It's day 9 on my blog tour for the re-release of "Out of the Night: Book One" of my Vala's Story serial. Because of Saturday Spankings and Seductive Studs and Sirens (please click on the blog hop names to get to the lists of authors participating this week), I have decided to keep this post on my blog. Please visit this page if you want to catch up on missed tour posts.
This is a restructuring, rewriting of a post I originally wrote for Spanking Romance Reviews round table discussions.
I struggle with the notion of "how much reality/how much fantasy" in all erotica that I write or read, or at least in perceptions of the balance. To explain part of why, I must share with you the first "BDSM erotica" I ever read- laying on the bed in the hotel room we'd gotten just for the purpose of being together, my first girlfriend and I read "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty" by Anne Rice (under a pen name). I absolutely loved the drama, the titles, the BDSM activities, the sex; however saying this, I doubted the possibility of bringing some stuff into reality. I don't remember so much from "The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty," but in the other 2 books in the trilogy ("Beauty's Punishment" and "Beauty's Release"), Anne described "human ponies," male slaves made to pull carts as if they were horses. I just couldn't imagine the equipage being used in real life, what damage that could do to the human body. And finally, Anne wrote it as a fantasy; I believe in places she's described it as a "grown up fairy tale."
As I matured and experienced a variety of relationship situations within BDSM, I came to the point of saying I wanted "lifestyle" or "24/7." I came to want BDSM erotica in which I could place myself- I wanted to be able to imagine that I was the submissive or slave being described in the book... and I just wasn't finding this anywhere. First off, mainstream romance had nothing for me- as a queer female who wasn't looking for the Fabio-lookalike and a sweet ending, the books at the grocery store just weren’t going to do it. I was already writing short BDSM fiction at this point.
Then I met Tom and I fell in lust- he was everything that I could imagine wanting in a Master. It wasn't a straight line forward; there were issues, me still at my parents' home, him living at a coffeehouse. There were fits and starts, but then I decided to write him a story for his birthday- thus The Queen and Mearr/Vala came into fictional life. I had laughed many a time, describing Vala as "me to the Nth degree." I wrote sex and BDSM I knew to be possible- I'd done it or in the case of activities I'm the wrong gender for, I'd watched them enjoyed, often first hand. But then life intruded in a variety of ways and Tom as my Dom just didn't last. After agonizing for 3 months over Tom, my Master finally claimed me. While life has often interrupted- a variety of things from motherhood, chronic health issues, a lazy/selfish beta reader, and just life in general- I've persevered to bring Vala's Story into print for others to read.
Speaking of beta readers- thankfully I have a few new ones who are far more dependable than that first reader who couldn't be bothered to see how I ended Vala's story because she in her selfishness wanted me to abandon the polyamory of the story; she never said it directly, although her comments sure hinted at it. One of my current beta readers likes to lecture me about the my notions of fantasy/reality; well I'm not sure "lecture" is the correct verb, but sometimes it feels like that to me. While the framework of The Queen's extreme wealth, the insulated life he's created for himself and his slaves is certainly fantastic, I wanted most other things as real as possible. Sure my Master just has a duffel bag of a few toys in the closet, not store rooms of BDSM toys, I see it mostly as a matter of degree- He could buy us more toys as we can afford, as He's interested.
My other big problem, from all shades of romance is the notion of a "perfect" man. Most often, there are descriptions of flowing hair, developed pectoral muscles, 6 pack abs... these things are NOT the things that get me interested in a romance. Then you have the variety of demeanors to consider... a whole lot more attractive than your run-of-the-mill romance hero. In my romance, I want a flawed man, with some baggage, a history, who sometimes has a bad day. So yes, in reading "Out of the Night: Book One" and subsequent books of mine, I hope you'll notice The Queen's flaws, that he sometimes has a bad day and even apologizes to his slaves when he's in the wrong- I wanted him that way.
Now I've explained to you how I came to interests in both BDSM and writing about it. I've also explained my issues with one male figure in many romance novels. Another part of why I write BDSM erotica is because I'm tired of those without any BDSM experience writing about it. I simply don't believe that research, reading online articles, or some such is enough. Yes, imagination can go a long way, but I also firmly believe that there's a reality to words when you've lived through an experience that is far richer than simple research. So when I write a submissive, I can put pieces of my understanding of submission into that character; when I write a Dominant, I can think of dominants that I've interacted with directly. While I may be overestimating and misunderstanding things here, this location of truth that I write from makes me call in to question the oft-repeated advice to authors of carefully separating personal and professional lives, especially online. I write because I am a lifestyle submissive and I need to see "me" in print.
"Out of the Night: Book One" blurb
Restless and world-weary, Mearr isn't about to admit she needs anyone's help, even this gorgeous man who has taken her into his home. Well one of his homes and part of this huge family she's heard about but not met all of. She's young, looks young, and knows it but at least she's legal now so she can pick a new name to go with her new life...
The Queen knows he wants Mearr bad, ever since the first time he saw her in the window of the coffeehouse. He has his plan, but even a Dominant's plans don't always survive the unpredictability of the future. He struggles to figure out this temperamental woman he's brought home, how best to help her. Then he takes her to his mansion...
They wait patiently for The Queen to bring Mearr home. Well to the home they've been redecorating for Him and for the hopes that she'll become part of their family and be trained to please Him. Simon and Tommy have seen her, of course, being The Queen's right and left hands; they say she'll be a perfect addition...
Please come along with Joelle on this journey, shared with the readers in serial fashion. A multitude of "Happily-ever-afters" are waiting with the completion of book 9.
Author's Note: This novel is meant for open-minded adults. Activities described include a wide range of BDSM and sexual activities, some of which are male/male, male/female, consensual slavery, oral/anal/vaginal intercourse, bondage. The story also covers some sensitive topics in characters' backstories, such as drug abuse.
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As they become available, please check on the "MyBooks" page for links to buy on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble, and Allromanceebooks.com, if you'd prefer not to buy at Smashwords.
Joelle Casteel has been writing for as long as she can remember. Explicit, graphic, her writing isn't for minors or the easily offended. Once upon a time, she preferred to write on a PC, sitting on a stool- there were those who told her she looked like Tori Amos playing the piano. She's still trying to get the hang of writing in an arm chair instead, normally with a heavy dog's head resting on her feet, whether she wants that or not. With BDSM gaining a broader audience with various books- which she will not name because she can't stand them- she feels it's past time to put out her impression of what BDSM can look like in reality.Rafflecopter giveaway code: a Rafflecopter giveaway