Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Emotional Books

I don't generally like sad books. Books are my escape, I don't want them to make me sad. It would be like going on a vacation that's going to make you cry. I understand some people seek out sad books, they enjoy letting their emotions go on that up and down roller coaster. I'm not saying that's wrong, I mean, hey, I crave the feel of the flogger -- I totally understand seeking out an experience others actively try to avoid.

A little over a year ago I came very close to losing my husband. It took seven hours of surgery for the doctors to bring him back to me. It was touch and go for a few days after the surgery, when the doctors and nurses still weren't assuring me he was going to pull through.  I sat beside his hospital bed with my laptop and wrote, the hours turning into days. My parents kept our girls, took them to school, fed them. I saw them in the mornings on webcam, helped them with their homework in the evenings on webcam. I didn't leave his side.

It sounds morbid, but during this time I wrote the beginning of a book that involved a submissive who had lost her husband a few years before. She'd rebuilt her life, rebuilt who she was, and was finally beginning to date. When the doctors finally decreed my husband was going to live, going to make it, I didn't need to write on that book anymore. Couldn't write on it anymore. I needed to focus on the fact that I was going to be able to take him home, eventually. It took months for him to fully recover, but he did.

I recently pulled out the 34,000 words I wrote when I wasn't sure he was going to make it, and began working on it again. It was a good beginning and middle, and I know how it's going to end, now. But last week, as I was writing a particularly emotional part, I cried for hours as I wrote. Not just a few tears, but the boo-hoo balling type of crying, where you have to keep blowing your nose to keep the snot from running down your face (sorry, was that TMI?).

I always wondered why people wrote sad stories, and now I think I have an idea. This one isn't going to end sad though, it's going to have a happy ending. Or, that's the plan.

The book releasing this Friday, Safeword: Matte, is not sad. In fact, it's a pretty freewheeling happy book without a ton of things trying to pull the couple apart. It's the antithesis of the book I'm writing now. A totally different muse was in charge of that one.

 Do you like sad books? Or are you like me, and avoid them like the plague?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Marketplace Censors

From the beginning, sex has been what pushed the internet forward. New ways to use technology, inventive ways to create an income stream -- most of it started with someone peddling sex online.

The biggest exception to that would be ebay, and the payment form popularized by all of the people selling and shopping on ebay -- PayPal, which has become the way many small businesses online collect their revenue.

But PayPal has decided they don't want anyone peddling "obscene" merchandise to use their services. Of course, their definition of "obscene" seems to be a moving object. A number of online book stores have recently been told unless they get rid of whole sections of their erotica books, their PayPal accounts will be frozen.

Over the past year I've heard various stories of erotica authors who have had their PayPal accounts frozen. When it happens they lose whatever money was in the account. For good. Often worse, the author is no longer able to buy anything -- obscene or not -- via PayPal, or to be paid for anything via PayPal, whether it be through their pen name or their real name. No one tied to their address or their bank account can get an account. I've wondered at that. Why is it okay for the bookstores to sell these books, but not for the authors to spend or receive money related to the books? Apparently, it isn't anymore.

For now, it appears the restrictions are going to be on any kind of incest (real or pseudo), any kind of sex with animals, and probably only non-consensual BDSM, but the jury is still out on which BDSM is okay and which is not. Minors having sex has been on the taboo list for a while, which annoys the bejeebers out of me when I read one of my daughter's mainstream YA books and the sixteen year old kids are having sex. Why is it okay in YA and not in other genres? If we were going to outlaw it, shouldn't it be outlawed in the books our kids are reading instead of the books the grown-ups read? The law is there to protect minors, and then it allows it only in the books the kids read? Hmmm, I'm off on a tangent. Back to the current ban.

Bookstrand's notice begins with --  We were informed by PayPal, without notice, and by our credit card processing company, that we are required to remove all titles at with content containing incest, pseudo incest, rape, and bestiality, effective immediately.

How you define "rape" decides upon whether consensual BDSM is going to be acceptable, or whether only the non-con BDSM will be included in the ban.

Some notices are also forbidding "barely legal" sex, which seems to be sex with an 18 or 19 year old girl. But 18 or 19 year old guys seem to be in the clear.

For me, personally, the idea of any kind of incest turns my stomach, and I don't care if it's a blood relation or not (that's pseudo incest -- sex between stepfather and adult stepdaughter, or adult step-siblings, or adopted siblings). I'm also not a fan of bestiality, barely legal sex, or actual rape -- though there are a few non-con books out there I've enjoyed. I don't see myself ever writing a book with any of those elements, but I don't think it's right to censor books with those things in them.

I read and write about things a large part of the public thinks is wrong, but no one is actually getting hurt in my books. No one is actually being flogged when I write about it -- it's all in my imagination. There are no sex workers to protect, no third world people being used for their cheap labor to make my product... it's words on a page. There are warnings about what's in the books, floggers on the covers, and the blurb makes it clear the story is about people getting spanked, and more.

When an author writes a fictional book about a serial killer, they are writing about an illegal activity. Movies about really cool bank robbers -- illegal activity. I loved Oceans 11, but it's glorifying an illegal activity, right? I adore Dexter, that oh-so-lovable serial killer, but if we erotica authors tried to write about a lovable rapist, we'd be dragged through the coals.

I haven't even mentioned the fact that pseudo-incest and "barely legal" sex aren't even illegal (just ask Woody Allen), and yet they are being banned. Where is the logic here?

Also, where is the line? I believe this will ban pretty much all of Kitty Thomas' books from the smaller bookstores, and that's a shame. She writes non-con, but she does it very well. She gets into the psychology of it, not just the physical --  Comfort Food  is one of those books that stayed with me for days after I'd finished. And what about Anneke's  Owned and Owner? An argument could be made that Etrin chose to be sent to the other planet, but it could also be made that once she's there she has no choice in what happens to her. Who is going to have the final say in these things? Some drone at PayPal? A minimum wage clerk at Visa?

As of now, various publishers and the smaller bookstores are getting phone calls and notices from PayPal. I believe all of the bookstores are choosing to remove the offending books, but some of the publishers are looking for other solutions. Apparently, they are learning the credit card companies charge exorbitant fees for what they term "high risk accounts", and their definition of "high risk" is anything having to do with sex. There aren't a whole lot of options for the smaller publishers looking to avoid this censorship. One publisher signed up with Amazon Payments, only to be turned down because they weren't allowing that type of product to be sold through Amazon Payments. The irony here being the little fact those same books are currently being sold on Amazon.

Selena Kitt explains the situation in detail in this Dead Robots Society podcast - her part starts around the nine minute mark. There is also an online petition, but so far it doesn't appear to be getting a lot of attention.

I don't want the banks to be able to decide what I read.  I truly hope the publishers and indie authors find a way around the current PayPal and other credit card bans.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

But...but...why do you like that?

I posted last week about submissive shaming, an issue near and dear to my heart obviously--but closely related to that is the issue of masochist shaming.

This is my quick and dirty definition, but masochists are basically people who enjoy being hurt. Of course, this is a choice. Masochists seek pain and abuse...if you're being hurt or abused against your will that's not applicable here. That, of course, is reprehensible. Perhaps that's why masochism and masochists are judged so negatively, because it gets mixed up with that icky problem of non-consensual abuse. Wow, you like to be abused? You must be crazy or sick!

But honestly, the two have nothing to do with each other. A masochist craves the treatment he or she gets, and despite what many assume, it's not an indication of mental illness, psychological trauma, low self-esteem, or anything other than the person enjoys being hurt.

That's not to say there aren't people who seek out masochistic activities due to mental or psychological issues. My character Molly in Club Mephisto is one of them, Wednesday in Owning Wednesday is another. Then there's Lucy in Mercy, but she was a dancer already and everyone knows they're all born masochists. (hee hee, I kid.)

But again, who are we to judge if someone scratches their mental itches in a way that satisfies their needs? I personally think it's a beautiful thing. If the activity is consensual, masochistic cravings should be accepted like any other kink.

Which brings us to the poor, despised sadist. I suppose I've chosen a hard row to hoe, choosing to have sadists and masochists as hero/heroine combinations in my books. But the beauty of it is that sadists and masochists go together like spring and flowers, puppies and ribbons, mashed potatoes and gravy. Without a sadist, a masochist is unfulfilled. Do we want that? Of course not!

I suppose my plea is for readers, especially readers of BDSM romance, to accept masochists as the consenting, pleasure-seeking people they are, rather than assuming there must be something wrong with them. Kink acceptance is so key. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, because I think most of our readers here at KEA are pretty savvy about the lifestyle, but if you're out and about in Interwebs-land and you see masochist shaming going on, or sadist condemnation, and you know these are just couples getting their kink on and fulfilling each other, go ahead and say a word or two on the subject.

Education is the key. And of course, lots of yummy pain and nastiness, if you're a masochist at heart.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Cover -- Safeword: Matte

Matte, pronounced mah-tay, is the word used in some forms of martial arts to stop a fight. It’s the Japanese word for stop or wait. Sam (short for Samantha) has made a hobby out of learning the various fighting disciplines, but she also happens to be a sexual submissive. What better safeword than matte?

Sam wants to find someone to submit to who she can’t beat in a fight. She’s tried to make it work with men from the scene who know nothing about fighting, but it doesn’t feel real to her – she needs someone who can truly control her. However, after dating from the fight scene and discovering not all guys like to spank their girlfriends, she’s decided to just back away from the whole dating scene for a while… until Fate decides to step in.

Safeword: Matte is due to be released Friday, March 2.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Carried Away

Does anyone here read gay male bdsm fiction? In the BDSM Goodreads group there are a number of women who seem to find it tasty. I’d only read the Chaos Magic trilogy by Jay Lygon. Oh, and there’s a lot of male-male action in the MMf Interstellar Service and Discipline books by Morgan Hawke. Which I read by default while waiting for the next M/f scene. Jay Lygon is actually Kathleen Bradean. So I’ve only read gay male interactions written by women. Which of course makes the authenticity somewhat questionable.

As it looks like I’ll be on a panel with David Stein late in the summer I’ve been reading his novel, Carried Away: An S/M Romance. Apart from a cartoonishly bad cover it’s an interesting read. This book, published ten years ago, has become a classic in the small and mostly recent world that is m/s literature. This one focuses not just on who does what to whom, but on how a master / slave relationship can realistically be developed and configured. David Stein told me he wrote it as the “Anti- Mr. Benson.” I gather Mr. Benson, written in the 70’s, is heavy on unrealistic fantasy versions of gay m/s; I haven’t read it myself. And it is itself a classic in leatherman circles, so there were some misperceptions David was anxious to address. Which means his story gets a little preachy here and there, but nothing too major.

What I find fascinating is some of the differences between hardcore gay s/m and the M/f heterosexual variety. Wow, can those guys take a lot of abuse! (At least the ones in the stories.) If I’m uncomfortable in bondage in any way apart from that which is -- ahem ¬– intended, it needs fixing or I’m done. Arms going numb, knees getting sore, muscles cramping? – nuh-uh. And I’ve never come across a fictional female subby that feels differently. The sub character in Stein’s book puts up with hours of non-erogenous-zone aches and pains that would have put me off any kind of play forever.

Major beatings, yes – those happen in both kinds of fiction. But punching? I think that would tip the scale for the vast majority of female readers. Though I’ve come across a couple of real-life women who like it. Carefully controlled, I sincerely hope.

And the leather. Hey, I like leather; I do! I prefer leather restraints over rope any time. A leather corset is one of those things I wish I had but can’t afford. But the characters’ obsession with it is way beyond my league. Leather uniforms, boots, chaps, jocks, gloves. All cheerfully worn and displayed in muscly leather bar enclaves. By definition, a setting completely foreign to females of any variety. So reading about them as a kind of invisible tourist is a bit of a trip; like reading about a foreign culture. It’s like getting a seat on a second floor balcony on the route of a Pride parade. Close enough to see and smell the action without being physically in the way.

Not surprisingly, cock obsessions come in at a close tie with leather. Erections are such an obvious measure of arousal. Not that a female sub can’t be checked out for her reactions, but if she’s trying to act cool, tactile evidence is usually required. Whereas the men are hanging right out there, totally visible. Or jutting, as the case may be. A certain lack of the subtlety that I’m accustomed to reading and writing about when it comes to women’s sexual response. Whether men are really simpler than women in that regard I don’t know. But it must be very handy for a top to have such an easy barometer of arousal to go by.

So, all in all, a fine read. The panel – my first public appearance as Anneke Jacob – is no problem because it’s months away and I haven’t started worrying yet. I will (and will no doubt tell you all about it). But am quite looking forward to chatting with David Stein.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Kink Monday - Breath Play

It's been a while since we've had some Kink Monday info to share, but I'm happy to host a breath play expert today at Kinky Ever After: Mr. UberSadisticBastard2.0, an acquaintance of mine and an active poster on Fetlife under the username USB20. He was kind enough to answer several tough questions for us in his direct and inimitable style. Note also: numerous safety warnings and suggestions on how to educate yourself before you attempt this type of play. Breath play is edge play. Enjoy!

AJ: First of all, can you give us a quick and dirty explanation of what breath play involves?

USB20: Breath play, as defined by me, is that set of activities that involve manipulation or control of the breath of one or more humans, by oneself or by the action of one or more others.

AJ: What are some of the different ways people do it?

USB20: The ways in which this is done are as varied as there are people doing it. There are nonetheless some general commonalities. Choking, smothering with the hands or a pillow, ligature strangulation, hanging (a favorite of mine), full encasement of the head in rubber or plastic, shoving the head under water. The list goes on.

The simplest form of breath play in terms of people, is doing it oneself. This can range from the classic auto-erotic asphyxia of hanging oneself by a belt or rope from the closet bar to complex self bondage scenarios coupled with fully encasing latex or rubber hoods. Or just simply holding your breath. Auto-erotic asphyxia carries some risk, and although I mention it as being within the set of activities that comprise breath play, I don’t suggest it. You might recall Mr. David Carradine, who it appears died from this activity in Bangkok, Thailand.

AJ: Oh yeah, I remember that. So what is it about breath play that moves you?

USB20: Breath play itself doesn’t move me. Pain doesn’t move me. Largely, I’m moved by fear. Breath play and pain are just tools to instill fear. Why do I like fear? Because I’m a dick.

AJ: Is it more a physical experience, or an emotional one?

USB20: Yes.

AJ: Is your attraction to BP dominance-based or sadism-based or both or neither?

USB20: Yes.

AJ: LOL. Have you had a difficult time finding partners interested in BP?

USB20: Surprisingly no, but I think that’s largely because I have a fairly large sample size of partners. I’ve found things simply work best when we have compatible interests. There are times when I’ve chosen a partner outside my interest pool – e.g. fucking a seriously hot woman who has common, vanilla sexual habits because she’s so fucking hot I figure her amazing body will make up for the lack of common interest. Or fucking a woman who couldn’t fuck her way out of a paper bag because she had good social connections, was an excellent hostess, and looked like a good future mother.

I’ve since learned that things just work out best if I stick to my own kind. I will say that of the ratio of prospects who are into breath play – those people you meet who you have a passing physical or social interest in – versus qualified prospects – being that subset of prospects who you’ve determined have a interest what I do, no disqualifying habits or pathogens, and a similar set of interests – is pretty high.

More people seem to be opposed or reluctant to try breath play than there are those who enjoy it. My sample is not exhaustive or scientific.

AJ: Have you ever convinced someone who wasn't into it to try it, and if so, what happened?

USB20: Let’s take a quick break from answering questions and try something.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Now hold your breath while you count to three.

Breathe again.

If you did that, you just engaged in one of the simplest forms of breath play.

There’s a fellow who writes really awful BDSm books and offers himself as a safety presenter. I don’t have much respect for his views. For one thing, he’s been seen in public wearing socks with velcro sandals. This automatically makes one's judgment suspect.

He also states that there is no safe way to practice breath play.

I suggest that it’s a matter of range and degree. We’ve just proven that there is a safe way to engage in breath play. I challenge you to find anyone who can prove holding your breath for a three second pause is in any way dangerous.

I certainly agree that wrapping a partner’s head in plastic and tape, fully cutting the air flow, and leaving them in that state for two minutes because, “Well, that’s what he wanted me to do,” is dammed foolish. It means you’re an idiot. It doesn’t mean that breath play is dangerous. It means that when you engage in breath play with one or more idiots, yes, it’s probably damned dangerous. Being surprised the scene had a bad outcome makes you yet more of an idiot. And then when you start running around talking about how dangerous breath play is based on your one moronic attempt, you simply show yourself to be a flaming idiot. And yes, that is an actual real example.

So, to answer your question if I’ve ever met anyone opposed to it, who I later convinced to try it, well you’d have to go count the number of people who read this, and who were initially opposed to breath play, and who actually held their breath as described above. As to outcome, I think they’re all still fine.

Generally speaking, if someone tells me they’re not into breath play, I simply find it easiest to find a different partner. I have that option as a slut. If you are in a monogamous relationship with a partner who isn’t into breath play, and you really want to convert them, I’m not the right one to give you advice.

AJ: Have you ever had something go wrong, or had an oh shit! moment in your BP experiences?

USB20: Only once. I was wrapping my fingers around a friend’s trachea – if you press your fingertips on either side of the trachea, then push backwards towards the cervical spine while wiggling your fingers, you can eventually get your fingers mostly around it. It feels really freaky.

I gripped a bit harder than I should have, having overestimated the strength of her and her body in general.

The sides of her trachea flexed with a sickening popping sound. I stopped immediately. It popped right back into its normal shape, and the biggest problem she had was a sore throat from bruising for a couple days.

AJ: Wow. Scary. Okay, conversely, do you have a BP experience that stands out in your mind as being mind-blowingly powerful and memorable?

USB20: I’d have to say that two come to mind. One was the night I water boarded ten people in a row at a water boarding demo. It was just a hedonistic bout of gluttonous fun.

The other one was when I was fucking a woman and used a belt ligature to take her to brief unconsciousness while I was inside her ass.I don’t know if you’ve ever been taken to unconsciousness in a martial arts class. I have. It’s disorienting. One tends to feel like one has been asleep for about four hours. When you wake, you tend to be confused and disoriented. Watching her go out, feeling her body struggle, then relax while I was deep in her. Then the look of confusing, startled disorientation to wake finding oneself nude and getting fucked. Then the look of warm comfort as she came around and realized what was going on. Letting someone do that to you takes a high level of trust and intimacy. That was a pretty decent one.

AJ: I really like that last comment, about it involving such trust and intimacy. I think a lot of people hear about breath play and think--why on earth would anyone want to do that? But I imagine that heightened opportunity for trust and intimacy is a big reason why. So, in closing, what are the baseline things people need to know before they start dabbling in BP? What's the best way someone interested in this kink can educate themselves about it?

USB20: One, the human body generally won’t survive for three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.

Two, it’s really easy to fuck up when you hang yourself alone. You might want to consider not doing it.

Three – don’t play with the murderous or the stupid.

Four – learn CPR, basic lifesaving, and develop an understanding of anatomy.

Five – don’t do stupid things just because your partner asked you to.

Six – read the following books because they’re good for you in both life and kink – Vitruvius’ Ten Books on Architecture, Plato’s Republic, Sun Tzu’s Art of War, Musash’s Book of Five Rings, Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Suzuki’s Essays in Zen Buddhism, and Herigel’s Zen in the Art of Archery. That last one has a great section on breathing.

And if you have a great ass, aren’t too crazy, and aren’t otherwise disqualified, and are willing to let me put my penis in you in a number of possibly unpleasant ways, I’m probably willing to give you some hands on instruction.

Many thanks to USB20 for sharing his knowledge and experience about breath play with us today. If you enjoyed this, you can find some great writing on his profile. Despite his nickname, he doesn't bite and welcomes new friends and readers (as noted above!) One last time as well...please, please don't play around with breath play unless you are being extremely responsible and cautious. It can be a wonderful exercise in trust...and a very hot fantasy...but not something you want to try on the fly.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Submissive shaming

Is there any woman more scorned than a submissive woman in this day and age? I think a woman could be two faced, promiscuous, poor, irresponsible, shallow, and still come out ahead of a submissive woman on the public-judgment scale. I think it's pretty sad.

I've been thinking about this the past week because of a review someone posted about one of my books. I won't link to the review, since it's generally kink-shaming, but what really disturbed me is that the reviewer referred to the submissive heroine as being a "hole" from the first to the last page, despite the fact that the heroine was independent, goal-oriented, strong, and ultimately successful in reaching her dreams. With that being the case, I can only surmise the character was labeled as a "hole" by the reviewer because she chose to live her life in subservience to a man.

Is choosing to live in subservience to a man a "wrong" choice? I say no, but public opinion, of course, says yes. It's difficult for those of us who do crave to submit, because now we feel as if we're being "bad" or wrong or misguided. That we're "setting back the women's movement", disgusting our stronger, worthier sisters. Or that we're just holes, for God's sake.

Male submissives deal with their own set of judgments of course, but for female submissives, the judgment is perhaps most harsh because it comes from our own sex, who fought for self expression and choice all these years. In my book Odalisque, there is a character, Satya, who is a feminist, but accepts Constance's desire to live in submission to the male sex. To me, this is the way it should be. Feminism means women have the CHOICE to either submit or not. Women have the right to fulfill their own sexuality, and that sexuality should not be pre-determined for women in any way. The sexuality of being a man's servant or slave should be an option, a respected choice, just like every other choice a woman in today's feminist world can make to fulfill her needs.

All of the submissive women I know are the way they are because it makes them happy. Because life is not as pleasant when they aren't on their knees. It's hard to explain to someone who doesn't get it--the pleasure in being at a man's whim, being made to serve, being hurt or humiliated or degraded even, if masochism is in the mix. (Masochist shaming is a post for another day, but it's rampant too.)

I fully understand why most modern women don't get female submission, I really do. But to condemn and belittle those who crave and desire this type of life is nothing more than slut-shaming's sidekick...kink-shaming. It's petty and pointless, and deeply frowned upon in lifestyle communities. There is a saying in the fetish world: Your kink is not my kink, but your kink is okay. (AKA YKINMKBYKIOK) Let's not shame and disparage. It upsets people and makes you look small. Submissive women will still choose to be submissive. If only they could be respected in that choice.

Monday, February 13, 2012

How Dark Does Erotica Get? by guest author Skye Warren

Let’s talk about the most common fantasy for women: the rape fantasy. Why do so many of us have it? I think of it as something elementally feminine, the cavegirl who wants a man capable of dominating us. Or maybe it appeals to my vanity, to know a man wants me so badly that he can’t help himself.

Just because a woman has a fantasy doesn’t mean that she wants to be raped. As Kitty Thomas has said, by definition, someone can’t want what they don’t want. But we can explore our desires through consensual role play and erotica. Nonconsent fiction is hardly new – look at bodice rippers! If anything, I think it’s more taboo now. Current publishing trends eschew forced seduction in favor of women’s lib.

BDSM and nonconsent kink aren’t the same thing, but there’s definitely overlap. BDSM provides a safe, structured environment to explore these dark fantasies. For BDSM erotica, there are certain conventions that are expected like safewords and condoms and other things, some related to safety and some not. I love that stuff and read it plenty!

Although just because it contains realism doesn’t mean it’s not a fantasy. Some of it I might be willing to do in real life. For example, Jeremy from Annabel Joseph’s Comfort Object can call me anytime. Then there is other BDSM fiction that contains realism, but that I would never be willing to do. *cough* Anders from Anneke Jacob’s As She’s Told *cough* It’s a great book, and 100% safe and consensual, but I couldn’t do it.

Then there’s a book like Comfort Food and I think it’s fair to say that none of us really wants to be abducted. Though I’ll admit it didn’t sound nearly as bad right after I’d finished reading it. That’s the sort of thing that is termed dark erotica or captive erotica. There are many examples of it, but not enough in my reader’s opinion!

Captive erotica is a fantasy. It’s rape fantasy. Not a story about two consensual adults playing a rape fantasy, which can be found in Cara McKenna’s Willing Victim, but an actual story of nonconsent. To me this is a huge difference. We can’t really know the author’s intent, unless she tells us, but whether we read this a story as real life versus fantasy will affect our enjoyment.

My current release, Trust in Me, is intended purely as a fantasy for those people who, as I said in my author’s forward, are as fascinated by erotic pain and nonconsent as I am. It’s not a story I want to happen to me or anyone. It’s about indulging in the dark fantasies, even if only for the length of this book.

Check out the blurb to see what I mean:

Can love be found between a whore and a knight in tarnished armor?

Mia longs for the daily torture to end, but one last task keeps her holding on. In a betrayal of the crime lord who pulled her from the gutter, she’ll free the shipment of human cargo, and if she’s lucky, die in the process. The alternative is unfathomable, even to a woman well-versed in erotic torture. But luck abandons her yet again when she meets the security expert in charge of the shipment and finds herself face to face with her childhood crush. The man she once begged for help. The man who failed her.

Tyler Martinez is an undercover FBI agent with one chance to right the wrongs of his past. Thrust deep into the seedy world of human trafficking, he must put aside his guilt over abandoning Mia all those years ago in order to save her now.

Someone’s pulling the strings in this sadistic play on trust, but Tyler and Mia may not live long enough to see the curtain fall. Trust in Me is a story of erotic pain and incipient romance, spiraling ever faster toward betrayal or redemption.

This book contains explicit scenes of dubious consent, graphic violence and sex. It also depicts abuse and captivity situations. Not appropriate for anyone uncomfortable with these situations or anyone under the age of eighteen. This is a work of fiction.

Do you have books that you love, but you’d never want them to actually happen in real life? What are you favorite dark erotica books? I’d be happy to give away a copy of Trust in Me to a random commenter, just be sure to leave your email address in the text of the comment.

To learn more about Skye Warren visit

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Warm Up to Valentine's Day

I am a foodie! See, there, I admitted it. I love food and all the wonderful things it does for the body...not least of which is keeping the energy levels up.

So, what does food have to do with Valentine's Day? Everything! It has everything to do with Valentine's Day. And why should I be discussing food on a blog that is geared more towards kink than epicurean delights? 

Hmm, let me trot out some old adages:

"The way to a man's heart is through his stomach" -- this is true for women too, so guys, pay attention!

"It's all in the presentation" -- don't tell me looks don't matter!

"You are what you eat" -- okay, so this one is a bit on the risque side, but hey, this is a blog about kink after all!

With Valentine's Day only three days away, I thought I'd give you guys some ideas to spice things up with your sweetie! Roses and chocolates are great (especially if the chocolates come from See's Candy and there is a heavy mixture of milk chocolate bordeauxs, mochas, chocolate creams, lemon truffles, key lime truffles, strawberry truffles, and raspberry truffles **hint, hint for anyone who'd like to know what I crave!**)...I digress... sorry, let me wipe the screen off-- there, all better.

As I was saying. Roses and chocolates are great. Jewelry -- if tasteful and that's what your significant other likes -- is wonderful. But those are the old tried and true, easy choices. What better way to show how much you care about the one you love than to create a delicious meal that can be shared in an intimate setting.

While researching a book, I discovered that there are more food items considered aphrodisiacs than just chocolate. Cinnamon, vanilla, honey, chiles (also spelled chili), chrysanthemums (yes, these flowers are edible), asparagus (yeah, your veggies can be sexy!) and so many other things that can stimulate arousal. As a result, I ended up finding three wonderful cookbooks that helped me with my story (I'll post the food seduction scene on Valentine's Day on my website and gave me way too many ideas about how I'd like to spend my Valentine's Days.

***Warning! Make sure you know what food allergies your sweetie has BEFORE you cook anything for them***

Between the three books and a search on the internet I found lots of delicious items that my heroine, Ariel Valerian, made for her hero, Dane Reese, and I'm going to share two of those recipes with you. All of these foods are 'finger-foods' which makes the sharing of them very, very sensual (think how sexy it is to feed a bite to your lover and then lick your fingers clean...or let her/him/them lick your fingers clean!)

From Fork Me, Spoon Me: The Sensual Cookbook by Amy Reiley.
Hot Honey Nuts -- ingredients:
1/4 cup honey
2 cups mixed nuts
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon chile flakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Melt butter in a small saucepan. Drizzle hone with chile flakes into the pot. Boil gently for two minutes, being careful not to scorch the honey. Remove from heat. Place nuts on a foil-lined baking sheet, folding up the edges to keep the honey from spilling. Pour the honey mixture over the nuts (be careful not to touch the honey as it will be VERY hot). Roast the nuts in the oven for 8-10 minutes, flipping the nuts after the first 4-5 minutes.
Remove the nuts from the tray and let them cool for 20 minutes before eating. Make sure you clean the tray immediately or you'll never get the saucepan or baking sheet clean.

In my book, An Invitation: Ariel's Pet, Ariel used only almonds for the recipe. I'm partial to almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts, but find out which is your lover's favorite one and use that.

Also from Fork Me, Spoon Me
Make Whoopie Pie -- ingredients:
for the "pie":
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup dark cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

for the filling:
3 tablespoons butter
2 marshmallows
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 egg white
pods scraped from 1 whole vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F)
For Cookies: Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar and egg until fluffy then add the vanilla. Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to your mixture then add 1/3 of the buttermilk. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk until everything is incorporated.
Drop batter by small mounds onto cookie sheet to form 16 rounded cookies. Bake for 12-15 minutes until centers are firm.
For filling: Melt butter with marshmallows over low heat. Remove from heat and stir remaining ingredients into the white cream. Beat until fluffy.
Spread the filling between two cookies to make cream-filled sandwiches.

The main dish for my loving couple was fresh spring rolls with chili-ginger dipping sauce. Of course, I can't find the recipe now that I really need it, but I do know that the spring rolls were made with chrysanthemums in them, along with shrimp, bell peppers, and bean sprouts. It was the dipping sauce that made all the difference. LOL

The other two books that assisted in my research were: The Seduction Cookbook by Diane Brown and The New Intercourses: An Aphrodisiac Cookbook by Martha Hopkins and Randall Lockridge.

If I run across the spring rolls and dipping sauce recipes, I'll be sure to post them!

Have a fun and sexy Valentine's Day!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Is Swapping and Sharing Sexy?

It's funny, I never really thought much about swapping as a kink or fetish in my real life. I've never been in an open or swinging relationship, and yet, somehow, a bunch of partner-sharing scenes have shown up in my books.

On the surface, it doesn't sound that sexy. You want me to what, dear?? Have sex with someone else? For someone in a traditional vanilla relationship, such an idea is unlikely to send them into paroxysms of ecstasy. But what about the kinky folks? I suppose it's some inherent desire to push envelopes that has some exercising this kind of sexuality.

To be clear, I'm not talking about menage or polyamory...established relationships where people share. I'm talking more about the whole take-your-sub-to-a-friend's-house-and-share-the-love-for-a-night type dynamic where the encounters are more one-off things.

What makes it so sexy? The risk? The unknown? Being forced, in some cases, to perform sexual activities with a stranger? What about the partner who's sharing? If he watches, does it make it hotter, or scarier? A little of both? Is it so sexy because the sharing partner is so secure in his dominance that he can share without feeling threatened? Like some potentate distributing his awesome wealth to lesser beings? Okay, maybe I'm stretching it now, but you get my point.

Looking back over my books, there's some form of sharing in Mercy, Comfort Object, Deep in the Woods, Fortune, Club Mephisto, Owning Wednesday, and Odalisque. There's also sharing in Cirque du Minuit, my March release.

I don't read a lot about partner sharing on the book blogs or discussion blogs. I don't know how many other romance books out there explore the sharing fetish or how readers even really feel about it. No one's ever written to me in a "pro" or "con" way about the partner sharing that goes on in my books. So today I just thought I'd do you feel about sexual sharing? Turn on or turn off for you? Why?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Boy meets girl

I’m finally at the point in my story where the two protagonists meet. And I’m working on making it the lowest-key, least romance-plot meeting you can imagine. No startled revelations, no eyes meeting across a crowded room. I’m hoping the reader won’t even know this guy is important until at least a few pages later.

Why am I doing this? In part because that’s often really how it works. Someone is part of the background, even for years, and then for some reason emerges into the foreground. Maybe there’s the big revelation at that point, when suddenly you see them differently. Or maybe there’s no big moment at all; they’re there, solid and grown into your life before you ever decide to welcome them.

I remember a dorky-looking guy at camp, skinny, sporting glasses with heavy frames. I looked past the glasses for some reason and there was this wonderful-looking guy. Beneath those glasses was the boyfriend I stuck with for two summers running.

My husband and I knew each other slightly for a couple of years and were basically not on each other’s mental maps all that time. (Well – he wasn’t on mine. I later found out cast an eye in my direction once or twice.) Then we ran into each other one more time and off we went. Why? Who knows?

As odd as it may seem, I want my story to reflect reality, at least in this part of the plot. The book has plenty that is way out there in one way or another. But I want feelings and relationships to reflect the slow wonder that everyday life sometimes brings. At least that element of the book will be grounded in some kind of reality.

What do you think of lovers meeting in a novel without a single palpitation of the heart? Would you read a book like that?

What about your own lives? Have your relationships started with a whisper or a bang (so to speak)? Slow development or lightning courtship? Or a combination thereof? Do you smile over how it started? Or could the story use a rewrite for purposes of romance?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A pack-away dungeon

I would love to have a room dedicated to our kink. A nice big St. Andrews Cross, a whipping bench, a gyno table... mmmm. But this is reality, not one of my books, and we don't have a dungeon room.

We have a lot of things that can help us make do, though.

First are the door jamb cuffs. The ones I'm pointing to are only for the arms, there are other sets that let you buy four at a time, in case you want the legs restrained, too. These are really lightweight and won't mess up the finish on your doors. The cylinder part seems to be those plastic cylinders that coin collectors use to store quarters, but they do their job and have lasted a while with no problems. The velcro cuffs work okay, but when we're home we use my heavy duty leather cuffs. However, if we are going out of town then we just pack the velcro cuffs that came with it and leave the good ones at home. The downside to these are that they aren't adjustable, and I'm short. As they came, I have to stand on my very tippy tippy toes when in them, so we use a snap hook between cuff and strap to give more space. Unless he wants me on my tippy toes, of course.

Next up is the Under the Bed Restraint System. You put the straps between the mattress and box springs and once you're in them, you aren't going anywhere. When not in use just tuck everything between the mattresses and it's out of sight. The straps are easily adjustable and can be tightened down after you are fastened into them, which makes for quick restraint and easy position changes. He most often uses them with me standing beside the bed, bent over it, with my arms stretched out to the side, so we are using only two of the attachment points instead of all four. He can also mimic a gyno table by situating me at the edge of the bed, pulling my arms to the side, and using the foot straps from the other end of the bed to pull my ankles up and back and out. The classic spread eagle is also easy to achieve (face up and face down), as are about a thousand other configurations.  I love that we can use them with my arms out to the side instead of over my head, which keeps my arms from falling asleep. Add a large bed wedge to the ability to restrain at four points and it really opens up the possibilities. I was tempted to buy a  Liberator a few times, but with what we have, there is no need.

A picture is worth a thousand words with this one - the Door Jam Sex Sling isn't as good as the high end sex slings - but those require a more permanent installation and cost about ten times what this costs. For the money and the packability, this can't be beat. Try it out the first time in a more relaxed setting (you know, not in a scene), so you can get it adjusted right and figure out how to relax into it. Wrist and ankle cuffs can be attached once you're in it to make sure you stay in it.

Lastly, we have two of these suction handles / attachment points that can go in either the shower or the bathtub. They lock on, and once they are on they don't come off, no matter how hard I pull, or how much of my weight I put on them. They can be unlocked and taken down, they aren't permanent... but they stay put while you are using them.

We have a metal loveseat in our bedroom, with metal arms and a metal lattice type back, and a padded seat -- it is super heavy duty and can also be used in all kinds of ways if you throw in a few tethers and wrist and ankle cuffs.

With the things I've listed, we can accomplish positions that you can normally only achieve on higher end dungeon equipment. When I write books, it's about the fantasy, and there is usually a fully stocked dungeon. But would a story revolving around something more realistic work just as well? Cuffs that can be put over the door in under a minute, restraints under the mattress and ready to be used whenever they are needed, and a nice heavy loveseat with lots of attachment points that weren't originally intended to be attachment points?

Or is the fantasy of having a room set up with all of the super sexy and scary equipment a better set up for books?