Join RNIC in welcoming author Solace Ames to the site! Solace is introducing us to her novel – The Dom Project and doing a giveaway, but first, let’s learn more about writing BSDM through her guest post!
Writing BDSM and the Rules of the Game
Books with BDSM exist on a wild spectrum from pure porn to pure philosophy. I usually enjoy BDSM books the most when they have a little bit of everything. Twisty psychological dynamics, power play, hot sex (mindful and mindless), some escapism, and some realism, at least enough for me to believe in the lovers.
I’m not a Fifty Shades of Grey fan, but I’m not particularly interested in bashing it, either. In fact, I like how it’s opened up some interesting conversations and made room for other books in the genre. I might not believe in the story it tells, but it’s worked as a powerful mirror, reflecting what a lot of people wanted to see.
BDSM itself is a kind of mirror world. It reflects the rules of normal/daytime/”vanilla” society and reverses many of those rules. Pain can be pleasure. Obedience can be power. Reality can be fictionalized and roleplayed. Whether or not you’re into BDSM in your actual sex life, it’s often wonderfully compelling to explore in the realm of imagination.
I’ve been reading BDSM for quite a bit, so when Heloise and I started working on The Dom Project, I had a good idea of where I wanted to go and where I didn’t want to go. Sure, there’s a certain excitement to the idea of being swept off your feet by a mysterious stranger and being initiated into startling, creepy-sexy rituals. The thrill of friends to lovers can be just as intense, though, and more psychologically twisty. You already know each other—you’ve seen them at their worst and best. There were sparks in the past, but you carefully smothered them. Then suddenly you catch a glimpse of their hidden side, and the emotional intimacy becomes agonizing, all-encompassing. Will you ever go back to what you had before? Do you even want to? Ahhh….
That’s where we wanted to take Robin, the heroine of The Dom Project.
Our couple isn’t starting from ground zero. Robin has already explored BDSM extensively in her imagination. And her soon-to-be-more-than-friend has plenty of hands-on experience with the subject. He’s always kept that side of his life very private, that’s all. He’s not ashamed in the slightest, he’s just… discrete. And once we meet his colorful family, we understand exactly why.
Since neither Robin nor John are millionaires, they end up facing some everyday kinds of problems, some sad, some funny. It’s hard to stay dead serious about kinky sex, so there’s a rom-com side to The Dom Project. Our lovers can step back and laugh at themselves when life gets in the way.
It’s an everyday kind of problem that pushes them together in the first place. Women who are exploring BDSM in real life often don’t have any easy time. The idealized BDSM world where everyone is always safe, sane and consensual and has unlimited real estate for dungeon space doesn’t exist outside of glitter-kink books. There are people who don’t respect boundaries. Predatory doms. Or clueless ones who can’t even spell “orgasm” right… a big problem for Robin, who works in special collections at a library and yearns for a side order of literacy along with her domination!
The Dom Project takes place in a very different world from Fifty Shades of Grey, in a world a little bit closer to the one where we actually live. We’re staying true to the reason people love so many different configurations of these books, though: wild sex and lovers we can believe in.
By day, Robin Lessing has a successful career as a university archivist. By night, she blogs about her less-than-successful search for Mr. Tall, Dark and Dominant. Living up to her handle “The Picky Submissive,” she’s on the verge of giving up and settling for vanilla with a side of fuzzy handcuffs when she discovers her best friend and colleague has a kinky side, too. Sexy, tattooed techie John Sun is an experienced Dom who never lacks for playmates, male or female. If he can’t satisfy Robin’s cravings, maybe no one can–after all, he knows her better than anyone. So he offers to help her master the art of submission for one month.
Robin eagerly agrees to John’s terms, even the pesky little rule forbidding any friendship-ruining sex. But rules are made to be broken, and once they begin their stimulating sessions, it’s not long before she’s ready to beg him for more–much more…
This wasn’t her area, but Robin could still see that the comps in the appraisal were ridiculous. She scribbled corrections in the margins in between sips of her tea.
“It’s the A/V guy!”
The students at the table next to her were poking each other and trying not to stare. People tended to remember John. There weren’t many built, six-foot-tall Asian men with full-sleeve tattoos and close-cropped hair ambling around campus in work shirts, black jeans and motorcycle boots.
Not even Berkeley was colorful enough to have an army of Johns.
“Hey, pixie.” He took a seat across from her.
“Don’t call me that.” She hated that name. Hated any nickname or reference to her small stature, really. See also the “I Am Not Your Baby Doll” tag on her blog.
Thirty-two years old and her body was much the same as it was at fifteen. She didn’t complain in public—oh no I’m too thin and slender and delicate sounded insufferable—and shehad learned a few tricks. The hidden platform heels. Penciling depth to her eyebrows for a stronger, less ingenue look. They helped get her taken seriously at work, but the daddy-kink doms still swooped around her like moths to the flame, vultures to the roadkill, flies to the—damn, she was getting cynical.
“Aw…” John’s brow crumpled. “Hey, don’t be like that. I’m sorry.”
“I know you’re just—” She and John always teased each other, but now, for the first time, the problems with her sex life were spilling over into their friendship. “I’m on edge about something else.”
“Is it the collection?” He leaned back in his seat and shifted his legs. The corner table had about as much room as an airplane seat, nowhere near John-sized, so she didn’t blame him for the invasion. She shifted her knees out of the way, her calf glancing across the leather of his outstretched boot before she tucked both feet underneath her chair, trying to ignore how uncomfortable the position was.
“No. I’m excited about the collection. Apparently it’s her nephew, who inherited a case of letters and photographs and negatives. He’s not doing too well, healthwise—that’s the grim side of our field, we deal with a lot of dying and desperate people—and he called in an antiques dealer for an appraisal. This guy had no idea what he was doing, or else he’s a lowballing sleaze. One of the two. The nephew was so angry he threw the appraisal on the ground and walked away. This was at a public sale, and Julio happened to be there.”
“That’s some cloak-and-dagger shit. I’m impressed.” The lazy smile he usually wore did seem more…appreciative. Sincere. When he put his arms on the table, she tried not to let the searing colors and writhing patterns on his right arm distract her.
She looked right in his eyes. “So this is really delicate and time-sensitive, and you can’t tell anyone else. I have to get to him. I have to convince him that Saylor University Special Collections is where the collection needs to be. Sometimes it’s not about money as much as legacy. Although the money’s obviously a factor.”
John nodded, but his eyes had glazed over again. Too much academic jargon. Not enough sexy scandal.
“The appraisal mentions something called insertion images,” she added, keeping her voice cool and disaffected.
He blinked and sucked in a breath.
“And pearl rope bondage. Or maybe it was rope pearl bondage?”
Here’s info on the giveaway!
Prize: $10 Amazon Gift Card
Eligibility: You must be a subscriber to RNIC newsletter.
How to enter: Leave a comment or ask a question.
Deadline: January 31st 11:59PM EST
Note: By participating in this contest, the winner has given permission to RNIC to share his/her name and email address with the person conducting the contest so they can forward the prize(s). Prizes opened to U.S. and international entrants.
Here’s how readers can reach Solace:
Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/solace.ames
Facebook profile: https://www.facebook.com/ldseries
About the Author
Solace Ames is a Japanese-American woman with roots in the Southeast US, although her heart lives somewhere along the Pacific coast of Mexico. She’s worked in restaurants, strip clubs, academia and the corporate world and studied everything from the philosophy of science to queer theory to medieval Spanish literature. Rejecting neat categories, her writing sprawls across genres and genders and swings from high art to low art, marching with the erotic avant-garde, tongue sometimes in cheek and at other times… well. Along with writing, education and political activism are her passions. Family takes up most of her time, but she loves to keep learning.
Laurel Cremant is an opinionated author and reader of romance with a wicked sense of humor. RNIC was smart (or crazy) to bring her on as a blogger. In 2016 she took over the management of this site and relishes her new title of “Overlord of Awesome”