Friday, September 11, 2015

The Golden Flogger Awards of 2015

It was supremely exciting to be able to celebrate The Golden Flogger Awards the first evening of this summer’s BDSM Writers Conference. I was thrilled to be one of the authors in the anthology Slave Girls: Erotic Stories of Submission that was edited by double finalist DL King. While that anthology did not win, I was able to cheer DL King’s win for her other anthology.

What great fun we had! The breadth of finalists was wonderful and it was incredibly heartening to see so much joy in the room for these titles and authors.

I hope that you will discover some new favorites!

So without further ado, here are the Golden Flogger winners, and certainly worthy reads to add to our kinky libraries:


BDSM Light
Sierra Cartwright — Crave

BDSM Advanced
Cherise Sinclair — Edge of the Enforcer

BDSM Dark Erotica
Drury Jamison — Safe Words

Elizabeth SaFleur — Holiday Ties

Dominant Women & submissive Men
Lynda Aicher — Bonds of Courage

Sean Michael — Underground: Special Teams

Jennifer Kacey — Jenna’s Consent

Joey W. Hill — The Scientific Method

Mike Makai — The Warrior Princess Submissive

Edited by D.L. King — She Who Must Be Obeyed

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Better To Dominate You, My Dear: Discovering Dominance with Sir Guy

At the last workshop of day 1 of BDSM Writers Conference, Sir Guy addressed a great topic for writers of BDSM romance. Despite the common presentation of a Dom as a man who has sprung, fully-formed in his kink, wielding his implement of choice with aplomb, the truth of the matter is: He had to start somewhere.

There had to be a “first time” for your Dom. Real, or imaginary, he happened upon that first flogger, first time he looked upon a hank of rope at Home Depot and things begin to tingle (they don’t call it Dom Depot for nothing!). The first occasion on which he gave a woman’s ass a smack and declared: It was good! The very first instant in which he held a woman down during sex and it turned the act up a slew of notches.

When the realization hit, or the curiosity grew, that vanilla guy took the first step into his journey of kinky exploration; got his first idea what it was about him that made him need – more.

And when he begins to learn…

The question for an author is this: Is your Dom already comfortable in his own dominant skin? Aware of his fetishes and happily indulging them? Or has he just had that eureka moment? Or perhaps you have a Dom who gets that itch on page one and your story IS his journey?

While the experienced Dom is oh-so-tempting: The supreme Alpha hero – don’t be afraid to explore a less experienced kind of guy.

Because, as Sir Guy explained, it’s not like you’re taking a milquetoast and morphing him into the superhero of Doms. There will be “a dominant personality at the root of all else”. Your character will have a strong presence. He is calmly confident. He can be assertive (not to be confused with aggressive), though he might also be a quieter type of gent.

Sir Guy used words to describe a Dom’s character like: empathy, confidence. Phrases like a Dom “earns respect from others”, is not “domineering, menacing, a bully”. He doesn’t behave in an “actively hostile manner”. And a Dom can, and will, show emotion.

And he will never say he has “never submitted”. Because in reality, we all submit, no matter how dominant, on some occasions (as my heroine Eden responds to my Dom Hud, when asked:

“You are a kink virgin. Never played. Never submitted, right?” He asked.

“Not unless you count the IRS. They have me on my knees on an annual basis.”

And if he does submit? What a wonderful element to add to your plot! But it will never detract from his core of dominance.

These root qualities are the foundation for his acceptance of his desires. So you have the right clay to mold your Dom, on the page, and let your reader watch him evolve. Essentially, you have an Alpha hero who is seduced by his carnal dark side!

As a believer in the idea that it is characters who drive your story, characters in a kinky romance are like the Indy 500 drivers. The race will be faster and more fraught with dangerous curves, but the victory lap will be supremely satisfying. Because your Dom – beginner or old pro – is in the driver’s seat.

So writers, all you have to do is: Choose Your Dom!

Readers wouldn’t you purely enjoy watching a man discover his carnal self? From that very first dominant touch….

Monday, September 7, 2015

SYNCOPATED RHYTHM: The Dance of Dom and sub

“This is like a kinky duet, my friend. You can’t do it alone and expect it to be smooth, or pretty.” Ben Sterling, HOLD TIGHT, 9-15-15 from Loose Id

Our second round of workshops on the first day of the BDSM Writers Conference was another opportunity to sit at the feet of Cecilia Tan and wallow in her greatness. Her “Doms Are From Mars and Subs Are From Venus” covered such rich ground as we delved into the supremely important aspects of a relationship between a Dom and a sub, that I’m still foraging for nuggets of writing gold in my notes.

As so often can happen with any relationship, miscommunication can lead to huge conflict. Add to this D/s play, and power exchange, and raw sexual action, and you have the recipe for wonderfully rich conflict and plot elements for BDSM erotic romance. This kind of conflict can heat up your characters, and your story, exponentially, helping to drive the blend of kink and romance that must be woven tightly and seamlessly to ensure riveting characters and a gripping story.

Trust. Truthful communication. Expectation. Kink. Love. Jealousy. Mistaken cues. Overlooked clues. These all become a recipe for a romance. Or a recipe for disaster. And what better way to torment your characters than to thrust them into a disaster!

I know there were other authors there who took note of a keen insight Cecilia had made while researching. A large majority of submissives would rather suffer bodily harm than disappoint their Dom. Startling, until you think about the power of the relationship in question. And then it is far more understandable. And shows just how difficult it can be to navigate a relationship in this world. Where even a safe word unspoken can rock that world.

As an author, using these realities of human experience and psychology allow me to create fallible characters.

Because, after all, who wants perfect on page 1? We want to see the characters in all their troubled, tangled, confused humanity. We want to watch them be forced to face their foibles, overcome obstacles. We want to cheer them on as they learn, and grow, acknowledge hard truths, embrace those truths and grow to become a better, freer person at the end of their journey. A person who can embrace the love that they thought they didn’t deserve, or couldn’t have. Characters who finally – FINALLY! - accept themselves in all their kinky glory, and find the right person to share their life with. Happily ever after!

Cecilia Tan’s presentation added a wealth to my library of information to work with when creating my characters. Wonderfully, too, she confirmed the legitimacy of my heroine, Eden Grant, in my forthcoming BDSM erotic romance (HOLD TIGHT, 9-15-15, Loose Id Publishing), whose mistake during a scene instigates a major hurdle that she and Hud Crockett, her Dom, will have to overcome.

No human is perfect. No Dom is always right. No sub always behaves. Scenes can go wrong. Mistakes can be made. People can mess up. And in our stories, perfection isn’t where the fun is. Conflict is our meal, and angst and drama are the spices that flavor our tales of lust and love.

Bottom line, screwing with our characters heads and hearts is where it’s at. Because it’s so awesome when they figure it out!

Yes. I’m that twisted! Aren’t we all? Come on. Admit it.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

THE DEVIL’S IN THE KINKY DETAILS: BDSM Intensive with Dr. Charley Ferrer & Getting Kink Right

Internationally recognized sex expert, BDSM community advocate and Conference Founder, Dr. Charley Ferrer got the conference underway with her information packed intensive. Her drive to educate both the reading and the writing public about the lifestyle is fueled by her desire to make sure the misconceptions, and prejudices, can be avoided by writers who can portray the lifestyle accurately.

To that end, her talk was filled with the nuance and specifics of the BDSM lifestyle. From psychology to terminology, from the many roles participants may play, she urged us to “get it right when writing about kink, be it erotic romance, erotica, or any other form that discusses this subject matter. And this session reiterated for many of us, just how much we still have to learn about the lifestyle and its people.

One of the most important concepts that I took away (along with copious notes) is that it is vital to understand that there is no one type of participant (in real life, nor should there be in our books!).

And for me, that is a glorious treasure for me as an author.

As a former actress, I was not surprised by the revelation that I am a character-driven storyteller. Just as with a role, every performer’s take on that character will be unique. There will be no two Juliets alike. No two actors would be the same as Harry Potter. We’ve seen that several times over with James Bond and the various acting incarnations of that character.

So with my romantic tales populated by kinky characters, each foray into BDSM is driven by those characters. Each has different kinks. Each embraces a different dynamic. Each explores different desires, dreams and fears.

Where one player is a raunchy Dom with a penchant for spanking and nasty BJs, another is a sensuous sadist who loves building the anticipation until his submissive love teeters on the brink of sexual insanity. One loves expensive toys, the other pervertables. One heroine is a feisty gal with a quick comeback, the other a vulnerable soul yearning to belong.

Likewise, my characters each feel differently about their kinky predilections, and you’ll see that characters such as the ones we at the Con write run a gamut of personality types, emotional types, and diverse backgrounds. Each has different expectations to the lifestyle, each has different reactions, and each embraces different aspects. As they say, “your kink may not be my kink, but your kink is OK”. And it’s a concept you’ll see embraced throughout this writing community.

So learning some marvelous specifics about protocols and rituals, about play specifics, roles and types of players; learning that basically anything goes in the safe, sane and consensual world of BDSM allows me, and my fellow authors, the latitude to create special worlds, populated with a vast array of kinky characters to romance, to titillate, and entertain.

Which means that while Dr. Charley’s panoramic presentation was great for authors, it is hella great for readers who love their romance hot and kinky and twisted and filled with awesome characters of every type!

And hey you folks out there who haven’t discovered the joy of BDSM? Come on in! The water’s steamy!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Kinky Writers Talk Writing. And Kink. It’s What We Do: 2015 BDSM Writers Con Friends Old and New

One of the pleasures of the conference is catching up with my fellow authors of smokin’ hot kinky erotic romance. I had a chance to do this on opening day of the Con.

Fired up after the opening ceremony, I grabbed a meal with authors Roz Lee and Cris Anson. Though the fare was modest, we weren’t. We chatted, and laughed and make snarky comments about all manner of things, but what we mostly talked about was writing. It’s what we do. Writing is a world unto itself and we authors generally learn the hard way that the non-writers in the world think you’re a tad odd when you earnestly tell them your characters “want to have sex on every page”. Generally a step back is taken, or the more daring suggest medication.

But we had a wonderful chance to wrap ourselves in the feeling of being part of something special, and apart, as we sat at a small table and the work-a-day world of NYC swarmed around us, unaware that the three average ladies of a certain age were authors of all manner of kinky smutty goodness.

It is a similar energy to the atmosphere of other writing conferences, including the 2015 RWA National conference that was held in July in NYC. That con championed the genre of romance, in nearly all its myriad forms, instilling us with a fervor to produce the best romance we can, even in the face of the perennial snobbery that afflicts our genre.

But BDSM Writers Con goes one step further. Because it champions the vastly popular, but still too often maligned, sub-genre of BDSM erotic romance.

While vanilla erotic romance has slowly been welcomed to the fold after several years of vitriol and exclusion from the mainstream romance playground, kinky romance, with its edgy play and consensual Dominance and submission dynamic, is still viewed with trepidation at the least, or outright disgust at worst.

Yes, even among our romance writing brethren, who know well how it feels to be treated shabbily!

So, it is Dr. Charley’s conference at which we romance writers of this taboo topic are able to let it all hang out. We share, unabashedly, not just our joy in writing, but our enthusiasm for BDSM. For raw and raunchy kink. For sensual and sublime D/s. Books with flogging and pain play. Humiliation play. Master/slave scenarios. Cuffs and canes and nipple clamps, oh my!

And an additional plus of the Con are the readers who joined us. Because it has always been the readers who keep this genre flying off the virtual shelves and onto e-readers with asbestos linings. These readers who have traveled with us into this kinky land of wondrous sexual riches. Where there literally is, something for everyone. No matter your choice of kink, there’s a book for you! BDSM erotic romance covers every genre from shifter to rock star, from billionaire to bad boy bikers. Our readers are looking not just for the happy ending of a romance, not just for the deep emotion of partners in love. They are looking for the complex connection forged in the flames of kinky sex. And ladies and gentlemen, my friends and I are more than happy to make your naughtiest dreams come true!

When Cris and Roz and I took our lunch break, I was thinking about how much it means to me to be a part of this incredibly open and honest community. So, to my supportive and generous community of kinky authors and experts, thanks for another great escape into our twisted universe. Seeing the wholehearted embrace of this genre left me filled with renewed determination to bring all my kinky characters to life – and what deliciously twisted lives theirs are!

And to those readers? The folks who could barely contain their excitement at being a part of the fun, and meeting some favorite authors, and talking with unabashed glee about all their favorite – ahem – action? It was great fun to meet you, talk with you, share with you!

Until next year, keep looking for your favorites stories. Or take up a pen and start one of your own. Let your characters explore their deepest and darkest secrets. And until next year? See you on the page, ladies and gentlemen!

(And if you can't wait until 2016 - HOLD TIGHT, my brand spanking new BDSM erotic romance, debuts September 15, from Loose Id.

PS – if you haven’t discovered the BDSM Writers Con? Check it out! The portal to all the kinky goodness is right through the Golden Flogger Award badge to your write! I mean RIGHT!

Friday, September 4, 2015

How is BDSM Like Writing? Cecilia Tan at BDSM Writers Con

To a writer of fiction, the word “scene” means one thing. But as we writers of kinky romance know, in a BDSM story, “scene” has a whole other meaning.

In her wonderful presentation, Cecilia Tan, author of numerous BDSM erotic romances, showed us the parallels between the elements of a good BDSM scene, and a successful BDSM romance.

First, she shared her belief that we, as author, are the Dominant or Top and our readers are the submissives or bottoms. For one, our readers give us the power over them. The power to seduce and entertain them with our tales. There must be trust between an author and her readers. They trust us to give good story. To bring our worlds alive. To pen stories with heat and heart. Stories with characters who come alive on the page. To give them romances to feed their readers’ passion.

We begin our “scene” by negotiating with our readers. Our beginnings lay out our world and the cast of characters and foretell of the intense action to come. When we seduce them successfully, they give over their trust to us. They agree to journey with us all the way to “The End”. From the first moments of action and attraction, to the “aftercare” - where we soothe our readers who have allowed our torments. Tales rife with conflict, sizzling sexual adventure, climactic action and a breathtaking resolution for our lovers. We help our readers come down from our carefully doled out pleasure/pain, to bask in the afterglow of our literary “scene” - the kinky ever after for our literary lovers.

It is mutual consent. A power exchange. Promises made, and fulfilled. We agree to write the very best BDSM erotic romance we can, and our readers submit to us, trusting that promise of satisfaction. I torture my readers as I do my characters – putting them through hell, but promising them a kinky heaven of satisfaction.

As their “Dom”, my satisfaction comes from knowing I have seduced and entertained for a while.

My readers are rewarded with my arousing stories of lust, longing and happily ever after. Being bound up in a story of romance and passion. One with orgasmic highs and heart-stopping lows. Like a masochist, they ride my rollercoaster of emotion and sex. Like a Sadist, I apply the writer’s lash with flair and accuracy to wring the perfect response from my loyal readers. Sighs. Moans. Cries of “please, may I have some more?”

It is a true relationship between author and audience. As in a D/s scene, it is reaching that mutually satisfying climax after our readers have consented to be ours. Even for that little while.

Now, let me ask you dear reader. How do you take your kink?

Here's a brief taste of how Eden Grant and Hud Crockett, the lovers in my forthcoming BDSM erotic romance, HOLD TIGHT, take theirs:

“Look at that. I’ve marked you.” The indentation of his teeth marred the soft flesh. It made him nearly mad with possessive power. She looked surprised, but not fearful. “Shall I stop? Tell me you don’t want to push this envelope. I’m all about pleasure and pain. I want to feel your flesh beneath my hands. I want to watch your ass turn red while you beg me to stop spanking you. I’ll make you come like you never have. It will be a wild ride, and you’ll love it. I’m a true sadist, and I want you to walk through that fire with me. But it’s all about consent. Yours.”

“I didn’t expect this.”

“Be honest. You didn’t know what to expect. I will lead you, but nothing happens without your consent. Good?” She smelled incredible. Like sex. A spicy perfume, that aroma of feminine arousal. She was responding, but how far could he push? “Can you let go, Eden? Give yourself to me? There’ll be nothing you don’t want.”

Her eyes were wide. Beneath his hands, against his chest, her body quivered. Excitement. Fear of the unknown.

Releasing from Loose Id
September 15, 2015

Thursday, September 3, 2015

2015 BDSM Writers Conference - Day One: And Away We Go – The Kinky Adventure Begins!

The first moments of a writers’ conference are always great fun. You get that jolt of energy as you are walking in, knowing you’ll be immersed in your chosen world of writing and publishing. And the BDSM Writers Conference offers that along with the special spirit that comes with being part of a vital group of individuals sharing like minds on the subject.

I marched upstairs to the cordoned off section for the event only to encounter two ladies I’d met at the 2013 BDSM Writers Workshop event, which was the perfect kick-off. After getting my goodie bag, badge and all-important wrist band (it was a must to get into the Saturday Powders play party), who should I spot but my dear friend, and editor, F. Leonora Solomon. We were soon joined by agent and publisher extraordinaire, Lori Perkins, of Riverside Avenue Books, and host of the Between the Covers monthly erotica reading series in NYC and we caught up (writing, life, and kinky stuff) before settling in Metro 1 for the rousing opening ceremony where we debated which workshops and panels to go too while the room filled with authors, lifestyle practitioners, and readers who love what we write.

Dr. Charley Ferrer spoke movingly about being the “different” daughter in her family. Now an internationally recognized sex therapist and BDSM advocate, her beginnings as a young girl who had different desires struck a chord in me, and I’d guess every other attendee as well.

When was the first time you wondered?

Living an alternative lifestyle is something not just kinky people attending the Con could identify with. As a romance author, I suffer the periodic slings and arrows of having my genre called “trashy” and belittled by the literary community at large, and society in general. And as an author of BDSM erotic romance, even my own romance community includes many who denigrate my sub-genre as something that’s not real romance, but porn in disguise. To be ostracized by my brethren is disheartening, as we who write erotic romance, and BDSM romance in particular, believe whole-heartedly that our romance is just as valid, and powerful, because of the inclusion of intensely sexual characters, which we weave seamlessly with the emotional relationships as we tell our stories. So while at larger, general conferences I might feel a bit shunned, at the BDSM Con I was in my element, with a marvelous group of folks who understand just how magical the marriage of kink and romance can be.

Long before the public’s eyes were opened wide to the kinky world via the wildfire popularity of Fifty, there were massively talented authors writing BDSM romance, including many lifestylers. These romances kept to the tried and true tropes of romance so beloved by readers, but ingeniously clothed in the psychology, emotions and sexuality of BDSM.

Doms and subs are merely romance heroes and heroines taken to new heights. Sexuality is not merely an adjunct to these romances. In kinky love stories, the sexuality drives both the characters and the romance. Protagonists’ desires are what bind them together (pun intended) while providing the opportunity to portray deep conflicts, which give these novels their carnal heart and soul.

Understanding the dynamics and accurately portraying our characters with intense humanity, coupled with edgy desires, is the whole purpose of the Conference. To ensure we, as authors, deliver the best romances we can write; stories that bring this lifestyle to life in all its edgy realism, within the classic form of a romance novel.

With Dr. Charley’s inspiring words to start us off, we were then treated to a terrific talk by our Keynote speaker, erotica author, and BDSM activist, Cecilia Tan.

Her advice was to be just the first gem of the Conference. So stop by tomorrow, when I talk more about this author’s insight in to the genre of BDSM fiction, and my musings on this marvelous genre and the world of kinky creativity.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Welcome to the 2015 BDSM Writers Conference - Live from New York City!

The anticipation for the 2015 BDSM Writers Con had been growing as we all kept in touch via a Conference Facebook page, and on August 19, the festivities began with an Author Meet & Greet & Buddy Up cocktail hour at the suite where founder, Dr. Charley Ferrer, held court.

Having attended the 2103 BDSM Writers Workshop (from which Dr. Charley created the inaugural Conference in 2014), I was thrilled to see some old faces, like Rose, and Karla and Jenny of Exquisite Reviews. And finally got to meet in the flesh some of my new soon-to-be-fast friends from the FB group, with whom I’d been corresponding.

We had a few drinks, did a round-robin introduction that included the who’s and what’s of our writing sides, that had us howling and, as the newbies quickly discovered, hilarity was to be the overall mood for the entire Con. That night we kicked it off and ended up laughing like hyenas.

See, that’s the irony of the BDSM Con, where discussions of flogging, knife play, bondage; safe, sane and consensual Sado-masochism and Dominance and submission are the norm – everyone hugs hard, and laughs harder. It’s a wonderfully giving and supportive environment, and above all, crazy enthusiastic about the lifestyle, and the erotic writings that seek to portray it.

Because that was the original impetus for Dr. Charley’s master plan (pun intended). She wanted to offer an opportunity to writers of erotica and erotic romance to get it right. To understand the nuance of BDSM, the play, the protocols and the dynamics. And most importantly the people who live the lifestyle in all their marvelous diversity. Getting it wrong like “that” book, has riled up lots of community members and I, for once, was thrilled to have the chance to learn, as well as to experience some things that allowed me to gain a greater understanding, from a personal perspective.

One of my personal pet peeves is the failure of authors of BDSM erotic romance to get it right, psychology-wise. I want to understand why the characters want what they want and if there’s no understanding, I feel cheated.

By opening it up in 2014 as both a writer and reader event, Dr. Charley allowed interested fans of the genre to experience the real thing, too. To come, and explore and at club nights, play. Hearty volunteers got to be demonstrated on, and a grand time was had by all (or so I’m told – sadly, I am forced to commute to the events and cannot party til all hours!). But even the simplest of experiences can reveal startling details about many facets of BDSM.

Even being told to kneel before someone can illuminate your view of what power exchange can entail!

This first evening was a rousing intro to what was to come. A fact-and-fun-filled three days of immersion into “the Lifestyle” of BDSM. Which included a wonderful vendor shop, and great swag.

So after that first gathering, I arrived the next morning, on Thursday, to see what I could see.

Come back tomorrow for another glimpse into the awesome Conference when I chat about the Opening Ceremony, with Dr. Charley and Keynote Speaker, author and advocate, Cecilia Tan.

Trust me. You will not want to miss it!

Interested in BDSM as a writer or reader? You, too, have a chance to find out for yourself just how intriguing the subject is. BDSM Writers Conference 2016 will be adding a second venue event in addition to the NYC Conference, in Everett, Washington. Check out the site and see for yourselves (just click on the "Golden Flogger" Award badge)! Just remember – bring some dungeon-wear, and leave your inhibitions at home!