Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Publishing Links of the Week

Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho

 Need to catch up? It's that time of the week again--best links!

But first, I'm a guest over at the Save the Cat blog today talking about Why Your Writing Process Shouldn’t Be Sacred. Yes, I fangirled about Save the Cat so much online that they invited me over, lol. But seriously, that book changed my writing life. I'm a believer. :)
On Writing/Publishing:
On Social Networking:
What You May Have Missed Here:
So that's what I've got for the week. What were some of you favorite links this week?

Kink & BDSM 101 - What It Is & Why It's So Popular In Books #atozchallenge

This is a post I did a while back as a guest post on my blog tour, but with all the talk about BDSM since Fifty Shades of Grey has hit, I figured this was a good time to re-run this primer. 

BDSM 101: What It Is and Why It’s So Popular in Books

Photo by Latente (click pic for link)

When I tell people I’m a writer, I inevitably get the same basic questions—“Are you published?” and then when they find out I’m going to be…“So what’s your book about?”

Depending on who’s asking, I can answer that a few different ways. But if it’s someone who maybe isn’t overly familiar with my genre, the answer is usually something like, “It’s a sexy romance about a social worker who has to find her missing sister with the help of her ex.”  

And for a while, I was able to leave it at that. But as the book got closer and closer to publication and started showing up on Amazon and such, I started getting that other question. “What is BDSM? Is that like handcuffs and whips and stuff?” *insert judgmental, slightly wary expression crossing their face (or a saucy eyebrow raise depending on who was asking)*

To answer: well, yes, it can be about those things. But that’s a very small part under a very large umbrella. Throwing a pair of handcuffs into a story does not a BDSM book make.

So if you’re new to this subgenre, here are some basics:

BDSM stands for Bondage & Discipline, Dominance & Submission, Sadism & Masochism (some of the letters do double duty in the acronym).

  • Bondage – Physically restraining a partner in some way (tying someone down, handcuffs, etc.)
  • Discipline – Giving physical or psychological punishment to control behavior. 
  • Sadomasochism -- Sexual sadism is deriving pleasure from inflicting physical or psychological pain on someone else. But it’s not the same as pure sadism. A sexual sadist (especially the ones we write about in romance novels) only enjoy inflicting the pain because the partner is a masochist and derives pleasure from receiving it. It’s an exchange of mutually pleasurable activities. (As opposed to a sadist who would get pleasure from torturing an unwilling victim. That’s a different thing altogether.)
  • Dominance/Submission (or D/s): This is the power exchange between partners, whereby one partner (the submissive) gives over all the control to the other (the dominant). This may be only in their sexual relationship or it may be in all aspects of the relationship. Also, don’t assume that the submissive partner is always the woman. Though that’s the more popular theme in romance, men can be submissive too. (Read Joey W. Hill’s Nature of Desire series if you’re interested in reading some great female dominant BDSM romances.)

A few other terms you may run across:

SSC (Safe, Sane, Consensual) or RACK (Risk-Aware Consensual Kink) – These are the cornerstone philosophies in BDSM play.  All activities must be consensual and safe (or risk-aware if both parties are engaging in the edgier stuff). 

Safe words – A word is given to the submissive to signal “stop everything right now”. The words “no” or “stop” aren’t typically used as safe words because sometimes in BDSM play, someone may say “no” as part of the scene. So a word that easily sticks out like “Waffles” or something is chosen. When the sub says that word, everything stops immediately, no questions asked. 

Subspace – This is the trancelike or euphoric state for submissives. I won’t attempt my own explanation of the science since Wikipedia does a better job: 

“the intense experiences of both pain and pleasure trigger a sympathetic nervous system response, which causes a release of epinephrine…as well as a dump of endorphins... These natural chemicals…produce the same effect as a morphine-like drug, increasing the pain tolerance of the submissive as the scene becomes more intense. Since the increase of hormones and chemicals produces a sort of trance-like state, the submissive starts to feel out-of-body, detached from reality, and as the high comes down, and the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in, a deep exhaustion, as well as incoherence.”

So when people looking from the outside in wonder why the heck someone would want to be tied up, flogged, and bossed around---well, there you go, subspace is one enticing reason why. 


But why are so many romance readers and writers getting into BDSM stories? What need or desire are books like 50 Shades tapping into?

I can’t answer for everyone, but for me, the D/s aspect is really what drives me to write and read these stories. Romance readers have always enjoyed the very alpha hero. Think of all those historical romances where the duke/rake/etc. takes all the control. Or look at the paranormals that have all those alpha wolves going after the heroines. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely an I-am-woman-hear-me-roar kind of chick. But in a world where we are often weighed down with so much responsibility, it can be a nice escape to imagine having a break from that. Of imagining putting ourselves completely in the hands of a guy we love and trust—one that will keep us safe and also rock our world. ;)  

And that’s how I wrote Brynn in CRASH INTO YOU. She’s very in control of her life, very strong, and has overcome a lot in her past. She doesn’t *need* a man. But because she’s always had to be responsible and in charge, submitting to Reid gives her an escape, a place where she can just let go and feel. And I think on some level, we can all relate to that.

All right, hope this wasn’t too much like some whacked-out school report, lol, but I wanted to give anyone who hasn’t read BDSM an idea of what it’s about. If you have any questions for me or any of this is unclear, let me know in the comments! : )

And if you want some suggestions on great BDSM romances to try, check out my favorites here.

*This post was originally posted as my guest post on Riverina Romantics.

Fill-Me-In Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week #atozchallenge


Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho

 Need to catch up?

If you're new to my blog, every Friday is reserved for rounding up the best links of the week. And the letter for the A to Z Challenge today is conveniently the letter F, so my normal Fill-Me-In Friday works! :)

Here we go...

On Writing/Publishing/Social Networking:

Julie James and the Art of Interviewing at Dear Author

Julie Anne Lindsey | GoodReads for Writers – A LESSON for you

How To Keep Your Inbox At Zero | Author Media

Case Study: How to Breathe New Life into Your Tired Old Blog | Copyblogger

How Cat’s Eye Writer Became a Top 10 Blogger

Andrew Shaffer To Write Fifty Shades Of Grey Parody, Fifty Shames Of Earl Grey 

Content Marketing Data Analysis: Is Pinterest Traffic Worthless? | Copyblogger


What You May Have Missed Here:

A is for...An Ordinary Girl



Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone



Channing Tatum - Boyfriend of the Week



Don't Be THAT Writer



E is for Easter Eggs Prettier Than Mine  #atozchallenge


Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! I'll be flying to Chicago for the Romantic Times Convention next week, so remind why I signed up for this A to Z challenge again? Eek!

Catch Up Friday: Best Writing Links of the Week


Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho

 Okay, so I know I said earlier in the week that I wasn't blogging for the rest of the week. But I've got a pocket of time tonight and have too many good links not to share.

But first, if anyone is in the DFW area, I'll be signing books tonight from 6:30-9pm in Irving along with a bunch of other authors. Proceeds go to charity so hope y'all will come by. (Deets here.)

Alright, on to the links...

Ten Things You Should Know About Endings via Chuck Wendig

5 Key Elements of Author Branding | Self Publishing Team | Duolit

Humor Writing for People Who Aren’t Funny via The Write Practice

So, You Want To Be An Author? Part Four – Ideas « Donna Newton's Blog

Attack Of The Blog | Writers In The Storm Blog 

50 Shades Overrated – Nina Badzin's Blog

The Other Side of the Story: Guest Author Tiffany Reisz : A Twitter-Sweet Love Story

How to Make a Living as a Writer, Part One | Rachelle Gardner

The First Steps to Building an Author Platform: A Guest Post by Dan Blank 

105 Author Blog Prompts: It’s Megapost Time! | Self Publishing Team | Duolit

Start Your Week Off Write: The Dangers of Self-Censoring, Avoiding Controversy, ...

10 Types of Killer Filler Content for Your Blog : @ProBlogger

How To Get Book Reviews Without Spending Too Much Money | The Creative Penn

50 Successful Blogs That Prove You Don’t Have to “Blog About Blogging” To Create a Winner via Sparring Mind

Interview: Book promo mavens Pamela Spengler-Jaffee and Nancy Berland - USATODAY Happily Ever After

Amazon Book Reviews: Democracy in action, ignorance or bullying? | GENREALITY


What You May Have Missed Here:


Boyfriend of the Week: Alex O'Loughlin via Sharla Lovelace



What Race Are We In Again? Parental Competition | My post at peanut butter on the keyboard


And April will be here in a few days. Thanks the heavens because March has been beyond nightmarish for me. But anyway, April is the month of the A to Z Challenge. I think I'm going to give this a shot because it will shake up my blog a bit and force me out of my normal schedule and comfort zone. Anyone else doing it?

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge: 2012 A to Z Challenge Sign Up List 


Alright, hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! I get to spend mine at a writers' conference with my lovely agent and some writer friends. I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to a weekend of fun writerly stuff.

Fill Me In Friday - Best Writing Links of the Week

Did I miss the train?

Photo by Son of Groucho

Busy week? Need to catch up? It's that time of the week again. Hope everyone has had a great one (and survived spring break with your kids!) This week's links list is actually a compilation from two weeks because I skipped last week. Hope you enjoy!
On Writing, Blogging, and Social Networking:
On the 50 Shades of Grey hoopla:
What You May Have Missed Here:
All right, that's what's I have this week. What were some of your favorite posts of the week? Anyone else ready for spring break to be over?

Parenting and a Chance to Get a Copy of CRASH INTO YOU


 Just poking my head out of my writer's cave for a few updates...

Today I'm over at the new parenting blog I've joined - Peanut Butter on the Keyboard - talking about a mommy fail: The Too Observant Child

Also, author Carly Phillips has given her take on the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy and is giving away a number of books from some erotic romance authors--including mine! So go check it out for a chance to win. : )

A Lesson in "Don't Write to the Trend"

By Joel Resnicoff (died 1986), showing mannequin he designed as artist. [FAL], via Wikimedia CommonsSo we hear it all the time in workshops and in blog posts from agents and editors--don't write to the trend, write what you love.

Why? Because at the rate publishing moves, that thing that's the trend now was bought probably two years ago. With the age of digital publishing and self publishing, this has a little more flexibility because stories can get turned around more quickly. But even so, most of the time when something "hits big", if you don't already have a manuscript close to finished, you're probably already too late.

We see it happen all the time. Twilight exploded then all of a sudden every book on the shelf was about vampires. Then we got a little burnt out on vampires, so "ooh angels!" that's totally different. And soon we tired of angels. Then shapeshifter werewolves, weretigers, werehampsters were popping up (okay, maybe not hampsters.) Then we're over that.

Same thing has been happening with dystopian. Hunger Games busted open the dam, then all these YA dystopians flooded the market. And now I'm hearing people say, love The Hunger Games but, ugh, I'm getting so burnt out on dystopian.

The market ebbs and flows and certain things are going to spike. The ones that get to ride that wave of a trend are usually people who were already writing that kind of book before the trend became a trend. Their books were already lying in wait, complete and ready to go once a publisher took interest. All the others who scrambled to start writing to the trend end up with a manuscript that's ready when the popularity is starting to wane.

We're on the cusp of a new trend as we speak. If you haven't been living in a cave for the last two weeks, the book Fifty Shades of Grey has been on all the major news programs and is popping up everywhere. This book is BDSM erotic romance. It's what I write. Now, had you told me a month ago that my little niche genre would all of a sudden become the talk on the Today show and Good Morning America and that an erotic romance was going to hit #1 on the New York Times, I would've laughed. I mean, are you kidding? Most people don't even know what BDSM is, much less that there are romances about it.

But wham, there it is, everyone is talking about it. My agent is getting calls from editors wondering if she has any BDSM romance to shop, audio rights people are calling to see if she has any BDSM books they can look at, film rights people are suddenly open to looking at those kinds of books. It's craziness.

Now I don't know how far all this exposure for the genre will go--I hope very far, obviously. But all of a sudden, I'm writing something "trendy". How the eff did that happen? I'm NEVER up with the trend for anything, lol.

But here's the lesson: I wrote the books I wanted to write. I wrote stories I was passionate about. I didn't write a BDSM story because it was the "thing". It wasn't the thing. But now when a trend is starting to explode, I have four books coming out right in the middle of it. Now, that may not affect my series' success at all, but damn, it can't hurt, right? : )

So write what you love. If that's something that's a trend right now (say you love writing dystopian), that's fine. If you are passionate about it, that's going to come through and hopefully stand out amongst a crowded shelf. For instance, there are still people writing about vampires and doing well because the stories are good and they are passionate about the topic.

But if what's "hot" right now is not your thing, don't try to write it to get a piece of that trend. You'll probably be too late and the lack of authentic passion will shine through. It will feel like an imitation.

And if what you love is not "trendy" right now, go for it anyway. Maybe you'll be the trend setter. (Ask Nirvana or Pearl Jam who started their style of music when all the other rock bands were wearing spandex and Aquanet). Or maybe you'll get lucky like me and something in your genre will break out unexpectedly, and you'll be ready to be part of the wave.

So what are your thoughts on trends? Do you write in a "trendy" genre or are you writing something not so popular? What trends have you grown tired of? 

What to Read If You've Read #50Shades of Grey and Want More BDSM Romance

So this week I've been in my writing cave, busting butt to meet an end of the month deadline. So I didn't get a chance to collect enough links for my usual Fill Me In Friday feature. I'll just save up the few links from this week and add them to next week's. 

Instead, I've decided to offer some suggestions to those who may have discovered the BDSM/kinky romance genre via the book everyone is talking about, Fifty Shades of Grey, and want to read more in the genre.

I'm not going to talk about the controversy surrounding it. I've vented enough about Dr. Drew on Twitter this week. And I'm not here to review the book. There are many respected reviewers doing that out there.

However, what I do hope all this talk stirs up, is interest in the subgenre of erotic romance. There are so many talented writers and great stories out there that I hope readers will check out. 

So here are a couple of suggestions:

BDSM romance with very alpha male Doms:

  • Shayla Black's Wicked Lovers series - starts with Wicked Ties

BDSM romance with the woman as the Domme but still very alpha heroes:

  • Joey W. Hill's Nature of Desire series - particularly Nature of Desire - Natural Law   (Believe me, even if you don't think you'd like reading about the roles being reversed, check these out. Joey Hill is fantastic. Though, warning, these will make 50 Shades seem very, very mild and vanilla.)
  • I have one coming out in October 2015 called Break Me Down.

BDSM Erotica (not necessarily a wrapped up happy ending):

Kinky Cowboys:

  • Any of Lorelei James's erotic cowboy novels
  • My book FALL INTO YOU has a kinky cowboy hero

Just Good Fun with some kink but not full-out BDSM:


There are so many more I could list including some m/m options (will save for another post) and some more envelope-pushing stories, but I think these are good ones to start with if you're new to the genre.

And I know there are so many more I haven't read that would be great options too.

So if you're an avid reader in this genre and have some suggestions to add to this list (I know I'm woefully under-read in the ebook market), then feel free to let me know your suggestions in the comments.

So what books would you suggest? Or if you're new to the genre, what of these appeal to you?