Monday Morning Fika with Liz Borino: Dom/sub Roles and Health

Good morning and welcome back to Fika! Today we welcome Liz Borino who will talk with us about the effect of health issues on a D/s relationship. She is the second M/M author to appear on Fika, and she is the first to talk about considerations of health. We often read fantasy stories of discipline and spanking, but in real life things don’t work out as neatly as in the stories. What happens when health problems interfere?

My name is Liz Borino, and I write Male/male erotic romance with light BDSM. That’s a mouthful, isn’t it? What it basically means is I write about two horny men in a Dom/sub (D/s) relationship who are madly in love with each other. An element of domestic discipline is inherent in their D/s relationship, which is part of the reason I’m lucky enough to appear on Ana’s blog.

What do you think of when someone says BDSM? Whips? Orgasm control? Bondage? Protocols and rituals?

Well, it’s all of those things, or none of them, depending on what the couple wants. Here, though, I’m going to discuss people in committed 24/7 power exchange relationships. The cornerstone of a power exchange relationship is consent. So, when kink is brought into a vanilla bond, one of the most important aspects is the negotiation, usually with a contract involved. Limits will be discussed, rules decided upon, protocol put forth, and roles cemented. Will they be monogamous or poly? All of this should be negotiated until both parties are comfortable.

But not everything can be negotiated. What happens if, for example, the Dom is out with their friends and on the way home gets into a debilitating car accident, leaving them bed, or even hospital, bound? This is real life. It, unfortunately, happens to couples every day.  So, what happens to the submissive kneeling naked awaiting their Dominant’s return? They were told not to get up until their Dominant came home. And then the call from the hospital rings through on their phone.

What then?

In many cases, the submissive throws their clothes on and rushes to the hospital to care for their partner. They continue their agreed upon structure in a different setting. The submissive partner does their best to serve their Dominant. In times of sickness or injury, this might mean anything from advocating to ensure their Dom receives the best care possible to giving sponge baths and cleaning up body fluids. And the submissive performs each of these tasks with as much devotion as they would give the perfect blow job. This is an entirely different kind of service from what the submissive is used to, but one that is, in my opinion, one of the greatest tests of devotion. While this level of care is certainly present in vanilla relationships, being trained to meet people’s unspoken needs—on both sides of the slash—deepens the connection.

It’s worth noting that not all Doms have trained their subs to take the sort of initiative required to react this way. Some submissives won’t know how to handle seeing their Dominants in this position. They hold vigil by their bedsides while others take care of their partners. The submissive is still there for their Dominant and are serving them the best way they know how. They are following their training by not being able to be the ones to tell the Dominant no when they want their medication early or want to get up when they need to be in bed. The word “no” isn’t in their vocabulary when it comes to their partner. And that’s how the Dominant wants it.

However, in the third book in my Mine series, Cutaway, Steve and Zack find themselves in the above situation. Despite being the submissive partner, Zack rushes to the hospital, fighting with media, publicists, and Steve’s mother – all of whom believed they knew what was best – to get to Steve and bring him home. Because after five years together, Zack knew the best way to keep his Dom’s pride intact, thus serve him properly, was to take care of him in the privacy of their own home. Just as it isn’t easy for real life couples to handle, it wasn’t easy for Zack to look Steve in the eye and say, “If you don’t drink [Gatorade], you can’t have your morphine shot.” Zack was determined to get Steve back on his feet and follow the doctor’s orders, even if it meant making the other man uncomfortable.

How about the opposite? I’m glad you asked. Many Dominants will show the same devotion to their subs, if they need it. “But,” I can hear you cry, “A Dom shouldn’t be serving their sub!” They aren’t, at least not in the same sense. If the consensus on Fetlife, the kinky Facebook, is to be believed, than a Dominant caring for their submissive during illness is “protecting their property.” Their sub can’t serve them if they are in poor health. So, it’s in the Dominant’s best interest to get them back there as soon as possible. In a way, the sub is still serving the Dom, the orders have just changed from, “Be kneeling when I get home,” to “Take your medicine, even if it tastes bad.”

I have a (possibly) overly-romantic counterpoint to the above reasons for why Dominants and submissives in long-term relationships are there for the good and the bad, the blow jobs and the trips to the bathroom when their partner can’t make it. Love. D/s couples trust each other with their lives, and that enhances their commitment to one another. So, in my view, it isn’t about serving or being served. Getting someone through their lowest point – physically or mentally – with love and strength is what true devotion is all about.

Mine (1)

Mine series Vol. 1 blurb:

From the moment Steve Michaels met actor Zack Greene in the men’s room of a press conference, the director knew his snarkiness mixed with angelic features, excited him. What he wasn’t prepared for was the vulnerability underneath the hardened exterior. And he really wasn’t prepared to fall in love.

But they did.

Zack needed some positive press and a second chance after getting out of rehab. He found the director of Ben’s Life, the series he planned to audition for. Steve helped him within a loving structured relationship.

Follow Zack and Steve as they face the challenges of work, family, injuries, and pasts together as they redefine family. Mine Series Vol. 1 includes Casting, Action, Cutaway, and That’s a Wrap, and is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and the Lazy Day store.

Warning: Contains spanking, Light BDSM, Dom/sub relationship, and two men who can’t get enough of each other

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Monday Morning Fika: Alta Hensley, the Good/Naughty Girl of DD Fiction

Today Governing Ana is proud to host Alta Hensley for Monday Morning Fika*!  On select Mondays, we will sit down with an author or figure of the ttwd community to chat about topics such as books, love, electronic readers, and even biting!  Please welcome Alta.  

*”Fika” is a Swedish term for enjoying coffee, tea, and sweets over conversation with friends.  It is a sacred tradition in many families, friends, and even workplaces, and it offers a chance to chat informally on a number of topics.  While “Fika” may refer specifically to the coffee, in practice it refers to the moment of community.  In this hectic world, it is nice to take a moment to stop, pause, and savor time getting to know a little more about each other.

Good morning, Alta, and thank you so much for joining us!  Congratulations on your newest book Of Yesterday!  You were one of the first to write domestic discipline novels, and in fact LazyDay’s decision to publish your first book was a big risk.  Amazingly, you rocketed to best-seller lists and have helped to redefine kinky novels.  Did you think that you would go over as big as you have, or were you surprised?

Was I one of the first? Interesting. 🙂

I had no idea it would take off the way it did. Traditional Love was a huge step outside of the typical bdsm type story. There was no safe word, and it wasn’t really consensual spanking, so I was nervous how the average reader would take it. LazyDay took a huge risk because Domestic Discipline was still very taboo…still is. It wasn’t just about a sexual kink, but rather, a lifestyle.

What has this been like for you?

Exciting! Seeing the sales meant that people were actually reading my book(s). I started selling 100’s and then 1000’s of books. As a writer, this is a dream come true. It was also stressful at times. I had some backlash that I was writing about domestic abuse, or that my scenes were “vulgar.” So, I had to learn how to have a thick skin pretty fast. I also started getting e-mails asking for advice about Domestic Discipline. It was…odd. People were starting to see me as a “DD Pioneer Author” and that title was weird for me. But overall, I have really loved seeing how much my writing has been embraced, and I have met some really wonderful people.

Considering that your books are quite steamy, your readers might well be surprised that you describe yourself as a shy, quiet, private girl who likes to please.  You said that you didn’t even share your first book with your mother.  Do you see any dichotomy between writing erotic novels and being a “good girl”?

It’s funny, because I am the typical “good girl” but with a hidden naughty side. 🙂

I didn’t share my books with most anyone I knew. They all know that I write, but they all know that they are NOT allowed to read my books. I think a lot of people are like that, though. I think a lot of people have secret desires that they unleash behind closed doors. In fact, the whole DD community is a hush hush group of people. Rarely, are people “out” as a DD couple. And even if you don’t practice the lifestyle…I think the fantasy of it, really turns people on…secretly. 😉

Do you think that being a “good girl” has been an asset for you as a writer?

Yes. If a scene I’m writing makes me blush – then I know it is good! I think I’m also overly sensitive to making my scenes less “dirty” and more “sensual”. Don’t get me wrong, my books can be very “dirty,” but I think my good girl side keeps me in check.

How would you define the kind of writing that you do?

Erotic Romance. I think I would put myself in the very new genre of Domestic Discipline Contemporary Romance. It’s different than bdsm because my scenes don’t have safe words and really don’t follow all the rules of bdsm. All of my writing has a DD element to it. What can I say? I like the spank. 😉

You have said that you believe firmly–and this is a theme in your books–that DD can save marriages and reduce or prevent divorces.  Do you see writing about DD couples as a kind of intervention or outreach?

I truly do believe that DD can help many marriages. I believe in traditional roles between a man and woman. A woman can be strong, run businesses, dominate in the world, but she also needs to be soft and sensual to her man. A man can’t have his masculinity stripped from him, while a woman loses her femininity. It’s just not natural. I write about DD, because I think that many women really want at least some aspect of it. Maybe not the whole lifestyle, but I think most women want a strong man who can lead. Why are romance novels with strong alphas so popular?

Although, I’m not trying to convince or change anyone’s mind. I’m just writing about something I find very seductive and erotic.  

How do you hope your books will affect readers?

I just hope they walk away from my book, happy that they read it. Even if they don’t agree with the spanking/discipline in the book, my hope is that they at least liked the story and characters. 

What might bring readers to the books?

I wish I knew! If I truly knew that answer, then I’d outsell Fifty Shades of Grey! Ha ha.

What greater message might people take away after reading your books?

Love. All my books are truly about love. Take out the DD, the spanking, the anal discipline and so on…I just want people to walk away saying, “That was a great love story.”

I heard that you had a one-time foray into F/F and even found out you liked to top!  I love that you are willing to experiment.  What did you like about it?

I am an extremely sexual person. I’m open minded to all sexual beliefs, lifestyles etc. I also love the female body, as you may notice on my blog. I think the shape and curves of a woman is beyond beautiful.

Have you considered writing F/F fiction in the future?

Well, I was part of Indulgence: Tales of the Cirque Romani. I wrote a short story that explored the F/F sensuality, and it was fun! So you never know…. 

As someone who has pioneered books about M/F DD, what are your thoughts about F/F DD possibly emerging as part of that genre?

It think it’s great! It exists just like M/F does and M/M does. So why not find more books about it? I think that if a story can stand on its own, it doesn’t matter if it’s M/F, M/M, F/F and so on. A good book is a good book, regardless.

LazyDay, your publisher (and mine, too!), is relatively new and does a great deal besides spanking fiction.  Why do you work with them?  Their trademark seems to be accepting books that don’t fit into a particular genre, and they seem to be open to kink writing.  Do you agree?

LazyDay Publishing is a fairly new digital first publisher (they opened December 1, 2010). They have some print on demand, but their focus is the ebook. What is so great about them, is that they truly take on all genres and take chances with authors, ideas, and out of the box genres. They also really nourish their relationships with their authors and continue to work with them, which is why I keep writing for them. They even created a Spanking/Domestic Discipline category on their site. So they are really supportive to the lifestyle.

When I first sent my first book Traditional Love out to publishers, I was given a couple of acceptance letters IF I changed a few things. The changes that were asked would have changed my book completely and removed Domestic Discipline ideas. LazyDay allowed me to keep my voice. They work with you on everything. You even get to be part of the cover creation. They are new and still fairly unknown by many, but they have had several books make the bestseller lists on Amazon (I have had 3 make that list). 🙂

My next book Of Yesterday is now for sale. So proud of it!  

[Ana’s note: Please click on the book cover image below if you would like to purchase it.]

Alta’s newest book!

Kat-Sitting gets a book contract!

Kat-Sitting the blog will either be taken down or completely re-vamped as an experimental story site.

“But why?” you ask. 

Well.

Kat-Sitting the blog just got a book contract with Lazy Day Publishing!  Anticipated release date is March 2013, and the working title is The Way Home: Kat-Sitting, Volume 1.  We shall see what the various editors have to say about it.  As part of the publishing agreement, I agreed to remove the story content from public domain (i.e. a public blog).  I will, however, put up snippets here and there each weekend as part of “Six Sentence Sunday“.  I will greatly miss the interaction and instant gratification of hearing feedback from all of my wonderful readers after each installment, but I promise that instead you will get a lovely book ready for purchase in six months.  I know that sounds like a long time, but *I* will still be here!  So will my blog.

“How did this happen?” you ask.

Well.

About ten years ago I wrote a few quick pieces of what I thought would become a series called “Kat-Sitting”.  Submitted it to a publisher.  Was told, very nicely and firmly, that there was no readership for this kind of material.  The direct reference to F/F was never there, but the meaning was clear.  I never tried to publish anything again.  A few months ago, however, I discovered the dusty pages of the Kat manuscript and started playing around with them.

Until a certain person named Minelle said, “Hey, can I tell Celeste Jones about your stories?”  Of course, right?  A blog is public.

Then Celeste said, “Hey, why don’t you try to publish this?”  I thought aw shucks, they’re lovely stories but they’re F/F.  Not going to go through that again.  “Why not try?” she asked.  “Ebooks have changed everything.  It’s a writer’s market, and besides publishers you can always self-publish.”  Okay, I thought.  I’ll look into it.

Then I started talking with other ttwd authors.  Renee Rose gave me wonderful advice.  So did Cara Bristol and Sue Lyndon and Alta Hensley.  And behind the scenes, of course my dear bratty little sister Jane and PK and Lillie cheering me on, and so many of you wonderful readers who were talking with me both publicly and privately about Kat and Natalie.

“Why Lazy Day?” you ask.

Well.

You know how every writer considers his or her manuscript a precious first-born child?  I wanted a publisher that would take the time to listen to me, listen to my very real concerns about Kat’s marketability and the special treatment she will need in order to survive in the competitive world of M/F and erotica dominated kinky publishing, and reassure me that I would retain final control of my story.   I wanted Kat to be given the best home possible in a place where she would be loved, understood, and championed.

I approached several publishers.  Talked through various options.  Talked to many, many different people for advice and input.  Found some really wonderful options and thought long and hard about which place to start.  Took a deep breath and submitted the manuscript to Lazy Day late Monday afternoon.  Received a lovely letter promising to give the manuscript a look.  Had no idea how long to wait.  (For a point of reference, many publishers give 6-8 weeks as a typical response time for submissions from a new author.)

Waited.

Waited.

Got the contract offer today.

Screamed and cried and shouted from the house-tops.

Pinch me, please.  Am I Cinderella?  Is this all a dream?  OMG!  That has been my fancy graduate-school vocabulary ever since receiving the contract offer.  OMG!

After ten years, F/F domestic discipline has been given a chance to try the publication market.  Please help prove Lazy Day right in taking a chance with Kat.  Please?  F/F non-sexual DD fiction is not exactly the top-selling genre at the moment, and I would love for this to be the beginning of a new trend.

But for right now, I am reading and re-reading every single word of the letter sent to me by the publisher.  Ever since I was about seven years old, I knew I would grow up to be a writer.  I just never thought my first published book would be a spanky one.  😀

Thank you, thank you, thank you for caring about two women named Kat and Natalie.  Thank you for visiting their blog and reading about their lives.  Thank you for crying, laughing, and even worrying about them through their difficulties and good times.  I’m sorry that their stories have to go offline for now, but they will come back better than ever in March.  Now that you’ve all learned from Celeste how to use an e-reader to get kinky books, I hope that The Way Home will find its way to your preferred e-reader next year.

“What next?” you ask.

Well.  After I stop shrieking and crying with joy long enough to settle in cloud eight or so (have been on cloud nine all day), I may think about getting some work done for my day job.

Or I may just shriek and celebrate some more.

Thank you to Lazy Day and all of the wonderful support network of friends who helped to make this happen.

“No one reads F/F,” the doubters said.  “Spankings are always sexual,” they said.

“Vindication is mine,” saith Ana.