What is the working title of your book?
“Leather+Lace” is the second in my “Opposites Attract” series.
The plus symbol is not just an “and” - it’s more showing that the final result is the sum of the two. Both people contribute to something new.
I don't have a cover yet, but here's what I cobbled together for my Pinterest board.
But one day I had a conversation with a writer who had lived the scene and had a very distressing Master/slave relationship. That made me think about the flip side. Since then, I have discovered others whose experiences with BDSM have not always been positive.
So, being me, I was intrigued as to what would happen if the two met and mixed. One who, by convention, flouts rules, and the other who continually expounds them.
What genre does your book fall under?
I would call it an m/m romance. But probably because it involves BDSM, it will get filed in the erotica section. However the actual physical nature of BDSM is only a minor part of the book, it’s more about BDSM: its strengths and weaknesses, the misconceptions that take place and what can happen through ignorance. So those fearing to read it because of expectations of pain and humiliation and lots of “Please hurt me, Sir.” can rest assured that they’re more likely to read “Don’t call me boy!”
Mr International Leather 2006
A drag performer struggles to overcome past hurt and prejudices as his life and future become entangled with a man steeped in the traditions of the Old Guard, the original leathermen of BDSM.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
The initial draft was written during 2011 Nanowrimo and posted in my Live Journal as I went. Subsequent revisions over the next seven months made it grow from the original 55,000 words into just over 100,000. I realized I’d left out a whole chunk in the middle, and my first draft had a lot of “told” scenes that needed to be converted into “shown” ones.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I’m not sure it’s like any. As said before, some of the premise is covered in “Chaos Magic” but I handle it differently. It’s told purely from the first person perspective of Steve, the drag performer whose past is gradually revealed as the story progresses. I haven’t consciously tried to mimic any book. If anything, I’d prefer to list books that this story rebuts or at least takes a totally different approach to but that might get me into trouble.
I find most BDSM books have submissives who seem to have no trouble in handing over all their power to masters who don’t inspire me with any confidence (other than their own belief) that they deserve it. Few of the submissives struggle with or even think about what they’re doing or why. Being told they are submissive by a Dom doesn’t count in my way of thinking. I also don’t like books where the proponents are willingly complicit one minute, then despise what they do the next.
The whole topic of kink, its place in society and whether it’s healthy is addressed - the fine line between brain-washing, co-dependency and the reality of trying to live the lifestyle 24/7.
The conversation with the author and hearing about his ongoing problems. I was accused by someone in the scene that I’d never be able to get it right because I’m not a participant, but thanks to the internet and the ability to listen to lectures on the subject, and the above books that I used for research, I think I came pretty close. According to the betas (one a current slave and one who has been) I succeeded, remembering that there is no single right way to do anything and every relationship is different.
In the end, I thought about normal heterosexual marriages and the dynamics within them. You don’t have to be involved in BDSM or a Master/slave relationship to understand the mental games that can be played between two people who may not even be aware of what they’re doing. The major difference is that in BDSM, when properly executed, the participants consciously play out scenarios restricting freedoms, imposing discipline (physical and mental) and rewarding different behaviors appropriately and, ideally, while doing so communicating about what is working and what isn't.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Motor cycles play a big role. Polished chrome always adds a glint to any story!
Sir and boy, Master and slave, Dominant and submissive, husband and wife are all just labels depicting two people forming a deep bond which will become a prison without mutual love and respect. I think people in the scene and even those who aren’t will enjoy “Leather+Lace”. I’ve made it sound all very serious, but in reality these aspects are hidden in a sometimes amusing tale.
At this point, I'd like to acknowledge a few people. Once again Kate and Don helped me over a few hurdles and Jess proved to be a welcome addition to my team of hand holders. I was also very grateful for pointers from Dusk Peterson who has been in a real life D/s relationship and writes great BDSM stories.
Once it was complete, having betas say they stayed up until 6.30am is the best sort of feedback I can get.
By the time I sent it off to Dreamspinner, I still loved Steve and Don, if anything more than I did at the start. For a writer, that’s a good sign….
(I know I was supposed to pass the baton onto five more writers, but most of my friends are participating already. But you can read an interview I did with Clare London some time ago here.)