Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Back To School: Dr. Charley Ferrer's BDSM For Writers Workshop




I have always loved school, but let me tell you, school was NEVER like this! Last Friday through Sunday I had the immense pleasure to attend BDSM FOR WRITERS, a workshop opportunity provided by Dr. Charley Ferrer, sex expert and BDSM lifestyler.

I write erotic romance and more and more kinky business is finding its way into my torrid tales. What can I say? My heroes and heroines just like it edgy! SO I found this a great opportunity to make sure that I am depicting these characters fairly, realistically and with humanity and complexity. But unlike college with its textbooks and ivy laden campuses, we met in a building on the West Side of NYC in the heart of the garment district. We came with our pens and notebooks at the ready, and our “homework” assignment – print out the manual – in hand, but here is where any similarity ended.

9 of us introduced ourselves and got comfy in a small room where “educational aids” were displayed - including floggers, whips, heavy metal collars, and fetish “intro” kits. We ladies came from all around – from Virginia, Boston, New Jersey and Rhode Island, among other locales. Young, older, some in the lifestyle, some not, we had the one thing in common that brought us together: Writing kinky erotic romance. Paranormal, contemporary, historical and everything in between. And what we wanted to know about BDSM was – well, everything!

Dr. Charley herself provided massive amounts of information on the lifestyle. A sex expert, worldwide speaker and presenter, she had us oohing and ahhing, and laughing. She explained the roles, the kinks, the fetishes and the psychology. She gave us the opportunity to try out the implements on one another, which we did with much giggling. I got to try on a collar and it was a curious experience to feel that heavy metal being locked around my throat. I had a few licks with a deceptively benign looking whip. We even had exercises to get us into the heads of submissives, and masters (though the kneeling was hell on my knees!) which was perfect for this “method writer” as I can now rekindle some of those sensations when crafting my characters. The “never-know-til-you-try” adage was a marvel in this regard because I, and the other ladies, were open-minded and willing.

We shared some of our own personal experiences, and got to know one another the first day, lunching together and chatting about our writing, social media, families and more.

Unfortunately I was unable to take advantage with the other gals when they trekked on down with Dr. Charley to Paddles S&M club. DomSub Friends was celebrating an end of summer party and the reports the next day by the bleary-eyed ladies were eye-opening, and hilarious. Suffice it to say they all had a blast and got into the swing of things with vigor.

In addition to Dr. Charley’s talks, she also arranged for a great group of guest speakers. Electrical play expert Jay presented a mind-blowing presentation on electricity in his “sensual” role. The discovery that Michael’s craft stores, my local supermarket and Home Depot can provide many naughty & fun enhancements to this play was a kinky kick. I’ll never look at Christmas decorations the same way again! Being able to play “hands on” with volunteers and get a sense of this play was really cool. His partner, volunteer and “sweet sadist” MaryAnn was likewise filled with great information about BDSM play and the lifestyle. They also generously shared information about organizations and play in other cities and Jay took names for his “dance card”, promising those ladies one “electric” experience that night at Paddles!

There were also several other speakers, members of the BDSM community, but writers too, which provided a wonderful parallel to the discussions on BDSM. Cassandra Park spoke about spanking and discipline play, and how it infuses her own erotica writings. The amazing Laura Antoniou, author of the cult Master/slave cult favorite series, The Marketplace, among other titles, was insightful, informative and wildly, hysterically funny. And I was thoroughly thrilled to have an opportunity to meet, and listen to, DL King, She is the award-winning editor who acquired my erotica short story “My Master’s Mark” (under my erotica pseudonym, Lydia Hill) which will be the finale in her upcoming Cleis Press anthology SLAVE GIRLS (2014).. She talked about her role in the community, and how her knowledge – and our research into this lifestyle – imbues her writing and will raise ours to a realistic level that will fascinate readers.

A second night at Paddles included game participation by two of the ladies’ husbands, and what was clearly an incredible demo of fire play, by Dr. Charley herself, with the assistance of one of our group who volunteered to be the flammable playee.

Our terrific workshop was rounded out with a discussion on psychological pathologies, including Dr. Charley stressing the distinction consensual BDSM players, sharing the power exchange and a mutual intent, and those who are sadistic and/or abusive outside this structure.

Having a chance to gain some understanding into this socially provocative community, to meet some authors intent on rendering this lifestyle with honesty and realistic depictions, to meet these lifestyle participants who gave so generously of their time, expertise, knowledge and humor, as well as to just make new friends, was simply a delight.

And as I made my way home on the LIRR, my head was filled with wonderful research, newfound respect, as well as great ideas, and a terrific base on which to build my BDSM erotic romance. Where my heroes and heroines play - safely, sanely and consensually - and find their happy, kinkilly ever afters.

Interested in attending next year’s bigger, better conference? Check out: http://www.bdsmforwriters.com/

9 comments:

  1. What a wonderful recap of a wonderful weekend, Lise. It was a pleasure meeting and interacting with you. See you at next year's expanded conference!
    Cris

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  2. P.S. My blog today also discusses the BDSM Workshop Weekend, including some happenings at Paddles. So sorry you had to miss those experiences!
    http://crisansonspassions.blogspot.com/2013/08/first-thoughts-on-second-bdsm-writers.html
    Cris

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  3. I had the opportunity to take a class with Dr. Charley Ferrer and it was very eye-opening and informative! It was fun to read about your experience.

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  4. Great write up, Lise. I went last year and it was awesome! I'll be attending next year and giving one of the workshops. Can't wait! The BDSM Writers Weekend was a huge help to my writing in this genre.

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  5. Thanks for the overview of the workshop. I don't write in that genre but the information is good to know.

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  6. Ggreat post! Thanks for the information!

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  7. Thanks to all who've stopped by. Cool to hear from other folk who've had the opportunity to work with Dr. Charley. It was clear that her knowledge of this entire subject, as well as human sexuality in general, is so massive that I was hungry to hear as much as possible while still realizing that there was tons more she could have shared. Back atcha, Cris! Didn't we have fun?

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  8. It is this type of interesting thing with this post of yours. I had been interested with all the topic along with the flow in the story. Keep up to date the truly amazing work.
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  9. Hi Lise,

    Just found your blog. Thank you for your kind words and compliment. It was my pleasure teaching you and everyone else. I love when participants--especially writers--are open to learning all they can about this highly erotic and misrepresented lifestyle.
    It also shows the caliber and dedication of a writer to their craft.

    I look forward to seeing you next year when we'll have over 40-hours worth of workshops and live demos. And you'll be able to join us for the BDSM Club night.

    Live with passion,

    Dr. Charley Ferrer
    www.bdsmwriterscon.com

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