Friday, October 29, 2010

How do you like your BDSM? Light or Edgy?

I've been reading BDSM erotic romance for quite some time - nearly from the time I first found Ellora's Cave Publishing back in 2002.

I started with stories that had a bit of bondage and maybe a touch of spanking. It was hot. It was kinky. And it was safe. But as a reader I started exploring the edgier BDSM stories I found at EC too. Those stories were dangerous. Intense. And they usually made me cry.

I still like both, but I'm discovering that when I write I tend to write on the lighter side of the BDSM spectrum and I don't know if I should push it or stay in my "comfort" zone.

There's a lot to be said for both styles of erotic romance (I'm going to leave erotica aside for now, since that isn't what I write).

Light BDSM shows a hint of kink on the part of the characters in the book. It shows that they're willing to explore their sexuality together. It allows the focus of the story to be more on other elements rather than on the D/s lifestyle. Edgier BDSM has depth. Usually a lot of angst and tension too. There's a psychological emphasis that's really appealing to read about and to write about too.

Maybe it's about voice. What do you think? I think it might be easier to inject humor into a story with light BDSM. But I've read really great stories that are heavy BDSM that still have elements of humor too. Characters that are snarky and sarcastic. Still, some authors have a "lighter" voice and some have that "darker," more intense kind of voice.

Of course, all stories derive from characters. Maybe it's the characters that determine the intensity of the BDSM in the story. Some characters are solidly in the lifestyle and understand the psychology of things. They know that BDSM is part of the core of who they are and vanilla will never fulfill them.

Thus far, I've written or I'm working on stories where one person (usually the guy) is comfortable with himself and solidly in the lifestyle, while my heroine is learning about her own nature. In that case, she's not going to be ready for anything too intense right away.

Just like in a D/s scene, a person/character starts off slow then increases the intensity and sensation. It's like when you're learning to swim - most of us start in the shallow end until we're comfortable in deep water. Very few of us are comfortable with the sink or swim scenario.

Maybe if I end up writing a story with both characters comfortable with their BDSM natures, then my story will automatically be edgier. After all, that initial exploration of the lifestyle won't be necessary. Both my hero and heroine will understand who they are and will be looking for someone to meet their needs. That allows the deep psychological elements of dominance and submission to be explored more thoroughly. Hmmm

Well, what do you all think? Stay light? Go edgy? Let the characters dictate? I'm feeling very Libra today, so share your thoughts so I can get some balance on the subject.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Commanding Acquisitions Cover

And now a word from the peanut gallery.

Hello all you 1-800-DOM-help people! Christine here to say hello with my very first blog. I am honored to be a part of such a talented group of ladies and to have my novella, Commanding Acquisitions, standing with them.

There is always a certain amount of nerves being book two in a series. The bar has already been set high by the amazing Marilu Mann (Cai and Arwen), and I find myself hoping I live up to the expectations.

Well if Commanding Acquisitions has nothing else, I can safely say the cover is pretty kick ass.


Part of the 1-800-DOM-help series.

Simon is a Dom who has become jaded, tired of the local scene. With his bookstore failing and personal life nonexistent, he’s looking for something different. The arrival of the mysterious 1-800-DOM-help business card gives Simon a chance for a change. The Operator directs him to Unfettered, a hot new BDSM club where Simon hopes to find a distraction for the evening. What he gets is a sexy sub offering himself up for a night of no-holds-barred sex, who then disappears with the dawn.

When the business consultant Simon hires turns out to be his mysterious sub, he knows he’s found a chance at happiness. But happiness comes at a price.

I'll have more for you next week as we get closer to the November 10th release day. Until then...

*does a snoopy dance*

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Win a Tote Full of Naughty

In celebration of the recent launch of our series, the 1-800-DOM-help gals are running a contest. We're holding a scavenger hunt. I'll list a group of questions, the answers to which can be found on our various author web locations. Search through the sites (I'll provide links), collect the info, and email your answers to me at

The winner receives a tote bag of naughty including a mini flogger and other bondage accessories. Never leave home unprepared again. (grin)

You have until Wednesday November 10th to email me your responses. That's the fantabulous release day of Christine d'Abo's story, second in the 1 800 series, entitled Commanding Acquisitions. A winner will be chosen at random from the correct entries.

You'll notice some new author names below in our hunt. Our series is expanding and several talented writers have come along for the ride. Look for their 1-800 stories in the future, as well as additional names as our collaboration grows.

So pay attention to the questions as follow:

Ari Thatcher asks-- In what story does artist Lily get a second chance at success?

Christine d'Abo asks-- How many books are in the Eternal Bond series?

Delphine Dryden asks-- Jack and Katie from the upcoming Xmas Spark are also the main characters in which of my earlier books?

Desiree Holt asks-- Which one of my books received the CAPA Award from The Romance Studio?

Francesca Hawley asks-- What book of mine received a 4 1/2 star review from Romantic Times Magazine?

Marilu Mann asks-- What is the name of Ramey's boss in Needing Harte?

Michelle Polaris asks-- How many stars did Bound Odyssey receive from Just Erotic Romance Reviews?

Samantha Cayto asks-- With which hot guy does Caroline end up in Illegal Moves?

Click on each author's name to start your search.

Good luck, and may the best kinkster, um, I mean reader, win.

Safe, sane and consensual,


Thursday, October 21, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! Contest Winner

Congratulations to Jennifer Mathis - the winner of my birthday contest. Email me at with your address and I'll get your package into the mail!
Thanks to everyone for stopping by to share my birthday and I loved all the comments!

Follow Us

You can now follow our antics, exploits and wanton behavior on Twitter and Facebook.

Tell us how we can follow you back!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! Contest & Control issues

Hi everyone, I'm Francesca Hawley, one of the 1800DOMhelp line-up of authors and today (October 20) is my birthday.

To celebrate, I'm going to give some presents away to a reader who comments on my blog post. The winning reader will win the combo-pack pictured to the left: a pocket Kama Sutra, a cherry Lollicock, and a print copy of my medieval erotic romance, Seeking Truth. I chose Seeking Truth, because there are some light BDSM elements within the story, so it fit with our theme here. To be included in the contest, post your comment by by 7 a.m. CST on October 21. I'll announce the winner on October 21 around noon CST. I'm also running a contest to celebrate my birthday at Authors by Moonlight - different prize there. So get in the running twice!

Now, lets talk bondage and control. Why do I like to write BDSM? Because restraint is just plain hot. When I first found Ellora's Cave back in the early years of the company (somewhere around 2002/2003) some of the first stories I read involved bondage. The idea of giving away your power by trusting another person to bind you really floated my boat as a reader. It was exciting and naughty all at once. Once I started writing erotic romance, BDSM was always in the back of my mind as an area I wanted to explore. I just had to work out what attracted me so much so I could create believable characters and situations for them to master.

As Michelle discussed in her post, the dynamics of BDSM encompass a power exchange. The bottom submits, giving up control to a top who runs the scene. One of the most basic and straightforward ways to take control and submit to the control of another is by being bound. Once you're tied up you just have to lay there and take it...right?

So...the one tied up is submitting and the one doing the tying is dominating. But who is really in control? If the bottom says their safeword, play is done. And that's the way it should be, so that makes the power exchange a really fine line for both the dominant and submissive to negotiate. It's the tension inherent in the power exchange that intrigues me and a major reason I love to read and to write BDSM stories.

So far, my dominants are male and my submissives are female, but at some point I'll change that up. My heroes tend to be warriors and protectors, so they play by the rule of safe, sane and consensual, even if they don't know that's how they roll. My medieval hero, Eaduin Kempe won't take any woman to his bed if she refuses to consent. For a medieval Baron, that's unusual. Barons could take what they wanted from whoever they wanted (shy of the King), particularly in the 1100s. But my knight lives and breathes chivalry. Even so, he still gets off on topping my heroine, Vérité. The good part is she enjoys what he dishes out and she consents to being bound and blindfolded. Spanked. And she'd go for pretty much anything else he'd like to suggest, too. As I said, this story is primarily BDSM elements - not a full-on lifestyle story - but if anyone could carry off the lifestyle, Eaduin could. Can ya tell I kind of love the guy? grin

I'm equally excited about the hero of Controlling Interest, my story for the 1800DOMhelp series. Torin Stuart keeps his emotions under tight restraints, but there's one woman who can get under his skin...Mozelle Vincent, aka Mouse. Tor has had the hots for Mouse for several years, but she was working as his mother's personal assistant so she was off limits. When the situation changes, Tor and Mouse face off over the management of his BDSM club and control becomes an all-consuming issue for them both.

So, what elements of BDSM really intrigue you? Is it the power exchange total package? Being bound and helpless? Taking control? Or something else entirely? Let me know what you think and be in the running for a Lollicock of your very own and oh yeah, a damned hot dominant hero, too.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

BDSM - the perfect romantic fodder

Okay, I admit I posted the above pic just because it's one of my favorites. I've posted it in other places before, but what better site than on a blog devoted to BDSM stories. I'm Michelle Polaris, one of the authors creating tales for our brand new 1-800-Dom-help series collaboration. I write exclusively BDSM erotic romance and have two books out with Ellora's Cave, Bound Odyssey (a futuristic m/m/f menage) and Magician's Chains (a m/m contemporary fantasy).

Although I'm still finishing my story for the 1-800-Dom-help series (as yet unapproved working title Fettered Love), I wanted to discuss a topic near and dear to my heart: how the subject of BDSM is the perfect fodder to use in romance stories. What better way to get at the topics of trust, communication, honesty, and healing of the past psychic wounds of our heroes and heroines than by laying it out there explicitly as is intended in the BDSM scene. When people play with one another in this lifestyle, it is common and highly recommended to explicitly negotiate contracts between play partners about their boundaries, their kink interests, and the limits to activities they will and will not agree to try. This includes situations straddling the cusp of those limits. The issues of power exchange are laid bare between involved parties -- who gives up their power and who takes the power -- in a way that is seldom discussed in vanilla relationships where you'd be a fool to think power was not an issue. The idea that partners must trust one another is blatantly paid tribute in the BDSM world. And the healthy acceptance of the wide spectrum of human sexuality is acknowledged.

I'm also a big believer in the symbolic and cathartic power of playing out scenes involving trust between partners. As a writer I like to develop characters with wounds from childhood. Inevitably this involves betrayal or abandonment or abuse of some time. I know, very dark, but it's the burden of angst I bear. A powerful BDSM scene between protagonists can draw out that pain and act as a corrective force, a healing force. And the scenes are very intense, wrenching the heart. There is a lot of room for characters to demonstrate in the clearest way possible that even when there is pain there can be love, and that trust will not be betrayed.

So if you're looking for light reading fare, you probably don't want my books. But if you marvel at the ways honest, loving relationships can heal the soul in the face of adversity, then check out my past stories and or any of the 1-800-Dom-help stories from our group of talented authors.

And chime in with your opinion about the use of BDSM in romance. What does it mean for you? Certainly it's freakin' hot, all character growth aside.

Safe, sane and consensual folks--


Friday, October 8, 2010

Questions for Readers

I'm assuming if you are here, you enjoy reading BDSM stories as much as we enjoy writing them. I'm sure the more experience you have in this, er, scene, the more the little stuff you read gets your goat.

I recently read comments by a prominent editor about a hugely popular BDSM series. The editor enjoyed the stories, but reading them back-to-back showed how formulaic they were. Novice submissive who doesn't realize she's submissive, experienced Dom who doesn't believe in love. But what about the rest of the culture?

As a writer who's a novice to writing about the D/s life, I'm on pins and needles wondering what readers really want in their kinkier stories. So tell me, what makes it good for you?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


I know...

A help line for Doms? You're kidding, right? Well...not exactly.

As writers we spend a lot of time in the "what if" world. Because of that, when one of our number came across a similar phone number to the one this blog is based on, her first thought was:

What if this were a real number?

She tossed that out to the Ellora’s Cave Authors loop. From the discussion generated there based on:

• What if a Dom/me has a sub that he/she is reaching, but not on the level he really wants to?
• What if a sub wants more of a connection with his Dom/me but doesn't know how to tell him/her?

Well...what if...A mysterious club called Unfettered, staffed by a club manager named Dru, a doorman named Hayden, and two bartenders was the answer to your questions?

What is your entree into this club? A business card. You call that number and you will get an answer to your "what if."

That's what Harte Donovan does. He's a cop. Straight-laced and deep in the closet. During the course of his investigation into a murder, he meets flamboyant out-to-everyone submissive Ramey Nichols. What's a Dom to do when he meets the perfect sub? Take over, of course!

Harte will discover a side of himself he knew existed but that he'd never really explored. Ramey will discover the bliss of finding the perfect Master. Readers will discover a whole new world in the 1-800-DOM-help series.

BLURB: Harte Donovan has a problem. A murder leads to him wanting a sexy stripper bound and naked in front of him. He can’t let his secret desires ruin his career as a detective. But when he’s given a mysterious business card, Harte discovers a side of himself he intends to fully embrace.

Ramey Nichols strips for a living and he’s not willing to pretend to be something he’s not. When this sexy submissive meets the closeted cop and unwitting Dom, something has got to give. That something might just be Ramey. Ramey knows what he wants, and more than that, finds himself Needing Harte.

Something to whet your appetite:

“There’s a selection of paddles on the wall over there. Go pick one and bring it back to me.”

With a nod of his head, Ramey started toward the wall on his knees. “On your feet, I want to watch that ass.”
“Yes Sir.” With a smile he couldn’t hide, Ramey got to his feet and walked slowly toward the wall, looking at his choices as he went. Paddles of every shape and size hung on pegs on the wall. Some were fur-lined, some had blunted spikes, some were made of wood, some of plastic.

Taking one off the wall, Ramey tested it against his upper thigh, slapping it hard but not as hard as he thought Harte would. The sting caused him to draw in a deep breath and, pleased with his choice, he turned to face his Master.

That particular thought stopped him in his tracks even as he devoured the sight of the sexy man reclining on the bed. Harte’s blond hair gleamed, his eyes were bright and a smile rested on those harsh features, making him look younger. Knowing he could easily commit to this man without ever even having sex with him caused Ramey’s feet to move forward. He reached Harte and knelt, presenting the paddle he’d chosen across both open palms and bowing his head.

Harte took the paddle from him as he sat up. “Up here. Put that sexy body right here. Wait. Lose the G-string. I want to see that cock.”

Slipping the G-string off, Ramey felt his dick bounce. He barely resisted stroking himself as he looked at Harte’s face. Harte’s eyes had narrowed a little and his mouth opened as he licked his lips. Harte reached forward and cupped Ramey’s balls, squeezing them once, then again before releasing them to stroke Ramey’s prick. “No hair, huh? I figured as much when I saw you onstage, but wasn’t positive.”

“Hairless works better under costumes, Sir.”

“Hmmm….Now, across my legs, sub. Five swats to start and we’ll see where we are.”

You can read a longer excerpt here. Want to cut to the chase and just buy the book? Go here.

Books in this series include something with a little foreplay from
Ari Thatcher, Commanding Acquisitions from Christine d’Abo, something desirable from Desiree Holt, something with dangerous curves from Francesca Hawley and something to scorch your soul from Michelle Polaris.

Subscribe/follow this blog so you don't miss out on any of the fun.

To be entered to win a totebag full of Romanticon goodies, leave a comment telling why you would or would not call 1-800-DOM-help. Winner will be announced October 15th.