions we thought you’d like to know about Leia Shaw just to get you started. Please feel free to ask more and/or leave your comments below.
How did you start writing BDSM? Now that’s an interesting story. There I was, minding my own business, writing my funny paranormal romance novels, never having had a single kinky thought in my little head (wink, wink). When along came Cari Silverwood and Sorcha Black, tempting me with naughtiness and promises of cold hard cash and girl on girl action. Who could say no to that, right? So I dove down the rabbit hole of my twisted mind and out came the Badass Brats books, for your kinky amusement 😉
Have you reacted badly to a bad review? When I first started writing and published my first two books, my skin hadn’t been thickened yet. My friends all told me what a great writer I was and how much they loved my books. The first reviews that came in were all positive. Until THE ONE. I think every author gets at least one scathing review of their book – someone who sounds like they just hate your guts and would be thrilled if someone chopped your fingers off so you could never write another word again. Yeah. It was that kind of review. I was crushed. At that point, I couldn’t understand how anyone could hate my book that much. Like I said, I was a newbie. But it wasn’t only that she hated me and my books, but she took quotes from my book out of context and got all her friends to slam the book too, even though they hadn’t read it. And this was a prominent reviewer from a very well-known review site. I think I even cried.
Now every seasoned author knows, you NEVER comment on a review. Well, no one had told me that so I very politely told the reviewer why I thought she was wrong and why she should like my book. I know, I know. Rookie mistake. Anyway, it didn’t get as bad as it could’ve – I’ve seen authors literally torn apart just for daring to comment on a review site. So I was lucky the reviewer just unfriended me on goodreads and let it go. Now that I’ve been doing this a while I have thicker skin. Most of the time, I laugh bad reviews off, if I even bother to look at them. Every once in a while something will strike a nerve. I might grumble to close friends but I eventually let it go. After all, you can’t please everyone.
Are the names of the characters in your novel important? They are to me. Naming characters is part of the fun when I write on my own. With Sorcha and Cari though, names can cause some of the biggest fights. Getting three opinionated women to agree on everything is close to impossible. I’m amazed that we have four books published together. Lol.
When I name my characters, there are a few things I keep in mind. One, the generation the character was born in. An eighty year old woman is unlikely to be called Tiffany. So if you love a name that wasn’t common for the time period the person was born in, you need a compelling reason the parents picked that name. Were they hipsters that liked going against popular trends? Was the character named after a family member? The other thing to think about is heritage. In The Dom with a Safeword, my character was a feisty Italian girl. So I named her Sabrina Romano. Lastly I think about their personality. What seems to just fit them, what sounds right. This is based on instinct.
Sometimes a name is just a name, sometimes it’s much more. A name can be a story. Or it could build into who that person is. In The Dom with the Clever Tongue, my character Reece Duncan thinks she’s a plain Jane, even her name sounds plain to her. And in The Dom with the Perfect Brats, my character with kooky parents is called Gemma Stone. For me, it’s fun to use the name as more than just what the person is called. I like having a story behind it – whether the character makes it a story or the name makes the character.
Do you ever write naked? No, but sometimes I write in my underwear. Mostly if I’m feeling lazy and want to write in bed. I hate wearing pants to bed for some reason. I feel all hot and uncomfortable. So if I’m writing in bed, I’m usually just in my underwear. Now you can picture that when I update my status that I’m writing. Lol.
Have you ever modeled one of your characters after yourself? I think there are parts of myself in most of my characters. It’s true, even in fiction, that you write what you know. When you make a character like yourself, a friend, your spouse, etc, the character tends to feel more real, more deep, more authentic.
What are some ways to stay sane as a writer?
Get rid of the notion you’ll make money.
Don’t read your reviews.
Don’t compare yourself to other authors.
Don’t expect to make money.
Get a real job.
I want to thank Leia once more for joining us. As she stated, please feel free to follow her at the various locations and visit her website to review her “Bad Ass Brats” series.
I met Laci Paige and her husband when she attended my 3-Day BDSM Intensive Workshop last year, what was to become BDSM Writers Con.
She’s a wonderful fun loving person who has a lot to of creativity and playfulness to her personality. I’m sure you’ll love the stories she writers.
Below are a few questions we asked Laci to help you get to know her.
What got you started in writing BDSM ?
A couple of years ago I was looking for something to read, and came across a few free reads on Amazon about the BDSM lifestyle. I was intrigued. So I read them and became even more intrigued. I wanted to know more. I hit the internet – reading blogs, interviewing people, reading books, and attending events and conferences all in the name of research. Why are you attending BDSM Writers Con ?
I’ve attended events before for romance and/or erotic authors, but never a BDSM specific event until summer of 2013 when I attended Dr. Charley’s BDSM for Writers Workshop. I enjoyed it, and learned a lot. It’s very specific, where everyone has something in common, whether it’s living the lifestyle, reading about it, or writing it, we all have common ground. I look forward to learning more at this year’s BDSM Writers Con 2014, and mingling with like-minded authors & fans.
What did you think of your first experience to Dr. Charley’s BDSM education?
I thought it was an excellent experience. I learned the in’s-and-out’s from experienced people. It helped me with my writing, and believe it or not, my personal life too. From the basics on up, Dr. Charley covered a wide range of the lifestyle dynamics, as well as lining up some pretty awesome guest speakers – who also write and live the lifestyle.
Do you take hints on stories from fans?
I can say that I read all of my reviews, comments on my social media, and messages from my inbox. I don’t get story ideas from my fans, but sometimes if they question things it prompts me to do more research. I did have a few people comment on something specific in one of my books, and after asking around the answer was 50/50 so I actually revised and tweaked my story because of the strong response on both sides of it.
What story have you always wanted to write but haven’t?
There are so many things in my head that I want to write but haven’t, that I don’t know where to start. The past year I’ve enjoyed reading m/m. So that might be my next venture.
Laci Paige is author of the Silken Edge Series. The books are a fictitious series about a group of people who are into the BDSM scene. Each book follows a different couple as they grow and learn to discover more about themselves in the lifestyle, and their relationships.
The Silken Edge won an UP Author Award, and has hit the #1 spot twice on Amazon for Erotica. Laci’s stories always end with HEA or HFN, and her husband is always a willing participant when she needs some hands-on research.
This is Laci’s second year attending BDSM Writers Con showing a dedication to her craft and fans as she discovers even more about the lifestyle of Dominance & submission and incorporating that knowledge in her amazing stories.
I’m working on a scene where my hero is offering my heroine a guided fantasy. This is a great BDSM exercise for the kind of Dom who has a flare for the dramatic, using props and sensory input to let a sub really get lost in the scenario he’s creating for her. Here’s a little piece of it, to warm you up for my point:
He pushed a finger inside of her as she bit back another whimper.
“Be still. Just feel,” he ordered. “You asked what’s next on the agenda. You’re going to be that slave you fantasized about, sold at auction. A soldier is going to buy you, and share you with his friends. Christ, your pussy is sucking on my hand just thinking of it, aren’t you?”
“It won’t….really involve other men?”
“Lucky for you, I could tell you don’t really want that.” He pushed in deeper and she gasped. “It will be a guided fantasy. That means I’m going to make you believe your fantasy is happening, using different props and sensations. Like hypnosis, it helps a sub lose herself in it in a safe way. I might have an assistant or two, but the only cock you’re ever going to feel in that eager pussy of yours, now and going forward, is mine. Got it?”
“Oh…” She gripped the table as he pushed in a second finger. He started moving them in a coital rhythm, his thumb teasing her clit.“Logan, please don’t…”
“Asking me not to do something your body is begging for is like cutting your wrist in front of a shark.” Leaning down, he nuzzled her ear, took a sharp nip that made her shudder. “I can be ruthless when circumstances call for it. If you hadn’t noticed.”
–from Naughty Bits, a four-novellas series coming April 2014
To my way of thinking, the BDSM Writers’ Con offers a guided fantasy experience to its attendees. With a plethora of demos from actual Doms and subs, a visit to a BDSM club and the chance to observe and participate, the attendees, whether or not they are part of the lifestyle, will be able to get clos
er to what it’s like to be a hero or heroine in a D/s relationship or scenario. On top of that, those who wish to write better BDSM will be offered workshops by authors who have a reputation for doing it in a way that leaves readers asking for more. Just like a guided fantasy, successful BDSM romance writing requires a meshing of reality and illusion. The Aug 21-24, 2014 weekend provides a chance to learn about all of it – the reality and the romance.
That’s an experience that can be appealing to writers and readers. For instance, when I went to the Naughty Sleepover in San Antonio last year, they had a live Master-sub session in the hotel ballroom. Using Japanese rope tying techniques, one Master tied two standing female subs to one another with an upper body harness. Their arms were boxed behind them. Another Master spanked them with varying degrees of roughness and brought each woman to climax right there in front of us all. For many attendees, it was the first time they’d witnessed such a thing. They’ve read about it in erotic romances, but seeing how reality and fantasy can intertwine so beautifully in healthy BDSM practice… Well, all I can say is there were over a hundred women in that room, and you could have heard a pin drop for those 90 minutes. How often does THAT ever happen? The only way I’ll get that level of attention during my keynote speech is if I beg a few Masters to weave their way among the audience with whip or paddle in hand. Of course, momma didn’t raise no fool. You get a punishment only if you’re SILENT (grin).
Ahem. Where was I? Like a lot of people, I live in a situation/location that doesn’t allow me a lot of access to BDSM resources. I started writing D/s as an exploration of my own submissive nature, so for my first few books, I wrote D/s romance based purely on that and the occasional Internet research to verify some mechanics. I’ve since decided I was glad I came at it that way, because I’ve found the psychology of Dominance/submission the most powerful part of the story, eclipsing any restraints or fancy gadgets (though don’t get me wrong – those ARE lots of fun). However, I had the advantage of already having that strong drive within myself to guide me. If I had wanted to write BDSM romance and only had the basic Dominant/submissive tendencies we all have to greater/lesser degrees, with nothing inside to really drive it forward, and no external resources, my attempts to write D/s romance might have gone a much different direction.
That’s why I’m pleased that we’ve progressed to the point an event like this is being offered. For one thing, as a BDSM practitioner and author, I want to see it done well (hey, I’m a reader, too!). But an experience like this benefits writers and readers. As I said above, all of us have Dom/sub tendencies. That doesn’t mean you want to become an active lifestyler. I get plenty of readers and authors who send me complimentary emails about my work (thank you!), but in the same breath assure me they are not a Dom or sub, or wish to practice BDSM. And that’s totally okay – erotic romance gives readers the chance to experience it in a pleasurable way for them. We all have a sense of adventure, and that sense manifests itself a lot of ways – some jump out of airplanes, others get a tattoo, and some let Netflix randomly choose their movies for them (hey, it takes courage to do that one – believe me!). There are a lot of things my submissive heroes and heroines do that I would NEVER do. But I love reading about them doing it (wink).
The point is, though many readers and authors enjoy the dynamics of D/s only in the written word, they wouldn’t mind getting an even closer look, still within their comfort zone. The BDSM Writers’ Con provides that option. Having direct access to BDSM resources will help you indulge your sense of adventure in a safe way. If it works the way intended, writers will come away with better tools to craft BDSM stories, readers will have greater knowledge of what BDSM is and isn’t, and everyone will have had a lot of fun on their “guided fantasy” through the BDSM world.
See you there! And on behalf of all of us who’ve wanted something like this out there for awhile, our thanks to Dr. Charley Ferrer for founding and hosting the conference!
When did you begin writing BDSM?
If I’m not mistaken, my first BDSM romances were written about a year after I was first published in erotic romance so roughly around seven years ago.
You write under a few pseudonyms. Why so many different pen names?
The decision to write under several pseudonyms sort of happened all at once. Publishers made some recommendations to keep a few pen names branded a certain way and b efore I knew it, juggling a handful of names became the norm.
Most writers are also avid readers. What do you look for specifically when reading BDSM romances?
Realistic characters, believable situations, and apparent knowledge all contribute to things I look for in BDSM romances, but I think it goes without saying that these elements are crucial regardless of the genre. Since life is so hectic, I go to authors I can trust to deliver high quality BDSM because they’ve done their research and/or live the lifestyle.
Do you have personal experience in the lifestyle?
The best way to answer this is to say that it is very easy for someone like me to transition into the lifestyle because I have the knowledge and interest, not to mention hundreds of research hours.
What do you think is the most important aspect of this type of relationship? Is it for everyone?
In order to have a successful Dom/sub relationship, trust and respect must exist at the core of the relationship. With a solid foundation, and what I call ‘The Kink Generation’ (where everyone is interested in or excited by the BDSM lifestyle), more vanilla couples will begin to experiment with BDSM play in their private lives and many of those couples will embrace the lifestyle and BDSM community as well.
Which of your books are some of your favorite BDSM romances? Cowboy Boots and Untamed Hearts was one of my first and more popular books under the pseudonym Natalie Acres, but Cowboy Boots and Inconceivable Arrangements is a favorite because of the interaction between the characters. Imprints, the first novella in Siren-Bookstrand’s Dominant Wolves, Submissive Mates, is a historical BDSM paranormal series and I’ve enjoyed working on these stories because of the historical aspect. Finally, Naughty Neighbors, a Champagne Book Group title is a favorite but it’s not for the faint at heart.
What’s up next for your pseudonyms?
Several new works are almost ready for submission at Siren Publishing for the continuing Cowboy Sex and Cowboy Boots series. I’m writing a new and exciting BDSM paranormal thriller which is also slated to go to Siren-Bookstrand for consideration.
Writing for Dark Hollows Press, I’m working in collaboration with debut author Marc Alice on a couple of projects, including Lucifer’s Lunatic and Safe Mountain: Sins of Wolves series.
Thanks so much for letting me be your guest today, Dr. Charley. I look forward to meeting you in August!
It’s a pleasure to have Debra Hyde join us for BDSM Writers Con 2014. She brings with her an expertize in marketing and publicity every author would “stop” writing for…well ok, for the length of her workshop then authors are back to the salt mines of their minds.
And though Debra is a wiz at publicity, we asked her to step outside that realm and answer a few other questions for us.
What made you want to write BDSM?
I started writing BDSM erotica—and erotica in general—almost twenty years ago, spending most of that time writing short stories for various erotica publishers. Why? I loved weaving matters of life as subtext and backdrop for the greatest of all human endeavors, sexual intimacy. I loved writing about erotic heat, its rise and fall, its drama. I loved writing about how transformative sex can be, about its healing and validating powers. And the fact that it got people all hot and bothered (including me!) was icing on the cake!
What scenes do you find the hardest to write?
Always the next scene, and that’s true whether or not it’s a sex scene. Writing is work!
Do you believe every book should have a HEA? Or should we be more realistic with a HFN?(Happy for now)
If we’re talking erotic romance, either form is fine with me. However, HEA or HFN works best when it’s made as satisfying for the reader as possible. I do, though, want to point out that in the greater realm of erotic writing, neither ending is absolutely required. If you want to write dark and transgressive erotica, literary fiction with strong erotic content, or other-genre erotic content, you aren’t—and shouldn’t be—limited to HEA or HFN.
Why are you attending BDSM Writers Con?
I can’t wait to meet other authors—and especially fans of the erotic word! I hope we’ll form a sustainable community, much like other genre conventions. I’d love to see this conference achieve something as fan-celebrating as science fiction and fantasy conventions have! Can you imagine?!
Do you think other authors and readers should attend? Why or why not?
Absolutely! It’s our chance to come together as an enthusiastic and devoted community, something that was impossible when I started writing erotica all those years ago. Think of the ideas and appreciations, the experiences and expertise we can share! It’s long overdue, but we finally have a platform.
What do you want to share most with the participants in August?
Camaraderie. The love of books and the erotic word. Appreciation for all things BDSM. And, of course, my own works and what I’ve learned through the years as both an author and BDSM practitioner!
Debra Hyde is a Lambda Literary award-winning author, recognized for her BDSM novel, Story of L. A modern retelling of the classic Story of O, L updates the original tale to reflect the contemporary lesbian leather world and the women in it. She now pens the newly-released Charlotte Olmes Mystery Series, which re-imagines the famous Holmes/Watson cohorts as lesbian women in 1880s New York City just as the Gilded Age and its social and scientific advances take hold. Debra is a contributing author to the ground-breaking interactive erotic Entwined series, penning two lesbian novellas for it, Hers and Provenance. Her short fiction backlist spans over a decade of writing and will be re-released as mini-collections in ebook during 2014.
Debra is nearing her twenty-year anniversary in BDSM scene. For sixteen of those years, she was an owned submissive and although her master “aged out” of dominance in his senior years, they’re still attached to each other and still playing. Devotion is ever-lasting.
I very much enjoyed being one of the presenters this year for Doctor Charley’s 3-Day Workshop Series, BDSM for Writers, and to present on one of my favorite topics, Spanking and Discipline Play.
I was the first presenter on the Sunday morning of the class, and it was fun listening to the group talk about the guided tour they’d taken of the BDSM club, Paddles, the night before. The group described some of the characters they’d observed there, and I couldn’t help but wonder which of them I knew.
The class was a mixed group, some with experience in the scene, some private players, and some with no experience. I don’t know how much the popularity of the book Fifty Shades of Grey had to do with their interest in writing about kink, but I’m sure at least some recognized that this could be a good market to dip their toes into.
Part of me couldn’t help thinking: Why would non-kinky people want to write about kink? But then I know there are lots of categories where the writers don’t have anything in common with the people they write about. Many a thriller, for instance, has been told from the killer’s point of view. Anyone who does good research can write about any topic. Why not learn about this thing and write about it?
If you are familiar with Fifty Shades of Grey you know that it is more of a romance than anything else, even though so much has been discussed about the kinky part of it. The two characters are in love and kink is only part of that romance.
I could see a parallel in the spanking world, where many players look at their play as just part of romance. They might not even call themselves kinky, but they’ve spanked each other during sex.
When I was preparing for the class I’d be giving, I tried to break spanking down into categories. I came up with the following:
Categories of Spankos
* those who like sexual or sensual spanking only — they consider it foreplay; it’s mainly physical
* sadists or masochists—they like giving or getting pain; it’s exciting to give or receive
* dominants or submissives —they like being in control or being controlled
* those who play for catharsis or stress relief—spanking is like a drug; it can bring emotional release; release of guilt
* punishment players—this can be part of a long-term agreement, not unlike Dom/sub arrangements, where one person agrees to follow certain rules or be punished
* fantasy role-players—they get off on playing different characters, often reliving scenes from childhood where they had no choice. It’s sometimes done simply for fun as well, or to give a “reason” for the spanking play
I talked about how most spankos tend to cross over into more than one of these categories, or fall into one of these categories with one partner and another category with another partner.
I then talked about how some spankos don’t see themselves as part of the larger BDSM community, and if they go to public parties they may only go to spanking parties.
The implements used in play by spankos tend to be very specific as well.
* Domestic—hair brush, a bath brush, a wooden spoon, belt, strap, switch . . . items a parent might use on a child.
* Educational—ruler, paddle, switch (more southern American), cane or slipper (British) . . . items that a teacher would use. Most spankos would not use crops, whips, floggers, nipple clamps, etc.—they consider that out of the fantasy realm.
I followed this up by a discussion on some of the fetishes and fantasy roles spankos enjoy:
Fetishes: (costumes and personas associated with spanking)
* Catholic school girl uniform. May include the correct panty—white cotton briefs are considered the closest to the original as possible. Cheerleader’s uniform is related.
* The belt–many bottoms express how excited and nervous they get when top rips his belt off and prepares to punish them
* Standing in the corner; often with bottom exposed
* Police officer, firefighter (firefighter is popular as a strong “authority” figure who’s also associated with being helpful and caring)
* Catholic nun
I tried to make the talk light and as humorous as I could. What does an outsider to BDSM wish to know about spanking, I wondered? However, it’s a very widespread type of play and I think even the most hardcore player has spanked his partner at one point or another. So it’s sure to come up in most books about BDSM.
Next year I hope to kick it up a little bit, perhaps giving a live demonstration with a partner in a role play. I don’t know if any of the players want to participate, but I may bring some implements as well that, if they wish, they can try on my “demo bottom.”
Also next year I hope to have a fourth book published and available. I currently have three books on the market, My First Spanking, an eBook anthology of short stories published by Ravenous Romance, and It’s SUPPOSED to Hurt! Volumes I & II, available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, CreateSpace, and the other usual places you buy books.
A little about Cassandra Park Cassandra Park is an editor and writer (erotic and mainstream) who has been in the BDMS lifestyle for more than 25 years. She dabbles in many types of play but gravitates to spanking and discipline play. She and her husband attend several spanking parties a year around the country. Cassandra writes about the scene on her blog, Sandy’s Room. In the vanilla world, she enjoys photography, reading, and making things. She lives in Queens, NY.
Cassandra Park: Presenter during BDSM Writers Con 2014