I was asked to write about what spring means for me. That's an easy one! It means I get to start all those seeds that I've been buying since January when the seed catalogues come. The seeds don't just represent all the yummy veggies I'm going to be harvesting come autumn; the seeds represent new hopes, new dreams, new plans and they remind me that hopes and dreams require hard work to bring them to fruition. Nothing worthwhile comes easy, but the harder you work for it, the sweeter the reward!
In celebration of Spring (and flying in the face of snow storms!) I'm giving away the following fantastic prizes:
- TWO Second Place Winners will recieve $7 gift certifcates good for any book from Dreamspinner Press (purchase must be made through the DSP website), where, you know, you could go buy Grace's book Choices if you don't have it already!
Just leave a comment below and tell me what's your favorite thing about spring. There is no wrong or right answers, I just like to see who's paying attention ;-) Please make sure you leave me a way to contact you.
If anyone happens to want to help girl out, I just found out that my second novel, Bound: Forget Me Knot is up for an a Romance Reviews award and if you want to take a second and vote for a juicy BDSM novel click here. You have to register with the site, but you can do that with Facebook (and it's a really awesome site, anyway). You really don't have to vote for me to get in on the goodies here (I wouldn't be able to check anyway), but it's probably good karma ;-) International entries ARE welcome--but you have to eighteen or otherwise a legal adult in your home country to win.
And remember that you're still eligible for the GRAND PRIZE, an eBook package from XOXO publishing. (You absolutely must include your email to be entered for the Grand Prize). You can return to the blog hop by clicking HERE -- but before you do, check out my very special guest for the day!
And now without further ado,
Thanks to the huge success of a certain to-remain-unnamed series, BDSM (for those that followed me here, that's bondage & discipline/Domination & submission/sadism & masochism) has a flood of new books and fiction. Some of those are quite good, and accurate to the lifestyle, such as my lovely hostess's Bound: Forget Me Knot. Some...aren't.
here's my guest,
the talented Grace Duncan
When I set out to write Choices, I knew right off that there would be BDSM elements in the book. Teman was, after all, a pleasure slave. So, that was a given. But I'd had no idea how much would be there, to what degree I'd go… much less how much of myself would be reflected in Teman.
If there's one thing I've learned since I discovered the world of BDSM, it's that no two people approach the lifestyle the same way. There are, of course, plenty of similarities, but BDSM is a very individualized experience. How much someone wants to get tied up or how much pain they can take - or give, all of these can vary greatly from one person to the next. So when I decided to write about it, I knew my best bet was simply to go from my own experiences. What happened when I was given pain? How did I handle it? Did I like being tied? What parts of submission were most important to me?
The problem with many of the… less than stellar stories with BDSM is that many people who write it have never experienced it. They do a cursory bit of research (if they do any at all) and call themselves experts. Yet most of the people I know in the Scene would insist that none of them are experts… even people who've been involved in it for years. Why?
Because BDSM is, as I said before, very individualistic. There are common pieces, don't get me wrong. The basic credo that anyone with a real understanding of the lifestyle adheres to is “safe, sane and consensual” along with its sister, “risk aware consensual kink.” But the thing is, once you get past that, what one person likes, another can't stand. I might be what we lovingly refer to as a “pain slut” - i.e. masochist but another submissive may not be interested in it at all.
So when I set out to write Choices, I had to figure out where in the spectrum Teman was. The problem was, he'd never experienced any of this, so he had no idea. So, again, I drew on my own experiences. Bondage was easy, I'd certainly felt my share of rope and there was no doubt that they'd have to get tied up. I liked pain and realized pretty quickly that it would be in important part of the story for a number of reasons. I also knew that Teman would need a submissive side, which would surprise Teman quite a bit (though not as much as liking pain).
And really, those weren't the difficult parts of writing the story. What I thought the real challenge would be is that I'd never before put down the idea of how pain went from pain to pleasure for me. I'd never written that aspect of it. In the fanfiction I've penned, it's focused on the psychological side of D/s more than the physical. I've used the physical, but not concentrated on it.
So as I wrote the training that Teman went through, I had my own Sir help me remember what it was about pain, how it all worked for me. A big part of it is my submissive tendencies. As I have an innate need to please, the last thing I am going to want to do is use a safeword unless I need to - even if I'm not entirely enjoying pain yet. So when I start out, it hurts and not always in a good way. It's not always bad, either, just to be clear. I do like pain, but how I get from “ow, that hurts!” to “Oh, give me more!” was what I needed to know.
So, my Sir set up a Scene and I did my level best to stay out of subspace so I could pay attention. Well, that didn't happen, but it told me what I needed to know. See… it did hurt, a lot at first. But I knew that I was pleasing my Sir by taking it, so I keep going, determined to take more. Then, at some point I have never been able to know, it switches. Almost like a light going on. And I like it.
Here is a short excerpt where Teman discovers the switch during one of his training sessions:
But before he could think too much about it, Cyrus's hand became more insistent and Teman found himself fighting yet again to work through the pain to find the pleasure. He gripped the peg tightly, his jaw clenched, caught between the two. His body was as confused as his mind until finally, at some indefinable moment, it switched. He liked the feel of the stings, he wanted more.
A moment after that, the command was given. Teman had no idea that Cyrus's hand had stopped moving, didn't realize it was the pain that sent him over the edge--the pain and the command, not the stimulation to his cock. He shouted as his orgasm hit him, body shuddering, the strikes continuing through it. As he came down from his climax, he began to realize the pleasure had been amplified by the pain, rather than diminished by it. Finally Teman went limp, hanging from the peg.
So it turned out that pain wasn't all that difficult, after all. The training also helped me build Teman's submissive side up and being with Bathasar and hearing praise from him brought the rest of it out.
Now the really difficult part of writing the BDSM into Choices wasn't this. After doing this bit of research and working out the pain and submission, I realized what was going to be much more difficult: actually showing the safe, sane and consensual side of BDSM. See, I have a problem in that I refuse to write it unless I can put it in there.
But Teman's a slave who doesn't have a choice, right? So… how do I give him one? And what about this cruelty that is hinted at in the blurb?
Well, the second was a bit more difficult. To be perfectly honest, the scenes with Mukesh were very difficult to write because I do not like to write cruelty. It was a necessary evil in this story, both to show what Mukesh was capable of as well as to contrast what Teman's service should be like. I had to sit down and think of the exact opposite of what I would want my Sir to do with me, then amplify that. My beta, the poor thing, went through nearly as much hell as I did over these scenes. I was grateful that they came out as close to complete as they did the first time. I would not have wanted to dwell on them.
So, then, where is this choice? By definition, as a slave, he shouldn't have one. I also didn't feel that it was historically accurate to actually use a safeword (or the terminology of “safeword”), but I still wanted it to be consensual and wanted the good side of Teman's service to be safe.
But the answer ended up being surprisingly simple, in the end. While Teman didn't have a safeword, per se, Bathasar insisted that the best way to please him was for Teman to make sure to tell him if the games were no longer something Teman wanted to do. When the scene in question came up and I wrote it, I literally smacked myself in the forehead over it.
BDSM is a tricky thing to write, in my opinion and one of the few things that I believe requires actual experience to write well. Many of my friends in the lifestyle use the phrase “get it” in that when you read a story about it, you can tell if the author “gets it” or not. That's not to say you have to be able to wear a cock cage to write about it, but at the very least, the psychology behind it is something very difficult to understand enough to write about if you've never experienced it even a little.
Thanks to the lovely Helen for hosting me! I really appreciate it!
- Do leave your thoughts behind for a chance to win a bag of swag and be entered for a signed paperback that I'll award at the end of the month!
Thanks for reading!
Born and raised a gypsy in the late eleventh century, Teman values freedom over everything. He and his best friend, Jasim, are thieves for hire--until one night they're caught and their precious freedom is revoked. Given the choice between the dungeons or palace pleasure slavery, they become slaves, but Teman vows to escape someday.
Bathasar doesn't want the throne. He supports his brother instead, which suits their sadistic father, Mukesh. When Teman, the handsome slave Bathasar has secretly been watching, saves his life, Bathasar requests a slave for the first time. Before long, Bathasar and Teman fall in love. But all is not well. One day Mukesh brutalizes Teman before the court, angering the empress of a neighboring nation. To appease her, he then offers her Jasim as a gift, and Teman decides to stay with Bathasar for now--despite the abuse he may suffer.
The peace doesn't last. Mukesh plans to invade Jasim's new country, and Bathasar must find a way to stop the destruction. But if he succeeds, he'll ascend to the throne and have the power to grant Teman his liberty. Then Teman will surely leave him. What other choice could a gypsy make?