Thursday, November 1, 2012

BDSM guest post/giveaway with Kallypso Masters




Kallypso Masters: Dispelling Myths and Writing Realistic BDSM Novels

I write BDSM erotic romance. I have the photo of a button on my Facebook wall that reads: "BDSM—if you have to ask, you don't need to know." But after the media hoopla over Fifty Shades of Grey (which is NOT considered BDSM by those in the community, those of us who write responsible BDSM, or even the author EL James herself), everyone seems to know a little bit about the genre.

The letters BDSM stand for any number of things. Bondage, Discipline, Dominance, Sadism, Sadist, submissive, Dominant/submissive, Master/slave, Sadomasochism, Masochism, Masochist, Master—and probably several more I'm not thinking of at the moment. Writers in the genre tend to write either Safe, Sane, Consensual BDSM (also known as SSC) or Risk Aware Consensual Kink (sometimes Risk Acceptable Consensual Kink, also known as RACK).


In my Rescue Me series, I write about SSC relationships. I debuted the series with Masters at Arms in August 2011, a now-free introduction of the first three Doms in the series and how they came to start a BDSM club. Most series jump right into the first couple's romantic journey and just offer snippets of backstory on the characters, telling rather than showing the characters' backgrounds. But the Marines I planned to write about had a fascinating story that had nothing to do with the Romances but showed what made them form such a tight bond with each other. I wanted readers to experience that story in real time, not read as backstory sprinkled in the later books.

So, in Masters at Arms, I showed each man's level of experience and interest in BDSM (from very experienced to wanting nothing to do with the lifestyle) at some major turning point in his life. The book is written in vignettes rather than chapters, given the length of each man's "prequel" in this 58,000-word introduction. Each of the first three sections spotlights a different character and they are unknown to each other until the end of section three. I wanted to show how these three men bonded in combat and why they chose to start a kink club when they returned stateside before jumping into the club scene at the beginning of Nobody's Angel. In the process, I did introduce two of the future heroines—Karla and Savannah, each with vastly different experiences (or non-experiences, in Karla's case) with BDSM.

The focus of the stories in the series is on the character development and the journey to finding and accepting love among the couples, rather than on the BDSM and sexual journeys of the characters, so these are Erotic Romance, rather than Erotica books. For this blog, I'd like to tell about my style of BDSM writing. A Tweet I received the other day read: "@kallypsomasters puts #fiftyshades to shame. The bdsm community thanks her for clear insight into our world."

While I don't live the lifestyle, I consult with a lot of subject experts I who give me ideas for writing my BDSM scenes. I think my niche in the genre is writing realistic BDSM. Because it's not just about the kink, my books are read by people who don't usually read BDSM, including my 81-year-old mother!—because the characters are compelling and they want to know what happens to them after all they've been through.

I enjoy reading the fantasy BDSM stories, too, but with so much misinformation and misunderstanding out there about the people living the lifestyle or active in the community, I wanted to make my characters human—someone you might actually meet in real life. Humans aren't perfect.

I also wanted to dispel the notion that BDSM is a license to abuse someone. In fact, one of my characters (Savannah) will choose to use sadomasochism in book four as a means of healing from past sexual abuse and trauma.

My third book was out for months before I ever heard of Fifty Shades (it just wasn't being discussed in the community of BDSM-genre readers). I am aware it wasn't intended to be a BDSM genre book, but it's been given that label and that has led to more misconceptions about the community. A friend of mine who was triggered by Savannah's story in Masters at Arms and had to stop reading, asked to have lunch where she described the "consensual" beating Christian Grey gives Ana at the end of the first Fifty Shades book. She wanted my assurance that I didn't write abusive scenes like that or she'd never be able to start reading my books again.

Based on what she described in the scene, I assured her that an authentic Dom would have used the safeword FOR his submissive if she wouldn't do so herself when clearly the scene had gone beyond her limits. It's not unusual for a submissive to want to please her Dom so much that she wouldn't use a safeword. Responsible Doms have to be aware of these things and to know when to stop. Members of the kink community knew those books had no basis in reality, but to someone who had no knowledge of the lifestyle (like my friend and millions of others reading about BDSM for the first time via Fifty Shades), that was seen as commonplace and acceptable behavior in BDSM.

So, while my Doms are imperfect, I want to show them as being loving and never abusive. (I'm usually dominated by my characters and I tell their stories the way they want, even when I'd prefer not to, but I'd put my foot down if one of them became abusive like that.)

Why do I want them to be realistic? Before my first book came out, I saw a post from a woman complaining that none of the Doms she met were like the ones she read about when they approached her at the local kink clubs and munches (informal, public gatherings, usually held at restaurants, where members of the community come together to meet and get to know each other better). Of course not! The Doms in the novels aren't meant to be real. So, that's when I decided I wanted to write realistic characters and realistic Romances that don’t tie everything into a neat bow at the end. My characters continue to grow throughout the series. They don't have all the answers. Sometimes they don't even know the questions to ask.

One misconception I have tackled a couple of times is that "A Dom never lies to a sub." That might apply to fantasy Doms, but you should join FetLife (an online community of more than a million people discussion all kinds of fetishes, not just BDSM) and read some of the questions in the "Ask a Dom" group. You'll soon learn that authentic Doms are human and screw up for whatever reasons, just like the rest of us.

In Nobody's Angel (book 2), Marc and the friends in his kink community perpetuate a lie that doesn't make a lot of sense at the time (for the entire book, actually). I didn't like him lying to Angelina, but neither he nor I understood why he did it until I was writing a subplot for him that was supposed to be in Nobody's Perfect (book 4). Now I understand better why he did it (and he's starting to understand himself better, too). Good thing I don't promise to tie everything up because Marc surprised me and his story will continue in Somebody's Angel (book 5, coming out in early 2013) as he comes face to face with his past and hopefully (through an awesome BDSM interrogation scene) will find ways to move on with Angelina.

Sometimes a lie is necessary in order to protect a submissive, too. Adam isn't completely honest with Karla in Nobody's Hero when he is trying his best to discourage her from wanting to pursue a Dominant/submissive relationship with him. She's 25 years his junior and he is fighting the sexual attraction he feels, but Karla pursues him doggedly, right into his bed. Thinking the very independent woman will be totally turned off by the way he describes the control she would have to give up to be his sexual slave, he proposes a Master/slave, Total Power Exchange (TPE) with her. He expects her to run screaming from his bed, but he doesn't count on how badly Karla wants him and what lengths she'll go to in order to become what she thinks he wants and needs. She's longed for him for nine years, but at 25 years of age is still so young, she thinks she can change herself into someone she's not. Of course, they'll both learn some powerful lessons as they make some painful self-discoveries.

Doms are human. They have fears, anxieties, baggage from the past they've used to protect against being hurt again. But then came Damián in Nobody's Perfect. He's the closest thing to a perfect Dom as I've ever written, but even he has a secret shame he tries to hide from Savannah. Unlike the typical BDSM Romance novel, this one shows the non-erotic side to BDSM that readers new to the genre may not have seen before. Savannah is an incest survivor and a former sex slave, a life from which Damian inadvertently helps her to escape. In the eight years since, she's gone on to create a somewhat normal life for herself, but that doesn't include acknowledging that she has or ever had a sexual self. In order to keep that part of her shut down, she's even grown so numb that she can't feel her daughter's arms around her or feel the little girl's kiss on her cheek.

Then she observes a scene at the club where Damián, a Sadist Service Top at the club, performs a cathartic whipping on a masochist whose partner can't deliver that level of pain, even though she needs and wants to go through it in order to feel again after she's been triggered and has shut down emotionally. Damián uses BDSM as a means to regain control of his life after he's wounded in Iraq, so he doesn't gain sexual gratification from the sadomasochism (SM) scenes. Readers probably won't either, because the BDSM scenes in this book aren't meant to titillate, but instead to show how someone with an abusive past can sometimes be healed or helped to cope through SM techniques. I have a beta reader, Jennifer  P., who is a clinical psychologist. When I asked her to help me explain how this might work to a beta reader who was having a hard time understanding (before I went back and explained it better in the manuscript, I hope), and Jennifer wrote: "Sometimes they need physical pain to express or 'stand in' for the emotional pain they experience or to open up the gates for them to express emotional pain… Sometimes people who aren't wired that way just won't get it because it's such a visceral thing."

The responses I've received from abuse survivors (both those in the community and those who just read about it) tells me they understood Savannah's responses and very much identified with her. I know the story is reaching them, even if it's hard for those not familiar with the community to fathom. As one submissive who beta reads for me said, "This is the best book I have ever read in the BDSM genre!! The BEST! You are capturing everything that our community is. It's not just kink, it's helping each other get past our demons so we can live and enjoy life."

In the course of writing that book, I spoke with and emailed a number of submissives who told me how such SM scenes help them to process feelings, to cry, or to release endorphins. They helped me understand how Savannah would respond to such scenes with Damián.

Another of my subject experts goes by the name Toymaker on FetLife.com. He's a Dom who has worked with a number of abused submissives in his 20+ years in the lifestyle to help them redirect the negative messages from the past. (I'm pleased to say he and his submissive will be my guests on the BDSM panel at the First Indie Romance Convention in October 2013, so you'll get a chance to meet them and ask questions, as well as learn more about the lifestyle!) Toymaker helped me plan or expand upon some scenes that would help Damián work through some of Savannah's issues in these early stages of their relationship as a Top/bottom. I mixed in some of my own ideas, but when Toymaker admitted the scenes brought tears to his eyes, I knew I had written them authentically and with intense emotion necessary to portray them realistically. Success!



KALLYPSO'S RESCUE ME SERIES

As you may have guessed from the above, my series isn't a stand-alone one. The leading male character are interconnected and they and their ladies will continue to show up in each other's books working on issues that were introduced earlier in the series (or to spotlight issues that will need to be addressed later in the series).

I have no plans to write anything but this series for the foreseeable future, and with six future novels floating around in my head and many other characters needing happy endings, that will be for many years to come. I look forward to learning about new aspects of the BDSM community in the process and sharing them with readers. Sometimes reviewers will say I explain things too much, but I try to explain new things once, so as not to lose readers who aren't living the lifestyle (which is probably the majority of my readers).

The first book, Masters at Arms, is FREE (and the other three priced at $3.99 each). You can find the four available books on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes/iBooks, Sony, and All Romance eBooks. For buy links, go to my blog at http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com/p/books-by-kallypso-masters.html. (My writing schedule was thrown off this year, so please just watch for announcements about future books in the series, but there won't be any new ones until 2013, other than the print editions of the first four books coming out later this year.)


GIVEAWAY

One lucky commenter will be chosen at random to receive one of the $3.99 e-books in the Rescue Me series (either a current book or an upcoming one in the series). The winner also will receive some Rescue Me series swag, including a pen, bookmarks, and Romance Trading Cards for the first three books. The drawing will take place on or after Sunday, Nov. 3.


CONTACTING KALLY

I love to engage with readers in these ways, as well as in person at conventions and conferences:


Ahh, Kallypso…the stories you tell blog: http://kallypsomasters.blogspot.com

Facebook Author Page (like me!): https://www.facebook.com/KallypsoMastersAuthorPage

Facebook Profile Page (friend-request me!): https://www.facebook.com/kallypsomasters

Facebook The Rescue Me Open Discussion group (Warning—spoilers galore, so catch up on the series before you come to hang out with us here to talk about the books and characters): https://www.facebook.com/groups/282370991862753/



(Sorry, but I rarely go on Goodreads or FetLife, although I have accounts there, so if you really want to reach me, the above ways are best.)

41 comments:

  1. I'm already a huge fan of Kally!! I'm also her friend on facebook where I get see lots of cool stuff about her thats going on. Would LOVE to win!!!! Thank you for the giveaway!!

    -Selena

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  2. A fabulous opportunity thank you. The books look amazing.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  3. Kally,

    The only good thing FSOG has done is lead a new type of reader to authors such as yourself. THANK YOU for keeping it as real as you possibly can while delivering a great story.

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  4. Sounds like a great giveaway! Would love to put my head in a great book! Need some fun reads!

    -Rachel Combs

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  5. Kally, congrats on Nobody's Perfect. This series is fantastic. Can't wait to read your latest book. Thanks for the great post and giveaway.

    e.balinski(at)att(dot)net

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  6. I love your books Kally, I already have them so no need to enter me. I just wanted to tell you how much I LOVE your books and appreciate the more realistic approach you use to BDSM,

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  7. Kally's books are amazing!! You are so invested in her characters that you feel like you are a part of their family!
    modularmates(at)comcast(dot)net

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  8. Thanks for stopping by, everyone--and for leaving comments! EVERYONE gets in the drawing, because I include future books, as well. And there are six books rattling around in my head right now waiting to be written down (or typed, as the case may be).

    Glad to see some new readers here, too. The first book (Masters at Arms) is FREE, so you can download that at any time! Hope you like it!

    Kally

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  9. I absolutely LOVE the Rescue Me Series. I've devoured all of the books and can not wait for the next.

    kesummer69(at)gmail(dot)com

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  10. Your books are amazing Kally! It seems i can't get enough of them! I'm in serious withdrawal right now. I'm sure I'll re read them soon. I need my doses of Master Adam and the rest of the family.

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  11. I don't need to be in on the draw to win anything. I just dropped by to give Kally my thanks and support. ♥

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  12. I just finished the first 4 book. I can't wait for the next. I am such a huge fan of the realistic characters you write about. You really know how to get a person to let the tears flow. While reading the book I was so turned on one minute and sobbing the next.

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  13. Thank you again Kally for such a great series. I have read all of them and was moved by each for different reasons. You write so realistically that at times I forget that you aren't in the lifestyle yourself. You nail the emotions that are there so well. Thank you again and I will be waiting for the next books to come out.

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  14. Well Kally as you know, I am a huge fan and follower. I get lost in my Masters and they get me through rough times. Love the Prologues in Masters Of Arms and each storied that followed. If people didn't know any better these books will not be considered fiction because all life events are true to so many. Thank you for given in to the voices and creating a wonderful series many people like me will follow forever.

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  15. I have eyed this series far too long. And I am going to start it tonight. I will download book 1 and place the others in my wish list.

    I enjoyed the post; it was a great read.

    Thanks,
    Tracey D
    booklover0226 at gmail dot com

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  16. Love all the rescue me series books, especially nobody's hero. Love Adam and Karla. Can't wait for Cassie and Luke and of course grant

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  17. Fantastic chance!!

    Kassandra
    sionedkla@gmail.com

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  18. Kally this is a fantastic post, and thank you for addressing the question of a Dom lying. I was one of the ones put off by that piece of the story, but the way you've explained it truly makes sense. I'm glad you took the time to point it out.

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  19. thanks for the great post and giveaway! I haven't had the chance to read any of Kallypso's books and they sound fantastic!

    efender1(at)gmail(dot)com

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  20. Sounds lime a great series. Thanks for the giveaway.

    Lizzi0915 at aol dot com

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  21. Thanks for the lovely intro, Kally! It's great to learn more about your writing!

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  22. Very interesting post. I would love to give one of these books a try. Thanks for the giveaway.

    jen(at)delux(dot)com

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  23. I have read one of this authors books, and it was very good, must read more. annpa@gmail.com

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  24. I have all her books already, but just wanted to stop by and give a shout out to the awesomeness!!! Can't wait for the next 3 to come out already... she does great lead in's that make waiting horrible... but oh so good! For all those that want to win... even if you don't... go buy these books... they are worth it!

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  25. Great post. I'm beginning to understand the whole pain thing a bit more. I just couldn't wrap my head around someone needing real pain.

    acm05atjuno.com

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  26. I've read all of Kally's books except for Nobody's Perfect (which is what I would want if I won) and they are extremely well written!! I was curious about 50 Shades so I borrowed it from my aunt....wow, so NOT BDSM...too bad folks consider this what it is and are so misinformed! Good to know the author wasn't trying to write a BDSM but seems like the media and others didn't catch that!

    books4me67 at ymail dot com

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  27. I loved MAA, and have Nobody's Angel to read next. Thanks for the giveway, I look forward to reading everyones stories!
    lfacchini(at)tampabay(dot)rr(dot)com

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  28. Very nice post. Thanks for sharing.

    bn100candg(at)hotmail(dot)com

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  29. I am a huge fan of Kally's wonderful stories! The characters are so real & great that you want to know them in real life. I have loved all the books in the series and look forward to many, many more!
    June
    manning_J2004 at yahoo dot com

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  30. wow, great post, and thanks for the chance to enter the giveaway (if i'm not to late to enter). hated 50 shades trilogy, i like true erotica. so thank you for speaking up in that area. look forward to reading your books.
    adamsgirl4602@yahoo.com

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  31. Wow! Great post. I don't read a lot of BDSM books ~ I tend to stick with contemporary romances; but after reading your post I went out & grabbed Master of Arms from Amazon-to give it read.

    heather[dot]coulter[at]gmail[dot]com

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  32. Hi Kally!

    No need to enter me in the giveaway as I have read all the books and just wanted to show my support for you and the books. I love your books and the characters as they always put me on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Wherever I go I try to encourage people to read your books as they are truly masterpieces. :)

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  33. I've read Nobody's Perfect and loved it! Thanks for the chance to win!
    natasha_donohoo_8 at hotmail dot com

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  34. Great post! I love this series...looking forward to reading Nobody's Perfect!

    taccb_1981@yahoo.com

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  35. Great series and very well written. My favorite characters are Adam amd Karla.

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  36. Fantastic post!
    Please don't enter me in the contest. I already have all the books and love them! I just wanted to say hello and thank you for giving us these wonderful characters to read about. Looking forward to seeing Master Marc and Angelina get their long-awaited happy ending!

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  37. I'm really intrigued by this series. It my first time reading something like this, but I'm really enjoying it. ;) Thanks so much for the giveaway. Can't wait to read more! dsr002(at)gmail(com)

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  38. What a wonderful and thoughtful post. Thank you for sharing all of this insight and thank you for the giveaway.

    elewkf1 at yahoo dot com

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  39. Love you and your books Kally. Just wanted to say ji.

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  40. This series sounds like a terrific read...thanks for sharing and for the giveaway chance!
    ivegotmail8889(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  41. Hey everyone, it's Leagh, Kallpso's assistant. I just wanted to stop by and post that our winner is

    LM

    Congratulations!

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