People occasionally ask: What is the process like when you publish a book? The question is simple but if you ask twenty authors, you’ll get thirty different answers. Until Serenity my answer was boring: I submit, they edit, and publish. It wasn’t very complicated or drawn out. My drafts tend to be rather clean and I love editing, so I embrace the opportunity to change my work for the better. It takes about six months to go from submission to published, I would tell people.
That changed with a little 5k flash fiction I gave the working title Sugar On The Asphalt.
Stealing Serenity started life as a very short piece of hot bondage fic with no plot and hardly any character. Bottom Drawer Publications was seeking a collection of very short fiction to piece together in an anthology. I didn’t have time to write one, I was supposed to be editing another book. So I wrote it in one afternoon despite my packed schedule and I sent it off without much fanfair.
I hoped they would accept it (of course I did) but my head was full of another story and I didn’t give the submission much thought.
Almost two months later I received the strangest acceptance letter I’ve seen to date. Yes, we love your story (woo!) but we don’t have enough submissions for an anthology and would you mind terribly expanding this to at least 15k words?
I’d never tried to inflate a story before, and this was a big request. From 5k to 15? That meant I needed to find a plot. And real characters. And maybe some belivable conflict. I said yes and after several conversations with the lovely ladies at Bottom Drawer, we hatched a plan.
It took me a few months to go from 5 to 15k, but in the end I produced what is likely to be remembered as the worst draft of a story I’ve ever written. All the characters changed, only two of the original scenes made it into the new version, all of a sudden I had a thief main character and I’d done no research to prepare for that.
My developmental edit was brutal. There were notes on every paragraph. Almost every line! There was more red-ink than salvageable work. And lets not even get started on the pacing. But I got two important things out of it: a plot and a pair of strong main characters I was quickly growing to love.
The next stage involved research. I had to learn everything about shibari (japanese rope bindng) and professional thieving. I needed to know how auction houses worked, what kind of laws surrounded charity busniesses, and backstory! I had no backstory leading up to my plot at all.
So I did what I should have done from the very start, I opened a new file and I outlined my story. I started months before chapter one and managed to work things out through the climax. My ending got a bit fuzzy though. I didn’t like what I’d drafted but nothing better was springing to mind. I decided to leave it blank and see what I came up with when I got there.
The re-draft took even longer this time. Chunks of dialogue and exposition were useable this time, but the scenes swapped order, some of them didn’t make the transition well, and a few were scrapped entirely. The story expanded further, from 15k to 25k!
I received a second developmental edit, something I’d never had to go through before. Serenity needed it though. She was a frankenstein of two different drafts with thousands of new words and after months of working on it I was too close to the story to remember what version was true. The second round of edits was merciful, mostly a series of continuity checks that I gladly changed.
Turnaround for line-edits happened in under a week, a good thing since marketing for a July 5th release date was already underway at that point.
In the end, from first draft to publication, Serenity took a year and a half. Ninteen months of work.
My little flash fiction is all grown up and you can get it today from Bottom Drawer Publications.
All about Stealing Serenity
Quiz and Giveaway (http://www.tamiveldura.com/2014/07/stealing-serenity-quiz-and-giveaway.html)
All about Tami
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Goodreads: Tami (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5205605.Tami_Veldura)
Hello there, ladies and gents! 😀 So as part of their Advent Sale this month Less Than Three Press has my and Tami Veldura’s books on sale for 25% off. The sale on our stuff is for one day only – today – so be sure you take advantage if you want to save a little cash.
To celebrate, Tami and I decided we’d host each other on our respective blogs. To check out my interview on her blog, go here. And, now, without further ado, here’s Tami…
Power Exchange by Tami Veldura
Lance surged forward, suddenly vertical. Alex wasn’t sure how he got there and didn’t move out of the way fast enough. Lance leaned over him. “Don’t think I’ll go easy on you for this.”
Alex shook his head.
“Have you been thinking about me?” Lance asked, deadly.
Alex bit his lip and didn’t respond. He didn’t like that he got off on the pain of Lace’s bite. He didn’t like that he was hard now, thinking about Lance forcing him down on his knees to…to… he to a deep breath through his nose.
D’Angelo smiled cruelly. “You have, haven’t you?”
Inception, Part 14 by Tami Veldura
Consent is not the simple black and white decision most people believe. This is never more true than when dealing with alternative lifestyles that play with power exchange relationships. BDSM is a catch-all acronym for several types of power exchange that are practiced in the world and it has become a thriving genre for writers and readers alike with the advent of e-readers.
Generally, the acronym can be broken into three categories: B/D for Bondage and Discipline, D/s for Domination and submission, and S&M for sadism and masochism. B/D play includes things like erotic restraint, cuffs, floggers, spankings, and similar. D/s encompases a relationship between a dominant or alpha partner and a sub or slave partner. S&M is pretty straightforward. Sadism = enjoying inflicting pain (emotional, physical, etc) and masochism = enjoying receiving pain (fun fact: this may be a physical difference in the brain for some people).
Consent Isn’t Optional
The BDSM community has a slogan you’ll find everywhere as soon as you start looking into these types of lifestyles. It is: Safe, Sane, Consensual. At the highest level of interaction, a BDSM relationship is no different than any other. It requires willing participants, trust and respect. Without these, dysfunctions can easily tear the relationship apart. But when dysfunction destroys a BDSM relationship, there may be physical or emotional repercussions far greater than a traditional (or vanilla) relationship.
No one should ever engage in sexual play without mutual trust and respect, but people will always be people. They make bad decisions, emotional or drunk decisions, they succumb to fear, greed, pride, or the desire for revenge. When something goes wrong, it can go wrong badly. Unfortunately, it’s these situations that often make it to the press, giving the BDSM lifestyle as a whole an appearance of danger or rampant abuse.
A spanking gone wrong may result in bruising, but a whipping gone wrong can draw blood and tear muscle. Blindfold a partner and they might kick the wall or roll off the bed, but gag them without doing some research and they might not be able to tell you when something hurts that shouldn’t.
Knowing that the BDSM lifestyle can be dangerous, the issue of safety and consent has been brought to the forefront by the community at large. Contracts that define hard limits (never going there) and soft limits (not comfortable, but willing to be pushed/experiment) are common, especially in D/s or long-term relationships. Classes on safety, aftercare, and how to properly use and stow equipment can easily be found. Information is the key to a fun and healthy BDSM experience.
Dubious Consent and Consensual Non-Consent
The grey area of consent is a very slippery slope. Things can quickly go from questionably uncomfortable to rape and combining the situation with a gag or fear/psychological influences only makes things worse. Safewords are one solution to the question of consent. All participating members agree on a word that won’t be said accidently in the middle of play (like a cooking ingredient, car type, or simply ‘red’) that signals everything needs to stop immediately. A safeword can be used for any reason and must always be honored; that’s the only way to ensure the situation won’t get out of hand. Some people choose two words, a ‘warning’ word that indicates things are tough, not-quite-fun, or generally uncomfortable but doesn’t require play to stop entirely, and the safeword that stops everything.
Some people enjoy being forced. Some people enjoy being humiliated or made to endure pain. Some want to be forced into enjoying an experience. Many times they want to be able to struggle, fight, say no, or scream while in the middle of play and they want all of these traditional signals of non-consent to be ignored.
Consent in advance (or consensual non-consent) is a way for these people to establish the boundaries (or lack of them) in a scene and trust that all parties are aware of their desire for the situation. It allows people to interact with each other in a different way they want to explore without damaging the relationship they’ve built otherwise. Scenes like this can be time-based (for the next half hour, two hours, etc) or action based (until X happens). They’re usually negotiated in advance.
Even stronger D/s relationships such as 24/7 or Total Power Exchange (TPE) relationships do not have a time or action limit. Contracts are common and each relationship is vastly different, but when practiced, common consent signals are often irrelevant to the situation. When observed from the outside and without context, these relationships can appear to be abuse. When participants do not trust and respect each other, the relationship can easily become abuse.
‘It’s complicated’ doesn’t even begin to describe it.
Aftercare in these sorts of relationships and scenes is vastly important and can cover a wide range of responses. From hugging and backrubs through relief crying all the way up to medical care for hard canings and knife play, aftercare is a way for both parties to reconnect and calm down. This extends to protecting a submissive or slave from themselves if necessary. When a submissive has had a powerful experience it can echo for days psychologically. Like someone heavily drugged, they may be unable to say no and the need to determine consent, physical ability, and mental health falls upon the more dominant partner. Everyone is different and it takes time for submissives and dominants to process a scene and return to a sense of equilibrium.
BDSM In Fiction
Fiction stories offer a safe place for writers and readers to explore and experience shades of consent. It’s often the first place some people realize they might want to play with lighter BDSM elements like fuzzy handcuffs or a blindfold and feathers. It’s a place to dip a toe into heavier aspects like blood play, dubious consent, and breath play (erotic asphyxiation) that are not for the feint of heart.
Like any subject, there are writers who understand the topic and writers who don’t. Those who don’t may be writing abusive relationships into their fiction. Flat characters with no goals or motivation are no better, all a reader sees is someone begging to be hurt; an abusive situation by any definition.
Below are a list of books and short stories I’ve read and enjoyed in the BDSM genre that I believe are written with a solid understanding of the subject and as such, a respect for it. These stories are not all rainbows and bunnies. Indeed, BDSM fiction is often willing to tackle heavy subjects like rape, torture, abuse, and the after-effects thereof. Content and trigger warnings are common in this genre, I’ve included them. Stories are listed in order from lighthearted (top) to darker (bottom). All links are SFW, they go to goodreads.com.
M/M, D/s, shifters, Ugly Duckling retelling. HEA
M/M, D/s elements, torture, HEA
Mind Fuck (series)
M/M, D/s, HFN
M/M, BDSM, thriller, HEA
M/M, B/D, D/s, Dubious Consent, HEA
Power Play (series)
M/M, BDSM, torture, consent triggers, HEA
This story is all about exploring the nature of consent.
The Flesh Cartel (serial)
M/M, BDSM, rape, physical torture, psychological torture, stockholm syndrome, non-consensual incest, HEA
This is a brutal series that pulls no punches. Trigger warnings for everything.
It is powerful, heartbreaking, and the most compelling story I’ve ever read.
Note: this is an ongoing serial. The end has NOT been published yet.
Tami Veldura is a writer, reader, artist and dreamer. She resides in sunny California and aspires to quit her day job and write full-time. She recently published Fanged: An M/M Erotic Anthology, available in all major formats. (Use the coupon code ADVENT to get it for 50% off!) This anthology contains 5 erotic vampire short stories, some with BDSM themes.
Vampires enthrall us. From horror to lover, vampires take our lives, our bodies, and our blood. The M/M erotic stories in this collection run the gamut. From historical past, present, and far into the future; science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary: it’s all about the fangs.
So whether you like your vampire vicious or kind, dominant or submissive, hidden or out in the open, this collection has an erotic story for you. Short enough to read on the bus, hot enough to make you sweat, and every one a new surprise. Five M/M erotic stories are waiting.
Check out Tami’s:
Patreon (paid, exclusive goodies)
Newsletter (free, different exclusive goodies)