Tag: Books

American Savage, Pissing off People One Essay At A Time

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics

I’ve been a fan of Dan Savage after stumbling on his Savage Love podcast a few years ago. I found his outspoken, passionate, often against the grain approach refreshing and inspiring. When his 2013 book American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics popped into my audible recommendations I went ahead and grabbed a copy. It seemed a timely read given current events, particularly the recent US election, and I was interested in seeing if his longer works held up compared to the shorter ones I had previously read. I also tend to like audiobooks that are read by the authors as we get to hear it as the author intended. What I found was a collection of writings that were spot on, sometimes emotional, and consistently engaging. Savage doesn’t shy away from points that piss some people off! Something that isn’t difficult when you tackle topics like when cheating may actually be a decent option, Obamacare, and Rick Santorum. To soften the edges and balance the book out a bit, Savage also talks about his personal life in an open, honest way. From the struggles of raising a child to the process of grieving for a parent that has passed we’re reminded that this opinionated passionate advocate is also just a human being.

For someone who spends a lot of time with the ears of their audience, I had high expectations for the American Savage audiobook and was happy to hear the passionate, snarky, unapologetic delivery I had hoped for. In a text that is sometimes joyous and other times tear inducing, Savage shares his personal history and reflections on current events which allow just about any reader to find something of interest between these covers.

Pro: great listen/read, relevant,

Con: can be abrasive for some

Overall: In the end, I was not disappointed by the text or the delivery of American Savage and highly recommend this work to both long time fans of Savage as well as readers who have an interest in modern families, LGBTQ+ culture, and equality.

Details: 

  • American Savage: Insights, Slights, and Fights on Faith, Sex, Love, and Politics
  • Dan Savage
  • Dutton Adult
  • May 2013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525954101

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Darling Discovered: An interview with the author and book review.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

DDCoverOn Friday I got a chance to talk with Mrs. Darling, winner of the BDSM Writers Con 2015 Book Contest, about her recently released book Darling Discovered.  It’s the kind of book readers really want out of a kinky story: realistic and sexy as hell! Unlike other books that have come out in recent years, Darling Discovered is based on the author’s own history and relationship leading readers along possibly one of the most life changing years of her life. Technically the book starts off with a super hot and intense takedown scene between Chloe and her Mister which gets readers hooked for what’s to come.  The story itself however starts off with Chloe discovering her husband Leo’s affair. Not wanting to throw it all away the pair agree to try for one year to make things right again. About mid way through Chloe reveals her long repressed fantasies about submission and it sparks a whole new dynamic for the pair. Along the way we join the pair for their first adventures into the world of D/s relationships including their first trip to a public dungeon in Vegas! Filled with real life ups and downs Darling Discovered gives readers an actual look at what life in a 24/7 M/s relationship can be without sugar coating it. It’s a story of self discovery and acceptance, trust, love, and lust.

  • Rating: 5/5
  • Pro: real life kink, sexy as hell, well written
  • Con: I can’t think of any!

Get your copy today on Amazon or visit the author’s website at https://darlingdiscovered.com/

The Interview

Aemok: Hi!

Mrs. Darling: Hello! How are you today?

Aemok: I’m doing excellent. Thank you again for joining me this afternoon.

Mrs. Darling: It’s a pleasure. Thank you for having me!

Aemok: I’d like to start off with what inspired you to enter the 2015 BDSM Writer’s Con And how did you feel about the contest?

Mrs. Darling: I’d be happy to, although it is more like what *made* me enter. Well, who made me enter. I wrote a story, a story about us, my Dominant/husband and I. It was very raw and cathartic and real and it felt so good to get it out of my system. I tucked the tale away… until my husband (MR) found out about the contest and required I sent it in. He thought it would be good to share it with the community at large, that maybe others could learn from our path. I sent the manuscript in and waited.

I was terrified! Terrified of winning, terrified of losing, terrified of being judged. Because I was in fact being judged. When you tell your own path (as a versus to writing fiction) every review is a review of your own life. Your own success and mistakes and choices.

Aemok: Speaking of that. It would have been easy to call your book “fiction” to prevent people from passing judgement on your relationship. Where did you get the term Creative Non Fiction and why did you choose to open your life up in this way?

Mrs. Darling: Falling into a genre of writing has been a difficult decision. I typically write non-fiction about my life as a submissive but it can be dry at times; technical. With this story I wanted to be creative and free, to paint the story in the way my minds eye remembered it. I wrote from the heart. Always. Somebody introduced the phrase creative non-fiction to me and it was like a piece of the puzzle falling into place. The whole time I wanted to emphasize authenticity. Being authentic to our story. I felt like this was the best way to do it. To “hold hands” with other people exploring submission and tell them that I understand, that I have been there too, that no it is not easy. The best way for me to do so was to own up to it being my life.

Aemok: Were you concerned that people would focus just on the rough spots and not see the growth that both of you individually and together gained through the story?

Mrs. Darling: For sure. I added a bit of our backstory to try and have it make sense why this woman would even want to try and make things work. Infidelity is such a taboo topic. Nobody is talking about it but it is so statistically high for it to happen. Why can’t we talk about it? The decisions, the emotions, the struggle? I remember this actually taking place and feeling so, so isolated. I am glad to give a voice to trying to make things work. To come out of the gates with an affair and ask a reader to try and root for us to succeed was a risk. But it simply is our path. The “old us” had to die before who we are now could be reborn.

Aemok: As someone who has been on both sides of the situation I very much identified with both of you throughout the story. Were there parts that were harder than others or anything you just couldn’t put to pen?

Mrs. Darling: It was all hard, honestly. I probably shed as many tears re-telling the story as I did living it. The hardest, at this point, was the telling of my mistakes, my bad judgement, my choices that could have been better. I just wanted to shake this girl and wake her up but alas, hindsight and all. The only things really left out were some of our struggles in parenting. That story correlates in time but isn’t relevant to this story told. Everything else is there.

Aemok: I think too often people outside the relationship automatically jump to the “throw the cheating bastard/bitch out” without thinking about the rest of the relationship.
Friends mean well in their support but sometimes it just fuels the initial shock, anger, and pain but doesn’t let us really sit back and hold our selves accountable.

Mrs. Darling: Agreed. So true.

Aemok: At one point in the book you and MR take a break. Do you think that sometimes taking a little bit of time without contact can be a positive when you’re dealing with something that is so emotionally charged?

Mrs. Darling: Absolutely. I do think it allowed us both some time to process as individuals. Process in a much level headed way than always having that person around. We were able to get a glimpse into what life would look like without the other person there and that is a really powerful tool as you are trying to review the success (or not) of a relationship. For us it was both empowering, cementing in our minds our identities in Power Exchange, but also really bleak. Life was brighter together. That was immediately clear.

Aemok: Exactly. When my marriage ended many years ago one thing I had always wished was that taking a bit of time apart was something that was socially acceptable.

Over the last few years a number of books, shows, and movies have come out that highlight our lifestyle for better or worse. Do you think that it’s important that those of us who really live this life share our stories when we can? Do you think that it helps those who may be interested but not know where to start? Like the younger version of yourself?

Mrs. Darling: I think it certainly helps. When people start to find out more about BDSM, education is one of the first things they hear. “Read, read, and read some more.” It’s a kinksters war cry. This is of course a good thing; it is important to educate yourself when you are looking into anything new, particularly when it can have dangerous implications. But what is the quality of information available? I feel like those living this day in and day out can contribute so much. I think many hesitate to do so because they recognize their way is only one way, or because they don’t think themselves capable. But I want to encourage everybody willing to share their path because in the end everybody has a different experience anyway. It doesn’t have to be fancy or frilly, just *available.*

Aemok: Do you have recommendation to help those who maybe want to but find themselves struggling to do so. Personally I’ve tried journalling/writing for years and I’ll do a spurt of good writing and then let life get in the way (ok, I totally make up excuses regardless of reality). I know a lot of people who recommend it, particularly for submissives, as a way of processing or communicating.

Mrs. Darling: Journaling helped (helps) me along. For those who want to journal but struggle, my best advice is to let the journal be there for you instead of being obligated to that inanimate object. I had tried it all my life: “I am going to write a paragraph every night” or “I will journal a line about my emotions every day.” Always a big failure. That is until I learned to lean on my journal when I needed it and never to feel guilty about not writing. I go weeks and even months now without creating a personal journal entry (typically when the times are easy and good). But when I struggle, it is always there for me, ready to listen without judgement and capture that harsh moment in time. My best advice for those still finding their way is to listen to your gut. We have incredible instincts and so often we shove them away because we were taught something else or feel obligated to be another way. Our head is always so damn logical; the heart will lead you astray. Follow your gut instinct and stay true to that course.

Aemok: Is there anything else about yourself, the book, or the writing journey you’d like to share?

Mrs. Darling: I just want to take a moment to thank everybody in my local BDSM community that has continued to support and encourage me in this venture along the way. I don’t know if I could have gotten to this point without them (and, of course, MR). If anybody reading has hesitation about getting involved in the community, I encourage you to do so. Thank you so much for having me today. It has been lovely talking about this journey with you.

Aemok: Thank you for being so open and congratulations again on the release of your new book. It was absolutely a fantastic read!

Mrs. Darling: You’re very welcome. Thank you so much and I am glad you enjoyed the story!

Aemok: ok 3 silly questions just cause: What is your favorite snack/beverage while writing? What is your favorite and least favorite toy? What is a book you absolutely recommend people read (kink or otherwise)?

Mrs. Darling: Black coffee and loads of it. When writing at home, or at Starbucks, or at the local library study room. Big ol cup of strong coffee, straight up. Always. Favorite: Whip. Least: Cane. Both make me shiver in very different ways. I’d recommend reading Emily Post’s Etiquette. There is some stellar information in there that I think could help make the world a more lovely place.

Aemok: You’re amazing. Thank you again and have a fantastic afternoon!

Mrs. Darling: You too, thank you for all that you do as well. Have a great rest of your day.

 

Again it was an absolute pleasure to read the book and chat with the author. I highly recommend you check it out.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Book Review: The Leatherboy Handbook

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr
*disclaimer: 1) This review is on the 1st edition of this book which is no longer in print. An expanded version is now available under the new title The Complete Leatherboy Handbook. 2) I am not a gay male.

Screen Shot 2015-05-19 at 11.20.19 AM

The Leatherboy Handbook (1st ed.) by boy Vincent L. Andrews published by The Nazca Plains 2008.

I had very high hopes for this book as it came strongly recommended from a number of leather people in my life. Unfortunately, I may have set the bar a little high for this book. Very clearly in the introduction Andrews lets readers know that this book is written from his experience primarily for gay males interested in the leather lifestyle. The book is divided into eighteen chapters which at first glance look very well thought out. Andrews is very repetitive throughout the book, not just of major concepts but all minor details, and I found my self thinking “didn’t I just read this.” Additionally, a large portion of the book is really focused on cruising without coming off like an ass and finding yourself a Daddy. While I can absolutely appreciate the need to help new people not look like an ass this made up the majority of the book became a bit tedious. While these were annoying points I could read around them and still get some good information from the book.

The serious complaint that I have with this book was how Andrews chooses to treat the rest of the BDSM community. I understand that the kink and leather sides of our community do not always meet eye to eye. Many “just kinky” people don’t take the protocols, power exchange, or rituals beyond their play. This does not mean they are lesser than those who chose to live in these dynamics full time. There is a beauty in the fact that we can choose our level of depth within these dynamics our partners. At least once per chapter Andrews blatantly shames those who are not leather or D/s 24/7 and regularly says that they are a prime reason for the demise of the leather scene. It becomes pretty elitist and may be a turn off to many who are interested in the leather lifestyle but also enjoys other kinks.

Overall, this book is ok. It does provide some good information for those who are interested in starting a leather journey of their own but readers will need to take much of what the author shares worth a grain of salt.

Pros: Quick read, some good chapters on service, written from a submissive’s POV

Con: Repetitive and somewhat derogatory towards non leather BDSM communities

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

Better than the book: Things 50 Shades the movie did well.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr

We know the negatives of the 50 shades books. The writing is atrocious. The author doesn’t represent the “real” BDSM lifestyle. They don’t warn about the extra dark side. We could go on. Honestly though, the fact the series has become so popular isn’t entirely bad! Here are some reasons the 50 Shades movie isn’t as terrible as you’d expect.

Let’s Talk

If nothing else 50 Shades absolutely got people talking. Most of us in the BDSM community did not stumble upon a billionaire with a dark side but some of us did stumble into “red rooms of pain” whether in the privacy of a home or in more public dungeon. The books got people thinking about what got them wet. In turn it got people talking to EACH OTHER about what got them wet. Suddenly we’ve got couples exploring new ways to please each other, book clubs talking about getting their kink on, BDSM communities doing outreach events, & public libraries talking about the rights of patrons to read what they want and have the privacy to do so. The movie continues this conversation. For a lot of people it’s easier to talk a partner into watching a movie for two hours than reading an entire book (or listen to the horrible audiobook!) This means that the movie gives people who may have been hesitant to bring up the subject a new jumping point for the conversation.

Consent!

I have to say thank you to the screenwriters on this one for actually doing a bit of research while writing the script. Through out the movie the concepts of consent are repeatedly and expressly discussed. When the pair sit down and negotiate the contract Christian might raise an eye brow at Ana removing fisting from the list but he doesn’t force her to leave anything in. He also gives some too in offering the one non D/s date a week which she mentions earlier in the story. Give and take between the individuals to reach to an agreement they are both comfortable with. Sounds like a pretty reasonable representation of D/s contract negotiations to me. When it came to play again Christian very much requires consent, not just a head shake but in words, even without the contract being signed. Prior to all BDSM play he asks her for verbal consent and goes over the safe words. Even in the infamous ending he asks her at least twice “are you sure” and explains EXACTLY what the punishment will be. She insists, consents, and doesn’t call red. She might not have liked what he did but there wasn’t any abusive behavior or manipulation in it.

We’re not all traumatized abuse victims!

This was a BIG problem for a lot of BDSM communities members when the book came out. Christian has a pretty dark and questionably abusive history. Due to this many outside of the kink community came to the conclusion that only abused and traumatized individuals are drawn to our deplorable desires. While mental illness does occur in the kink community many studies are putting this assumption to rest. The movie handles this fact much better than the book. “Mrs. Robinson” is brought up a few times but only one scene has the really negative undertone regarding that relationship. Christian handles it well and the focus doesn’t immediately become “oh, he was sexually abused as a teenager and that’s why he’s just so fucking broken.” Additionally, more then once Christian tells her that BDSM is just a part of who he is not because he’s broken or damaged. Kink is in his blood.

Kinda Hot

For a mainstream hollywood movie there were some potentially steamy scenes particularly for those mostly in the vanilla world. It is really tame, light sensation play for the most part but for a wide audience even that is racy! They try to show passion and connection between the two characters both in and out of the red room of pain. Christian isn’t just merciless beating Ana but providing aftercare and checking in with her. That’s a good thing. That’s how scenes should work within the negotiations of the Top and bottom.

 

So yes, for those of us who live kinky lives more fully this is rubbish but we have to remember where it came from: Twilight fan fiction from someone who may never have been erotically spanked in her life! However horribly written and edited the books were the movie addressed a lot of the blatantly inaccurate information.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedintumblr