Friday, September 6, 2013

There is No BDSM RuleBook.

Welcome Joelle Casteel to Romance Beckons.
Joelle is a friend - she beta read for me and we've exchanged ideas as we each write. I'm excited to have her on my blog to share some of her unique perspective with you.

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.

"Following Rules?"

It amuses me how often this comes up in conversation- to quote a friend of mine when a bunch of questions made her vent: "There is no BDSM rule book!" And just as much I follow this in the writing of BDSM erotic romance. Of course, this is part of why I'm a self-publisher :D- the notion of anyone except my Master telling me to do something (without the force of law) is unhappily painful. So I've set out- with a beta reader's suggestions- to talk about some "rules" of fiction that I break. Don't ask me where I got the notion that these rules are out there; I just know they irritate me.

Romance/sex ratio
I'm always at a lack to figure out where I belong- in genre terms. I have so much sex, BDSM activity, as well as loving relationships in my writing. It often seems like I'm too "hardcore"- especially in terms of the BDSM activities I describe in my stories- against the amount of romance that I show. Although I often enough forget that what looks like romance to me as a lifestyle submissive comes off as degrading abuse to someone without any knowledge or enjoyment of BDSM.

Polyamory
Ah yes, polyamory. Here's a tricky one for me. Sure, I use the "menage" label sometimes, but well it doesn't fit. See in my main series, there's a master and his slaves (who range in number from 18 to 20 at different points in the series). And it's not just about the sex. As many a polyamorous person has vented- being poly isn't just about the sex, it's about committed relationships foremost. Whether it's a BDSM cuckold story, a threesome erotica etc, it seems few books are written with a truly polyamorous relationship in mind- something that it about the relationships, which just happens to include hot sex too. I've been grateful to Leia Shaw, Sorcha Black, and Cari Silverwood for their "Badass Brats" series where they've shown both the creation of and the continuing life as polyamorist triads. With "Vala's Story," I've sought to do so much more.

More than 1 HEA
Now continuing from polyamory, I'm inclined to share a direct quote from a BR when I asked her about "rules I break [in Vala's Story]"- "You don't settle down to one HEA theme. You've got little stories all over the place. Even though it focuses on Vala, you focus on the other slaves too." I actually had an earlier BR quit on me- pulling a ridiculous ragequit- because somehow she never got over the fact that I wasn't writing a monogamous story so every time I left interactions between The Queen and Vala, she'd get angry at me. However, for the reader looking for complex relationships, a multitude of subplots, I do that well. The Queen has relationships with each of his slaves and they have relationships with each other. I had to giggle the other day, when someone mentioned marriage being a good HEA. Hm, marriage? Really? As a polyamorist in real life, that seems like a sad, inadequate HEA.

Religion
Isn't religion one of those subjects you're supposed to avoid in "polite conversation"? Well I'm totally bad at that :D. I'm a Unitarian Universalist and damn proud of it! Even with the imperfection of that relationship, my involvement in the support/activism group Leather and Grace UUs for BDSM Awareness- yes, my regular blog readers here about L&G regularly enough, including likes to our various pages and I use "our" because I'm on the steering committee, very involved. So it made total sense to me that The Queen and some of his slaves would be UUs as well. To that end, sometimes religion gets mentioned by my characters, anything from Iona [a Wiccan] taking the moment to say a private grace before eating to The Queen taking several slaves with him to attend a UU service.

Educational stuff
Whether it's teaching about BDSM (practice, philosophy, lifestyle), sexual activity, or any number of subjects I'm knowledgeable in, I love teaching- and my erotic romance is only one place in which I do that. I may have been a little slow on this in "Out of the Night: Book One"- I can think of things like talk about safer sex for instance- but as I got further into the series (all finished in rough draft :D), the teaching increased. I can't wait for my readers to enjoy the crazy mix up of subjects from BDSM to yoga to German language.

Out of the Night
Book One
BLURBRestless 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...

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.

Please buy the book so you're ready for "Gates of the Garden: Book Two"- soon to be released! :)
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So, what do you say? Are there Rules in BDSM?
Talk To Us. Comment Below.
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