Custom Leather Butler’s Books Now Available!
Confession: I have a paperwork kink!
No, I don’t mean I like filling out forms in triplicate! Last fall I fell in love with the idea of Butler’s Books. I was hesitant because most of my stuff was kept digitally up to that point and I had never successfully used a planner for more than a few weeks. After spending a few months trying to research and plan I jumped in this past January and haven’t looked back since! My book helps keep my world organized and allows me to be a better submissive. Here’s a quick intro to what they are, how I use mine, and how to start your own.
You’re probably wondering what the hell a Butler’s Book is and google is pretty much useless. Basically, a Butler’s Book is a way or organizing and tracking everything required to make a house run smoothly from schedules and shopping lists to information on the family and friends. They are sometimes called service notebooks and I like to call mine my girl book since I don’t identify as a butler.
For me, my book is one part bullet journal, one part house management guide, and one part journal/braindump.
When I want to relax I’m just as likely to be playing video games as reading books, I don’t know what I’d do without Google calendar, and text messages are lifesavers because I’m not a huge fan of talking to people on the phone. So if I’m such a digital girl why on earth would an analog book be of interest? Simple: My book allows me to organize my life, visually keeps track of my goals and projects, and is my reference for my leather family and path. It hasn’t replaced my digital stuff by any stretch but it has become a way for me to focus on the most important stuff along the way. It’s also a tool for self-care. If I’m feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I can pull my book out and see exactly what HAS to get done and what can be moved to the later. In addition, I have space to doodle, work on new ideas, or brain dumb. I’ve worked it into my daily routine, for about 10 mins before bed each night when my brain is prone to spring into overdrive, and it’s helped me feel calmer and less cluttered mentally.
The great thing about Butler’s Books is that they are what you make of it. They can be a quick reference guide or detailed encyclopedia. You could include only information related to your BDSM/Leather/Lifestyle journey or expand it to other areas of your life. The trick is to make it work for you!
When I started researching I found myself really frustrated right out of the gate. Outside of a local friend, Kitten Christie, who turned me on to them, there isn’t a ton of information easily available. In fact, I only found one really good resource! Joshua Tenpenny’s Service Notebook. Mixing suggestions from Kitten Christie, Tenpenny, and Bullet Journaling I’ve found a method to the madness that works really well for you which I’ll outline below. Take what is useful and don’t be afraid to toss what isn’t!
What you’ll need:
- Binder & Paper – You can use any journal, notebook, or binder you want. The key is that it needs to be big enough to be functional and small enough that you’ll want to actually use it!
- I use a 1″ Mini Binder because I like to have the flexibility of moving/removing pages that I royally screwed up, found didn’t work for me, or don’t need any more like plans from 4 months ago! It also fits half of an 8.5×11 piece of paper perfectly and isn’t too big to throw in my daily bag!
- Pen or Pencil – You’ll want at least one writing tool that you feel really comfortable with, is fade resistant, and writes clearly.
- I have a few pens, markers, and pencils I use in my book. My daily use pen is currently a Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen because I’m fancy 😉
- Dividers – You may need two you may need ten. Just depends on how you break up your book.
- I didn’t find any dividers I liked when I initially started so I made my own using 8.5×11 black cardstock, metallic sharpies, and washi tape.
- Other suggestions but by no means required:
- Paper clips – work great to mark pages without taking up space
- Index card – makes for a handy tool to draw straight lines
- Hole Punch – find one that fits your binder
- Markers, stickers, washi tape, etc – It’s your book. Let your creativity flow if that’s your thing!
I break my book into four main sections:
- Intro – includes my index, key, yearly calendars (bday, future log, holidays), and my book ideas page
- Plan – like the name indicates this section is comprised of my planners
- Grow – space to keep track of personal goals and projects
- Family/Leather – includes pages for keeping track of individual’s preferences, master allergy list (because I love cooking for friends & family but don’t want to kill anyone!), protocols, family traditions, and my leather’s history cards.
- Index – Exactly what you think it is!
- Key – I like to color code and use a few symbols to make it easier to identify where items wall in my life.
- Yearly Calendars – I keep one with a list of birthdays and significant holidays
- Future log – Broken into months it allows me to write out any major events happening so I don’t accidently overextend or double book myself
When I first started this section I started with printables I found on Pinterest by searching for Journal/Planner pins. It was an easy way to get started with some structure for someone who didn’t really do planners. After about six weeks I was started identifying what worked and what didn’t for me. So I swapped from planners to grid paper and started designing my own layouts. One method isn’t better than another and there is certainly LOTS of inspiration for either method.
For me, I found using monthly and weekly layouts do the job for me. However, some people prefer monthly and daily layouts. Again, it’s whatever works for YOU!
This section is by far the most eclectic! It’s a little bit of everything and anything related to helping me grow. I have trackers for different goals, gameplans for various projects, and pages of quotes and affirmations I find particularly awesome. If you follow me on Instagram you’ve definitely seen this section pop up in my images! I find that writing things down helps me keep on track with things much better. I can break projects down into more manageable pieces
This section is for all the things specifically focused on my dynamics, relationships, family and lifestyle.
- People – I have two formats for this family/close people & regular acquaintances. Family members are a full two pages and others get an index card kept in a sleeve with a condensed version of details.
- Protocols and Traditions- I have pages for general notes, low/medium/high protocols, and traditions for my family
- Leathers – A record of what leathers I have earned, been presented, or been gifted. and the history of them. I have these on index cards as well.
So these are the basics of my Butler’s Book/girl’s book cover to cover. I hope that this gives you some ideas to get started with your own books. If you want to share your ideas feel free to leave a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
On 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!
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.
Pro: Quick read, helpful for either side of the power exchange
Con: Needs a second round of editing, training is very formal and could turn off to some readers
Recommended for: Power Exchange, Dominant, submissive, D/s, M/s, solo submissives, TPE
First recommended to me by Master Cecil & Serving Wench of The Woodshed Orlando I was excited to see what Erotic Slavehood: Miss Abernathy Omnibus had to offer. Combining Miss Abernathy’s Concise Slave Training Manual and Training with Miss Abernathy, this book offers both Masters/Dominates and their submissives a good foundation for learning. Miss Abernathy’s Concise Slave Training Manual was written with the Dominant or Master in mind with sections such as identifying your desired type of service, how to approach contracts, and how to design a training program that works for you and your submissives. The second section of the book Training with Miss Abernathy is a series of fifty assignments, grouped by type of service, to guide learning. For a Dominate this part can offer a groundwork for creating your own assignments. For the unattached submissive it can give you a guided plan of personal growth and reflection. My one big complaint was that there were a number of typos and grammar errors. While I am far from perfect on those points myself the errors were frequent enough to bother me. Overall I think this book is excellent and is on the top of my recommended reading lists for anyone exploring D/s, M/s, or power exchange relationships.