Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The subtle signs of power differential

My last blog was about the M/s conference, and Basia Rose asked to hear more about the subtle signs of power differential that I saw there. I agree; the small things get me, too!

The doms moved more freely, it seems to me. Not surprisingly, the subs – or slaves – were just that much more circumspect. (Of course, tight corsets and posture collars will do that to you.) They moved with reference to the person next to them; a little behind, perhaps.

Sitting in workshops, I’d watch a quiet arm move around a companion’s shoulders and take hold of a ponytail. In the bar there were slaves sitting on the floor next to chairs; just once I think I saw the motion of an eye that put one there.

Raven Kaldera and Slave Joshua were the most out in the open. The hand I mentioned last time, catching his slave hard by the wrist when he was about to raise his hand, was Raven’s. During one of their presentations they talked about their experiments with internal enslavement, and Raven mentioned that he did things to enhance his slave’s sense that he was helpless to disobey, one of them being grabbing Joshua’s face by the jaw. He casually demonstrated as he said this, and I swear Joshua went into subspace in the blink of an eye. You know that look? In one instant he had it. They were both companionable, mutually respectful and highly articulate. But one of them was absolutely in charge.

That’s all for today, folks – sorry, got to run. Let me know if you’ve seen some of your own subtle signs – or would like to.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Pleasures of Dubious Consent

You know, in real life I hate to be forced to do anything. Hate, hate, HATE it. I can't stand to be pressured against my will or manipulated into doing something. But when it comes to sex and bedroom matters--oh my god. FORCE ME. Make me be bad. Tear me down and make me do things I don't want to do.

Ah, the pleasures of dubious consent.

I started writing this book lately. I haven't even publicized the title on my blog yet, because I wasn't sure it was going to work out, but the last few days something clicked and the story has taken off. To be more specific it's taken off in a direction I hadn't originally planned--it's become a storyline based on dubious consent. Before, it wasn't working, but now, with the dubious consent, it's caught fire.

The truth is, I love dubious consent, both in my bedroom and in my erotic fiction. It has the force-and-peril factor of nonconsent, without as much of the ickiness. With dubious consent, you can always read and say, well, she kind of wants it...while squirming at the same time. For me, the idea of a male forcing his attentions on me,bending me to his will even though I resist, is a powerful fantasy. How sexy, for a man to want you so much that he traps or seduces you into doing things you had no intention of doing. It's even better if he taunts you afterward and makes you admit you wanted it all along. The power play aspect of it thrills me, and so does the domination factor, if it's written right.

The reason I originally started writing my own BDSM stories was because I couldn't find erotic fiction that hit that dubcon sweet spot for me. I didn't like the roughness and depressing violence of true nonconsent erotica, but the romantic BDSM stuff felt too soft and saccharine for me. I wanted something in the middle...love with an edge of danger. I wrote Mercy and Comfort Object, two books with a good helping of antagonistic love and dubious consent. After that, I backed off the dubcon until Cirque du Minuit, because I learned through feedback and reviews that...well...dubious consent makes some readers hopping mad.

I think I struggled so hard with this current work in progress because part of me dreads that reader outcry. As many of you know, I'm a very mild and self-conscious person. I don't want to piss people off or be controversial. Scathing reviews slaughter me. At the same time, I know I have readers who are very much like me. They want romance, but that harder edge too. They want to be made uncomfortable by a little too much force, a little too much boundary-bulldozing on the dominant's part, on the page anyway.

One of the really great things about erotica is that we can explore those fantasies and impulses that turn us on but that we don't necessarily want to experience in reality. It's the ultimate safe sex. So where do you stand on dubious consent? Love it? Hate it? Do you find it hot or disturbing in the context of erotic romance?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Excerpt -- Rough Surrender by Cari Silverwood

"At a time when airplanes are as new-fangled and sensational as the telephone, Faith dares to fly. The one territory she has not explored is her own sexuality. In Leonhardt she discovers the man who can teach her how a woman surrenders her body and her mind. However, Leonhardt has a shadowed past and his own learning to do. He doesn't have the right to keep Faith from flying, even if he thinks airplanes are flimsy death-traps made of canvas, timber and their inventor's prayers. 

Faith has her limits, Leonhardt has his flaws, and sometimes the nicest people get murdered by unscrupulous bastards. Even if Leonhardt can save the woman he loves, the battle for Faith’s heart will be the hardest one of all.

WARNING: BDSM, anal sex, orgasms galore, and a Dom who likes to claim his property with pen, ink and bondage."


“You can’t just announce that sort of thing, sir!” This time the sir was an acerbic one and not all respectful. “We barely know anything about each other. Well. Um.” A blush swept hotly across her face. How silly. Faith huffed. “This time I do want to be untied.”
Leonhardt cocked his head and the mischievous malevolence on his face turned purposeful.
“Oh. You say this, do you, Miss Faith Evard? And I say I’m not done with you yet.”
“What?” she squeaked. “You’re to stop. Right now, sir. Or--”
“Or what? You’ll scream? That could be embarrassing for you.” He slipped his hand back and dipped his finger between her legs, slicking the cream of her juices forward and swirling around and around her clitoris, as if his fingertip were a pen doodling circles on paper. Each feathery touch that glanced off the nub sent out tiny shocks.
“I... I-- Stop that, please. You said you’d stop, if I...uh...asked you to.” She squirmed, unsure if she wanted to somehow make that light touch go closer, or to wriggle away.
“I’m not done with you. One minute of your time,” he said calmly, doodling around and now, at times, steering across her clit. “If you still say no, I’ll honor it.”
Feeling a step removed from reality, as if he were gradually drawing a veil over her world, Faith watched him sit up, fish around in the pile of his clothes while still touching her, and emerge with a pocket watch. She licked her lower lip. Already her clitoris swelled, throbbed, maybe in time with his blasted clock. If she didn’t stop him, it wouldn’t mean she had to marry him, would it? No.
“Mr. Meisner. Please stop.” She gave a stifled groan.
“Here. One minute.” Without stopping his circling, he placed the watch on her belly button, nestling it there and then draping the cold watch chain over her skin until the clasp at the end dangled from his hand, swaying, on her nipple. The metal tap, tap, tapped and her nipple peaked hard.
She bit her lip and sucked in air, watching the chain in his fingers tap upon her. Past that, up the slope of her stomach, his other hand played among her pubic hair. Heat rose, sifting, curling. She clamped her lips together but the little sounds came out and she strained against the cords. Her hands were twisting under the pillows and, damn him, he knew it.
“Starting, now.” Leaving the watch chain laid in a line across her belly, he shifted and knelt between her legs. Mr. Meisner put his hand under her bottom, with the little finger atop her nether hole--somewhere it surely shouldn’t be?
Oh. What was that? Yet another new and entirely queer sensation. Did that little finger press in a fraction? Some muscle down there, tensed, relaxed.
No. He mustn’t.
Frowning, she stared incredulously at the man. Mr. Meisner met her gaze then settled his other hand with the V of two fingers framing her clitoris, and popped his thumb into her vagina. She jumped, clamping her jaw on the gasp that almost escaped.
“Twenty seconds, my dear. Do speak up.” With his eyes focused on hers, he leisurely lowered his mouth and put his lips over the top of her oversensitized nub.
Mmm. She tensed, her thighs quivering in, tight on his shoulders.
His tongue swirled.
As one, her eyes snapped shut, her neck arched and her head flopped back onto the mattress. She groaned. His mouth was on her, in her most intimate place. Unimaginable, glorious and so naughty, all at once. She hadn’t known what a clitoris was until this day, and now she wondered if the poor thing could ever expire from overuse.
The tendrils of arousal were seeking out her sexual parts and filling them tight, pumping into her, expanding. She was breathing like an over-stoked steam engine, like a dog in the hot sun, like a woman who needed, oh so badly, to orgasm.
He lifted his mouth off her. “I’ll take that as a, yes, I want you to keep doing that.”
She peeked through eyelashes, seeing her breasts heave up and down and the watch chain slither off to the side.
He angled up an eyebrow. “Well?”
“Yes, damn you! Sir.” Heat rippled deep into her stomach, making everywhere ache and her nipples poke up like little turrets. Put your mouth back. God!
“Then we shall see each other for the next ten days? And you won’t reject the idea of discussing marriage, out of hand?”
He put his head down and sucked the burgeoning nub up against his tongue. Wet heat. Soft, lazy strokes. Heaven. She groaned, muscles tightening like a sprinter about to bolt. She wanted to claw at his hair, at his shoulders but her hands were roped to her ankles, her body angled like a launching ramp straight to his glorious, licking mouth. One more lick. One more. Impossible, but she tensed even tighter, harder. Her thighs had found his body where he knelt between her legs, crushing him so much he’d likely have marks.
Another moist lick sent her hurtling into an orgasm. “Umnhh!” She rode out the crashing shudders and jerks with her neck and body arching into the bonds, her nails digging into the flesh of ankles. The cries seemed to come from the throat of another, distant woman. More spasms wracked her, before the ceiling rematerialized in her dazed sight.
Maybe she wouldn’t be able to ever move again. Ecstasy had found her, left an indelible mark on her soul and had liquefied her very bones. Leonhardt could have poured her into a jar and bottled her if he’d been so inclined.
When he pulled away the pillows and rolled her over so she was on her front, with her bottom now upward, she only bothered to turn her head to one side to breathe. A languor possessed her whole body. Maybe she had gone to heaven?
Title: Rough Surrender
Author: Cari Silverwood
Genre: BDSM, Historical Romance/Fantasy, Mystery, Romance, Suspense,
Publisher: Lyrical Press
Words: 78,000

ARe | Amazon | B&N |

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Master / slave Conference

I took myself off to the Master/slave Conference near Washington DC over the Labour Day weekend. Me, the one who’s never been anywhere, not even to a munch. Jumping in at the deep end? Indeed. It was quite a trip.

I was invited to speak at a panel about M/s fiction, along with authors David Stein, Laura Antoniou and Reid Spencer. And I simply couldn’t pass up the chance to be on the same platform as Laura Antoniou. She was very pleasant, very busy, and extremely funny when she spoke. Later in the conference she read from a couple of her forthcoming novels. I’m glad to say that her humour is finally getting a chance to shine in her first detective novel, The Killer Wore Leather, which is coming out next year. It’s going to be a spoof on more or less the whole scene. I can’t wait, even though I’ll probably only get a quarter of the jokes.

One of the strangest things about the conference for me was the bizarre juxtaposition of kink and conference setting. I’ve been to many work-related conferences in many cities over the years, and the hotels and meeting rooms all tend to look the same after a while. I found myself in the midst of all the usual conference trappings: glossy schedules, name tags with presenter ribbons attached, banquet tickets, award ceremonies, literature tables, friendly elevator greetings, bland meeting rooms with iced water jugs on tables at the back; the whole nine yards. But in this case many of the attendees were wearing locking collars, corsets and leather vests. And the workshops were straight out of a Fetlife thread. There was a lot about M/s households and relationships. A big focus on self-knowledge, responsibilities, consent, trust, power exchange. Very introspective, and often very serious. And exceedingly strange to me: the normalization of kink in that utterly normal setting.

It was rather freeing, being in a place where what we are is out in the open, taken for granted. I liked it. Mind you, I continued to be an outlier – a stranger, not a MAsT member, knowing almost nothing about the community. Certainly on the fringes of the territory. But enjoying being on the map, even from the fringes.

How did the panel go, you ask? It went fine. Laura got most of the attention, of course, but I did well enough. And I had a couple of fans in the crowd, and got to talk to them later, which was really fun.

No, if there were play parties I didn’t see them. (Whew!) There were occasional, subtle signs of power differentials: moments when someone’s hand took hold of someone else’s hair at the nape of the neck, or grabbed the wrist of a hand about to be raised. The whole thing was – I freely confess it – hot. And I did pick up a thought or two that might be useful in a book.

I will probably mine this experience for further blog posts. What would you like to hear more about, if anything?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

To cry or not to cry...

I decided to write on this topic last week while going over my latest manuscript. Once again, I had to take out about half the instances of my heroine crying. She was bursting into tears right and left.

I don't know why my heroines cry so much, except that I myself cry so much. When there's some emotional reaction or strong feeling, my personal instinct 99% of the time is to start bawling. Believe me, it's awkward. Yes, I'm the mom who stands in the pediatrician's office crying because my kids had to get a shot, I'm the wife who starts crying during every argument large and small my husband and I have ever had. I cry at concerts, ballets, movies, or anything I find beautiful. I cry when I find something too funny. It's really embarrassing.

Ironically, I never cry during D/s scenes. I'm not sure what's going on with that. I've always wanted to cry and often feel the impulse to cry, but I don't. To me, tears would indicate complete surrender and I suppose I never want to be at that point. I know for a lot of people, that's the whole purpose of D/s, to cede control and feel the adrenaline of completely risking themselves, but I think for others it's more the push and shove they enjoy. Once I surrender, the fun's over in a way.

But I'm the first to admit that D/s and tears go together like chocolate and peanut butter. Dacryphilia aside, tears are a great way to signal to your partner where you are on the pain continuum, for instance, and also a beautiful expression of human emotion. It's a way of signalling your vulnurability to another person.

What's your stance on tears? Are you a crier, or one of those who tends to buck up and remain dry-eyed? Do you get annoyed when fictional characters cry too much, or do you find it moving?