BDSM erotica

On Writing BDSM in "Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street"…


When I decided to write “Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street” and add BDSM as an erotic element to the romance between the two main characters, it wasn’t something I took lightly. In the past four or five years I’ve posted more than once about BDSM novels and that I’d never really done it. One short story, “Bury it Officer,” which was published in an anthology by Cleis Press a few years ago, and then released as a stand alone short story by Loveyoudivine.com, was the closest I ever got to the subject. It is about a dominant and a submissive, yet very tame.

But Jonah Sweet was completely new territory for me because it was a full length novel. And I was doing it alone, without a publisher to back me up. I did as much research online as I could, and then I asked a friend more about the interaction between people with regard to BDSM. He has a “playroom” and he’s been into all kinds of BDSM for a long time. He helped a great deal. It wasn’t that he told me what to do to get it right; it was more about what he told me NOT to do to get it right. His most important piece of advice was that BDSM is more about emotion and psychological factors than anything. At least that’s how he experiences it.

At least I had it easy in one respect. With Jonah Sweet I couldn’t get into anything too serious as far as the BDSM went. Jonah is very inexperienced and he’s just learning the basics of BDSM, from the physical details to the psychological elements. All he knows is that he feels the need to be dominated…and to be very submissive. In his case, it’s a natural, instinctive feeling. And David, the dominant character, knows exactly what he’s doing.

The other thing I wanted to do was to separate the BDSM fun and games from what happens in their real lives. In other words, although Jonah wants to be dominated and controlled in sexual situations by David, he does NOT want to be dominated and controlled in real life situations by anyone. And that wasn’t easy to do. David is a control freak beyond all measure. He wants to control Jonah at ALL times. And I didn’t let that happen. I also had to show a vulnerable side to David, so he wouldn’t come off looking like a monster to the readers.

I don’t think there will be a sequel to this book. And one reason is that I would have to do a great deal of intense research to move the BDSM to another level…from an introduction level to Jonah learning more and gaining more experience. And I’m not sure I’m ready to go there, so to speak. The one thing I did learn about BDSM is that there’s nothing simple about it, and yet at the same time it’s the simplest thing to those who are into it.

Here’s a link to a post I found where I think the author made a few excellent points. I didn’t read this post while I was writing JSODS because I didn’t want to be influenced by anyone else (the one thing I read is that BDSM varies with people). I’ve also heard that different authors approach it in different ways. I wanted my approach to come from a POV of inexperience…because I am so inexperienced with BDSM…and I didn’t want to do or say anything in the book that would sound contrived. It’s also a perfect example of an erotic romance where the sex could be toned down, or even removed, and the story would stand on its own.

Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street, Light BDSM, and a Mom and Dad Dealing with Grief

Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street isn’t like anything I’ve written in the past. First, because the erotic subplot gets into light BDSM. I’ve talked about how I’ve never written BDSM before on this blog, and I’ve also talked about the fact that I’m curious about how it’s written. For a long time, I always thought of BDSM books as having highly erotic covers, with dark images clad in leather and chains. I also thought of the storylines as being more intense, in the sense that everything revolved about the sexual nature of the story.

In this case, that’s not what JSoDS is about. The BDSM is erotic, but I get into more about role-playing than any of the hardcore BDSM. According to wiki, this is how BDSM is defined. Jonah is a virgin when he meets David, so I didn’t want to get into anything that might be too deep for him. I also talked to a few people I know who are into BDSM in order to get first hand interpretations of what they consider BDSM. Two guys I know have a secret “playroom” in their basement that was designed and fitted by a well known construction company in my area who does these things, on the downlow, for people who are willing to pay enough to have them installed. In any event, I discovered a whole new world that left stunned more than once.

So while there is light BDSM in this book, and the main plot revolves around the love and the often complicated relationship between the two main characters, Jonah Sweet and David Abernathy, I wanted to add something more emotional. Something that most readers could relate to…a subplot that would humanize David and make people like him. He’s not an easy man. He’s a self-made billionaire who tends to treat people like dirt. He’s not only a master in his world of BDSM, but also in the business world and every other aspect of his life. In fact he welcomes confrontation so much he looks forward to firing people. There’s a reason for his behavior, which I can’t mention because it would spoil the book.

There’s also a secret about David’s past that not many people know about. It’s something that happened to him a few years before we meet him in the book. It takes a while for Jonah Sweet to actually find out what this is. But when he discovers this secret involves a little boy in a wheel chair and a mom and dad who can’t stop grieving, he sees David Abernathy in a different light. And this moves their relationship forward in a way Jonah never expected.

Here’s a version of the blurb, below. I wanted the book to have the BDSM elements, but I also wanted it to be a lighter book that isn’t the run of the mill BDSM story. And I wanted the two main characters who get into BDSM to be equals when they aren’t having sex, where no one is dominant or submissive. In other words, Jonah may be willing to get tied up and spanked in David’s state of the art “playroom” on Delancey Street in New York City. But he’s not willing to be tied up, so to speak, when he’s out in the real world with David. And it takes David a long time to realize that if he wants Jonah to stick around, he has to learn how to stop controlling everyone and everything.

The book will be available through the Amazon KDP program sometime in June. As soon as I know the release date, I’ll post about it. It’s a full length novel, and will be offered for .99, as I did with “Chase of a Lifetime.” And it’s still a very humble venture and I’m still learning more about self-publishing as I go. I’d also like to add, just for the record, I had many reasons for self-publishing my fiction this past year. The least of which had to do with being bitter about traditional publishing. I still love working with publishers and I have nothing negative to say about them. I think agents are invaluable, if you can find the right one. I just like having the control sometimes, and that’s as simple as I can explain it.

The photo above is just a stock photo I found and will not be the cover for the book. But the one thing I’m telling the cover artist is that I don’t want the typical BDSM book cover with dark images and people in leather and chains. And the LAST thing I want is a cover with a naked male torso.

Jonah Sweet has a secret need to be dominated and punished, with whips and chains and leather cuffs. He also has a graduate degree in puppetry from a good university, but can’t find a job and is still with his mom and dad in Queens. So he signs up for cooking school, hoping to learn a trade. But it’s nothing like he thought it would be and he winds up flunking everything from cutlery to hard-boiled eggs. The only other skill Jonah has is the ability to read other people’s thoughts, which he knows isn’t going to get him very far.

On the day of an important cooking exam, Jonah meets David Abernathy, the owner of the cooking school and a billionaire who owns restaurant chains, casinos, and real estate. The harder Jonah tries to impress David the worse it gets. But handsome David Abernathy sees something in Jonah. With no explanation at all, David sets Jonah up in an office, buys him a brand new wardrobe, and brings him into his unusual home on Delancey Street.

Though Jonah is stunned by all this, he’s even more stunned by the fact that he can’t read David Abernathy’s thoughts. But Jonah is in no position to turn any offers down. He takes the job in spite of David’s rude, nasty disposition and his erratic rants. From there they enter into an unusual relationship filled with light bondage and discipline and more love than either one of them could ever have imagined.

When David introduces Jonah to a little boy in a wheel chair and explains his past, Jonah only falls deeper in love with David. He discovers a gentle side of David no one knows about. But will intense love and exotic sex be enough to compensate for David’s complicated personality and his vicious need to control everything? And will Jonah ever be able to put up with David’s public outbursts and his violent moods?

He Spanked Her Bottom!!

I’m talking about something that just recently happened in Philadelphia news. The guy I’m talking about may or may not have spanked anyone’s bottom. He may have grabbed them, groped them, or patted them, but he did this without their consent. When Tony sent me this link, I had to wonder how the local news would handle a story like this. I doubt they would have used the word “spanked.”

In Philadelphia, there’s a man running around grabbing the bottoms of unsuspecting women. He runs up behind them from out of nowhere, “grabs” their butts, and then runs away. These women are all walking down the street minding their own business.

The first happened at 4:55 p.m. Police say a woman left the Chinatown Learning Center and was walking in the 1000 block of Spring Street when a man approached her from behind, touched her buttocks, then fled.

You can read more about it with the link I posted above. And there’s video footage of the man who is doing this.

I’m not making light of this at all. The reason why I’m posting about it is because it reminded me of something that I wrote about in my recent novel, “Jonah Sweet of Delancey Street,” which will be released as an indie Amazon e-book for .99 in June. In the book, for the first time in a long time, I get into some light BDSM. And some of that has to do with grabbing, spanking, and even a little punching. In the right context there’s nothing wrong with this. But when taken out of context, any form of physical or psychological assault runs the risk of becoming abuse.

This was the hard part for me…and for the main character in my book, Jonah Sweet. Jonah has fallen in love with a rich, powerful man who likes to control everything and everyone, David Abernathy. David fires people without thinking twice. He always gets what he wants by being as aggressive as he can be. Humiliating people in public is not something he’s afraid to do. He’s also the same way in the bedroom with Jonah. But the problems begin when David has to learn how to control his strong, forceful personality when he’s not in the bedroom. In other words, while Jonah Sweet is willing to tolerate a great deal of dominant behavior in the bedroom, he’s not willing to tolerate it when they aren’t in the bedroom.

When it comes to spanking, grabbing, or any form of assault, the context with which it occurs is the most important factor involved. It’s the same in books as it is in real life. I know if I were walking down the street and a guy groped or spanked me out of nowhere, I’d be chasing HIM down the street. In private, with my consent, it would be a different story. And writing about this with any BDSM theme is important, especially with the one main character who is so controlling all the time. If the context isn’t defined within the relationship it’s not going to work. And it won’t be much different from what the creep in Philadelphia is doing to unsuspecting women right now.

An Erotic Anthology Edited by Well Known Book Reviewer: Why I’m not Going to Read this Book

A new erotic anthology was just released. It was edited by a well known book reviewer and I’m dying to read it. The main reason I’m dying to read it is to see what this book reviewer enjoys about erotica. I’m especially interested because this anthology deals with BDSM erotica.

I’ve never been a fan of BDSM. Frankly, I’d rather look at nude photos of Joy Behar than be tied up, tortured, and gagged. It’s just not my thing, even thought I’m curious about it. I don’t write about it either and probably never will. But I’m not certain at this point. I respect those who do write BDSM, especially those who do it well.

But this isn’t the reason I’m not buying the book. Even though I’m fascinated to know what this book reviewer considers quality erotica…especially with regards to BDSM…there’s no way I’m paying $9.99 for an e-book. And certainly not an e-book that’s an anthology written by authors with whom I’m not familiar.

I paid full price for the Steve Jobs bio. I paid full price for THE HELP. And I read them both in digital format. But I think Steve Jobs is worth the price, not to mention a portion of that price went to a charity. I also think a hot mainstream novel like THE HELP is worth paying full price in digital format. But I don’t think a sub-genre erotic romance by authors I don’t know is worth $9.99.

I would have paid anything up to $6.00. I know that sounds silly. But I read a lot and I have to set limits on how much I’m going to spend. I’m up to four digital readers that includes my new tablet, not counting my iPhone, and I only read digital books now. People like me ARE the market publishers should be targeting right now.

This is no reflection on the editor of the book I’m talking about, or the authors who contributed to the BDSM anthology. I know from my own experience as an author they have no control over how digital books are priced. But I do wish publishers would pay closer attention to the buying habits of people who read e-books. We have lines. And sometimes, no matter how much we want to read a book, we aren’t willing to cross those lines.