Thursday, July 28, 2011
But I have to be honest...he didn't do it for me and it was a DNF in the end.
I'm not going to stand here and say that beta men or "soft" heroes have no place in romance or even BDSM romance. I'm sure there's a place for them. But this book made me realize that I need a certain grit in my heroes. And the essence of that grit, I think, is bravery.
Bravado, recklessness, wildness--these are not the same thing. I don't want a reckless hero, only a brave one. I want him to know the danger and wish to avoid it, but face it anyway because he's just that brave. The hero in this romance book I referenced avoided battles and conflict and I think that's why, ultimately, I couldn't feel anything for him. Maybe in the end he did get braver and more assertive, but by then it was obviously too late for me.
I suppose it works both ways. The scared, doubtful heroine only works so far until the readers ask themselves, "when is this girl going to buck up and face her fears?" And I think characters should certainly be able to doubt and fear things--but only if they eventually overcome those doubts and fears. I just need that. Maybe I'm too demanding, LOL.
In BDSM I think bravery becomes even more important. An avoidant dominant OR submissive is a screw-up waiting to happen. But a brave dominant or submissive takes risks, tries new things, and faces the music when those new things or risks blow up in his or her face.
Bravery. I just think it's a sexy thing.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The other advice I got was to use third person. And I struggle with this, too. Both my other books ended up as this weird anomaly: first person from her POV, third person from his. Readers were taken aback but got used to it. I was going to make this one first person all the way through. When I’m trying to convey a strong female character, first person just seems to flow better. Third person seems to cramp my style; it goes wooden on me. But it’s not as if I haven’t used third person; why can’t I make it work in this case? The advantage being that my male protagonist needs a presence, too, and not just through her. I don’t know; I’m stuck.
The person who suggested third person also advised me to start with the protagonist as an adult, and refer back to the early days if necessary. This could work, but in this case something really major starts for this girl when she’s in high school, and that’s where I’ve been beginning. To convey that powerful event as a flashback and in third person seems to suck the juice right out of it. And yet…I’m sure it could be done. I just don’t know if I’ve got the skill to do it. (Or if I want to.)
Present tense is another thing I play with from time to time. Back when I was in the final edit stages on As She’s Told, I actually rewrote at least 50 pages in present tense. (There may have been a certain avoidance going on there; the longer the editing took, the longer I could put off searching for a publisher.) Since the book starts with a flash forward, it really didn’t work in present tense no matter how hard I tried. It finally dawned on me that present tense books have to have very straightforward timelines; no jumping around. You can refer to the past, but you have to stick to the present.
As you can tell, I seem to have this yen to do rather advanced structural stuff, without really having the literary chops to pull it off.
Struggles with the basic structure do tend to preoccupy me before I start, but I’d say this particular struggle is going on way too long. I’ve got a couple week’s vacation coming up and I’d like to make some actual progress.
So tell me, are your favourite books in first or third person? Does it make any difference to how you feel about a character? Two characters?
For the writers, any advice on how you get the structure sorted out in advance? I’m open to advice. Though I make no promises to take it. Because the reality is that I’m a just a tad oppositional. Not to mention opinionated. And stubborn.
On the plus side, your arguments might just make me push back hard enough to come up with a workable line of action and stick to it; wouldn’t that be great? ;-)
Monday, July 25, 2011
Today we’re going to talk about corsets. Let me start by defining the word; a corset is an article of clothing that goes around the waist and lower chest, constricts the wearer, with boning strong enough to resist being bent by her shape. In other words, a corset makes you bend, rather than it stretching for you. Garments with plastic boning, such as are sold by Frederick’s of Hollywood and other places as corsets, are not corsets as far as I’m concerned, although some of them are very hot. I’m also not talking about waist cinchers, which are narrower and just constrict the waist and nothing else, because I’ve never tried one.
Why wear a corset? The answers are varied, and just as with most kinks, there is light corset play and extreme corset play. At the lightest, it’s a fashion statement, or a fetish. Corsets can push your boobs out and give you cleavage that a push-up bra can only dream about. They can pull your waist in, giving you more of an hourglass shape, and possibly allowing you to squirm into that skirt you outgrew two years ago. Tie a corset a little tighter, and it affects your breathing, forcing you to take shallower breaths. It starts to become a kind of bondage at that point, squeezing you. If you’ve given up control of how tight it gets tied to someone else, it feels even more like bondage, even though your hands and legs are free to move as they will (of course, that’s assuming you aren’t doing some other bondage along with the corset.) Wear a corset all the time, and it will actually start to change your shape permanently, actually shifting internal organs away from your waist to retain that hourglass shape.
There’s a couple of dangers to watch out for with corsets. The first, and most obvious, comes with long term use. On the one hand, a corset shifts you quite gently, and over time. Nothing is going to get punctured or torn or ripped. But there’s no way anyone with a straight face can tell you that it’s harmless. It’s probably not as bad for you as smoking, and I wasn’t able to find any medical studies, but you should think long and hard about whether then benefit is worth the risk. The other danger, however, comes even with short-term use. Corsets can, as I said, change the way you breathe. They don’t cut it off, but your body has all that lung capacity for a reason, and if you tie the corset too tight, beyond where you first start to feel the effect on your breathing, and then exert yourself, you may not be able to get the oxygen your body needs. This can cause fainting, and when you faint because of lack of oxygen that may be killing off some brain cells. So if you are lacing up a corset on someone else, please, please don’t treat it as if it’s a contest to see how tight you can get it. You want them to feel it. You don’t want to be picking them up off the floor. One good way to do this is to have them take a breath just before you tie the laces off, so that you know the corset fits even when their lungs are moderately expanded. Most corsets will loosen over time some, so you don’t usually want their lungs to be completely full when you tie it off, either. That gap where a naked back shows through the corset is sexy, not a sign you didn’t tie the corset tight enough.
If, on the other hand, you are having trouble getting a corset tight, a skate hook, sold at any ice skating store, helps. It is not impossible to tie your corset yourself, but you’re probably not going to get it quite as tight as you would if you had help.
There are three main kinds of corset out there. The first is the underbust corset, which doesn’t cover the breasts at all. It squeezes our body, but no super cleavage. It’s a bit easier to find an underbust corset off the rack that fits, and it can be worn with a bra. The second type is the more common, or overbust corset, that pushes your breasts up, and gives them a little squeeze at the same time. This is my favorite, but an ill-fitting overbust corset may squeeze your breasts into a shape that isn’t so attractive, so I really recommend getting one of these custom-fitted rather than buying something off the rack. The final kind, which I do not recommend, actually has “cups” for the breasts. Perhaps I’d have better results if I had gotten a custom one made, but it combines the difficulty of getting something that already needs to fit your waist and underbust perfectly, and then add in the problem of getting a perfect fitting bra in same garment. The results, cleavage- wise, really aren’t much better than a push-up bra and definitely aren’t as good as with your standard corset. To get a good corset, expect to spend a few hundred dollars, and look for something with steel boning. Corsets used to be made with whalebone, but with whales endangered, steel is definitely the way to go.
That’s it. Corsetry can be done with or without a top, but it definitely helps to have a friend. They can be worn by domme and sub alike, and can be a part of play that’s anywhere from very light to quite extreme. They are a powerful fashion statement and a unique sensation all at the same time.
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Is very difficult work.
Master must come first.
Being a Master
Is very difficult work.
Slaves still have a heart.
Ah, the haikus, while charming, grow tiresome to me. Perhaps to you too. I think I'm going to look into making Sunday our KEA "Poll" day, for posting fun kinky polls where people can chime in on important--or unimportant--kinky issues.
Hmm...thinking of a good question for next week...
Friday, July 22, 2011
Thursday, July 21, 2011
As I sit here writing, a heat wave has hit the Mid-Atlantic, and at nearly 100 degrees my air conditioner isn’t quite keeping up. Here I am with a blog to write, trying to come up with an idea, and it’s almost too hot to think. Definitely too hot to think of anything hot and sweaty. So today I’m going to talk about ice. If we have any readers from the southern hemisphere, you may start hating me now, but around here, we’re sweltering.
There’s something about the idea of having someone slowly draw on me with a melting ice cube that’s immensely appealing right now. Down my arms, along my legs. Doing it myself would definitely not be the same. For a moment, an ice cube is too cold, and then as it moves away the water warms on the skin and becomes pleasure, no sub space or masochistic tendencies needed for this particular transmutation, just simple physics. There are definitely some places where it’s too intense. I’ve seen molds in adult novelty stores, and while a penis shaped ice cube is amusing, I don’t want one inside me. Internal ice isn’t for me, unless we’re talking my mouth, of course. Tie me up and feed me popsicles -- sounds like the perfect scene to me.
Ice is perfectly safe, at least in small quantities. A single ice cube creates intense sensation with absolutely no damage or even threat of damage. It doesn’t even require an enormous amount of trust, which makes ice play part of a reasonable scene for couples just getting to know each other. One worry though, when writing about ice play in fiction -- it might be a cold windy day in February when the reader opens the book. Ice play is definitely more appealing in some kinds of weather than others, despite what King Ludwig of Bavaria thought. He built Neuschwanstein, the castle the Disney castle is based on, and lots of other pretty buildings. Apparently he liked to make his soldiers dance naked on moonlit winter nights. Okay, I can see the appeal, but safe, sane and consensual I’m not sure about.
I’m going to go have a popsicle, and refill my ice cube trays. If you've got any books to share that have nice scenes with ice in them, or comments about your own experience with ice or other cold objects in play, I'd love to hear them.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
In erotic fiction some of that may be a bit glossed over and characters may get together much faster than would happen in the real world. As authors, we're told by our editors and publishers that sex needs to happen early in the story to keep readers engaged. This is where the problem often lies with writing believable BDSM relationships. The great thing about erotic fiction is that it's based on fantasy and you can get away with things in fiction you can't in the real world. Or so you might think. Some readers are willing to go along with the fantasy and others, not so much.
In my book Wrapped Around Your Finger, Banner and Indie get down to business after only knowing each other for very short time. I tried to make this quick relationship as palatable as possible. They negotiate beforehand, have already been tested due to their employment and Indie has a person she uses as a safe call. Even with all this in place, I still received some criticism for the relationship happening too fast.
I've read and enjoyed stories where time was taken to built a relationship and others when it's been more of an instant connection.
As a reader or a writer, what are your thoughts?
Monday, July 18, 2011
It was in a flogger closet. Yup. I was very impressed by that closet, I will admit, but the one item within it that drew my attention most was that Violet Wand.
For those of you who aren't familiar with a Violet Wand (VW), I did a little research. Seems the VW is usually associated with Electricity Play. Depending on the setting used, the sensations provided can range from a light tingle all the way up to the feeling of being burned. The Wand portion is the base, a Telsa coil-type electrical transformer. They're engineered to be safe for use as a sexual toy. The Violet part comes from the electrodes used with the Wand. Most of these electrodes are made of glass tubes and have the same type of gas inside them as plasma balls or neon signs. Usually the color is purple (violet), but you can find electrodes with different colors from the manufacturers.
I know some people who vehemently refuse to have anything to do with VWs. Who find nothing interesting or arousing in being shocked. For me though, I like the way the hairs stand up on my skin and the tingling sensations follow the path of the electrode, lingering like a phantom touch for just a few moments, a little aftershock, if you will.
Now that's a present! LOL
A few resources from my research:
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Dark, crippling longing.
She has a feeling that soon
she will feel some pain.
Waiting in tight bonds.
Not afraid, not impatient.
Ready for her Sir.
It takes desire and
devotion to submit to
a bikini wax.
A sub's true measure
is not in how much she gives,
but what she gives him.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I had to giggle when I first got my "author's handbook" from Ellora's Cave. In it, they chide authors not to write heroes with massive man meat--their point being that the average penis size of most men is around six inches.
To this I say: I am not interested in average penis size, not when we're talking about the hunks in MY books! No, no, no, my heroes must be breathtaking--nay--spectacular! Now, I'm not saying they have to be so large they injure the heroine or anything. They don't have to be packing a baseball bat, just something slightly better than average. I mean, think about it. Heroes are heroes because they are better than your average Joe. Why not give them a hunk of junk to match?
And oh...the balls must be heavy and pendulous. Damn skippy!
I suppose I fell in love with hung men during my formative 80's romance reading years. Back then all the heroines were virgins too, so there was always that lovely de-virginizing scene where the hero had to cram his oversized tool into her tight gripping sheath while she gasped and struggled beneath him. Of course, she could only survive this trauma because she was clasped in his strong, tender arms. Sigh...
Even now, when most of what I read and write doesn't involve virgins, I still want the hero's equipment to make the heroine's eyes go wide when he drops his pants. Maybe that makes me a pervert. Surely it makes me a size girl. When you add power exchange into the mix, fantasy penis size becomes even more important to me. Doms need big cocks. It's just a fact.
Ellora's Cave, I do not agree with your cock-size guidelines. In fact, I strongly disagree! Long live thick throbbing hero-cock.
What about you? How do you like your hero? Average/realistic, larger-than-average, or over the top?
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
- Where is your personal limit where fictional impact play goes from arousal to squick?
- At what point does fictional submission cross the line from hot to too much?
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Here’s another problem with writing about older characters. There’s so much more life to fill in before the time of the book. A person with that much experience, it seems to me, would be that much more complex to portray. The reality is that when a book centres around sex and sexuality, readers get impatient with a great deal of character development. Perhaps I’m wrong about this; what do you think?
Here’s an interesting thought; how about a “flash forward?” Glimpses along the way of the couple twenty or thirty years later? Settled and matured, with their relationship developed into whatever it’s going to be. Not the core of the book, so that the rest is a flashback, but the reverse. Hmm. As nothing is new under the sun, I’m sure I’m not the first to think of it; anyone come across a book like that?
People do like to read about characters they can relate to. I think there’s definitely a market for bdsm books that reflect the reality of d/s relationships, which do in fact accommodate bills and kids and carpools. Imagine a story in which a couple manages to maintain their d/s dynamic despite the knees that won’t kneel and a whipping arm with chronic bursitis. Would it get you off? Perhaps it’s the romance aspect that’s lacking, not the nubile bodies, so how about a story about a couple that manages to come together and develop their d/s dynamic, with all their bodily imperfections and real-life encumbrances?
Maybe it’s a specialized market. A sub-sub-sub market. ;-) Your thoughts?
Monday, July 11, 2011
Anneke has talked about orgasm denial on few a previous Kink Monday posts: Teasing and Denial and Chastity Belts. Today I'd like to talk about the polar opposite: being forced to have orgasm after orgasm after orgasm until long after you are begging for it to stop.
I mentioned one way to force orgasms in my Kink Monday post on TENS Units, and I must say it's a particularly effective way of going about it. So effective that it can be used as a way to punish for having an orgasm without permission. Can you imagine being restrained before having the electrodes put on and being told you'll be stimulated until you've had 25 orgasms? Or, if you're naturally multi-orgasmic then up that to 75 orgasms. The first thirty minutes isn't so bad, the second thirty minutes you're tired and don't really want to do this any more. Somewhere near the middle or end of the second hour the orgasms hurt - the muscles are tired and the hormones secreted during orgasm to make it feel good have all been used up, but the stimulation is there and the muscles take over and go through the motions of orgasm anyway whether you want them to or not. Now, granted, the Top has to ease off and build back up, he can't just leave it on the same setting or eventually it will stop working. But if the Top knows what he or she is doing then this can go on for hours.
It can also pretty easily be done with a combination of vibrating plug, vibrating dildo, and vibrating butterfly-type device, though hours and hours of it doesn't tend to work as well. An hour and a half or so works well, but once the painful orgasms begin you'll need a lot of lube because at some point the body will stop supplying it. With this method you get sore in two ways - the muscles get sore in the same way they do with the TENS, but the friction of the dildo adds another element and that creates a whole different kind of sore. Done as part of a scene it can be a delicious memory, done for punishment then the pain you feel for a few days is a different kind of reminder.
Annabel uses forced orgasms as a portion of an all day punishment in Comfort Object, though she uses a bit of a different twist - making the submissive have to get herself off three times at the top of every hour for eight hours - the way the math works out, with a time at the beginning and end, it's 27 orgasms in eight hours. And because Annabel has a lovely devious mind - nipple clamps go on at the top of the hour and don't come off until all three orgasms happen.
I think both denial of orgasms and forced orgasms are hot when written into books. It's all about control, after all - and both are a pretty intense method of controlling a person's body and reactions. For a truly devious twist, add a requirement to ask permission before being allowed to have the orgasm you are being forced into. Being ordered to hold it back for a few seconds, or even a few minutes, when it's just right there and you don't want it to happen but you can't really stop it either, but you must to hold it back until permission is given -- or face a substantial punishment. Control, indeed.
What books stand out in your mind that handled one or the other of these kinks? I've already mentioned Comfort Object for the forced orgasm, and I think As She's Told is probably one of the more extreme books on female orgasm denial I've read.
What's your kink? Denial, or orgasm after orgasm after orgasm until long past when you can stand to have them?
Sunday, July 10, 2011
From across the room
you communicate power.
Your arms make me drool.
Sir, do I please you?
There is nothing I want more
than to see you smile.
Fingers press and trace.
A master monitoring
his property's curves.
A dom's true measure
is not how much he demands,
but how much he cares.
Friday, July 8, 2011
When I was younger I wrote several pieces of lesbian BDSM erotica, not because I was a lesbian but because I appreciated that the two people exchanging power were not saddled with the burden of an assumption of male dominance. They didn’t have to subvert the paradigm, and they didn’t have to justify following it, either. I struggled particularly with fiction where the man was on top, because it seemed to me that he was already in a position of some advantage in our society, and how dare he exploit it to gain even more dominance in a power exchange, which didn’t stop me from finding those books hot. Now, that concern seems, if not precisely silly, at least not important to me personally.
A year or so ago I read a book in which a psychologist uses information from counseling sessions to “help” his patient by becoming, along with his brother, her dom. It was, again, pretty hot, but not so hot that I could shake the little voice inside me that kept saying “but that’s totally wrong.” I enjoyed the book anyway, but I would have enjoyed it more if the setup had been different.
People in positions of power can be hot fantasy figures. Doctors. Policemen with handcuffs. Bosses. Psychologists. Pirates. Teachers. No one can blame the submissive heroine for wanting the one she wants, but at the same time it may be crossing all sorts of ethical lines for the dominant hero to actually give it to her.
When writing Secretary for Two my setup involved an executive assistant and her boss, and her bosses’ brother. Clearly, she’s starting out in a position of imbalance, and her ability to negotiate is a bit challenged. Clearly no good boss is going to make someone submit when he has the power to make them lose their job. However, I think I came up with a reasonable solution to that issue -- I’ll have to see what the readers think, but I think people will finish the book liking everyone.
In any case, fiction is a kind of fantasy. Maybe we don’t want heroes to obey the rules, even when it comes to ethics. That’s not my take, but I don’t want fictional doms to be perfect either, and I certainly read books where the hero ruthlessly exploits his societal advantages and enjoy them. But I try to describe basically safe or at least risk-aware BDSM practices in my books, and ethical characters are part of that.
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
So, I've been indulging myself and reading as much as I'd like. Usually, I would be combing the net for new books, but I haven't been. I've been spending time with the books on my keeper shelf, mostly the bdsm fiction, and I thought I'd share the list of books that have earned a space on that shelf.
Nine and a Half Weeks by Elizabeth McNeill - This was the very first book I'd read that portrayed any type of kink. I can't tell you how many times I've read it because honestly, I have lost count. The prose is simple, but the feelings it stirred in me were not. The movie is a sad comparison to the book.
As She's Told by Anneke Jacob - What can I even say about this book that does it justice? I've read it four times so far and that number is sure to increase. Every time I read it I get something different out of it. It's such an intense and thought-provoking book. The extreme relationship Maia and Anders share is completely unique, one that draws me back time and time again.
Carrie's Story by Molly Weatherfield - A modern bdsm classic. I loved it from first page to last. Carrie's voice was so refreshing and honest. Reading her thoughts was like reading about myself.
Mercy by Annabel Joseph - Oh my gosh, this is my favorite love story. It's my fairytale. I know that may sound twisted to some of you, but it's true. It's a book that leaves me emotionally wrung out when I finish the last page, but in a good way.
Obsession by Claire Thompson - The one that hits all my kink buttons, my dirty fantasy. I like non-consent stories, force is a huge kink of mine, but this one that stayed with me.
Now that you've had a small glimpse of my favorites I want to know what BDSM books are on your keeper shelf if you have one.
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Tailored velvet coat
A froth of lace at the sleeves;
A gentleman rogue,
He stands so tall and virile.
Polite, but not tame.
Flowers in a vase
Colorful, showy petals.
Flagrant beauty confined.
Lovely laugh, deep gaze
A soft brush of fingertips.
Gloves preclude real touch.
How brutal it is
To want what you can not have.
To look and not touch.
If you'd like to check out Lily Mine, my new Victorian fantasy erotic tale of lust, longing, and tragic desire, you can find it at AllRomanceEbooks.com, Smashwords.com, Amazon.com , and Barnes and Noble.com!