This blog will contain...
...profanity, sexually explicit dialog andadult imagery.
If you are under 18 and/or offended by this...

Thanks fiona, from "Sir Q and Me" for the warning message that just makes me melt. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Religion in an Erotic Romance? Can religion be hot? Or romantic?

Please enjoy this article prompted by the events in my 2nd Vala's Story serial book- "Gates of the Garden: Book Two." I hope by the time you read this that I'm well and successfully into my National Novel Writing Month writing. I'm hoping to have another standalone book to get published by the end of the month. I recently shared a smaller snippet of my thoughts on this topic for Taboo Tuesday here.

As with the "children in erotic fiction" article, here I'm taking on another topic that less commonly appears in erotic fiction, but that I fearlessly employ in Vala's Story. Again I "did the math" and found a very small percentage of "Gates of the Garden: Book Two" to have some religious overtone, although as with Erik's presence (that's The Queen and Iona's toddler), I know the amount of religion talked about differs from one book to another.

There are two very real and separate strands of religious interaction in my serial. The proud Unitarian Universalist in me wants to state up front that my character's back stories and current expressions of religiosity aren't direct comments on religion as a whole.

I start with that statement because of the abuse and judgment that The Queen as well as some of the slaves have experienced in the name of religion. From early in "Gates..." The Queen decides to share this with his family after an exceptionally tumultuous morning...

"Gates of the Garden: Book Two." Copyright 2014 Joelle Casteel

"All of you know I haven't talked to my family of origin for a long time, but most don't know why. They're devout born again Christians, have been all my life, though my dad could never quite stop his drugging."

So yes, at the beginning of the book, in my "warning section," there's a warning about religious abuse. The Queen's short comment there is hardly the limits of some cringe-worthy moments, times when I'm sure people (including myself) will ask "Why would anyone do THAT in the name of religious belief?"

As something of a bridge between the "religious abuse" and "current religious life" strands, conversation starts to happen around Vala's spiritual life in this book. She is one of the slaves to have experienced horrific levels of religious abuse and this is something over which she bonds with The Queen, Tommy, and some others in the family. An example of this comes in this snippet in the moments before a casual meal shared by The Queen, Iona, Greta, and Vala in the kitchen...

"Gates of the Garden: Book Two." Copyright 2014 Joelle Casteel

Iona giggled. "Yes, eat with your hands, silly girl."

"Thanks, my Lady." Vala swallowed. She lowered her head when Iona did.

After a moment, Iona looked up at Vala. "Praying with me, sweet girl?"

"Does it please you, my Lady?" Vala licked her lips.

"If you really feel it. I don't want you to force yourself to believe something you don't."

"No, my Lady. I am interested, my Lady."

The Queen held Iona's hand for a moment. "I decided we will make the trip to go to church on Sunday."

Iona smiled. "Maybe some time for her to talk to the minister, my Queen?"

Now having enjoyed that snippet of grace offered silently at meal, I want to move fully into the second strand of religious life in my Vala's Story serial- Vala's current spiritual life. Here I debated on a snippet to include; you see, the spiritual types in this serial all include some sort of Unitarian Universalism in their faith structure and none of them accept a spirituality that posits a distinct separation between the spiritual and the physical with the latter considered less important, sinful, negative etc. So while I had two choices, one of them just a moment while the other amidst active sexuality, this being an erotic romance, I picked spirituality and sexuality mixed.

"Gates of the Garden: Book Two." Copyright 2014 Joelle Casteel

Vala moaned into The Queen's mouth. The harness teases so and why does my g-string suddenly feel extra tight? When he released her from his kiss, her head rocked back against Iona's lap, her feet pressed against Tommy's thighs.

"Iona, would you please let everyone who normally goes to church that I have decided we are going on Sunday?"

"Of course, my Queen. Do you know when the next CUUPS meeting is?"

The Queen shook his head. "I forgot to ask Synn. Please make sure to ask Sorcha."

"Yes, my Queen." Iona brushed her fingers across Vala's lips.

For non-UUs, "CUUPS" stands for Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans and the UUs in The Queen's family all mix some sort of paganism or earth-based spirituality into their belief matrix.

Vala is very comfortable in her new life, her new name. She's hopelessly in love, with The Queen, with Iona, with life. She's learning about BDSM and knows The Queen has many surprises, lessons planned for her. She's looking forward to ceremony day...

The Queen considers, stresses, ponders. Sometimes he goes to Simon for help, especially since Tommy messed up so bad. He's considering things in the long term as he watches Vala blossom into what he wants her to be...

Things are settling down and they aren't for the rest of the stable. Tommy did so mess things up, but at least there's Vala's training to entertain, to occupy the stable as The Queen uses them in the ways he needs. Abrecan, Orlee, and Gaelan struggle to come to terms with what one decision did to their lives in the stable...

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, group sex, consensual slavery, oral/anal/vaginal intercourse, bondage. The story also covers some sensitive topics in characters' backstories, such as drug abuse, childhood abuse, religious abuse.

Buy links:

Smashwords- multiple formats- 
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/417778 . First 20% available as a free sample.
Amazon/Kindle edition

Barnes and Noble/Nook edition

Author bio:

Joelle Casteel has so many faces, ways of being that no assumption is ever safe. The woman who'll use a child's backpack as a purse is just as likely to describe a graphic sex act. My Master, the dominant in the BDSM relationship that shapes much of my life, jokes that I'm so far from the mainstream that I've forgotten what the mainstream is. This of course shows up in my writing. I regularly blur gender and sexual orientation lines- although I will fight against the misgendering of my characters (between The Queen's legs are a penis and balls and he says he's a MAN.) Whether a short story or a novel, whether erotica or erotic romance, I tend to bring many taboos to the sex/BDSM table alongside crazy plots, over-the-top characters, and romance even in the midst of relationships you may never find in a greeting card store. 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.

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