Monday, November 29, 2010

Scene Interrupted

Last Wednesday before going to bed to face what I knew to be a hectic Thanksgiving, I whispered into my husband’s ear a plan for Friday night. I had worked out a scene while baking pies, something new, something exciting, something that needed time to play out well. I whispered because we were still downstairs. I was heading to bed, but he stays up later and I couldn’t wait to share it with him. I also couldn’t let the kids hear what I was saying. Anyway, I knew he needed some fun to look forward to as we were having most of my family over, and they tend to rub him a little raw. Sex, or the promise of it, is always an excellent way to distract a man. Unfortunately, half way through dinner, my throat started hurting and by Friday, I was flat on my back with whatever virus had felled my children the week before. No play for us! I’m still kind of sniffling and coughing over my keyboard.

My husband always teases me about being a planner. In every aspect of our lives, I like to plot and plan for the next few days, weeks, months, years. It keeps me centered and focused, and I think this tendency serves me particularly well when it comes to sex. While vanilla sex can be done more spontaneously (and can be quite a treat after a long day), I’ve always believed that kink needs to be thought out. We need props and scenes and let’s face it, if we’re not careful, someone can get hurt or at least feel a little worse for the wear. What with careers and kids, time is at a premium anyway for most couples. I think the kinky couple has it that much harder. Is there a way to be both spontaneous and kinky? Maybe it’s me, the control freak planner, that has trouble just jumping in. I’d love to hear from others. I’d love to find a way to be more flexible. I’m just not sure it’s possible.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wednesday Whips: When a Whip Isn't Just a Whip

I am a big believer in motivation. We need it to embrace change, always a difficult struggle. A whip is quite a motivating force, and the universe knows I need as many motivating forces in my life as I can get. Although I'll pass on being on the receiving end of this one. But lucky woman I am, I received a lovely single-tail whip as a gift for publishing my first story, Bound Odyssey, last fall. I found it wrapped around a vase of flowers. So romantic. What I haven't received since then is the training to use it, and it would be irresponsible to try that puppy out without learning. Truthfully, dropping in on a seminar is not in my immediate plans. But that doesn't mean the whip has no role to play.

Never underestimate the use of a prop, either in a story or in a real life scene. My whip is useful for many purposes. If I did go ahead and learn basics, the sound itself, the crack of the tail, would elicit fear and excitement on its own. The visual cue of it, the sleek sinuous braid, instills tension. All of this is predicated on the activity of the most important sexual organ humans possess. The brain. The meaning of the whip is as important as its bite. A well crafted script about what I might do with the instrument could achieve a satisfying effect. Although I could just use the grip as a gag with a sub biting down on the leather. I don't need much expertise for that.

As writers we are experts at using props. Since the real item is never present in a reader's living room where she's curled up with a book, the description of naughty play items is always an erotic tease of the mind. That's one of the roles erotic romance plays altogether, to tease the mind and all of those attached parts.

So what's the most creative prop you've used or read about or wrote about in a sexy scene? Real life or fiction. Hey, it doesn't even have to be in a kinky situation, although that's good too. Did it motivate the characters? Is using a prop sometimes even preferable to a physical experience? I'd like to say yes. What do you think?


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Praises to my Critique Partner

Me & Paris at RT 2010
And now for something completely different....

I can't let this day pass without bowing down in praise to my critique partner, Paris Brandon. She has a new EC release, Cross My Heart, coming out on December 17 - check it out. I have to tell you, this tiny little lady packs a hell of a wallup and she writes good too.

 So when I finished Controlling Interest, my story for the 1-800-DOM-help series it was almost 5000 words too long. My friends, that's a LOT of words. I went to Paris and screamed...HELP! She answered as only a true friend and excellent crit partner can. She told me to calm down and put my butt in the chair cause we could do this. Thank you friend! I needed that. Then she read through the story and took out her red pencil (actually her highlight to red ink thing - we were working on the computer after all). Then she helped me find characters I could take out or minimize. Unnecessary words. Entire scenes I could remove.

Last night I finished going through her edits and got the length right. Today I sent it off to my editor along with my revised synopsis. I could NEVER have managed this without your help, Paris. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Writers, if you don't have a tough little Italian woman to kick your ass, I pity you. And I encourage you to FIND ONE! They are worth their weight in gold. Hell, their worth MY weight in gold (since she's kinda tiny).  Love ya lady!

So, please... If you want to praise your crit partner in the comments today, please do. They deserve it. They also deserve chocolate. LOTS of chocolate. Grin...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Ethical Paradigms In The BDSM Community: Safe, Sane Consensual and Risk Aware Consensual Kink.

Guest post By Deborah Isadora Wade, MSW

We are delighted to have Deborah Isadora Wade, MSW here with us at 1-800-Dom-help!
Deborah Isadora Wade is a fiery, flawed and fabulous femme. She has been part of the Leather community for over ten years. A proud member of Alameda County Leather Corps, she is Ms. Alameda County Leather 2009. For two years she was Secretary of The Exiles: San Francisco. She is a member Mama’s Family as Mama’s Dragondancer. Retiring from social work in 1999, she was a college instructor at the University of Minnesota and The Women's Theological Institute. She was awarded a National Community Service Medal, presented by Eli Wiesel and President Clinton, for her work in building collaborations and her 30 years of work with homeless families, domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. She was a columnist for Lavender Press (Minneapolis/St. Paul) and Of A Like Mind. She is Co-Author of Partners in Change: Building Collaboration, a book on moving organizations from networking to full collaborative ventures. Deborah infrequently (related to her elder status and semi-retirement) writes for Leatherati. Deborah loves anything that sparkles, social gatherings, dancing, and organizing. She may have a wee shoe fetish, umm collection.

Today she is sharing the differences between SSC and RACK.

SSC: Safe Sane Consensual
When I entered the BDSM community over ten years ago, the community had been working a long time to bring ethical behavior into its paradigm. I was taught the mantra, “Safe, Sane, and Consensual”, the “Stop, Drop, and Roll” of the BDSM community. According to David Stein, who developed the phrase, SSC was intended to be a minimum standard for ethical BDSM. It was meant to establish a distinction between play and the perception of sadomasochism as an abusive behavior.

Safe meant I took care not to harm anyone, to not spread sexually transmitted diseases and to educate myself on both techniques and personal growth. What areas on the body can be hit without harming someone? How do I keep someone’s mental and physical self safe? How do I provide care after play? Safe words and signals were developed. I was taught the basic safety of “Yellow” meaning slow down or pause and “Red” meaning stop that activity or scene. Learning about safe applications of toys is vital for keeping me and my play partner(s) emotionally, physically and mentally protected.

Trust is a vital principle when it comes to letting someone hurt me because I like it, or to submit to me by exchanging a power dynamic. Sane is about self control. Sane is about self knowledge. It is about never losing awareness of yourself, your body and your stability. It is more than just trusting your Dominant or submissive (D/s); it is about trusting yourself, knowing your limits and boundaries. Sane is about boundaries. Sane is realizing what your needs are, what your rules are, what your “no’s” are and where you draw your personal line in the sand. Sane also respects consent.

The move to consent happens when individuals want to play together in certain ways, within set parameters and with agreed upon toys. Both SSC and RACK have consent as their foundation. I negotiate a lot when I consent to play or dominate someone. “Are you interested in playing with me?” when asked politely may be respectfully answered with a “Yes” or “Let’s talk” or a “No, I am really not here to play tonight.” Whatever my answer, it is valued. I need to hear out loud that “Yes, you may (fill in the blank).” Consent for D/s may be in the form of service or play. Consent for some is Master/slave (M/s) and the person chooses to be owned. Consent is because you want to play; you want to be tied up, teased with a feather or a flogger and brought to sexual fulfillment. Consent means knowledge. Consent means approval. Consent means permission to play with me within these limits and boundaries we have agreed upon.

RACK – Risk Aware Consensual Kink

Safe, Sane and Consensual worked. As in all communities, we evaluated and looked at our own behavior and practices to develop a more comprehensive and realistic paradigm for ourselves. I don’t see SSC and RACK as a contrast but more as a deepening of the understanding and importance of our play. Some see RACK beliefs as closer to their practices and more realistic. Nothing is truly safe and the risk is an essential part of the buzz. Risk is lowered by skill development but it is still risk. So in 1999, Gary Switch proposed the term RACK.

Risk Aware
Nothing can be 100% safe. We do not have a robot following us around, waving his arms spouting, “Danger, Will Robinson.” Risk aware means everyone involved is aware of the threat or hazards that may occur. Everyone plays differently. Each of us has our limits and consideration of where the “edge” of our particular play cliff is located. There is no safe or not safe there are only degrees of each. Accidents happen. Needles break. Floggers slip in your hand. Earthquakes shake your bondage bed. Your mother comes to visit and you need to hide the eyehooks. It is all about being risk aware.

Consensual encompasses all of the same parameters as the SSC paradigm but with RACK the ethical paradigm consents to and acknowledges the risk inherent in some play.

I see kink as the overall term for alternative sex in our community. It means twisted for a reason. Kink is living my most deviant and bizarre needs out in a sexual or non-sexual manner. Kink is the overall word I use in community to describe general preferences. If I am kinky, I probably like more than just missionary position in my sexual life. If I am kinky I may like sex in places I might get caught because it heightens the endorphins and makes me wet. If I am kinky I may like to kiss one person while another is at my feet kissing my toes. If I am kinky I may be pushing someone against a wall, tearing off their clothes and running a whip across their shoulders. All are alternative sexual experiences that some see as abnormal or beyond the standard of sexuality as they know it. Kink includes BDSM. Or BDSM includes kink.

So RACK becomes a more realistic expression of being safely aware of my ability to practice self control and consent. We expand our beliefs to realize that all forms of pleasure need ethical paradigms to keep us healthy and from harm. Either way it is more inclusive of all the forms of delightful unexpected sweet release!

Websites to explore for more information:

  • SOJ is a not-for-profit, all volunteer, San Francisco-based education and support organization devoted to the art of safe, consensual and non-exploitative BDSM.
  • Leatherati explores the unique lifestyle of contests and titleholders, travel and events, dining and drinking, entertainment and shopping and of course, news and opinions around the Leather (mostly GLBTQI) community.
  • Informed Consent is the leading website about BDSM in the UK.
  • Black Rose is a support, education, and social group for adults who share these interests.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fetish Friday: Storing the Things that Make us Sweat

With talk of fetishes comes talk of objects, and while your fetish may be for some commonplace item that doesn’t require hiding, you can probably still appreciate the fear of something like this happening: 

Oh, toys. Toys, toys, toys! They are so much fun, and I have spent way too much money on them in the past few years (research, of course!). But once you start adding several different types of toy, multiple flavors of lube, and big coils of rope to the mix, things get a little hard to store. Whether it’s latex garb, whips-n-cuffs, your favorite dildo or that costly e-stim kit, it all takes up space and most of us do not have the luxury of dedicated secure playrooms in our homes. We need storage that gets our sexytime accessories out of the way in a discreet, convenient way so that it is accessible to us but hidden from view - and specifically, for some of us, hidden from the children. Because if there’s one thing I do not want, it’s my six-year-old locating a few of my favorite things and asking me to explain them. Or a relative mistaking any of them for a flashlight if the lights go out at a dinner party. And then asking me to explain them.
Contents: Classified
So I have come up with some practical solutions. A very boring “decorative” miniature wooden trunk that sits on my dresser, filled with little silk bags and other wrappings I’ve acquired to keep all my precious investments safe from dust and the casual glance. It even has a cute little hasp so I can lock it if I feel the need. Oh, and there’s also a box of rope lengths, hiding in plain sight in my closet among the boots (what…doesn’t everybody keep 100-plus feet of nicely conditioned hemp rope in the master bedroom closet?). 
One of these things is not like the others

But there is also my fantasy set of potential solutions, the ones I would adopt if my budget were just a wee bit larger. And it is these solutions I want to discuss today. Solutions that were designed specifically for this purpose. 
As you probably know if you have any number of sex-related toys at all, there are some concerns with storing this kind of gear. The environment must be clean, dry and lint-free. Washability is a big plus, cleanability is a must. And ideally each toy must have its own compartment or wrapper - in particular, silicon toys must not be stored in contact with other silicon toys or substances, or the toys can “melt” or degrade. This is not only an aesthetic concern but a safety issue as well, so it is very important to be able to sequester each toy in whatever storage arrangement you use. And it’s nice to have room for toys plus lube, cleaners, and all the other accessories you may have accumulated, so it’s all in one handy place.
Tunti Illuminating Budoir Toybox
If money isn’t an object, there are some great hard-sided lockable cases on the market with adjustable compartments, designed specifically for sex toys. The Tunti Illuminating Budoir Toybox is a nice example. A case like this is discreet - it looks like a camera case or similar - and allows you to store a wide variety of toys in clean, adjustable compartments. It has a shield to protect (potentially) wet contents like lube from spilling on other contents. Tunti’s box is also illuminated when open, a very nice touch for when you’re working in low-light environments. No fear of grabbing the wrong flogger if you’re storing the playthings in one of these! 
Not flashy, but functional & cost-effective
If your needs aren’t quite as extensive, however, there are also a lot of smaller lockable cases out there with varying degrees of adjustability; check out Fruits of Eden for some nice cases in various colors at many different price points. Or go hunting for a hard-sided camera case with adaptable foam dividers. 
Sneaky! I like it! 
If locking isn’t as great a concern as hiding, and portability isn't an issue, one of the most clever ideas out there for a reasonably low cost is the Sneaky Sack. This bag is sneaky indeed - you hang it on a clothes hanger and then hang a shirt or jacket over it, hiding it effectively from all but the most sophisticated seekers. The Sneaky Sack has three large pockets but no other internal compartments, so you may still need to consider some individual bags to separate and organize your toys inside it. Sugar Saks are simple, attractive and pre-treated with an antimicrobial process. Zomi bags (by the Liberator company, about which I hope to blog at length another day) are sturdy, waterproof, zippered and available in a wide variety of colors. These are also great options for travel, or for storing things in a dresser or nightstand drawer.
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly way to separate individual toys, of course, you can easily find small zippered makeup bags or - my personal favorite - drawstring fabric gift bags. If you opt for an organza or mesh style, do try to find bags with a fairly tightly woven mesh, nothing that might allow silicon objects to melt each other if the bags are adjacent.  
For some, of course, inquisitive little kid fingers and eyes aren’t the big concern for toy storage - it’s a question of general discretion, not the threat of active prying. Sportsheets (another company that is a blog topic unto itself!) still makes their Hide Your Vibe pillow, which may not hold your entire toy kit but can let you keep a few high-priority items close at hand. One downside to this pillow is that the color choices are limited - and not subtle. You will likely need to find another cover if you want to match your decor, unless your decor involves animal prints or the color pink.  
Not that roomy, but damn it's classy
A fairly new product that is possibly the classiest, most discreet thing I’ve ever seen in the way of sex toy storage is the Toitissue, a sleek wooden box with an inch of camouflaging facial tissue storage in the top and a secret sliding drawer beneath for your toys. Or your stash. Or your cashmere sock full of money. It even has a secret lock! There’s also the standard Toibocks, the company’s original toy storage product, which masquerades as a jewelry box; however, the illusion is not quite as strong as with the tissue dispenser.
I’m sure there are other marvelous options out there, and I would love to hear about them! How do you keep your private playthings private?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tuesday Toys: The Birth of Erotic Flogging

I never would have imagined it, but erotic flogging has been documented in the sixth century, B.C., thanks to this painting in the Tomba della Fustigazione in Tarquinia, Italy. Those Etruscans new how to party, didn't they? While time as ruined the "good parts" of the painting, the official description says the woman, in the center, is bent over holding the hips of one man, whose hand is raised to spank her, while a younger man is behind her with one hand on her ass and a switch or cane raised for action.

It reminds me of those days when we were young and first discovering sex. We were certain our parents didn't know about oral sex, much less any rough play like spanking. One description of the Tomba della Fustigazione mentions other paintings depicting musicians, drinking and dancing. And then we have this menage a trois. The mind begins to wander...

The next time you and your partner pick up a flogger or cane, pause for a moment and thank Dionysus/Bacchus for giving us wine and song and some good old BDSM.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Kinky Parent

One of the pleasures of having children is seeing them discover and enjoy things that you already like. It is a powerful form of parent-child bonding. It can be something as simple as coming home and finding your kids watching Monty Python. They’re laughing at the same skits you laughed at when you were young. This happened to me just the other day. The skit was not one I remembered seeing, actually. I think they must have been carefully selected by the U.S. back in the day. The skit involved a blackmail show. Typical Python stuff – they showed a clip of someone up to no good until that someone called and promised to pay. One video showed a proper man going to a woman’s home and the studio phone rang, ending the clip, just as you see the man kneeling and the woman taking up a flogger. Such fun to see people aware of my kink so long ago.

Really, though, what this post is all about is something my oldest child shares with me besides a sense of humor. My daughter is nearly eighteen and she just came out to me not only as a lesbian (which I suspected anyway), but as a Domme, as well. This bit of news blew me away. My husband and I have been very careful to hide our kink from the kids, although we’ve been open about how I’m the boss. When she confessed her bdsm inclinations, I actually got a little weepy. This is nature at work. How else to explain it? And unlike me, she has someone to come to and help guide her through the lifestyle, and tell her that she is okay.

She and I have always been close, but this brings us together at a whole new level. I love it!

Samantha, the proud mom.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Announcing the winner of the Tote Full of Naughty contest:

Natasha A.

Congratulations Natasha! I'll email you for your contact information to receive the tote.

And thank you everyone for playing. We got a lot of great entries and I hope everyone enjoyed scanning through our websites to learn a little bit about us. We're thrilled to have you here and hope you enjoy our series.


Friday, November 12, 2010

The Quick ABCs of BDSM

I can’t remember what it was that first lured me into the world of BDSM. Five years ago I barely even knew it existed. And now? I find it dominates (pardon the pun) both my reading and writing. I think what turned me onto it was reading a beautifully erotic love story in which the lifestyle was the main focus. All I know is I became totally fascinated with it, wanted to write about, but realized how little I knew about it. And as I read email from my readers and talk to people, I realize so many people don’t really understand what it’s all about.
So what is it, really? Good question! It can mean bondage and discipline (B&D), dominance and submission (D/s), or sadomasochism (S&M) There are more definitions for each of those words than Baskin-Robbins has flavors. In fact, there are as many meanings as there are people trying to tell you what it all means.
Despite a common misunderstanding, this alternate form of sexuality has nothing to do with destructive behavior. A 'D' (dominant, top, sadist, master/mistress) person simply wants to dominate in sex while the "s" (submissive, bottom, masochist, slave) person often wants to be stripped of any initiative. You can be both, or either, switching roles as part of your play or swapping 'sides' over time.
But most commonly it means sex involving Dominance and submission. And the D is always capitalized. Activities range from spanking to bondage to tickling to "flogging" or whipping. The people involved set their own limits. The three most common words are safe, sane and consensual.
But the most important element is trust. Openness and trust, meaning communication, are absolute musts in a BDSM relationship. Bondage covers everything from soft silk scarves in bed to chains. Spanking and whipping are just as common but the degree to which these activities is carried out varies greatly. The imagination and feelings of the partners before and after the punishment are just as important as the spanking or whipping itself.
Experimentation allows each partner to discover the most arousing edge of pleasure/pain. For the submissive acceptance of the D is a sign of absolute faith in that person and it is the very foundation of affection, intimacy and passion. Openness and trust clear the ground for activating your fantasies. This in turn heightens intimacy, passion and ecstasy. The submissive always has a safe word, and when the Dom or Domme pushes the limits beyond that the safe word is a big red light.
A very important aspect of "after-play", which many people don’t realize, is aftercare. Emotions run wild for both partners and that is the time to solidify the trust. It’s a good time for mutual holding and soothing. I can’t stress enough how important talk and communication is, but allow some time to pass for emotions to settle.
So whether you read about it, play at it or adopt the full lifestyle, one last reminder here. The four most important words are trust, safe, sane and consensual. Remember that and you will find pleasure in a brand new erotic world.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Commanding Acquisitions

*does a snoopy dance around the room*

It's out!! I am super excited to let everyone know that Commanding Acquisitions, the second book in the 1-800-DOM-help series is now available from Ellora's Cave.

When we started talking about the series, a lot of ideas were bounced around. At the time, I was working at a conference for my day job, and as we chatted the idea for Commanding Acquisitions popped into my head. I wrote the synopsis on my BlackBerry in between conference sessions and then tore back to my hotel room to get started.

The end result is a story I'm very happy to call my own. :)

I thought I would share with you today our new group prologue, and a short excerpt from Commanding Acquisitions. I hope you enjoy!

The Magic

The magic begins with the appearance of the business card. Sleek black print on a pristine white background—unassuming in its appearance. Those brave enough to call the number will begin a journey that will explore their greatest desires.

Once the call is made, the Operator goes to work. Somehow he knows just what every caller needs, always able to find the answer the caller seeks.

Callers may be directed to Unfettered, a new club in town, one nobody has heard of. It provides a safe haven for all who enter. Members are free to explore their every desire...even those they weren't aware of. Little do they know Unfettered will disappear once those yearnings have eased.

Submissives who don't know how to handle their Dominants. Masters looking for the perfect sub. People who need just a little push to admit vanilla isn't their favorite flavor. The card finds them all.

And once you dial 1-800-DOM-help anything can happen.

Commanding Acquisitions

Simon cocked his head to the side, looking at the man kneeling by his chair out of the corner of his eye. He hadn’t moved. The drink was still being offered, though Simon could see the slight shake in his arms. With a bored sigh, he reached out and took the tumbler.

The familiar, pleasant burn of the scotch made its way down his throat. Damn, that was good. He took another sip and held his glass out. The sub reached for it, taking it neatly from him.

A loud crack was followed by a sob. “One. Thank you, Mistress.”

Simon reached out and took the glass again. He ignored the tiny rush of electricity when his fingers brushed against the sub’s. Fuck, he hadn’t even looked at the man yet and Simon was ready to tie him up.

“Two. Thank you, Mistress.”

He knew he wouldn’t be able to put things off too long. If Simon wasn’t going to play with the boy, then he needed to cut him loose sooner rather than later. It wouldn’t be fair to waste the poor guy’s whole evening.

Crack. “Three. Thank you, Mistress.” Gasp.

“I bet his ass is red now.” Simon said softly. It could be brushed off as him speaking to himself, but he knew the man at his feet would hang on every word.

“Five. Thank you, Mistress.”

“I bet the welts are nice and white. He won’t be able to sit down for hours.” Simon sipped his drink. “I wonder if she’ll fuck him or if she’ll leave him to suffer.”

“Seven. Thank you, Mistress.”

Not wanting to wait any longer, Simon looked over at the man at his feet.

He didn’t appear to be much younger than Simon. He was shirtless, wearing leather pants and his feet were bare. Brown hair fell forward to cover his eyes, which Simon inexplicably wanted to know the color of. His long, lean arms were now resting at his sides, knuckles pressed to the floor. God, he looked like a swimmer or runner. Someone who took the time to exercise and look after himself.

In short, he was gorgeous.

“Nine. Thank you, Mistress.”

The sub at his feet was breathing a bit harder now. Simon liked that he was affected by the scene going on. Not that they would be able to do something like that now—not without setting limits at least.

“Think he’s going to make it? She’s been going pretty rough on him. Answer me.”

“Yes Sir. He will.”

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Last Chance at the Contest!

Tomorrow is D day, or C day if we want to be technical. (No, not C as in the naughty word. Although that's perfectly acceptable language in this place.) It's release day for Commanding Acquisitions, the second in the 1-800-DOM-help series. Christine d'Abo is treating us to this yummy story about Simon and Gavin. Check it out.

At the end of October I announced our "Win a Tote Full of Naughty" contest to celebrate the launch of our 1-800-DOM-help series and this blog. We'll wrap up the home stretch of the contest with the celebration of the Commanding Acquisitions release. The winner receives a tote bag of naughty items including a mini flogger and other bondage accessories. To enter participate in our scavenger hunt and answer questions based on information available on our author websites.

I'll post the questions and links below again for you to search. This means one more chance to enter. Email your answers to me at by midnight on Wednesday, November 10th EST. Since you will all be busy reading Commanding Acquisitions that day, I suggest you finish your search early (by the end of tonight) to free up your time in anticipation.

I'll announce the winner on the blog hopefully on Thursday. I've already collected a nice number of entries, so scurry along and play catch up folks.

Here are the questions:

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 the author names to start your searches.

Good luck. And hurry.

Safe, sane and consensual.


Monday, November 8, 2010

Research Geeks UNITE!

When I'm not writing, I work as a librarian. For me, research is as natural as breathing. I attended RT (the Romantic Times Convention) this past April and I had the opportunity to hit two adult/fetish stores in Columbus, Ohio - The Garden and The Chamber. While my companions reviewed some of the leather goods and glass dildos, I was pouring over the books. In fact, at The Chamber alone, I spent about $300 books on research books. (Hmmm - Del - does that mean I have a fetish? grin).

I bought The Topping Book. The Bottoming Book. And a whole lot of other books on BDSM. Books that aren't typically on the shelves at Barnes and Noble or Borders. When I was working on my contribution to the 1-800-DOM-help series, I needed to find books about rope bondage. I don't have any direct experience with rope bondage (except for finding it very hot), so I went to my trusty local adult emporium, Christal's in West Des Moines, Iowa. I love this place, and I knew I'd seen rope bondage books there. I was right.

I picked up some excellent items while I was shopping:

The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage by Midori (photographed by Craig Morey) is truly awesome. The book is published by Greenery Press which bills itself as "reading for the sexually adventurous."

The photography is beautiful. Very evocative and sensual. The description of the bondage techniques are pretty clear. I think if you were a complete novice, it would help to see the techniques via video rather than in a book, but this book really does a good job of getting the concepts across. 

The first thing I used to get a "feel" for rope bondage was a video called How to Perform Rope Bondage produced by the Educational Sex Series. This movie was awesome for watching an experienced top tie up a sub. This is strictly an instructional video, but it served the purpose.

I also picked up two books created by Two Knotty Boys - Showing you the Ropes and Back on the Ropes are published by Green Candy Press. These are awesome books with the express intent of demonstrating rope techniques. Showing you the Ropes is primarily black and white, but Back on the Ropes has plenty of color pics. Either way, there are a lot of images that detail the steps in tying up your lover.

Both books explain rope bondage safety and cover basic knot tying. They progress pretty quickly to complicated techniques. I think I might get lost if I tried to tie some of them, but they are really gorgeous to look at. If the person using the book is more adept at knots than I am, I think they'd progress at a good speed.

BTW - I found Back on the Ropes at...Barnes and Noble. Really. So while these topics may not typically be found at "mainstream" book stores, always check, cause you just never know!

Do you have any favorite research books about BDSM? Any recommendations for books (on ANY topic) that I should check out? I'm always open to more research. Just ask anybody! LOL

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fetish Friday: Safe Search is OFF.

“The only unnatural sex act is that which you cannot perform.”
- Alfred Kinsey

If you’d told me ten or even five years ago that I would ever be composing a blog post with the theme “Fetish Friday” I would have definitely asked for some of whatever you were smoking. But then again, if you’d told me five years ago that I would be celebrating my fifth book release, I’d have started demanding your keys and finding you a designated driver. And yet here I am, backlist under my belt, fixing to write a little something about fetishes. Or as one of our happy, kinky crew here at 1-800-DOM-help describes them, “the things that make us sweat”! 
We all know Rule 34 of the Internet (whatever it is, there is porn of it). Think of anything - anything at all - and not only is somebody somewhere turned on by it, but there is probably a discussion group or forum devoted entirely to that subject. Heck, there may even be a national convention. People who like to have sex wearing bunny slippers. People who like to have sex with bunny slippers. People who like to have sex (or perhaps even live their day-to-day lives) dressed up in full-on bunny suits. It's all out there, and so much more [Do not even get me started on the growing prevalence of tentacle porn and eel-related fetish videos. Oh, and by the way, you do not ever want to see my browser history]. 
The point is, people are turned on by all sorts of different things. Just about anything can be the focus of a fetish. If it’s something other than a typical sex toy (dildos and vibrators don’t count as fetish objects, no matter how we may adore them) and you are aroused by it, then it may be at the center of a sexual fetish. If you can't get aroused without it, of course, you know for sure. 
Of course the downside of all this variety is that people can develop fetishes centered around some very unsafe objects and/or activities (you’ll notice I’m not providing links to any of those). And for some people the focus on a sexual fetish can develop into a genuine paraphilic disorder (a fetish gone bad, essentially) if it’s causing them distress or causing others harm. 
But in a safe, sane, consensual environment, within the bounds of the law, exploring the world of fetishes can be good, clean or perhaps exquisitely dirty fun. And whether your interest is just casually kinky or truly focused, learning more about fetishes in general can teach you to see the entire world in a whole new light. Think outside the box. You may have sexual tastes you didn’t even know about! And even if you don’t, you can sure have a heck of a lot of fun finding out.
So stock up on condoms and lube, make sure your Safe Search is set to “Off,” and let your imagination soar. Or put on bunny slippers. Or roll around in chocolate pudding. Or cruise the produce aisle. 
Just please leave the eels out of it. 
What is the most unusual or intriguing fetish you've read about or come across? Let us know in the comments! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Submissive What?

Like many of us here in the 1-800-DOM-help group, I find the interplay between a Dominant and submissive utterly fascinating. I think our society at large has a bit of a skewed perspective on what it means to be a submissive in a sexual relationship.

Submissive is seen as weak.

Just for fun I went over to the fountain of all knowledge...Wikipedia...and did a search for what they felt Submissive meant.

Submissiveness is the incidence or trait of voluntarily yielding to the will of another in an interpersonal relationship, or as a result of intimidation to some display of assertiveness or aggression by a partner. It can be found in everyday human and animal interactions.

Interesting. Let's keep reading, shall we.

In interpersonal relationships, some people prefer or are willing to adopt a submissive role in sexual activities or personal matters. The level and type of submission can vary from person to person, and from one context to another; and also is dependent on the other partner being willing to assume control in those situations. Some people can include occasional acts of submission in an otherwise conventional sex life, or adopt a submissive lifestyle.

What I like about this definition is the awareness of the range of submission that can be had in a sexual relationship. It's not all whips and chains people (though those can be a LOT of fun) and we should broaden our views of what submissiveness means in a sexual context. You can play Dom/sub games with a partner. It can spill into your day to day life...or never leave the bedroom.

The power in the Dom/sub relationship is with the sub. They are the ones who set limits (though some Doms have lines they won't cross as well) and they can halt the games as they go on.

It takes a lot of strength to give control to another person.

So what do you think?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tuesday Toys - Bringing BDSM into Your Bedroom

Sometimes the easiest way to venture into BDSM is through toys. Handcuffs are a common accessory in many bedrooms, or silk ties. You can turn over control for the duration of the play without taking any life-changing steps.

Add a blindfold and you've increased the need for trust quite a bit. But, every sensation will be heightened by not being able to see it coming. Tension increases as you wait, wondering. Will your lover tease you with a feather? His tongue? Or maybe the startling roughness of a brush. Again, you've increased your body's reactions without giving up too much.

As your trust level increases you can introduce floggers, whip-like instruments with soft tails to add some sting. Or a paddle, if spanking is your thing. But the paddle can hurt if used too harshly, so discuss this with your partner thoroughly before use.

What about nipple clamps? Are you ready for a little pain?

Shopping together for your new toys can be foreplay just from imagining using the item. You can also find out limits and areas of interest you never suspected. These are both good to know before you bring your purchase home.

Do you have a favorite toy you're willing to confess to trying? Or one that's on your list to try? Do you enjoy reading about the toys a couple (or moresome) uses? A well-written sex scene can take away the need for toys, scenes and a partner, right? Because we all know the largest sex organ is the brain. Here's to stimulating your brain!

Ari Thatcher

Monday, November 1, 2010

Submissive Males are Hot!

Hi all,

I am on a mission to convince women that there is nothing hotter than a gorgeous alpha male going down on his knees and submitting to his woman. I know, I know, you want the strong man, the protective man, the man that other men respect. You can have that. Outside, he's going to be all of that for you and himself. But at home, he bends to your will, not just devoted to you, but trusts you to take charge. You're doing him a favor, really. All day long, he has to be the one to make the hard decisions and be responsible for other people. You take that obligation away from him for a little while. He can relax, let go. And frankly it helps if he's into a little pain, too.

Yeah, I'm one of those women that gets off on hearing a guy cry out in pain. What can I say, it's my sexual orientation to be a Domme. My fantasy man has always been a submissive alpha male who likes to ease his stress with a bit of pain now and again. I used to think I was some weird woman and there couldn't possibly be such a man as that. It's sounds like a total oxymoron. I know better now. There are a lot of guys out there with very stressful and important jobs who are desperate for discipline. A couple of years ago, I was meeting with some law colleagues (yep, I'm a lawyer) and this one woman I didn't know very well was lamenting how her brother had taken up with a Domme. When she happened to mention his name, I realized it was this brilliant, commanding lawyer I had worked with when I was junior associate. This guy was highly respected by everyone, especially other men with whom he regularly wiped the floor. The last I had heard, he'd been dating this nice, quiet woman who always did things his way. It seemed like the perfect fit for him, but no, he wanted a commanding woman. See, they are out there!

I want (and I am writing) more stories that show how erotic femdom can be. So, what do you all think? Can you wrap your mind around submissive alpha males?

Samantha Cayto