Stories in the flourishing BDSM subgenre feature clubs with elaborate etiquette and protocols. There are strict rules for how subs address Doms. Subs tend to arrive in proper undress, and they leave their shoes at the door. Play is confined to designated areas. Any scening outside of those areas is punishable, as is someone interrupting a scene, a Dom not respecting a sub’s safe word, or a sub acting bratty. A naked sub with her legs spread in the play space is nothing out of the ordinary. A naked sub made to sit on the club’s bar with her legs spread is a punishment and an embarrassment. It’s a world of topspace and subspace, where the absolute worst crime is faking an orgasm, and a terrible punishment is a Dom withholding his sub’s orgasm. Different genres foreground different emotional/cognitive complexes. The one organizing BDSM narratives involves trust and honesty. The premise is that a BDSM relationship creates a closeness and intensity between two people not achievable in the vanilla world.
It’s kink sex meets quirk anthropology.
My own contribution to the genre is my BDSM-inspired novella A Dom in Vietnam (re-released September 2014).
Why Vietnam? For one thing I lived in Saigon for six months in 2012. For another I figured I’d take the anthropology side of the equation of the genre and run with it. Why not have a setting outside the club that is as unusual as the one inside the club? And why not make the club itself something different from the typical club? Instead of naming it something edgy and making its interior delightfully intimidating, I named it the Forest Breeze and decorated it like a magical mangrove forest. In the Forest Breeze, subs take their shoes off at the door while Doms and Dommes remain shod. However, outside the club all people take their shoes off at the door of a person’s living quarters. It’s Vietnamese custom and courtesy. I also chose a plot particular to Vietnam, namely one involving the orphanages. And oh, yes, there’s lots of kink sex.
The second book in the Forest Breeze series, Motorcycles in the Mekong (released September 2014), is not inspired by BDSM but rather by Motorcycle Club romances.
The MC world is as interestingly intricate, anthropologically speaking, as the BDSM world, as anyone who’s seen Sons of Anarchy on FX knows. In my blog post Got Some Education for Your Ass, I note that MC romances foreground the emotional/cognitive complex of loyalty. MCs are bands of brothers with paramilitary activities, organization, and origins. They remind me in spirit of the cohorts of beer-drinking Teutonic comrades-in-arms celebrated in old Germanic epic poetry. As such, MC plots revolve around tests of loyalty to the brotherhood, which either coincide with or are complicated by the loyalty involved in pair bonding with a woman and creating a family. Indeed, in these stories, family is not just an important thing; it’s the only thing.
Rolling Thunder is the MC at issue in Motorcycles in the Mekong, and just to give a further spin to the anthropology I made this MC an Aussie club living in the Vietnamese Delta. Their tie to my series comes from the fact that Rolling Thunder now owns the Forest Breeze, having bought it when it came on the market as a result of what happened in the wake of the events at the end of A Dom in Vietnam. So no BDSM here, but not to worry: MC romances are hyper-sexualized. Dom and Motorcycles are stand-alone, but their plots are intertwined. So part of the fun should be seeing the connections play out across two different subgenres.
Readers are already asking me about Book Three. Although I’m deep into reading shape-shifting novels right now, I know I won’t go paranormal. I’ll keep Book Three in the real world, and of course I’ll keep it in Vietnam and with a tie to the Forest Breeze club. But what will the new subgenre be? Ménage à trois? Erotic suspense? Futuristic? You tell me!
This post was written by Julie Tetel Andresen