Thank you for joining us on the Power Play: Resistance virtual release tour! *throws penis-shaped confetti borrowed from Anne Tenino* No party is complete without favors, so we’ll be giving away winner’s choice of a backlist book from Cat or Rachel to one lucky commenter from this blog at the end of the tour. We’ll also be giving away a classic Nook pre-loaded with six of our titles to one lucky commenter drawn from all the tour stops, so follow along and party with us at each–you can earn an entry at every stop!
Hi folks! I’m Rachel Haimowitz, co-author of the hot new m/m total-power-exchange kinkapalooza, Power Play: Resistance. Thanks for having me here to grill me… er, answer a few questions about living and writing kink.
Q: How old were you when you first realized you had kinky tendencies? Was there a particular experience (or set of experiences) that brought it into focus for you?
A: I was actually just six when I realized I was a sadist, but I only know that looking back on it, because at the time I was far too young to understand. When I was a kid we had this big above-ground pool, and my sister (two years older than me) and I were total water-babies. We practically lived in the pool all summer, and we’d play make-believe, and one of our favorite versions was pretending to be mermaids. My sister, who has since gone on to be a nurse practitioner, was always the mermaid who would steer troubled ships around eddies or rocks or whatever and get them off to safety. Whereas, when it was my turn to pick how things went, those ships always crashed, and I was the mermaid who got to rescue the handsome and painfully injured prince. Some days I’d even get to take him home with me and nurse him back to health, but generally I was far more interested in his suffering than in his healing.
Of course at six I didn’t really realize what any of that meant, and it took a good long while to realize I wasn’t alone and that there wasn’t anything wrong with me. I didn’t really even begin to associate sadism with sex until college, but whoo boy was that ever flipping the proverbial switch. Life got pretty delicious after that
Q: How have your personal experiences with BDSM influenced how you write kink?
A: We all draw on our own personal wells of knowledge and experience when we write, so inevitably, there’s a lot of bits of me—and a lot of bits of the various subs I’ve played with and Doms I’ve learned from—in everything I write. That doesn’t mean every character Dom is like me or that every character sub is like one I’ve known, but a lot of little quirks and tendencies and likes and dislikes and understandings make it onto the page. In particular the psychology that drives people to engage in these kinds of relationships—which of course isn’t even remotely the same for everyone but is endlessly fascinating to me to explore.
And, curiously enough, sometimes I find the reverse happens: writing kink influences how I engage in BDSM. Sometimes the page is a safe place to explore things you might otherwise not have done in real life, or sometimes the process of working through something with a character causes a lightbulb moment for you and something in real life suddenly becomes clear.
Q: Your stories delve deeply into the psychology behind Dominance and submission. So, do you believe people are born kinky?
A: Absolutely, yes. I mean, I certainly think there can be environmental factors, but at the very least I think we’re born with tendencies toward Dominance or submission or both, and toward sadism or masochism or both. But my own experiences as a six-year-old sadist-in-the-making, and the experiences many Doms, subs, sadists, masochists, and switches have shared with me pretty much all come down to the same thing: they’ve always been that way to one degree or another.
Q: Do you think BDSM serves a therapeutic purpose for some people?
A: Absolutely. Kinksters—at least, those engaged in a healthy relationship with their kink—are some of the best-adjusted, happiest people I know. They’re not repressing their urges or denying their needs or telling themselves it’s wrong to want what they want or be who they are. Plus a healthy sex life is certainly good for what ails you. And then there’s also the fact that, at least in all the relationships I’ve been in, the intimacy in a D/s relationship is simply staggering. A sub has no secrets from his Dom. If something’s bothering him or worrying him, his Dom will help him face it and work through it. And sometimes being in a situation where you’re “forced” to talk through issues is the only way you actually can talk through issues, and so engaging in, for example, an interrogation scene might be the only way you find you’re able to face things that are difficult for whatever reason. And you feel so much better after having faced them—stronger and braver and more balanced. So, yes, very therapeutic in the right circumstances.
Q: What book of yours would you recommend for someone who hasn’t read a lot of kinky fiction? Which would appeal to BDSM lifestylers?
A: I suppose that depends what appeals to each individual reader. But for someone who maybe doesn’t “understand” BDSM or why people might engage in power exchange or pain play, Master Class is probably the best place to start. It’s very intense and starts off with a pretty rough scene, but it’s relatively short, very much a romance, and delves quite deeply and specifically into what exactly drives a man to submit and seek pain. It also deals with someone who pursues pain-play for some really unhealthy reasons, and who, by the end—and at the hands of an extremely patient and insightful Dom—comes to delight in playing safely and sanely for the joy of it, rather than seeking to punish himself.
I think lifestylers would enjoy Master Class too. If they’re looking for little erotic nuggets, I’d suggest checking out Sublime: Collected Shorts, which is ten vignettes exploring ten different kinks. And if they’re looking for a much more intense, in-depth exploration of the edges of consent and motivation with a Dom and sub who both make their share of mistakes (plus a whole lotta really insanely hot—but very sadistic—dungeon and bedroom play) , I’d recommend the Power Play series (Power Play: Resistance and Power Play: Awakening)—two full novels full of a wide variety of play in a total power exchange setting that blossoms first into understanding (of both self and other) and then into love.
Q: What advice would you give to writers curious about exploring BDSM through fiction, either for publication or their own personal entertainment?
A: If you’re writing just for yourself, I’d say to go hog-wild and explore. There’s so much you can do on a page that you maybe can’t or simply aren’t ready to do in the bedroom. And, of course, no partner required!
If you’re aiming for publication, do your homework. There are already far too many people out there writing BDSM that isn’t RACK or SSC or even remotely plausible. Don’t add to the pile. Be respectful of the subject matter, the emotions and motivations of your characters, and the limitations of the human body. And if you’re writing anything more than a few thousand words of stroke-fiction, make sure that every sex scene and play session serves a very specific and mission-critical function; if it doesn’t actively advance plot or character, it doesn’t belong in your story, no matter how hot it is. Because otherwise it just ends up being all about the physical—insert-tab-a-into-slot-b repetition—and regular BDSM readers will have lost their patience for that long ago.
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Give me six months, and I’ll give you the world.
Brandon McKinney has scraped and sacrificed for what little in life he’s ever had. Though it’s been fifteen years since he escaped his father’s abuse, the damage remains. Trust seems as far out of reach as his dream of becoming an architect, and though he’s come to accept being gay, he can’t deny the shame and confusion he feels at other urges—the deeply-repressed desire to submit.
Jonathan Watkins is a self-made Silicon Valley billionaire whose ex-wife took half his money and even more of his faith. Comfortable as a Dominant but wary of being hurt again, he resorts to anonymous pickups and occasional six-month contracts with subs seeking only a master, not a lover.
When a sizzling back-alley encounter cues Jonathan in to Brandon’s deep-seated submissive side, he makes the man an offer: Give me six months of your life, and I’ll open your eyes to a whole new world. Brandon doesn’t care about that; all he wants is the three million dollars Jonathan’s offering so he can buy the construction company he works for. But he soon learns that six months on his knees is no easy feat, and shame and pride may keep him from all he ever wanted—and all he never dreamed he had any right to have.
You can read an excerpt and order Power Play: Resistance here.
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About the authors:
Rachel Haimowitz is an M/M erotic romance author, a freelance writer and editor, and the Managing Editor of Riptide Publishing. She’s also a sadist with a pesky conscience, shamelessly silly, and quite proudly pervish. Fortunately, all those things make writing a lot more fun for her . . . if not so much for her characters.
When she’s not writing about hot guys getting it on (or just plain getting it; her characters rarely escape a story unscathed), she loves to read, hike, camp, sing, perform in community theater, and glue captions to cats. She also has a particular fondness for her very needy dog, her even needier cat, and shouting at kids to get off her lawn.
You can find Rachel at her website, Tweeting as RachelHaimowitz, chatting in the Goodreads forums, and blogging at Fantasy Unbound. She loves to hear from folks, so feel free to drop her a line anytime at metarachel (at) gmail (dot) com.
EPIC Award–winning author Cat Grant lives by the sea in beautiful Monterey, California, with one persnickety feline and entirely too many books and DVDs. When she’s not writing, she sings along (badly!) to whatever’s on her iPod shuffle, watches lots of movies, and fantasizes about kinky sex with Michael Fassbender.
Where to find Cat: